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One of a dozen recipes in our Berry Bonanza!
Apparatiions and ghostly omens in old Conception Bay
A scientific investigation into the post-turkey nap
The design story behind this awesome patio
One of a dozen berry recipes featured in the October issue!Partridgeberry Spice Cake1/2 cup butter1 cup sugar1 egg, beaten1 1/4 cups flour1/2 tsp cloves1 tsp baking soda1 tsp baking powder1 tsp cinnamon1/4 tsp salt1/2 cup walnuts, chopped1 cup raisins, plumped in warm water, then drained1 cup partridgeberries (frozen or fresh)1/4 cup water Preheat oven to 350Â°F.Cream butter and sugar. Stir in beaten egg. In a separate bowl, combine flour, cloves, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Stir in nuts, raisins and partridgeberries. Gradually mix into creamed mixture, adding alternately with water, until all is incorporated in a cake batter. Pour into a greased 9.5-inch flute pan or 9 x9 square baking pan. Bake for 50-60 min., until tester comes out clean.
Tales of ghostly appearances, premonitions, unsettling dreams and death tokens from old Conception BayBy Dennis Flynn(Jenny Chynn photo)Moving along the beaches in Colliers, NL, surveying the aftermath of the monstrous January 17, 2020 winter storm, I spot remnants of old wharves and fences, and even debris from a derelict dory that was long submerged far away but returned as detritus of the depths upon the sea strand. My father, Tony Flynn of Colliers, hearing what unusual items had been tossed up with the waves, said, âThe ocean is a strange and marvelous place like that. Old men around home were fond of saying, âWhat the sea takes away, it always gives back, but often not in the way you expect.ââHe continues, âThere used to be lots of stories about folks who died at sea, for instance, returning to the land as spirits to let loved ones know they had passed. There was even a very old song around Colliers that I learnt from my mother, who learnt it from her mother, meaning it went back a long ways.â Called âYour Daddyâs Shipâ or âMany a Tall and Gallant Ship,â it had 34 or 35 verses, Dad estimates, and told of a sailorâs death token coming to his son in a dream. âI donât remember it all, but one verse where the child is describing the token visit to his mother and her response went, âOh, I dreamed last night I saw my dad holding his hat in hand. And these words he spoke, âGod Bless you both,â as he sailed from Newfoundland. Now your daddyâs ship, my gentle boy, it is sunk beneath the waves, and itâs many a tall and gallant ship sails over your daddyâs grave.ââIâve collected a number of stories like these over the years. Joseph Conway, a native of Colliers who resides in Ontario, wrote to me in 2013 about what was believed to be a spectral warning from a departed family member that possibly saved a life. âThis happened to my grandmother over 50 years ago, and she always maintained it was a true account of what occurredâ¦ When I was growing up, I remember that she was noted for taking being truthful very seriously, so as kids we believed that Nanny never lied. I can only relate what she said, since I never witnessed it personally, but she often told me of a particularly sudden strong thunder and lightning storm that came up in over the harbour in Colliers. When the winds and rain came heavy, she discovered that the front door was ajar and the metal screen on the old-fashioned storm door was wide open.âHis grandmother rushed towards the door to close it, but was stopped in her tracks by something very strange. âAs she walked over to close the door and screen, she almost had reached out to touch it when suddenly a young boy, dripping wet, came walking up the steps and raised his hand to halt her. He didnât speak but was shaking his head in a clear warning of a single word. That word was âNO!â Grandmother instantly recognized this young boy as her first grandson, Gary, who was drowned at the age of seven beneath a wharf in nearby Conception Harbour some years before. Shocked at the apparition she hesitated, frozen in fear, and that simple gesture probably changed her life forever. Before she knew what happened, a bolt of lightning suddenly hit the screen door! It flashed and sparked and danced all around the entrance. Grandmother said that if it werenât for that momentâs hesitation, she would have had her hands on the metal and never would have lived to tell the tale. As for that little boy, she never saw him after. Apparently, he just gave a sad little smile and turned to walk away into the darkness.