Monthly Archives: May 2011

Jack was Every Inch a Sailor – Folk Music

Newfoundland & Labrador has produced a wealth of traditional folk music. They typically discuss people, the fishery and other mis-adventures and served as a great form of entertainment and could be heard in local kitchens with accordions a playin’. I written the classic lyrics of “Jack was Every Inch a Sailor” for you all to enjoy.

Chorus:

Now ’twas twenty-five or thirty years since Jack first saw the light. He came into this world of woe one dark and stormy night. He was born on board his father’s ship as she was lying to ‘Bout twenty five or thirty miles southeast of Bacalieu.

Jack was every inch a sailor, five and twenty years a whaler, Jack was every inch a sailor He was born up-on the bright blue sea.

When Jack grew up to be a man, he went to the Labrador. He fished in Indian Harbour, where his father fished before. On his returning in the fog, he met a heavy gale, And Jack was swept into the sea and swallowed by a whale.

The whale went straight for Baffin’s Bay, about ninety knots an hour, And every time he’d blow a spray he’d send it in a shower. “O, now,” says Jack unto himself, “I must see what he’s about”. He caught the whale all by the tail and turned him inside out.

It is nice to take the time to write down the lyrics of a song, as you really get to pay attention to the story that is being told. One may get inspired to scribe their own stories and churn out the lyrics to a song of their own that is quintessentially Newfoundlandia.

Live Rural NL -

Christopher C. Mitchelmore

Recipes From Grandma Pearl – Raisin Buns

I stand by the fact that my Grandmother Pearl is a wonderful baker. One of the enjoyable baked goods I love is a good raisin bun with a cup of tea. This makes for a quick breakfast or a nice snack at break time.

Ingredients

Directions -

Mix all dry ingredients together except custard powder. Add to milk. Add butter to dry ingredients and beat eggs. Add to dry mixture. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes. Yields approximately 2 1/2 dozen buns.

Molasses Buns & Tea`

Now you have the opportunity to make your own. If you would rather purchase this traditional foodstuff, you can stop by the Gros Morne Resort Gas Bar, St. Paul’s, NL. They sell a limited selection of baked bread, buns and rolls.  Six raisin buns sell for a low price of $2.99 or twelve for $5.00.

 
Enjoy!
 
Live Rural NL -
Christopher C. Mitchelmore
 
 

Revitalizing Rural Communities by Being Reasonable

Rural Communities are in dire need of revitalization. It may come in the form of many activities that once fueled the local economy and enabled the household to function.

Reasonables, Kinsale, Ireland

There is an abundance of small business opportunity in Rural Newfoundland & Labrador, including the Great Northern Peninsula. We just have to be Reasonable as the small business from Kinsale suggests.

The Town of Kinsale has 5,000 people, yet has an abundance of small business. Beyond the influx of tourists, the residents support their local entrepreneur. Today on CBC Radio‘s Morning Show restaurant owners were discussing the difficulty of obtaining quality product locally. They discussed the importance of buying local and trying to establish a network to bulk purchase the goods they need, so that each business can benefit. Although, they offer food services, they are not competitors when it comes to obtaining the basic need, as all have the same request for high quality product. Without it, they may all fail.

There are benefits to establishing stronger networks with current businesses. Co-operation can help reduce ever rising transportation costs and increase the quality of the product. As well, current business can extend services themselves or work with upcoming entrepreneurs. They may wish to lease space at their storefront that could be better utilized to create more in-store traffic.  This reduces the operating and start-up costs of both. There are creative ways to increase sales and new technologies to help facilitate this process. It would be wonderful for more communities of the Great Northern Peninsula to get access to Broadband Internet.

Some of these opportunities would be ideal for part-time workers, even those semi-/retired or a senior wishing to earn a subsistence income to combat rising living costs on a fixed income. They may include facilitating workshops by passing on traditional skills to locals and tourists, training a team to create unique products. The creation of bulk products could establish small cottage industries that can sell enough volume into a global niche marketplace, gaining higher yeild for product.

We are surrounded by a pool of entrepreneurs, from fishers, farmers, foresters, crafters and hobbyists. There is a vast skill set that exists with those who live on the Great Northern Peninsula and those who are not residents. We are able to create new businesses based on these opportunities, thus in turn, would be able to support others and buy local – because the opportunity now exists.

A Reasonable idea has the potential to start Rural Revitalization. Let us consider our current offering, evaluate the opportunity and take action today!

Live Rural NL -

Christopher C. Mitchelmore

 

A Seal Flipper Foodstand?

Why are we not serving up Seal Flippers throughout the summer season?

