Today is officially my last blog post about the Harvest Fest! It's a very sad day, but i won't be far. Around Harvest Fest time you can find me around hantsport being spooky as always. It's time for back to school, early mornings, cram sessions with junk food, and big comfy sweaters. I'm going to miss working at the information center, but I'll be even more busy with my senior year of classes. Thank you all so much for reading, I hope you enjoyed my posts, and I hope to see you all at Harvest Fest!
We have briefly touched on apples in the valley, but I've come to discover that there isn't a post dedicated to these lovely fruit. So today we are talking about apples! Some orchards in the annapolis valley grow over 35 different kinds of apples, but there are some kinds which are more popular than others. Some trendy ones are cortland, mcintosh, gravenstein, empire, golden delicious, honeycrisp, russet, red delicious, gala and spartan.
Now for some facts about apples. Apples grown in Nova Scotia can be found all year round when stored properly. In the 1960's mcintosh apples became Canada's national apple. Cortland apples were created in the big apple itself; New York! Did you know the russet apple has been around since the 1800's? It is mostly used in pie filling and sauces, because it has an almost furry skin. Spartan apples were scientifically created by crossing the mcintosh and pippin apple. Gravensteins are one of the earliest apples, being ready to pick in mid september. Grav's are very tart, but a refreshing first taste of fall. Canada actually created an apple that doesn't brown, these are called Arctic Apples. They did this by changing around the genes in the apple, which can be a little controversial. Honeycrisp apples are one of the largest and most expensive apples, but also one of the sweetest.
With our apples you can eat them fresh, bake with them, or even dehydrate them for snacking. Some of my favourite apple baked goods are apple crisp, pie, muffins, and cinnamon rolls. Click on any of the above to find a lovely recipe to create it. You have all fall to get fresh apples in the valley and there are lots of U-Picks spotted around, so get out and find your favourite kind of apple.
So why is fall my favourite season? I know it's been burning a hole in your brain ever since i began writing these blogs, and i finally have the answer.
Summer is lovely with vacation time, and sunny days, and warm weather but it has a lot of faults. If you work, then most of your time is spent indoors staring out at the potential beach day gone wrong. If you work outside then it's even worse, humid days in Nova Scotia can feel like almost 40 degrees celsius and that can be rough when you have to be outside under the sun all day. If you do get the day off and decide to do something fun, the minute you step outside you'll be covered in sweat, and your hair will resemble a bird's nest (it happens to the best of us). Summer is soccer season though (along with many other sports which i'm sure are super fun), and that makes it all okay! Don't get me wrong, Summer comes in close second in my list, but it just doesn't take the prize. For the remainder of this wonderful season, depending on the person, get to as many beaches as you can, or finish as many Netflix episodes in your air conditioned room before school creeps around the corner.
Spring is a very happy time, when I hear the word I imagine pastel colours, and baby animals on bright green grass under the mild sun. In reality, spring loves rain, and rain's best friend is mud, and that is what we get here. The temperature doesn't have many extremes which is really enjoyable. A lot of people decide to rush this season though and they just count the days until summer. I do not suggest that, as spring is the perfect time to get so many things done. Something that is 100% true is that there are a lot of baby animals. Farms are a great place to see these babies, and we have lots of farms here!
Winter can be very unpredictable. Sometimes it's plus 10 degrees and sunny and you can run around in a T-shirt, where the next day we'll get 3 feet of snow and if you step outside in anything except an oven, you'll get frostbite. This makes it very hard to plan trips and events in the winter because they could get cancelled from a storm. Nova Scotians love to jump on a plane in the winter and head down south, but I say stick it out and have some fun! Winter also happens to be one of the prettiest seasons. I don't know anything more exciting than the first snow, no matter how old you were, during class if one student spotted a snowflake the whole school turned into a zoo. I apologize to all the teachers out there who wanted to get things done that day, because the kid's attention is gone. I can say for a fact that this still occurs in high school, with maybe a little less squealing...maybe. For this cold weather Tim Hortons makes a great hot chocolate, and there are lots of hills to go sledding on. Put on your mittens and grab a tuque before you hit the outdoors. Don't tell me you don't have any mittens either, because we all know you have a pair of those knit mittens with the spots on them that everyone's grandmother made (these happen to be fantastic mittens, also I have come to discover that these are known as 'Newfie mittens' and somehow they took over all of Nova Scotia). Just in case you ever become a grandmother, here is a pattern for these terrific mitts. If you are a skier or snowboarder then you are laughing right now because winter is your favourite season. In that case run on over to Martock and enjoy this magical season.
