Frogs and Mushrooms

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Oh Hi

Didn’t see you there.

Oh me? Just writing a blog.

You don’t remember what a blog even is? Or who I am? Or what you’re doing here?

Oh that’s very queer indeed… indeed..

*AMNESIA*

Yeah so, hi! Remember me? I used to write nonsense here and accompany it with pictures of homemade pizza or flowers for an audience that consists nearly entirely of my mother. Miss me for the last 3 months? Anyway I have had 2 days off in a row, which meaning summer is winding down. I found myself at home under a blanket, feeling that odd mixture of fidgety-ness and intense malaise that sets in around noonish on my second day off. Its like even if your days off fall on a wednesday & thursday, the second day always feels like a sunday. Then I thought oh YEAH Ill write a blog about stuff and things! I havent really participated in the world very much this summer, but our friend Imma came for a visit for a week and a bit. We went for a hike on Turpins trail in Tilting and took some pictures. It looks much colder than it was.

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Turpins trail! Which has a really daunting little emblem… It looks like a Wickerman in the shape of a bunny with a scythe over top….. yeah never noticed that before.. okay… moving on..

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This is the very TRAIL we walked upon! We took the Road Most Travelled, not because we are conformists, but because everything else is made of rocks or steep drop offs into the ocean.

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The ponds are so mineral rich they are very still and very black. We were having a peek for baby fishes or a sign of life but ended up just staring into our own reflections… deep, dude.

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CB dropped a rock in.

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This is a larch tree. Its pinecones are little rosebuds growing straight off its elegant little braches. Cutest conifer ever!?

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So there was a whole plethora of fungus to be seen along the trail. These ones were the prettiest. Something had been nibbling them. Somewhere in the woods a caribou was having a real weird day.

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As you walk the trail, the environment changes super drastically every so often, and you get to experience a variety of ecosystems. This one had a bench that has seen better days.

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Marshy marsh. Boggy bog.

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CB is classy as shit and smoked a stogie on the walk. Cigars, pine trees, and salt water go nicely together, someone should make a really classy cologne.

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It looks really cold, but it wasn’t so bad. It would threaten a drizzle every now and then but that just kept us feeling zesty fresh on our hike.

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Random pile of rocks in the shape of a pyramid.

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WE FOUND A FROG! I dont care what anyone says, frogs are rare here. They are RARE! CB is like #1 Champion at catching frogs and turtles, so he gently scooped him up so we could get a good look.

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Aside from a little bit of pee, he seemed pretty chill.

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These are Blue Bead orchids. The leaf shoots are edible in the spring/early summer but the delicious looking blue flower pods left behind are poisonous.

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A moldy mushroom! Look at that! That mushroom got moldy. weird.

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Imma holding the cutest button mushroom we found. Awww.. like a little snowball.

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Over the bridge

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Seagull making a racket over head.

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Found this rock, nicely labelled, in the middle of nowhere..

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Imma standing over a perfect line of black lava stone pressed in between plates of granite, leading right to the sea. So neat!

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Follow it!

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Lovely still pond

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CB threw a log in it

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Skeleton of a boat rotting on the beach

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Sun bleached sea shells

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CB wiggling a creepy wormy tube of seaweed on a stick at Imma

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Imma somehow on the walk picked us each a four leaf clover. Magic!

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Seal Cove is my favourite place to put my feet in the water, but it was too cold and we managed to turn a 2 hour walk into a 4 1/2 hour walk so we walked by it

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Chubby bumblebee on a thistle, beautiful

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Tiny specks in the water are two ducks floating around

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Sappy cones

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Me taking a picture of Imma taking a picture of Ghost Pipes. They are really strange things. Somewhere between a plant and a mushroom, it has no chlorophyl and lives symbiotically with trees and mushrooms, taking what it needs from both. Creepy little things.

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Pretty piece of turquoise sea glass

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Tidal pools, hunting for sea urchins and crabs, unsucessful

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Oyster leaf growing between the rocks on the shore. They are a succulent, their leaves are plump with water, making them salty and briney like an oyster.

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An area of the walk was covered with bird wings. Maybe a dozen or so.

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We stopped and watched an epic battle between a crow and a small, very fast little bird. CB thinks it was probably a chicken hawk. He wasnt going hungry.

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A bleached out log jutting out of the rocks. I dont know if it got stuck there in a storm, or by people, but it was very striking as the storm started to come in.

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Creeeeepy little out house..

And that was our walk. TIME FOR CURRY LUNCH! BYE!

Catching Up with Dr. J. Edward Slothman

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Oh haaaaaiiiii…

Man. I’m so laaaaazzzzyyy todayyyy. I am inert, dude. Truly lackadaisacal. Like operating in 100% sloth mode. When I move, it is akin to old farm equipment starting up on a cold winters day; all creaking, moaning, and cloud of pollutants puffing out the back end. Mrrahhhhh

Last night we had a sleep over– which is what we call it when I get all excited and move the mattress from our bedroom to another room in the house and we sleep where it lands. We really only have one other room though so its just plunked down in the living room in front of the TV.

