Sunday, August 13, 2006

Photo Journal: Agrifest 2006, Canning, NS

On Saturday, August 12th, Dave's mom, her man-friend and I went to Agrifest in beautiful Canning, Nova Scotia. (Dave stayed home with the doggies) :)

We had a fantastic time! The weather was just perfect, sunny with a cool breeze. Agrifest is a celebration of agriculture, with lots of events and seminars given regarding farming, farm-related issues, and home gardening - from customizing your compost for the type of crop you're growing, to an explanation of how a potato becomes a chip (or a crisp, as some call them), to a demo on all that's involved in shearing sheep and preparing wool to be used in clothing! With tons of information for professional farmers and curious members of the public, there really was something for everyone! So, for educational purposes :) here's a photo journal of our trip!

An overview of the sample gardens - each row is clearly marked in both official languages (English and Français). There was a great variety of vegetables which were just fascinating to see in their natural form (more on that below).

An overview of the fair grounds, with one of two banks of conveniently located portable restroom facilities (good ol'l' "Johnny on the Spot"s). Sometimes events don't have enough restrooms set up for the demand, but I'm pleased to say that Agrifest was well prepared. :) (An important thing when you're miles and miles away from the nearest restaurant or coffee shop with a bathroom!)

This was kinda funny, a woman dressed as a chicken with a "Follow Me" sign, walking around the grounds...I think she was trying to let people know where the sheep shearing and/or the baby chicks hatching areas were.

There were many, many, informational booths, with lots of pamphlets and brochures to read! I came away with a LOT of reading material! The only thing I was kinda surprisedd at was that there wasn't much opportunity to buy from farmers here - a couple of farmers s were selling cheese (YUM!) and some herb farmers were there, but I thought there'd be more fresh fruits and vegetables. But I suppose we are in the Valley, there are tons of farmer stalls on the roadsides... :)

There were booths from the Nova Scotia Cranberry Growers, Nova Scotia winegrowers s, seed companies, agricultural associations & schools, and tons more!!!!

Ross Farm - GOTTA go back there! We went twice during elementary school for school trips - it was SOOO much fun! You get to see tonnes of farm animals, and see how farms were run back in the 1800s. I have such fond memories, I really look forward to going back some day! Here we see a cooper booth (a barrel maker) - barrels made the old-fashioned way.

Pysanky Booth - A wonderful woman I've been in touch with for the last few years, named Marg Millard, had a great booth on pysanky at Agrifest this year! But in all the excitement of meeting her in person for the first time, and talking pysanky-talk, do you think I remembered to take a pic of her awesome booth??!! NO! Of course not!!! *sigh* Fortunately she has several pics of it on her website, as well as her ownreminiscencess of Agrifest 2006. Be sure to check it out: .

There were a couple of sets of horses at Agrifest, to give wagon rides around the grounds.

For the beginning of the day, these lovely blonde horses were giving the wagon tours.

While the blonde horses weregivingg tours, these deep brown (chestnut?) horses rest in the shade of the small forest on the side of the property. Such gentle ladies, these horses - they just looked casually at me while I came up close to them and took their pictures. :)

Later on, they're harnessed up and ready to pull wagon tours around the fairgrounds - this adorable little girl was very excited to get a chance to pet a real horsey! :)

Aren't they just gorgeous! So beautiful.

No real cows here, but they did have a pretend cow set up so you could give milking a try!

Sheep! These guys 'n' gals were being used in sheep shearing demos throughout the day. You can see the naked little sheep on the left was used in the most recent demonstration. :) They sure have a lot of wool to give - and a good thing too, it was the only thing that kept a lot of northern Europeans alive in the winter for centuries! The little brown girl closest to us was very friendly, and watched us with interest.

The wooly result of the shearing

Cute little ram (note the horns)

People showing the ancient art of spinning wool. It's really wonderful that there are people who still keep these traditions alive in one form or another (as you can no doubt tell from my LearnPysanky site, I'm big on remembering ourtraditionss and adapting and carrying them with us into the future). :)

Encased in glass (for safety's sake, just in case) was a big bunch of bees! You could see some honeycomb and everything, it was pretty cool!

