Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Cal's Restaurant & Grill

For our anniversary lunch Andy & I got take-out from a new restaurant on our slice of the Cabot Trail, Cal's Restaurant & Grill. There's a basic menu of foods that go with fresh, hand cut French fries: fish, scallops, clams, shrimp, burgers, BLTs, club sandwiches etc. He also serves poutine and has good onion rings and coleslaw. I've not tried the desserts yet, but I will because I overheard that they are deep fried -- cheesecake and cinnamon buns. Imagine! I could be wrong but if I'm not, Scots deep-fried Mars bars, eat your heart out. Once I try them I will report back. 

Cal & Liz

Cal built the restaurant himself and the space is bright and airy, and the floor, well it's lovely: painted cement with a beach and ocean theme. There's a mermaid sculpture I covet and a photo by my dear friend, Carol Kennedy. 

If you're heading this way, give it a try. It's a nice addition to existing eateries: The Clucking Hen Bakery & Café (lots & lots of good stuff), Simply Pizza (great lasagne as well as pizza) and The Dancing Moose (fabulous pannekoeke & good soups). 

Hours from 11 AM - 7 PM and you can call ahead: 902-929-2257.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Forty years

On his blog, Andy wrote a lovely history for our fortieth anniversary of our meeting and marriage and he also wrote a tribute to me that made me grin tearily. I can only say that I love him now as I loved him then.

Our day is summer perfect: the skies you see in the photo, a bug ridding breeze, a deep blue sea with the glory of diving gannets and occasional white caps, greens on the mountain vivid after the weekend rain. 

I offer two anniversary poems that I found and have been saving for Andy for today:



                        by Cecilia Woloch
               Didn’t I stand there once,   
               white-knuckled, gripping the just-lit taper,   
               swearing I’d never go back?   
               And hadn’t you kissed the rain from my mouth?   
               And weren’t we gentle and awed and afraid,   
               knowing we’d stepped from the room of desire   
               into the further room of love?   
               And wasn’t it sacred, the sweetness   
               we licked from each other’s hands?   
               And were we not lovely, then, were we not   
               as lovely as thunder, and damp grass, and flame?

             For What Binds Us
             There are names for what binds us:
              strong forces, weak forces.
              Look around, you can see them:
              the skin that forms in a half-empty cup,
              nails rusting into the places they join,
              joints dovetailed on their own weight.
             The way things stay so solidly
             wherever they've been set down—
             and gravity, scientists say, is weak.

             And see how the flesh grows back
             across a wound, with a great vehemence,
             more strong
             than the simple, untested surface before.
             There's a name for it on horses,
             when it comes back darker and raised: proud flesh,

             as all flesh,
             is proud of its wounds, wears them
             as honors given out after battle,
             small triumphs pinned to the chest—

             And when two people have loved each other
             see how it is like a
             scar between their bodies,
             stronger, darker, and proud;
             how the black cord makes of them a single fabric
             that nothing can tear or mend.

                     by Jane Hirschfield

You can read Andy's blog at:

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

It's a dog eat peas world

You tell me, is this the face of a pea thief? Well it is.

I haven't grown peas in years because Honey, our gentle, sweet yellow lab cannot resist a pea patch,and when I say the word patch, I mean it. Every year I grew peas, Honey would know the exact day most of the peas where ready for picking and those same mornings when I let her out for a pee (ha-ha), she would eat every single pea in the entire patch. The edible pod pea vines would be stretched out across the grass and the bush peas plants would be stripped bare, some uprooted, but clearly she had a reasonable technique for picking because often the plants would remain in the ground. There would not be a single pea left for us. 

After three years of this and many admonitions, I decided I hated yelling at her or trying to shame her into good behaviour more than I liked fresh peas (a lie, but I learned to live with it). Then this year I moved my lettuce bed from a slightly shaded bed to a sunny one and wondered what to put in the more shaded bed instead. Peas won. When I got home from Goderich last week, I realized the peas were ready and so far Honey had not eaten them, but when I looked out the window one morning and watched her slinking toward the new pea bed, I called her back -- she came but reluctantly and looking very guilty -- so I went out and erected a crude barricade of lawn chairs and saw horses.

So far, so good. She still tries to sneak over and perhaps she's made it when I wasn't watching but we're the ones eating peas and Honey isn't and no one is getting yelled at or needing to yell.


Don't feel too sorry for her though. Lately, on our walks, she gorges on ripe wild raspberries and blueberries and has even discovered she likes the purple berries of the clintonia plant. She found the first very small and very green windfall apples and brought one home this morning for breakfast and soon the blackberries will be ripe. Along with the odd squirrel and some of the bait mackerel and old crab and lobster remains she finds at the shore, she's a balanced from-the-wild eater and grand scrounger.