Moose Burgers, Moose Stew and Caribou Steak have made the menus of some local restaurants and have made appearances at various festivals and special events throughout the summer. They sell like hot cakes. But seal meat does not make the cut? I have been hearing that seal flippers have been for sale recently at the waterfront at St. Johns, NL in a large supply over the local radio network. However, that is not Rural NL.

Crepe Stand, Paris, France

After travelling to many countries, there always seems to be a mobile food service stand that sells something significant to the culture. In Paris there are crepes made at street vendors. They are incredibly delicious. In Switzerland and the Czech Republic at Christmas, roasted nuts appeared to be a staple. New York has their famous hot dogs and Belgium – waffles, of course.

 
There may be room for an outlet that sells seal, wild game and other traditional cuisine of Rural Newfoundland & Labrador for those on the run.
 
Live Rural NL -
Christopher C. Mitchelmore
 
 

 

Baked Bread by Grandmother Pearl

In previous posts, I have mentioned the highly talented baking skills of my Grandmother Pearl and the delicious squashberry jam she prepared. On Monday, I dropped by her house and was greeted by the pleasant smell of freshly baked homemade bread.

Freshly Baked Bread from Grandma Pearl

We had a wonderful conversation over a steeping hot cup of coffee and tea at the kitchen table, as we peered out the window at the setting sun over the Strait of Belle Isle. I remembered as a child picking blackberries on the barrens near the ocean in her backyard. I would bring them in for her to make me the most delicious blackberry puddings. It would be a real compliment with Sunday’s Dinner.

 
My grandmother is still very youthful and community-minded. She is actively involved with the 50+ Club, Lionness Group, Church Group and many more organizations. She gets involved with fundraising activities, attends socials and at the time was icing a cake to bring to a grieving family in the community.  I only hope to stay as active as she is when I reach her youthful age. We talked about several challenges for small non-profits and noted some action that may be taken to bridge some gaps.
 
It was a wonderful visit. I do not do it often enough and must make a greater effort to do so more often. My Grandmother gave me one of her freshly baked loaves of bread. It was a treat with my supper meal.
 
If you have the opportunity, take some time to visit a loved one. If you can, enjoy that cup of tea or freshly sliced piece of homemade bread.
 
Live Rural NL -
Christopher C. Mitchelmore

A Walk on the Pier – Manhattan Beach, Los Angeles

 

Manhattan Pier, Los Angeles

Live Rural Newfoundland Author visited the other West Coast at the edge of the Pacific Ocean as he walked along Manhattan Beach, Los Angeles.

After a few days in Las Vegas with friends, he decided to take a cheap Spirit Airlines flight to Los Angeles for just $55 CDN. I recommend and support the low-cost airlines and utilized them throughout my time in Europe. One may wish to visit www.skyscanner.net to search the skies for the cheapest flights. You may even find one to the other west coast to Deer Lake Regional Airport.

Fishing from the Pier

The Ocean Trolley brought me to Manhattan Beach a return trip for just $5.00. It was a great business model of one fee to pick up visitors and have a great circle route.  

The sun was beaming, as I walked to the pier. I saw a couple of people fishing from the pier. There was a place to get ice-cream and cafe with an amazing view at the end of the pier. As well, there were a number of volleyball nets and a lifeguard tower with yellow truck. It brought me back to the Baywatch years. The streets were filled with small business, local restaurants and shops.

The second stop on the trolley stopped at a larger commercial area for extended shopping. However, I liked the previous streets of unique proprietors. The final stop was filled with rows of restaurants. One could pick and choose the taste desired.  

Seagull on the pier

 

The beach is beautiful. The ability to have good transportation to tourism attractions greatly increases the opportunity for the small business operator to achieve greater success.
 
Greater investment is needed to investigate an offer of public transit throughout the rural regions of Great Northern Peninsula, especially within the tourism season.
 
Live Rural NL -
Christopher C. Mitchelmore
 
 

 

 
 
 
 

Gros Morne Theatre Festival Opens May 26, 2011

The Gros Morne Theatre Festival will commence on Thursday, May 26, 2011 and continue daily throughout the summer with its final show on Saturday, September 17, 2011.

Positive word of mouth from friends and colleagues that had seen a show was more than encouraging. I decided to make extra effort in 2010 to ensure I made this a priority. I attended the dinner theatre, “Sinking of the S. S. Ethie” with a friend from Montreal, QC at a rate of $45.00. It was certainly worth it. Two plus hours of entertainment by talented and professional actors/actresses working for Theatre Newfoundland & Labrador, as well as, pan-fried cod and all the fixing served by those on stage during their intermission. We enjoyed the show enough to buy tickets for the double feature, “A Double Axe Murder”. This play is based on a murder mystery of the area in the 1800s. Very intriguing.

