Mother Nature Rules…

… and don’t you ever forget it!

We were driving by Castalia Marsh at high tide, the other day, and were astonished to see that it was completely flooded.  It’s winter, high tides tend to be at their highest, and we did just have a wicked storm system come through, that did significant damage in Port Elgin, NB.  But, still — this was a couple of days later, and we’d never seen the Marsh as anything other than, well, a marsh, with small tufted islands and channels of water.

Instead (click for slightly bigger) — in the image below, you can see the picnic area almost overrun, and the remains of a couple of duck blinds poking out of the water in the distance.

flooded marsh

And, as you can see below — the causeway/breaker wall between the Bay of Fundy and the Marsh was completely overrun.  The 3 pictures below show progress along the causeway, on what used to be the access road.  It’s now strewn with football-sized rocks, tossed up by the surf at some point.  (While we were there, someone came by in their F-1Million pickup truck and tried to pick his way along — he gave up and retreated).

road to now where

4 wheelin

island

It always impresses me what the simple forces of nature can wreak on our carefully engineered, man-made interventions (like, say, roads).

A slightly different perspective — looking back at the exit from the picnic area parking:  the road just stops:
curtailed

The water was still somewhat stormy that day — lovely winter colours.

scene

I dug through my old photos to try to find some useful comparisons.  It seems that the things that were photogenic in the wintry, flooded, stormy state were not the same as the things I thought to snap when it was in its seasonal prime!  But, a few comparative pictures of the surrounding shorelines, below (click for bigger pics).

Before January 2010
house before house after
island before
island after
ferry before ferry after

Cats in Amsterdam

Many buildings in Amsterdam are old.  And they have a “native population”, that survives transfer of ownership.  To help deal with this, it is not unusual for restaurants to employ “peace keepers” of the four-legged sort.

I recently met Mavis:

Mavis

Mavis was not above supplementing her rodent-chasing diet with handouts from the restaurant’s kitchen:

a good thing going

While I’m not naming the restaurant above, it should be noted that I have actually seen mice running across the floor in a (different) restaurant in Amsterdam, and Mavis was not the first resto-cat I’d encountered in that city.  Sometime back in 2003, I met this “greeter”:

earlier

unnamed

Double-duty mouser & maitre d’? 😉

168 hours to Play!

When looking at grey November vistas, stunning in their simple beauty…

cliff

horizon

there’s only one question:  guess who’s coming…

look who's coming

… to dinner?

dinner

And a fine dinner they were, too.

Didn’t stop me from playing with the “Duck
a la Something or Other”
recipe — browning the cabbage and onion
before adding it to the duck in the slow cooker to braise for the last
hour.

duck redux

And this year’s sauce was orange and raspberry:

duck dinner

Wanting to play with something completely different, I came across a
recipe for smoked
cheddar, spinach and sundried tomato ravioli
.  But, I thought
it would be dull to use the wonton wrappers called for — made some
fresh pasta, instead.  And, I didn’t have a ravioli form — went
with a mini-muffin tin, instead:

raviol - i

ravioli

Which made yummy, if oversized, ravioli!

And, there was pasta leftover.  I cut the leftover pasta into
fettucini.  Now I know why there are those nifty holes in the
backs of chairs:

leftover pasta

And, in more discoveries… The measuring cup lurking on the stovetop
in the duck adventure?  Well, gelatinous.  And, suspiciously
like “graisse
de canard
“.

graisse de canard!

Haven’t quite found the gumption to try a slice of this on bread…
might just sort it into duck soup (still have the bones) and keep the
fat for confit.  Who can say what the next culinary adventure will
be?  If you could, it wouldn’t be play…

A Glimpse into the Yarn Industry

I thought this
article
, about Schaefer
Yarn’s
“Sock the Vote” effort, was interesting for the peep into
the yarn industry it gives.

(“Sock the Vote” is a set of 4 colourways of sock yarn Schaefer did to
represent the colours apparently favoured by Michelle Obama, Hilary
Clinton, Sarah Palin and Cindy McCain).

In particular, the article notes,

“Schaefer said her company […] did
some $850,000 in business last year, the best ever for the 16-year-old
company.

But the growth of those in the yarn business is exceeding demand. In
addition, the ailing economy is creating a slowdown.

She expects sales this year to dip into the $800,000 range.

Thus, she said, the popular “Sock the Vote” effort comes at a time when
it is indeed welcome.

Schaefer told of being able to weather the downturn, but predicted
others in the business aren’t going to make it because of growing
competition and the tight money market.

In her business alone, she said, her 16-person work force now is down
to nine because of the weak economy.”

The overall business number is good, though not huge.  Interesting
to see some kind of numbers — assuming an average of $20 per skein,
that suggests they move 40,000 skeins a year.  That’s more than
modest!

It is also interesting to note the pure business terms above — while
it’s good  to be in a business that deals with something you
really love, you never can lose sight of the fact that it is a
business, and you have to tune to the market realities or suffer the
consequences.

‘d like to know how the specialized colourway did — I didn’t have enough resonance with the campaigns to feel I had to buy a particular yarn (as a memento? to make a memento?), but I don’t know if others would have.  And, looking at the colours, I did think the ones that appealed to me most were not aligned with camps I would care to support.  So — did politicizing the yarn help or hinder sales, I wonder?