Wednesday’s Words of Wisdom (And Whimsy)

Posted on September 20, 2023 under Wednesday’s Words of Wisdom with no comments yet

Fallen warrior


“I think that I shall never see,

A poem lovely as a tree.

A tree whose hungry mouth is prest,

Against the earth’s sweet flowing breast;

A tree that looks at God all day,

And lifts her leafy arms to pray;

A tree that may in summer wear,

A nest of robins in her hair;

Upon whose bosom snow has lain,

Who intimately lives with rain.

Poems are made by fools like me,

But only God can make a tree.

Trees- Joyce Kilmer

I received a message a week or so ago from my brother. It was sad news, tragic, actually. He was calling to let me know about the death of an old friend. This was a dear friend who brought a lot of joy and comfort to many of us in our youth. This friend was sturdy, upstanding and graceful. He was with us through thick and thin, good weather and bad. We thought that he was ageless. That is, until someone took a chainsaw to him.

I’m not sure of the age of the magnificent chestnut tree that graced the grounds of the former CJFX radio station but many of us think it has been around for over 100 years.

If only that tree could talk.

Do you remember climbing trees in your youth? Of course, you do because that was a common form of play decades ago when one had to make their own fun. Learning how to climb a tree was a rite of passage. We climbed apple trees to pick off the fruit. Some of these apples were akin to the “nectar of the gods” while others were sour and tart and induced stomach aches. We climbed spruce trees and arrived back home with spruce gum on our hands and the wonderful smell of the outdoors. We saw partridges but none in pear trees!

Some of us had the good fortune to grow up near a forest. Just a few steps from our backyard, we could meander a few steps through a field and then enter a magical place filled with trees, dreams and adventures. We built forts and tree houses, imagining that we were early explorers. When we got tired, we simply lay down on a bed of moss. A peanut butter and jam sandwich tasted every bit as good as steak and lobster. Fresh air and the great outdoors made everything taste better.

Of course, you need trees to play a proper game of tag.

Later in life, these same woods, a mere handful of paces from our high school, provided a quiet place for budding romances and the first few drags of an illicit cigarette. If you needed time to yourself, there was plenty of space to go off on your own to ponder the mysteries of life. There were even small hills where one could go for a sleigh ride. For those foolish enough to dabble in teenage love, some wise scribe penned these profound words:

“John and Mary, sitting in a tree,


First comes love, then comes marriage,

Then comes baby in the bay carriage.”

And, yes, we climbed chestnut trees. We didn’t climb them to secure ripened chestnuts as these fell to the ground with their prickly overcoats. Once we extricated the smooth brown chestnuts, we made chestnut necklaces. Are these still in vogue? We climbed chestnut trees because they were massive and had large limbs, providing the perfect lookout.

The chestnut tree at the top of Kirk Street provided shade from sweltering summer sun and we often sat under it to ride out a thunder and lightning storm. In many ways, the tree felt like an older brother, a protector of sorts.

And now it is no more. It is one thing to lose trees in a hurricane (Thanks Fiona), but to have a healthy tree cut down is a head scratcher.

And very sad.

It takes so long for a tree to grow and such a short time to reduce it to sawdust.

They can remove the trees, but the memories will last forever.

Have a great weekend.

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Wednesday’s Words of Wisdom (And Whimsy)

Posted on September 13, 2023 under Wednesday’s Words of Wisdom with no comments yet


Life is sweets!


I wanted to use this space today to talk about my daughter Ellie’s new business venture, La Vie Sucrée. (the sweet life!)

Many of you in the Antigonish area will remember Ellie from her days at the Farmer’s Market in Antigonish with her fabulous cupcakes. She moved to Montreal many years ago and worked in a high end bakery.

Recently, she moved back to Nova Scotia and resides in New Glasgow. A few months ago, she decided to once again participate in the Farmer’s Market, this time in New Glasgow. She makes mini pies along with flourless almond cakes and wheat-free pies. The pies are baked fresh the morning of the market, ensuring the highest quality. Ellie strives to use seasonal Nova Scotian ingredients whenever possible with flavours such as apple, blueberry, mixed berry crumble (My fav!), peach, pear, cherry, maple pecan, and chocolate maple pecan.

As her “lovely assistant”, I travel to New Glasgow early Saturday mornings to help at the Market. Her products routinely sell out.

A few people from Antigonish have already discovered Ellie’s delicious baked goods and have placed orders. Starting this week, La Vie Sucrée is offering a delivery service to people living in Antigonish and surrounding areas. If you place an order by 6:00 p.m. on Wednesdays, Ellie will fill your order that Saturday and I will transport it to my home in Antigonish where you can arrange to pick it up any time after 2:00 p.m.

There is a minimum order of 6 mini pies and you can mix and match flavours. A six pack costs $22.50 and a dozen costs $40.00. Almond cake is sold by the slice at $6.

This week’s mini pie flavours are as follows:

-Valley Apple

-Great Village Blueberry

-Cherry Crumble

-Valley Pear

-Maple Pecan

-Chocolate Maple Pecan

-Wheat-free* Maple Pecan

To place an order, either contact me or send Ellie an e-mail at

If you have any questions, give me a shout.

Have a great weekend.

