July 21, 2013
Lots of things have happened since my last entry. I can't believe it was last February since my last blog entry. The biggest news was probably the arrival
of my first grandchild; my grandaughter Lily was born in August of 2012. The next biggest news must have been my development of a serious allergy
to bee venom, and so last fall I had to sell all my bees and equipment. I have tried to compensate for the loss of all that bee activity by doing more gardening and
have returned with a heavy vengeance to my photographic pursuits. I am doing a lot of nature and macro photography , so I will try to put some of the photos that
I like the best up here on the website.
We have installed screen doors on cottages 2 and 3 and will soon be putting some on cottage 1. I also plan to jack up cottage 1 this fall and put a full basement under
it. I have just purchased eight 20 ton jacks to do that job, and will probabaly start that project in September. I plan to raise the cottages up about another 4 feet, so that should
improve the view and make it much easier for me to service the cottages.
February 9, 2012
To keep things simple , we have officially closed the cottages for the winter until spring.
I have a few more repairs to do on the door in Cottage 2, but the other two cottages are in good shape, in fact , Cottage 3 is ready to go in an emergency,
if needed, this winter. Snow removal is a problem though, when I work out on the boats. I cleared the lane the other day with the tractor.
I wish I could figure out a way to boost the wireless signal strength to Cottage 3. This summer, we had two little girls downloading books and reading on their Kindles
or Ipads, but they had to sit at the picnic table to get a strong signal.. Anyway, lots of people appreciate having that internet acces now, and there is still
excellent cell phone strength where the cottages are, even though it is very poor at my house!
Farm wise; I have purchased a rototiller for my tractor and have bought a few 40 kg bags of sunflower seeds I hope to plant this spring. Also, Lauretta
and I plan on putting in another vegetable garden this year, but maybe not so many Tomatoes!
July 13, 2011
I got off the ship for half a day for an eye appointment and was able to grade the load of gravel we purchased for the road to the cottages.
Our Thanks to those customers who put up with the little speed bumps before then. We were able to get the Wi-Fi intenet installed about a week
ago and some of our regular customers were very happy to have internet service in their cabins. The floor in cottage 2 is all finished and seems
to be much more robust for the pitter patter of little paws. It is the season of "Lauretta versus the Ants", but once again Lauretta seems to be winning.
Meanwhile, I am doing my best to prevent my bees from swarming, and Lauretta is desperately trying to plant all the ground that I worked up this spring.
I plan to plant the clover and sunflowers even though it will be mid July when I finally get off of the ship for a break. ( I think I will be able to convince
Lauretta to keep the rates down to $169 a night, so make sure to ask us about that when you book.)
March 6, 2011
Lauretta and I were talking this morning, and have decided that because of the higher fuel costs this year, we wanted to do something
to encourage people to chose to come to Cape Breton for their vacation. Therefore, we have reduced the rates to $169 plus tax per night
if people book their cottages before 8am on the first of June 2011. We have bookings already that we will apply this discount to. This came
about as we were discussing our own vacation plans and realized how much an impact the higher fuel costs are going to be to us when we travel
to see her mother in Gaspé, Quebec. So bring your fuel efficient car, full of your favorite groceries and settle back in your cottage as a base
to explore the Island. If you are in good physical shape, bring your bicycles, but remember that there are a lot of mountains in Cape Breton!
Really makes me think about buying a fuel efficient motorcycle once again.
February 18, 2011
Well we are knee deep in winter, and other than some family staying in the cottages at Christmas time, it is pretty quiet up the hill.
I have been keeping the lane snow blowed to the cottages, but it still takes the 4 wheel drive to get up there until some sun melts
the roadway. Since I am working on the ferry half of the month, you can understand why we have the cottages officially closed
in winter. Lauretta can't use the tractor, and Alex is still a bit too young. It usually takes me an hour of tractor prep time, and then a couple of hours
of over the shoulder blowing since the snowblower is a 3 point hitch attachment.
I have started working on the floor of cottage #2 , as it needs a new coat of finish. Because we were delayed in opening this
one to meet the Wheelchair and accessibilty codes, we only put 3 coats of acrylic on the floor and I can see that was not enough to protect
the pine floor boards. Since I still have lots of time to ventilate the cottage I have decided to resand it in the living room and apply 3 coats of Polyurethane ,
which is much tougher.
