Monday, April 30, 2007

Bay of Fundy Lobster map

I just customized a wee map of our four lobster seasons here in the Bay of Fundy (zones 34, 35,36,38). Even though lobster is available year round in restaurants throughout the bay, it's always nice to know when it's lobster season in the local area. Even after having grown up here I still find it amusing to watch the boats motor in on the incoming tide to unload their traps.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Bay of Fundy - One of Canada's 7 Wonders?

CBC introduced a new contest this week that met with a great flurry of interest from our little corner of the country. I went to the CBC website earlier this week to nominate the Bay of Fundy - that is, the whole Bay of Fundy. Apparently lots of other Fundy folk did the same because Sounds Like Canada host Shelagh Rogers noted on Friday that Niagara Falls and the Bay of Fundy were the two most popular nominees so far!

Anyone who knows the Bay of Fundy can make a compelling case for it to be considered for this accolade. The Bay appears on various international list for great Wonders of the World but is perhaps less appreciated here in our own country - kudos to CBC for making Canadians more aware of these special places in Canada. If you'd like to vote for the Bay of Fundy, visit the CBC website.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

It could be because I'm Pisces...

It could be because I'm Pisces but I've got a great interest in coastal art - fish in particular. This morning I was delighted to see a friend in the Bay of Fundy region selected as feature Artist of the Day by Art News Canada.

Choleena DiTullio is Fine Arts grad who uses acrylic as her primary medium. Her recent experimentation with phosphorescent painting has been very well received. Inspired by the natural phenomenon where deep-sea fish use bioluminescent nodes to glow in the dark, her artwork 'charges' in the daylight then creates a whole new painting for the wall on which it is hung after lights-out. Her work is in private collections across Canada, in the U.S. and Australia.

If you are in the Bay of Fundy region you can catch some of Choleena's work at the fabulous Fog Forest Gallery in Sackville, New Brunswick.

I love this artist's view into the undersea, afterhours life of our Bay!

(The above sketches have been posted with Choleena's permission.)

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Art mimics life 200+ million years ago

I went to a really interesting art unveiling on Sunday at the Fundy Geological Museum in Parrsboro. The Atlantic Geoscience Society commissioned five paintings that depict our region during the Triassic and Jurassic periods. To create the paintings the artist, Judi Pennanen, had to work with a team of experts to piece together everything known about these periods. The team included botanists, geologists and paleontologists.

The paintings will hang in the Fundy Geological Museum which is dedicated to the Triassic-Jurassic periods. All of the animals, all of the plants in the paintings are based on the fossil records found in Nova Scotia, which played a very important part in the formation of the Bay of Fundy region as we now know it.

Here are two of the photos as published in the newspaper today. The first on depicts what the region would have looked like 200 million years ago; the second shows a Prosauropod, a Jurassic-era dinasour that was found near Parrsboro.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Whale blog

Here's a link to a really cool whale blog, hosted by whale watch operator Quoddy Link Marine in St Andrews, New Brunswick. One of their staff, Danielle, a whale reseacher keeps a really detailed blog about whale sighting, whale info, etc. Things are gearing up for the season so take a look.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Lobster will soon be back!

I was reminded by Belle this morning that the spring lobster season opens soon on the Bay of Fundy. When we got to the wharf for our daily walk she scooted right over to the edge to 'inspect' a boat that had popped into the water since the day before. Lobster fishing seasons rotate around the Bay - ours here in Parrsboro goes from now until the end of July before resuming again in the fall. I'll see if I can track down a map of all the various lobster seasons in the Bay of Fundy. After all, one should never have to find oneself without lobster.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Making maple candy

The six-week maple sugar season officially ended this weekend. I dropped by our family farm and restaurant and was put to work spreading a batch of maple cream. Maple syrup is heated to a fudge-like temperature, stirred with a wooden paddle to aerate then quickly smoothed over a set of pretty candy molds. Don't worry, I wasn't too hard done by - got to eat a few sample scraps to, ahem, test quality!!

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Ride 'The Bubble' on the Bay of Fundy

I mentioned the Reversing Falls Jet Boat Ride as a favourite Fundy activity earlier this week but forgot to note that the same company also offers another, more extreme adventure for the crazier among us: a "Bubble" Ride through the Falls rapids.

This exercise involves being harnessed inside the inflatable bubble frame show here then tumbling through the rapids, spinning in whirlpools and flipping through white caps. Note: you've got to be super-fit to maneuver this creature!