Being a local, I heard pieces of the story and previously visited the site of shipwreck as a young boy with my father. It is funny the things you sometimes remember, but beyond the rusty remains of the Ethie there was an abundance of very smooth and colourful round rocks. I picked one of my favourites and brought it back to the cabin at Sally’s Cove

If you would like some wonderful entertainment, check out the shows at Gros Morne Theatre Festival, Cow Head.

This year the shows are:

  • Ed & Ed’s B&B – Comedy
  • Neddy Norris Night – Cabaret
  • Winter – Drama
  • Stones in His Pockets – Comedy
  • Tempting Providence – Drama
  • Sinking of the S.S. Ethie – Dinner Theatre
  • The Oracle of Gros Morne – Drama/Comedy

There will also be workshops and special events throughout the season.  I am looking forward to getting to see Tempting Providence and others throughout the summer season.

For more information or reservations visit www.theatrenewfoundland.com or call toll-free 1-877-243-2899.

Live Rural NL -

Christopher C. Mitchelmore

Plane Touching Down in Deer Lake

Derek Pilgrim’s song, “When the Plane Touches Down in Deer Lake” resonates with many rural Newfoundlanders & Labradorians. The plane landing on the rock, brings a feeling of being home even though I live more than 330 kms to the north.

On May 2, 2011 I departed Deer Lake Regional Airport for Halifax. There a connection to Boston and from there to reach Las Vegas, Nevada. I certainly enjoyed a week away in the desert climate with an abundance of nightly entertainment. It was nice to re-unite with an old friend and to meet others for the first time.

After a week away, a feeling of happiness came upon me when the plane touched down in Deer Lake. The professional staff of Air Canada and the airport staff made the travel a breeze. I landed at 2:46 AM and left the parking lot at 3:20 AM to drive the distance, as I would work in the AM.

Driving up the Great Northern Peninsula, the vehicle count was 10 – moose count was 11. The moose are out in abundance and in great numbers. Be safe when travelling beautiful Route 430 – The Viking Trail. It can be a haven for wildlife.

Moose opting to turn vs. cross the road to on-coming traffic

My grandmother & I saw four lovely caribou grazing on a yard in the community of Bear Cove as we were en route to a traditional Sunday’s Dinner. I wish I had my camera handy. Visit the Great Northern Peninsula and get that wonderful feeling of the plane landing at Deer Lake for yourself this summer season.

 
Live Rural NL -
Christopher C. Mitchelmore

Million Dollar View w/Product & Service to Match

 
Neddie’s Harbour Inn & Fine Dining Restaurant

On May 11, 2011, I had the opportunity to drop by Neddie’s Harbour Inn & Restaurant. I had heard so many wonderful things about the food at the restaurant. Listed on the door were three stickers, Where to Eat Canada 2008, 2009, 2010. This seal of approval from the food critique validates the quality and experience one may attain when dining at the restaurant with the million dollar view. Last year, I tried to get a reservation but could not wait the several hours for a table. I will try again this year, but be sure to book in advance (table #3 if possible).

The business was opening for the Fifth Annual Trails, Tales & Tunes Festival (www.trailstalestunes.ca); however, the front desk employee greeted us with a smile and was more than happy to give myself and a colleague a full tour of the property. We were taken into multiple rooms, which are breathtaking. The linens were rich bright whites, with the proprietor’s own special piece of art attached. The color palette is used throughout the inn. The views from each room is a little different, the blinds offer the ability of privacy and still maintain a view. There are comfortable chairs, lots of space and splendid decor that creates a happy space. The vessel sinks in the bathroom is also a nice touch.

Guest Room at Neddie’s Harbour Inn

The 15 rooms have bright solid wooden doors with nice trim. Each room is named for different communities or places in and around the local area, engraved in a wooden plate. Each room has wired and wireless internet and comes with a unique breakfast offering. Amenities include a fitness centre, infrared sauna  & whirlpool (booked by room for additional privacy). There is a common sun room with a bar, musical instruments, reading material, games and licensed patio – all overlooking the water and mountains.

The accommodation also has 4 houses in Norris Point that is available for rent.

Million Dollar Views at Neddie's Harbour Inn

 A walk around the outside of the property gives you a view of the rock garden, the water, mountains, tablelands and rural living. If you need to take a break, they have an incredible rock picnic table. I can only imagine the beautiful sunsets at this location.

Thank you to J. for providing the incredible tour. It is evident the Joy you take in your jobs. As well, to the owners and other employees that make this business offering available to your patrons. It truly is a wonderful gem, nestled at the heart of Gros Morne National Park.

If you would like more information, please feel free to visit their website at www.theinn.ca

Live Rural NL -

Christopher C. Mitchelmore

Needing Grandma’s Green Thumb to Grow Tomatoes

My grandparents have always maintained two large gardens between our house and theirs. At this time of year as a little boy, I was quite eager to help in the garden. Maybe some of the excitement stemmed from the fact that I spent all day in the mud and the work felt more like play; it could have been that tracking around mud got on my mother’s nerves or maybe just spending time with my grandmother, grandfather and other relatives was full of enjoyment.

