Monday, May 22, 2017

Digby, Nova Scotia

Today we took the ferry from Saint John, New Brunswick (A) across the Bay of Fundy to Digby, Nova Scotia (B) and then drove to Wolfville (C).

It was about a three hour ferry ride. Our ferry was the MV Fundy Rose, named for Rose Fortune. Below is the ferry while docked in Digby after we got off:

Digby is an active fishing town. The second photo below shows a fishing boat being loaded with ice.

Since the 1920s Digby has been known for the “Digby Scallop.” Below is a scallop fishing boat with nets that will be dragged through scallop beds on the floor of the Bay of Fundy:

The clock below is both a conventional clock and a tide clock. The tide clock has one hand which moves in the usual clockwise direction. The 12 o'clock position is high tide and the 6 o'clock position is low tide. The clock below says that the tide is going out, and it is just over 4 hours to low tide:

Tides in Digby are typically about 25 feet and can exceed 30 feet. Later on our trip we'll see even higher tides elsewhere on the Bay of Fundy.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Saint John, New Brunswick

Today we drove from Bangor, Maine (A) to Saint John, New Brunswick (B), a drive of just over three hours. The city of Saint John is on the southern edge of the province, where the 400 mile long Saint John River flows into the Bay of Fundy. (Click on any image to enlarge.)

The Bay of Fundy is famous for its high tides, and Saint John is known for the Reversing Falls on the Saint John River caused by those tides:

We did not see the Reversing Falls in action. The Saint John River was too swollen with water from snowmelt and spring rains for the usual effect.

The Reversing Falls occur in a short, narrow gorge and immediately upstream from the gorge. It is a significant tourist attraction, as can be inferred from the sign above. However, we were there before the tourist season had begun and no tourist attractions were open except the outdoor parks on either side of the river—Wolastoq Park and Fallsview Park. A restaurant on the gorge was under renovation; the photo above shows a construction trailer behind the sign.

Below is a view of the gorge from Wolastoq Park on the south side of the river. Spanning the gorge are a highway bridge on the right and a railway bridge to its left. The tourist sign, construction trailer and restaurant are visible at the near end of the highway bridge. The river flows from left to right in this photo:

When open, the restaurant at the Reversing Falls will include a skywalk. The photo below is looking up at the skywalk and restaurant from the south bank of the river:

Wolastoq Park is on a small hill on the south side of the river. Wolastoq (“the beautiful river”) was the name of the river in the language of the Native Americans. The park has great views and contains a dozen or more large wooden statues of figures that are significant in the history of Saint John.

One of the statues in Wolastoq Park is Samuel de Champlain, who in 1604 on his second voyage to the New World as a mapmaker for King Henry IV of France, sailed into the river (as far as the Reversing Falls) on June 24. That is the feast day of Saint John the Baptist, hence the current name of the river and the city. Below is the statue of Champlain:

Another statue in the park is Benedict Arnold, who lived in Saint John for a few years after he wore out his welcome in the American Colonies. He became disliked in Saint John as well, and left for England in 1791. Saint John was a popular city for refugee loyalists from the new United States following the American Revolution.

Wolastoq Park was created in 2004 and is maintained by J.D. Irving Limited, named for James Durgavel (J.D.) Irving, who started business with a sawmill in Bouctouche, NB in 1882. His son Kenneth Colin (K.C.) Irving (1899-1992) built the Irving companies into a formidable business empire. In 1998 Maclean's Magazine named K.C. Irving the most influential Canadian businessman of the 20th century. Below is the statue of K.C. Irving in Wolastoq Park:

Fallsview Park is on the other side of the river, a short ways upstream from the railway bridge. It is one of the best places to view the Reversing Falls. Directly across the river from Fallsview Park is Union Point which has been a site for various mills since the 1830s. The current mill is a pulp mill belonging to the Irving companies. Below is the mill from Wolastoq Park:

In colonial times, Britain and France fought bitterly over eastern Canada. Britain won control over all of Canada in 1763 at the conclusion of the Seven Years War (what we in the U.S. call the French and Indian War), but there remains a significant French influence in many parts of Canada. Both the English and French languages are used by the Canadian federal government, but most provinces privilege one language over the other. The province of Quebec privileges French. Most provinces privilege English. New Brunswick is the only one of the ten Canadian provinces to treat the French and English languages exactly equal. This was evident in all the signs we saw.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Loggers Expo

The annual Northeastern Forest Products Equipment Exposition, usually called the Loggers Expo, was held in Bangor, Maine, on May 19-20. Paul and I attended today.

There was plenty of big equipment! Shown above is a John Deere 1270G wheeled harvester. Below are John Deere 853M and 853MH tracked feller bunchers/harvesters:

There were also plenty of displays of small equipment, even hand tools. Firewood is being made here:

In the photo above, note the grandstand in the background. It says “Bass Park Home of Bangor State Fair.” The other major building in the fair complex is the Cross Insurance Center, built in 2013. Below is a photo of exhibits inside the arena in the Cross Center:

In front of the Cross Center is a statue of Paul Bunyan, a fictional giant lumberjack who is significant in the folklore of the American timber industry:

But this is not the only statue of Paul Bunyan in Maine! Rumford also has a statue of Paul, accompanied by Babe the Blue Ox:

I won't mention the fact that Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota also claim Paul and Babe as their own.

