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A little custard goes a long way…

Crème brûlée is a favourite dessert of mine when it is an option at a restaurant. I think, in part it comes from my upbringing. I have strong memories of mom making homemade custard to pour over jell-o, cake or vanilla pudding on Sunday evenings. The sweet taste of custard would always tantalize the taste buds.

We have a little blue china mug that my father used to help beat the powder using a spoon to make sure the custard was a perfect formula, assisting my mom in the process. There was a lot of love and co-operation that went into this sweet dessert that was enjoyed by the whole family.

Even today my sister makes a great custard sauce. It was a great treat, served over a rich chocolate cake.

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Additionally, my Aunt Iris made a traditional bread custard served after Sunday dinner. Everyone, even my grandmother was delighted by this dish.

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It is evident, a little custard goes a long way…

Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North
@MitchelmoreMHA

 

 

Lobster season is just around the corner

After taking a few seals in April, the first week of May had always represented a time of urgency for my father to get back on the water.  After a long winter of making new traps, sometimes building a new flat bottom boat and obtaining knitted lobster heads from my grandfather, May was the true start of a busy fishing season that would last into the Fall.  My father was a lobster fisher until his death in 1999.

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These are modern lobster traps taken in St. Paul’s at roadside on the Great Northern Peninsula. They are unlike the wooden ones I am use to, which had concrete poured into them to give the added weight to sink to the bottom of the ocean floor. It is evident that things are rapidly changing, even in the fishery. We are losing some of our very important traditional and institutional knowledge. My father was a boat builder, he could make a lobster trap and knit a net. These are all skills, in which I did not learn.

In modern times, it appears there is competition for new technology and the continuation of our traditional ways. There is value in both.

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I remember each year when lobster season opened. The now re-settled community of Barr’d Harbour would be one of the most populous places with fishers, partners, their children and helpers would be out in full force to get their lobster pots in the water as quickly as possible.

There was a real sense of urgency, creating a need for co-operation. All available hands would make for easier work, as we cut, baited and stacked dozens of traps into a truck to deliver to shoreline. Some traps were collected by steaming to islands and others were already loaded or near the shore. A real strategy was deployed by the license holder, ensuring they could work with the rising and falling tides.

I have always been impressed by the complexities of fishing and how our skilled and experienced fishers knew exactly where they dropped hundreds of traps, intermingled with other fishers scattered along the coastline over several miles.

The short time I had with my father on the water, will always be held as treasured memories. This was the place where he earned his living and provided for us, his family. He was very proud of what he did, fishing was in his blood extending many generations.

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The shoreline continues to be packed with ice despite lobster season being just around the corner. There is a real sense of urgency that this ice go as quickly as possible or an intervention as in the past for an ice compensation package for those impacted. It is essential that our fishers be able to earn a living and provide for their families.

I’m looking forward to getting a feed of fresh lobster from the Great Northern Peninsula. I believe local lobster tastes better.

Live Rural NL 

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North
@MitchelmoreMHA


The Great Northern Peninsula was carved by giants

The Great Northern Peninsula, Newfoundland & Labrador, Canada is a magical place that was the point of first contact when the first Europeans were to discover North American more than 1,000 years ago when they established a Viking Settle in L’Anse aux Meadows, which is now a world UNESCO site.

To the southern extremity of the Peninsula is Gros Morne National Park, which also boasts UNESCO status for the unique Tablelands. A place visited by more than 150,000 tourists annually.

Fjords of Gros Morne

Depicted above are the fjords of Western Brook Pond, which are part of the Appalachian Mountain chain that can also be found on the tip of the Peninsula. This is a magical place has been carved out by giants and are worthy of exploring. There is a boat tour “Bon Tours” that does regular trips in season, as well a lovely walking trail that takes you into the fjord. The walking trip will take your approximately 30-45 minutes.

The Great Northern Peninsula was meant to be explored and enjoyed. It has been the place of first contact in North America for more than 1,000 years. Plan your vacation today!

Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North
@MitchelmoreMHA

 

Our Culinary Treats

In rural Newfoundland & Labrador “Sunday Dinner”, “Hot Dinner”, “Cooked Dinner” and “Boiled Dinner” are common terms used in reference to a meal at noon on Sunday.

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I will share with you how to prepare Sunday’s Dinner, since it is my favorite traditional Newfoundland meal. It is chicken or turkey with stuffing, potatoes, carrots, turnips, greens, cabbage, potatoes, gravy, peas pudding and our famous salt beef. We also have a selection of other puddings that may be served with the meal: bread pudding, raisin pudding (locally referred to as “figgy duff”), molasses pudding, blackberry, partridge berry and there are many others! My grandmother makes the best raisin puddings and molasses puddings. Yum!