So lastly, we have come to Autumn. As you can see from my last post about bucket lists, there are basically unlimited things to do here in the fall. The weather is warm but with a cool hint in the air, the trees light up the province with their remarkable colours, and life kicks back into action. School starts which ends up being dreadful, but is always extremely exciting the first day. One of my favourite parts about the fall, is the clothes. Back to school means back to school shopping! Along with the first of many Five Star binders (this one will break within the first week), a few clothing items always get purchased at the beginning of the school year. Parents, congratulations because you've made it through the summer and the kids are back at school! So get packing lunches, and grab your favourite hoody because fall is just around the corner.
Bucket lists; you love them or you hate them. Since fall turns into snowy days quicker than you can cook microwave popcorn, there needs to be a way to make sure you complete everything you want to do! Bucket lists may be the solution to this problem. So today, I'm going to create the ultimate Annapolis Valley fall bucket list. Here are 35 things to accomplish in the new season.
So there are definitely hundreds of things to do here, but these are just a couple that really embrace the area, and what autumn has to offer. I will for sure be attempting to complete all of these, so why not give it a try?
It's finally August, one month away from my all time favourite season. The nights will get chilly, and the leaves will start to fall, but without sunny beach days what do you do with the family for adventures? Well I am here to tell you that there are tons and tons of exciting things to do this fall, and it's time to prepare.
The first activity is an obvious one; apple picking! Here in Nova Scotia fall is harvest time for apples, and what better way to get them than to go pick them yourself. We have many orchards in the Annapolis Valley including Stirlings, Noggins, Daniels U-Pick, Fuller Brothers Farm U-Pick, Willowbank U-Pick, and many more. For a full list and a map, click here. These apples are great for snacking, baking, juicing, and anything you can think of really.
Next in line we have the corn maze. Our corn isn't only delicious in some butter, but it also grows a mean maze. There is the Davison Corn Maze in Falmouth, and Noggins Farm Markets maze in Greenwich. Evan's Family Farm Market in Greenwood has the largest corn maze in the Annapolis Valley this year! If you're really into halloween and spooky places the RiverBreeze Fear Farm has two haunted corn mazes, and 4 haunted houses. This creepy place is located in Truro. Some places with corn mazes also have hay rides, which are a fall staple.
Fall is so beautiful because of the leaves, so why not do something with those! I highly suggest making leave piles and going for a jump. No matter what age you are, the sweet crisp smell of leaves that surrounds you when you land in the crunchy bed never gets old. If you're more the artsy type, you can collect leaves. Try to get a leaf from as many different types of trees as you can. For younger kiddies, there are unlimited crafts that can be done with leaves. Just for some ideas, there are some super creative ideas here.
I have worked at a farm market and let me tell you, fall is the time to go. Starting in August all of the brightest and yummiest veggies and fruit line the shelves. It's a busy time for farm markets, but also the most wonderful. Blueberries, apples, blackberries, pears, squash, corn, pumpkins, green and yellow beans, peas, and so much more. Take a trip to your local market and try to make a meal with only local fresh ingredients. It's harder than it looks but will be so worht it. Cooking with the kids can be lots of fun, but if they are the messy type having then snack on some fresh berries while you do the cooking is also a great idea!
It's football season! Football isn't huge here in our highschools, but anyone can appreciate a good fall football game, wrapped up in a blanket with some hot chocolate. The kids will love to get outside and burn off some energy tossing a football around, and it'll really improve their hand to eye coordination. Just the idea of a night time game witht he lights on and the leaves blowing by in the light cool breeze makes me excited.
