Thursday, March 31, 2011

Not Quite the Image of the Day - Part 3

Another month has passed and I have been busily snapping photographs for our Project 365 challenge. So far things are going well. Three months have passed and I have not yet missed a day of taking and posting an image. There have indeed been a couple of days where I have struggled to get a good picture but, for the most part they have worked out. There have also been a few of the images that have strained to meet the Annapolis Royal criteria that we had established but, hopefully I have been able to provide a spin that makes the questionable images palatable.

The images in this post are some of the images taken during the month of March that did not get selected as the image of the day. As in previous months, I sometimes had a very difficult time choosing which image was the single image for the day. With the exception of the bottom two images which were taken at Ross Farm Museum, the remainder of this collection was taken in the general Annapolis Royal area. The locations range from the Tidal Generating Station and Fort Anne to a luncheon at St Luke's Church and the Victoria Beach Wharf. Do you think that you can name all of the locations?

All for now,

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Routes to your Roots

I am pleased to announce that the O'Dell House Museum / AHS Genealogy Centre Routes to Your Roots video was launched earlier today. If you remember as far back as October, a couple of people from the Council of Nova Scotia Archives arrived to record a video. Phil Neville, who is seen staring very intently into the camera, and Susan Gilson had the enviable task of traveling around Nova Scotia to record short videos at each of the archives participating in Routes to your Roots. Perhaps not as enviable was the task of piecing together all of the flubbed and outtakes If you have not yet seen it, this is an excellent resource for those looking to research their Nova Scotian ancestors.

The video, which uses the late Jeanne Doucet Currie's l'Ordre de bon temps as the theme song, opens with some of the scenery around Annapolis Royal. As we cruise down St George Street, we are taken to the O'Dell House Museum. Here we take a look at the exhibit rooms before heading to the Annapolis Royal Court House to see the AHS Archives. After a review of the archival and genealogical holdings of the Annapolis Heritage Society we see some additional scenery and fade into the credits.

Thanks to the Council of Nova Scotia Archives and the Province of Nova Scotia for this production. In case you missed my more subtle link above, the link to the video is HERE. Let us know what you think.

All for now,

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Hung out to Dry

Today was the first day of the year that we were able to hang a load of laundry outside on the clothes line. Now, there have been a few days this spring where the weather has been nice enough to dry clothes but, I guess that laundry was not the priority on those days. Since today was laundry day, the sun and wind seemed to call out for the clothesline. I am always happy when one of the electricity devouring machines in our house can lay dormant.

If I were asked I would probably put forward the view that clothes lines are a totally under appreciated heritage resource. The evolution of this sort of device would go as far back as when humans moved beyond drying their laundered garments on nearby rocks. This centuries old technique allowed clothing to dry quickly while giving them a wonderfully fresh smell. The lack of heritage consciousness about clotheslines is an excellent example of how everyday domestic activities can often be overlooked. To many people throughout history, the successful completion of the weeks laundry was of far more consequence than the manoeuvrings of politicians or the military. Sadly, the views and stories of these individuals are rarely recorded. Whenever I am hanging out the clothes, I briefly get the feeling that I am taking part in an activity that would be familiar to generations before me.

On another note, a few years ago there was a book published that discussed clothes lines. The book espoused a theory that a good clothes line was organized by type, size and colour. Essentially, all of the blue shirts would go together arranged from smallest to largest before moving on to the next colour. The same would happen for pants, socks and other things that needed drying. I am sure that boxers, briefs and other assorted undergarments were hung in a special place of shame so that the neighbours would never see them. The author had actually taken the time to drive around and give grades to clotheslines. Despite my fondness for clotheslines, I recoiled in horror at the concept of this book. The imposed order and social judgment sent me reeling. I have since decided that clothes will be hung on my line in the order that the come to the top of the basket. Anarchy rules at our house!

All for now,

This post was online for a couple of hours and I received an email from my mother. Often the voice of reason to my bombast, she offered the following.

"Both of your Grandmothers hung things grouped together. In fact, I remember Mom having me take clothing off the line and rehang the clothing in the correct way. All of the towels went together, shirts always hung by the bottom were together, pants always hung by the top were together, all undershirts together, followed by underwear, etc. To this day, I can not hang out clothing without at least making an attempt to have the line look orderly and when I pass a clothes line I always notice how the clothing is hung. I am sure there are lots more people who grew up with exactly the same training still doing the same thing."