âOther spirits were not issuing any warnings but, perhaps, merely passing through and visiting familiar haunts one last time. Robert Keating of Conception Harbour, age 84 at the time, shared this WWII-era tale with me in February 2019. âNow Iâm not sure how much there really is to it, but back in those times some people believed in a thing called a token (or a death token), which supposedly was a sort of a ghostly copy of a person travelling great distances to visit a loved one or a special location around the moment or shortly after when the actual person passed away. It was seen as a premonition that news would come shortly of an untimely death. I canât say if that was actually the case or not, but I often heard my mother tell the story that one time during the Second World War she and my father were walking out from her parentsâ house in on Healyâs Pond Road, in an area of Conception Harbour known as The Pinch. When they got to a low rise called Curranâs Hill [near the present day ballfield], they met a sailor walking in the road. They spoke to him and he didnât answer, which was pretty strange in those times since everyone was very friendly in a small place like that. My mother said to my father later that night, when they were discussing the odd incident, that she thought for sure it was Bill Costello, who was very well-known to her since his home was just across the road from where they lived. The next day they asked around and nobody else had seen or knew anything about a sailor walking in around The Pinch that night, so they kind of forgot about it. Of course, a few days later shocking word came that made them remember the encounter. It turns out the ship that Bill Costello had been serving on was torpedoed somewhere overseas and he was lost at sea.â The general consensus was that it was his token the young couple saw taking one last visit to The Pinch before heading on his Final Voyage to wherever sailors gone down at sea find their ultimate rest.Robert has another similar story about a construction worker who died sometime in the 1940s in New York. âWell thereâs another one that Lil Wade, who lived down the harbour in Conception Harbour, often told me. The district nurse was boarding with Lil, and she was doing Lilâs hair this day when a knock came on the door. They went out to answer and there was nobody there, but there was a man jumping over the fence up by the barn. It looked just like Lilâs husband, Mike. Now as it happened, Mike was working away in New York. The next day Lil got a message, I guess a telegram in those days, that Mike had been killed on the job in New York.âJohn Dawson of Kippens, on Newfoundlandâs west coast, shares a most unusual premonition tale that has a familial connection for him, but was also famously included in Cassie Brownâs book of the 1914 sealing disaster, Death on the Ice. I spoke with him about it over the phone in 2015.âI was born and raised in Bay Roberts in Conception Bay North and my father was John M. Dawson as well, but most people would have known him as Jack Dawson or Farmer Jack,â he began. âOne of the stores Father told quite often was about his cousin, Thomas Dawson, who had served as one of the Masters of the Watch on the ship the SS Newfoundland during the great sealing disaster of 1914, where 78 men perished.â His father heard this story firsthand from Thomas himself.While stranded on the ice floe, Thomas would encourage his crewmates to keep moving by beating a path through the snow and ice for others to follow. He did this for hours on end in a blinding snowstorm. âThis would have been very difficult work, as the person out front gets the full blast of the weather and expends a lot of effort. Heâd also fallen through the ice into the water a number of times, so his feet and legs were soaked and eventually froze. Over time it all took a heavy toll, and he had to lay down on the ice to take a rest.â Fearing that he might die there of exposure, his crewmates stacked dead bodies around him, to help shield him from the weather. âWhatever the reason, Tom hung on and always maintained that in a dream he was visited out there on the ice by the vision of a young girl. He recognized her as the daughter of his good friend, Abram Parsons of Bay Roberts, and she pleaded with Tom to hang on as her father was on his way on the vessel Bellaventure to save him.âRobert continued, âWhile Tom suffered frostbite and would eventually have his legs amputated, he lived on to be rescued. In a strange coincidence, or perhaps in a striking conclusion, it was indeed by the vessel Bellaventure, and it was actually carrying his good friend Abram Parsons, who was one of the shipâs officers. It was exactly as the girl who came to him in a dream claimed would happen.âDo you have any stories of ghostly apparitions or visits from death tokens? Share your story at Downhomelife.com/submit; or email it to email@example.com; or write to Downhome, 43 James Lane, St. Johnâs, NL, A1E 3H3.