The garden provides our family with enough potato to last the season. As well, an abundance of turnip, carrot, greens, radishes, cabbage and onions. Additionally, my grandmother has a strawberry patch she maintains and a beautiful flower garden.

I only hope to have some of her green thumb, as I am trying to grow tomatoes, peppers, asparagus, green onion and other vegetables I enjoy, but at times are difficult to obtain or costly to purchase. The project will lead to a greenhouse to transplant and nurture these vegetables.

Growing Tomatoes

A visit to the grocery store this week set off an alarm that food prices are certainly climbing at an alarming rate. Three tomatoes were priced at nearly $5.00, brocoli was $4.00 and there was no asparagus. Food prices and food security has become an increasing issue, especially for rural regions. In the past, we were able to subsist of food we grew on our own. Although there are gardens at roadside, far more people are opting to buy from the California Farmers or elsewhere than from our own backyards.

 
We should reclaim the land that can grow us an abundance of nutritious food, construct greenhouses and build community gardens as a means to combat soaring food prices. In co-operation, rural communities can grow stronger!
 
I hope my little crop produces some good results!
 
Live Rural NL -
Christopher C. Mitchelmore

 

Outraged with the price NL Lobster Fisherman will receive this season

There was a sense of positivity of some recovery in the fishery of Rural Newfoundland & Labrador in 2011 as the announcement of crab prices were to start at $2.35 with no dispute among parties, when last season the processors were disputing the $1.35 per pound price set by the pricing panel.  A Federal memo of a cut of 40 percent in the inshore shrimp fishery is unacceptable. Provincial Fisheries Minister Clyde Jackman has stated the cuts to the quota should be much less (~10-15%). Some good news in this story is that the prices are up significantly for shrimp and fishers are out on the water working hard to earn a living.

The Price Setting Panel announced the lobster price would be $4.26 per pound for the week of April 17 and $4.23 per pound for the week of April 23,2011. This created a dispute among processors, claiming they could not afford to purchase at this rate.

The buyers in this situation have the upper hand, as the lobster season is quite short. The buyers continued to stall purchasing. The Fisheries Union placed pressure on Government to allow outside buyers. Fishermen should get the highest possible price for the commodity of lobster. We certainly do not have a free market as it stands today and our lobster fishers continue to pay the price. Minister Jackman noted that opening up the province to free market could not happen overnight, that plant workers may be impacted and what that could mean for other fish species – if such a precendent is set. I am unsure how much employment is created in this province due to processing of lobster, but would like to find out. It appears primarily there is the middleman or lobster buyer that gets a cut to sell from the wharf or ship to market.

It is in the interest of the buyers to ensure they reap maximum profits for themselves and their shareholders. It has been the practise of for-profit enterprises since the beginning of time. However, they have an unfair advantage over small fishing enterprises.

The Price Setting Panel set a fair price at $4.26. However, without Government intervening to allow outside buyers the bargaining power of the fishermen and their Union was weak. The fishermen went to the waters on opening day without having any buyer. This shows their dedication to their profession. However, lobster can only last so long crated on the water and fisherman can only absorb operating costs and no income for only so long. I can only imagine that this would be the case for many people, that they could only live and provide for their families for a short-term without getting further in debt. The parties agreed upon a price of $3.65 per pound with a review each week that could see increases based on market conditions.

I am outraged that fishermen are only receiving $3.65 per pound for this gourmet product. Economic conditions are much more encouraging than in 2008 when the price bottomed at $3.00-$3.25 per pound. Operating costs are increasing and fishers are unable to earn a living wage when they are being royally ripped off for their product by a whopping $0.60 per pound from the start. CBC.ca reported that 6 million pounds of lobster is caught in our beautiful province, which means $3.6 million dollars (6 million pounds *$0.60/pound)  is being removed from the fishers, which would be of great benefit to the families of fishers and help sustain rural economies.

On December 1, 2010 CBC reported the following for Nova Scotia Lobster Fishery -

Naugle said Wednesday he was selling the first lobsters of the season at a price of $5.99 per pound, for lobsters between one and 1.4 pounds. Lobsters between 1.45 and 3.25 pounds were being sold for $6.49 per pound. (Full story here)

Prices paid to the lobster harvester in Newfoundland & Labrador are being kept artificially too low, in my opinion. The FFAW has a chart listing price for Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and PEI from January-April, which show a price between $4-5.00 per pound (Full Details Click Here).

