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Friday, August 31, 2012

Another unexpected Animal Species on the Island and some long ago Memories

Bear, Moose, Porcupine and now……..SKUNK. What else is running around here? The skunk I learned about today when talking to a neighbour who had had the pleasure of seeing it right smack in the middle of their lawn.
Shall we bunker tomato juice now? Just as a precaution in case Molly has a meeting with that black/white intruder?  How in the world are skunks coming to this island? I kind of doubt that they can swim with all their feathery splendor. Or did they live here long before mankind set foot here? It will remain a riddle.

With the summer slowly moving into the fall season I some times check on the temps in Holtville,CA.  105F – it’s way too hot there, but nevertheless my thoughts are often there.

The South-West got into my veins way back in 1996 when I travelled from L.A. to Denver,CO in an old clunker of a 1972 Dodge Polara.

The one in this picture wasn’t mine but almost the same colour. Unfortunately a drunk ran his pickup into the trunk of my car while it was parked in Denver. It was beyond repair and was later sold to a guy from Boise, ID. Even though that model never won any design competition it was a great and smooth running car with a big 360engine.

Once, I was in Southern Colorado with it and just coming back from the Great Sand Dunes at Blanca, my engine was running hot. It had done that before.
When I stopped at the curb in Blanca I looked around and discovered a garage on the opposite site. A stand on the curb announced that the customer could expect friendly service here. So I left the Dodge and ventured across the street. Inside the shop I met two guys. One was an Indian. It turned out he was the boss and owner of the 7C’s repair shop.
I asked him whether he could help getting my hot-engine problem fixed. I heard him ask what car it was I had trouble with. Pointing out the door I told him about the 1972 Dodge Polara. His face broke into a great big smile when he said: “Bring her right in. We love those.”

A couple of days later I asked Joe, the boss, whether the “7Cs” was some sort of a chain. Grinning he said: “No, but one day it might” The man had ambitions!

While the guys had a ball with my old clunker I was confined to a motel in town, from where I took regular walks over to the shop to inquire about the progress of the works. It turned out that my
radiator was clogged up and in order to get that fixed they had to send the thing over to a shop in nearby Alamosa. Two days later I was back at the shop and heard the bad news. The Alamosa shop had blown my radiator to pieces. ‘Kaputt’ with other words. So a new radiator became necessary. It was`put in over the next days and I could continue the great journey with 500 dollars less in my pocket. Outch!
imageDespite all that trouble I still think of this great adventure as one of my best-ever travels in the South-West. Maybe it is standing out because it was a time when I did not have much money and traveled in a very moderate way.

One of these old buildings housed the 7Cs in 1996

4 years later I came through Blanca again. This time in a rented motorhome with Bea in the passenger seat and mother watching the rear. Of course, I had to stop at that shop and see whether Joe, the boss was home. Surprisingly everything was locked up and nobody around. The shop had closed for good.

And that, folks, is the reason why I’ve never been in any “7Cs” shop again.


Thanks for coming a ways along.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

When the clear days come

 
DSC_0552 A slight breeze out of the north west is announcing that summer is slowly coming to an end. Apples are coming down, blackberries are ripening faster than I can pick them and gazing across the bay we can see so far, so far. From the east coast of the island the archipelago of the “Wolfes” are clearly standing out over the horizon. 

The young families with kids DSC_0410-mihave gone home - back to work and back to school. Instead the seniors are here now. Some are coming up just for the day, others spend a few days in a rented house. From the garden we get in tomatoes, beans, peas, and the lettuce is still giving off his delicious leaves.
We do quiet walks along lush forest trails. Mushrooms are sprouting up everywhere. I pick a few, take them home. Bea looks them up on the internet, they smell good and look good, but there is this last doubt….So I discard them. Maybe next time.

I was always fond of this time of the year. It lifts my spirits, it gives new energy and hope for the future. The heat of the summer is gone.

The eagles are teaching their young ones how to manage in the turbulences. From Friars Head we see a whole group of Bald Eagles, their white heads shining in the sun. One of the young ones is coming in right over our heads. The wing span --- huge. What a graceful flight.

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Thanks again for stopping by!

