Saturday, August 30, 2014

A Second Strawberry Season

Strawberry shortcake in August at Marble Mountain.
Back in North Carolina, strawberry season is in early May, and now we are in Marble Mountain, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia and we are getting local fresh strawberries at the last of their season here.  That called for strawberry shortcake in August.
Local Strawberries in August.

We bought the most beautiful strawberries at Sobeys and when we were at Masstown Market I had bought homemade shortcake biscuits which I had frozen until today when we made strawberry shortcake.
Shortbread biscuits from Masstown Market.

After slicing the strawberries, I added just a bit of sugar and let them sit for about an hour.  I didn't use much sugar because the strawberries were very sweet.
Sliced berries with just a bit of sugar.
After thawing the frozen shortcake biscuits I warmed them in the oven.  These biscuits were so large that I only needed half a biscuit to make a nice sized serving.
Shortbread biscuit half spread with butter.

I spread the biscuits halves with butter and then added the sliced strawberries.
Add strawberries.

Strawberry shortcake always calls for whipped cream----nothing but homemade whipped cream.  After whipping the cream, I add a bit of vanilla and just a tad of sugar.  We don't like our shortcake to be super sweet.
Whip the cream.

I saved a few strawberries to garnish each serving.  The result was five strawberry shortcakes for the five of us at lunch today.  YUMMY!!!!!
Five strawberry shortcakes.

What a treat to have two strawberry seasons this year.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Alice Visits Maggie's Garden

Maggie in her garden.
Soon after we arrived at Marble Mountain, Maggie, a close neighbor, brought us a large bag of Swiss chard that she grew, and invited us to go over and see her garden.  Alice who is an avid gardener was eager to go and on Tuesday we visited.  Maggie*, with help from her husband Kit, has numerous raised beds in which she grows all kinds of vegetables.  It is an amazing garden.
Maggie and Alice in the garden.
Alice looking at the "Jack in the Beanstalk" beans.  A whole wall of beans.Those are some tall beans.
A fine bed of leeks.
Sweet potatoes.
Maggie says the whirligig helps to chase away the voles.
A lush bed of Swiss chard.
Alice, ever the gardener, could not resist pulling a few weeds out of the broccoli patch.
Turnips like the ones we grow in North Carolina.
Maggie also raises chicken and their eggs are so fresh and delicious.  And I love to hear the rooster crowing, but so far this summer I don't believe he has crowed.
She has two flocks of chickens.  This is a black variety she has.  The fresh eggs when we can get them are delicious.

Alice and I thoroughly enjoyed visiting Maggie's wonderful garden. Fantastic job Maggie!

*Maggie and Kit moved here from Maryland.  They are here pretty much year round.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Birthday Party Marble Mountain Style

A wonderful birthday.
Saturday was my birthday and I went to a fabulous birthday party at the Marble Mountain Hall.  These folks really know how to throw a birthday party.  There must have been more than a hundred folks from the village and surrounding area at the party, and there was live music.  A covered dish supper was provided by the women of Marble Mountain.

A lot of people.
Alice sitting on the left at our table.
The food.
Lots of good food brought in by the Marble Mountain neighbors.
The music.
Local musicians provided Cape Breton music.

The cake.
A huge sheet cake that was pretty and delicious. 
Actually you probably have guessed by now that this party was NOT for me but for Russell who lives in the village and who turned 85.  I quietly pretended that it was my birthday party too.
Russell dancing at his birthday party.

It really was a wonderful way to spend my birthday.. And many happy returns to Russell on his 85th.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Masstown Market at Truro, Nova Scotia

Masstown Market.

When my friend Wendy saw that I was in Halifax she sent me a message saying I might enjoy checking out the Masstown Market, since we would be near it on our trip back to Cape Breton.  I am so glad she clued us in to that Market.  It is fabulous!  So many fresh vegetables from local farmers and fresh fish as well.

When we arrived the parking lot was almost full, but luckily we found a spot right beside the lighthouse, and it was in a shady area that was perfect for Maggie.  It wasn't hot though because it was an overcast day.
Lots of folks at the Market on a Friday morning.
The little white car to the left of the "lighthouse" is ours. 

Dan stayed with Maggie while Alice and I headed for the fresh vegetable area of the market.  There was a little bit of everything--we found beet greens, green beans, yellow beans, and sweet potatoes.

Yellow wax beans from a local farmer.
 It is blueberry season here and we got a small carton of wild blueberries.  The wild ones have so much more flavor than the cultivar that is usually grown.  We have quite a bit of frozen berries or else we would have gotten a really big carton of those.

Wild blueberries.
A box of wild blueberries.
There were all kinds of baked goods, but when I found shortcake biscuits I knew I had to try those.

I'll use these to make blueberry shortcake.

A new kind of brownie.
I resisted most of the sweet baked goods, except for macaroon brownies---that's a new take on brownies.  Yes we brought some of those home.  

The highlight for Dan was the fish market in the "lighthouse".  They had quite an array of fish and seafood goodies.

Varied seafood at the Market.
Dan liked the looks of the farm raised Arctic char, and we baked one for dinner tonight.  It tastes like a blend between a salmon and a trout.  Really delish and oh so fresh.  
Baked Arctic char for dinner.

I don't know how we have missed this place all these years, but I am very grateful to Wendy for suggesting we visit it.  We will go back.

You might like to check out their website..


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Neighbors in Marble Mountain

Welcome home!

What a nice welcome home surprise!  Some kind neighbor planted nasturtiums in our window boxes to greet us upon our arrival. Did they know nasturtiums are among my favorites?
Nasturtiums in our window box.

Another neighbor, Glenn,  had mowed the meadow allowing for a beautiful view of a field of goldenrod.

The mowed meadow. 

Goldenrod by the fence post.

The lake is as beautiful as ever even on an overcast and rainy day.
Our view of the lake.

The house was perfect with the beds all made, the kitchen all ready, and the hot water on, thanks to Mary Ann and Murdo.
The guest room was ready for Alice.

Alice settled right in and while she's here helping us she will also work on her memoir.
Alice working on her memoir.
We were showing Alice some of the common mammals of the area in our book Mammals of Canada. But my favorite nonhuman mammal here is Maggie.
My favorite nonhuman mammal having a nap on her favorite pillow.

What wonderful neighbors we have here in Marble Mountain!  We are happy to be back, and we are looking forward to seeing many of you soon.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Shell Island Resort

Shell Island Resort
 I finally got in a quick trip to the beach.  My younger son and I spent three days down at Wrightsville Beach at the Shell Island Resort which is at the far northern end of the beach.  It's a beautiful place, and the beach is not too crowded, or at least one can wander down to the far end for a bit of privacy.
Swimming pool and beach at Shell Island Resort.

I spent most of the time catching up on my reading.  I'm currently reading the new John Dean about Watergate.  In the early evening, I walked on the beach after the sun was low in the sky. 
Sea oats are important in maintaining the dunes. And they are lovely on a late afternoon walk.

One evening a young man was kite surfing near us on the beach, and at one point the kite passed directly over me.  That looks like a lot of fun----if only I were younger. 
Kite surfing.

Kite passed right over my head.

Dining out is one of my favorite pastimes while at the beach.  We managed to have a number of really good seafood dinners. 

Our favorite place to dine.  Oceanic at the pier on Wrightsville Beach.
Delicious she-crap soup and a nice salad.

 On our last evening there, the sunset over the marshes was spectacular.
Beautiful sunset over the marsh at Shell Island.

I'm ready to go back to Shell Island and Wrightsville Beach.