For halloween you can DIY some costumes, or go costume shopping! Pumpkin carving is a must, and every kid loves the gooey guts that the pumpkin spits out. For something new try painting your pumpkins, the last much longer and you can still put some silly faces on them. Maybe this halloween you will make little goody bags instead of throwing a random bar and bag of chips in each kids bag. There's so many exciting things for kids around halloween, they'll love it if you get as excited as they are. If you really want to please them try dressing up for halloween with them! You could even do a group costume.
Take the whole family out on a hike! The trails are at their best in the fall being decorated with leaves of the most beautiful tones from autumn. The fresh air is so good for everyone, and will make sure everyone is all tuckered out that night. The valley has some of the best walking trails, but if you really want a challenge try cape blomidon!
Whatever you decide to do, you can't go wrong. I highly recommend getting as much outdoor time as possible, the valley is stunning when fall redecorates. Make sure you see it all!
It's the end of July, and that means only one more month until fall! With fall comes Harvest Fest, scary stories, pretty colours, pumpkin spice lattes, cool weather, cozy sweaters and I think you can see where im going with this; it's a great time of the year. So during that season, our little orange friends start appearing all over town. Pumpkin season is coming upon us, and I couldn't be more excited.
I'd rather not talk about it, but pumpkins don't last forever. Eventually these bright round halloween staples will start to get a little mushy, and then they'll get thrown in a ditch somewhere. It breaks my heart to see little orange blobs dotted around every neighborhood ready to be forgotten until the next year. So why just carve a pumpkin and chuck the seeds when there is an alternative? When you find that perfect pumpkin then save the seeds! You can roast the seeds in salt and olive oil, or maybe even some popcorn seasoning. You can plant the seeds and this way your pumpkin's legacy will live on, and the following year you'll be ready to go with your very own pumpkins. For the leftover carved pumpkins following halloween, these can be used as a fertilizer, or for wildlife to eat. From the website 'Gardening Know How' here are some steps to storing pumpkin seeds:
-Remove the pulp and seeds from inside the pumpkin. Place this in a colander.
-Place the colander under running water. As the water runs over the pulp, start picking out the seeds from the pulp. Rinse them in the running water as you do. Do not let the pumpkin pulp sit in non-running water.
-There will be more seeds inside the pumpkin than you will ever be able to plant, so once you have a good amount of seeds rinsed, look over them and choose the biggest seeds. Plan on saving three times more pumpkin seeds than the number of plants you’ll be growing next year. Larger seeds will have a better chance of germinating.
-Place the rinsed seeds on a dry paper towel. Make sure they are spaced out; otherwise, the seeds will stick to one another.
-Place in a cool dry spot for one week.
-Once the seeds are dry, store pumpkin seed for planting in an envelope
Read more at Gardening Know How: Saving Pumpkin Seeds: How To Store Pumpkin Seed For Planting http://www.gardeningknowhow.com/edible/vegetables/pumpkin/saving-pumpkin-seeds-how-to-s
Now time for the skin of the pumpkin. Pumpkin skin can be removed off of a roasted pumpkin, and then dehydrated for a healthy snack. If you don't have a dehydrater, just throw them in the oven! You can throw watever seasonings you want on.
Okay, so technically there are no recipes for the stem off a pumpkin, but you can still do cool stuff with it! Stems make for great halloween crafts. In order to use them, you must dry them, and blogger Lisa Tutman-Oglesby does a great job of explaining how.
1. Use a sharp knife to carefully cut the around the outline of the pumpkin stem.
A very popular craft is fabric pumpkins. Most people use velvet for these, but you can use whatever fabric you want really. For more information on this craft click here.
The final product is super neat, and the perfect centerpiece for this fall! This picture is from www.thenester.com
At this years Harvest Fest, there will be a tour of the Riverbank Cemetery. Recently I've been working at this cemetery once a week, documenting the names of everyone buried here. Considering there are thousands of people in this cemetery, it is a huge task, but a fascinating one. If you ever get the chance, go through a cemetery and just read some of the gravestones. You can learn a lot from these; family size, relatives, and even what kind of names people were given during their era. I happened to come across two gravestones which belonged to relatives of mine that I didn't even know were buried there! It's interesting to see the lifespans of people changing throughout time. For example, babies happened to be very unnlucky a while back, considering there wasn't any of the medicinal technology that we have nowadays, and their immune systems just weren't the best. I find cemeteries to be a remarkable place to learn knew things, and to just take a moment in quiet, alone. This doesn't seem to be the case for many people though, a lot of people are creeped out by cemeteries! I mean, there are thousands of dead bodies underground so it's kind of understandable, but they are laid to rest and now it is a place of history and knowledge. Maybe just don't go visiting in the dark! 👻
So why are they scary? In the Riverbank Cemetery, theres actually many people, that we don't know the location of. Due to unmarked gravestones, and poor documentation a loooooong time ago it's hard to figure out where exactly everyone is. So missing bodies gives one point for creepy. (On the bright side, there is a memorial being created for these people to make sure they are acknowledged).