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The Grand Tour!

CB got this little device dealy that you stick in the TV and you can broadcast youtube through it, so my morning has just been loud cartoons and Nikki Minaj videos on a larger screen. Which is fun. So colourful! So much butts! Despite that kind of beautiful awakening this morning I’m still rather haggard and laggard. Not to be a bragard.. Damn, I am a wordsmith.
This post is sponsored by YeOldeMedeivalEnglishThesaurus.com.

So I realize that for the exception of my brief photo essay on Chickens Using Power Tools, I haven’t posted anything in a long time. Soz, m8s. I have been busy! Ive had more than a month off! I haven’t had to scale flour or cast side eyes at coworkers dubious work habits in weeks! It’s been incredible. Instead, we drove 7,825km there and back, visiting family and friends. Google Maps estimates that to be about 98 hours in a car. You can imagine the mountain of Tim Hortons cups we amassed on our drive.

Next time, we will probably fly, but it was an adventure! A snowy, ice stormy, white knuckly sort of adventure. But we survived! And I got to fill up on family, which is good, because my family meter has been long empty. If I were a Sims character I would have been dancing around angrily and peeing myself long ago. If you do not understand that reference, you are not cool.

I missed my fam so much. Even though travelling took up most of our time so we could only have wee visits, it was still special. I missed my mom’s b-day but I still got to make her a cake, and share christmas with my family. That hasnt happened in about 9 years I think, since I started working in kitchens. BOO KITCHENS. No j/k they’re ok. My mom is better though.

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I got to play a millions games with my brother and sister. Got to have morning coffee’s with my dad!

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Pizza lunch with my Gram and Aunty Pat. Got to annoy my cousins while my Aunt Chris made us chicken parmasen for dinner! We ate every single ethnic food we saw. Dr. Phil and lasagna with CB’s nan! Finally we got to have breakfast at our friend Anthony’s restaurant, AMAZING! Then dinner with our friend Ima later on at his third restaurant. Successful bastard. Hugs and whistle dogs with our most best friend Jess who we havent seen in so long she’s gotten all married and become a teacher! Waaah! So many hugs. Im getting better at them now. They are actually pretty cool, hugs. I think that means I’m finally starting to grow as a human being.

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I got SWEET xmas presents! Like one of these bookmarks my sister made out of leather. We lost our old stink dog Oscar a few months ago and she made the three of us booksmarks with his neurotic dog face all over them. It looks exactly like him, she is so wicked with leather. Aw, Osc. I also got an adult fleece Onesie pajamas that I wear ever minute of my life now. If it’s one piece is it still “pajamas” or just a singular pajama? And I got a fishing rod! For to catch a fish! Because I showed great aptitude for that! CBs mom made me an awesome birthday quilt and for xmas gave me these tiny ceramic skunks, probably one of my favourite presents ever now. And my brother bought me a million books. Like literally a garbage bag full of books with a christmas bow on it. I have so many books now. Thanks, bro-bot!

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We spent a lot of time at christmas with CB’s fam. We got to be their annual boxing day bash, which is always fun! There was so much food and hiding from strangers! I drank a lot of whiskey.

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It was so warm for a week in December that Arlene’s chickens started laying eggs!! She thought someone was pranking her, hiding brown, shit covered eggs all over the place. Ha! She was so excited, it was great.

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And ate a million diner breakfasts! CB’s raison d’etre. That one was at a truck stop in Quebec, it came with breakfast meat pie! Oh I also ate so much pie. One day, I ate 4 different pieces of pie. I also gained 17 pounds this month. That is not a lie or gross exaggeration. It is just gross.

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Oh yeah..

Five days ago I officially became an old bag.

Sigh.

The big Three-Oh. A solemn dong from the Gong of Eternity sounding out through the din of time, in celebration of my ever shortening, but constant and inescapable, march towards death. CB MADE ME CAKE!

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Here he is spackling on the strawberry mousse frosting with a (very clean) drywall knife. It was chocolate, with strawberries and whiskey. YEEEEAHHH!

Now if youll excuse me, I think I will make a tea and see about maybe sporting some pants perhaps. Good day!

Perfectly Spherical Racoons & Also A DEER!

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Derp! Look what I found, just hanging around a wild life park/rehabilitation centre! This here cool dear!

He was most excellent, and we became total 100% buds. I pet his nose and fed him bits of moss and told him cool stories while CB was very impatiently waiting for me to go look at some dumb otter. Which is usually what I live for, but this deer was enchanting. He was great! He followed me along this fence for most of our walk. Probably because he thought I would feed him, but I like to think it was because some kind of deep, lady-animal soul bond. Like virgins have with unicorns. I have with.. derp faced deers in rehab. I didnt ask what he was in for, but after spending time with him I think it may have been for moss addiction. HAW HAW HAW

On to the next thing!

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Look. At. This. ARCTIC FOX.

He is in his fancy winter coat and it, like me in my winter jacket, makes him look like a sausage. It was early in the morning and very cold, but he was up bounding around, pouncing on leaves and stuff. He jumped up and pooped in his house, while looking at us deviously. “Ha ha! Check it out guys! Pooped in my own house! I’m CRAZY! Don’t mess with me! ANARCHY FOX 4EVER”

 

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Next was the moose and black bear enclosures. The moose’s habitat is super big, so it’s pretty unlikely to see him I think. The black bears were still sleeping. Lazy bastards.

This is a peregrine falcon, one of the fastest things to ever exist. Like, I am talking, just super swiftm here.

As a kid, I liked to draw them as much as possible. I was REALLY into drawing eagles and falcons. This one was oddly interested in us, for a bird. He hopped down out of his little roost area to get a better look at the weirdos staring at it. But one of his wings didnt work and he had a hell of a time hopping back up so I felt like a jerkbag for bugging him.

 

 

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Next door were these little hooties! We were watching them so intently, we were freaked out to turn around and find a cougar giving us the old up and down. She liked what she saw, RAWRRR.

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Actually she looks kind of disinterested. I have to admit, I was actually a bit scared. I ran away, to look at this REINDEER!

 

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Hello there big fella!

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Actually he was oddly small. Like I couldn’t have ridden him anywhere at all.

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There was approximately 6,927,192,812,975 bunnies running around. This one was my favourite because it was maxin’ and relaxin’ directly outside the wolf enclosure. Nibbling stuff. What a tease.

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The wolfs paced… biding their time.. until its hasenpfeffer time, baby!

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They look mean and snarly here but really he was just sneezing. I was scared to go up to them at first, because it is a VERY unnatural feeling to walk up to a pack of wolves. But they were just like a bunch of puppies when we got up to them. Whining and sniffing. Cute!

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This is one looking at CB..

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RACOONS!

 

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Look at these fluff balls!

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Getting a little sun.

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Hanging out.

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Thinking deep thoughts.

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Scratching their substantial winter tums. CB was all about these racoons.

MEANWHILE, I was falling in love with this deer:

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OH YEAH HERE IS MY DEER FRIEND! I think I shall name him.. Derek.

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CB saw an otter! Big deal! Whatever! Cute otter that is usually my favourite animal to watch, but…

MEANWHILE:

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Derek the Derp Deer. Has a runny nose. I hope he’s not in rehab for a cold.

 

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CB saw these turkeys lived with an Emu and we wondered if they thought he was their God. Or possibly dad.. They ran around slipping on the ice, which was hilarious, and I wish we had it on video. Watching a turkey lose its balance is some serious high-brau type comedy slapstick hijinx.

MEANWHILE, DEER:

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Still paying attention only to this cool deer. He loved moss. I think he liked me because I am so salty.

 

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Peacocks got my attention though. I love them, and they had some lovely white ones.

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They seemed a bit cold..

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That concludes the wild animal segment of our tour. Now it’s time for PETTING ZOO! Which means, lots of ducks, couple swans, and of course the ubiquitous Llama’s Who Hate You!

 

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Totally hates you.

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We saw this HUGE horse. Like.. too much big. Like he was maybe a freak of nature giant horse. His head was the size of me, if I was curled into a vaguely horse head shaped ball. Why I would be doing this, I dont know.

I wish I had held a dollar bill for scale like on eBay! Okay — I could have fit my foot in his nostril– I didn’t, RELAX, CB wouldnt let me, but I could have. He was so big. Also not interested in pets no matter how flat my hand was. He looks super nervous. I dont know if anyone ever told him he’s the biggest animal in North America, it would have quelled his anxiety some.

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This old donkey, hanging out with this small duck. This duck actually led us around from place to place as if showing off her personal collection of geriatric farm animals. She was very proud.

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ERMAGERD, PERNIES!

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So majestic, with the wind sweeping through their lustrous manes, braving the arctic chill like frosty sentinels. LOOK AT THEIR TINY LEGS. I want to paint their hooves with nail polish and make them wear sweaters and reading glasses!

(Kristy can you guess which one I said was you…)

 

 

 

 

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There were two beautiful blonde lady horses having some hay. They made me especially happy because they looked *EXACTLY* like our Barbie horse growing up. Western Barbie’s horse Sunrunner.

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(Remember Kristy?! I spent my time meticulously rolling microscopic grapes out of plasticene for a fruit bowl on my All You Can Eat buffet table at my Barbie restaurant next to my Barbie hair salon, Barbie clothing store, and Barbie grocery store… and you had the horse and lived alone on a mountain.. never once even came to town for groceries, my hand written barbie sized gossip magazines, or even for tiny plasticine devilled eggs with tiny paprika sprinkled on top… it was all for you, my sister! Dont you see! IT WAS ALL FOR YOU! I digress.)