Does eating turkey really make us feel sleepy? By Linda Browne(Photo: Madison OâBrien having her first Thanksgiving turkey. Valerie OâBrien photo)Itâs that time of year again, when we gather around the table with our loved ones to enjoy good company, conversation, and lots and lots of tasty Thanksgiving treats. And for many folks here in Canada, that often means turkey. But if food is supposed to give us energy, how come gobbling up roasted bird often makes us feel so sleepy? Orâ¦ does it? The culprit usually blamed for this drowsy dilemma is L-tryptophan, which, according to a paper published in the International Journal of Tryptophan Research, is an amino acid thatâs an essential part of our diet and a âcritical component of numerous metabolic functions.â And itâs not just found in turkey, it also exists in other foods like chicken, tuna, milk, oats, cheese, peanuts, bread, bananas and chocolate.The body converts tryptophan into a vitamin called niacin, which helps create serotonin, which can be broken down into melatonin, a hormone that regulates sleep. However, according to the US-based National Sleep Foundation (NSF) (a non-profit that supports sleep education, research and advocacy), tryptophan is one of many amino acids found in turkey and eating it doesnât impact serotonin levels as quickly as one might think.âAll of those amino acids compete to get transported to the brain. Tryptophan is one of the least represented amino acids in those foods, which means that it gets shoved out of the way by the others,â states the NSF on their Sleep.org website.From dressing and potatoes to other starchy veggies, if thereâs one thing Thanksgiving dinner is loaded with, itâs carbohydrates, which helps tryptophan make its way to the brain. âCarbohydrates cause your body to release insulin, which removes all amino acids - except tryptophan - from your blood. That means that tryptophan has no competition and can enter the brain easily, boosting serotonin levels. So eating a snack thatâs all carbohydrates will react with stored tryptophan in your body and give you a much bigger increase of serotonin,â explains the NSF. âYou can actually use this to your advantage by eating a light carbohydrate-centric snack before bedtime.âSo when you feel stuffed and sleepy after Thanksgiving dinner, donât place the blame squarely on the bird. It takes a lot of energy to digest a big meal. As the NSF explains, that desire you feel to hit the hay âprobably has as much to do with the carb-loaded stuffing that youâre eating as it does with the turkey (not to mention the large portions of food, in general!)."
The planning and precision paid off on this patio project Story and photos by Tobias Romaniuk âI wanted everything to be perfect from the ground up,â says Garrett Murphy, owner of Perlicade Construction. Weâre standing in a Mount Pearl backyard, looking at the latest Perlicade deck project as Garrett explains the build process for this multi-level patio. The house attached to this deck sits in a cul de sac subdivision built about 20 years ago, says the homeowner, and the wooden structure was beginning to show signs of rot. It was time for something new. Garrettâs interest in carpentry goes back to his childhood and time spent with his pop, who showed him how to use a handsaw and other woodworking tools. When it came time to study for a career, though, Garrett chose naval architecture, not carpentry. Then the work dried up and Garrett returned to school, this time to study carpentry. He spent a few years getting hands-on experience in the building trades before starting Perlicade in May 2018. The company is currently focused on outdoor living products - fences, decks, sheds and the like - with plans to expand into other areas down the road. Although boat decks and house decks donât, on the face of it, seem to have that much in common, Garrett has found his previous career training and experience useful, especially when it comes time to sit at the computer and design a clientâs project in AutoCAD, the industry standard software for drawing construction plans.Describing himself as being particular, Garrett takes obvious pride in his craft, pointing out seamless mitre joints that give the deck a refined look. Although he does it for himself - a job well done is one to be proud of - he also realizes that quality craftsmanship will lead to referrals as he works to build his company brand. âIâm just trying to do good work for all the clients I have now and working on my name,â he says. The two-level Mount Pearl deck is built with composite materials, which require virtually no maintenance and, for this particular brand, come with a 25-year residential guarantee. The