We are also planning to install the much requested screen doors on all three cottages before the season opens again. It looks like we will be
officially opening in May since we already have bookings for then. We are also starting to get bookings for July and August of this year as well.
Next time I go up, I will try to take a picture of the snow up there and the new Bathtub in cottage 2 , which has turned out to be very popular!
This addition is why all three cottages are now at the same rate, since they basically all have the same costs in terms of energy consumption
and cleaning labor. Lauretta and I still hope to check out those solar panels that supposedly can reduce the cost of hot water by 80% , we will
factor the cost of installment in with any savings and see if we can reduce the rates in the future. My opinion is still reserved on windmills, since
we have visited a few and have noticed that they do generate a monotous and steady noise level. The ones in Glace Bay were the most magnificent,
and although I could not hear the low frequencies up close, the swish produced by the blades was quite loud. Still, the location they have them near
the power plant is fairly remote and probably an excellent choice as a site. I bet that from the top of those windmills, you could see Port Aux Basques,
Newfoundland, and their lights are one of the first things we see on a clear night crossing when coming back to North Sydney.
November 14, 2010
The cottages are all closed up and ready for winter. Almost all the leaves are off the trees (except the Beech, which often holds
the dead bronze leaves all winter.) Evenings are now getting down to 0 and below and I saw ice crystals forming on Leitches creek at 8 am yesterday
morning. I have been busy working at my new job with Marine Atlantic, and am enjoying it so far. I really like the co-workers I am meeting and
there is a real feeling of improving the service with the new ferries. I like the MV Caribou and will miss her when she goes, but I am glad they
are going to keep the MV Leif Ericson. We are all anxious to see the two new ferries come to Canada and some of the officers are heading
over for training right now.
We have increased the rates for the cottages and made them all the same, since all three now have 4 piece baths and each have their own unique features.
Tourism numbers were very low in Nova Scotia as well as Cape Breton, so just like when I was farming, I am glad to have an off-farm income to support the business.
People still need shelter to live in and food to eat, but it amazes me how fragile these two business ventures are. Personally, I am preparing myself for harder times
by teaching my children survival skills and nature lore. I think the next major event will be a volcano that will affect the atmosphere in a way that it did about 60 or
70 thousand years ago. I do feel that most of North America will survive as we did before, but I feel many of the amenities that we enjoy today , such as electrical
utilities and petroleum fuel will disappear. Anything that we learn about renewable resources and energy sources now, will become very valuable in the hard times
to come. Irregardless of what the future has in store, studying nature and learning to live in harmony with it, is definitely not a waste of time, even from a personal
peace point of view.
We are trying hard to get wireless interenet into the cottages; I spent most of yesterday with the fellows from Seaside doing signal tests and it
is looking good! We have asked them to hurry on it to get ready for July, which is booking up real fast now. While they were climbing on
the rooves with their DF antennas, I was giving them a crash course on Bees and Coyotes! We spooked a doe going up to the cottages, and
she was looking nice and fat, but alas my camera was not close. It is very strange weather, blueberries have bloomed and set, which is like
2 or 3 weeks earlier than normal, and my Butternut tree on the front lawn was set back by frost damage, but not the blooms. Some hives have
8 frames of nectar built up on the expansion supers I put on, and if it stays warm, I expect capped honey in 2 weeks. Imagine! Dandelions are
just about finished and the earliest white clover flower buds have appeared. Alfalfa is about a week or 2 away from blooming. If you get a chance
to schedule to visit Two Rivers Wildlife park, please do! http://www.tworiverspark.ca/
Alex, I and Lauretta took some awesome pictures there, and there were many babies born this year. It is also a great place to have a family picnic
along the famous Mira River. If you listen closely, your totem animal spirit might whisper to you! I saw mine, can you guess who it is? Lauretta also
met hers, and Alex too! We are working on new names for the cottages and will let you know what they will be. Course every one wants a cottage
named after their favorite, and the name will be in the language of the Mi'kmaw! I think they understand their name if you speak it in Mi'kmaw.
