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Urban Leaving to Country Living

TOP TEN TUESDAY: Reasons I Love Country Living


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly linkup of book bloggers hosted by The Broke and The Bookish!

Top Ten Tuesday photo toptentuesday_zps1les7hiy.jpg

I want to make this a quick list that won’t require extra photos, nor a lot of your time to read.

Privacy (in a physical sense). Folks will want to know who your grandfather was, where you’re from, why you’re here and lots, lots more. But most of them “don’t mean nothin’ by it”. It’s just the country way of knowing people. And they leave you be to go out on the deck in your robe (or less!)

2. Quiet – You’re usually far enough away from your neighbours that the noises you hear are the spring peepers, summer crickets, autumn leaves, and winter wind. Much nicer than someone else’s stereo on full blast, sirens and horns, and squealing tires.

3. Friendliness — It might take you a while to be accepted in the country but while you’re waiting you can pretty much know that everybody on Main Street will smile and say hello. It helps to try do things their way instead of showing off your city learnin’.

4. Traffic — There isn’t any. Except during haying season when the farmers drive their tractors down the highway. Three cars behind one is a traffic jam. (The school buses here pull over and let you by.)

5. Clean Air — No traffic carbon monoxide, no factory particulates or smells. Country air smells green; here it sometimes also smells like the ocean.

6. Clotheslines — outlawed in lots of cities, but pretty much de rigeur in the country.

7. No Water or Sewer Bill — not that we waste water; it is a limited earth resource after all. And every few years we have to pay to get the septic tank pumped. But it still beats having that monthly bill.

8. Wildlife
— Okay, the bear getting into the green bin was a little much, but I never tire of seeing deer in the yard, or catching a glimpse of a fox or a ferret crossing the road and disappearing into the woods. There’s red squirrels, chipmunks, porcupines, muskrats and lots, lots more.

9. The View from My Window

10. House Accounts
— at the pharmacy and the hardware store. Enough said.

To be fair, there are a few things that I miss about living in the city. I’ll share them with you next Tuesday.

Snapshot Saturday


Lobster fishing season opens Tuesday!

fishing boats

Last week the boats in Toney River, Nova Scotia were lined up ready to take on their traps (seen piled on the wharf in the background).

The meme Snapshot Saturday is hosted by Alyce of At Home With Books. Visit her blog to see more great photos or add your own.

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What Better Way to Celebrate National Library Week?


National Library WeekSince the old library in the village closed on March 17th, we have been without library services, eagerly anticipating the opening of our new branch. What better way to celebrate National Library Week (April 8 – 14th) than with its official opening on Wednesday?

I was blown away. From one cramped room with barely room to walk, we have a two story light & airy open space complete with kids area, teens area, a community activity room, a half-dozen big screen computers with Wi-Fi, washrooms, staff offices, and two beautiful reading areas. One of those is in the second floor loft and looks out over Tatamagouche Bay and the Northumberland Strait.

Ocean View

I know that ultimately taxpayers funded this project, but I’m ever so grateful to the powers-that-be who allocated monies to this project. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

new Tatamagouche library

How are you celebrating your community library?

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Moving a Library – Village Style!


Some of you may remember my post last year about the building of the new library in Tatamagouche.

I thought I’d show you a little bit behind the scenes of moving a village library to its new premises.


That old branch closed for good on March 17th.

The new premises are now complete and the official grand opening is next Wednesday. (April 11th). I can hardly wait to see inside!

Tata library - moving crew

No moving vans or professional crews – or even U-Hauls for us.

These are all volunteers.

For more photos of the move, click here.

I wasn’t able to help, but I love that community volunteers made this possible. It’s part of what makes rural living so great.

What do you think of our moving methods?

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Raindrops Keep Falling on My ….Beans?


I first posted about the great Community Supported Agriculture project in Tatamagouche in June, when we received our first box of vegetables. Since then, there doesn’t seem to have been a lot of change in what we get each week, although the last few weeks we’ve seen such diverse food as broccoli, kohlrabi, fennel, and kale.

Rain in the countryThe problem is the wet weather we’re experiencing here in Nova Scotia this year. It seems like the rain started in early May and hasn’t stopped since. For instance, last week we received 4 inches (100 mm) of precipitation. Then, after a couple of sunny days on the weekend, it started raining at seven o’clock Monday morning and continued steadily all day, giving us another 2 inches this week. And there’s still no sun in sight.