They also had a sample of the type of setup beekeepers use instead of a natural (bee-made) beehive. Everything's in slide-out trays. :)

These little guys, in a warming pen, were born just the day before. They brought the eggs to the show, and they hatched while there! Must have been a fun thing to watch! They're really cute! :)

For the Serious Farmer, all the newest farm equipment was on show, with representatives available to talk to. Of course, this stuff would be a huge hit with little kids, too - they always love to look at big machines!

And some equipment they used to use in the "old days" - Dave's mom's man friend remembers using a machine just like this when he was young on his family farm. Times sure have changed...

If you wanted to take a more modern form of tour around the fairgrounds, you could take a tractor-pulled wagon (instead of the horse-drawn one). It was much bigger, of course. :)

This was odd, don't really know what was happening here, which is why I took a picture of it. This large group of people were walking really quickly behind the wagon (as you can see, it's mostly empty), like they were trying to catch up to it and get on, but never quite being able to do so...were they following it to its next stop? Who knows? Odd...

This was a piece of equipment that the public could try out themselves - a disinfecting machine for shoes, meant for visitors and workers who want to enter a farm. Farms have to be very careful about diseases, bacteria, etc. coming into their farms and infecting their livestock. So people have to disinfect their footwear before entering barns, to ensure they don't track anything in. Cool, eh?

The soil and weather in the Valley is a farmer's dream - and these vegetable gardens show why! All the best farm produce in Nova Scotia comes from here.

Broccoli - I had no idea the plants themselves get so BIG!

Eggplant (the little purple vegetable nestled in there)

I am SO jealous of the size of their tomato plants - they're at least twice the size of mine, and are LADEN with fruits!!! And not little fruits either...I'm talking 2-3 inches wide!

Great little rig they have here for their tomatoes, instead of using cages. They have a strong wire suspended high over the top of the plants, and strong cord tied from the bottom of the plant to the wire, and the vines can grow along the cord. I might use this idea next year!

Gorgeous colorful cabbage

Big pumpkins! Reminds me so much of autumn!

Watermelon - mmmm, looks juicy!

Purple Cauliflower - they have several different colors of cauliflower now, including this cute purple, and a cheddar yellow one too!

Kohlrabi - seriously, this stuff already looked like an alien vegetable in the grocery store, but seeing it in it's natural form, I think it looks even crazier!

Purple Kohlrabi - okay, even MORE alien!

Gorgeous Sunflowers, with their bright round faces following the sun.

A field of wheat, the "Staff of Life"

In the food area (there was a LOT of different types of foods available), and lots of places to sit. There was also live music playing - while we were there, it was a country'n'western band. Pete of Pete's Frootique is sitting at the green table with the kind of pinkish shirt on. He's become a local celebrity - he runs a couple of well-known exotic/specialty fruit/vegetable/meat/packaged goods shops in the Halifax Regional Municipality. He often does spots on TV regarding unusual foods that would be fun to try.

This food outlet was the most fun to watch - they made their own bread dough, and then would make you a custom pizza with it, fired in a real fire oven. It looked SO delicious!! Never had time to have any though... :\ Maybe next year.... I think this place was run by the Oakhaven Bakery, but I can't be sure because I forgot to take a pic of the sign. :)

I took this shot (from the car) of some of the beautiful fields of farmland in the Valley - Nova Scotia is densely forested over most of its area, so it's rather novel to see large areas of cleared land. :)

And on the way home, we stopped off and got a dozen of "Newcombe's Famous Sweet Corn". And man, was it awesome!! I cooked one up in the microwave as soon as we got home, and it was so tender and sweet! (Directions for those of you who might be in the area: Take Exit 12 off Highway 101. Follow Middle Dyke Road to Canard Street (H 341). Turn left & travel 2 kms until you see The CornMaster and Newcombe's stand on your right. Note: the CornMaster is an image of a giantfarmerr. :) The directions to the stand are very well marked on the road, you can't miss it.)

And after my corn, I fell into bed because I was so sleepy from all the great fresh air I got - and the rain we had been worrying about getting caught in on the way home finally came, and the sound of the rolling thunder carried me off to sleep...