Action must be taken to ensure an environment is created to give the fishermen more bargaining power to obtain the fair price for their product. This may require greater attention from the Fisheries Union to focus on the small boat fisher, the Provincial Government to review its own Fisheries Act, dialogue with the Federal Department of Fisheries and a change in business operations or concessions for lobster buyers in the province. Change is needed in how we operate our Provincial fishery.

Why is our system set up that in the end the buyer sets the price, despite parties agreeing to a Price Setting Panel? The fishermen have the product and they should determine the price - if the buyers are unwilling then they should be able to look elsewhere. This is simple business. I would be happy to buy lobster from the fishers for $4.26 or more per pound.

Live Rural NL -

Christopher C. Mitchelmore

5th Annual Trails, Tales and Tunes Festival Officially Opens Today

 

To be in Norris Point today, would be one filled with a fury of activities, marking the start of the 5th Annual Trails, Tales and Tunes Festival which will run until Sunday, May 29, 2011.

For those with a sense of adventure this morning, they had the opportunity to take a hike to the top of the Tablelands (World UNESCO Heritage Site at Gros Morne National Park) under the care of trained staff of Gros Morne Adventures. This started at 9:00 AM and will last until about 5:00 PM for a fee of $50.00. However, there is something for everyone on their schedule from Yoga, Boat Tours, Music, Parades, Theatre, Food and Nightly Entertainment.

Sitting at a stone table, Neddie's Harbour Inn with Tablelands in the background

Check out the schedule for yourself by clicking here or visiting www.trailstalestunes.ca

This is a remarkable success story. A collective group from the Town, non-profits, organizations, business, artists, volunteers and others are involved to provide a unique offering of outdoor walks and hikes, talented local musicians, artists and storytellers, workshops and other activities. This truly is the kick-off to the summer tourism season and a means to extend the service offering on the shoulder season.

As a frequent traveller, I tend to try to visit places outside of peak tourist season as the crowds are generally less, prices are lower and you get an opportunity to meet more locals. Gros Morne National Park gets around 180,000 visitors each year, with scheduled events and entertainment throughout the peak tourism season. When you have a strong product, it is important to try to broaden the season. Trails, Tales and Tunes is able to bring out the locals and those travellers on the fringe. They may come early and they may even come back throughout summer or at the end of the season. It is wise to have this festival at the beginning of the season, as there are a number of other festivals, activities and events that make for a competitive market within regions and across the province of Newfoundland & Labrador.

On Wednesday, May 11, 2011, I had the opportunity to speak with a number of operators and most were preparing for the season – ensuring they would be open for the festival this weekend. There was much enthusiasm in the air and I only hope that funnels throughout the regions to have a strong tourism season for Rural Newfoundland & Labrador.

So if you can, take in a day, two or more of this festival. I’ll be in the area on Wednesday, May 18th to check out some of the activity and maybe again on May 20th. I would like to extend a warm thank you to all those involved, as you continue to do truly amazing work.

Live Rural NL -

Christopher C. Mitchelmore

Tilting is a Representative of Rural Outport NL

During Fall 2006, I had taken a Retail Management course at Memorial University and we focused on the Rooms, which is the province’s cultural facility – housing the Provincial Museum, Art Gallery and Archives.

Myself and fellow group member Doug G. were tasked with establishing an event at this facility and we decided to have a “Tilting Time” at Christmas.

Christmas in July: A Time in Tilting

Christmas has strong brand equity for Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, especially the traditions and cultural activities in rural NL. It provides the Rooms the opportunity to market to locals, as well as give tourist an opportunity to experience the cultural significance of Christmas to outport Newfoundland in peak tourist season.

Christmas themed displays are attractive and encourage visits by people who may otherwise perceive The Rooms as a stuffy art gallery (D. Hayward, presentation to class, November, 28, 2006). The Christmas in July event will also expose summer tourists to aspects of Newfoundland culture that they would not normally have the opportunity to experience.

Décor: Freshly Cut Pine Trees stationed in Salt Beef Pails (3KGs), with old-fashioned, glass Christmas Balls with an array of colours. Glass Displays of Traditional Christmas Toys, Hand Carved Boats and Trains……….The event will feature live displays of mummering and static displays (mannequins) of mummers in the social epicenter of an outport home… the kitchen. The mummers will engage the visitors and encourage them to take part in their playful antics and dancing.

Music: Simini, CD signing at the Gift shop; translate into sales Traditional Newfoundland entertainer, Bud Davidge of Simani will be invited to perform songs including the Christmas favourite The Mummer’s Song A CD signing will take place in the gift shop following the performance.

Theatre: Mummers Re-enactment; Stage set in the kitchen; linked to Simini. (Displays about Mummering; disguises; Mummer’s Troupe (Chris Brooks), David Blackwood and tie in the English and Irish History.