 

 

Monday, August 27, 2012

Did he come across the bridge or by swimming across the Narrows?

Whenever I was asked whether we had bears on the island I answered NO, as I have been told many times that the last bear had been seen a looong time ago.
But when I got to the Golf Course Restaurant the other day I saw a poster warning that bear tracks had been seen on the golf course. Also, the girl behind the counter could tell that her neighbour had actually seen a female with cubs.
And if that isn’t enough, today we saw bear-poop with ingredients of berries along a quiet forest trail in the Roosevelt Park.
The question now would be, did the bear wander across the bridge, maybe hidden by dense fog? Or did he swim the Narrows from Lubec? In the latter case he must’ve been roaming through town as the narrowest parts between Canada and the U.S. is along the Lubec town area.

When Bea saw 2 thrown-away beer bottles she was quick to grab them and clanging them together as we walked along the trail. She has done that kind of bear-scare back in Alberta, where we really had a lot of bears around. She used an empty beer can back then, put a couple of pebbles in it and shook the can as we had our (not-so-quiet) walk.

Regardless which way the bear took to Campobello. He is an illegal alien. He has done an illegal border crossing. There is no way he could have over from Deer Island. It would be way too far to swim.

Thanks for coming back here again.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

A Campobello Evening

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Had a desire to be alone with the sunset tonight, so I drove out to North Wharf where fishing vessels and gulls were my only company. A slight breeze was moving the water, causing a small screeching sound down below in the wood construction of the wharf. A gull --- then the distant sound, a small outboard motor. Those were the only sounds to be heard.

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Thanks for stoppin’ by!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Lighthouse Days, Music and Breakfast above the Beach

DSC_0469-miEvery year Campobello is celebrating its Lighthouse Days with music, barbeque, fish chowder and lots of private vendors. Tonight we enjoyed live music at Head Harbour Lightstation. We had the perfect evening  with no wind and comfortable temps.
DSC_0444-mi    Tomorrow

Tomorrow I will be shuttling visitors from the Campobello School to the Lighthouse area. Hopefully, many will use this opportunity.







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Our day today began with a beach walk. At 8:30 I picked up two ladies from one of the motels, brought them to the beach from where I walked them over to “Con Robinson Point”. Meanwhile Bea had done her magic and created the most inviting breakfast table. When our two clients had ascended from the beach they had a hard time to believe that this was for them.
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Who ever orders this beach-walk with breakfast will be treated like Royalty.
And we had the most fantastic weather today.
  
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Thanks for coming over!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

600 Cookies and a few Cakes

Did you ever bake 600 cookies? Like just in a few days?

Bea did.

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She baked cookies like there would be no tomorrow. It’s gonna feed a 100 or so people tonight. Tonight Campobello Sightseeing is the sponsor of a Summerkeys Concert at the Christian Congregational Church in Lubec, ME.

Of course, this guy hopes that there will be a few (cookies) left for hungry hubby.

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Are concert visitors hungry? They always are in Lubec. During intermission stuff disappears from the table, like the morning dew under the rising sun.

Some of the cookies Bea made she has never made before. Daring!

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But surprisingly they all turned out nice and yummy.  Neighbours are helping too. What about real yummy Brushetta? It’s gonna be there or LInda’s apple cake? Yummy, Yummy!

While Bea made cookies I made posters. My printer used up 2 color cartridges to the tune of 35 bucks each.

   DSC_0400-mi    The girls preparing the long table

And hipp hipp hurray - there are lots of cookies left. Guess we’ll gonna have a blast over the next month or so.

 

Now, don’t approach the cookie jars!

 

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Did I get across the border?

When I checked my passport this morning it looked like it was 25 years old, but at least the paper was kind of stiff if not really crisp.
I stuck it into my shirt pocket and off I went. 4 people had announced their arrival south of the border at the boat ramp and needed transportation to Campobello. So at the U.S. customs I asked the officer that if he wondered about the sudden change in appearance of my passport it was the result of my wife washing my shirt with the passport inside the shirt pocket.
Likewise I had a similar conversation on the Canadian side. Matter of fact the customs lady laughed  so her windows were vibrating.