The Loggers Expo alternates between Bangor in odd years and the Champlain Valley Exposition in Essex Junction, Vermont, in even years. If you have a chance to go, it is worth the price of admission.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Maggie's Farm Urban Hike

Nancy and I participated in the Third Annual Maggie's Farm Urban Hike on Sunday, May 7. It was a wonderful adventure! The hike was in midtown Manhattan from the Lincoln Center to Greenwich Village. Bird Dog of the Maggie's Farm blog has photos and details here:

A few pics from the 3rd Annual Maggie's Urban Hike, with great pizza, beer, and cupcakes

I have little to add to Bird Dog's account. Nancy and I were visiting Emily in New Haven that weekend. We took the train from New Haven to Grand Central Terminal and walked from there to the Lincoln Center for the start of the hike. At the end of the hike we were part of a subgroup that walked from Greenwich Village back to Grand Central Terminal, and Nancy and I took the train back to New Haven. My Fitbit registered 28,662 steps for the day.

That day was also the day of the Five Boro Bike Tour in New York. Below is a photo of bicyclists that Nancy and I saw on the Avenue of the Americas (Sixth Avenue) on our walk from Grand Central Terminal to the Lincoln Center before the start of the hike:

I have only one photo from the hike of something not included in Bird Dog's excellent account – the smallest piece of private property in New York City, the Hess Triangle:

It was good weather for hiking, cool and overcast with no serious rain until the end of the day as we returned to Grand Central Terminal. The clock on the terminal in the photo below says 4:37 PM.

The photo at the top of this post is the World Trade Center from 6th Avenue and W 10th Street. That view brings to mind many thoughts, from September 11, 2001 to when I discovered blogs as a direct result of my first ever visit to New York City in April 2002. That story is here.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Shelburne Falls

Shelburne Falls in northwestern Massachusetts is a beautiful village just off I-91. I have driven by the exit many times over the years, but never stopped until today when Nancy and I took the scenic route home after visiting Emily in New Haven for the weekend.

Flowers were in bloom on the famous Bridge of Flowers, a former trolley bridge over the Deerfield River:

The Bridge of Flowers is just upstream from the falls in the photo at the top of this post. This area was "once a prime salmon fishing spot for native Americans" (source) and the falls are sometimes called Salmon Falls as explained in the sign below (click on any photo to enlarge):

The Deerfield River in Shelburne Falls is famous for ancient glacier pot holes, as explained in the sign below, but the river was too high for us to see them:

There was a lot to see and do in the village, including several artists shops. We had brunch at the Foxtown Diner – highly recommended (cash only). Below are two interesting signs in a shop window:

The sign on the left is titled "Bridges Bring People Together." The sign on the right says:

Meet the Candidates
for Shelburne Selectboard 2017
Monday, May 8, 7:00 PM

Alas, we could not stay, but I can identify with that!

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Silver Sands State Park

Silver Sands State Park is on Long Island Sound in Milford, Connecticut. It has a long boardwalk which Nancy, Emily and I strolled on today. Below is the portion of the boardwalk over the tidal channel of Fletcher's Creek:

Charles Island is visible in the photo above in the distance to the right. At low tide one can walk across the sandbar (tombolo) to the island. Local legend holds that Captain Kidd's buried treasure is on the island. We walked out toward the island as far as we could (photo below).

We saw a wedding taking place on the beach. We also saw several parties flying kites (photo below) as well as a kite-eating tree that Charlie Brown would understand.

The occasion for our trip to Connecticut was a weekend visit to see Emily in New Haven. Earlier today the three of us walked 5K in Tracy's Run in Milford.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

The Big Dig

In January the underground electrical service to our garage from the house failed. Steve helpfully got us through the winter with a cable laid on top of the ground before we left on our Florida trip. This week we buried the cable.

The digging was yesterday. Jerry came over with his Yanmar backhoe. The photo below is getting started, digging up the lilac bush next to the house (we replanted it on the other side of the house):

Below Jerry is continuing to dig the ditch away from the house. If you look carefully, you can see that he found the old cable, not in conduit. (Click on any photo to enlarge.)

After digging away from the house for a bit, Jerry moved to the garage and dug away from it. Below he is digging at the point where the two ditches met:

It rained lightly three different times during the day, but that did not stop us. With the ditch dug, Steve could lay conduit:

Piles of dirt everywhere!

The ditches were filled in by the end of the day yesterday. Steve came back today and ran the cable through the conduit and hooked up the electrical connections on both ends. Success!

The two photos below show the two ends of the project with the cable in the ground, in conduit this time. The stone walk is not yet completely replaced.

Many thanks to Jerry and Steve!! The cable was back in the ground in time for Nancy to mow the lawn this afternoon for the first time this year.