Most of the rest of Canada is having an extremely dry summer and although rain threatens, there hasn’t been enough. When we were in southern Ontario in late July, we saw lawns and gardens, ditches and roadsides burned brown by the sun. Although I’d rather be here with too much rain (at least it’s not enough so far to cause serious flooding), it’s getting to be too much of a good thing – and it’s having a drastic effect on the vegetable crops.

Cammie, who runs the local CSA, advised us in late July that she had lost about 70% of her early crops in the wet and muddy spring (peas, beans, cabbage, broccoli, spring turnips, beets, salad mix, pac choi, Chinese cabbage, & radishes). But the summer really hasn’t been much better weather wise. This is the first week we’ve received beans in our harvest and there have been no peas at all.

But that’s the risk of a CSA program: farmers and members share in the risk of a bad year, as well as the bounty of a good one.

This week we received carrots, ruby-stemmed chard, a lettuce head, cilantro, broccoli, green & yellow beans, and fresh garlic.

CSA Week 9 2011

Even though the weather and the resulting harvest have been a little disappointing thus far this year, I’m still keen on the CSA program and will join again next year (providing we have the cash in March). And I’m looking forward to many more weeks of superbly fresh and interesting vegetables this harvest season.

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Community Supported Agriculture – or Goodies by the Box!


Since I took up gardening in my late twenties (30 years ago!), I’ve never been successful at growing vegetables. I can lose myself for hours pulling weeds and transplanting among the flowering plants, but five minutes in a bean patch seems like drudgery. Consequently, I never developed a sense or an affinity about growing edibles. They remained strangers to me.

So I’ve been stuck buying produce at the supermarket, which has been an increasingly expensive proposition, especially here in rural Nova Scotia. Last year, I was thrilled to hear about a local Community Supported Agriculture co-op, and this past spring sent part of my tax refund to buy a share.

In a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program, members sign up and purchase a “share” at the beginning of the growing season which helps to cover the farmer’s cost of operation and production. In return, they receive a portion of the farm’s harvest, distributed throughout the season in a weekly box of fresh, seasonally available, and typically organic, produce.

It’s been a cold, wet spring so the harvesting is off to a late start, but today I picked up our first weekly box of greens. This week we got lettuce mix, spicy mix, Swiss chard, salad turnips, green onions and radishes, along with a recipe for Swiss chard au gratin that I’m eagerly looking forward to trying.

CSA week 12011

I’m very excited about this program. I get farm-fresh (really & truly farm-fresh) produce straight out of the garden without any of the weeding, and without needing to know how to grow these things. Perfect for the residual city-person in me! (Not to mention the benefits to the local economy.)

If there’s no CSA program in your area, consider contacting a vegetable crop farmer (or even an avid gardener) and starting one.

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Found Money


It’s commonly thought that small towns are safer than cities. And I think Maritimers, particularly, pride themselves on being honest. Even so, people are imperfect, and reality sometimes bites.

So you can imagine the trepidation my husband felt today, after discovering that he had left his cash withdrawal in the bank machine at the SuperStore in Amherst, a town of about 9,500 people. He very nearly didn’t go back to check whether it was there, when he discovered his loss after about an hour.

But go, he did. He spoke to the cashier at the Customer Service register, sheepishly admitting that he thought he had left his money behind. She asked him how much he thought he’d left. When he told the amount, she happily handed him this envelope, containing the cash that an employee had turned in. That young man, who was on his way back in from the parking lot with a load of shopping carts when he spotted the cash, can stand very tall tonight. (Thank you!)

bank machine envelope,honest employee

I know that honest people can be anywhere, but I worked in banking for many years in Ontario and, more often than not, when cash was left behind in an ATM, it was pocketed by the next person in line.

It was a small amount today, but it reinforced our belief that living in a small community is the best place to be.

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Breaking Ground for Books


The home page of our regional library proudly displays the headline:Library,Tatamagouche

Excitement in Tatamagouche!

The first steps have begun toward building the new Tatamagouche branch.

I’ve been by the site and the earth where the building will go has been dug up, although nothing more seems to have been done in the last couple of weeks. It’s very exciting for our village, although it has not been without controversy.

The location of the new structure was the biggest issue under debate. Many favoured a location on the main street next to the Raven Gallery, where a burned out variety store has been razed.