May 20, 2010
One of my customers, Rachel, the lady who makes the soap for our cabins, uses my honey in some of her recipes (the ones
with the brown swirly patterns) said , "You know, some of your honey tastes like Dandelions!" Very observant taste buds! We talked about
Dandelion wine which neither of us had ever tasted, and the differences of Days gone by and today; where the House wives had time to sit
down and pluck the petals from the flower heads to make the wine. We could picture 4 of them sitting around a table , drinking tea, chatting
and plucking flower petals. It reminded of when they would also pick wool and tease it for hand carding. We seem to be so rushed and pressed
for time these days, even here in Cape Breton!
So, I will let the bees do the work of gathering the dandelion nectar that the old people use to make into Wine! God blessed us with dandelions, why
would any one want to kill them with herbicides!
By the way, the wax that is made from their pollen is bright yellow, and is used to cap the honey when it is done, so it is pretty easy to see
which frames are full of Dandelion honey! The other frames are usually filled with Cherry or plum nectars. Bees pack the same nectar and the
same pollen in an individual cell, and then usually group these cells together, so that you get bands of colours in the pollen areas of the comb.
I will try to grab a photo of these the next time I go into the hives.
In the meantime, the Rhubarb is great this year, and Lauretta made some squares that disappeared really fast! Sorry, nuthin' left for photos :)
I went out and took some pictures:
This is wax drawn into natural comb from Dandelion pollen and honey. It is mostly Drone comb, and the dark spots are where one generation of drones(males)
Natural comb made from white and red clover. Mathemeticians and engineers take note of the catenary curve of the edge of the wax!
The bees used this to store some nectar in the center.
This comb was drawn up , most probably from Poplars or other beige coloured pollens. Only one cell was filled with nectar near my thumb.
The wax comb melted and re-molded. Dandelion on the left, and one piece in the center on the right. I use whatever I can recycle for molds; including Motts apple
sauce containers form my kids lunchboxes! LOL
May 20, 2010
Time slowed down during the last two weeks, with temperatures being around 6 to 9 degrees Celsius each day, and dropping to 0 in the evenings.
At present, we are getting 15 to 18 degrees during the day, and now the Rain and high humidity is coming. There is a huge nectar flow on the go, with
trees in blooms wherever you look in George'e River; Plums, Cherries, Indian Pears, Maples, Beech, Pin Cherries, and of course millions
Apiary #1, near my house, Sweet black cherries in BackGround, Yellow rockets (close relative to canola) middle ground,
closed dandelions foreground left and currants foreground right.
Shiro Plum Blossoms in test orchard. No bees because it was raining when I took the photo this morning.
Fiddleheads are finished. We had one feed! But here is a photo of sunchokes:
April 23, 2010
So, I have updated alot of the photos of the cabins with more recent photographs, and added a few more interesting photos under Our Cottages link
on the index page of the website. Lots of bookings coming in now; I spend a lot of time on the phone or answering emails. I try to spend a bit of time
in the garden too. Have been eating some Jerusalem artichokes , or Sunchokes , or Topinambur in Germany. I read they make a great shnapps
from them in Baden Wurtemburg. Interesting, since I visited Baden Baden when I was a child, a city in this region. I was also reading about their use in permaculture, and
I guess that I am a avid permaculturalist since it seems that is what I do on the farm alot. Kind of reminds me of when I first learned that I was an organic gardener/farmer.
April 13, 2010
It has been unusually mild this winter, and spring came very early. I would say that nature has been about 3 weeks ahead of schedule, and so
I have been preaching Indian Time and the Mi'kmaw calendar to every one. Native North Americans kept their time and calendar to nature's
rhythm as well as the moons. So we let the shrubs like the pussy willows, alders, and Indian pears , as well as the sap in the Maple Trees tell
us what time of year it really is.
The same goes with the bees, ducks, birds; they are all starting their families early.
Black Capped Chicadee
Honey bees on salix discolor (Pussy Willows)
Take a look at this busy momma in one of my former sheep watering ponds.
I think it is a wood frog, and she was submerged laying those eggs for at least 5 minutes while I stood there watching.
When I came back 2 hours later she had gone and completed her work. The spring peepers were so loud, we were actually hypnotized
by their sound. If you have never tried that; you have to go sit quietly by a pond where the peepers are singing and wait for them
to start up again, it is so deafening you can go into a "peeper trance", and it is natural and drug free!
Take a look at the Our Cottages Page to see what we saw on the beach!
