Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Delighted by Daylilies

I talk about hidden gems in Nova Scotia fairly often; particularly on the beautiful Eastern Shore. Well folks, I have found another. This one, is both hidden and out in the wide open at the same time!
Located in Salmon River Bridge, just 10 kilometres east of Musquodoboit Harbour at 10099 Hwy 7, Harbour Breeze Daylillies is plain to see, right there on the main road. During the holidays you’ll see the small building on the side of the road adorned with wreaths and holiday arrangements. In the summer though, you may easily overlook it.
I’m here to tell you – don’t over look it! This charming local business is situated on several acres of beautifully landscaped gardens, the development of which is ongoing.  The twisty-turny trails uphill through rock walls and stairways lead to a variety of gardens. Included in the gardens are daylilies, irises and much much more. There is even a chicken coop and a few bee hives. And, if that isn’t enough the short climb will reward you with beautiful views of Jeddore Harbour.

Click here to learn more about touring the gardens, as well as purchasing daylilies and irises.  Over 750 varieties are grown here, all without the use of chemical fertilizers. This local business also boasts one of the best selections of Japanese Irises in Canada.  Open the second week of May until the first week of September admission is free but donations to help maintain the gardens are gladly accepted.  The sale shop for wreaths, dark brandy fruitcake, and other goodies opens mid November until December.

Friday, 15 July 2016

Lots To Do In Lawrencetown

It is probably safe to say that most people who visit or live in Nova Scotia know about Lawrencetown Beach.  Just 30 minutes east of Halifax it is well known by surfers and beach strollers alike.  While it is a true gem, and a must visit location in the Province, there is much, much more to see and do in the area once you leave the beach!  This post mentions only a few of my favorite stops along Hwy 207 and Hwy 7.

Pack a breakfast picnic to enjoy on the hill behind MacDonald House (4144 Lawrencetown Road).  The view high from the top of the cliff will take your breath away.
Take a tour of Hope For Wildlife where you can learn about the injured and orphaned wildlife that are rehabilitated at this not-for-profit organization. You’ll have a chance to meet a few critters during the tour, like Oliver the resident Barred Owl.
View some delightfully fun folk art at Krooked House Art Shop.  If the Art Shop sign in out, the shop is open. Located at 6102 Hwy 207, Tonya MacPhail’s art captures the spirit and joy of this special coastal community.
Enjoy a latte and a delicious locally sourced lunch at the Rose and Rooster. All bakery items, including the bread used in their yummy sandwiches is baked in-house. You can really feel the love in the food here.  Savour lunch on the back deck with views of the coastal inlet below, or inside surrounded by inspiring local art.
Take a drive, turn up the tunes and enjoy the views on the local side roads such as Causeway Road into Fishermans Reserve or Shore Road in West Chezzetcook.  Don’t forget your camera!
Continue on into the quaint and tiny town of Musquodoboit Harbour, where you can….
Pop into Well and Good at 11 East Petpeswick Road for the yummiest and healthiest smoothies you’ll ever taste. The Beets Me smoothie is a customer favorite!
Browse some local art created by Eastern Shore artists at the Old School Art Gallery. If the art doesn’t charm you (and I think it may), the heritage building surely will.
Nourish your body and soul with some local fruits, veggies and other treats at UpRooted Market, including local Laughing Whale fresh-brewed coffee.
If you are feeling adventurous, keep on driving and pop into some sweet and informative museums where you can experience the authentic culture and history of the area:
Visit the Fisherman’s Life Museum in Oyster Pond and experience what life was like for a hard working fisherman with a large family of only daughters in the early 1900s. Tour a small, simple building with a large helping of authentic charm and character.
In Lake Charlotte spend the afternoon at Memory Lane Heritage Village. Here you will experience life in rural Nova Scotia during the 1940s and post WWII, when the Province was on the cusp of significant change as electricity and paved roads were being introduced.  You will feel like you have stepped back into a wonderfully simple place and time.
And finally, if you are returning to Halifax or further west, stop in Porter’s Lake at Gazoos Take Out at 5361 Hwy 7.   You’ll enjoy huge, delicious servings of homemade take-out delights such as clams, battered fish, burgers, and heaps of hand-cut fries, all prepared and presented by friendly, happy owners. Hard ice-cream by the scoop and milkshakes are also served. If Moon Mist ice-cream is available that day you can have it made into a milkshake. You heard me – a moon mist milkshake! Not to be missed!