deck boards are manmade using plastics, wood particles (but itâs not particle board) and other materials to engineer a resilient surface with a wood look, complete with a grain pattern. Composite boards, says Garrett, wonât crack, splinter or decay like their solid wood counterparts. The upfront cost is higher than a pressure treated deck, but if one needs to justify the expense, consider the savings of never having to buy another can of stain. Using premium materials, and the promise of a long-lasting deck, is all for naught if the foundation isnât properly prepared, though. To prevent movement from frost heaving or ground settlement, Garrett placed the deck on concrete pilings poured into four-feet-deep holes to reach below the frost line. Before digging any holes, Garrett laid out a string grid to plot the locations of deck posts and to ensure everything would be perfectly square. To help with the groundwork and landscaping, he brought in fellow tradesperson Adam Whitten of ArcForce Industries Inc. In an effort to ensure the pressure-treated wood substructure would last as long as the composite deck boards, Garrett taped every joist with a waterproofing membrane that prevents water from pooling on the joist and seeping into screw holes. Water getting into the wood, explains Garrett, is what leads to rot.The new patioâs deck boards are unmarred by screw holes. To achieve this look, Garrett used boards with grooved sides to accept clips that attach to the underlying joists. Itâs a system as secure as screws or nails, but doesnât react well to excessive deck movement, which is why the deck sits on pilings rather than deck blocks.Before any work was done outside, Garrett met with the homeowners several times to learn how the family uses the deck, what they did and didnât like about the current deck, and the look they wanted for their new outdoor space. Those conversations informed his design, build and material decisions, including an agreement to build the deck smaller than the previous incarnation, a somewhat large 24 by 36 feet. The new structure measures 20 by 20 feet, with an eight-foot top section and 16-foot lower section, both 20 feet wide. This carefully crafted build - the corners are mitred, the screw holes are plugged, the fasteners are invisible, and the lights are built into the stair risers and wall - is a reflection of Garrettâs focus on construction best practices and doing a job the right way. With every job, he is pushing to raise what people view as an acceptable standard of work. âWhy canât we be better than good enough?â he asks, as he stands in front of the patio that is a testament to his refusal to settle for less than excellent.
Dale Jarvis recounts some âstrikingâ events in Newfoundland and Labrador involving extreme and mysterious lightning. (Photo by Ben Callahan photo taken at Pilleyâs Island, NL) In early June 1932, Carl F. Hammerstrom left Portland, Maine, on the George B. Cluett with Captain Iversen, as Master. He was bound for St. Anthony to spend a year working for the Grenfell Mission. Later, he recounted one of his most memorable experiences in the pages of the Among the Deep Sea Fishers magazine. Hammerstrom had been on board the Prospero when it docked in the Great Northern Peninsula community of Englee. As a visiting medical professional, he was escorted to a gloomy little shack where he found two young men on an uncovered mattress with a dirty cotton blanket. Both of them were dressed only in âwell-begrimed long Johnâsâ and were sick with typhoid. Hammerstrom commandeered a trap boat to convey the men back to the hospital in St. Anthony. They were loaded into the boat and covered with a tarp as they set off after sunset. As they motored out of Englee, the full moon was covered over by clouds and the wind started to roar. The boat was tossed amongst dark waves in the inky darkness as it started to rain. Somewhere between Englee and Groais Island, the situation became even more dangerous. âThen occurred a phenomenon which I had read about but never seen,â writes Hammerstrom, âand this was ball lightning. An enormous ball of bright fire skipping along the horizon like a stone skipped across some pond by a little boy. Impressive, breathtaking, voice-stealing, frightening - a harbinger, perhaps, of our demise. By this time no one was very happy.ââFloating or ball lightning is true lightning,â reported a St. Johnâs newspaper, the Daily News, in 1958. âBalls of fire, the size of balloons, fall slowly from the clouds until they strike the earth and explode. Sometimes they roll along the ground and do not explode until they hit some object.