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Beautiful, with sparkly ribbons in her hair.

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Monch monch monch.. I would name this one Petticoat, and the other one, Werther’s Original.

 

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Then there was suddenly this goat!

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Haaa-eeyyy

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Pig babies! I hope they didnt snuffle up the bacon smell I had on my hands after breakfast…. oh gawd.. I am a monster.

Oh also, weird thing I didnt take a picture of– there were two baby cows across from these pigs and one of them was “suckling” on the other.. but the other one was just pissing. Just pissing into his brothers mouth and looking at us like “I know something’s not right about this but it’s soooo awkward to bring it up…” poor baby pee cows… they dont understand.

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Oh and then THIS creepy mutherfucker….

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Some borin’ ol’ shee’

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And that concludes our tour. Goodbye, my furry friends.. goodbye odd duck tour guide. Goodbye, horses..

Hitting The Road


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VAY-KAY-SHUNNNNNN BAY-BEEEEEEE!

Well, we did it. We made it off the island alive. And then off the second, larger, island alive. And then out of the province alive. And then out of the next 2 provinces alive. It took almost a week longer then it should have due to weather, but it was a nice trip We took it slow, and when stuff happened like having to pull off the highway because of weather, we pretended it was all part of the awesome vacation experience! Not having time constraints makes travelling 600% better!

Oh that picture is of a lighthouse! I peed on it… I couldnt hold it any longer! I peed on a national historic site. Sorry everybody!

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This was CB’s view, for the 20 hours of driving we did. Listening to a random mixture of hip hop, Raymond Chandler radio shows, my amazing collection of 80’s music, Johnny Cash and Sherlock Homes stories… so we are insane now.

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This was the view on the little ferry off the island.

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You can see the back of the ferry in our rear view mirror. Also, some wood.

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Look at the ferry’s cool open mouth! Thats what you drive out of. Neat eh! As you can see, our ferry is a bit on the rusty side. We are getting a new one next year! Woot woot!

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Driving driving driving! Mostly uneventful, which is good.

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We lucked out and got off the highway randomly in New Brunswick and found ourselves driving straight into the parking lot of a SCHNITZELHAUSE, as if guided by angels of the lord baby jesus. Look at that. Veal schnitzel with spaetzel noodles, caramelized onions, red cabbage and sauerkraut!

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And apple strudel for dessert. It was magic. The restaurant was decorated for christmas, with life-size santas that danced and sang and candles and holly and christmas lights and beer steins everywhere. I may have had emotions while eating my strudel.. it was just very nice.

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Another place we ended up accidentally and were so happy for was A&K Lick-a-Chick! They have the best fried chicken and we always talk about how good this place was. It was fate we ended up there while looking for something completely different!

I wish I took more pictures, it was a nice trip so far. We spent a week in Cape Breton, hanging out with CB’s nan, eating pizza at our favourite pizza place– she made us tea buns even though her arm is killing her and they were amazing, with a cup of tea– we visited CB’s awesome Aunt Carol and cousin Jen and I did crafts for 3 hours with children and it was really fun.. we saw a fox! We stayed out in CB’s nans summer house which is in such a lovely spot. We went to a movie for the first time in 2 years! We had a great week there.

Now we are safe at CB’s parents house. My butt is bruised from driving. Its flat like a hamburger. That’s all for now!

 

 

Epic NYC Face Stuff! Tasting God: The Great Truffle Perversion 2014


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Well hello there my little peepers and poopers! To borrow a phrase from my 14 year old self, this week has been “totally sweet ass”.

I am very much grateful to both the universe and my awesome bosses sending 4 of us chef-folks on food centric trip of a lifetime to NYC to eat at some of the finest restaurants in the world. 5 days, 4 nights, 11 Michelin stars.. GELLIS? MWUHAHAHA. It was mind blowing and I hope I never forget a single moment, or bite.

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This was basically The Gastro-Olympics. As one of our sous chefs put it “This was a culinary juggernaut.” It gently, and with great finesse, handed our collective asses to us on a silver platter. We spent a lot of time looking at each other and yelling “whaaaaaaaat????”

I was drunk most of the time on some of the most rare and expensive wines ever produced. Everything was either stuffed with, or covered in, shaved truffles. I ate oysters at least once a day. I nearly barfed at Per Se. By the end of the trip I had cankles. Seriously. My body was so unhappy and swollen I gave myself cankles. It was so awesome.

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Free kale salad everywhere! This was the most green I saw in NY.

After 17 hours of traveling by boat, plane and car, we arrived in NYC on Thursday night around 9pm. We checked into the apartment we rented out for the week in lower Manhattan, right across from Les Halles. Which was on fire at one point while we were there.. crazy. They were back up and running for dinner service!