January 26, 2010
We have left the cottages open for business all winter this year. The reasons are that we had a full time renter from November
until the first of February, and we would like to be available to support the ECMA awards in March. I have only had to clear the
lane of snow once using the grader blade, so we took advantage of the mild winter to put 26 tons of gravel into some of the pot
holes that were forming. There is now a bit of frost in the ground, but most of the winter , I could easily dig up Sunchokes (helianthus
tuberosus) to eat http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jerusalem_artichoke . Having said that, today it is raining and +6° C, so it reamins to be
seen how long the ground will stay frozen. It is the weirdest and mildest winter I have ever seen. My bees seem to be doing good and have
lots of stored honey, but I am still worried about February and March. I have built a link for our honey co-op to http://www.localcanadianfood.com/search.php
and chose Sydney as your region.
May 02, 2009
The cottages are now open for business. I have little tweaking to do (there is always something), and we have had some inquiry
for the May long weekend. We have a lot of bookings in Late July and Early August , but there are a few slots open here and there.
I'd like to say welcome back to some of our repeat customers and we are really looking forward to seeing you again. For those of you
thinking on coming in May, I will say that it is not too quiet up on the hill in the evenings since the spring peepers and frogs are really
putting up a racket on the warmer nights. The duck pond already has eggs in it! Lauretta and I sat on the bench there the other evening
and were totally mesmerized by them. They didn't even stop when we walked up to the pond. There is nothing like the power of
Spring! I made friends with Mike and Jen of Eagle North Kayaking, check their site out at http://www.kayakingcapebreton.ca/
They are new beekeepers and have many similar interests to me , including Maple Syrop. Maybe next year we will have some of their
syrop in our Cottages for your blueberry pancakes! Check out their site, it looks like a really exciting outing to do with your family
while you stay here at our cabins. It would take you about 3 hours to drive there. We are thinking on giving it a try soon, so I will
post pictures if we do! I would suggest people book early for July and August!
April 19, 2009
We were away this weekend for family matters, but I managed to get cottage 3 and 2 opened and ready last week. I spent alot
of time at sea during March and early April on both the CCGS Alfred Needler research trawler http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CCGS_Alfred_Needler
and a short trip on the FT Northern Eagle. http://www.mvosprey.com/page5.html
Our beekeepers co-op is preparing for our annual meeting this coming weekend and we
now have a website at http://capebretonorganicbeekeeperscoop.com/
John and I will be working to get more info up on the site very shortly, but the email link is working for any one who wishes to know
more about the Co-op. Our annual general meeting is scheduled at the South Haven community hall on April 25th, 2009 at 1pm.
Spring has arrived in Cape Breton, and although it still is only around 2 or 3 C during the days, the bees are flying and the spring peepers
are peeping even at below zero temperatures in the evenings. Nothing can seem to hold back the burgeoning efforts of nature to begin it's timeless
annual rebirth. I expect the young pregnant queen bumble bees to begin flying in another week or two, looking for new homes to raise their
babies up by the boot straps, to steal back a now common computer term. Coltsfoot and crocus are providing nectar and pollen and the alders
are shedding copius amounts of pollen which the bees are desperately trying to gather to feed to their babies in the form of bee-bread and royal
jelly. We have seen ants on the march, beetles in the garden the return of many birds already. I have heard reports that some Canadian Geese
are back and are building their nests at the edges of the now open ponds. I have seen many anglers trying to entice the trout with the juicy earthworms
they are tossing into the waters of George's River and up along the Barachois.
I'll post in the blog when the cottages are officially open and we are ready for business.
I know that there are some exciting things taking place here in Cape Breton this year, such as the "Thunder in the Highlands" motorcycle tour
http://www.capebretonbikefest.com/ and the return of the Tall Ships to Louisbourg and Sydney http://www.tallshipsnovascotia.com/ .
We also have the inaugaral year for Marine Atlantic's new "Atlantic Vision" passenger and car ferry http://www.marine-atlantic.ca/en/NewVessel/newvessel.shtml
to Port Aux Basques from North Sydney. I saw her doing 15 knots while my old friend CCGS Louis S. St. Laurent was helping the other ferries get
through the ice in late March. I have heard the "Atlantic Vision" can do 27 knots in open water, which is quite amazing for a ship of her size and comfort.