Tuesday, 6 October 2015

That Dutchman's Cheese Farm - It's Not Just Cheese Folks!

If you are passing through Upper Econony in Nova Scotia’s Colchester County, you will see a sign for That Dutchman’s Cheese Farm.  That is off course if you are able to take your eyes off the stunning views of Cobequid Bay and the Minas Basin.  If you love cheese you will likely be excited to visit the farm so you can, what else…. taste and buy cheese.  If you are like me and don’t eat a lot of cheese you might pass by.  I am here to tell you – don’t just pass by.

That Dutchman’s Cheese Farm is not just about cheese.  The cheese farmers do sell delicious cheese, which you can watch being made through large glass windows in the main building, but the farm is also home to the most delightful nature trail.  And I do meant delightful.

The Dutchman’s Cheese Farm Nature and Animal Park is a meandering trail through fields and forests where you will encounter animal after animal, and the occasional hidden gnome or fairy. There is a small fee of $4.25 to enter.  When you pay the entrance fee at the main building don’t leave without purchasing bags of cracked corn (for $2 a bag).  Buy lots; you will want to feed all the animals you encounter.  Also, bring with you a pocket full of quarters.  A couple of the animals can’t eat corn and there are coin-operated vending machines to purchase other treats for those animals.

You will be given a map when you pay.  When we visited we used the map and were anxious to make our way to each pit stop along the way.  However, had we not had a map the well-marked trail system would have offered a wonderful sense of surprise as we waited to see what was around the next corner.

The trail system loops with the option of a shorter half hour walk, or a longer hour-long stroll.  Allow yourself plenty of time to stop to visit with the animals.

As you begin you will encounter a beautiful pond with ducks, geese and swans.

As you stroll along you can expect to encounter a lovely herb garden, followed by adorable goats and rabbits, as well as chickens and perhaps a cow or two. 

Then, you will meet the pot-belly pigs.  When I visited in mid-September there were several babies.  Teeny tiny baby pigs which I could barely take my eyes off of.  The pigs are surrounded by a small, low electric fence, which didn’t stop the smaller pigs from scurrying under it to explore their outer surroundings.  Visitors are encouraged to step over the fence to get closer to the pigs, and to feed them from inside their enclosure.  They will all come running if you enter with a little food – including the babies!
If you can tear yourself away from the cuteness of the tiny pigs, you will then discover the most lovely miniature donkeys (this is where you will need your quarters because they can’t eat corn), as well as a huge Berkshire Pig.
You will also pass by several emus.  The very large birds were very vocal when we visited.  I thought there were actual human drummers nearby and later learned that the sound was coming from deep in the chest of the birds themselves, which I also learned is a sound typically made during mating season.   I wonder if that means that if I return in a few months there will be baby emus running around.
Farther along, at one of the most beautiful sections of the trail, we visited with Highland Cattle.  They had little interest in us at all, but were still a delight to watch.  These gentle beauties look like large teddy bears who need a haircut. 

Along the way you will also discover a serene water garden.  It was here that we also met up with a wandering goose, out for a stroll.


After one last visit with the geese and ducks our walk through the nature park came to a reluctant end.   I can’t wait to return.   And the good news – I can return whenever I want.  The farm is open year round.

Before we left the farm we took in the stunning views from atop the hill, and then were off to enjoy the beautiful drive home along Highway 2.

Monday, 7 September 2015

Home Sweet Home

My how life has changed. I used to spend every free minute I had exploring Nova Scotia and taking photos. I covered thousands of kilometres in the car, and hundreds upon hundreds of kilometres of trails on foot.  What fun.
Then, I bought a house and moved to the country. And things changed. Is it that I don’t have time to travel around the Province, or that I don’t want to right now? I’m really not sure. You see, I really just couldn’t wait to get out of my tiny apartment in the past.  I wanted to get away from the sounds and the smells that were not my own, away from the paint colors I did not choose, and mostly I just wanted to be in open spaces instead of surrounded by tall buildings and concrete. 

Currently, I don’t like to be away from my house.  It has been a year since I moved in, but we are still in the honeymoon stage my house and I; we are still getting to know each other.

And, here in the country, my need for open space and peace and quiet are being met daily.  I no longer feel the need to flee my surroundings. I love my surroundings.

I am especially enjoying my trees. My very own trees. I feed the birds who visit these trees, and I find I miss my little feathered friends when I am away from them for too long.

