Posted in Video Review


We headed back to New Glasgow on Thursday. Thursday has become Reader/Register day. This week’s news included an update on the candidates to replace Stephen McNeil. They appear to be Carman Kerr and Bill MacDonald.

In the evening, we watched Conviction, a documentary by Nance Ackerman.

‘Conviction went inside Canada’s women’s prisons to imagine alternatives to incarceration through art and music and premiered at the Hot Docs International Film Festival’.

I checked out Nance Ackerman’s web site. It took me to other documentaries, Heartstring Productions in Tupperville with her partner Jamie Alcorn, and Cousin Tours, workshops with Nance and her cousin, Laurie Nassif.

This reminded me of Anne Crossman’s list of local authors. In this case, it would be a list of creative film makers. It also reminded me of Carman Kerr and his interest in Adventure Tourism.


Heather journeyed with me to New Glasgow. Edward added the links and graphics. Anne Crossman shared her interest in local authors.


Through, you can find links to documentaries : Conviction, Carry me Home, Cousins Photo Tours.

Anne Crossman column in the Register, April 8th. lists many of our local authors.

Posted in biographical sketch, Video Review

A Global View

There are days when Spring has not arrived. It is cold rain and windy, a time for watching a video in front of the woodstove. This week, we watched two movies:

  1. The 100 Year March: a Philosopher in Poland.
  2. Seaspiracy

Klaus and Shirley recommended the first; Edward recommended the second.

A Philosopher in Poland looks at the events of the Second World War and the freedom of the Polish people. Seaspiracy looks at the global exploitation of the oceans: the killing of whales, sharks, tuna indeed it deals with all marine species. Both films provide a sobering perspective on today’s society.

A Philosopher in Poland raises the question of nation states. This is particularly poignant given the time of COVID. What lessons can/have been learned from the Second World War? It would be interesting to see similar documentaries on other countries e.g.Russia, China, the United States. And, at the local level, Canada and Nova Scotia.

The same is true for Seaspiracy given the Canadian (Nova Scotia) approach to the management of natural resources. What is happening off the coasts, in terms of the fishing industry? Canada is bounded by three oceans.

Looking for answers, I happened upon a short essay in Wendell Berry’s book Home Economics, titled ‘A Nation rich in Natural Resources’, p 133-136. It was helpful. (also, see HERE)

”Indeed, once our homeland, our source, is regarded as a resource we are sliding downwards towards the ash heap or the dump”.

The ‘icing on the cake’ was the recent Guardian Weekly, March 26, 2021. It included two items on the United Kingdom. Edward Docx ‘Send in the Clown’ Making sense of Boris Johnson and Priyamvada Gopal ‘Why can’t Britain handle the truth about Churchill?’

Both articles led to a reflection on the post-war era in England. My time was 1945-1969. I arrived at the University of Western Ontario to start graduate work in Geography, over fifty years ago. Canada is now my homeland.


Edward and Klaus/Shirley for their viewing recommendations. Edward added the graphics. Heather shared the viewing.

Details HERE.

Image courtesy of Lars Andersen

Reminder of what day this is!


The 100 year March: A Philosopher in Poland. Stefan Molyneux, host of Freedomain Radio

Seaspiracy on Netflix

Wendell Berry, 1987, Home Economics: A Nation rich in Natural Resources, p.133-136, North Point Press

Posted in biographical sketch, Video Review

The Food Chain

Heather has been feeding the birds all Winter. The main customers are chickadees, mourning doves, blue jays and red polls, and an assortment of woodpeckers — plus the squirrel family. Tuesday, looking out the living room window, I saw a bird flash by. It was a sharp-shinned hawk, in the process of preying on a mourning dove. Clearly, we are feeding others in the food chain.

On Edward’s recommendation, we started to watch the series: Canada: the story of us on CBC Gem. There are ten episodes, each of forty five minutes, covering the main events in the history of the country. Initially, we were stunned by the combination of beautiful landscapes, with commentaries by well-known Canadian personalities. It was a great way to fill snowy evenings. We are on episode six; it covers the First World War. The format is beginning to seem repetitious, however, I am sure we will finish the series.

In return, I would suggest Mango Dreams on Netflix. This is the story of an Indian doctor, reliving his childhood memories. Again, it offers insight into the political reality of the Indian sub-continent.


Edward for his movie recommendation. Checking Google, it seems there are similar series for both the United States and Australia. Of course, I imagine that not everyone in Atlantic Canada will have the same list of historical events. Heather shared the movie watching.


