Monday, October 26, 2009

Harvest Vegetable Stew

Bay of Fundy farm markets are burgeoning with lots of veggies any time from June onward. Once the autumn weather turns chilly here though my thoughts turn to root & cruciferous veggies. This Harvest Stew recipe is "Vegetarian Thanksgiving in a Pot" so the perfect recipe to share between Canada & U.S. Thanksgivings:

Harvest Vegetable Stew
6 T butter
4 med leeks
1 lb onions
3 1/5 oz parsley root (optional)
4 minced garlic cloves
1/2 t thyme
2 bay leaves
rosemary to taste
1 lb button mushrooms
1 med turnip
2 1/2 c dry white wine
3 T Worcestershire sauce
1 lb russet potatoes
1/2 lb brussels sprouts

3 T flour
3 T butter
2 c hot veggie broth
2 T wine vinegar
3 T molasses
3 t paprika
dash Tabasco
salt & pepper

Melt butter in large pot. Trim and chop leeks & onions. Scrape & thin slice parsley root. Saute with herbs til leeks start to gold. Wash mushrooms and halve if large. Dice turnip in 1/2 dice. Add mushrooms, turnip, wine and W sauce to pot. Stir and lower heat. Dice and peel potatoes, wash & trim sprouts. Add to pot, cover. In another pan, melt rest of butter, add flour. Cook roux for a few minutes, add hot veg broth, stir quickly with whisk. Add vinegar, molasses, paprika, and Tabasco. Stir again til smooth, add to stew.

Simmer, covered, for about 1 hr. Add salt & pepper to taste. Serve hot with dollop of cranberry sauce. P.S. brussel sprouts taste great here (even if you don't usually like em!)

Recipe credit: The Vegetarian Epicure, Book Two.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Columnar basalt? I'm lovin' it!

It's never too late to become fascinated with geology and, I'll warn you, such a fascination could very well develop during a visit to the Bay of Fundy! We're surrounded by so much cool geology, you just can't help but find it interesting.

Half the time I have no idea precisely what I'm looking at but that doesn't keep me from being randomly awestruck by Fundy's many rocks & rock formations.

For example, take columnar basalt: these vertical columns are long cylinders with many straight sides (sometime appearing hexagonal from the top). They are the result of the quick cool of lava flow.

There are many basalt cliffs around Bay of Fundy but one of the most accessible and visually intriguing is the famous Balancing Rock on Long Island, near Digby. Here a single column of basalt appears to sit 'balancing' precariously atop the edge of another, while another nearby column pushes up to form a flat step beside its neighbouring columns.

These are two photos I took while hiking there this week.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Autumn leaves ablaze with colour

I've been hiking and exploring coastal regions of the Bay again this week. Despite brisk autumn winds the fall leaf colours are still quite vibrant in a few pockets. I captured this photo on the trail to Balancing Rock on Long Island, near Digby. They showed bright: almost fluorescent!

Monday, October 05, 2009

Bay of Fundy’s own Great Barrier Reef!

As most of you know by now, we are participating, along with the Great Barrier Reef and other global natural attractions, in a campaign to declare the New7Wonders of Nature.

What you may not know is that the Bay of Fundy already has many of the individual features of the other sites. Take reefs for example...

Thanks to my friend, Ashley at CPAWS, for sending along this guest post & photo:

The Bay of Fundy is home to large reefs that have been formed by horse mussels (much larger than the blue mussels we eat). Images of the Bay of Fundy seafloor (as seen here) shows the mussels grow into long rows that are up to 4 m high, 40 m wide and 1 km long. That's higher than the ceiling in the average room and larger in area than an average city block!

It is thought these reefs rival Australia’s Great Barrier Reef in size.
Only a few horse mussel reefs are known to exist, and the Bay of Fundy reefs are the largest such reefs to be found anywhere in the world.

These reefs are important as they provide habitat for many other species and they also filter nutrients from the water column. They are essentially huge mounds of life surrounded by a bare, sandy seafloor.

Horse reefs are very sensitive to disturbance caused by bottom impacting fishing activities. Some of images show long gauge marks where trawlers have cut into the mussel reefs.
Yet another reason why the Bay of Fundy is so unique, diverse and a true natural wonder of the world! ~ Ashley

Wow - who knew!! By the way, the Nova Scotia chapter of Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) is working to spread awareness about the reefs and find solutions to best protect them. Learn more!

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Crazy fun sea kayaking at Cape Chignecto Park

As much as I love walking along the coast of Bay of Fundy's many tidal beaches, I'm also wildly fond of getting on the water to experience whale watching or sea kayaking.

Yesterday I experienced one of those 'best day of my life' days on a kayak tour with NovaShores Adventures along the coast of Cape Chignecto Provincial Park in Advocate Harbour, Nova Scotia.

We 12 (both experienced and brand new kayakers) paddled along the dramatic coastline past sheer 200 foot cliffs, secluded coves, and carved rock formations - including the famous Three Sisters sea stacks.

It was a warm day (20 C, 75 F) and an exciting paddle (leaving at high tide and returning a few hours later on the same beach where the tide was waaaay out!). These tours are available from May to late October (winds permitting!) from the Eatonville day-use entrance of Cape Chignecto Park.

If there are any in your party who'd rather not kayak, they can visit the visitors' centre and the two trails in the Eatonville day-use area and watch you kayak below!