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Archive for the ‘Cow Bay’ Category

As a child I often got into trouble for playing in the streams of water that appeared in springtime in the lane next to our home.  I loved re-directing the rivulets, making dams and watching sticks being carried along the stream’s path. 

However, as an adult, I’ve repeatedly told little ones to stop playing in the ditches that separate properties from the road throughout the Cow Bay area. Springtime waters are a magnet for young explorers. 

Ditches fill with snow in winter, are dry in summer, and usually hold streams of water in spring and fall when there is more rain.  It’s always a nice surprise to catch a glimpse of ducks swimming in them.

Not far from my home, the Cow Bay River always seems to attract more activity in springtime when rains and melting snow increase the water level.  Gaspereau fish attract the attention of both Ospreys and fishermen at some point during the spring as well.

The Cow Bay River empties into the watershed area behind Silver Sands Beach where it eventually meets up with the waters of the Atlantic.

I’ve panned for gold along the river, as have others over the years.  I didn’t discover any gold, but did share a wonderful afternoon with a friend in a peaceful outdoor setting.

You don’t have to play in spring streams up to your knees in order to enjoy the waters of March.  Just the sound of running water and the sight of sunlight sparkles on its surface can do wonders to enhance a walk in the woods or the neighborhood in springtime.

And the riverbank talks
Of the waters of March
It’s the promise of life
In your heart, in your heart.

~ Antonios Carlos Jobim

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You never know what you’re going to find in the woods… especially on Saint Patrick’s Day.  The Little People, or leprechauns as they’re more frequently known, are in the mood to have fun on this, their favorite of days. 

Unwilling to part with their treasure, it’s understandable that leprechauns have a natural fear of humans.  It’s no wonder that they keep a low profile in the woods throughout most of the year.  But today, they’re so focused on their dancing and merrymaking, that they could possibly let down their guard. 

Leprechauns are solitary creatures, if they’re out at all in the open during the day.  However, if taken by surprise by a cat or human, a leprechaun can always rely on clever evasive tactics, such as transforming himself into the shape of a hare. 

I spotted these two hares this morning in the front yard.  

At first I thought they were the usual snowshoe hares found in Cow Bay, but as I approached, I noticed a mischievous gleam in their little eyes.  Could they have been leprechauns in disguise? 

Now hares can easily evade predators by running in a zigzag fashion and changing direction on a dime.  They can also sit very still and conform to the landscape.  It only makes sense that a leprechaun would choose such a form in order to escape detection. 

If you do get lucky and manage to see a leprechaun today, it’s best to leave him alone.  The Little People are far too clever to be outsmarted of their gold by humans, and one may just take a notion to put the come hither look on you.

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Seeing the sea from so many vantage points is one of the perks of living in Nova Scotia, especially around the Halifax region.  While driving or walking, seeing the ocean out of the corner of your eye always boosts the spirit.   Like the sky, the Atlantic is always changing and offering something new to see every day.

Sunrises reflected over salt water are especially beautiful.  After decades of looking out towards the sea, it’s still a wonder to me that this water and the water seen from Africa’s western shores are one and the same.  Supposedly, prior to Continental Drift, the land around Cow Bay was once connected to Africa.  Somehow, the idea that Cow Bay’s sandy shores may share a common history with Namibian sands makes this place seem even more special.  

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve had to rush past awe-inspiring sunrises over the ocean while on my way to work in the early mornings.   Nevertheless, even a glimpse of such an ocean sunrise is sure to give you some immunity to whatever the rest of the day may throw at you.  Could it be the reflection of sunrise colours in the water that persists in our memory throughout the day?  Or is it the sense of having been alone with God for just that moment at the break of  dawn?

The cure for anything is salt water – sweat, tears, or the sea. 
~Isak Dinesen

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In the natural world, penguins, seals and dolphins are known for their surfing antics.  Their bodies are well equipped to tackle the elements. But why would humans surf in the cold waters off Cow Bay, Nova Scotia in January?  ‘Because the waves are there,’ they’d probably answer.  What many would regard as Nature’s fury, some see as Nature’s playground.  

Surfing expresses … a pure yearning for visceral, physical contact with the natural world.
~ Matt Warshaw

The fog on Sunday made it difficult for me to see both the waves and the surfers.  No, those black specs aren’t cormorants on the water.  They’re young men shivering in their wet suits, waiting to catch the next big wave.

The parking lot near the Cow Bay Moose was packed full of vehicles, surfboards and young men changing in and out of their wet suits.  Things seemed more quiet  in the waters behind Christ Church where surfers are also known to congregate.

I managed to see some surfers waiting for the next wave in these waters just off Christ Church, but they’re so far off shore that you can’t even see them in the photo. 

In the past decade, big waves have drawn crowds of surfers to Cow Bay whenever there’s been a hurricane or other fierce storm in the area.   This weekend’s first snowstorm of the year was expected to deliver waves up to 8 metres in height.  Hopefully, everyone found the excitement they came for without any accompanying frostbite.

The above photo was taken yesterday by Reed Holmes during the first swell of the new year. For more information about surfing in Nova Scotia, see Scotia Surfer.

