Saturday, May 30, 2009

Maritime Finds

David and I just returned from a week in the Maritimes (east coast of Canada, where my parents have always resided), where we attended the burial of my father.  He died in March, but there was a lot of snow at the time, so they bury the dead in the spring instead (caskets are stored in a cold vault in the meantime) once the snow is gone and the ground is thawed out.  

The burial service was lovely and hard at the same time, but begins to provide some closure. 

My mother selected a lovely burial plot high on a hill, adjacent to a white fence in a cemetery near her home.  It is a very idyllic and would have made Dad very happy as it sits high on a hill not far from a river in which he loved to fish.  Mom and I also went shopping for headstones and purchased a lovely, classic one which will be used for her and Dad.  Death is a very strange thing, and the exercise of burying a loved one and buying a headstone is both a sombre and strangely humourous affair.  We shall all end up in the same place after all, and I can only hope I am so lovingly discharged from the planet as Dad was. 

After we bought the headstone (which cost a small fortune, by the way), we wandered over to a great little antique shop in Fredericton, called Old Tyme Antiques & Collectibles (on Main Street, north side).  I loved puttering around in there and chatting with the sweet shopkeeper, a lovely and witty man from the french east coast of New Brunswick.

I spied lots of treasures, but finally decided on this old hand-painted photograph from the 1920's, which depicts a light house in Maine (we reckon, as the inscription reads "Portland Head Light" by a photographer called Burrowes).
We also found a more recent (1940's) hand-painted photograph of Castle Mountain, in the Canadian Rockies, which is about 1 hour from our home in Calgary.  So we had to bring that home to its rightful region of Canada!  
While we were "home", David and I did a couple of drives around the nearby countryside, as I like to play tour guide.  Here are a couple of pretty shots from the South Road, a pretty country road in my town.  All the crabapple trees were in bloom. 

Besides the little barn tour, we also did a cemetery tour of some of the older sites in town.  I was delighted to see great swaths of pretty violets (New Brunswick's provincial flower) in one of the old burial gronds:
We also went out picking fiddleheads along the river in front of my mother's house, here:
Fiddleheads grown best in riparian (river's edge) areas that are flood plains and a little marshy.  This patch had been already picked over (they are cut off the plant just as they emerge from the ground before becoming a full-size fern, the Ostrich Fern) but we found new shoots coming up each day:
Across the river is a beautiful rock wall:
Oh, and I didn't mention that whilst fiddleheading, I sprained my ankle badly (a second degree sprain, meaning I ripped the heck out of my ligaments) early in the week. After lots of ice, and an x-ray, I had to hobble around on crutches in an air brace for the rest of the week.  I am still in a Tensor bandage and have been icing as its still swollen and bruised.  P.S. I got a lot of sympathy with my crutches, so I highly recommend them if you are feeling blue and want some attention...

And last but not least, we also managed to get some lobster after a short drive to the coast.  The lobster in the foreground was mine - look at his big claw!  David had to crack it for me!  Sorry I didn't spend much time styling the photo - my butter was getting cold!
Also on the cemetery tour, I came across the grave of one of my great-grandfathers and snapped this shot:My home town is full of churches of all denominations but here is one of my favorites, the United Church in a nearby town on a stormy evening: 
After that totally mad week, which was full of ups and downs, I am ready for a break before heading back to work Monday.  In fact, I could use a week off after my week off.  But I don't think I will get one. Besides house work, I have to plant my annuals tomorrow... if my busted ankle holds up. 
And we have to find a spot for our new rose bush, shown here inside our potting shed:
It has the prettiest big pink roses with a gentle, sweet scent, but I know nothing about keeping roses.  Any tips (besides water and sunlight)?  It is hardy to Zone 3, so should survive our miserable winters.  

Hope you have enjoyed your visit.  Sorry I am not posting much...have been much too busy with work, my new book club, gardening, investments, and trying to do some career development. I do hope to take on a number of decorating projects this summer, so stay tuned...


  1. It is lovely how you can share your thought and feelings with us. I can only imagine how difficult the last few weeks must of been 'waiting for the spring'! My mother died 34 years ago and I'm still waiting for 'closure'. But I suppose that a parent will always be in your heart and never far from mind. Your glorious photos of spring and new growth are a poetic addition to this beautiful post! It sounds like your life is busy and full of new potential! Enjoy!

  2. At last spring has arrived. I guess it is with mixed emotions since spring is about new life and at the same time you still have to deal with your father's dead.

    You country looks lovely and I really would like to visit Canada one day. It would be fantastic to drive along the coast and eat lobsters.


  3. Such a lovely post and commentary about your dear father's burial. I am sorry for your loss. The site your mother chose sounds absolutely lovely.
    I greatly enjoyed your visit home- it is such a beautiful place. Wonderful 'finds'! and lobster too?! Perfection in my book! Sorry about the ankle, hope it heals soon.

  4. Hi Terri!

    I am happy that you are getting time to yourself and at home. I also get the feeling that you are getting some kind of closure and are more at peace now and that it was a lovely burial. What a lovely place too!

    I really like the photograph you found and also your pics, seems so calm and restful there :)

    Wow, enormous claws, hope it was delicious!

    Hope your ankle gets better asap and take care of yourself!

    Big hugs,


  5. Thanks for the pictures. Sometimes I forget the beauty. Glad to see you made the best of a difficult week.

  6. I was so sorry to read about your father, I hope that your mother can regain her life, it sounds like she deserves many happy years.
    Good luck with the roses, I can offer no help, I have a black thumb. xo, MB

  7. So good to have you back Terri, I have been missing your posts. I'm glad you got to give your dad a good send off, and some time with your mum. The images you have taken are so beautiful and I love the sea/lighthouse photo you bought - gorgeous.

  8. It's good that the burial is over; it's easier to go on afterwards! And don't feel obliged to blog often just to please others =)
    I had to smile when I saw the photo of the red barn. It look exactly like our neighbour's barn where I grew up in Norway! Same weathered red paint, same brick wall, same slightly rusty roof... Lovely photos, looks like spring's coming your way. Enjoy it!
    Trudi xo

  9. Even though it was not always a happy trip, it sounds like you had a good time all around. I just love that paintd photo of Portland Head Light. That is one of my favorite vacation spots, I used to travel there every summer as a kid, and now only have time for a trip every few years. It is beautiful up there, and you cant beat the lobster right? mmm looks so good!

  10. Stopping in for the first time,
    What lovely sorry for your loss.

  11. a lot of emotion and cheerful things in the same post, it is really good that you could have such a closure with the ceremony and that you could be there with your mom. Even though it must still be really hard for you, and stay with you, I think it-s nice how you made the funny lobster photo! and the drives through the country.
    I really hope Spring can give you some positive radiant smiles :-)

  12. What a bittersweet trip this must have been...I am happy you were able to partake in many of the charms of your/our home, and the photos you took are lovely. I hope your mum finds her new normal soon, and that you are all able to absorb the many changes the passing of your father brings forth.

    That was quite the lobster claw! Funny, I have never tried lobster, but know I wouldn't like it. To me, they resemble ear wigs too much!!

    Take care, Terri, and heal that poor ankle!


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