Friday, March 25, 2011

The Queen's Luncheon

Earlier today I attended a luncheon to raise funds toward sending Queen Annapolis Royal, Carrie Murray, to the Queen Annapolisa pageant at the Apple Blossom Festival. In addition to being a genuinely nice person, Carrie has been a student employee and volunteer at the Annapolis Heritage Society so I was very happy to be able to support her in this effort. The actual effort was made much easier by having a delicious lunch prepared by Paula Buxton of Leo's Cafe. I consider eating chicken breast stuffed with sun dried tomatoes and goat cheese and a triple chocolate mousse for dessert to be a fairly easy contribution toward a good cause. Add to this the chance to chat with some folks from around the community and I would call this a successful event.

Our speaker for the luncheon was Stephen McNeil, leader of the Nova Scotia Liberal Party and MLA for Annapolis. His topic for this event was his mother Theresa McNeil. While I never had the opportunity to meet her, Theresa McNeil casts an impressive shadow in our community. If being the mother of 17 children was not enough, after the unfortunate death of her husband in 1973, she made her way into the workforce to support her family. A few years later she was appointed as the first female High Sheriff in Canada. To this day her portrait hangs in the Annapolis Royal courthouse. She is possibly the only non jurist or member of the Royal family to hold this honour. Stephen held the audiences undivided attention as he told stories of the good work that his mother has done and her kindness of spirit. She definitely is someone whose life should stand as an inspiration.

All for now,

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Haul-up in Spring

With the snow melting I been presented with some photographic opportunities that did not exist while the ground was covered. This has been a great help to the Project 365 challenge that a handful of us have undertaken. It is refreshing not to have a snowbank in virtually every image. Not only has it been nice to get some colourful images of flowers at the Historic Gardens but, the melting means that some of our other facilities are becoming accessible. Earlier today I took a few minutes to wander around the Annapolis Royal Haul-up. Even though there is not a boat on the slip, the textures and colours are still interesting. If you have never had the opportunity to see the Haul-up in action, I would highly recommend taking the time to watch them "change boats". It is fascinating to watch as a 45 foot scallop boat emerges from the water.

The Haul-up is also a tangible reminder of our community's historic connections to the sea. The sound of a caulking hammer driving oakum between the planks on a boat is the same today as it would have been when the French first settled on our shores in 1605. This is a sound that was passed down through the shipbuilders of the golden age of sail in the nineteenth century. Even though it was quiet today, you could almost hear the ghosts of the generations who made their living on the Annapolis Royal waterfront.

All for now,

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Water Wagon

Perhaps the middle of March is not the time to worry about dry, dusty streets but, there is something about this image that caught my attention tonight. In the days before the roads in Annapolis Royal were paved, the water wagon would be used to wet the streets. Wagon wheels, early automobiles, horses and oxen could raise quite a cloud of dust on warm summer days. With a bit of water the dust was kept to a minimum. The Town of Annapolis Royal's water wagon was operated James Lewis and Son. This photograph, taken on Upper St George Street around 1925, shows James Lewis Jr. driving the wagon.

All for now,

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Waiting for a Soldier

Occasionally I come across an image in the AHS Archives that potentially tells a story far deeper than the information we actually know about the photograph. The picture in today's post is a perfect example. This photograph is unfortunately unidentified. We do not know who the lady sitting in the chair is. We do not even know where she is sitting. This image exists in a state of archival limbo known as the miscellaneous file.

At first glance this looks like a simple portrait of a young lady from the early part of the twentieth century. If you look closely at the image you can start to discern an interesting story. Sitting on the table is a framed portrait of a soldier. Judging by both her clothing and what I can see of his uniform, I feel safe in saying that this image was taken during the first World War (1914-1918). What I enjoy about this image is the way she is posed with one elbow resting on the table and her knuckles against the side of her head. A very slight smile graces her face. There is something about this pose that implies that she is patiently waiting.

What is she waiting for? Why the return of the soldier whose photograph is in the frame on the table of course. Was he in training? Was he fighting in the trenches of France or Belgium? Did he have a copy of this image that he kept safely pressed into a book or tucked into a pocket? Did he ever return home? Sadly we do not have an answer to these questions.

All for now,

Saturday, March 19, 2011

What Could Have Been

A couple of nights ago our family took a trip to Halifax. As I was looking out at the night view from the window of our 7th floor hotel room, I started thinking about some of the similarities of this view with Annapolis Royal. Those of you have been reading this blog for any length of time will know that the view across the Annapolis Basin to Granville Ferry is a frequent source of inspiration. Like Annapolis Royal and Granville Ferry, Halifax and Dartmouth are functionally one community divided by a body of water. The longer I watched the Halifax waterfront, the more I started to wonder what would have happened to Annapolis Royal had the capital of Nova Scotia not moved to Halifax in 1749.