*Please note that the flourless and wheat-free products are made with gluten-free ingredients but are not suitable for those with Celiac as they are not made in a dedicated facility and there is a risk of cross-contamination with wheat products.


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Wednesday’s Words of Wisdom (And Whimsy)

Posted on September 6, 2023 under Wednesday’s Words of Wisdom with 2 comments

Crisper… or soggier?


“When the winter rains come pourin’ down,

On that new home of mine,

Will you think of me and wonder if I’m fine.

Will your restless heart come back to mine,

On a journey through the past,

Will I still be in your eyes and on your mind.”

Journey Through the Past – Neil Young

I was humming this old Neil Young the other day while staring at my fridge. “Oh my, Len. The years are getting on and your behaviour is quite alarming.” A friend of mine had messaged me to tell me that her number one chore that day was to clean her fridge. I wondered to myself when was the last time I had tackled this most unsavory of tasks. Unlike an oil change, when the mechanic puts a convenient reminder on the inside of your windshield of your next oil change, a person has no way of remembering exactly when they last cleaned their fridge.

Although, there are reminders.

When, exactly, does a person get the impetus to clean their fridge? Very often, a look in the crisper to observe the soggy, smelly, mortal remains of a head of lettuce is one of the triggers. A lonely grape, once hanging beautifully on the vine, is reduced to an almost unrecognizable prune.

It has been raining for three days straight, the start of your vacation. You have already read 350 pages of War and Peace. You have watched 10 episodes of Gray’s Anatomy followed by another dozen of Outlander. You have consumed an 8-pack of Orville Redenbacher’s heavily buttered microwave popcorn and made a serious dent in a 4-litre box of Cabernet Sauvignon. Equal measures of ennui and disgust have set in.

In a lapse of judgment, you decide that cleaning the fridge is just one step up from cleaning the cat’s litter box.

“Shall I start with the fridge proper or the freezer”? It takes a couple of 10-ounce glasses of red to decide which is more soul destroying. It eventually comes down to choosing the lesser of two evils. “The freezer, it will be.”

When was the last time that you took a deep dive into your fridge’s freezer? It is a remarkable and terrifying prospect. You start by removing everything and putting the contents on the counter. A nearby dumpster or compost heap might be a better option. At the very back, in the deepest recesses of this icy cavern, you discover a package. It has so much freezer burn on it that you can’t decide if it’s fish, fowl, or dinosaur bones. It might even be that piece of an iceberg that a fisherman gave you when you went whale watching off the coast of Newfoundland. It strikes you that this may be the opportune time to reveal its contents.

For a moment it looks like someone has mistakenly thrown an abacus in your freezer. There are small, colorful orbs which you immediately recognize as pieces of frozen corn, green peas, and blueberries. You scoop them up wondering if there is a new game you can invent. Cooking them crosses your mind.

Next up is the crisper. According to Dr.Google a crisper “is a bin in your fridge that helps preserve and may prolong the lifespan of your fruits and vegetables.” The key words in this definition are “may prolong”. This assumes that an intelligent form of life routinely visits said bin to check out its contents. You decide that, upon careful inspection, it is best that you tackle the crisper with rubber gloves or surgical gloves. Throw in an N-95 mask for good measure. There is no way to describe stocks of celery which have been neglected for weeks or longer. Ditto for tomatoes and green peppers. It’s amazing that you are even able to determine what these were in their past life. Pouring your “fresh vegetables” into a compost bucket is a sure sign that this crisper has not preserved or prolonged the lives of these unfortunate vegetables.

Your other crisper contains fruit. The apples look like discards from the Garden of Eden. And so on and so forth.

The fridge proper is the last frontier. You are reasonably sure that the contents of the assorted bottles and jars near the front of the fridge won’t kill you, if consumed. The back of the fridge is where the fun starts. After a successful summer of other people growing things, you are eventually gifted jars of mustard pickles or jams and preserves. Thankfully, those generous people that lovingly tilled the soil, had the wisdom to put dates on the lids. 2021; 2019, 2014, 2009. There are many other bottles in your fridge that are well past their due date. That bottle of fish sauce that you bought during your experimental cooking days has the likelihood of causing gastric illness as you gaze at the fungus under the cover which you have removed with an adjustable wrench.

You’re getting near the end. All that is left are the glass shelves. Under normal (?) circumstances, a homeowner wipes the glass shelves when something spills, like blood from a package of meat or the time the maple syrup jug tipped over. But you have procrastinated and over time, there is a buildup of unspecified gunk welded to its surface.  Normally a good dunking in hot, soapy water will do the trick but upon examination, you might need an industrial sandblaster.

At last, you are finished and are filled with equal amounts of disgust and feelings of accomplishment. You vow that you will never let this happen again.

What hasn’t been discarded is put back into an immaculate fridge.

You reward yourself with a nice cup of tea and a slice of homemade bread with blueberry preserves. Returning the milk to the fridge, a bit of it spills on the glass shelf along with a tiny dollop of the preserves. You close the fridge.

Later that night, in the middle of a blissful sleep, you awake in horror. You sit bolt upright and then run to the fridge. A warm, wet cloth tidies up the mess you left hours earlier.

Getting back to sleep is not easy. Instead of counting sheep, your new mantra emerges.

“I will keep my fridge clean. I will keep my fridge clean.”

Have a great weekend.





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