I find myself instead of wanting to practice writing wanting to learn about gardening and lawn care.  Or bird feeding.   But, I’ll be itching to travel, hike, and practice photography again soon. And I’ll be more focused soon too and look forward to getting back into writing and sharing parts of my beautiful Nova Scotia home, which is so dear to my heart and soul.

Sunday, 3 August 2014

To be continued.....

I’ve been ignoring my blog.  The blog that just 6 months ago I described as life changing.  That one; I’ve been neglecting it.

But, I have a good reason, and it is just temporary.
You see, I bought a house. I’ve lived in an apartment since I moved out of my parent’s house 18 years ago.  At one point I thought I didn’t want to own and preferred to rent. I was kidding myself really, and  I have been preparing for home ownership for the last year or so.  Recently, I have been spending time roaming through the aisles of Home Hardware, Home Depot and Kent more often than I have strolled through a nature trail.  I have been planning the purchase of items I would have never considered before.  I have been planning paint colors and wandering around fabric stores searching for the right fabric for new roman blinds.  And, I have been searching for furniture and decor treasures at antique shops and yard sales.  Add all the finer details, like remembering to change my address with CRA and at the DMV, and I’ve been a bit distracted. Things have been completely different in my world lately.

I haven’t been able to concentrate on my beloved blog. I am someone who likes to have things in order. I live by the rule of “a place for everything and everything in its place”.  Some people need a little chaos to be creative.  I need clutter and chaos free spaces to think and sort out ideas in my head.  So, with most of my belongings in boxes, many of which have mystery contents at this point, I am having trouble concentrating.  For this reason, I haven’t been writing, and I haven’t even been taking very many photos.

But – this will all change soon.  The day when I will be completely settled into my new home, with everything in its place, is just around the corner.  And, when that day comes I will be hitting the trails again, and I’ll be back to exploring the nooks and crannies of this Province I so love.  I might even revamp this blog and offer some new categories.  I’ll be living more rurally and am excited to adopt some more sustainable practices (a garden and a clothesline to name a couple!), and I may just share some of my learning as a new resourceful home owner along the way.

Please stay tuned J

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Cole Harbour Heritage Farm Museum

Heritage buildings, large fluffy sheep, baby goats and pigs, a large vegetable and flower garden.... this is a lovely scene that one would expect to enjoy after a long drive outside of the urban core.  But what I have just described can be enjoyed right in the middle of the city.

Driving through Cole Harbour one would never think there is a farm in the middle of town.  It is tucked away, behind a busy main street lined with shops, restaurants and gas stations. Driving though the side street of a residential urban area you might even miss it. But, in the midst of town there is a beautiful informative farm museum. The Cole Harbour Heritage Farm Museum is a community museum with a goal of preserving and sharing Cole Harbour’s agricultural history. The folks at the museum are hard at work helping people understand the history of farming in Nova Scotia, as well as today’s current farming and gardening methods.

At one time, Cole Harbour was a prosperous garden community serving Dartmouth and Halifax.  The Cole Harbour Farm Museum is now providing examples of that time.  The farm currently includes examples of a small local farm, many historical artifacts, and local archives.


I was delighted to stroll through this farm museum, feeling like I had not only stepped back in time, but that I was in a rural setting rather than the middle of a busy town.

We browsed through the outbuildings to begin our self-guided tour, including barns and a black smith shop. We visited not long after the birth of goats, lambs, and pigs. If you head that way soon these babies will still be tiny and as adorable as only lambs and goats can be.

I stayed a little too long watching the tiny goat and his mom before I headed to check out the adult sheep in the pasture.   These sheep were hiding under a platform to provide them with shade.  I can only imagine how hot they were in their thick wool coats!  The following weekend these guys were sheared, and will look very different if you visit in the next little while.

From here we checked out the chickens before strolling through the children’s play area. 

Then it was off to the garden.  And a beautiful garden it was, filled with all sorts of delicious vegetables.  The garden is managed by museum and local resident volunteers.  The garden’s harvest is often used in the menu of the Rose and Kettle Tea Room beside the garden.  All proceeds from the tearoom are used to continue to run the museum and garden.

I’m looking forward to returning to the museum for a cup of tea in the Tea Room, and a stroll on the walking path which leads to Settle Lake.  And of course to see how the little goats and lamps are growing.

Cole Harbour Heritage Farm is located at 471 Poplar Drive in Cole Harbour.  Admission is by donation and the museum is open every day between May 15 and October 15, and at other times by appointment.  To learn more about the museum, click here.