âSome 19th-century reports describe balls of lightning that eventually exploded and left behind a persistent, sickening sulphur smell. While not fully understood by science, ball lightning is, luckily for us, very rare.Hammerstrom and the boat made it safely to St. Anthony, though one of the young men perished of his illness in the midst of the lightning storm. The survivors were never able to forget the sight of the tempestâs electric fury. In the days of wooden ships and timber houses, lightning was a force to be reckoned with. It could (and did) cause terrible damage and fires, and some farmers even blamed lightning strikes for causing potato rot.One of the most dramatic lightning disasters in Newfoundland and Labrador history took place on June 17, 1911, when the most severe thunder and lightning storm in living memory swept through Avondale in Conception Bay. Peals of thunder shook the dwellings, and lightning flashes âlike tongues of fireâ lit up the firmament. At 11 p.m., as one of the most severe bursts of thunder and lightning shot over the place, flames were seen issuing from the spire of the church on the hill. Almost instantaneously, fire burst from all parts of the sacred edifice, amidst peals of thunder and lightning flashes that illuminated the darkness. Father Sheehan rushed into the burning church and made several attempts to save the vestments and sacred articles, with partial success. Pieces of the tower were driven several yards from the site of the building as if blown there by dynamite. Meanwhile, lightning entered the house of Edward Cook and broke through the chimney. Four people in the house were rendered unconscious. Mrs. Cook had been sitting in the kitchen reading a book, her feet resting on the fender of the stove. The lightning drove the boots clean off her feet and then shot through the kitchen floor, tearing a wide hole in the floorboards. Mrs. Cook swooned from the pain and fright, and her feet were badly burned. Two miles away, in Harbour Main, the house of Peter Walsh was broken to pieces by the storm. Where lightning strikesDramatic and destructive as that particular incident was, it could be worse. Newfoundland and Labrador falls in 10th place across the country for days with lightning, ahead of only Nunavut, the Northwest Territories and the Yukon. An Environment Canada study between 1999 and 2018 reveals that the unluckiest place to be in the province (lightning-wise, anyway) might be Grand Falls-Windsor, which registered 3,314 lightning strikes between those years. It was certainly something the Anglo-Newfoundland Development Company took into consideration in 1924 when they hired the Alphons Custodis Chimney Construction Company of New York City to build what was at that point the tallest chimney on the island. The millâs radial brick âsmokestackâ rose 300 feet from the ground and was topped with eight pointed platinum lightning rods, with two copper cable down leads, to deal with lightning strikes.Compare Grand Falls-Windsor with the Northeast Avalon region, which sees the least amount of lightning days per year, averaging 40-50 strikes per year. The safest place to be on the Avalon? That would be Mount Pearl, which only had 688 strikes in the same 20-year period that Grand Falls-Windsor had over 3,000.Eastern Newfoundland does get its share of weird lightning. In March 2009, several witnesses in different communities reported a similar, but varied event. A man working at St. Clareâs Hospital saw a bright white flash that lit up the skyline above St Johnâs, while a Pouch Cove woman saw a blue flash. Two bright flashes of white and purple were reported by a woman in Bonavista, while an eyewitness in Paradise saw the sky turn orange, an effect that lasted for at least a couple of seconds before it faded out. Another person claimed the sky changed from white to blue to pinkish-purple, and that the light seemed to last for ages. A woman saw something light up the sky as she was driving through Lethbridge, while a woman driving near Clarenville saw a flash that she described as âlike a bomb without the boom.âLocal radio stations reported that officials were baffled. Social media discussion ranged from the serious to the outlandish, putting the blame variously on the Russian Mafia, meteors or asteroids, space debris, missile launches, aliens and too many baked beans. The probable cause was cloud-to-cloud lightning.Donât take chances. If you hear the heavens grumbling, follow Environment Canadaâs recommendations and get to a safe location, either in a building with plumbing and wiring or an all metal vehicle. Stay there for half an hour following the last rumble of thunder and hopefully, unlike Mrs. Cook, your boots will stay on your feet where they belong.