She is a really beauty, 'bye! ... and a pleasure to an old salt's eye. Looks some shockin' good from the North Sydney board walk.
January 10, 2009
We have made a considerable reduction in our rates for the cottages and I have updated our rate page to reflect this. Chiefly,
we have dropped each daily rate by $19. This is due to us responding to the tougher economy and doing away with the off-season
reductions. We just were not getting the numbers and the increased cost in heating etc. was not feasible to reduce the rates, so instead
we applied an across the season reduction. You can see the updated rates here, but don't forget to hit the refesh button if you have checked
this page before: http://highlandviewcottages.com/rates.html
Keep in mind that we can extend the season earlier in the spring or later in the fall if there
is sufficient demand. It really is a shame that more people don't see Cape Breton in the Spring or Fall. Spring is my favorite time of
year and Fall is Lauretta's favorite time. However, that is not when most people take their vacations, so that is just the way she is, by!
We are exploring some alternative heating systems, but wood heating in these cottages are just not an option that the insurance companies
will accept. Will we ever get natural gas?
The trees in front of the cabins have grown up considerably since we first put them in, so do to poplar ( pun intended) request I have been
cleaning out some of the pin cherries, white spruce and white birch that were impeding the view of the mountains and the lakes. I just can't
bring myself to cutting the maples, but might do some pruning on them. All this should result in a better view and possibly more blueberries
as they get more exposure to the sun (for those who like blueberry pancakes!) 2008 was good year for Blackberries but not so good for
the wild blueberries. Due to the immense popularity of the 2008 Blackberry wine, I will plan on doing another batch in 2009. I really wanted to
do Sarsparilla wine this year but was away at sea when they ripened. Maybe in 2009? I did freeze about 8 cups of Black currants so may try my hand
at that later in Spring. All my red currants went into Lauretta's red currant jelly that I love so much. I love how tart she makes it.
November 25, 2008
I have made one of my songs a free download at my soundclicks website, (the one demo on my personal page here)
If you like you can visit it at http://soundclick.com/CyrilTWelshJr . I have added a few links to artists I enjoy at that site.
I think this is a lovely way for artists and music lovers to share with each other. I especially like their rates and the option
to give songs for free . I encourage people to pay the small fee and download those songs and albums that you like. All musicians
dream of paying their bills with music, but few ever realize that dream, or at the expense of great sacrifice and time away from home.
Musicians on the road can be as lonely as Sailors at sea!
I hope to work on some more songs, especially some of the original songs I have as well as more traditional songs. If you have any others
favorite artists on SoundClick you know of , send me an email.
We are closed for the season now as my water pipes froze up again. I love Cape Breton Summers, but would rather it would stay here
year round! Lauretta, being a typical Quebecer, loves the winter. Bah! Give me a south sea island any day, without the hurricanes
and Tsunamis off course! Thats why I like singing "Pearly Shells" and "Tiny Bubbles", or playing "La Paloma".
November 23, 2008
Some of our customers gave me heck this summer because I hadn't made any recent entries to the Blog. Well here is what happened:
Computer used for website updating crashed, and I lost all my tools for webpage and photo editing. Had to buy a new computer but also got the old computer
fixed and we use it for a customer workstation now. Took a while to get the old tools back together, fortunately I found some of my disks and
downloaded a few as well. Called webhost and ISP providers to get passwords I had forgotten; too many for this old head!!
Also, I have been spending a lot of time at sea , mostly working with the Coast Guard out of Maratimes Region, but also did a bit of commercial sailing.
As a result I didn't get to see a lot of our guests this year, and Lauretta did most of the work in the cottages. I did get to meet a few and renewed some friendships
with some of our repeat customers. I have quite a few new pictures to put on the web and will be doing quite a bit of work on the website over the next
2 months. I didn't get much time to play music this year, 1 little BBQ on the CCGS Hudson while off Sable Island, but the good news is that we did get 10 litres of
Blackbery wine going here on the Farm. The first batch of 5 litres has to be the best we have ever made , Lauretta just loves it. We racked off a false wine but haven't tried it yet.
I hope it is close to the first batch in taste.
We got our first batch of Butternuts, about 125 all total, so I will be trying to get some sprouting next spring. They are a gorgeous tree!