Old-Fashion Time: Fogo Accordion Group and Square Dancers; Ugly Stick

Taste of Tilting: Traditional Food of from the shore (possibly some seafood appetizers and land (agricultural aspect) finger foods; vegetable trays from fresh garden vegetables. Rooms Restaurant have a special events menu during the day for Christmas Dinner, peas soup, jigs dinner, baked beans and fish cakes…….

Weeks leading up to the event have all visitors at the museum or gift shop fill out an entry form (optional) requesting name, telephone and email.  All visitors can be added to an email list and informed about the event and that the draw will be taking place at the Christmas in July; Tilting Time.  A local artist could also donate a portrait of Tilting from the 1950’s at the event to attract a large crowd and have works and prints on display at the gift shop. A way to tie in the product and artist selection and solicitation for traveling exhibits.

Sales Promotion: A trip for two to tilting to enjoy the Beach Festival; Accommodations at Foley’s B&B, Boat Tour, Lane’s Museum, Historical Tour, Ferry/Travel(Rental Car).

Purity as a corporate sponsor……offer purity syrup to guests… care packages in the gift shop. Advertise by handing out peppermint candy in a Rooms Exclusive brown paper plastic wrapping with a gift tag attached inviting patrons to the Christmas in July Party. Appeal to the clientele…..try to create buzz in the community….word of mouth.

Sending Christmas cards to valued customers (and those you hope to attract) can be an effective marketing tactic. Also, donate a Product to your local area Radio Station, they have numerous contests and they are always looking for sponsors! Christmas in July Special. Written off as a tax deduction. Plus free advertising and exposure for your business donation.

The concept of a Tilting Time is applicable to opportunities on the Great Northern Peninsula for organizations and businesses to reach a broad audience and promote our unique culture and heritage.

Live Rural NL -

Christopher C. Mitchelmore

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Mother’s Day

Today is all about celebrating Mother. Today and every other we should recognize the contributions and love given by the women in our lives.

To My Mother -

Ever since I was a little boy, you have always been there with your never-ending support.

As a child…you would pick me up when I would fall. You held my hand when I was too scared to walk alone. You read me stories each night - many, many, stories. Stories that spurred my imagination, creativity and desire to see the world.

As I grew, you continued to educate me by instilling good manners, values and kindness. You have always been a beacon of support. When I wanted to go to Medquest for a week, you never said no – even though there was not much money to spare. You never pushed me to do anything I did not want to do, with the exception of some chores. However, those were for my own good. Each request grew a little larger, as I grew. You supported my decision to go to the Capital of Canada in 2002 to attend the Forum of Young Canadians. I gained knowledge of our country’s political system and also made many wonderful friendships. You supported my decision to start-up my own small seasonal business in Flower’s Island Museum & 9-Hole Miniature Golf. You gave your time unselfishly to volunteer at a Charity Car wash and at the Flower’s Island Fun Festival.

I would not be able to recount all the times you were there for an activity or event – you were there for my high school graduation and there for my convocation from Memorial University‘s School of Business. You also supported my decision to take a semester abroad at Harlow. You accepted my decision to complete a work term spending a summer in London, England and a consecutive semester studying in the Czech Republic. The stories of castles, pyramids and the unknown became realities in 2007 when I travelled to 27 countries, live and worked abroad, experiencing a multitude of cultures, language, history, landmarks and heritage. Gosh, I must have driven you crazy mother, being so far away from my small Northern Peninsula homestead.

After completing University in 2008, I accepted a position in England. You supported me, because you knew this is something I wanted to do. I moved back home to spend a summer with you and work with youth to establish small business. My Work Visa was denied, so I decided to move to the West to see more of my wonderful country I proudly call Canada. I moved to Alberta, made wonderful friends and travelled to BC, Yukon and Saskatchewan. I also drove across Canada along in 2009. You always supported my decisions, even when I decided to move back home in 2009, after only being away for 11 months from my rural home. I am still there today with you. During this time we have worked tirelessly to create some improvements and change in our lives and the lives of others.

I will not forget our European Vacation in Fall 2010, where we visited England, France, Ireland and Northern Ireland. I am glad to have convinced you to go. I know how happy you were with all the wonderful sights, sounds and people we met along the way.

Today, I am unable to be with you mother, as I leave the big City of Los Angeles to fly home after spending some days with college friends and time alone exploring Hollywood.

I know I add to your worry sometimes with all the activity, travel and work I do. I have you to thank, as I look at how much you give at your work, the effort and care you put in everything you do – I say thank you. When I see you again, you will receive a wonderful hug for being there always. We will have our traditional dinner soon!

I am thankful to have such a wonderful mother.

Love Your Son -

Christopher C. Mitchelmore (Live Rural NL written from Los Angeles).