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Had a quick shower and went out for SUSHIIIII! Being on a small island in the North Atlantic, we get a lot of fish.. but no sushi. It’s probably the food I crave most here, and can’t really make myself without great time and expense.. cod sushi just doesn’t seem right. Newfie cod & balogne sushi??? *mental note*

Nobu was the perfect place for our first night. It is rated with a michelin star, has been around for a long time, pretty casual and makes some killer Japanese food. Also, super close! Which is good, cause I was so tired from the trip already and barely tottled my way there in my heels without falling down a sewer grate and having to become a chubby blonde ninja turtle.

We chose to have the Omakase menu, chef’s choice tasting menu. The food was beautiful, creative and oh so fresh. My favourite dish of the night was slurping down super soft and sexy Kumamoto Oysters– they made my eyes go Manga-big with happiness. I never understood why oysters were considered and aphrodisiac until then, because DAMN SON. Sexy. My second favourite were these skewers of warm crispy black rice soaked in ponzu that you dipped in seaweed salt and cover in snow crab salad. Warm, cold, salty, sweet, soft, crispy, umami, yuzu up the wazoo. YUM.

 

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The next morning we woke up and immediately went on the hunt for espresso based coffees. Oh soy lattes, how I have yearned for you..

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We headed out to meet up with one of Tims chef friends and share some brunch at Momofuku’s Saam Bar. While we waited I jumped into Milk Bar and literally bought one of everything. The girl at the counter looked at me square in the face and said “I love you”. I replied that I in fact, loved her too, and ran out with a bag of cookies, crack pie, and bagel bombs. To be honest, they were pretty meh. It made me a bit sad.. oh well! The food was mediocre but I still love that place because its fun.

ONWARDS! TO BRUNCH!

Firstly, I ordered a Sangria and then followed that with EVERYTHING ON THE FUCKING MENU.

I may have overdid it. This was what I ordered:

– honeycrisp apple kimchi  with maple labne, jowl bacon, sesame

– country hams with red eye gravy

– kimichi pickles

– fried duck & waffles with maple, quince, mascarpone

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The best thing was that everyone ordered something different from the menu and we just kind of laid it out in front of us like a beautiful buffet and then the chopsticks started flying. I’m now kicking myself for not getting a picture of the table full of food, because it was a really gorgeous sight. This is the last bit of my fried duck & waffles. Crispy little morsels of moist duck meat on sticky sweet waffles. Sososososososo amazing, I will dream about it forever. I ordered all three desserts.. which wee also a bit meh, but had really interesting flavour combinations.

Dessert was a bit of a let down, so Tim’s friend Vera took us to her favourite Gelato shop il laboratorio del gelatoShe recommended the mascarpone and I coupled with with Strawberry. AMAZING. I was so full though I couldn’t finish mine. You know I’m proper full when I throw away ice cream. My heart aches for it still..

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The gelato place was right next door to Katz’s. The guys were jonesing for some pastrami, having not made nearly as much of a pig of themselves as me. But they were so packed you couldnt get into the door. Next time, Katz’s.. Next time you will be mine..

 

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Another one of Tim’s chumpals popped up at the gelato shop and took us a few blocks over to this bar called Freemans. Located at the end of a sketchy alley in the Bowery and decorated like a hipsters wet dream. It’s like stepping into a Wes Anderson movie, only with more taxidermy. Self described as a “rugged clandestine colonial tavern.” It was unbearably crowded with beautiful people eating beautiful brunch and sipping beautiful bourbon based cocktails and to be honest I kinda bugged out. It 100% was a place I didnt want to be and triggered my flight or fright. Totally ran away like a baby. Not my cup of tea. While the guys squeezed into a corner to spend $25 on a boiler maker, I went for a walk around Manhattan by myself. The city is different than I remember it. Cleaner, and maybe even.. friendlier.. It felt good, and had a nice time!

 

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Love this totally graffito-bombed old building.

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Didnt get to visit Staten Island, but did find some Wu Tang!

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Interesting juxtaposition of cemetery at St. Patricks and new WTC building, hrm.


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HOODOOS! Too stuffed for street meat, so sad!

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Meanwhile, back at the pad, this was happening…

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That night we went for drinks at The Nomad on 28th and Broadway. The bar was packed, and you could SMELL the money. The drinks had perfectly square ice cubes and I had the best Manhattan of my life there. If you are ever in New York definitely go for drinks or you will REGRET IT.

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Amazing.

Then it was a short cab ride to Midtown to have dinner at Daniel Buloud’s restaurant, aptly named Daniel. Very french, very old school, Daniel Buloud has earned himself 2 Michelin stars (was 3, and after eating there it should be 3) and the Bucose D’or so he knows his shit. It was amazing to walk into his restaurant and find him waiting to meet us. He shook our hands and took us for a tour of the kitchen. He took us up a narrow flight upstairs to “The Box.” A small glass room overlooking the kitchen pass, so he can keep his eye on things. It was decorated with pictures of him shaking hands with everyone from Obama to Andy Warhol. I patted his golden Bocuse D’or on the head and when down for dinner.