Poem by Curt Budden Art by Christine Hennebury Newfoundlandâs history sticks. It does not fade, drain or slough. Especially when discussing those places once defined as âcut off.â For it was those tucked away outports that got our fishery started. Itâs what drew Europeans and then got our land charted. Long before runways, or highways or tracks, back when the cod were so thick that you could walk on their backs.Merchants swarmed to St. Johnâs, where new businesses flourished. But it was in the small fishing outports where our culture was nourished. Tiny inlets and harbours is where new lineage was begun, with boat loads of salt cod drying in the sun. A familyâs life often hard; but still simple and humble, living off the land and sea while they watched the waves tumble.Cozy one-room schools with pot belly stoves. Kitchens smelling of white bread from baking off countless loaves. Families planting their feet as their love for home hardens, with thin, rocky soil to grow vegetable gardens. Sunday services weekly, with churches packed to the brim, as folks gathered for prayer or to sing an old hymn. For many were grateful, and had little frustration, until an emerging word surfaced known as âCentralization.â Also known as âResettlementâ and spoke with a negative tone; to make a long story short, it meant leaving their home. The modern world was arriving and it required new codes. There were new lifestyles, fish plants, school systems and roads. Heavy industry spiked and new changes exploded, leaving those old tiny outports to soon be eroded. Folks were offered incentives to start a new life. But many lashed back with aggression and gut-wrenching strife. Packing belongings is easy; down to each plate, cup and bowl. But how do you pack up your memories, your roots or your soul? What about loved ones now buried? Where do they go? What about your friends and your neighbours? What about the only life that you know? Some crowds thought it was easy. They took the offer and ran. They saw a great opportunity to begin a new plan. But many resisted, as they thought the change would be foiled. Their eyes grew heavy with tears and the blood in them boiled. They saw it quite differently and simply werenât temped. Their love for home stayed with their opinions exempted. They did not want to leave. They did not want to stray. For they were already settled and they wanted to stay. Even though it meant better doctors, better schools, better pensions; new and great opportunities that could ease all of their tensions. For many the change was quite good, and thus the best move they had made. They were glad that it happened and that they hadnât stayed. They didnât show any panic. They didnât show any doubt. And they rarely looked back because for them it worked out.As for those who showed hardship, their story wasnât the same. They didnât know who to question. They didnât know who to blame. No matter the promises written, that came in black and white, they preferred to remain and not be caulked full of spite. They didnât care for new changes or vast personal glory. Their old life was important and their home told a story. Every rock, every tree, every wharf, every cove. Every house, every board, every kitchen and stove. Every net, every stage, every jigger and rope. Yes, they all triggered memories and they all gave them hope. Their background had meaning and ran deep with respect. They refused to lose all of that because they were offered a cheque.Their way of life made them happy and it bled admiration. It defined their morality and it based their foundation. But regardless of conflict and their resistance to flee, the towns started fading as folks began crossing the sea. With the decision now final and the new world intact, families were quickly uprooted and were all forced to pack. And the most mesmerizing occurrence that made hearts sink like stones is that when some families left, they took with them their homes. Theyâd push their house to the shore at the edge of the beach. They took one last look of home and proceeded to screech. For they couldnât let go, no matter how many tries. No matter how hard they argued. No matter how many cries. So with one final launch and with their heavy hearts lifting, they left old times behind with the family home drifting. Their uncertainly strong and their emotions estranged, for it was not just their house drifting - it was a pure drift of change. Because as they fought through transition with their feelings now strained, their bodies were moving but their soul had remained. Many say it was needed as it came down to cost. But Iâm not speaking of money. I speak of a culture now lost. For those outports now vanished? They defined Newfoundland. They sprouted traditional people who lived life so grand. They fought through adversity with each strain and strive. They added chapters to history and kept tradition alive.Today there are grown over graveyards and caved-in dry wells. And what were once cozy homes are now stale empty shells. Many souls left in shambles and memories stained. Gardens turned into weeds as nature quickly reclaimed. And regardless of efforts where many tempers ran hot, what was once a thriving community was left there to rot. But some still remember; and they come back to this day. Theyâve built cabins and stages and they make time to stay. Some still fish off the waters. Some still tinder the earth. Some still come back to the place where they had their own birth. Even if those who come visit are gone by September? All that matters is one thing: and itâs that they remember.All that was left from most places were old signs of the past, forgotten belongings and empty shorelines so vast. But these abandoned communities are what we must recall. Their existence canât be forgotten, and their history canât fall. So hear the stories, meet the people, take pictures or pray, for these tiny lost places scattered out in the bay.