Canada: the story of us on Gem (2017).
Mango Dreams on Netflix (2016)

Posted in Article Review, Video Review

Glad Tidings

This week, I received the quarterly newsletter from Jon Percy. Fundy Tidings is a useful compendium of initiatives that impact the ecology of the Bay of Fundy. It serves to reinforce the concept that even within the global pandemic environment, there are still individuals concerned about our local geography: landscape and seascape.

Jon performs a service to the community by documenting the activities of the Bay of Fundy Ecosystem Partnership (BOFEP).

Green Elephant

To celebrate my birthday and Valentine’s Day, Heather and I enjoyed a breakfast of Belgian waffles at the Green Elephant in Kingston.

White Tiger

To top off the day, we watched The White Tiger on Netflix. Set in India, the story describes the journey from rural poverty to entrepreneurial success.

Of course, white tigers are extremely rare, as indeed, are green elephants.


On Friday afternoon, we picked up ‘take and bake’ tacos with the fixings at Lunn’s Mill on the Carleton Road, Lawrencetown ( Highway #201). Very good.


Jon Percy for Fundy Tidings. Heather for sharing our meetings with both the Green Elephant and the White Tiger. Edward added his graphic talent.


Fundy Tidings, Newsletter of the Bay of Fundy Ecosystem Partnership, Creating-sharing-using knowledge about the Bay of Fundy, February 2021 issue

The White Tiger 2021. Netflix movie.

Posted in biographical sketch, Video Review

Different place, different time

This week, we had to drive from New Glasgow to Antigonish. It was surprising to see the twinning of Highway #104. As part of the construction, this leads to significant removal of forest cover.

From England, I received the PLANTED newsletter, including an interview by Sam Peters with Nick Hayes on his book, The Book of Trespass. Hayes describes the lack of access to the English landscape, and makes comparisons to Scotland and Scandinavian countries. This also contrasts with the situation in Canada, and Nova Scotia in particular. Here, we have protesters in the courts for challenging the clearcutting of crown land in Digby County.

It seems such a long time ago. In 1964, after a summer working in Labrador, I returned to Montreal where I bought a Greyhound bus pass, $99 for 99 days of unlimited travel. This allowed me to travel down to Mexico, across to the west coast, California, before heading North to Victoria, BC. I caught the airplane home to England from Montreal. Later, I recall discussing the trip with a school friend, Roy Peters. He made a similar trip the following year. His son, Sam Peters is the Principal at PLANTED.

I also recall the days of hitch-hiking in the United Kingdom. We would take off on long weekends to go caving (spelunking). From the University of Birmingham, this included the Peak district, Derbyshire, the Mendips in the Southwest, and also Lisdoonvarna, on the west coast of Ireland. It’s hard to imagine this freedom, especially now in these COVID-19 days.

While in New Glasgow this week, I finished reading Harold Horwood’s Dancing on the Shore. It represents excellence in Canadian nature writing.

”The tides sweep over the clam flats in a great flood twice daily. The migrants sweep through the sky in great flocks twice a year. These vast rhythms, so visible in such a small space, seem very like the heartbeat and the breathing of a living planet.”


Bloom where you are planted

— Raymond Hunter, an early organic farmer in the Annapolis Valley, cited on the Ironworks Hunter Brandy bottle.


Thanks to Roy Peters and Andrew Ronay for the connection to the Planted newsletter. Heather shared the drive to Antigonish. Edward for his graphics.


PLANTED unearthed. Series 2, Episode I interview by Sam Peters with Nick Hayes. YouTube video.

Nick Hayes, 2020, The Book of Trespass: crossing the lines that divide us, Bloomsbury Publishing.

Harold Horwood, 2010, Dancing on the Shore: A Celebration of Life at Annapolis Basin, Pottersfield Press

Posted in Video Review

Arctic Dreams

Sandra Barry sent me the link to the latest issue of Orion magazine (January 21,2021). It contains two interesting items:

  1. Digital story map, The Place where you live.
  2. Video of a conversation between Robert MacFarlane and Barry Lopez at Powell’s Bookstore in Portland, Oregon in 2019. The topic was MacFarlane’s new book Underland. The video by David Lukas is forty eight minutes long.

I also received from Moose House Publications, the link to their new interactive map, Tour the World of Moose House.

