Archive for May, 2012

scones and seascapes   13 comments

Posted at 1:08 pm in Uncategorized

Late last Saturday evening, Sage, Sabrina and I rolled into the yard here at our old house in Round Hill, Nova Scotia. This summer, I have quite a long mental list of tasks to work at, none of which are particularly pressing. When you take on a project such as this old place, you soon learn that it’s a bit like Rome. it won’t be done in a day, a week, a year, or perhaps even a decade, especially if you are doing pretty much everything yourself. For me, the trick in this old house rescue work has been to not take it too seriously – just work away at it the best that I can, while trying to leave room for walks and late night moth photography. That said, I am a pretty hard task master and probably don’t give myself enough time for rest and recreation. i vow to do things a little differently this summer. As well, I’ve made a pact with myself to try to eat better this year. Oh, it’s not that I don’t eat well, but ever since Don’s death, I have tended toward utilitarian cooking and eating. I would cook a huge batch of one thing and then just have that as my sole foodstuff for the next three or four days. Food was food. Such a change from the days when I happily labored endless hours in the kitchen preparing Pad thai, vegetarian Indian dishes, home baked bread, or what have you. Without Don to cook for, there hasn’t seemed to be much point in going to any trouble. However, I do hope to try a little better this summer. To that end, I decided to buy a new campstove that has a small oven (see above – click on all photos for larger views). For two summers here, and four years of nomadic autumn travels, I have made do with an electric frying pan and/or a compact propane single burner campstove. This new addition is bound to have some impact on the cuisine here at Round Hill.

This morning was my first attempt at using the new camp oven to bake. The instructions repeatedly state not to use the stove indoors due to the danger of carbon monoxide gas. The writer need not have feared for my safety as my natural paranoia of propane deterred me from setting up the stove in the well ventilated entrance hall. Instead, I set it up on a folding table in the back of a small utility trailer. As you can see from the reflection of the big Sugar Maple in the glass door (second photo), I am virtually cooking outdoors.

My first experiment was to attempt to bake a round of berry scones. The baking went quite well, although I do believe the baking time was about double what it might have been in a regular oven. However, eventually the task was accomplished and the scones proved to be very tasty. Of course, I experienced a thrill somewhat akin to a child baking his or her first cupcake in an Easy-Bake oven. On second thought, perhaps it was closer to the elation that Don and I both felt after successfully installing a water line and hydrant to our goat barn many decades ago. One would have thought the spout was pouring liquid silver rather than water the first time we turned on the hydrant. Let me assure you that a couple of winters of lugging a dozen or more water pails each chore time will do crazy things to your head.

Anyhow, now I am able to put food into a metal box and see it BAKE! Quite a novelty!

In other news, after our grand tour of Utah, Larry returned to Bisbee. I will miss my terrific companion – the music, hiking, good food and friendship. The companionship of another person is a thing of great value. I was reminded of that when I stopped at the Nova Scotia welcome center to take a break from driving on the thousand mile or so trip made from Ontario to here over two days. Don and I did that drive together a dozen or more times during our summer holidays each year. We both loved Nova Scotia, and as many of you know, Don was planning to retire in April 2008 with the intention of moving here that summer. Instead, he became ill and died at our farm in Ontario that autumn. It is a fact that brings me much sadness. Stopping at the welcome center is very difficult now. It feels like hallowed ground to me as we always paused there to rest and gaze out over the Tantramar Marsh toward our beloved Bay of Fundy, whose salty waters rush up red muddy channels with the influx of each tide. We had Sabrina with us many times, and Maggie before her. As always now, I can almost see Don standing by the ship’s mast amid the half-circle of Nova Scotia flags – his strong tall body silhouetted against the silvery light of the marshlands. In that moment, I am reminded of how like the tides are our lives – rushing and full one minute, only to become empty and still in another. But like the ocean, life was never meant to be one way or the other for long, and so we carry on.

Written by bev wigney on May 9th, 2012