There was a moment at each of the places where we had dinner, that I felt just like I was in the beginning sequence of American Psycho, where the waiters are rhyming off this list of ingredients in a hushed, monotone voice and it made me so so happy hahaha

Even though it had a surreal, almost goofy quality to it, this was probably one of the best nights of my life so far. It makes it a bit hard to put into words. It was suprising, flawless, delicious, perfect in excuction, with a great amount of sophistication. On the way into the dining room we passed by this little silver urn with a crank on top. I didnt even notice it but our Chef did, and he touched it lightly and went “oooh a Duck Press, I havent ever seen one of these, that would be amazing.” Daniel Buloud just says in a very french way, “Maybe we have a duck.”

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Dudes. 18 courses. WITH WINE PAIRINGS.My mind was so blown. The food.. is indescribable for my puny mortal brain. I remember sitting in the dining room quietly bouncing and clapping and whispering “I am having so much fun.” The waiters looked like they were having a good time serving people who were having SUCH a good time.

And then 6 waiters rolled out 2 little carts, one with a burner and one with the beautiful silver duck press. It looked like something out of Countess Bathory’s collection. It turns out, they had a duck!

 

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Pressed duck  (Canard à la presse) is a traditional French dish. The complex dish was developed in the 19th Century in Paris and consists of various parts of a duck served in a sauce of its blood and bone marrow, which is extracted by way of a press

First, a duck (preferably young and plump) is asphixiated to retain the blood. The duck is then partially roasted. Its liver s ground and seasoned, then the legs and breast are removed.

The remaining carcass (including other meat, bones, and skin) is then put in a specially-designed press, similar to a wine press. Great pressure is then applied to extract duck blood and other juices from the carcass. The extract is thickened and flavoured with the duck’s liver, butter, and cognac, and then combined with the breast to finish cooking.”

All of this was done by waiters, beside your table. The event took about 20 minutes, and it was like watching a Japanese Tea Ceremony. The entire dining room fell silent and watched the perfectly deft movements of these waiters, and they performed their task. It was like watching a little slice of food history come alive. We were transfixed.

One waiter expertly butched the whole roast duck with a very sharp knife and a fork, as if it were made of butter. He lay the legs and breast in a copper pan over a low flame to keep it warm. Then he placed the remaining duck into the silver press, and begin to crank. Dark, red, beautiful “sauce” flowed from the spout into a silver goblet.

That was then handed to a second waiter, who added it to another copper saucepan, and very slowly stirred it with a whisk until the blood and marrow naturally thickened the sauce. Blood thickened sauces need a fair amount of expertise, and this was very impressive.

It was also, incomparably delicious. The meat was soft and unctuous, covered in this amazing dark duck jus.. it was… a transcendental experience. I transcended my dentals. I watched myself eat, from 8 feet away in the air, on a cloud of stinky french cheese fumes. Pretty cool.

 

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My favourite dish of the night though, had to be this. A thin slice of toasted baguette studded with hazelnuts covered in thick runny blobs of extremely aged Harbison cheese. A waiter then came by with a white truffle the size of a baseball and shaved thick slices on top. I may have made some noises, but he smiled so it was okay. The effect was crunchy and nutty with sweet, herby melty cheese and woodsy white truffles.. they came together to make an altogether new taste. It was so special.

We left the restaurant feeling like well fed rock stars. There is this kind of quiet comfort that comes into my stomach when I am watching someone perform tasks they have done so many times that they are just moving like breathing. Automatically performing something very difficult. Like watching ballet. It was very zen.

AND THEN in the morning THERE WAS PASTRIES!

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In the morning I woke up very early, groggy and still a bit drunk from the night before. My burps smelled like truffles. I snuck out of the house while the boys slept and walked up to the two placed I was most wanting to visit. Laduree, and Franois Payard’s new york bakeries. I was not disappointed by either of them. They were both wonderful. I could not find a single fault with anything I brought back.

From Laduree:

– hazelnut praline napolean

– pistachio religeiuse

– chocolate Gateaux St. Honore

– beautiful canelles

From Francois Payard:

– Orange blossom & almond Brioche

– Gateaux Basque

– Plain, chocolate, almond and ham & cheese croissants

– vanilla eclair

– Papa Payard apple cake

– The world’s most perfect Apple tart Tatin

 

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Payards location is not as stunning as the window at Laduree which is done up with velvet curtains and towers of brightly colours macarons, but just as nice.

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Lalalalaaa

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Between the two locations sat Dominique Ansell’s bakery.. but this was the line up around the block for fucking cronuts and it was not even 8am yet. I skipped it.

I brought back giant lattes and a pile of baked goods and they were very happy boys. We cut everything into quarters and shared a bit of each. It was a nice breakfast. It just got us ready for lunch!

And it was back to The Nomad hotel for brunch!

