Margaretsville in March and the spirit of gratitude.

The early morning sun shines over the front yard.  The weather forecast said rain and chilly temps, so we were delighted to head out and enjoy some warm sunshine!
It was such a beautiful day yesterday so we went to the beach for some low-tide exploring.

Today  we're sitting down to some smoked salmon eggs bennie and have another hard day of work and beautiful weather ahead of us.  I'm not sure when I'll get some time to write about Friday's adventure, so here's a few photos to tide you over. (I still don't have a computer and am at the mercy of The Boy. Because Fridays are computer and movie days, he had first dibs on his machine!)

Sunday 1931hrs
Update to Margaretsville in March

Low tide at the Margaretsville wharf.
I am still learning how to read the tide tables and which ones to trust. There are a lot of them floating around on the web, but it would seem that only the gc.ca one is accurate!  The GC DFO tide table predicted one of the lowest tides of the year on Saturday.  Even though we were a day early, the sun was shining, the birds were singing and it was a lovely day to head down to the shore.  When we arrived, the amount of beach was remarkable.  See a high tide comparison on Sunday Drivers this week (Sunday was 36 feet).

The temperature on Friday morning was around six degrees and there wasn't a lick of wind!  This made conditions quite pleasant for exploring on the beach.
As expected, there was a lot of neat stuff on the beach; primarily lobster fishing detritus - trap seals, plastic name plates, hundreds of thousands of elastic bands used to keep the claws closed once caught, tampon applicators (fewer than the other day) and all manner of plastic debris. 

Actually living only minutes from the water (rather than an hour or so away) has given me a new perspective on plastic garbage.  What we find on the beach is a mere fraction of what's floating in the ocean and that is truly frightening.  I have already blogged about Nova Scotia's fantastic recycling programs, but what's amazing is the amount of trash which appears to float in from activities on the water - thousands and thousands of elastic bands littering the beach, raw sewage - think tampon applicators - dumped into the water, millions of shotgun shells, all manner of fishing nets and broken ropes, plastic bottles in an infinite variety of shapes and sizes, flashlights, gloves, flip flops, bottle caps, pens, electronics, broken bins, children's toys, shoes, insoles, on and on and on.

If it's a petroleum product, name it - I'll compile a list of the most interesting suggestions and keep an eye out for those items when we're beach combing.   When (not if) I find them, I'll photograph the item in it's 'habitat' then take it home for disposal.  We'll make a game of it.

Travel mug.

Running shoe insole.

Some bit of random Made-In-Canada petro-junk. But, it says Planteeeeee!

Fruity chewing tobacco.

A bouncy ball.
... aaaaand the requisite photo of stuff with a face.  "OH!"

Among the things we found on Friday was a bit of very large plastic tube.  The Boy was delighted to play in, on and around it!    He crawled in and wanted Laur to roll him around.  As you can imagine, this activity lasted only seconds as he soon realized that it is not fun to be tossed about on a cobblestone beach in a hard plastic thingamajig.  So much for our lucrative plan to send him over Niagara Falls in a barrel...

On our way back to the wharf, we travelled a different portion of the beach.  It was here that we came across a rather peculiar item.

Hazardous Material Warning Contact Police or Military
Yeah, this got our attention right away.  

I didn't have the phone with me, so Laur and The Boy drove home to make a report to the RCMP whilst I stood guard.  It took the police almost two hours to show up. Two hours in Nova Scotia is practically New Brunswick! I wasn't sure if it was some sort of mortar round, a rocket propelled explosive or what.  And although I was getting tired of waiting, I would never forgive myself if something happened had we left. So, we played games and gathered elastics in a rainbow of colours, walked over to the lighthouse, decorated driftwood with aforementioned rubber bands and each took a pee while we waited.
Elastic bands for lobster claws litter the beach, so Boy distributed a set of  family rings.
Eventually the police did show up and the officer immediately identified the canister as a flare. Coincidentally, while we were standing there yammering and gawking at it, a fellow came up to us and identified himself as an off duty member of CFB Greenwood Ordinance section.  He told us all about the cylinder - that it's a phosphorus flare, dropped from Auroras.  He explained that the green band around the top section identifies it's colour, there is an expiry date written on the side and the end cap is where the flare is armed before it's dropped out the ejection port.  He also said that there is a small plug which dissolves in water and that once this is dissolved, the phosphorus ignites and sends out a plume of marker smoke.  He said the danger is that sometimes the phosphorus in the flares has not burned entirely and can cause severe injuries.