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It’s not unusual to find tangled seaweeds and seagrasses on Nova Scotia’s beaches.  Irish moss, sugar kelp, rockweed and eelgrass are all common finds.  Loosened from their strongholds, they are often washed onto the beaches by the waves at high tide, appearing either individually or with others in the strandline.

On this small stone beach in Cow Bay, there is often a narrow strip of seaweed.  However, what I found this week was far from ordinary.  A massive heap of seaweed consisting mostly of the brown variety lay in a distinct mound on the shore.  The heap appeared a few feet high in some spots.  Thrown onto the beach during our recent stormy weather, this is the thickest stack of seaweed I’ve ever seen over my years of visiting our local beaches. 

Though seaweed is growing in popularity as a health food in the western world, and has traditionally been used by gardeners for fertilizing the soil, this mound will likely be on the beach for some time.  As it’s so thick, the seaweed probably won’t have a chance to dry out during low tide.  Despite the cold weather, kelp flies were swarming around the already rotting mass when I took these photos on Wednesday.

Seaweed scattered along Conrad Beach near Lawrencetown in November

Last month, Em of Diabetes Dialogue, offered some excellent information pertaining to the health benefits of seaweed:

“As I understand it, all seaweeds are edible, but they must be gathered from pollution free waters. http://www.ryandrum.com will give you good information and Dr. Ryan Drum, PhD is a professional person who is well acquainted with both coasts.

The Maine Sea Vegetables link on my post will also be helpful for you, as what grows in the Bay of Fundy likely grows on Nova Scotia’s eastern shore, at least to some degree.

Ryan says that not all seaweeds taste good, in the sense that some are very strong textures. The ones eaten by Native Americans, Europeans and Asians tend to be versions of the same species. Interesting, eh?

But, as I understand it, barring any natural or man-made pollution, you should be safe in collecting fresh seaweed — now, navigating the coastal rocks is another matter!

Ryan explains how to “harvest” and not kill the plant, which is critical as, evidently from about the 1980s onward, commercial businesses have been using Norwegian mechanical harvesters, all over the world, to indiscriminately “rape” the ocean. Whole species have “disappeared” and are at or near extinction just in order to show up as “organic” and “regular” fertilizer or be used in Caribbean natural-Viagra drinks (these species were over-harvested by hand). How incredibly maddening!

Dr. Drum says we need to demand laws to stop all this over-harvesting and to encourage marine farming of seaweed, as is done in parts of Japan, on strings or on matted net.

Why can’t business use the less-invasive technology, first?! I hate to think how much damage these companies have wrought, unabated. So Drum says that Maine is threatening a 5 year moratorium on all seaweed harvesting, which would be devastating to the responsible hand harvesters, who in a year probably don’t take as much as a mechanized harvester does in a day or so.

Anyway, as your estuary and possibly coastal area, seems quiet, maybe you can learn more and safely harvest your own.

As far as health is concerned, the more I read, the more I see that this primal plant, which has supported all Life, from it’s inception, is truly the most nourishing plant we could use everyday.”

For more information on using seaweed for fertilizing gardens, see Anne’s post on Winter Gardening at Nova Scotia Island Journal.

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Today’s guest post is by Wayne Bell.

When I look back on my many recreational involvements over the years, it seems that I always gravitated towards those that offered a “mental barrier to cross.”  Rock climbing led me to become a mountaineering instructor. I enjoyed being pushed to the limits of my endurance and welcomed the challenge of dealing with unknown factors such as avalanches and the weather.

The Mountain required something of me that many people today just don’t want to give. I don’t know if they think that they don’t have the time, or are just unwilling to make the commitment. Maybe they don’t think it’s worth the effort, or that comfort is more important. Maybe they just don’t realize how great the reward is that awaits those who can complete or even set out on the journey.

Yes, the Mountain demands more than what is expected on a day-to-day basis. The route to the summit must start within, through trails seldom, if ever used in the past. Physically you have to endure and push yourself past the preconceived limits that you have held to be true up until this point in your life. You feel discomfort and sometimes pain, but still, you keep going.   Overcoming preconceived limits is never comfortable, but possible if you don’t allow them to limit  you, regardless of what these obstacles may be. Regardless of their physical nature, your preconceptions are the real barrier preventing your advance.

While climbing, you mentally face the fear of cold high places and learn to perceive gravity differently. However, the greatest fear is when you look into your own soul and find it looking back at you. Your frailties provide an excuse for you to surrender, but the Mountain waits and watches. Will you surrender to yourself?  Or will you ignore the lie that you cannot do more than what you have done in the past?

During the climb, what you learn most about is yourself and the type of person you are. Commitment, fear and the unknown must become fellow travelers on the journey.  They are part of the what-is and must be accepted, or you will fail.

When you succeed, you are ready for life. The view from the summit is just a small gift the Mountain gives you for your willingness to listen to a voice greater than yourself.

Mountains don’t have to be physically large.  Sometimes hiking up a hill or just walking on a flat path may be enough of a challenge.  There are also many journeys in life that are similar to climbing the Mountain: dealing with a young family, an aging parent, or a personal sickness. Although the journey you choose to take may be difficult, be committed to it. At the summit, you will find peace and satisfaction.

Although there are hills and rocks in Cow Bay, the only mountains that truly exist are those we perceive in our minds.

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