P.S. If you have someone in your life to look up to on Mother’s Day, please let them know it or remember someone who has passed on. Take time out of your busy schedule to spend with them not just tomorrow but into the near future, if you can. A little effort can make a world of difference!

Fishery woes continue to escalate on the Great Northern Peninsula

The fishery continues to make headlines, unfortunately not the type I have an appetite for reading.

VOCM reported the following protest at Black Duck Cove, NL http://www.vocm.com/newsarticle.asp?mn=2&id=14203&latest=1

The Black Duck Cove Fish Plant has a ready, willing and able workforce. There is raw material on the Great Northern Peninsula being caught by local fishers. However, this material is being trucked away, along with it all the economic value it should add to the local economy. Sadly, it appears we are losing control of our natural resources, something that Rural Newfoundland & Labrador has in abundance.

If we do not act strongly on this matter we will continue to say good-bye to our jobs, not only of the plant workers but many others will be indirectly and adversely affected. There is a significant domino effect as small businesses and communities will be rationalized.

Continue your voice, co-operate and show unity my friends. Let this and other issues be heard by the Government. Get your MHA speaking up on this matter, representing his constituents and do meet with Fisheries Minister Clyde Jackman.

It is time for a better solution than what we have currently. I believe if we work together as a collective group, we can achieve as we have in the past.

Live Rural NL writing from Las Vegas -

Christopher C. Mitchelmore

Change needed in how we run the fishery in Canada…

 

It is upsetting to read headlines on the CBC – Lobster prices two dear: processors. The pricing panel set the starting price at $4.26 per pound, which processors say they will not buy and will lose money. It was only last season this same group of processors could not afford to buy crab at $1.35 per pound set by the pricing panel. Fogo Island Co-op was the only company willing, and they got dispelled from the association. Yet in Nova Scotia crab could be purchased at $1.85 per pound.

Is it our closed marketplace? The few processors have a monopoly? Should we look at changing the legislation? Having a free market and allowing outside buyers?

Lobster is a delicacy and no harvester can continue to make a living at the low price of $3.00 or $3.25 per pound, especially with escalating operating costs. My father was a small boat fisher, catching lobster. The price 15 years ago was higher than what it has been in recent seasons.

I remember passing the seafood section in London, England in 2007. The price of lobster fo 16.00 GBP or about $34.00 CDN. I purchased a lobster tail on a beach stand for $9.00 CDN. If you go fine dining lobster ranks up there with the fine cuts of beef.

Why have we devalued the lobster? Are we failing to market our quality products and getting into more value-added? And why are we unable to pay the harvester a fair price? Something has to be done to ensure more certainly and better management of the fishery. Hon. Clyde Jackman, Fisheries Minister for the Province needs to work with newly elected Federal counterparts and all stakeholders.

The fishery continues to be the backbone of the rural economy. We must implement corrective measures to ensure that our rural communities can continue to remain sustainable. The amount of dollars may be small to many of these larger producers but every cut to fish species and reduction of price has resonating impacts to Rural Newfoundland & Labrador economies.

Together we can make great change for brighter tomorrows.

Live Rural NL from Las Vegas -

Christopher C. Mitchelmore

Soaking up some Sunshine in Las Vegas with a brief take on the Election

Live Rural NL Author has a pre-planned vacation that departs on election day. After taking the milk run (Deer Lake-Halifax-Boston-Las Vegas), I arrived once again at the well-lit vibrant city of full of energy and life.

After checking the news, I see that Prime Minister Harper has received his coveted majority, the orange wave from the NDP holds making them official opposition, the downfall of the Liberals to third-party status and the demise of the Bloc Québécois. What was expected to be a boring election with little change, was just the opposite. Even the pollsters had not predicted these results. We have seen big upsets with Leaders Michael Ignatieff and Gilles Duceppe losing their own seats and a few Conservative Cabinet Ministers as well. However, there was one plus for Green Party supporters, with Elizabeth May winning the first seat in Parliament for her party and ousting Junior Cabinet Minister Gary Lunn.

There were a couple of close races in Rural Newfoundland & Labrador, with Avalon remaining a Liberal riding over challenger Fabian Manning (who resigned from his Senate post), as well the change from historic Liberal Labrador to choose a Conservative Candidate. I called this the day earlier with a friend from Labrador. Stating, there is a good chance Penashue will win because it seems like Mr. Russell has not been voicing Labrador issues.

Newfoundland & Labrador only has 7 seats of a 308 member parliament. We need to make each one of them count, with very strong MPs that will stand up and have their voices heard. We had many strong candidates contending for the position of MP to represent the people. I commend you all for putting your names forward for public service and congratulate those elected and look forward to you serving the people well.

Rural Newfoundland & Labrador and Rural Canada continues to face many challenges. I only hope that our voices are heard and that the appropriate investments of our tax dollars are made to ensure strong communities of tomorrow.

