Let’s be honest - everyone is hoping for it – not just a little, make-it-pretty snow; but rather we are all hoping for so much snow tomorrow that everything is shut down, that nothing is moving, that we can all either stay home by the fire, if that is your thing, or get out and play in heaps and piles of white stuff- make snow angels, snow forts, snow sculptures, go sledding, snowshoeing, skiing… the list is endless (tomorrow or maybe even tonight I’ll stick up here my personal Winter Fun List).
Whatever you do outside on a winter’s day, it will get your blood flowing, it will make for rosy cheeks and, there’s something about outdoor fun that makes hot chocolate taste much much yummier.
(Oh and don't forget to share your winter fun photos with the hashtag #fundyflakes !)
So, in the spirit of snagging you all some fun outdoor winter time, here are some ways to make sure tomorrow is a snow day.
And of course, there is a prayer (written by Tara Lazar)
Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray for snow twelve inches deep.
Should it melt before I wake,
I pray school’s cancelled by mistake!
(I should do another post I suppose on how to ensure our grandchildren have snow days – that’s a tougher one… )
Everyone is welcome to celebrate the coolest season at Winter Fest at the Acacia Valley Trails on Jan. 11.
The Digby Area Recreation Commission, the Fundy Erratics and the Acacia Valley Trails Association are teaming up to host this winter party – think of it like an intro to winter outdoor fun.
We’ll have loads of snowshoes for people to try out, volunteers will be on hand to help you get started and we’re laying out an obstacle course to test your speed.
Volunteers will lead a 4-km snowshoe hike to Tupper’s Deadwater and Picnic Rock, leaving from the parking lot at 10:30 a.m. For the hike, dress in comfortable layers, bring water and snacks and maybe a thermos full of something warm.
The Erratics will keep a bonfire going near the parking lot with hot chocolate and the perfect coals for roasting hot dogs – with roasting sticks provided.
We also have a Nature Bingo planned - it's like a scavenger hunt but with photos (so bring a smart phone or camera) - finish any line on your Nature Bingo card and you can enter your name in a draw for a fabulous prize. Fill in the whole card and you get two entries in the draw!
There will also be snow sculpture contest with celebrity judges and a photo contest judged by the editorial staff of the Tri-County Vanguard – use the hashtag #fundyflakes #digbywinterfest
The #fundyflakes photo contest starts today and runs until noon on Sunday, Jan. 12 - take a photo of bbeautiful snowy scenes or people have snow fun on any of our Digby area trails, post your photos on FB, instagram or Twitter with the hashtag #fundyflakes and we will find them - or email them directly to firstname.lastname@example.org - Please only send your best three or four.
WHEN: Saturday, Jan. 11, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
WHERE: At the Acacia Valley Trails parking lot, 155 Mill Road, Hillgrove
WEATHER -- Stay tuned to the Fundy Erratics Facebook group and this blog for weather updates and changes.
Keep in mind, the Fundy Erratics prefer to adapt rather than cancel. Even without snow we will hike, have the bonfire and hot dog and hot chocolate, hold the photo contest and Nature Bingo.
Contact the Municipal Trail Coordinator, Jonathan Riley with questions or offers to help (902) 245-2861.
With your help, the Gulliver's Cove Trails Association is hoping to open up a trail extension from the upper look off, the rest of the way down to Gulliver's Head.
On Wednesday, Oct. 9, the trail association is looking for help from volunteers to clean up the new stretch of trail - the volunteer day will serve the double purpose of getting the trail open and introducing Digby's outdoor community to the new stretch of trail and its stunning scenery.
A few association volunteers will be roughing out the trail with chainsaws and brushsaws a few days in advance - and we are hoping volunteers can use handtools to clean up any rough cuts or missed stumps and to help pile the brush from the first pass through.
The association has planned an extension of about 300 or 400m but, depending how ambitious everyone is, we could make it a loop of about 600m.
If you have brush loppers rakes or other handtools please consider bringing them along but please no power tools.
The work is planned to take just two or three hours. The association will host a BBQ at 1 p.m. to thank the volunteers.
Consider letting us know if you plan to help out and if you have questions or need more information, please contact the Municipal Trail Coordinator Jonathan Riley at 902-245-2861.
They want to choose a provincial lichen. Who? What?
Believe it not, there are actually people who call themselves lichen enthusiasts – people who search and study and get excited about lichens – and they want to choose a provincial lichen for Nova Scotia. Like the Mayflower is our provincial flower, the osprey is our provincial bird and the wild blueberry is our provincial berry.
These lichen enthusiasts have to choose their recommendation before Tuesday, Jan. 23 but they are hoping for some public input – and rightly so; this lichen is going to represent all of us in Nova Scotia.
To make it easier for those of us with little knowledge about lichens, the enthusiasts have put together a shortlist, with photos, and an online poll over at www.lichensns.com/poll .
