Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Downtime on my webserver ?

Just to let people know, it looks like Powweb, my website provider for my email, learnpsyanky.com and shop.learnpysanky.com, as well as the hoster of many of the images on this blog, appears to be down for now. Don't know how long it will last, hopefully it'll be cleared up soon. Thanks for your patience and I apologize for any inconvenience.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Flying Ant Day

Apparently, it's not just me that calls it that, according to Wikipedia, it's actually the informal name given to what I witnessed today - the day that the queen ants emerge and take to the skies, with some male counterparts, to mate with members from other colonies, and found a new one.

I saw many of them resting in the sparse grasses above their colony in our backyard, trying to figure out how to use these wing-thingies on their backs. Many crawled on the ground occasionally taking off for short hops in the sky, only to fall back down, or fluttering their wings, shaking them out without taking off. Some hovered in small swarms over nearby treetops. It's very interesting to watch.

No less interesting was the larger-than-normal number of our friends in the sky, dragonflies. Always glad to see them as they eat mosquitoes and the like, but today they were doing amazing aerial acrobatics as they attempted to feast on the new flying snacks that had appeared. I had two flying side by side, heading right for my face, and like some sort of air show, they both diverged at the last second in a sweeping arc, over and up. Beautiful, really!

I'm no big fan of ants, but still, I gotta give them a salute and a "good luck" in their crazy journey - imagine, a being that lives almost exclusively underground, growing wings and taking to the skies to find a new place to live!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

So, I didn't go...

Once I got up in the morning on Saturday, I realized that the long walk to Marginal Road just wasn't worth it to check out the new location of the old Halifax Farmers' Market, when we have a much easier-to-access market right here in Dartmouth that I hadn't been to before. I mean, I like the idea of the new market in Halifax, but honestly, it's just too far out of the way - and no buses! FRED (the free rides everywhere downtown bus) does go by, but only operates for 2 months in the summer, on a 40 minute loop, so I'd have to catch it near the beginning of the loop, after an already 40 minute long trip to get to the downtown. Or have a 15+ minute hike from my nearest bus stop. Or wait, transfer and *still* have to walk a distance. Loaded down with produce? I don't think so. It's really unfortunate, I wonder how many elderly and encumbered people won't be able to get to the new market - the eco-friendly building is great, but if you need a car to get there, what's the point? AND, after looking at their new website, I noticed something. It says "Free parking the month of August". That implies you'll have to *pay* for parking afterwards. What?! This new location looks like it has a *lot* of "getting there" issues...at least from my perspective.

And I think I made the right choice, looking at the photos of opening day from The Coast - it looked as packed as the old market was! :) Not my cup of tea, so glad I didn't go. :)

Instead, I took a short walk down my street, caught a bus that took me right to the (admittedly much smaller) Dartmouth Market, located in Alderney Landing (a Dartmouth side ferry terminal). At least 2 farms had large displays, two or three others were much smaller with limited produce. But really, that's more than enough variety, they had just about everything you could want there - if one place had beans, the other had cabbages. There were several baked goods stalls, and one I'm definitely going to try next time is the German Baker (oddly enough, run by an actual German). :) Their breads looked wonderful. There were a large number of crafters there, too.

See? Not too packed - busy, but not crazy.

Once I was done, I had some time to kill before the bus came back (it only runs once an hour) - so I walked over to the boardwalk (the Market is right next to it) and had a lovely sit looking at the harbour - beat the heck out of fighting with crowds and walking all over creation loaded down with veggies!

I looked at Halifax...

I looked at boats tied up on the docks...

...at George's Island in the distance...

...at the adorable Theodore Tugboat...SO funny to see him darting around the harbour...

...at the Angus L. MacDonald bridge...

...at boats under the bridge...

...and the ferry as it went past (it docks right next to the Market).

