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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

 

Halloween Parties at local Lion’s Clubs in Rural NL

Halloween ranks way up there as a favourite holiday from the days of making paper chains, bobbing for apples, going trick-or-treating, participating at our high school Spook Trail, carving pumpkins or joining the crowd at George Street’s Mardi Gras.

These past three years I’ve taken a liking to staying in rural Newfoundland & Labrador and celebrating Halloween at the local Lion’s Club. In 2010, I dressed as a Mountie accompanying Mary Poppins & Bert the Chimney Sweep. Last year, at the last-minute I joined the Roper’s making a Where’s Waldo costume by coloring red stripes on a white long sleeve shirt.

To me making your own homemade costume is the fun of Halloween. I remember when I made an Elvis Presley costume from plastic white banquet roll, stapling together parts for Marge Simpson or finding the perfect shirt to be Stewart from MadTV. This year’s group costume really wasn’t in the cards. I guess sometimes the last-minute costumes are the ones that bring the most fun.

Many who know me, know that I collect board games, so being the characters from Milton Bradley’s CLUE was a real treat. After digging through our boxes of dress-up clothes we found a maid costume, red dress and purple trench coat, green pants and tan jacket. A lightbulb moment happened and we thought let’s be the characters of the CLUE board game for Halloween. I was originally supposed to be Mr. Green because of my green suit but that had to change after I visited the Salvation Army in St. Anthony the day of the party and found the perfect plum velvet jacket that fit me to a tee, as well as short purple pants, a large green jacket and bright yellow blazer and a blue dress for Mrs. Peacock. After shuffling some characters we are as follows:

Mr. Green with the wrench, Miss Scarlet with the candlestick, Mrs. Peacock with the knife, Col. Mustard with the revolver, Mrs. White with the rope and myself as Professor Plum with a lead pipe. The Mystery remains…Who Killed Mr. Body?

Who Killed Mr. Body? Mr. Green, Miss Scarlet, Mrs. Peacock, Col. Mustard, Mrs. White & Professor Plum.

The Sandy Cove Lion’s Club on Friday Night filled with characters including Willie Wonka Nerds, Anne of Green Gables, Fred & Wilma Flintstone, Al Capone, devils, pirates, cats, wizards, dead cheerleaders, scarecrows, witches, police officers, Grime Reaper, Indians, Spiderlady and many other ghouls and goblins. Everyone broke out when the Monster Mash played and we all danced long into the night.

Young and old alike, we continue to have much spirit in rural Newfoundland & Labrador – especially during occasions like Halloween.

Be sure to join us some time!

Live Rural NL –

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North
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