After 5 more people had joined in on the sightseeing party, we spent most of this extraordinary beautiful day rolling from one viewpoint to the next. Amazingly, I again was invited for lunch to a restaurant. If we include the private invitation from a neighbour on Monday night, this was the third day for me not eating at home.

I’m getting used to it.

That’ll be all for tonight. I have to get my printer to work. We are out of brochures.

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

What a Couple..!

When the phone rang I had expected to hear the voice of a bureaucrat from St. Stephen. Instead there was an older voice asking whether he could book a tour on our van. “Sure” I said, “meet you at the park.  The older couple came in the last 3 minutes, got on the van and off we went on an island excursion. Turned out they were from Iowa, which is a State we rarely see people from in this part of the country.

I had already guessed that they were farmers, but during the ongoing conversation I was enlightened that they had been teachers in East-Africa as well. So with other words, not the average Iowa farmer. I was prepared for the most.

And sure enough it also appeared that they had been traveling extensively through Europe with a VW-Bus, went all the way up to Norway and through Sweden.

Wow!

But this farmer, Kevin was his name, had another surprise in store. They had already paid me my standard fee when he asked whether my wife and I would be so kind to be his guests for supper tonight. He intended to invite us out for dinner at one of our excellent local island restaurants.

I must have looked pretty perplexed, but finally stammered something about having to ask Bea first, which was absolutely not true. They left with a handshake and their hopes high to see us at 7pm at the restaurant.

Of course, Bea did not protest as she was suddenly facing a day without having to prepare dinner.

When it was time to leave we took the Convertible – it was such a lovely day.

Our hosts were awaiting us with longing eyes at the door step and we found a table in the corner. We all had fish or seafood and the conversation turned around a lot of funny stories, mostly originating in some agricultural setting, which was befitting for two couples who had both extensive experience in the art of producing food and getting into all kind of trouble.

Before the dinner was over Kevin served us an invitation to visit them in their home state IOWA. Their residence may be a bit out of our common route, but… who knows. All I know we might be in their driveway at one point.

When the waitress inquired about dessert we declined. Dessert was already scheduled to happen in our house with Bea’s home baked German-style plum-cake.

It became an evening where we poured over the map of IOWA with neighbouring States and talked about where we had been and where we would go.

They left after dark and headed for the campground. Tomorrow they will be leaving by way of ferry to discover the rest of the Maritimes.

But I have jumped over the beginning of our new acquaintance.
Kevin paid me with a 50-dollar bill and I had no change to give him. He looked into his purse once more and gave me an additional 10-dollar bill. Now I could give him 20 dollars back and we were quit.
That triggered Kevin to tell me the
Story of the two swords.
When Kevin was stationed in Africa as a teacher he once met two Massai-warriors. They both had swords they wanted to sell. Each sword’s price was 10 Shillings. Kevin bought one sword and paid the 10 Shillings to one of the warriors. But the other Massai warrior started to lament the fact that his sword had not been purchased and that he would have to go home without money. As the struggle between the two warriors became too much for Kevin he decided to also buy the other sword. But he did not have another 10 Shillings, so he took his 10 Shillings back and paid the two warriors with a 20 Shilling coin. As soon as he had handed over the money, the two warriors started to argue over it again. It appeared the reason for the fight was the question who would be allowed to carry the 20-Shilling coin. Again the struggle developed into a fight. In order to end this Kevin decided to give both swords back and take his 20 Shilling back as well. Immediately the fight was over and both warriors looked happy and together they went home.

Instead of doing something good Kevin had unknowingly contributed to a fight.


What I also did today
When I got home today Bea asked me whether I had read
Al’s OOPS –story. I had not at the time so she continued to tell that she had had an ‘OOPS’ experience of her own. When she had washed my white short-sleeved shirt I use for the driving job, she had noticed that something fell out of the shirt pocket and into the water -  my passport. Darn-darn-darn!  Remember we got spanking new passports last year?  Mine has turned into a floppy soft booklet where stamps have been erased into oblivion and laminated pages have been loosened from the covers.
DSC_0381-mi                           Suspended from the cloth line – my poor passport

Indeed, my passport was hung suspended from the cloth line with flips of white kitchen paper used as pampers neatly stuck between the pages and held together with a clamp. What a sight. I could have cried my eyes out.

