Having a Lemon Meringue Kind of Day

Look at the fabulous colours in this building-under-renovation in Belliveau Cove, down on the French Shore between Digby and Yarmouth.

Larry and I went for a little adventure today to shake the winter blues. A few readers of this blog had reminded me of the visual delights of the French Shore, so off we went in the direction of Grosse Coques (translation: Big Clams) to take our well water sample to the lab. You may not remember, but we’ve had ongoing problems with bacteria in our well and it’s been a long time since we’ve tested the water.

Back in October, our bath water was running in a beautiful pale shade of avocado green, with no odour, but still, not really what we wanted to be drinking . It’s from the manganese in our well. We had a water specialist fellow over and he described a water treatment system that could be installed in the basement and that sounded very complex, very expensive and that required annual expensive re-analysis. We stalled.

The green is from a high, but acceptable amount of maganese in the water.

We found a new water filter that made the water clear again and we added some bleach to the well. So now we are waiting for the results which will measure the amount of bacteria. It used to be that a certain amount was allowed in a ‘pass’. But now it’s a zero tolerance kind of thing. That is, as homeowners, you can do whatever you want with your water, but if you were to run a commercial establishment, it would have to be up to code.

Many of our friends have the attitude that people in rural Canada have been drinking well water of various types and conditions for years and years with no ill effects, so why make a big deal about it. Some even go so far as to say that some (non e-coli) bacteria in the water is good for you. It means it’s alive…….like us, like the plants, like the billions of bacteria that live in our digestive systems.

Salt water at St. Mary's Bay

It was so windy when we got to the lab that it took both of us to shut the door of the behind us. Inside, a man and a woman in lab coats greeted us and when we asked about the giant pot of boiling water on the stove, they joked that they were cooking lobster. They almost ‘had’ me there for a minute. It all seemed so plausible with the sea churning outside. This is their backyard view:

Low tide.

The test costs $22 and we’ll find out our coliform bacteria counts and any e-coli…..which we’ve never had and don’t expect. The results will be emailed tomorrow.

After that we continued down the shore and stopped at the Université Sainte-Anne where classes are conducted in French.

I had an enormous slice of Lemon meringue pie in their cafe. It was wonderful to hear all those around us speaking French. It really felt like we were on an exotic holiday.

On our way home, we stopped into visit Gilberte Doelle, the organic farmer and owner of Wild Rose Farms. She sells fabulous vegetables at the local markets in the summer and also grows greens in her unheated greenhouses.

Wild Rose Farm unheated greenhouse in March.

Gilberte invited us in for a cup of tea from her own special blend that was a combination of roses and lemon balm and about 5 more things. She’s starting to sell these at the markets. We got talking about seed saving and she told me how to save seeds from my heirloom tomatoes that I’ll be growing this summer. Apparently, you have to ‘ferment ‘ the seeds first. I found some instructions on the internet. I was pretty excited about this because I would like to save more from my own plants. I am noticing how the prices of seeds have risen in the last couple of years. I am also impressed with the rigour and adaptability of the plants I’ve grown from my own seed…like blue lake runner beans, pumpkins and garlic from cloves. They are well adapted to our soil and conditions.

The view across the road from Gilberte's house and farm.

Gilberte and I talked about a New Brunswick seed seller who has just relocated to the Annapolis Valley.  Andrea Berry produces Hope Seeds who claim Passion for seed saving; commitment to sustainable agriculture; and securing local food systems for future generations.

They grow their own seed and are committed to heritage and rare plants. I was just about to FINALLY order my seeds for this year, so I consider running into Gilberte very lucky.

We got home and pulled on our icers to walk down the long icy driveway to our house. But I didn’t even notice the ice because visions of heritage tomatoes, lemon pie, and dramatic crashing waves filled my thoughts. Not a bad way to spend a cold winter’s day.

St. Mary's Bay.

10 thoughts on “Having a Lemon Meringue Kind of Day

  1. Sybil: I make a pretty good lemon pie myself and it is my very favorite. As a matter of fact, I want a piece right now! 😉

    Faye: I would love to meet you too! I will let you know! It is so pretty down the French Shore and the ever presence of that water is magical.

    Barbara: That draw of the vast ocean must be our ancient memories starring back at the place where life sprang.

    Louise: Isn’t the colour of that building wild! I almost think they shouldn’t cover it. And….I am starting my leeks and red onion seedlings tonight!

    Lynne: Thanks for your comment. I am going to try and save as many of my own seeds as possible, although it’s always tempting to try something else!

    Martin: Wanting to eat something special seems to be a huge byproduct of going anywhere in Nova Scotia, don’t you think? 🙂

    Lynne: I’m so glad you had a good trip here. Your Lunenberg photos…in fact your photography in general is so colourful and nicely composed. Do you know what area you will be living in ? Happy landings!

  2. Lovely, lovely post! I’m visiting Nova Scotia, and have loved every minute of it, even though it’s been cold. My day around Lunenberg yesterday revealed lots of fabulous colour. I’m so excited about coming to live here at the end of this year! Especially now I have met my two new friends Sybil and Amy-Lynn. Canadians are wonderful, friendly people!

  3. We love the colors of buildings down the French Shore, and we love the communities too. We always come home upbeat and inspired to cook something special.

  4. The pictures of the ocean in winter are lovely, and thank you for all those tips on saving tomato seeds. I will put them to work this coming season.

  5. Oh lovely post for so many reasons: great pic of the building under construction – what colour!, tomato seeds, water: fresh and salty. This post reminded me of ‘Seedy Saturday’, it must be happening soon. Thanks Flora!

  6. A lemon meringue kind of day in my neighbourhood – that has to be a good thing!
    The colours of that building undergoing renovations always catch my eye too, and also the sweet silo-shaped building on the other side of it. Must visit Wild Rose Farm again soon – it’s been much too long. And your bath water looks…um… interesting? Well, better green than brown, I’d say! PS: Next time you have a yen to visit the French Shore, we’d love to see you! 🙂
    – Faye

  7. I so enjoy your posts Flora when I am away. It sounds as though you had a wonderful day and that the trip lifted your spirits. Good Luck with the results. See you in a few weeks.

    1. Hi Pam! I *thought* I saw you following me down the hwy to the French Shore 😉

      The water results was 26 coliform colonies in 100 ml of water. 1/2 of the count from last year at this time…but still far away from 0! Keep that kettle boiling!

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