Bruce's Blog || Just sayin'. . .

Victoria Day Weekend!

Posted on May 19, 2017 by Bruce MacNaughton

Warm Weekend Wishes!

Ahhh. Victoria Day Weekend. A uniquely Canadian holiday that celebrates the May 24, 1819, birth of Queen Victoria.

This is one of those holidays that moves around each year, to the Monday closest to the date, giving us a long weekend to enjoy with family and friends.

In many parts of Canada, this is known as the “May Two-Four” weekend and is celebrated with a case of 24 bottles of beer. (How Canadian!)

However, not being a beer drinker myself, I prefer the more gentile Victoria Day tradition that has a warm place in the hearts of many Prince Edward Islanders: a picnic.

I think Shirley and I may pack-up a couple of lobster sandwiches, some iced tea and go for a drive on Monday. With so many beaches, parks, and green spaces around the Island, there’s certainly no shortage of places to enjoy a meal in nature. Who knows where we’ll end up!

This year is celebrating 150 years as a nation and our federal government has opened the gates on all national parks to visitors free of charge. 

I would love to hear about your Victoria Day Weekend traditions! Family BBQs? Lobster dinners? A spring walk on the beach?

It is contest time and this week we are offering readers an opportunity to win a Dunoon English Bone China Teapot. Enter Here 

This Quacks Me Up!

Posted on May 13, 2017 by Bruce MacNaughton
Mother Duck says, “Quack quack quack quack!”
You probably know all about Prince Edward Island’s famous red head (Anne) and our favourite shellfish (lobster). But, did you know that we also have a beloved duck?

Lucy the Duck was the big news story in PEI this week, and it’s quite fitting I share her story on Mother’s Day weekend because this is one devoted mother.

For the eighth year in a row, Lucy has set up house in the Atlantic Superstore’s Garden Centre in Charlottetown.

Every year, just like clockwork, Lucy makes her nest within the plants and lays her eggs. The Superstore staff cordons off the area and provides her with all the food she needs. She bathes in the parking lot puddles, and, after her eggs hatch, the police direct traffic so the family can safely waddle across the road and go to wherever it is that they go after they leave the Garden Centre.

This year, Lucy has a boyfriend with her (but rumour has it he spends most of his time in the nearby McDonald’s parking lot feasting on French fries).

I just love this CBC news story because it is another testament of the wonderful people we have here in Prince Edward Island. Everyone looks forward to Lucy’s return. (You can read more about Lucy and her boyfriend Lucifer here: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/prince-edward-island/pei-lucy-duck-superstore-garden-1.4101801)

Speaking of Moms, our restaurant will be open Mother’s Day from 11:30 to 4.  Here is our Mother’s Day menu. We officially will open for the season on May 26. Hopefully, we will see you this year.

While taking reservations for the restaurant this week, I got thinking about blended families and the roles that stepmoms have in society. While looking through the Globe and Mail today, I read, "On Mother’s Day, stepmoms navigate tricky emotional territory" by Leah MacLaren who shares her perspective here

Wishing Mom's everywhere a wonderful day and one where they feel the love where it may come from. 

Sunshine can still be in one's heart!

Posted on May 06, 2017 by Bruce MacNaughton

On sunny days like this, I am just in from inspecting the gardens and planning for next week, I’m inside for a break, and I thought it would be a great time to write my thoughts for the week. (Some of them, at least.)

The big news nearing the end of this week seems to be the weather front moving in; it seems the sun won’t last too long!

As is the case in many parts of the Maritimes this weekend, we’re bracing for major rain. Please join us in keeping our friends and neighbours in our thoughts and prayers that nobody suffers injury or property damage from the winds and rain.

I don’t mind the rain (unless it's destructive), it certainly has a purpose. I like an excuse sometimes to stay inside with a good book and a cup of tea.

Gardeners all over the Maritimer want a wee bit of rain, but not the forecasted I am sure, if we can get through this relatively unscathed, we can get back to dreaming about what is soon out of the garden and onto the plate. 

For one, I am thinking about Asparagus! 

Tasty article here on Asparagus and some great ideas as to its usage. Thank you goes to the New York Times. Read here

I was touched this week by this lovely story showcased by CBC. 

I just felt that compelled to share it with you, about a young foal, an autistic boy, and the kindness of people. The love shown to this family by a total stranger is extraordinary. Read about Jared’s Courage here:

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/prince-edward-island/pei-horse-jareds-courage-1.4095689 

Mother's Day is just around the corner, and we are busy getting ready for the special occasion day of all days. 

Two things to note:

We are giving away 10 pounds of Island Lobster; the draw is Wednesday 9 pm. AST. Enter the contest here.  One caveat for our American readers, I am sorry, but we cannot ship lobster to the US, but if you have a cottage here, let me know when you are returning to the Island and we will have it ready when you arrive home. 