Good luck to all MPs and let’s make Canada work!

Live Rural NL from Las Vegas, Nevada.

Christopher Mitchelmore

If you have the right to Vote today, I challenge you to get out.

The right to vote for the author of Live Rural NL was taken away, therefore, for the first time in a Federal Election, I have no choice but to sit on the sidelines and abstain from voting. This disgusts me. A series of unfortunate events will be the groundwork to express my concern regarding the difficulty one may encounter during the vote process.

When I received a voting card in the mail for my grandmother, but not myself I immediately called the local Elections Canada Office in Corner Brook. The staff person verified that I was indeed not on the list. I asked how I could have been overlooked, as I voted by special mail in ballot in the 2008 Federal Election in the riding of Hunber-St. Barbe-Baie Verte. I had informed the person that I must be added to the list and to have a special voting package sent to me, as I would be out of the district during the Easter holidays and would be on vacation on May 2, 2011 out of country during election day. I had noted I had voted by mail previously and was familiar with the process. No other voting options were given to me.

I received a package to register to vote, but no special mail out package. I completed and returned this packaged to get added to the list and then waited for the special ballot. It never came, because someone at Elections Canada failed to do their job, robbing me of my right to vote.  After returning from visiting family outside the district for Easter, I had someone check the mail one final time, no package and no vote card. This was April 26, 2011. I called, a little too late as I spoke with the Returning Officer on April 27, 2011. There was no solution for me, as there was no record of me ever requesting a special ballot. This is quite convenient. She did inform me I was registered to vote on April 17. I did not receive a voter’s card with the information attached until April 28, 2011. This is 11 days, completely unacceptable. There must be a better way to reach rural regions and provide better services.

I was in the riding earlier today, but was not able to vote at a polling station closer to the airport. I had to vote at the one in my community. There is something gone wrong with this process. We spend $300 million dollars of our tax dollars on elections and this is how matters are handled.

How come we can not accommodate for the mobile voter? Why are we not completely vote by mail or web-based voting? I guess based on the holidays and Canada Post if would be a nightmare to tabulate and elections would need to be months long. Nearly 20% of Canada’s populations, primarily rural does not have broadband Internet access. Is the country so afraid Canadian’s will actually exercise their right to vote or simply we are not advanced like other countries when it comes to voting? I know in Switzerland they vote by mail. We need greater accountability.

I heard on Open Line this morning, a woman Mary-Anne was requesting the mail in vote for three elderly seniors. One never received the package ever. Two got an application on the day before closing and she had to make two trips into the city. Talk about inconvenience. However, Mary-Anne you are fortunate to be so close to the city, as Rural Newfoundlanders & Labradorians are even further disadvantaged.

It should not be complicated and difficult to vote. Changes must be made to the Elections Canada Act. It is your right to vote or not today, but those who want to, should be permitted to do so.

Very disappointed Canadian :(

Live Rural NL -

Christopher C. Mitchelmore

The Beauty of it All – when you do not rush

 
Lar’s Place, Conche, NL
 On February 12, 2011, I visited Conche, NL. It truly is one of the wonders along the French Shore. In my 25 years, I have never taken the time to visit this breath-taking Town outside of the summer season. It was long over due and certainly did not disappoint.

Dock w/Store house and iceflow

 Snow patches were present on the rolling hills and the harbour filled with ice, as I drove the winding roads. For the first time, I was not in any rush to get somewhere or meet someone – it was just perfect. I had taken time to explore the landscape, the houses and just get lost in the wonder that is quintessentially rural Newfoundland & Labrador.

Frontage of Lar's Place

 
I was taken aback by the brightly coloured fishing rooms, stores, stages and sheds that were bountiful along the harbour. It spoke the importance the fishery has played on this small Town throughout its rich and vibrant history. I stopped and took several photos of Lar’s Place (depicted in the photo above). The well maintained property had a mis-matched set of antlers tacked on the front. One half of the antlers boasting a much larger size than its counterpart, if that makes any sense at all. It was of interest, so I stopped for a little while. The weather vane was something I do not re-call ever seeing in any of my home communities in the Strait of Belle Isle. The door had a wooden cross, which was painted white and placed on the door, as well as, a perfectly cut island of Newfoundland to match. Conche has notable folk art, something I did not realize on other visits – from the crabs on outer buildings to cut-outs of birds on store roofs that from a far looked strikingly real.

Crab folk art on outbuilding, Conche, NL

 
My advice is to take some time to truly stop and smell the fresh air and all the hodgepodge that makes rural Newfoundland & Labrador a lifestyle. In a world of rush and go, we often miss the beauty that truly exists in our own backyards.
 
Live Rural NL -
Christopher C. Mitchelmore 
 
 

 

 

 

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