“It Ain’t A Secret, Son.”

It ain’t a secret, son.”

We live in one of the most beautiful parts of the world, Cape Sable Island. Attached to the mainland by a man made causeway, I have lived on CSI for 18 years, as long as I did my hometown, Welshtown, Shelburne. My point is they couldn’t be further apart. Only 45 minutes separates them but in terms of learning life skills, the differences are as “easy to see as the nose on yer face.”

Opening of the Cape Sable Island Causeway, 1949

I love talking to people, period. But I especially love talking to people about how things are done. And people in Cape Island love to talk or “yarn”. They have the most interesting stories about the way things were (sometimes holding onto that a wee too long ??but that is another story ) and how things were done. Being an island, they had to be largely self sufficient until the causeway was built and allowed for transport easily of goods,services, and entertainment. So “it ain’t a secret, son”, they developed ways of homesteading that are still alive and well today.

Milk bottles I use are over 50 years old.

Which is why I love to hear these stories. and I think our young people love to hear them too. I am officially not “young” anymore (however it is all in who you hang around: hang around with 90 year olds and you look like a teenager :), so I am talking about our 20 years and under crowd. Take them out for a drive or a milkshake and ask them what they know about where they live, and how things were done. Pass on what hard lessons you have learned . It isn’t just up to the octogenarians and the young’ens. We have a responsibility to learn and pass on life skills and teach self-sufficency.

My first knitted sock …I got so discouraged!

Not bomb shelter-scary-apocolypse-stuff: just good old “would you know what to do if you had no power or we had a flood?” ” What if we couldn’t get food from the store? what could we do?” I bet you could add some experience to their ideas. At the very least, critical thinking is being learned (for us too!)

RATS and other life skills

Which is why I love 4H. Life Skills and animal husbandry are wonderful gifts to give our youth and we are so blessed to have such fantastic leaders. As a leader I learn so much from my fellow leaders. We spent a morning on Public Speaking the other week and I couldn’t believe the topics: Food waste & Freegans (had to google that one); Drifting; Paper Flowers; European Get-aways; and RATS! Yes, I even learned about these hideous creatures having super skills in sniffing out landmines. Crazy, but I am still not sold.

I had my eye on that rat.

Luke did his speech on the Canadian Lynx. He gets better and better at the speaking every year. The stuffed lynx has been in our family for 40 years plus. There are a few stories surrounding it …….

Canadian Lynx Speech, 4H Club Rally

Butter Tarts

Why are these not rationed out to me ??Why?? I have such a sweet tooth! I love a cup of tea and a sweet. These are perfect combo.

Base Filling

1 c salted butter
2 cups flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla


1 TBSP a baking powder

2 c packed brown sugar

3 large eggs beaten

1/4 cup butter, melted
2 tsp vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. To make base, cut butter into dry ingredients.
Add vanilla, and stir, then press into an ungreased 9*13 pan.
2.For filling, Mix all ingredients and pour over base.
3. Bake for 35 minutes. Let cool then cut. Makes 24. ( or 4 really big squares . No judgement)

Get Moving

Garden planning is going to become action shortly (which is great because I ate too many butter tarts ). My plan always changes a bit but this year I have doubled my garden space. Permanant additions are Concord grapevines planted last fall; raspberries canes and blueberry bushes are ordered from Lore’s Farm in Clyde; and pear and apple trees are ordered as well. I cleared out space inside to dedicate a whole section of my kitchen to just preserves and dehydrated garden goodies. Big plans and if I accomplish half I will be happy. “Aim for the moon and at least if you miss you will land amoung the stars. ”

Wise words to a mother anytime.

YBR Garden Plan 2019

Babies, babies, babies

First, very important baby announcement is my daughter Courtney’s! Due in early July, with another boy, I am already planning to carve out a section for him in the garden for next year❤️

Next, its a baby boom! We have baby Holland lop rabbits now, piglets are coming in a few weeks, baby chicks & turkeys, and a ram Cotswold lamb from Ross Farm just born who will be coming to live at YBR in August once weaned.

and yes, Trevor knows about all of them. Well, he does now😜

Cheers and go for that milkshake,

Jenn xx

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