It was a gorgeous day, not too hot, not too cold. Soon enough, the bus came, and I arrived home with all my goodies. As usual, the animals FREAK when I bring home stuff fresh from a farm. Groceries are "interesting" but they go hog-wild over farm fresh stuff, must be lots of interesting smells in there. Here, Baby Boy tries to fend off the other cats from getting a sniff, but Peepers manages to get in there.

This time around, I went looking for borscht ingredients. Everything's in season for borscht, and I got some gorgeous produce from Noggins Corner Farm (in operation since 1760!). The meat (antibiotic-free!) I got from Meadowbrook Meat Market, a local farm that sells daily at Alderney Landing. They had a great deal on back bacon this week, so I got some of that. I got the free-range eggs from another farmer there, but unfortunately I missed the name.

All in all, time well spent! Glad I went, and will definitely return. :)

Now that it's been a while, I wonder how things are going over at the Halifax Market...? Hmmmm...

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Fascinating Glimpse underneath the Harbour

REALLY interesting article on what lies beneath the waves of our Halifax Harbour. Included were WWII tanks, and a shipment of 1960s Volvos. Who the heck knew that? Great article, and apparently the gentleman the reporter interviewed has a book out:

Read the article from the Herald here. It's really cool!

Friday, August 06, 2010

Almost Opening Day!

Tomorrow's the big day for the new Farmers' Market in Halifax. I wish there were more info available that you could be sure was accurate. First, it was going to be open 7 days a week, then six, now I hear it's three, which is really far more reasonable for farmers who travel to come here. If its true. *sigh* As I said previously, I've found it very difficult to find accurate and current info on the new opening.

According to Metro (http://www.metronews.ca/halifax/local/article/596351--crews-hard-at-work-as-market-s-big-day-nears) they're still on schedule to open tomorrow, so I'll make the hike there, plot it out on Google Maps (thank you Google!) and check out this new venue!

(It's supposed to be next to the Pier 21 museum, so I'll get directions from there...)

Monday, August 02, 2010

Halifax Farmers' Market is over....or is it?

Soooo...the Farmers' Market here in Halifax, has moved. Or has it? It depends on who you ask, I guess. There's a state-of-the-art, eco-friendly new building that will house *most* of the vendors from the Farmers' Market. This new market will be called the Seaport Market. But not everyone is leaving the old venue. Apparently, there were some personality conflicts between leaders of the different "factions", so some people decided not to move when the time came. So now there'll be two markets.

The "Old" Farmers' Market

• Centrally/conveniently located.
• Building has amazing character, lots of nooks and crannies and all the other charms that come with 1800s architecture.
• Victim of its own success - so popular that the crowds were almost nightmarish, you just couldn't even move around
• Only available from 7am - 1 pm on Saturdays

The New Market

• great new eco-friendly building
• (almost) all of the vendors you know and love
• room to move! and shop!
• wheelchair accessible (a lot of the old building wasn't)
• Open 7 days a week - more convenient for shoppers
• Open 7 days a week - hard for many farmers to maintain a presence there 7 days a week (apparently they were given the option of "Saturdays only" or "7 days/week" in renting space - might have been better if they had a "2 days/week" option)
• Location is completely horrible. (It's called "Marginal Road". Does that say anything to you?) The middle of nowhere on the waterfront, and NO BUSES.

So there it is in a nutshell, there's good and bad for the old and the new. But the move has been made, apparently - this past Saturday was it's last official day in the old space. If it wasn't for the newspaper doing a story on the rift, I'd have had NO IDEA when the changeover was happening. Google searches and official websites have an appalling lack of information - I understand the new market opens next week, but no idea when, or what its hours of operation will be. It's been frustrating for sure, if they want people to go, they've gotta get the word out!

I'll update my farmers' market listing at the top of this page, once I find out the Seaport Market's hours and such.

There's been some good articles on the move as of late: the Chronicle-Herald did a good one on the rift, and a great opinion piece on the benefits of the move in the Coast.

So, I'm not sure in sum total how I feel about the move, but I do look forward to checking out the new location! We'll see how it goes for everyone involved - time will tell!