If you’re at all interested, you can mull over their list, maybe google up some photos and information, and then make a choice.
Ideally if we had more time, (and there wasn’t a storm barreling down on us this weekend), we’d all go for a little walk and see if we can actually find some of these lichens in the woods around us – we could treat the lichen list as a sort of scavenger hunt, go out and try to see the lichens in the real world.
Cause here’s the thing: lichens are all around us and most of us hardly notice them.
Have you ever seen a gathering of little pale green sprouts with pretty red tips on a rotting log, the little sprouts appearing almost lined up like soldiers on parade? That’s the British Soldier Lichen with a latin name of Cladonia cristatella – Cladonia comes from Greek through Latin and means sprout; cristatella, means it has a little tuft on top.
Cladonia are a very common lichen although most are a plain pale green or yellow without the red splash of the British Soldier Lichen – in the harsh environment up North, these “reindeer lichen” carpet the ground for miles and miles and are the main source of food for caribou and reindeer for example. Here in Nova Scotia, you will see reindeer lichens carpeting boulders or open bogs, paler generally and finer than moss.
Another lichen you might have seen hanging on boulders of Nova Scotia like ragged bits of brown lettuce is called rock tripe or Umbilicaria mammulata.
How about Old Man’s Beard? A yellowy green lacy thing hanging in the branches of trees that birds love for their nests – that’s a lichen. Another you’ve probably seen a million times and never noticed is the Crumpled Rag Lichen – again hanging in the branches of trees like a crumpled rag.
Lichens have some great names don’t they?
On the enthusiasts’ lists is the Yellow Specklebelly – now there’s a name! They also listed Acadia Bearded Jellyskin Lichen and Blue Felt Lichen.
A few of us headed out last week when we heard about the poll to do some lichen hikin’ and we found a few Yellow Specklebellys on the Acacia Valley Trails. Other lichens from the list, you can see at the Acacia Valley Trails include Old Man’s Beard and Crumpled Rag Lichen. You will definitely see Tree Lung Wort and if it weren’t for the snow, you’d see some great clumps of several kinds of reindeer lichens.
So what are lichens? It’s complicated and that is probably my favourite thing about them – even scientists are still getting their heads around how much we still have to learn about lichens.
Basically a lichen is a partnership between a fungus and a plant-like thing called an algae (best known as the scummy stuff on ponds) – although sometimes, instead of algae, the fungus teams up with a thing called cyanobacteria (a type of single celled organism that can create energy from sunshine – again like plants but not like plants).
Anyway the deal is, both partners bring something to the table – the fungus protects and gives structure to the algae (kind of like the skin and bones of the lichen) and the algae create energy. The fungus seeks out water, breaks down minerals in rock, and the algae makes food. The deal is different for every lichen as different fungus team up with different algae in different ways.
But let’s get back to what you and I see when we look at lichens: for starters, some lichens, like some mushrooms are a little icky but some lichens, and some mushrooms, are startlingly beautiful when you stop and look at them.
And that’s the fun part about lichen hikin: you can go out today, even on a trail you know extremely well and find a whole new world with beautiful landscapes to explore.
Speaking of which, I gotta go and see some lichens before the storm hits so I can vote before Tuesday.
Which is your favourite and why?
P.S. The Balancing Rock Trail has an interpretative panel with photos of some of the lichens you might see out there including Old Man's Beard, Tree Lung Wort, and Star-tipped Reindeer Lichen which are on the enthusiast's list.
The leaves are spectacular RIGHT NOW in Digby County!
I know it can be tough to leave a warm cozy house these days and tromp around in the wet but it's so worth it - the leaves are all washed and shiny and, as painter Poppy Balser says, the grey skies gives the fall colours a lovely backdrop to glow against.
Another bonus of this weather is bright raincoats and rubber boots look awesome in fall photos!
I'm going to be out of the area for a few days so I'm hoping you can all help me out and share your photos of fall colours in Digby County for me and everyone to see.
Simply post them on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter with the hashtag #fallingfordigby, or send me the photos in a private message or email (email@example.com).
I'll be collecting, like I did last year, on the #fallingfordigby webpage: Falling for Digby photo gallery.
Now get out there and enjoy those fall colours while they last!
The volunteers behind the Van Tassel Lake Trails want your feedback and ideas.
The Van Tassel Lake Trails Association is working with Trailflow (trail designers from Wolfville) on a master plan to help focus their efforts in the Town of Digby's watershed area.
The goal of the plan is to make sure they are creating a trail system that serves the needs and wants of the community and therefore, the first step is to ask the community what they want.
Trailflow has created a short easy survey with questions about your current trail use and how you would like to see the trails used in the future.
The survey has 15 quick easy questions and should take less than 5 minutes to complete.
The VTLTA is hoping to hear from as many people as possible - PLEASE: help us create a trail system that you will love and use often!
Click on the link below to answer the survey questions:
Thank you in advanced for your input and contribution to this project.
