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Saltscapes Blog

  1. Change is unavoidable: but let’s do it carefully

    THIS MAY MARKS our 14th anniversary of publishing a high quality, paid circulation magazine in a tough industry in a tough market, and sometimes in tough economic conditions.

    We’ve joked that we should have called it “Bumblebee” magazine—because conventional aerodynamics suggest that, on paper at least, bumblebees should not be able to generate enough lift to fly.

    On paper, we should not have been able to generate the necessary critical mass in a market as small as this one to remain off the ground very long either. 

  2. “Atlantic Canadians have a deep attachment to their home communities, notably their rural roots” ~ Pollster Don Mills

    WE HEARD A neat story the other day about friends who had been obliged to move from Atlantic Canada to Ottawa several years ago. In their new home, the kids (teenagers) decided to surprise their busy mother with some cooking. Halfway through the exercise they discovered they needed butter and had none—so they did what they considered normal and went next door and asked if they could borrow half a pound of butter.

    They were treated with suspicion and turned away.

    A small thing on the one hand, but highly significant on the other.

  3. Yet another reason for feeling superior

    IT’S MORE than interesting that old home remedies, steeped in tradition and folklore, are proving their worth. We now know why cod liver oil is beneficial: oily, cold water fish has been scientifically accepted as “brain food” because of the influence of its omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA. Carrots, with beta-carotene, are, in fact, beneficial to eyesight. But how did people know of these benefits centuries ago?

    There’s a new one that should be of interest to us here—living by the sea is significantly beneficial for your health. Again, as long as 300 years ago people afflicted with various ailments were sent to the seaside to convalesce. 

    A recent British study has revealed a multitude of reasons.

  4. The close relationship between community and social harmony

    WE ENJOYED the privilege last winter of touring South Island, New Zealand. It’s an incredibly beautiful, uncrowded country and we found great similarities with Atlantic Canadian sociology.

    We DID NOT see:

    A single street person or beggar;

    A single example of spiked haircuts, or “goth” outfits complete with chains and mandatory scowls;

    A single display of discourtesy;

    A single example of public drunkenness;

    A single person crossing the street with eyes and attention firmly fixed on a mobile device;

    A single young person using a mobile device whilst ignoring adult company;

    A single example of extreme speed on the highway;

    A single egg yolk that was not orange, from a free-range chicken.

    A single big box store

  5. Has Tatamagouche found the secret to eternal life?

    ON THE MAP, it’s just another dot by the sea.

    On the ground, it’s just another unremarkable one-street village.

    At its core, it has heart and soul and character and vitality to spare.

    Socially and economically, it works.

    This ain’t no quaint fishing village either, and there is no fish plant—and there is no mill, no factory and no call centre. There’s no idyllic sandy beach, no provincial or federal park, no famous landmarks or iconic tourist traps—not even a lighthouse, no resorts (former Timmy’s mogul Ron Joyce’s ultra high-end golf destination Fox Harb’r, complete with its own jet-capable airstrip, is just down the road—but really, it’s mainly a self-contained operation.)

     

  6. “Time passes slowly and fades away”- Bob Dylan

    WE HAVE A fun piece inside this issue on water witching, or divining. It’s a bit of a hoot, really. But at the same time, it raises a question related to folklore and customs and the activities associated with traditional rural life here.

    How long, for instance, may we expect there to be people around who can find an underground seam of water using a forked willow twig or some such device? 

  7. Is there a friendly, fascinating place in your vacation plans?

    January 2013: As we unloaded suitcases from our rent-a-car into yet another

    overnight stop in a stunning location on the other side of the planet, we hailed a

    “good morning” to an elderly gentleman outside the next cottage.

    “Where ya from?” he countered.

    “Canada,” we said. “You?”

    “New Yak,” he responded in a familiar twang. “What part of Canada?”

    “East Coast,” we said. “We’re neighbours.”

     

  8. The worsening litterpig liability

    IT’S A PRETTY safe bet these days that we have several times more discarded coffee cups than people. Litter is an unintended consequence of our increasingly convenience-oriented, disposable culture. 

    Discarded cigarette butts constitute a surprisingly large proportion of litter, and about 20 per cent of them end up in rivers, lakes, streams and oceans. The toxins filtered out of the tobacco are then shared with fish and other marine organisms.  

  9. The apples of autumn

    Any fruit or vegetable that is grown locally tastes delicious, but perhaps the most popular and most amazingly delicious “just picked” is being harvested now in orchards around the region: Apples! Our country has been growing apples since European colonists brought them over in the 17th century. Today, Nova Scotia produces about 10 % of the commercial apple crop in Canada with some 1800 hectares under production, while New Brunswick produces about 1% on about 225 hectares. (Statistics Canada for 2010). This of course does not count the many apple trees growing in backyard plantings by homeowners wanting to grow their own apples.

  10. Corn Tales

    Get out the salt, pepper, and butter! Local sweet corn is available throughout much of Atlantic Canada now. Unlike its relative field corn, (grown for livestock feed or for cooking oil or ethanol), sweet corn, as the name suggests, is much higher in sugar than other varieties, making it a desirable food for our tables.