Another eerie part of cemeteries is that overtime where caskets have been buried, the ground actually sinks. This can be a little freaky for some people if you go to visit a relative, and you can see exactly where they are underground. Lucky for us, maintenance workers fill in these little dips in the ground, so nobody goes for a tumble! Sometimes it can go unnoticed for a little bit, and the hole can get deeper. At Hantsport's cemetery one grave has a hole going down into it fairly deep where the ground fell in...or was something trying to get out? I guess we'll never know, but on the tour try to spot this area as it is kinda cool.
Humans are also automatically set to fear death. As graveyards are all about death this can be a little weird for some of us. Some graveyards are a little sketchy compared to others, in certain places they claim that they are haunted. A haunted graveyard seems very reasonable to me considering how many people can potentially be buried there, who may want to haunt it. I don't know if you guys believe in ghosts, but I think it would be silly to ignore something so mysterious. Some of these haunted areas are actually near by. It's said that at a certain gravesite in Halifax, that you will experience symptoms of Typhoid fever when you are near by. This is the area where sailors were buried who died of the illness. Also in Halifax, you can visit a grave where people have said they hear laughter. So yeah, i guess cemeteries can be a little spooky.
If you're like me, then cemeteries only freak you out in the dark when you're alone. This is because in my mind, ghosts can't get me when I'm with other people! Also what ghost likes the daytime? The answer is none. In reality I'm sure if a spirit wanted to do something to me, they would accomplish that regardless of the situation or setting. For now though, I'm going to stick with my ideas because working in a cemetery could get a little tricky if I was scared of them.
If you take a step back and look at the whole situation it can actually be a very relaxing place to be. You should feel honoured to be in the presence of so many different people. It still amazes me that every single one of them lived out a life with different dreams, goals, fears, talents, etc. I'll always wonder what each and every one of them was like when they were living, and if they got to where they wanted to be in life. Some of these graves date back to before the 1800's which is astonishing! So come on out to the cemetery tour this fall with confidence that you (most likely) won't get haunted by a ghost, and take in the amazing ancient atmosphere.
This year, we will be having a Victorian theme masquerade ball at the Churchill house. The Victorian era was from 1837-1901, it began when Victoria became queen. Some information about the Queen. It was mid June when she was crowned, and she was only 18 years old! I'll be turning 18 in the winter, and I'm 100% sure I couldn't run a monarchy anytime soon. Victoria actually proposed to her husband, which is very much something that would happen in our progressing time. There was a big difference between then and now, her husband was actually her first cousin, which could be frowned upon in the 21st century.
The Victorian era was well known for change, as they were rapidly progressing. While they were changing, it was still a pretty rough time. One scary fact was that around 1 in 4 surgical patients died while in surgery. In graveyards, cages were sometimes put over the dead, and coffins could even be stacked around. At funerals, some people hired others to mourn. To me, this era seems like a perfect one for a halloween masquerade. It was one of the creepiest, bone chilling eras that occurred.
Victorian clothing was something else. Fashion designers of the time were mostly men, so they created victorian women's wear. Women's dresses showed all the curves they had, and even created some more. While the corset made sure you couldn't breath the whole night because all your organs were squashed together. It was actually a common thing fro women to pass out while they were at an event. So ladies, please leave your corsets at home, we don't want anyone passing out at our ball!
To really have the full experience, you're going to need a mask at the ball. If you buy a ticket before July 14th, you will receive a free one! If you happen to be late, well here is your solution. You could go out and spend a pile of money on a mask, but why would you do that when you can just create your own? This way it will match perfectly with your ball gown, or suit!