Through the Acadian period and under the British until 1749 Annapolis Royal had served as the Capital of Acadie and Nova Scotia. With the founding of Halifax a certain amount of official attention was drawn away from Annapolis Royal. While the garrison remained at Fort Anne until 1854, this was increasingly a port of secondary strategic importance. As it should, Halifax grew and prospered as the capital. A provincial capital means growth and development. If only to accommodate the housing and living needs of the bureaucracy, a capital tends to be a fairly large community. Add to this the industries and merchants who want to be close to the seat of government and the community grows larger. Of course a capital must have grand buildings to house a legislature and and other public functions. In no time at all you have developed quite a large community.

To be clear, this was really more musing on what could have been rather than what I would like to see. While the population of Annapolis Royal is currently similar to what would have been found in the 1750s, I am perfectly content with the view from the Annapolis Royal waterfront. I still find it interesting to wonder how different this view would be if the capital had not moved.

All for now,

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

View from the Causeway

Living where I do I tend to cross the Annapolis River Causeway at least two times per day. From the tidal generating station and mackerel fishing to the flying foam and large mysterious bumps just before you reach Annapolis Royal, there are some interesting things that happen along the causeway. One of the things I always enjoy about going across this structure is the chance to have a look at the scallop boats which are moored there. These are among the boats which venture out into the Bay of Fundy to fish for the famous Digby scallops.

While these boats add to the scenery of my drive, they are also quite interesting to watch. In the dead of winter you can see crews rowing out to their vessels. I always marvel at how cold this work must be. When they return from the bay you can see the odd scallop shell fly out of an opening on the side of the boat as the crew shuck their catch. Far more than scenery, these are hardworking members of our community.

Having spent years watching this spot I know that the water is rarely ever glassy calm. Between the wind and the tidal currents there is usually some disturbance on the surface of the water. This morning when I saw the reflection of the boats mirrored in the water I decided that it would be a good idea to pull the car over to get some pictures.

All for now,

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Landmarks of the Granville Road

It was a beautiful late winter day in the Annapolis Royal region. It was the kind of day that was filled with the warmth and hopefulness of spring. A day where you can safely take a drive with the car windows rolled down for the first time in months. In fact, that was exactly what I did. Piling our resident three-year old into the car, we headed down the Granville Road to see what was going on. We decided to stop at a few of our favorite landmarks as we went down the road. I am sure that very few of the regular readers of this blog will be surprised to learn that the landmarks that were drawing our attention were heritage buildings.

We first stopped at the Port Royal Lighthouse. Due to an ongoing project at work, I have learned that this is officially called the Schafner Point Lighthouse although few locals would know it by this name. After watching some ducks along the shore and snapping a few pictures we headed down the road. Our next stop was at Christ Church Anglican in Karsdale. This Loyalist era building was built in 1791. This is now one of the oldest surviving churches in the province. The accompanying burial ground features some lovely examples of early Nova Scotia tombstones. This is a wonderfully peaceful landscape for wandering and wondering about the lives of those who once lived in our community.

After our stop at Christ Church, we continued down the road to the Victoria Beach Wharf and Lighthouse. My companion was interested in seeing more ducks so, I figured that this would be a good location. Since one wing of the wharf is currently under construction we wandered out the other side. Peering across the Digby Gut wed did indeed see some ducks. A small flock of eiders were flying low above the water and an unidentified group were a little further off shore. We left the wharf and walked part way up a steep hill so I could snap a few pictures of the Victoria Beach Lighthouse. This is the shorter of the two lighthouses featured in this post.

Due to one of us starting to get a bit grumpy, we decided to turn and head for home at this point. When my traveling companion fell asleep I decided that I could sneak off the road to get a few pictures of the Port Royal Habitation to complete my built heritage landmarks. The 1939 reconstruction of the 1605 settlement of deMonts and Champlain is always a worthwhile stop. All things considered we had an enjoyable afternoon.

All for now,

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Spring Blooms

After a few months of taking pictures of snow, frost, snowflakes, snowbanks, ice and generally frozen conditions, it is very nice to start to add a few more colours to the palate. While it is not yet the full onset of spring colours, I was very happy to see some plants in bloom when I was at the Historic Gardens' winter farmers' market this morning. We had a few minutes to stroll into the Gardens before the rain started and I was happy to see both witch hazel and snowdrops in bloom. While the individual blooms are small, the yellow and red of the witch hazel almost stood out like a beacon on the landscape. If you are feeling the need for some early spring colour, it is worth a trip to visit our friends at the Historic Gardens.

All for now,