Monday, August 15, 2011

Some recent work at the Cove

We've managed to do a bit of painting and a bit of early landscaping and a few other things about the place in Bottle Cove. The following pix will help to update the story.

Some of the pix show interior painting in the barn, getting some colour onto the walls, as well as a bit of cupboard building and some simple devices for hanging tools up. Michele did the painting and I did the 'building'. The paint looks great, and there's been a bit more since these photos were taken. There is also a shot of the back of the house showing a new coat of paint. We've bought a long ladder and the top third of the other sides will be completed in short order. It was a bit hairy painting the back of the cottage using the ladder we have had to date. Some other random shots show the new workhorse (car and utility trailer), and the original workhorse (Mustang), now enjoying a calmer lifestyle.

Other pix will show some uses to which off-cuts of timber from the deck extension have been put: a small 'deck' to house some pot plants, and a couple of planters (a hanging planter and a sitting planter).

There are also a couple of pix of an experimental retaining wall built to a description of a design our friend Dennis saw in Florida and related to us. It involves making shallow trenches where you want the wall to go, and then stacking bags of ready-mix concrete (qwikcrete), and driving some steel rod through the bags and down into the ground to tie them in place.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Digging up the past in Ferryland

Last week we were over on the east coast visiting friends and taking in the opening night of the George Street Festival in St John's. At the end of the trip we went past way down the Avalon Peninsula so that Michele could go see some puffins and whales (I'd seen a small whale the week before from binoculars at Bottle Cove, so I waived the whale trip and spent a couple of hours walking around the Bay Bulls wharf area and reading a bit of Newfoundland history. The following day we visited Ferryland, the colony of Avalon, settled by a British group in 1621.

While the peninsula and surrounding areas have been settled continuously (with the exception of an especially harsh winter late in the 17th century), the original buildings had long been lost to sight and memory. This changed in the late 1980s when a team from the Memorial University of Newfoundland began excavating the area. To date they have have recovered more than a million artifacts, ranging from a pair of gold rings to some locally minted (in lead) coins, via a wide range of pottery from Devon, Portugal and China, and much else besides. An impressive sample is on display in the information centre at the site. Local people have given permission for the excavations to proceed, some whom take a very active interest in the work.

We paid our entrance fees and got the written guide to the excavations, and followed through the more than 20 sub sites of the overall dig. After that we explored the downs at the end of the peninsula and walked to the lighthouse that looks out over the North Atlantic Ocean.

You can take a Virtual Walking Tour of the site here

Friday, August 05, 2011

Hiking from Bottle Cove to South Head

The committee responsible for developing tourism in the area around Bottle Cove have added some great hiking trails over the past few years. This has involve cutting tracks through the bush and marking the way with ribbons on trees and other signage, as well as making small wooden bridges and causeways from pressure treated timber to go over boggy terrain and streams. The trails are of varying lengths and degrees of difficulty.

Today we decided to walk the trail to South Head over the saddle at the foot of Grassy Gulch. Harvey had often mentioned this hike and it was always a favourite of his. He'd been going to take us, but got sick before we had created the kind of time and space away from building to be able to take leisure hikes. But today we got stuff around the house finished by early afternoon and decided to make the hike. The information said to allow a couple of hours each way. We began at sea level and around 4 kilometres later were at 330 metres. Sometimes the trail was steep, other times it was reasonably flat, but always it was challenging under foot. There were lots of roots and stumps to trip on and loose rock to slide on if we weren't careful. We passed lots of birds and frogs and saw plenty of moose hoof prints.

Setting off from the beacon we first passed the waterfall that constitutes a short hike in its own right. The waterfall hike goes to near the base of the falls, but the South Head trail passes above the falls. There was plenty of bush and occasional small breakouts into grassland in areas where streams and glacial action had levelled some of the land out.

Reaching the half way point we saw that someone had remembered Harvey by scribbling his name on the sign. That was nice to see. From there we crawled our way up Grassy Gulch, getting great views back to the south, including of our house and barn and the gulf and back to the Port a Port Peninsula, which we could see through the gap of Cedar Cove.

Once over the saddle at Grassy Gulch we could see the Bay of Islands, but were almost blown over by the wind blowing up the valley from the west – across from York Harbour, blowing clear up the Humber Arm – the same wind that terrorises the whole “Blow Me Down” area. A few hundred metres on we reached the end of the trail. We could see the South Head Light through binoculars and got a great view of a wood chip boat that had sailed up from Corner Brook Mill and was making its way south toward Nova Scotia.

After having a drink of water and eating some trail mix we turned back, making a few rest stops on the way back, feeling the pinch even though the hike back was mostly down hill.

We got back around 6pm, having left a little after 2pm. It was an honest 2 hours each way, allowing for photo-taking an occasional rest stops. Once back at the cottage I took a couple of photos looking up to Grassy Gulch to give a sense of where we had gone in relation to the house. The saddle at Grassy Gulch is near the centre of the top of the hill line in the photos.

The pix don't do justice to the walk. It was fantastic.

And here's a very raw video of the hike (apologies for the laboured narration).