Honey production was down this year due to me being away a lot and selling a few colonies off to new beekeepers in CB. As a result, the only honey
retailed this year was at the Farm. All in all it was bad year for bees, in my opinion, since there was a lot of heavy rain at the time of the nectar flows. I am really
worried that they got enough stores to get through the winter, so I am planning a heavy feeding program during the January thaw. I ordered in 25 Hawaiin
queens this spring but they just didn't seem to get along with my bees and many of them left. The provincial Bee Inspector, Joanne Moran and a graduate student from
Acadia, Cate Little, visted us and gave me a lot of advice. We really hope to have them back next year to share their expertise with some of our new Cape Breton BeeKeepers.
June 21, 2007
I just had to make an entry today... it's the first day of summer! A mixed bag of weather in C.B. and Halifax.. Lauretta and her Mom celebrated
National Aboriginal Awareness Day by going to Indian Beach in North Sydney. In Halifax, where I was, there was a great pow-wow going
on at Seaview Park below the A. Murray Mackay Bridge. I wasn't able to go since I had to work on the Ferry, but my heart
was there and I strained to hear the drumsongs carried on the warm the winds up the harbor! The day before, during my morning break, I took pictures of 3
different species of wild bumblebees in Alderney Park and saw my first feral (?) honeybees on the Hawthorn trees there. The famous Shubenacadie
Canal begins there and carried many of our ancestors by water right to the Bay of Fundy. I can feel the spirit of many of our ancestors here, since
so much history took place in this very spot . It was the famous peace treaty of 1752 that Governor Hopson signed with the Mi'kmaw Nation that allowed
Dartmouth to be settled and the first Ferry service from Halifax to begin that same year. Thanks to that great treaty, and many competent sailors, it has been safe
to travel by Ferry from Halifax to Dartmouth ever since!!
You can visit the Quaker house that still exists at 57 Ochterloney Street. I believe it dates back to 1785.
You know it amazes me that I can make the trip from a gathering place in Dartmouth to my home on the Bras D'or Lakes, in about 4 and a half
hours. It probably would have taken several days (weeks?) back in 1752. But what an experience that trip must have been back then. And what a great party
or pow-wow would be celebrated once you arrived and met your family who were arriving at the same time from all over Atlantic Canada (and the Eastern U.S.)
March 27, 2007
Wow, a whole year has gone by and what a change in my life. I had to sell the sheep and take a job in Halifax, 5 hours drive
away. A recent survey estimates over 50% of all farmers in Cape Breton and 30% of mainland Nova Scotia Farmers expect
to be out of farming in less than 5 years. It was the hardest thing that I have ever done getting rid of my sheep. I had been
keeping them for over 16 years. I am still trying to generate some income from the Farm with other produce and the cottages
are doing well. I have fallen back to the trade I did over 21 years ago, and am now working as a Marine Engineer with the Halifax
Regional Municipality Transit Ferry Service. Here is a a Photo of the Woodisde 1 in the Foreground with the vessel that I last worked
on 21 years ago in the background (CCGS Louis S. St. Laurent). I took this late last summer just after the Louis returned from her
Arctic voyage. I was on the Halifax III at the time.
The Ferries are wonderful little boats that can hold about 300 passengers , and for 2 bucks a crossing offer one of the best photo
ops for Halifax Harbour. Look for me if you come to Halifax Dartmouth, I may be on one of the 3 ferries. Tall ships are coming to Halifax this summer!!
Back in January , in CB, there was a very warm period around the 9th and I took this picture of a baby eagle who had gotten wet and perched
on the power pole by the house to dry off. I took this photo with my 70-200mm Formula 5 lens I bought in 1981 and used on a
Digital Pentax 35 mm istDL camera with manual settings .
Although it is well known that there are many Bald eagles in Cape Breton, can you believe that I actually have seen them attacking the ducks
and gulls while I have been working in Halifax Harbor. Imagine that!
May 02, 2006
We had our first guests of the spring this past weekend. The buds are opening and the coltsfoot are still in bloom
I have been cleaning up some trees that the winds have knocked down around the farm and plugging holes in the
sheep fence. While cleaning up a tree that had taken a section of fence down, I stopped for a moment to watch the antics
of a beautiful big Pileated Woodpecker. He was only about 20 feet away from me and didn't seem to mind all the noise I had
been making with my chainsaw.