SUNDAY DINNER

  • 1 Whole Chicken, Turkey, Moose Roast or other meat product
  • 1 cup yellow split peas
  • 6-8 medium potatoes
  • 6 carrots
  • 1 medium turnip (peel and slice)
  • 1 medium cabbage (cut in wedges)
  • Slices of slightly stale bread
  • Onion
  • Ground Pepper
  • Salt
  • Spices (thyme, basil or rosemary)
  • Butter
  1. Prepare stuffing by soaking slightly stale bread in water. Squeeze to remove excess water. Add melted butter, salt, black pepper and seasoning (basil, rosemary or thyme).
  2. Prepare chicken or meat, lightly salt. Place stuffing inside chicken, excess can be wrapped in foil. In a roasting pan, place chicken and add water. Cook on 350 F, lightly baste and add an onion for flavour.
  3. Soak salt meat overnight, drain and place in large cooking pot. Tie peas in cloth bag (locally referred to as “peas pudding bag”); however, a mason jar with a few holes punched at the top will also be sufficient. Put peas in pot with salt beef. Cover beef and peas with water. Heat to boiling, cover and simmer for 2 hours.
  4. Prepare vegetables. Small carrots and potatoes may be left whole, larger ones are to be cut in half. Slice turnip and cut cabbage into wedges. After meat and peas have cooked for 2-2.5 hours add vegetables and cook until tender, adding the cabbage last.
  5. Remove peas from bag, place in bowl and mash with butter and black pepper to make peas pudding.
  6. Remove salt meat and slice. Remove vegetables and place on platter and serve.

FIGGIE DUFF

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2 cups of flour
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup milk or water
  • 1 cup of raisins
  • Pinch of salt

Combine dry ingredients, add milk and egg. Put in a cloth or spring container and boil for two hours.

MOLASSES PUDDING

  • 1 cup of molasses
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp allspice
  • 1/2 cup hot water
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 3 cups flour

Mix together molasses, sugar and spices in a bowl. Dissolve baking soda in hot water. Add to first mixture, then add melted butter and raisins. Mix well. Add sifted flour a little at a time. Put in greased pudding mould and steam 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

Many great talks or yarns happen around the kitchen table in rural Newfoundland, both in the past and still today.

Hope you enjoy!

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

Squashberry Jelly & Dark Tickle Tea for Breakfast

On a recent visit with my Grandmother Pearl, she gave me a bottle of her homemade squashberry jelly. I truly love this stuff! This morning, I’ve been able to enjoy it with a mug of Dark Tickle’s Crowberry Tea. The only thing missing, was a nice hearty slice of homemade bread.

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When you experience the Great Northern Peninsula, visit Dark Tickle Company in St. Lunaire-Griquet, en route to L’Anse aux Meadows World UNESCO Site (Viking Settlement). If you are interested in tasting squashberry jellies, jams and spreads, you can buy them on-line at www.darktickle.com.

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One of the many wonders on the Great Northern Peninsula.

Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

 

 

QUIRPON RADIO LAUNCHED!

I woke up this morning to find out about this exciting new community development endeavour of Radio Quirpon. Wayne Bartlett and Cheryl McCarron  are the creators of something wonderful for Newfoundlanders & Labradorians everywhere to enjoy a little piece of “the Rock”. Radio Quirpon is available at www.radioquirpon.com.

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And ofcourse, others too can enjoy our  unique culture and our music. I especially love the local tunes from the creator, Wayne Bartlett and Straitsview’s own Skipper Hot’s Band.  Little Bo Peep was one I’m looking forward to hearing again :). It is also nice to hear the personal commentary, it gives each song a special meaning when one listens.

Radio Quirpon has a selection of local photos from the the Great Northern Peninsula, as well as videos and a blog. I encourage you all to visit their site and share your thoughts.

Picture2I would like to thank the creators for sharing their talents with the world. It is these types of initiatives that will build a much stronger community, one that reaches well beyond our small populations. I look forward to spreading the word! Let’s keep historic Quirpon with a population of 75 people on the map!

Cheryl operates “Coffee in the Cove”, located in Hay Cove (population 32)  which is just minutes from L’Anse aux Meadows World UNESCO Heritage Site. Experience where the Vikings were the first Europeans to re-discover North America more than 1,000 years ago. Coffee in the Cove offers a selection of freshly brewed coffees, espressos, lattes and has a singing kitchen. On Facebook, visit their page called Coffee in the Cove.

The Great Northern Peninsula, where big things are happening in very small communities. Help spread the word!

Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

Related Stories:

Scenic Hay Cove – Your Northern Coffee Experience

 

 

 

Canada appealing WTO ban on seal products

The Environment and Minister responsible for Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency, Leona Aglukkaq is in Geneva appealing the World Trade Organization (WTO) ban of Canadian Seal Products in the European Union today, which was upheld on the basis of moral grounds.