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This was just about the most perfect spot to eat if you have a hangover, ever. Subdued, natural light, quiet, comfortable chairs, lovely food. I had a house made gingerale with a shot of rum and because I hadn’t yet gotten tired of the novelty of beautiful fresh truffles I opted for the tagliatelle with cream sauce and a “ridiculous amount of black truffles.” Chef got steak and eggs with a cast iron pot of crispy thin fries for us to share. The boys had pork belly and brussel sprouts with lentil salad, and smoked salmon with toast and pickled veggies. And about 2L of beer!

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Ummngghhhhhhhgghhh

Afterwards we definitely needed to walk, so we took a meander down to the habour. We saw the statue of liberty, but then we started to get thirsty. So we walked up The Dead Rabbit.

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This bar has been called the best in the city right now. It was great inside, if not a little TOO “Gangs of New York.” But the drinks were very special. To make our caesar, he squeezes the pulp out of fresh tomatoes. I had the Irish coffee, which was coffee and irish whiskey covered in whipped cream, with a little nutmeg. It was perfect.

 

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And then it was on to Per Se… ohhhhhh maaaannnn..

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On the way up. Ironically this is what I would look like when I came back down.

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Per Se.. what to say about Per Se. The dining room was dark, comfortable, with a nice roaring fire and a view out to Central Park. The table was a big big and we had a hard time talking to each other without shouting. It also made it hard for us to share our dishes on the DL, ha. It started with Thomas Kellers famous salmon cornetto, and I could see on the guys faces they were having a hard time comprehending that they were actually eating at Per Se. It was so cute. They looked scared, hahaha

There were many.. many courses. Possibly too many. All of them very rich. Here are a few of the highlights for me:

Chestnut “Potage”. The guys didnt like this, they thought it was way too heavy, especially to start a meal. I loved it though, I could have just sat there and eaten that all night and been happy. Thick chestnut puree, very rich, very tasty, with sunchokes, cranberry marmalade and bursts of fresh green watercress.

Oysters and Pearls. A Thomas Keller standard. This is a “sabayon” of pearl tapioca with Island Creek Oysters, and Sterling White Surgeon Caviar. It was so.. sex. It was sex.

Hen Egg Custard. Another standard– it seems I preferred the old stand bys. I guess when you make something 300 times a day for 15 years it becomes Pretty Good. This was a ragout of black winter truffles served in a hollowed egg shell. Creamy.

Picatta battered jade tiger abalone.  Salsifis roti au beurre, melted savoy cabbage, pearl onions and juniper berry reisling emulsion– Do not ask me what any of this is, but it was fucking killer.

Four Story Hill Farms Poussin – this was a whole chicken presented to us with skin stuffed with butter and truffles and it’s ass stuffed with sprigs of thyme, and then taken back to the kitchen and roasted. It was served in a perfect little square with tiny perfect buttery hakurai turnips, french leeks, apples and dijonnaise.

It made me Dijonnaise in my pants.

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Little treats!

Coffee and Doughnuts! FAMOUS. Perfect. Delicious, soft cinnamon doughnut with a cup of espresso custard. Piles of cookies, and sweets, a little silver tired container of caramels, nougats, and macaron. The best cup of earl grey tea I have ever had.

Like at Daniel, we were the last diners left in the restaurant, and they took us back to see the kitchen.  It was spotless, like a showroom.  We met Chef Eli Kaimeh, who seemed tired and shy. They had a big tv screen on the wall that was a life feed to The French Laundry, so that they are always connected during service. I think thats so nice.

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So shinyyyy

 

 

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We got gift bags!

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With CHOCOLATES! And a copy of our special menu, and TK’s magazine Finesse, and a few other things.

Man I am getting tired just remembering all this stuff.. what did we do next.. I remember going to FAO Schwartz, and buying CB a cool medical model of a human skull. I also got us 2 nerf guns and a million nerf bullets which we have been attacking eachother with since I got home. Oh yeah, Aquavit!

Lunch at Aquavit.

2 Stars. Nordic inspired cuisine with a lady chef from Sweden taking the helm. The only female chef to ever attain 2 stars!

They have a $42 prix fixe lunch menu, which is amazing. I had the homemade gravlax, followed by the Swedish meatballs which were so gooood. For dessert the offering was banana mousse which I didnt find particularly nordic so I opted for the sorbets and ice creams. Seabuckthorn, Blueberry and Espresso. They were nice.

So far aside from Per Se I havent been blown away by desserts..

After lunch we explored the city, had some drinks, of course. And then came the Finale. The grand daddy of our dining extravaganza. Eleven. Madison. Park. 

*puts on sunglasses*

YEEEEEEEEEEAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

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We were a little excited. Contrary to their nature, they aren’t even drunk in this picture!

 

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Yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah!