Friday, April 13, 2007

High-low tide video

While I was in an exploratory mood this week, I popped over to YouTube to see what sort of Bay of Fundy content I might discover. Found this ancient video clip from Britannica The voiceover is a bit groovy but it features an excellent timed video of the tide coming in so take a look! Another successful qualifier for my Bay of Fundy high-low tide collection!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Jet Boating in the Bay of Fundy

I finally figured out how to archive my previous posts in categories, as you can see in the sidebar. Now that summer is on its way I plan to add my best choices of Cool Things To Do around the Bay of Fundy. Here's a fun activity to consider if you are going to be visiting the Bay this summer: Thrill Ride with in Reversing Falls Jet Boat Rides in Saint John, New Brunswick.

The thrill ride is a great opportunity to feel and appreciate the power of Fundy's tides as the outflowing St John River meets the incoming tides. It's 20 minutes of pure exhilaration as you blast through the tidal rapids. Ah yes, plan to get totally, fabulously wet on this adventure. It's a blast!

Monday, April 09, 2007

Spring has sprung!

Just had a note and these photos from Trish Fry at the Annapolis Historic Gardens. Trish has a great photographic sense and is always on the lookout for 'curiosities' in the gardens.

I toddled around the Gardens with my camera a couple weeks ago, when it appeared that spring was well on its way. Since then things have been cool and slowed the plants down a bit, but the Gardens are beautiful as the early spring colour unfolds.The Witch Hazels are still in bloom (in the rose garden), the heaths are blooming (winter collection), and early bulbs throughout.

Meanwhile, I thought I'd share a few sunny spring photos with you, just to remind you that spring really is on its way! Trish

To see some of Trish's other pics check out my November posting: Bay of Fundy At Bloom in November?

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Maple marinade recipe

With the abundance of maple syrup we have in the region our culinary inclinations extend well past pancakes. Here's a maple marinade for chicken or pork chops that I've been using for years:

Maple Marinade

1/2 c maple syrup
3 tsp Dijon mustard
zest & juice of one lemon
4 tsp balsamic vinegar
6 twists of freshly grated pepper
1-2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tsp finely grated fresh ginger
1/4 c. olive oil

Blend all ingredients, refrigerate for 24 hrs. Marinate meat for 45 minutes minimum. BBQ or roast meat, basting with marinade. Serves 4. To pump up the punch, consider adding more ginger, garlic or even chopped chili peppers!

This recipe came from Elaine Elliott's Maple Syrup cookbook.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Maple syrup FAQs

It seems like just about every sub-topic related to living here by the Bay of Fundy has its own set of frequently asked questions and maple syrup making is no exception. Here are a few that I've heard at our maple farm along with my answers:

1. How many litres of sap from the maple tree does it take to make one litre of syrup? By the time the sap is boiled down to syrup, 40 litres of sap has become one litre of syrup.

2. Can you make maple syrup out of all maple trees or just sugar maples? Techically, you can make syrup out of sap from other maples but Sugar Maple sap has a higher natural concentration of sugar so it is greatly preferred. (The other maple saps would take much more boiling to get them to the sweetness of sugar maple syrup).

3. What sort of spring weather favours sap production in the trees? Sap 'prefers' cool nights and warm days. My uncle cheers at daytime temps of plus 5 to plus 8 degrees Celius and a good overnight frost or temperature around minus 5.

4. I've heard that maple sugar is actually good for you, is that true? Everything I've heard and read about this indicates that yes, maple syrup is actually good for you. It is know to contain potassium, calcium, magnesium, sodium, zinc, manganese, phosphorus and iron as well as the B complex vitamins. It also has antioxident properties that have been compared with well-known antioxidents broccoli and green tea.

Monday, April 02, 2007

It's maple season here on Bay of Fundy

Well, so much for winter! The last couple weeks of warm winds and melting snow have heralded the arrival of "Sugar Season" on the Bay of Fundy....maple sugar season! Many families like ours have been tapping Sugar Maple trees here for generations.

We've a maple sugar making family in the upper part of the Bay of Fundy for over 100 years. We only tap about 4000 trees (fairly small amount compared with some other farms) but that's enought to keep our family, our town, our visitors and quite a few restaurants in Halifax supplied with real maple syrup for a year.

By the way, we jokingly call imitation table syrup telephone pole syrup since it compares that unfavourably with the real stuff!