If Feeling Isn't In It

You can take it away, as far as I'm concerned—I'd rather spend the afternoon with a nice dog. I'm not kidding. Dogs have what a lot of poems lack: excitements and responses, a sense of play the ability to impart warmth, elation . . . .  
                                                                                   Howard Moss
Dogs will also lick your face if you let them.
Their bodies will shiver with happiness.
A simple walk in the park is just about
the height of contentment for them, followed
by a bowl of food, a bowl of water,
a place to curl up and sleep. Someone
to scratch them where they can't reach
and smooth their foreheads and talk to them.
Dogs also have a natural dislike of mailmen
and other bringers of bad news and will
bite them on your behalf. Dogs can smell
fear and also love with perfect accuracy.
There is no use pretending with them.
Nor do they pretend. If a dog is happy
or sad or nervous or bored or ashamed
or sunk in contemplation, everybody knows it.
They make no secret of themselves.
You can even tell what they're dreaming about
by the way their legs jerk and try to run
on the slippery ground of sleep.
Nor are they given to pretentious self-importance.
They don't try to impress you with how serious
or sensitive they are. They just feel everything
full blast. Everything is off the charts
with them. More than once I've seen a dog
waiting for its owner outside a café
practically implode with worry. “Oh, God,
what if she doesn't come back this time?
What will I do? Who will take care of me?
I loved her so much and now she's gone
and I'm tied to a post surrounded by people
who don't look or smell or sound like her at all.”
And when she does come, what a flurry
of commotion, what a chorus of yelping
and cooing and leaps straight up into the air!
It's almost unbearable, this sudden
fullness after such total loss, to see
the world made whole again by a hand
on the shoulder and a voice like no other.
                       -- BY JOHN BREHM

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Wild and not so wild things

I'm home from a visit to Goderich where my parents live and where some of the most beautiful sunsets in the world happen over Lake Huron. I was to have had a busy visit with lots of family around and a shower for my niece but I had to cancel that trip and rebook -- summer colds, don't you just hate them! The visit I did have was quieter, busy enough of course with a beach day, shopping, breakfast out, gorgeous sunset watching, a visit to say hello to my sister, Bernadette at the pier: a tender, sweet, happy visit with long serious talks, old family stories and some good laughs. Here's a picture of my parents, married 64 years in June:

Home now to begin to eat from our garden -- finally. We've had tons of lettuce, gone to seed while I was away, but because we had so little rain, everything else held back. Cape Breton has been wonderfully hot and dry, a great combination for summer fun, but not entirely good for a garden. This week we've had real rain and the garden is taking off. Here's supper last night, raw & cooked, with  a thanks to Alan Kitz for the amazing venison chops:

Here are my fat sandy feet taking a break at St. Christopher's Beach.

And finally, here's my sister, Anne, who I stayed with my  last day, with one of her amazing planters -- Ontario is not having a hot summer but a cool, wet one, obviously good for flowers! And lastly you'll see a pic of the squirrel that visits under Anne & Peter's bird feeder.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Alaska brown bear feeding on salmon

Just to keep the nature theme going -- wild in Alaska once again -- here's a quite wonderful Explore brown bear cam situated on a river waterfall in Alaska:

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Snowy owl nest, Barrow Alaska

And for a change of scene, check out the snowy owl nest, also on Explore, in Barrow, Alaska.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Atlantic puffin cam: a chick has hatched

A fuzzy, cute baby puffin has been born and you can watch it on the puffin burrow cam shown below.

Here's a little puffin info from the Explore site:

Atlantic Puffins spend most of their time at sea — coming to land each spring to breed in colonies on northern seacoasts and rocky islands, like Seal Island in Maine, home to the puffins visible on our live cam. These colorful pigeon-sized birds lay one egg in their burrow homes, with the male and female sharing incubation duties for approximately 39-43 days. After the chick hatches both parents feed it fish for approximately 45 days. After that the “puffling” is large enough to fledge (leave the nest.)

Puffins are excellent swimmers, using their wings to essentially ‘fly’ underwater while using their feet as rudders. They eat a variety of small fish including herring, hake, capelin and sand lance. Puffins do not come to land outside of the breeding season, flying, swimming or riding the ocean surface throughout the year regardless of weather. The Atlantic Puffin is the only species of puffin found on the Atlantic coast. The three other species of puffin are found only in the Pacific.