Kouchibouguac Equipped Camping

On Labour Day, my husband and I drove our daughter to University in New Brunswick for her freshman year. And then the two of us went camping at Kouchibouguac National Park , on the eastern shore of NB.

We drove our small Honda Fit for 10 hours to get to campus, and everything “fit”- university essentials from a fan to a floor rug, clothing and personal items, and camping gear for us! The three of us were cozy but we could still see out the back window…

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The pillows were squished down more firmly before we said goodbye at 4:30am!

Moving Day was excellent. We started with a yummy, leisurely breakfast, and then went to campus to register, get keys, make a bed, plug in a lamp, and hang artwork. The weather was fantastic, the people were friendly & helpful, and all-in-all, it was a good launch (despite the mother’s tears…)

The great thing about kids gaining more independence is that the parents do too! My husband (W.) and I now were able to spend 5 nights together with no children and no other obligations, which truly has not happened in many years.

We chose Equipped Camping at Kouchibouguac  National Park because

  1. I love camping and the great outdoors!! (W is just a good sport-it’s not his first pick).
  2. We were travelling in our little car, and had no room for more gear.
  3. It is more economical than staying in a hotel, cottage or kitchenette.

And equipped camping proved to be an excellent choice! We ended up arriving late at the Park- so late, in fact, that it was already mostly dark. We did not have to worry about setting up tents, and all that stuff. We just unlocked the zipper to our prospector tent and walked in. We walked a few sites over to use the washroom facilities, and then we settled down for the night, without even starting a campfire. It was a great relief after a long few days.

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In the daylight…

Unfortunately, in all the busyness, we had neglected to check the weather forecast, and with our lightweight sleeping bags were woefully unprepared for the unseasonable cool night temps! We both shivered the night away, adding multiple layers of clothing as the hours ticked by. (The next night we were better prepared, and the following nights the bundling up was not necessary).

We loved the large equipped site, and would do it again. It included the tent, with two Adirondack chairs, a picnic table with a screened tent, a full BBQ size propane tank with a campstove, and a full shelf of dishes. A clothesline already hung. Everything was very clean and of high quality, and we were impressed.

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The only thing we really regretted NOT having was our own lawnchairs to sit around the fire with. Understandably, the Adirondacks were bolted to the deck.  But hey, we enjoyed s’mores anyway!

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A Gardener’s View

I love June!

Here are a few photos of gardens I have been tending. My own, and my friend Pat’s . She and her husband have been on a hiking trek in Europe (see her blog http://www.patanddanmakingtracks.com), and I have had the privilege of tending to the flower beds, as the birds serenaded me in the dappled shade. Enjoy!

Peony

Paeonia

Iris

Papaver

Scabiosa

Baptisia australis

Iris by the St. Lawrence

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Columbine

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Allium

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Rhododendron

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Hosta

Trollius

Summer Hiatus: Tornado and Drought

After a long summer hiatus, I am back to the blogosphere (cheer here)! It was an eventful season, with two of the highlights being an F1 tornado that swept through our village, and  a garden-killing drought (not to mention that a tree also fell on our garden…) Mostly, it was hot, hot, hot.

To those of you living in Tornado Alley,  an F1 might not seem so bad. But to a girl who has only experienced the occasional violent summer storm or North Atlantic nor’easter, this was significant.

There had been a severe thunderstorm warning issued by Environment Canada, and my daughter and I were on the front porch breathing in the cool relief of wind, and the beginning spatterings of rain. We were rejoicing; we had been praying for rain.

As the wind increased, we hunkered against the side of the house, shivering and smiling. Limbs bent low, and rain danced a foot off the ground. We marvelled at the noise of wind in leaves and water on ground.

Suddenly, a gust of wind hit and did not stop. The air turned white, raindrops breaking. Branches flew horizontally across my field of vision, and we made a hasty retreat to our safe place inside.

It lasted only a moment, but what a lot of damage!

This canopy was only days old.

Amazingly, the noise of the wind muffled any sound of the gigantic trees snapping. And snap they did, all over town.

We sustained only damage to our garden, which is an incredible blessing considering we have some of the largest maple trees in town (that remained intact).

 

 

 

 

 

 

It didn’t take long to meet the neighbours. Everybody surveyed damage, knocked on doors, said “did you know…” and tiptoed around live wires.

 

 

And the heat, intense heat, humid and 100% still air, was worse than before. The sun sizzled that afternoon.

 

 

 

 

 

There was no electricity, no air conditioning, no water.

We never had water from our well again.

Unbeknownst to us, the well had been in its dying days, and the lack of pressure/suction from the idle pump was enough to make the water table drop away.

We had no water for 8 days, showered at friends’ or the YMCA, did laundry at friends’ who were on vacation, flushed toilets and washed dishes via a garden hose from our neighbour’s tap attached to our plumbing.

Well, let’s try here! The first thing was to find the old one…

We dug up the yard to FIND the old well, to see if it was a foot valve issue, but alas, there was not a drop to be found. There wasn’t even mud.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The well cover, and a trench where the path used to be. Who knew what had filtered down into our drinking water in all this time?

To make a long story short, we drilled a new well, and the water is better than ever! Cold and clean, and lots of it. What a relief!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In 4 hours, mostly through solid limestone bedrock, we had a new 102′ foot well with lots of good water pressure.

A friend posted on Facebook that it sounded like “Little House on the Prairie” over here!

So that is a bit about my summer. How was yours?

Sour Cherries

A friend recently posted a photo on Facebook asking what kind of cherry she had found. It is like a large chokecherry. While I couldn’t definitively answer her question, it reminded me of the sour cherry tree we had in our backyard the first decade of my life.

It was quite an old, large tree and it produced lots of fruit. It made the BEST jam- a sweet-tart deliciousness that was my favourite. I don’t know if I’ve ever had any since.

Photo copied from novascotiagardening.com

The tree reminds me of my mother and her industriousness. Whenever the fruit ripened, she would diligently get out there and pick as many as she could before the crows and starlings cleaned off the tree. She would spend time pitting them all- individually. And then she would make preserves and jam- all while minding four children under the age of 10. You’ve got to respect that!

I don’t remember ever helping, but I do remember that my grandmother from out-of-province was there one time when the cherry harvest was on. I remember her sitting in the shade of the tree pitting brilliant red-orange fruit.

I remember sparkling, noisy aluminum pie-plates dangling in the tree in an attempt to keep the birds away. I don’t know if it worked.

I also remember that our picnic table sat in the shade of the tree, and my brother and I would play there. He liked to put on shows and I was the audience.

Best of all was going in to eat the yummy cherry jam on fresh bread when we tired of playing.

Thanks Mom!

Now to find myself some sour cherries…