I support the Minister in our appeal. The Canadian seal hunt is well-regulated, humane and sustainable. It has been a way of life and a significant part of our culture and heritage on the Great Northern Peninsula for centuries.

In fact, St. Barnabas in Flower’s Cove was built under the leadership of Rev. Canon J. T. Richards in the 1920′s. The men and women made seal skin boots, which when sold went into a building fund. The church has been known locally as “seal skin boot” church.

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Local harvesters each year prepare to take to the ice. These are brave and courageous sealers, who risk their lives to provide for their families. My father was a sealer. He knew the art of bark tanning and preparing the skin to make leather products. Depicted below are seals tanning in Savage Cove, by the very talented Mr. Stevens.

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There are more modern products beyond seal skin boots that have been used to keep us warm in some of the harshest weather conditions, as winter can be difficult for those of us in the North.

Below is a patchwork sealskin purse. They are handmade creations by local craftspeople. With pride I promote our very own GNP Craft Producers in Shoal Cove East on the Great Northern Peninsula. If you would like your very own, they can custom-make them. Visit www.gnpcrafts.ca or call 709-456-2123.

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I am a strong supporter of the Canadian seal hunt and will continue to press for more products and new business developments for all involved in the industry.

Supporting the Seal Hunt -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

(Seal skin purse photo credit – Donna Whalen-Grimes)

 

Local Culture Depicted at Pebble Beach Studio

Marjorie Dempster is the artist behind the Pebble Beach Studio at Plum Point, NL on Great Northern Peninsula. We are lucky to have such talent that is one of our own, that truly depicts rural living. She should inspire us all to follow our interests.

Majorie was one of many families in rural Newfoundland & Labrador to experience re-settlement. Her move was in 1972 when her family left the Fishot island, which is just a few kilometers from the scenic Town of Conche to settle in Port au Choix. Marjorie grew up around the fishery and outport Newfoundland. After raising her family, she opted to change her focus from painting walls to painting on canvas.

Who would have thought that an acrylic Christmas present from her husband, would create an opportunity to depict our culture on canvas?

I purchased one of her tree liver designs (depicted below) in Red Bay, Labrador during the summer of 2012 from the Women’s Institute Gift Shop. I loved the way the lighthouse was shaped on the craggy coastline from the natural product. This has value! In 2002, in starting Flower’s Island Museum, I felt a much closer connection to lighthouses and the important role they played for our fishers. Those who earned their living from the sea.

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This past Monday, I again saw more of Marjorie’s brilliant work. This piece was donated in aid of Breast Cancer Research. The color and shape of the flowers in bloom, along with a unique sky background reminds me of impressionism.

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Both pictures have seal products next to her art. This is also a very important part of our living culture on the Great Northern Peninsula.

 I really enjoy  my new hobby, I  do hope to continue as long as…..God Guides My Hand. – Marjorie Dempster

I am impressed by Marjorie for finding her talent and pursuing it with entrepreneurial action. We all have talents to share. If you like her work, visit www.pebblebeachstudio.com.

Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

 

“Fill Ya Boots” – Barry Penton Art

Barry Penton, is a realist artist that grew up on Fogo Island in rural Newfoundland & Labrador. His artwork illustrates brilliant colors and impeccable attention to detail. His art certainly appeals to me as a lover of all things rural.

My first encounter with this artist was via Facebook. A friend had posted the image, “Fill Ya Boots” below as part of a contest. I decided to “like” and “share” this image with hope of winning the original artwork. It was shared nearly 2,000 times. To my surprise, I got a message from the artist, that I had indeed won the contest and could pick up the piece of original artwork in Mount Pearl. After the passage of time, the artist was so kind to mail me this piece which currently hangs in my bedroom near another Outport piece of punts from Fogo Island. I plan to later place this piece at my office.

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The image reminds me of my own childhood, as we grew up wearing rubber boots. They were an essential item given the time we spent on the shoreline of Green Island Cove in search of sea life and adventure. Some days were filled with picking mussels, catching sea lice, searching for jellyfish, skipping rocks, building sand castles or hopping from exposed rock to rock. Sometimes however, we went over our boots and would have to do this traditional dumping of water. #greatmemories

The art brings a smile to my face. My upbringing is one that is very rural, despite spending a year of my university days in some of the largest cities in the world, travelling dozens of different countries and being immersed in many cultures, my heart is always in rural Newfoundland & Labrador. I am one of the lucky ones, able to continue to work and live rural.

“When you live in a place so long, you learn about the place, history and it’s people. Once you have been gone for long, you gain a new appreciation for home and how you love to remember it”. – Barry Penton

I want to thank Barry Penton for sharing your talents. I hope others will enjoy your art of rural Newfoundland & Labrador. If anyone is interested in learning more about the artist or purchase some of his artwork, you can visit: http://www.barrypentonart.bigcartel.com/.

Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

 

Trails, Tales & Tunes Festival happening May 2014 – Mark your calendars

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The 8th annual Trails, Tales and Tunes Festival takes place from May 16-25, 2014 in Norris Point, Gros Morne National Park, Newfoundland and Labrador. I’ve been attending the festival, since the 5th Annual and it always has me coming back for more. I recommend you visit their website and use the schedule to plan a week, weekend or enjoy the entire festival in the heart of Gros Morne National Park www.trailstalestunes.ca.

In 2012, I pitched my tent and enjoyed the amenities of Norris Point’s own KOA campground. While last year, I made it a personal weekend away and spent it at the magnificent Neddie’s Harbour Inn (www.theinn.ca), which is the perfect get-a-way as it is a waterfront property nestled between the Long Range mountains and the tablelands. There are many options from tenting, RV parks, hostels, cabins, cottages, bed and breakfasts, lodges, inns and motels in and around beautiful Norris Point to fit any budget.

The festival hosts an ideal opportunity to visit Gros Morne early, hear the many wonderful storytellers and musicians at various venues, as well as enjoy the vast walking trails. There is also a long list of food options and various activities and entertainment throughout the week. It is likely one of the best weekend’s you’ll experience in the park.

I encourage you to participate and then work your way up the northern tip of the Great Northern Peninsula.

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Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

The New Land with the Green Meadows

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L’Anse aux Meadows – Summer

L’Anse Aux Meadows World UNESCO Heritage Site has always been a fascinating place to visit. I have been privileged to live near where the first Europeans would re-discover North America imagesV76QS5EZmore than 1,000 years ago when Leif Erikson came on Snorri to the Great Northern Peninsula – a place he called “Vinland”.  A sign on Route 430, which is named the Viking Trail welcomes you to Erikson’s Vinland!

July 2013 saw the unveiling of a new Leif statue in the very place where he became the first European to set foot on American shores. A special ceremony was held in partnership with the Leif Erikson International Foundation, Norstead Viking Village & Port of Trade and St. Anthony Basin Resources Incorporated (SABRI). Leif looks out toward the sea.

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I want to thank all the donors, supporters and volunteers, who worked to ensure Leif would be a permanent fixture at L’Anse aux Meadows. This was a remarkable moment, that included an Icelandic Choir, a representative from the Norwegian Embassy, Parks Canada staff, local residents and Benedicte Ignstad.

Benedicte is the daughter of Helge and Anne Stine Ingstad, the archaeologists who made the discovery of L’Anse aux Meadows as the only authenticated Norse site in North America in the early 1960′s.

I have travelled to Denmark, Iceland, Norway and Sweden to experience more of the Viking/Norse culture. However, Benedicte offered me and others the insight into the process and the way of life in L’Anse aux Meadows, some 50 years ago.

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I attended her reading of her mother’s book “The Land with the Green Meadows” by Anne Stine Ingstad. This book was first published in Norway in 1975 and translated in 2006 to English. The Historical Sites Association of Newfoundland and Labrador gained permission from Benedicte to have the book lightly edited and available to a new generation of readers.

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I spent multiple hours of a plane and many more waiting at an airport just over a week ago, when I began Anne’s book. I could not put it down, because it told a real story. It described the people of L’Anse aux Meadows and of nearby Straitsview and the struggles they faced. The Decker’s, Blake’s, Anderson’s, Colbourne’s and others are very real people. The book highlights how a community comes together to look after one another, the building of the highway to connect the communities to L’Anse aux Meadows and the shift from coastal boat to air transport saw a dynamic shift for such an isolated place as L’Anse aux Meadows. Over the course of the book, one got to know Anne and Helge, experience the great discovery, as well as the local people and the kindness of others, including those who worked at the Grenfell Mission.

There was much pioneering happening on the Great Northen Peninsula. There always was and there always will be. From the very first sod buildings to the current day residents, L’Anse aux Meadows is a place you want to visit and experience for yourself in your lifetime.

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The New Land with the Green Meadows – during Winter.IMG_5348

Summer is when the land is green, and the best time to visit. Begin your trip planning today. A Viking Experience awaits!

Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

 

 

Caribou continue to be present on tip of Northern Pen

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Caribou have been spotted at St. Anthony airport for the past few weeks. If you want to catch a glimpse of these animals, now is a great time to visit the Great Northern Peninsula. However, one must drive with caution as they like to spend time on our highways.

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Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

“Do Unto Others” – Dower of Conche

This summer, I had the privilege of meeting Alice and Austin Dower of Conche, NL at their home. I had met Austin before playing music for us at the Tuckamore Lodge, Main Brook and again at the Ivy Durley Place in Flower’s Cove.  It is clearly evident he is a man of many talents, especially when it comes to song and stories. We had a great conversation about family, community, the upcoming Come Home Year and the wonderful history that exists surrounding the Town of Conche.