This evening the passport was still of the floppy kind and I decided to take action. After all, I would need it tomorrow. I ignored Bea’s suggestion to put into the baking oven. I had no desire to let it burn!
Instead, I removed Bea’s hairdryer from the closet and gently blew warm air over the many pages. It took out some humidity, but it stayed floppy.

Next step was the electric iron. I put it on LOW and started to carefully press every page. After going through the entire passport several time I cranked up the heat. That helped a bit and the pages were getting back their usual crispness. The main problem which remained unchanged was that somehow the cover had changed it’s size, meaning the pages behind were now sticking out all around the covers, which really doesn’t look good. However, I was happy to see that my mug shot hadn’t turned into the ugly face of some seagoing pirate and that key-data were still readable. With that intact, I sure hope I can make a legal border crossing tomorrow.

You have a great Day!

Friday, August 17, 2012

A Six-pack for a crew from Grand Manan

A reporter had asked a few weeks ago what the funniest thing was I ever had
experienced with a customer. At the time there wasn’t really anything I could answer, as I simply didn’t have any funny experience with any of our sightseeing guests.

However, that changed today. Down at the Park’s boat dock a boat had arrived from Grand Manan. The few passengers were in the FDR-cottage on the usual sightseeing. For me, it was a slow day with no customers in sight and I was just getting ready to leave the parking lot when the whole group emerged from the visitor center. Then I saw a man came running Olympic-style towards the van. I was  thinking EMERGENCY but when he – out of breath - fired his question I was stunned. He simply asked me to drive him to the grocery store – presto to get a six-pack for his Grand Manan boat passengers.
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Now, how did that happen?

He was waving a 10-Dollar bill and I couldn’t but smile and he jumped right in.
10 minutes later we were back, and I drove him right down to the dock. There I met his few beer-hungry passengers and the captain of the whole bunch. They seemed to be in a heck of a hurry as they intended to go whale-watching with the whole group.

Finally something I can tell to my nieces children, should they ever get kids.

Thanks for coming by!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Those foggy Days

Several days with fog makes PETER feeling down. Whenever I look out of the window (especially early in the morning) I look into  a grey soup. The moist warm air from the south keeps coming up, hitting the cold waters of the Bay of Fundy, producing fog. And yet we are so fortunate that we are living on the west side of the island, away from the Bay of Fundy. Over there fog is much more prevailing than here.

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Over the last years we never had so many days with fog. Guess we were spoiled.

But yesterday I made a discovery. What is black and ripe for picking?

Yahoo… the BLACKBERRIES!

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Nope, I’m not talking about those ugly phones, but the very delicious soft and sweet berries with the UGLY SHARP thorns. Of course I had to run for a container and started picking.

Well, I was in shorts and short sleeves --- not good. A knights armor would have been more fitting. But then--- the reward was a great dessert – blackberries with a little bit of sugar and a dash of sour cream on top. Wow!

And the best of it all is that we have a GREAT harvest coming. In fact this years blackberries are plentiful as I have never seen it before.

 

AND THEN CAME THE RAIN

A big yellow blob was showing on the weather map. It was moving up from the south and it would hit Campobello in the afternoon.

And it did!

We discussed weather I should actually go down to the park to see whether sightseeing-interested customers would show up. On the off-chance that that was the case I was off with the van to the Roosevelt Park. When I got to my usual stop place I saw 2 figures sitting under the canopy just like they were waiting for the bus to pick them up. I got out and asked them whether they were actually tour-bound.

“Oh yes”, they were indeed expecting a tour. So I took them on. It was already raining and I knew it would get worse later during the afternoon. Nevertheless these folks were determined to enjoy themselves. Most we could see from our usual viewpoints was fog and rain. But I guess the stories I could tell build up their ability to imagine things and that was all they wanted.

At the Head Harbour Lightstation we experienced a driving rain which made every attempt to take pictures impossible. A sailboat out on the bay was fighting with the elements while the storm was beating up whitecaps around them. In spite of the inclement weather 5-6 vehicles were in the parking lot and people were getting ready to walk over to the lighthouse. It was low tide and over the next 4hrs people would have the opportunity to experience the old buildings on that rocky island.