Saturday we saw a red fox on the front field. I think he was hunting field mice the way he was pouncing up and down. Today
in the same area I saw a big male ring-neck pheasant. He has been crowing all around the farm looking for a mate I think!
Marie Christine and little Christina came down and visited us over Easter. We had her baptised at our church, and now they
are all gone back to Quebec. I miss the babie's big blue eyes and easy smiles!
March 31, 2006
We officially opened the cottages back up this week. I had two ball valves on the water system that I had to replace, but other than that everything
survived the winter ok. We may leave them open for business next winter if there is some demand for them like there was this past winter. Daytime
temperatures are now going above 10 degrees C while nights still are dropping to a few degrees below freezing. The bees are flying and gathering
pollen from the Coltsfoot flowers and Pussy Willows (or as Alexander and I call them Wussy Pillows). We have been having gorgeous sunny days, and
our first Guests are coming in next Week.
I have been busy this winter with the band and you can find us at one of the senior homes on the Northside. We are playing the Miner's Memorial Manor
later today and April 6th. We play the Harborview on April 10th (open to the public) , the Northside General Hospital on April 11th and the Northside Guest
home on April 18th. Here is a photo that Barb McLean took at a recent wedding anniversary:
Left to right:
Sandy Pero (Bass), Roy Bennet ,look how he glows ! (Guitar), Richard The Boss McLean (Keyboard),
Max Whyte (Guitar and Lead Vocals), myself , Like that Ballon hat? (Accordeon, Harmonica and Vocals),
and Stewart Andrews (Mandolin and Guitar).
'Oh we don't have a barrel of money, and the skies aren't always so sunny, but we'll travel along , singing our songs, side by side!'
We are ex- steel workers, carpenters, sailors, and miners! Are rockinest songs are old 50s and 60s pickin' and songs like "Dirty Old Town",
... I'm trying to get the boys to do it the Pogues way! We also do Irish, Scottish and Newfy folk music, and the occasional French tune on request. We
also have a soft spot for Bluegrass and south seas dance style music.
We love it the most when people get up and dance to our music!
Nov. 14, 2005
We had our last customers this past week. The boss decided that we will close the cottages for the winter, unless we get a minimum of a
5 day booking. It is starting to hit zero at night now, so I will have to put antifreeze in some of the lines. I will cut some trees this winter so that we can
see the coal train as it passes by the property along the shore. I have updated my personal website and have added links to that page from this website. I can't
wait till spring comes again! A special thanks to all those who stayed here this summer and are sending me such nice emails and photos. We are so glad you
decided to stay with us! PS ( Two new batches of complimentary Blackberry & Blueberry wine are on the go, so let us know if you are celebrating a birthday,
honeymoon or anniversary. I looked into getting licensed to sell it but at this stage in time it would be too big an investment to start up a Cottage winery!)
July 27, 2005 :
Family and customers have been urging me to update the pictures on the website and my BLOG enties. We have been quite busy
in our first full season, with some of our first family visiters coming in from Ontario, New Hampshire and New Jersey. Some of our guests
have suggested that I put up a visitor's comments page, and I thought that was an excellent idea. Those that stay a week usually do see
some wildlife; I have been told they have seen a family of rabbits, several eagle sitings, and of course many birds. One evening we watched
a doe and a fawn walk out to the shore (for salt?) while we were having an old fashion kitchen party in Cottage 2. We had over 30 people there on
that big deck, and my friend Richard Parks on fiddle and Roy Bennet on guitar , and myself on accordeon, worked up a sweat entertaining.
By the time we stopped and made it to the chowder pot, most of the lobster was gone ( but I had an extra tub of lobster in the Fridge). Hey,
we old sailors have our tricks!
The sheep have barged their way through the fence and have taken a shining to the almost 200 tomato plants we put in. Go figure. My only consolation
is that the lambs are getting nice and plump, if you know what I mean ;-) They don't look like they did in the picture below (and the mothers are nekked now,
since they've been sheared). I think I will keep Angus the Ram's son, since Angus is starting to get up there in years. He has black wool and black horns just like
his Dad. BTW Some of our guests took pictures of Angus' dad (Acker) at the Fortress Louisbourg. I was shocked to find out that he is still alive and doing well.