Little did I realize in conversation, that the man I was talking with had such a strong connection to the communities beginning. Austin, a retired teacher had recently penned a book, entitled “Do Unto Others: Dower of Conche”, which is a scripted version of his family history of James Herbert Dower and the settlement of the community.

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It has taken me about six months to begin but only a couple of days to finish reading Dower’s work. The book was a pleasant short read that was filled with intrigue and also a reflection of life’s everyday challenges in community building in rural Newfoundland and Labrador in the early 1800′s. Dower also reinforces the importance of the Golden Rule, “Do unto others, as you would have them do unto you.” Photos at the end also give the reader an understanding and snapshot of the community past and present.

I am grateful the author has taken the time to document and also tell in his own words his family’s story. I hope that this is not the only book penned by Austin J. Dower and I encourage others to find a copy. Even take a visit to The French Shore. Served up nicely with a cup of tea :)

We all have stories to tell and our own family histories is a remarkable place to start.

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Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North 

Baked Beans and Buttered Bread is a Traditional Scoff

What a delicious traditional meal yesterday’s supper turned out to be with homemade baked beans and a slice of homemade bread. Normally it would be beans and bologna (“Newfie steak”), but we substituted for ham and Zest mustard pickles.

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The one meal I would never eat as a child was baked beans, not even to taste them. I even lived and worked in London, England from January to September 2007 where I would get an English breakfast served everyday with a helping of beans. I would not even consider touching the stuff. It was not until a stopover in Belfast, Northern Ireland during December 2007 that I re-call ordering the traditional breakfast one last time before I would return the Czech Republic to complete my studies and then home to Newfoundland for the holidays. On my plate again, were the ever present baked beans, likely predicting their faith of being left behind. However, after rejecting them for twelve straight weeks that summer,  something in me decided I should give them a try, especially when in the UK. It might have been my last time to experience that traditional cuisine. Who knew when I would return? To my surprise, I did not detest them.

Why then for 22 years had I been so unwilling to try them? I guess there are always decisions we make around our likes and our dislikes as children when it comes to food. I never liked spaghetti sauce, just “plain noodles for me”, or gravy, many of the condiments and a few others. Today, a nice helping of well-crafted sauce adds so much flavour and excites the taste buds. There is nothing I can think of now that is an outright NO when I look at a menu or pick up ingredients at  a grocery store. Taste is certainly acquired and if at first you’re not quite sure, then I would suggest to try it at least another time.

Expand and broaden your palate, especially when it comes to traditional Newfoundland foodstuffs.

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Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

The Mighty Caribou is King Again on the Great Northern Peninsula

Dr. Wilfred Grenfell brought the first team of reindeer to the Great Northern Peninsula, about 300 of them in 1907. Some of these animals carried a parasitic roundworm that spread to the native caribou herds.

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Over the years, the caribou has seen upswings and almost decimation on the Great Northern Peninsula. There is renewed hope that these majestic animals are seeing their population grow. I continue to spot caribou all over the District from Croque (Route 438), Main Brook (Grenfell Drive), Cook’s Harbour (Route 435) and ofcourse the Viking Trail (Route 430), especially near the St. Anthony airport.

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In recent weeks you could spot several dozen. On my flight home from Saturday travelling the St. Anthony airport road, I had to stop several times to enable the caribou to cross the road. Be sure to be extra vigilant when driving our highways. The caribou can take it in their mind to cross the road on a whim and like sheep, typically others follow.

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Winter is truly a wonderland on the Great Northern Peninsula. We have incredible wildlife and immense beauty. Why not experience it for yourself?

Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

The Straits-White Bay North Newsletter #7 – Winter 2014

As the Member of the House of Assembly for the District of The Straits-White Bay North, I’ve been actively engaged in representing my constituents and keeping them informed of the work I’ve been doing on their behalf. A regular newsletter has gone out to households in the District three times a year. Past newsletters can be found at www.christophermitchelmore.com/newsletters as well as a printable copy for download.

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Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

Add Raleigh to Your Summer Trip Plan

Raleigh Historic Village is a family adventure, where you can experience cultural tourism and live like a fisherman for a day, two or a week. They have bunkhouses where you can book accommodations, boat tours and various classes around rug hooking, oar making and net mending.

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Their website is: http://www.raleighhistoricvillage.com/

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The historic fishing rooms are being maintained in Raleigh.

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This  attraction is located on Route 437. In the community there is a restaurant, cottages, carving shop, Burnt Cape Ecological Reserve, walking trails and panoramic scenery. Also it is just a short drive from L’anse aux Meadows World UNESCO Viking Settlement and the commercial centre of St. Anthony, which is also home of the Legendary Sir Dr. Wilfred Grenfell and his historic properties.

The Great Northern Peninsula has an experience in every outport. Add Raleigh to your list of places to see.

Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

Ask Your Garden Questions to our local “Garden Lady”

Rural Newfoundlanders & Labradorians have been growing their own crops for centuries. Many tourist often stop to take photographs of our roadside gardens. My grandmother maintains two large gardens that sits between both of our properties.

Garden by Roadside

Garden by Roadside

Most of our gardens were more traditional root crops of potato, turnip, carrot and beets. However, in recent years there has been much growth in local vegetable production as we see more grow tomatoes, lettuce, broccoli, zucchini and many more. We have seen more herbs, spices and nurseries for growing flowers.

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Local Roddickton resident, Elsie Reid has taken to local production, by establishing a green house, flower garden, bird sanctuary and a “Blast from the Past” walking trail.

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I had  the pleasure during the Roddickton Come Home Year of 2013 to tour this walking trail and speak with Elsie. She even introduced me to her “Mummers”. At the end of the tour, I was able to purchase some nettle tea, parsley, spearmint and peppermint.

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In speaking recently with Elsie, she plans to re-establish her “Blast from the Past” walking trail again this year. It is certainly worth stopping by to get a glimpse of local history and heritage, but also learn about local gardening and  an opportunity to enjoy her homemade products. Elsie has a wealth of information, she is willing to share with you.

If you have any garden related questions, you can visit her Facebook Group: Ask Your Garden Questions, found at www.facebook.com/groups/gardenlady59/

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Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North
 
Related Posts:
Blast from the Past Walking Trail
How Does Your Garden Grow
Grandmother Mitchelmore, How Does Your Garden Grow? 
I found “Love” in St. Lewis
A Marketable Farmer’s Market, Let’s Get Growing
Needing Grandma’s Green Thumb to Grow Tomatoes 
Transition Towns…the future for Rural NL?
Harvest Time – Big Spuds 
 
 
 

Mummer’s Walk A Big Hit at Green Island Cove

Nearly forty mummers braved a -16 temperature with a wind chill that reached -31 to keep the tradition of mummering alive and well with the 4th Annual Mummer’s Walk at the Green Island Cove Lion’s Club.

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Mummers came from near and far from communities of Anchor Point, Savage Cove, Flower’s Cove, Green Island Cove, Green Island Brook, St. Lunaire-Griquet and many citizens from surrounding communities visiting the Lion’s Club, such as Sandy Cove, Deadman’s Cove and even from mainland Canada to see what the Mummer’s Walk so all about and enjoy the fun!

4th Annual    Mummer’s Walk

The rig-up started shortly after 2 PM and just after 2:30 PM, Sabrina and I started the event noting the original idea of hosting a community event that would bring people together and would encourage more active mummering in rural Newfoundland & Labrador, especially since we remembered large groups of mummers from our childhood.

The first was held in Flowers Cove, followed by Anchor Point and last years was in Savage Cove.

This years event all started with the talented Way Brothers performed a couple of traditional tunes on the guitar and accordion, including the famous Simini tune, “The Mummer’s Song“.

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The group broke out into dance on the floor. It was great to see such a crowd turn-out and participate in the Mummer’s Walk and a number of youth watching the festivities. These are the future generations to learn the tradition and pass them on.

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Due to high wind we opted to get rides to the head of the Cove and walk back to the Lion’s Club. Some Mummer’s jumped in the pans of trucks and we were off…

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The residents, especially seniors were perched at their windows anxiously waiting for the long line of mummers to pass by their homes.

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They were people waiting in vehicles, residents waving from windows or door steps, excited to see the large group of mummers. A group this large, likely not seen for decades in the community of Green Island Cove.

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The walk was a lot of fun. We would all return to the Green Island Cove Lion’s Club and have hot chocolate, Purity Syrup and Chocolates for a treat. It was a great time to mingle and talk about going mummering tonight or another in Christmas.

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So if you hear knocks on your door, please let the friendly mummers into your home and enjoy the tradition that is forever in our hearts and souls, making rural Newfoundland and Labrador that perfect place to celebrate Christmas and the place we call home.

Below is a sampling of some other photos I managed at the event:

A big thank you to all who took the time to dress up and participate, the Green Island Cove Lion’s Club for providing the venue, all the visitors who came to the event and watch, Ryan and Monty for playing a couple of tunes, Loomis for coordinating music, logistics and bringing lots of spirit and to anyone else who helped in any way. I encourage you all to go Mummering this Christmas. I’ll be doing my part to continue to keep the tradition alive.

We’ll keep you all posted on the 5th Annual Mummer’s Walk in the New Year….

Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

A Rural Newfoundland Christmas Tree – Salt Cod Drying on the Line

I’ve always loved trimming the Christmas tree. I remember around the 20th or 21st of December going with my father to cut it. He would have already been prospecting for that perfectly thick Christmas tree. After it was home, there would be the cutting and drilling to ensure that were no empty spaces. I miss the real Christmas tree and that whole process – it is how I remember my childhood and the excitement as we approached the holidays.