Tatamagouche,new library

The chosen building site is considered by many to be out of the way, being half a mile down the road and out of the village centre proper. I believe that parking availability was the strongest deciding factor.

It is exciting to see this project finally off the ground and I’m curious to watch as the building goes up. Library,Tatamagouche

But I’m sure I’m not alone in saying that many will miss the old site, as tiny and impractical as it is. The size has never bothered me, since I reserve books on-line, and can read books from all over the province through the inter-library loan system.

Still, it must be quite difficult, if not impossible, to have a kids’ story-time session in the current premises, or for more than one student at a time to research or study (do students still use libraries?)

Always trade-offs. That’s progress – and life.

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Come for a Sleigh Ride!


An e-mail invitation has me thinking about getting a group together this weekend and going sleigh riding. There’s more than one place within 20 minutes of our house where we could do this, but one of my favorites is the Sugar Moon Farm.

Sugar Moon Farm horses,draught horse,draft horses

Husband and wife team, Scott Whitelaw and Quita Grey have a thriving maple syrup business in the Cobequid Mountains in Earltown NS. They use these gorgeous draught horses in the sugaring work and in winter, before the sap starts to run, for sleigh rides through the woods. There are also hiking trails for snowshoeing and crosscountry skiing.

We often take friends to the “sugar shack” for breakfast, and sometimes go, just us, if we have a weekend morning available.

In the city, one can just keep warm in winter, at a movie theater or a bowling alley or a mall. Those venues are at least an hour’s drive from here.

Want to sleigh ride, snowshoe, or hike in the beautiful outdoors? No problem. This is the sort of winter activity that is often easily available in the country.

What about you? What kind of winter activity do you enjoy: city or country?

Disclaimer: I am NOT an affiliate of Sugar Moon Farms nor am I in any way compensated by them. I received an e-mail about the sleigh rides from them today and decided to share because I simply love the place!

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Progress? or Anachronism?


Such irony: on Saturday, I offered a sample of the small things that had given me pleasure in the past week. One of the items I chose was “no traffic lights within a 40 minute drive”.

Yesterday morning, I turned left out of my driveway and almost immediately saw a traffic light on our road.

Traffic light
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Sunflower Thief


The front page of the daily paper in our nearest town carried this picture last Thursday morning. The picture is in color and measures 7½” x 9″. Photobucket
As you can imagine, it WAS the front page story. Page 3 continued with the headline: “Tatamagouche sunflower thief has business owners up in arms” over a smaller b&w photo of one such owner displaying the holes in her flower arrangement.

Six years ago, Read the rest of this entry »

A Zone of Privacy


Hilary Clinton’s now-famous quote — “I believe in a zone of privacy” — made at a press conference to promote her 2003 memoir, Living History, referred to the media’s exposure of public figures.

But in the country, privacy is about your neighbors. Our nearest visible neighbor is across a field about 150 yards from our house. PhotobucketWe lost a couple of trees in Hurricane Juan (2004) and Read the rest of this entry »

Saturday Night Grace in Small Things (24 of 365)


For the rest of my week, see my blog at the Grace in Small Things site.

1. A great musical & drama revue.

2. Featuring local talent.

3. Mounted in the village fire hall.

4. For $10 admission.

5. Plastic bins for sorting.

Wage a battle against embitterment and take part in Grace in Small Things .

[tags]village fire hall, North Shore Revue[tags]

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posted under Community Life, Grace in Small Things | Comments Off on Saturday Night Grace in Small Things (24 of 365)

A Different Flavor of Tim’s – Part II


Yesterday I left you with the cliffhanger of where we go for our coffee fix, as Canadians with no Tim Hortons coffee shop anywhere nearby.

If we’re on the go, the Needs convenience store has carafes of several kinds of coffee on tap all day. We’ve adopted the local favourite of half coffee and half cappuccino as our usual cold weather drink.

If the situation calls for some sit-down time, Read the rest of this entry »

A Different Flavor of Tim’s – Part I


We moved to the country from a large Canadian city, which statement to any Canadian means we had ample opportunity to get coffee and doughnuts from Tim Hortons*. Photobucket
So common are these shops, that I’ve even heard a large double-double & a dutchie from Tim’s called the Order of Canada. (In actuality, it’s a large coffee with double cream & double sugar, along with a large doughnut (without the hole) with raisins.)

That the city we moved from was Hamilton, Ontario is a double whammy. Every Hamiltonian knows Read the rest of this entry »

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