They must be taking good care of him there and I hear that he winters over at Two River's Wildlife park. Those guests who visit these places are very happy
with their visits. I have also heard that the Miner's Museum in Glace Bay is also a cool place to visit ( literally, cool on hot days!!)
People have been joshing me about the winter pictures! What can I say, we had a heat wave where we hit 88 F and 100% humidity. Lately it has dropped back
down to about 70 to 75 F, with some dry days and some humid days. If any one complains, just remember winter!
Here's a shot Lauretta took of the sheep before shearing. The lead sheep is a highland lass name of Lissy, North Country Cheviot, and has lost the wool
around her neck from bulling her way through the page wire fencing. She is a ring leader in the daily fencing revolts!
March 24, 2005 (Good Friday):
Sun is shining, snow is melting... sap is flowing. I just have a couple of trees tapped. We have been very, very busy, what with the ECMA music
awards and subsequent cabin bookings. Got to meet the boys from Hidden Tower who stayed here :
They told me that they wrote two songs while staying here. I am anxious to hear them. We have their CD's for sale here at the Barn.
St. Patricks' day was busy with all the dance gig's our girls had. I played a bit at the ceildigh with Donnie Cambell and Darryl Keigan;
two fine gentleman who sing irish songs with great enthusiasm. Here is Donnie's site:
Donnie's new album Music to Me, is available for sale at our Barn. I particularily loved playing along with Donnie when
he sang Molly Bawn, one of my own favorites! I am going to get copies of Darryl's Cd as well to sell here. Keep checking back!
There where many other musician's who sang at the CB Irish Benevolent Society Ceilidgh at the Branch 12 Legion on Dorchester
Street , Sydney. Lots of great Cape Breton Scottish fiddlers there as well, (we all have the celtic blood!) If you would like more info
on the history of the Irish in Cape Breton, our farm has just produced a DVD version for sale for $15.00 CAD. All proceeds are going to send our dance
troop to Ireland this coming August.
This DVD and any of these other music CDs can be purchased by emailing me, sending a chequeor using the paypal option on our front page.
Also, look for the new Farmer's Market webpage coming soon, many of these artists will be guesting on Saturdays at the new location at the Sydney Marine
Terminal this summer.
February 8, 2005
I just had to do an update today. Today was so beautiful, about +6 º C, and the bees were flying for
a much needed cleansing flight. I actually saw some of them flying and landing on snow about 200 feet
away. It looked like they were gathering water off the top of the snow. It was still dense enuff for me
to walk across with my sneakers on, and on the north side of the banks, it was still rock hard. The snow has melted or sublimed to a
depth of about 1 foot now. It was nice to see the bees and I hope they make it. This is a good day for the cluster to
expand and move to untapped reserves of honey and pollen.
Most of the lambs have beeen born so far and seem to be doing well. I put the flock on a grain ration to help
the mothers regain all the weight they have lost. There is at least one set of tracks where a coyote has been
scouting at the back of the farm, but so far he has stayed away form the lambing barn. I put a series of lamb creeps in that might
help them escape if he comes around. Patches has been chasing something in that direction in the evenings.
We got a couple of big snow falls, and I spent days snowblowing with the tractor. The average depth was about 3 feet
everywhere, but has now melted as I mentioned above.
Here is a few pictures I took of some lambs and parents:
I told you it was warm!
January 12, 2005
Well, it looks like the snow is here to stay. we have about 3 inches accumulated on
the ground. It is fairly light and it didn't take long to clean up the road to the cabins.
I had a nice surprise when I checked on the sheep. Two ewe lambs were in the sheep barn and they belonged
to #21 ( a Dorset Horn). When they cried for their mom, 2 other ewes came running so they must be close too.
I am worried about the coyotes , so if I notice any tracks close along the fence, I may have to start closing them
in at night. It sure would be nice to build my stock up this year, after losing 15 lambs and 1 ewe to the darn things
last spring. Lambing time usually always raises my spirits... thank God for the mild temperatures.
Here's a picture of Slash on the way to the barn.
He likes to sit on my shoulders and walk on my keyboard, but despite that he
still is my buddy. Diane Lewis and the Folks at CB SPCA might remember him... they called me 'cause he was on
THE LIST and he was just too friendly a cat to go! I love him and he is a great mouser!! He is really good with
the kids too.