My current Christmas tree, although artificial it has many authentic rural connections. My most recent ornament is a Crafts of Character “Salt Fish on the Line” hooked using Anne’s own 100% salt water wool yarn. Anne Kirby, Rug Hooker is the owner of Anne’s Original Hooked Rugs, which are handmade and hand designed. You can visit her Facebook page by searching  Anne’s  Original  Hooked Rugs, email anne.kirby@gmail.com or telephone 709-857-2331 if you would like to get some of her amazing masterpieces. It’s my first hooked rug ornament, but I hope not my last. I will likely seek to add a collection of mummers next year :).

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I remember my Grandfather Mitchelmore telling stories of how they would dry the salt fish on the flakes. I’ve seen photographs of this process, today you see fish in small quantities on a flake or even on the line. Only in Rural NL. Also in the picture is a pair of snowshoes made by past Ivy Durely resident Thomas Newcombe.

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Local resident, Jeffrey Poole made these “Muffy” Christmas ornaments in which the parka hood is trimmed with rabbit fur and covered with seal skin. It is wonderful to see young people take on the task of making Christmas ornaments. It is a very good entrepreneurial activity. The snowshoes next to it were purchased at the Grenfell Heritage Shoppe.

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This summer at the Roddickton Come Home Year I purchased these two mummers from a young entrepreneur and mom as well. They also see at the Grenfell Heritage Shoppe. I purchased the killick from Mr. Ellsworth of Main Brook nearly a decade ago.

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A wonderful present from Mavis, also makes my Christmas tree more traditional given the snowman is made from sea urchins. How creative and what a wonderful use of natural product that washes ashore from the sea. It looks lovely and thank you.

My sister also made items from shells nearly 15 years ago. These are the angels made from scallop shells. My father was a scallop fisher.

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The Mummer’s are plankin’ ‘er down on my Christmas tree. They even have the old squeeze box, which I bought from a Montreal Christmas shop near Notre Dame Cathedral. I love Betty and Bob from the Bight. Hope to see them come to my house over the Chrismas season.

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There are many more snaps from the Christmas tree of traditional ornaments and some from my travels abroad.

The gift of something handmade or an ornament for the Christmas tree seems like the perfect present for those to enjoy the holiday season.

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Merry Christmas everyone, from my family to yours!

Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

 

Santa’s Gingerbread House – A New Tradition at the Mitchelmore’s

Traditions become steeped in our culture and are passed on from generation to generation. Sometimes they are long standing, but sometimes they begin and will continue to be passed on to the next generation. Unlike some families that have built homemade gingerbread houses or homes from kits for years, my mom and I started building the basic gingerbread house just a couple of years ago. Here is our house from last year:

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We enjoyed building the gingerbread home and spending time together – the teamwork it required to make the icing, holding the gingerbread together and strategically placing the candy. It was decided we would add this to our list of family traditions each time we are together for the holidays.

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Here is our finished product this year: Santa’s Gingerbread house, tree, barn and reindeer sleigh.

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Although my schedule is extremely busy, one has to make time for family and continue with our traditions. We got up early and this was our first task after breakfast.

Tonight, after a day of activities we will watch my favourite Christmas movie, “It’s a Wonderful Life”.

I’d love to hear about your family traditions. Please post in the comments section if you make gingerbread houses, sing carols, or go mummering. Keep your family traditions alive and pass them on to your children and embrace adopting new ones.

Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

 

 

 

Rural Roots, including Seal Hunt Proudly on Display at MHA Mitchelmore’s Office

 

 

 

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I’m a believer in all things rural, including the seal harvest. I wear my father’s seal skin boots that are more than 15 years old and last year purchased a seal skin coat. I could give it away a dozen times a day from all the people I meet that would also like to have one. More must be done to make these products more readily available to people of the province. The seal skin tie I have, which certainly has “heart” was purchased for $60 from GNP Craft Producers in my District. They have a website http://www.gnpcrafts.ca. They also make great belts for $40, bow ties, slippers, mittens and more. Let’s continue to show our support for the seal harvest, as it is humane, sustainable and environmentally friendly.

As the blog simply states, “Live Rural” and “Experience the Great Northern Peninsula” is all about learning, understanding and sharing my rural roots with the world.

For those who have dropped by our constituency office in St. Anthony, the public gallery has an array of local art from a French Shore Tapestry, photographed seal by Chris Patey, hooked rug, sweat lodge artwork, icebergs, Grenfell embroidery, painted purity products, dories, fish and many pieces that reflect our rural region. There is a collage of images from across the Great Northern Peninsula.

However, my office at the Confederation Building in St. John’s, NL is no different. It includes many handmade items and pieces of art that I have made myself or purchased from others. I am always searching for as much local stuff as possible.