Now we need to put on our dancing shoes! There will be lessons at the ball teaching you to dance to traditional Scottish Folk music, so no need to worry about that. Victorian snacks will also be provided. Gather all your friends and get dolled up for this year's masquerade. Now that you know more about the setting, you can really put yourself in the era. I can't wait to see all your masks and outfits!
Hello everyone! It's just the beginning of the summer, but there is so much planning to do for this year's harvest fest.
Two of our big events are the 5k Pumpkin Pacer, and the Kiddies Pumpkin run. I don't know about you, but I couldn't run a 5k right now if my life depended on it! You might be a seasoned professional, but there must be some people in the same boat as me. If you are accompanying me in my ship, maybe some training could help us out. We have a whole season to prepare, here's hoping that is enough! Together we are going to learn the ins and outs of running a 5k. Throughout this post, I've linked some wonderful websites to help us learn a little bit more about proper training.
In order to start running, we are going to need some equipment; by equipment, I mean sneakers. If you don't have the right sneakers, you won't make it very far. To make sure your are super comfy, you're going to have to learn a bit about your feet. Some feet are narrow, or wide, and some even have flat arches. I am one of the unlucky ones whose arch never appeared. With the knowledge of this there are proper precautions you can take, and you too can have happy toes. The button below will tell you everything you need to know about finding the right pair of sneakers.
If you happen to have fortunate feet born with a lovely arch, you still need to be very careful about what sneakers you wear. Making sure your sneakers fit is one of the most important focuses when buying shoes. The button below will provide you with some very helpful tips on sizing your shoes.
Now that we have great shoes, we can start training. From what I've heard, a beginner can typically be ready for a 5k in two months. We have almost four months, so I'll be expecting lots of medals at our Harvest Run! To start out, there is a mix of walking and jogging, this conditions your body to get used to constant movement without killing your lungs and muscles. Each week you need to make a schedule that you will stick to. Dedication is the most important thing, if you aren't trying then you won't get anywhere. Rest is also important, your muscles need a break so they can recover and come back even stronger. A day or two each week should be dedicated to rest. It's also a good idea to do some strength training so your muscles can handle the exercise. As the weeks progress, more time will be dedicated to running/jogging, and less to walking. If you are planning to walk the 5k, then spend more time walking each week, going longer distances or trickier routes. Follow the button below for more details about scheduling your weeks ahead.
How it works:
-Quote from Karla Bruning's "Beginners Guide to Running a 5k"
So we're trained professionals now, and there's only a few days until the race. There is still one last thing we need to talk about in preparation; fueling up. What you put into your body makes a huge difference on race day.
In the next few days, drink more water than there is in the atlantic ocean. Sipping water all day long during the days before the race guarantees you will be hydrated on the day of. Drinking heavy amounts of water the morning of the race might not be a fantastic idea as you could get a stomach ache, or your bladder may decide it's full halfway through the race.
For food, make sure you are getting all the nutrients you need, don't cut out the healthy stuff. The day of, it might be a good idea to eat something light so it's not heavy bouncing around in your stomach while you run. Foods that digest quickly are a good idea so that your GI tract isn't trying to digest food, while you are trying to use energy for running. Foods rich in carbohydrates provide you with lots of energy. "Carb loading" is a technique where you stuff yourself with carbs days before the race. This isn't completely necessary as it's used for really long periods of exercising, and your 5k won't take very much time.
During the race remember to keep breathing, pace yourself, and don't give up. You've been training for this day, and you can do it! Also don't just plop yourself down for a nap after the race, take a walk to cool down your muscles and stretch them out a little. Hydrate after, and grab a nutritious snack!
I hope that you feel prepared now, I know I learned a thing or two while typing this! Thank you for reading and I will be back with more things to learn about our wonderful Harvest Fest, and how to prepare for it!
From the OLd Farmers Almanac
Good to Know
Pick a site with full sun (to light shade) and lots of space for sprawling vines. Vine varieties need 50 to 100 square feet per hill.
Hi! My name is Cassidy, and I'm the summer student at the Hantsport VIC. Fall is my favourite season, and I can't wait to share all my wonderful ideas and plans here.