Link to interactive map

The interview by Barry Lopez encouraged me to pull off the shelf, Arctic Dreams. Imagination and Desire in a Northern Landscape, first published in 1986.

What impressed me about the conversation between two writers that I have enjoyed – was their emphasis on language, and it’s relationship to Geography.

It does not take much effort to transform ‘conversation’ to ‘conservation’.


Sandra Barry for the kindness of forwarding the link to Orion magazine. Moose House Publications for their story map. Edward and Heather continue their support.


Writers and Artists on the Influence of Barry Lopez, Orion Magazine, January 21,2021.

Barry Lopez, 1986, Arctic Dreams: Imagination and Desire in a Northern Landscape, Bantam Books

Moose House Publications, Tour the World of Moose House, January 25, 2021.

Posted in Book Review, Video Review

Life Ahead

The Sea among the Rocks is a quotation from Evelyn Richardson, used as the title for Harry Thurston’s book of travels in Atlantic Canada.

“Though Morrill holds title to the Island of Bon Portage, who could sell or buy the sea among the rocks, the wind rippling the fields of grass, the moon’s lustrous path across the surging water, or the star-studded bowl of the night sky? They are without price, and priceless, and will be here for those who follow us. Then the work of our hands, those insignificant scratches on the face of the earth, may serve to remind others of our passing…”. p.255

I have just finished reading Thurston’s book. The writer has collected together a series of articles written between 1980-2000 in Atlantic Insight, Equinox, Harrowsmith and elsewhere. In all cases, they concern the use of the land and sea : farming, forestry, mining and fishing.

Examples include:

Prest’s Last Stand Mooseland, Nova Scotia
The Enemy Above Millstream, New Brunswick
The Fat of the Land Tatamagouche, Nova Scotia
North of Nain Cut Throat Island, Labrador

As we enter 2021, it would be worthwhile to revisit Murray Prest and the use of forests in Nova Scotia or the issue of aerial spraying (The Enemy Above).

Perhaps, is it time for Harry Thurston or the next generation of writers to document our relationship with the landscape; whether fishing, farming, forestry, mining in 2020?

This week, I received a notice from the province about an online survey to collect input directly from private woodland owners.


My blog title, Life Ahead, is taken from the new Netflix movie starring Sophia Loren. Highly recommend.


John forwarded the link to woodland owner survey. Heather shared the movie night. Edward added his artistic touch.


Harry Thurston, 2002, The Sea among the Rocks, Pottersfield Press.
Where my roots go deep: the collected writing of Evelyn Richardson, 1996, Nimbus.
The Life Ahead, 2020, Netflix, starring Sophia Loren.

Posted in Book Review, Video Review

Redefining Retirement

This weekend, we plan to send a care package to Iqaluit. It will include pairs of knitted socks, as well as a book illustrated by local artist, Geoff Butler “The Illustrated Ode to Labrador“.

The book was picked up months ago in Annapolis Royal. It tells the story of the Ode to Labrador. Besides the Art work, it contains lyrics by Harry Paddon and additional text by Robin McGrath.

I am sending it North for Andrew and the grandchildren to read. It brings back memories of my first field season in Labrador in 1964. I was based at the McGill Sub-Arctic Research Station in Schefferville, and developed a love for the Northern landscape.

Last Friday, we finished watching the BBC production of Victor Hugo, Les Miserables on Gem. While a gripping eight part series, it was hard to watch the turmoil of the French Revolution, as we endure the present COVID political uncertainties.

Same day, we had to pick up a book in Annapolis Royal. After enjoying the French Basin trail, dog walk with Siqsiq, we stopped for a morning coffee at Lola’s Café. This led to a brief stop at the Library. Here, I found an early Harry Thurston book (2002), “The Sea among the Rocks“. It is a collection of short pieces describing familiar places in Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and other parts of Atlantic Canada. In most cases, he writes from an environmental perspective.

‘Thurston writes passionately about the region’s bounty, the environmental destruction and the attempts to protect what’s left of our natural heritage. He shows how these concerns for the environment are inseparable from the spheres of community and culture’.

On returning home, I found an email from the Retired Teachers Organization (RTO) on a five part workshop, facilitated by the Acadia Entrepreneurship Centre. These online sessions address the topic of ‘redefining retirement’.

My questions are simple.

‘What can I do in 2021, to guarantee that there will be a Centre of Geographic Sciences in Lawrencetown for my grandchildren, should they decide to follow my career path — that means, the opportunity to study Cartography, Geographic Information Science, Remote Sensing and Surveying, ten years from now?

