Blog Archives

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 :).

IMG_00000346

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.

IMG_00000348

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.

IMG_00000349

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.

IMG_00000379

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.

IMG_00000350

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.

IMG_00000354

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.

IMG_00000371

Merry Christmas everyone, from my family to yours!

Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

 

Sealskin Slippers for Christmas?

There is snow on the ground and a crisp chill in the air – already this season appears to be one that promises a more traditional Christmas season. As the weather becomes colder, I ponder if I should purchase a warm pair of sealskin slippers made by local artisans?

I remember one year for Christmas receiving a pair that would be much to small for my now adult-size feet. They were incredibly warm and completely comfortable, conforming to ones feet.

My father was a fishermen and a sealer. He took great pride in preparing the sealskin, barking them in the water, lacing them in frames, soaking them in “Skin” Pond and letting them tan to perfection before using a pattern to prepare the sealskin leather. A local woman from Green Island Brook, would make our boots. She has been doing it now for more than 7 decades. There is a natural process that is followed that is part of our living heritage on the Great Northern Peninsula.

If you would like to purchase sealskin products that are 100% handcrafted and made by local artisans visit www.gnpcrafts.ca. They have an array of product for those of you that would like to also experience rural Newfoundland & Labrador.

I will most likely pay a visit to GNP Crafts in the near future as sealskin slippers will surely keep my toes nice and snug when we hit -40 degrees C.

Live Rural NL -

Christopher C. Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 5,242 other followers

%d bloggers like this: