For the last few years, every Summer, we have provided a holiday camp for two retired Inuit sled dogs: Uke and Siq Siq. They were part of a litter born in Pond Inlet, Nunavut about twelve years ago, under the watchful eye of my son, Andrew. Later, they went to Prince George, where they provided Patrick, my eldest son, with the pulling power for ski-joring. They arrive in Paradise, in May and usually return home by early September.
While they are in our care, we get used to their howling at night with the local coyotes, living on the floodplain along the Annapolis River. Or they howl in response to the sirens from emergency response vehicles.
Yesterday, they returned to their permanent home. This year it is to Petawawa in the Ottawa Valley. Today, it feels very strange to pass by their pen, and not to receive a welcome or reaction.
We have now entered apple harvesting season. In the Valley, a late frost in early June impacted many of the apple growers in the region. Fortunately, for us, Raymond Hunter planted his trees in a tree protected area. This has allowed us to ship the early drops to Brian Boates in Woodville. Now we have started picking directly from the trees. The first cycle will be the Nova Mac variety, to be followed later, by the Mac Free. All of these organic apples will be juiced at Boates cider mill and then transported to Ironworks Distillery, Lunenburg as a key ingredient in their apple brandy. If we have a spell without too much rain, we should be able to pick a couple of bins per day. (note: one bin can hold between 18-20 bushel boxes).
For most Nova Scotians, September is ‘return to school’. That no longer applies for Heather and myself. Instead, it is a time when we miss the sound and companionship of the retired sled dogs. It is also a time of physical labour, as we climb the apple ladders, fill the bushel boxes and then load into the larger bins. The tractor, with its forklift, comes out of the barn to load the bins onto a flat-bed truck for transportation.
Other signs of change found in the media include comments on the Lahey report. In particular, I recommend Raymond Plourde, Ecology Action Centre. He has an online opinion piece in the Chronicle Herald, September 8th Lahey Forestry report; the good, the bad and the missing.
Or take a look at the poster produced by the Valley REN for the Devour Festival, this October. It promotes the unique qualities of living and working in the Annapolis Valley.
I want to acknowledge my monthly conversations at the End of the Line pub with Frank Fox and Paul Colville. They encourage me to keep writing my blog. Thanks, as usual, to Edward for his graphics, and to Heather for sharing the workload.
Raymond Plourde. Chronicle Herald September 8, 2018. Opinions. Lahey Forestry report: the good, the bad and the missing.
Deborah Dennis. Valley REN. Forwarded a new poster for the Devour Festival. September 11,2018.