The EOD fellow indicated that one of his coworkers would come a retrieve the item, after which it would be returned to the base and taken to the ammo dump where it would be blown up with a bunch of other stuff.  Apparently these things show up on the beach quite frequently as the RCMP officer was rather cavalier about it all.  He contacted the base EOD duty personnel and we continued on our merry way.

The Margaretsville Light.
Our exciting brush with certain death left us all famished.  So naturally we did what any nearly-roughly-almost-died person would do, and headed over to Vicki's to calm our tattered nerves with the soothing balm of seafood.

I was living large and ordered the combination platter - Digby scallops, fresh haddock, local clams and some shrimp served on a delectable bed of home made french fries.  The Boy had chicken nuggets (surprise, surprise) and Laur opted for the three piece haddie and fries.  Sure, it was a lot of food, but it gave us all leftovers to eat for supper, too! Yum!  You just can't beat Digby scallops - not even with a stick.

While we were at the restaurant, an elderly lady came over and patted The Boy on the head and wished him a Happy Easter.  She also gave him a toonie so he could buy himself some treats.  She said she just loves to give "young ones" a bit of change "if she has it" and that he was such a good boy.  Now, this would be strange enough if it had been the only time an old lady gave The Boy some dough, but curiously this exact thing had happened the day before when we were at the hospital for Boy's OT/PT appointment.

Again, an elderly lady called him over to wish him a Happy Easter, gave him a wee toy and handed me five dollars, with EXPLICIT instructions to go to the Dollar Store to buy him some treats.  So adamant was she with this last instruction that she repeated it three times!

Now, because the Vicki's lady was the second in as many days, I intended to ask our server if this was some sort of Nova Scotia tradition.  Once the older lady and her party left the restaurant, I asked our server if she was from "here".  She said she was from Digby; this was close enough for me! I explained what had just transpired, the incident the day before at the hospital, that we had recently moved here and asked if this was some sort of Easter tradition.

She took a half step back and looked at me as if I'd sprouted a third arm.  She shook her head and said she'd never heard of that before.  But she also said that a lot of the older folks like to give and that it didn't really surprise her.

Whilst we were talking to the server, there was a woman sitting at her table waiting for her to-go order.  After the server left, the woman at the table across from us leaned over and said that they had just moved from Edmonton two years ago, that her spouse was in the military and that she was originally from Newfoundland.  She said they were also a same-sex couple and that the move from Edmonton back to the Maritimes was quite eye-opening. She confirmed what we have already noticed - that people here are well and truly friendly, compassionate, willing to take a minute or twenty to chat, open to sharing their knowledge and will give you (a complete stranger) the shirt off their backs.  She said that the old woman giving The Boy a pat on the back, a few dollars and wishing him a happy holiday is pretty much in line with her experience growing up in Atlantic Canada and it's what she missed when they were out on the prairies.

I sat down and exchanged contact info with her and Laur went up to the counter to pay.  As she was doing so, a fella from another table came over to strike up a conversation.   Laur had commented to the cashier that the weather was so gorgeous.  The fellow chimed in that it sure beat -55 and tons of snow.  Laur commented that it sounds like he was familiar with prairie winters.  He said he spent 3 years in Saskatoon and hated every minute of it! 

See what happens when you strike up a conversation?   You just never know where it will lead!  It's so hard to accept the generosity of the people we've met - I'm not used to offers to come in for lunch, people giving money or asking how my mother is.  In fact I find myself immediately suspect of their motives - what does this guy want for me by offering me lunch?  Why is she asking about my mother?  This person is not well off, why is she giving us money? Why? Why? Why?

I think it will be a good challenge to learn how to accept gifts with gratitude and in the spirit of generosity, and learn how to decline graciously.  Sometimes it's just like Kookum said, there is much joy in being able to give and learning to receive is just as important.  It seems so simple; most people like to get things, right?  So why is it so hard to receive? 
Shaking our heads in disbelief, we made our way home to work on the side yard.  All the while discussing the generosity and friendliness of everyone we've met. The one thing that used to drive me nuts about my Dad is one of the things I now really enjoy - talking to people (coincidentally, this now drives Laur bananas!)  I am certain this is why I'm continually late now that we've moved to Nova Scotia.  Well, that and the fact that I no longer wear a watch.

We spent the rest of the day in t-shirts, collecting and piling brush, cutting down maple and birch suckers, moving rocks and digging stumps in the side yard.  All of this in preparation for the mini-barn - part chicken coop and run, part Guinea fowl house and part Bertie bed.  It's so hard to plan the site properly, but I can't wait to start building.

Tired, dirty and feeling great about our day, we retired to the house to eat our leftovers and discuss the wonders of our newly adopted homeland!

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