Retirement from an educational institution does not mean retirement from one’s life time academic and research interests. Most post-secondary institutions understand this point. How about the Nova Scotia Community College?


We publish rural Nova Scotia. Check out Moose House Publications founded by Brenda Thompson in 2019.


Both Edward and Heather share many of the same interests. Friday evening, we had an excellent supper at The Station with Anne, Bill and Roger. Earlier, John shared his thoughts on the ‘state of the environment’.


Geoff Butler, 2016, The Illustrated Ode to Labrador, Breakwater Books.

Harry Thurston, 2002, The Sea among the Rocks: Travels in Atlantic Canada, Pottersfield Press.

Posted in Book Review, Video Review

Borealis and Back to the Land

After weeks of Netflix and CBC Gem, it was refreshing to rediscover National Film Board (NFB) documentaries. For those seeking to change society’s perception of our forests, I would recommend the film, Borealis.

It describes the intrinsic values of the Boreal forest, especially in these times of climate change. Made me wonder whether there should be a similar film made on the Acadian forest.

For dessert, we watched the NFB (1992) documentary on The Northern Lights.

This has been a particularly long weekend. I just hope the snow stays around for a cross-country ski tomorrow (Sunday).

Over the Christmas holiday, I had the chance to read Paul Colville’s memoir, “Back to the Land”. It was an early draft that describes the journey of Paul and Ruth from the United States to Mosher’s Corner on North Mountain, and life thereafter.

Google satellite View around Mosher’s Corner, Nova Scotia

Each chapter looks at a decade of living, as part of the rural economy in Nova Scotia. It is planned for publication in 2021 (publisher to be determined). I look forward to the final version. No pressure, Paul.

Time to shovel the snow, and put on the skis.


Just back from skiing. For the local reader, we parked at Lunn’s Mill. Skied through the Lawrencetown tree nursery to the Annapolis River. Along the river to Andrew’s property and up to our house. Turn round, and reverse the trip to Lunn’s Mill. Wish they were open on a Sunday, could do with a beer. Oh well, we have a growler of Brickyard Red at home.


Paul Colville, for the good times that go back to the Chimney Sweeping days. Heather for sharing the journey. Edward for his editorial insights.


National Film Board (NFB), 2020, Kevin McMahon, Borealis.
Explore how the plants and animals of Canada’s Boreal forest communicate and survive in this unique cinematic documentary’.

National Film Board (NFB), 1992, Alan Booth, The Northern Lights

Paul Colville, 2021, Back to the Land. Publisher, TBD.

Posted in Video Review

Community Mapping Update

(This blog has two links of interest: one from GoGeomatics and one from COGS).

In a recent issue of GoGeomatics magazine, there was an online interview with Alia Kotb, Community Maps Advocate at Esri Canada.

Click HERE for video interview

This peaked my interest, and reminded me of earlier initiatives in Nova Scotia. For example, Community Counts, the CLICK project and MapAnnapolis. What is the current status of these initiatives?

I raised the question with faculty at the Centre of Geographic Sciences (COGS). While I did not receive any definitive answers, I did have a response from Dave Maclean about the current virtual learning environment in Lawrencetown. Not being familiar with this world, I thought it worth sharing. Other members of the community may have an interest in the happenings inside the walls of COGS.

The virtual environment is global. So there is real potential to engage the GIS community in a network of mapping experiences. Here are a couple of possible examples.

One of my grandchildren lives in Iqaluit. What would it take to create a community map of the town from his perspective? Could the map be shared with his age cohort across other Northern communities? Or elsewhere in the world?

One of the issues in rural Nova Scotia is clearcutting the forests. Could we produce maps of clearcuts and potential clearcuts for Southwest Nova? Could we compare these maps of activity on crown land with equivalent maps in other countries, e.g. UK, New Zealand? If they apply ecological forestry, can we detect the difference? No spraying.

The reduction in face to face learning creates an opportunity. It can be more individualized, and less influenced by local context. Can we create customized networks around the individual needs of the community? Can we merge communities of place with communities of interest?


To Jon Murphy and Dave Maclean, both COGS graduates. Edward Wedler, COGS faculty in a earlier life.


GoGeomatics magazine interview, November 24, 2020.

Dave Maclean presentation for Esri Canada GIS Day Fall 2020.