Our restaurant is open for Mother's Day from 11:30 to 4, and then re-opens for the season officially on May 26th. Our Mother's Day menu is here

Jeepers Creepers!

Posted on April 29, 2017 by Bruce MacNaughton

Did you hear the Peepers?

Yesterday evening, it was warm enough outside to sit outside for a bit after supper and just enjoy the evening air with a cup of mint tea.

The Spring Peeper is a small little tree frog common in Prince Edward Island. During the spring, Islanders are serenaded by the breeding call of these little frogs. The sound of a full chorus of Peepers can be carried for a half kilometer!

I must admit, it is so glorious to hear the lovely sound of the Spring Peepers, a real harmonious sound of nature's choir.

So, if you’ve ever wondered what the loud, high-pitched peeping sound is that you’re hearing off in the distance on a spring evening on the Island, it’s the Peepers!

While we’re talking about mating (don’t worry, folks, this is a family show!), I came across this lovely story in the news this week. Lieutenant Governor Frank Lewis and his wife Dorothy are celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary this summer. They’ve invited all Island couples who were also married in 1957 to join them for a special luncheon at Government House.

I love hearing people's journey's and their desire to attain citizenship, reading this story from Prince Edward Island made we want to share with you the swearing in of 28 new Canadian citizens in Charlottetown last weekend.

It warms my heart to see so many people from around the world choosing to settle in our beautiful little corner of the world. I know many of you who read this blog also dream of moving here, so I wanted to pass this along so you can share in the joy of these happy new Islanders 

Meanwhile at the shop…

We are opening officially for the season this Monday; the restaurant is opening for Mothers Day 11:30 to 4 and reopening for the rest of the season on May 26th. 

The garden work turns serious next week. We are planning to start the annuals in our greenhouse this year, and in making our choices, we choose not just for beauty but also as food for the pollinators. 

The bees and native butterflies have a need for food, and if you are planting, perhaps some from this list could be considered. May a bee happy! Here are some tips on choices. 

If you are a fan of the Anne of Green Gables story and taken by the new adaptation “Anne With an E” which was overseen, written and co-produced by Moira Walley-Beckett, an Emmy-winning writer from Canada. If you wish to read a well-written backstory by Willa Paskin, television critic at Slate for the New York Times read here.

Last but not least I love stories that involve hope and encouragement. I share this one with you. I wish I knew where I found this story as to give credit.

Cracked Pots

An elderly Chinese woman had two large pots, and each hung on the ends of a pole which she carried across her neck. One of the pots had a crack in it while the other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water. At the end of the long walks from the stream to the house, the cracked pot arrived only half full. For a full two years, this went on daily, with the woman bringing home only one and a half pots of water.

Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments.

But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its imperfection and miserable that it could only do half of what it had been made to do.After two years of what it perceived to be bitter failure, it spoke to the woman one day by the stream.

'I am ashamed of myself because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your house.'

The old woman smiled, 'Did you notice that there are flowers on your side of the path, but not on the other pot's side?'
'That's because I have always known about your flaw, so I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we walk back, you water them.' For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate the table. Without you being just the way you are, there would not be this beauty to grace the house.'

Each of us has unique flaws. It's the cracks and flaws we each have that make our lives together so interesting and rewarding.

It can be a struggle at times but we need to find the good in each individual, no one is without a flaw or two. 

I bid adieu until next time and to all of my cracked pot friends, have a great weekend and remember to smell the flowers on your side of the path!

Love from Prince Edward Island, 

Bruce

Spring Traditions

Posted on April 22, 2017 by Bruce MacNaughton

Good Morning, 

Here we are at the tail end of week 16, 2017 and there is still quite a chill in the air on the Island, heavy frost this morning, but as I write this, the sun is rising and shining, so there are no complaints, only gratitude as I get to greet a new day!

Lots of changes happening between seasons and one I have noticed is that our bird feeders are not emptying as quickly.  It must be a treat for our fine feathered friends to find fresh grub from the springs offerings. 

I have been seeing trucks going by, hauling loads of lobster traps to the wharf. The fishers are preparing for the fishing season and the thrill of the first day is just around calendar's corner. 

There are many on the Island who look forward to the first lobster feed of the year. Are you one?

A common Island tradition for families is to enjoy the first lobster feed of the season on Mother’s Day weekend. Those traditions have been kept alive and well by our business neighbour, The New Glasgow Lobster Suppers as they always start the season off with a Mother's Day celebratory dinner.  

Do you have a lobster tradition, would love to hear about it? 