So this meal like.. kicked the ass of all other meals before or after it forever. It was intense. And wonderful. We were very very much wined-out so we opted for a beer pairing. We had our own private beer sommelier. I think he enjoyed punching us in the face with beers all night. Incredible beers. Did you know you can buy a bottle of beer for $1400 if you want? HAHA! Its very special.

One of the courses.. this chef brings out a pan of liquid and floating in it is a giant, greenish balloon floating on top. It is a pigs bladder and inside they were cooking croquettes.. it was the weirdest, and tastiest, thing ever.

I didnt take any pictures, but I couldnt resist on this course. They took us into the kitchen, where there was a tall table set up for service.

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We ate a dish of Lion’s Mane mushrooms served 3 ways, while talking with the Chef. Took some pictures. Watched the highly trained ARMY of cooks working away quickly in silent unison. Intense.

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Those are the lions mane mushrooms set in front of us. Those yellow tribble looking things. Tasty!

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There’s always room for cheese. Goat, Sheep and Cow all represent! There was a particularly stinky one that smelled like God’s butthole and I wish I remembered the name because damn son.

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The bathroom was lovely. Someone handed me a towel. What.

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Im so tired now hahaha. That was a lot of typing and name dropping. Phoo. I’m still sweating out truffles so I better go lay down.

Thanks, New York. Next time I’ll be back with CB for Shake Shack cheesy fries and greasy $1.00 pizza!

*Drops Mic, Walks Away*

Lost Adventures

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Last days off CB and I took off to explore Olivers Cove, which is just about as good as it gets for Scenic Ocean Vistas. The lighting was perfect and the air was clear and crisp, the sun was out and the waves were spraying gorgeous splashes of seafoam and glinting rainbows in the afternoon light–and I forgot my fucking camera. Naturally. So CB took a couple of pictures on his phone, but it doesnt due justice to the insane loveliness of the place.

We did a bit of offroading on his Honda, with me shreiking every 12 seconds because the shocks do nothing for a poor defenseless pillion, such as myself. So many bumps. But we didnt go into the ocean, so we did well. I found some berries on the ground, and ate them!

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Obligatory lobster trap pic for my mum. I dont know why these always remind me of her. Mum when I come for christmas, do you want me to steal you one of these? I can fill it with lobsters and you can put it on the front lawn like an ornament! Put a bunch of gnomes around it! PUT THE GNOMES INSIDE IT!

The neighbors will appreciate it.

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Rocky rocks.

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The week BEFORE that I also forgot my camera, and we were out at Winstons, having a peek at his piggies. These guys are for eating but it didnt stop me from naming it. The black one was Bucket, because he starting eating a bucket. The one beside him there, that’s Blueberry– because I fed him some blueberries! And the one you can barely make out in the back, thats Naptime, because ya know.. he was mostly just sleeping. Really they should have all been names Mud, as it was their most distinguishing feature. They’re all Bacon now!

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Also, baby ducks! BABY DUCKS BABY DUCKS BABY DUCKS!

The Witch’s Hat Church

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This is my favourite structure in all of Newfoundland. I call it the Witch’s Hat. To me, it is heart acheingly handsome.

It sits by the sea, but at the very edge, flirting dangerously with disaster. Time, and wind, and waves are in competition with one another for this lovely prize. Greedily pulling at this beautiful skeleton, hoping to keep its bleached white bones for their own. Long gone is it’s little white cross that stood atop the steeple, slurped and sucked into the ocean. OH I wish it were mine!

 

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The town dearly loved this church and the evidence is in the details. Every surface is embellished with simple carving echoing it’s surroundings. The gingerbread edging making a pattern of waves around the roof, and the modest steeple is clad in rounded wooden tiles like fish scales. The steeple is still showing off its blood red paint but now the tip is bent and it looks like a witch’s hat– which is very apt considering the steeple is a pagan symbol. I couldnt get the proper angle in a picture, but when you are driving by the church the tip is VERY bent, and really does look like a its wearing a halloween costume.

 

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I even love its ladder. How beautiful is that! Not a single thing is straight on this old building anymore.. it looks like an AJ Casson painting, after he’d had a couple too many. Its kind of wavering, and starting to lean on itself like it’s getting tired of standing around waiting for its congregation to come back.

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I snuck up closer, and saw a window was broken. It was about 7 feet off the ground so I couldnt peek in, so I poked the lens of the camera in to do some clandestine investigation..

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Look! Look what’s inside! Beautiful dark wood arches and windows and white washed pillars docorated with a kind of chevron pattern. Yeah so the floor is a little droopy.. like Im looking at this picture through a funhouse mirror.. but that just adds to the charm! Im sure you can uhhh buff that out!

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And it seems there’s wire ropes slung through it like a goddamn spiderweb to keep the walls standing up.. okay maybe its a bit more than a fixer upper. Im still in love.

So there you have it.. my dream house. If I weren’t so poor I would buy it and lacquer it with 10 tonnes of shellac, like you do to keep your halloween pumpkins from rotting, so I can keep it forever just how it is!

 

 

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