Trail enthusiasts are invited to join in a celebration of the new trail bridge over Hwy 101 near Exit 26 in Conway just outside Digby.
The grand opening is scheduled for Sept. 29 at 11 a.m. on the north side of the bridge (the Digby side).
South West Nova MP Colin Fraser, Clare Digby MLA Gordon Wilson and Warden of the Municipality of the District of Digby, Jimmy MacAlpine will cut an alder branch to mark the official opening before crossing the bridge with those in attendance.
Greg Turner, chair of the Digby Area Tourism Association is looking forward to the bridge celebration.
“We are inviting cyclists, horse riders, walkers, ATVers, all the various users of this bridge to celebrate together,” says Turner.
Please meet on the Digby side - for those driving to the bridge opening, easiest access is via a highway access road from the far end of the Flat Iron Road.
Park on the shoulder and well off the road near the electrical substation. Please take care to keep the road clear for any traffic needing access to the highway construction site. The contractor is working on Saturday and has been made aware of the ceremony.
Rubber boots are recommended as the access road is still under construction and could be muddy after all this recent rain.
The Digby County ATV Club will be hosting a BBQ afterwards with hotdogs, sausages water and pop.
Here's some results from some of the many community clean ups around Digby County this spring.
Thanks to everyone who helps make their community that much tidier.
Especially those who quietly clean the ditch on their local stretch of highway or street, those who take a garbage bag with them for their daily walk, and especially especially those who put their trash where it belongs in the first place.
Thanks to those who believe and act on the rule "If I don't pick this up, who will."
April 24 – Fort Point: 350 kg
May 14 – Culloden Wharf Road, DRHS students and Waste Check: 1.12 Metric Tons
June 2 – final push on Sandy Cove beach: 2.84 MT
June 8 – Boar’s Head clean up with NCC and ICS O2 students: 380 kg
June 4 – Gulliver’s Cove beach, with Gulliver’s Cove Trails and DRHS students: 2.24 MT
June 9 – Pond Cove beach on Brier Island: 2.58 MT
June 12 – Marshalltown – Middle Cross Road (4.3km) – 409 kg
P.S. Ever heard of plogging? (group jogging events where participants fill trash bags as they go)
I wonder where a good plogging run would be most beneficial? let me know if you know of a trail or roadside that could really use a big group of ploggers to give it a go.
The public is invited to an information session about the Digby Railbed Trail
June 19, 6 to 7:30 p.m.
Digby East Fish and Game
What do you think of the Municipality fixing up the railbed and making a trail of it?
The former railway runs 41.5 km through the Municipality of the District of Digby from Smith’s Cove to Digby and on to Weymouth.
The wide, relatively level and smooth, gravelled surface is well-suited to serving as an active transportation route and multi-use trail connecting Smith’s Cove, Conway, Digby, Marshalltown, Jordantown, Bloomfield, North Range, Plympton Station and Weymouth.
But it needs some work – mostly minor grading, ditching and brushing – but also a few culvert repairs, signage and some amenities like benches and picnic tables.
The Municipality has a plan and they’d like to hear what the public thinks of that plan before asking the Department of Natural Resources for approval.
Basically, the Municipality wants to make the trail a safe and attractive place for residents of Digby County and visitors to enjoy the outdoors, whether on foot, by bicycle, horseback, skiing or riding an ATV.
The complete plan is available online at www.digbytrails.ca/railbed.html and the public is invited to an information session June 19 at the Digby East Fish and Game.
That meeting is the perfect place to ask any questions you might have about the plan or the railbed trail but you can also get a hold of Jonathan Riley, Trails and Open Space Coordinator with the Municipality, anytime with questions, comments and concerns.
Call 902-245-2861 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
This is a great time to enjoy the wildflowers in the Nova Scotia woods!
There is something blooming along every inch of the Balancing Rock Trail - many of the blossoms are quite small and you'll have to get up close (and/or use a magnifying glass) to really appreciate these intricate little splashes of colour.
The trail was very busy with hikers yesterday, especially in the afternoon when the sun came out. Many of the hikers were hurrying out to see the rock and hurrying back to their cars. But one couple from Germany was there in the drizzle with me in the morning and like me they were walking slowly and enjoying the shiny drizzle-washed greenery.
"It's like a rain forest, so lush," they said. Their favourite thing about the trail was how it cuts right through the wilderness - how it would be tough slogging without the trail to walk through bog and brush - but with the trail you get to see all the plants without the slogging.
It might be a fun game with the family to head out the trail and see how many different flowers or interesting plants you can find... I have put together a slideshow and a printable list of 15 wildflowers and interesting plants i saw at Balancing Rock yesterday. I'd love it if people would share with me what they are seeing out there. (Email: email@example.com)
For more info and more fun like this, check out iNaturalist.
Jonathan Riley, trails and open space coordinator with the Municipality of the District of Digby