Speaking of Mother’s Day, our restaurant will be open from 11:30 to 4. We are in the final stages of our menu planning and will post our Mother's Day menu this week and this year's full menu sometime by mid - May.

We open officially for the season on May 26th for the season. 

If you like movies, Maudie is fantastic. The acting performances by Sally Hawkins and Ethan Hawke should be automatic nominations for Oscars. It was the only movie in a long time, where the movie goers clapped, and everyone stayed until the last credit. The music was hauntingly beautiful.  If you are not aware of her story, click here

It is an exciting time of year and lots to be grateful for. 

Have a wonderful week! 

Bruce

 

 

 

 

Happy Easter

Posted on April 15, 2017 by Bruce MacNaughton

Warm Easter weekend greetings from our family to yours.

What a beautiful day this is. The sun is shining, and as soon as I finish writing this post, we will be off to the gardens at our shop in New Glasgow.

We are busy making plans for a large project this spring as we strip away all the old plant material and soil from what used to be our "Prarie Hill."  Over the years the area got ahead of our weeding capabilities and became something that sooner or later would need reestablishing. Now is the time! Over 500 plants will be getting a new view of the River Clyde. This bed is almost a quarter acre of land, and I certainly cannot expect to have a full looking bed for a few years. An old gardener saying, "first-year sleep, second-year creep, third-year leap!", will be top of mind every time I look at the hill. 

This winter and spring saw upgrades and renovations to the gift shop area, restaurant kitchen, and theatre. Can't wait to see the reaction from our returning staff, to which is over 90% return rate.  We are also in the thick of our menu planning, looking forward to trying out some dishes this year. Also, getting excited to introduce a new "no sugar added" preserves, which has been two years of testing.

In reading over what I have written, it makes me think that I am always amused when asked by visitors, "what do you do all winter?" 

This summer we are also bringing back the Prince Edward Island Visual Arts Festival to the Gardens of Hope, August 12 and 13th. 

Some of the Island's top artists will be in attendance displaying their talents and showing their skills to those fortunate enough to attend. Funds raised are to go towards the building of a sunroom on the Respite Cottage.

Long gone are the days that our daughters excitedly awaited a visit from the Easter Bunny, we are mindful of this weekend for a few reasons, family time and for those who are believers, this is one of the favourite weekends of the year. 

Shirley and I will be enjoying the weekend with family. And I’m looking forward to getting in the kitchen and preparing a traditional Easter meal.

I think this Raspberry Crumble will be perfect for dessert: https://preservecompany.com/blogs/recipes/14263125-raspberry-crumble

How do you celebrate the Easter holiday?

I would love to hear your stories in the comments.

 

Friendship....

Posted on April 01, 2017 by Bruce MacNaughton

"Dear George: Remember no man is a failure who has friends."

~ It's a Wonderful Life

This week I have been thinking about "friends."

We have many kinds of friends, work friends, social friends, childhood friends, high school or college friends, gym friends, church friends, even Facebook friends.  But what do you call a friend who has been with you through thick and thin? The kind of friends who tell you when you are off track. Real friends can confront you and bring you back from the brink of disaster. Friends love and love being truthful.  

A sign that you have "true" friends are when you share the good, the bad and the ugly about yourself, and they still stand by you. 

A true friend is a good listener and casts no judgment.  

A true friend is faithful & forgiving. 

A true friend understands your tears and is more valuable than friends who only know your smile.

If you have true friends, be grateful. Very grateful. Don't be shy tell them how much you appreciate them! Call them, visit them, whatever it needs to be, be sure to tell them. 

"If you have one true friend in the world, you are very rich." ~ Alistair Begg

I started thinking about true friendship when I read this week that the owners of Weddings PEI (Diana Lariviere and William Caw), are offering free vow renewals in 2017, for couples married more than 50 years. I thought wow 50 years is something and I am sure at the foundation of their marriages you will find true friendship. 

Also, this week learned about the efforts being made by Island Matters Rug Hooking Group to grow the PEI Museum and Heritage Foundation’s Rug Registry. A database of hooked rugs and information about the rug hookers who create them. The group is hoping to preserve this information before the art fades away.

Hooked rugs were traditionally made by Island women from burlap bags and scraps of wool to help keep the floors of their homes warm. For that reason, hooked rugs are popular in the Maritime Provinces, and I am sure many friendships were made in rug hooking circles.

Nelsena, my wife Shirley's (my true friend) mom hooked rugs, not so much for the art but practical purposes.  With limited resources, she made rugs to assist transforming a house into a home with warmth and love. Something she strived for all her life, and one of the many reasons I admired her. 

Thank you for listening.

Last but not least, I read somewhere, if you want a friend, be a friend. 

Take care friends, 

Bruce

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