There is a lovely Chris Patey piece of Iceberg Photography on the northern tip, with a magnifying glass and fish handle, La Mousses (The French Fisherman) that I’ve been told resembles me is from The Guardian Gift Shop at the French Shore Interpretation Centre in Conche, but was made by Loretta Decker of L’Anse aux Meadows. Outport NL by Candace Conchrane is next to a handmade glass plate made at the St. Anthony College of the North Atlantic. The fused glass polar bear comes from the Grenfell Heritage Shoppe in St. Anthony. There is a stuffed seal that was given to me as a Christmas present, as well as a fish and smaller seal.

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Here is an explanation of the Gallery below:

I purchased art from Bruce Pilgrim, originally from Main Brook, the former Englee Plant which was framed by his wife Maureen, owner of Island Images Gallery and Framing Shop. It is very pleasing after all the lobbying, letter writing, petitions, telephone calls and more that Government issued a clean-up order which resulted in $1.7M to remove and re-mediate this site.

The iceberg was painted by myself in three hours when I took a class with George Bussey, originally of St. Lunaire-Griquet. I enjoyed this immensely and encourage others to take it up as a hobby.

The hooked rug, I did as well under the instruction of Sabrina Gaulton of Anchor Point. It took about 50 hours to make this tiny rug. I would like to do another, when time permits. Thus far, time has not permitted.

The “Lonely Harbour” is a piece I purchased at the Bits’n Pieces Cafe in Conche from local Natalie Byrne.

The splitting table imagery reminds me of Noddy Bay or Raleigh. It was done by William Bartlett of St. Lunaire-Griquet.

The polar bears were bought at Shoreline Flower’s N’ Crafts in Sandy Cove and the ax on the chopping block a gift from Port Hope Simpson.

The “Return of the Sealers” is my most recent purchase from the Savage Cove Come Home Year. It is a Linda Coles piece, who is originally from Savage Cove.

Rural Newfoundland & Labrador surrounds my work space every day. I am proud of my rural roots and continue to…

Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

 

 

Creative Christmas Floats at St. Anthony & St. Lunaire-Griquet Parades

This past weekend I participated in the annual Christmas parades at St. Anthony and St. Lunaire-Griquet. Last year our float was “The Mummers”. We had an old pot belly stove painted by the very talented Charmaine and Lavinia dressed as granny, accompanied by a merry band of mummers or jannies as we often call them. This image is on the back of my MHA Christmas card this season.

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Christmas is certainly a special time in rural Newfoundland & Labrador, especially in our small communities on the Great Northern Peninsula. The local residents show their talents and spirit by hosting a number of activities including Christmas tree lighting, carol sings, concerts, parades, turkey dinners and other events.

The St. Anthony  and St. Lunaire-Griquet Christmas Paraders are no different with floats bringing out Despicable Me’s Minions, Monsters Inc., Wreck it Ralph, Mike the Knight, Elf on a Shelf, Old-fashioned Snowmobile, Santa and many others. Not to mention mascots such as Subway, Minnie and Micky Mouse, Elmo, Mummers, Clowns and more.

A few snaps from the St. Anthony Parade:

A few snaps from St. Lunaire-Griquet Parade:

There were many good corporate citizens, with local businesses and their employees putting hours of time into preparing for the annual parades, as well as parents, grandparents and local citizens gearing up to show the life and support that exists in rural regions. Despite very chilly temperatures there were many by-standers, especially children catching handfuls of candy that was being tossed along roadside by those on floats. The parades all ended with a visit from Santa, a warm drop of hot chocolate and many smiles as Merry Christmas was in the air.

Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

 

4th Annual Mummer’s Walk Location and Date Announced

4th Annual    Mummer’s WalkThe Mummer’s Walk was initially held in Flower’s Cove on December 29th, 2010. This event was created from dialogue between local Anchor Point native Sabrina Gaulton and I to encourage locals to continue our valued traditions. It was always a goal that this would lead to an annual event and also include a mummer’s dance and a night of mummer in each community.

The Flower’s Cove event was well received and much fun. It included a walk, some dancing at the Lion’s Club and a few treats of hot chocolate, purity syrup and some jam jams. The tradition continued to Anchor Point in 2011, where my friends from Switzerland and Germany also got to participate in our rural tradition. It was a windy day, but still kids and adults alike dressed up and enjoyed the event. In 2012, the festivities were held at Savage Cove, which drew more than 40 mummer’s, nearly doubling past events. Also, there was a Mummer’s Dance held too!

This year we are excited to announce the annual event will take place at the Green Island Cove Lion’s Club on 29th of December at 2:30 PM. Young and old are encouraged from all communities to come out and show your traditional spirit to join the merry band of mummers.

Come big ones, come small ones, come tall ones and thin, boys dressed as women and girls dressed as men…

Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

 

 

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