However, we were heading back south and after a little loop through Welshpool I dropped my guests off at the visitor centre.

 

I was cold and wet when I got back into Bea’s kitchen and the first thing I needed was a steamin’ hot coffee and a few of her cookies.

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Thanks for looking!

 

 

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Is it healthy?

You have all heard about it. Some food is considered downright unhealthy, while others is basking in goodwill. Are eggs healthy or do they increase our bad cholesterol? What about tomatoes? I’ve heard they are unhealthy. Sugared drinks? Naw..! Cheese? Whole milk? Cream? Butter? Coffee or tea?

  

We could continue this list for ever. Some people say meat is wrong, others know that our vegetables are all genetically modified and therefore dangerous.

Is there anything left we can eat without getting nightmares of it?

Like with many other things, I think the truth is simple and somewhere hidden in the middle. For my needs I prefer a varied diet, which contains moderate amounts of just about everything and a good deal more of what is mentioned above. I do prefer to eat at home contra in an unknown and therefore suspicious restaurant. The reason: I like to know what I shovel into my mouth.

I have searched a bit around on the internet and found this link. The article is written by a Norwegian. He is attacking some foods which most of us wouldn’t think contains anything unhealthy. Again, this needs to be read with caution. When the author talks about some vegetable oils being not good for you then that means you should not use it all the time. If you drink only diet-type soda then you should know that it ain’t good for you. But if you are visiting old auntie Sofie who’s offering you a diet 7-up because she is a diabetic, then for Pete’s sake you don’t  have to refuse it. You won’t die of it.

I sure like to extinguish my thirst with the occasional beer. That doesn’t mean I’m an alcoholic. I never even drink 2 beers after each other, not even 2 on the same day.

But I think you understand what I’m trying to tell you. Don’t panic if you read the horror-picture-news in any health-guru magazine you have picked up at Wally-mart. In fact, you can save the money and buy yourself a healthy steak instead.

Thanks for stopping by and keep that good food coming!

 

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Visitors

I was coming back from a busy day on Island roads, just turning into our driveway, when I saw an unknown rig sitting right behind our motorhome.
Older Class B Dodge Camper. Ha…?  When I got out I saw Bea sitting inside.
Who in the world was this? 

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The surprise was complete when I realized the other two people were our friends Ron and Betty from Manitoulin Island, ON. And now I remembered that they had spoken about going up to Newfoundland this summer. So here they were. Ready to go onto “Da Rock”.
Ron and Betty had purchased this camper for summer trips. Their big rig was still parked at home. They had decided to drop in on Campobello to surprise us. Mission achieved!

So, of course, we spend the evening talking.

Saturday was a drab day with fog and rain and after a tour across the island, where Ron was part of it we spent the afternoon with more talking. Would we all be gathering in the south again? The desert was waiting!

But meanwhile there was still so much to do.

The east wall of the house has to be painted again, more old paint removed, more painting. What weather will we have this fall?
Summer is already narrowing down to shorter days. We are thinking of harvest, of earlier sunsets and of longer evenings.

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This morning, our friends left by way of ferry to explore the rest of the Maritimes and Newfoundland. We hope they will have some nice weather. They plan to visit the French islands St. Miquelon and St.Pierre and maybe even Labrador.
They left in a thick fog. Good Bye and hope we’ll see you in California again.
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Thanks for looking in on us!
    


Thursday, August 9, 2012

Fly me to the Moon…

This 1954 song almost became reality in 1969 when Neil Alden Armstrong became the first man to set foot upon the moon. Since that glorious day humans have strived continuously to learn more about outer space. A new milestone was reached when the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter made a picture perfect landing on Mars sending an array of incredible pictures of a landscape that most of all resembles the Mohave Desert.
Mosaic of images in false color taken in mid-January 2012
It remains an open question whether mankind will ever be able to overcome the enormous distances to other planets in outer space. Since Mars has no livable atmosphere it is most unlikely that humans will ever spend extended periods of time on other planets.

So, unless regulations about population density will be put in place we will still see big cities growing like dangerous cancer cells. No chance that parts of earth’s population will be settling on Mars and the ladies will still have to dream about being flown to the moon.

Have a nice day on earth!