A love of beachcombing turned into works of art. By Ashley MillerMost Newfoundlanders and Labradorians delight in a calm, sunny forecast, but not Lauren Ash. High winds on the horizon? A storm surge, perhaps? Those are the conditions Lauren loves to see because thatâs the weather, sheâs found, that makes beaches around the province ripe for the combing. Lauren is a sea glass artist, turning found sea glass (plus beach rocks, bits of driftwood and other beach treasures) into framed artwork, jewelry, greeting cards, sun catchers and more.âIâve always loved going to the beach. Beachcombing makes me happy, helps clear my head,â she says. âAt first I didnât realize the potential for making beautiful art and jewelry out of [sea glass], but eventually our jars started to overflow, and I said, âOk, letâs do something with it.ââA kindergarten teacher by day, Lauren launched her business, She Sells Sea Glass NL, about two years ago. And itâs been keeping her busy ever since; Lauren estimates sheâs sold up to 1,000 framed pieces of artwork (her most popular product) alone. While she personally prefers creating pieces with a Newfoundland and Labrador theme (think row houses, whales and laundry lines), sheâs fulfilled custom orders depicting everything from trains and cars to parrots and sneakers.To bring all those designs to life, Lauren and her husband, Adam, and their dog hit the provinceâs shorelines year-round in search of nature-made supplies.âAs long as you can get down to the beach, weâll go,â she says. Itâs usually a bit of a jaunt, since Lauren (who lives in St. Johnâs) says she hasnât had much luck finding sea glass on the Avalon Peninsula. During low tide, theyâve scoured beaches in and around the Clarenville area, as well as along the islandâs south and west coasts, with great success. Oftentimes, though, they hit the jackpot in the most unexpected places.âWeâll just be travelling along the highway and Iâll say, âOh, pull over here!â And itâll just be a little spot there with some fishing stages. Itâs not exactly a beach, but itâs by the water, and weâll end up finding [sea glass] there,â says Lauren.Surprising, too, are some of the items sheâs found while searching for sea glass. Sea pottery (shards from old dishes and vases) often makes for a pretty, patterned blanket hung on a clothesline in one of her works of art. One obscure item for which she hasnât yet found an artistic home is a tiny seal figurine, which, after some research, Lauren found to be part of the Red Rose Tea collection (a line of ceramic miniatures the company launched in the 1960s). Some of her most prized finds are rare pieces of sea glass, however.âWhen we pick up a purple piece, me and my husband might be at different ends of the beach, but you can hear us!â says Lauren, adding that other uncommon colours theyâve found include red (perfect for depicting cheerful puffin beaks), orange and yellow.Arriving home with her loot, Lauren rinses the sea glass, lays it out to dry and then sorts it by colour and shape into various jars and containers. Forming it into artwork is typically how she winds down after a long day. Sometimes she has a theme in mind when she sits down to create. Other times, the glass itself inspires her work.âSometimes I literally pick up a piece and I think it looks like something. You know when you look at the clouds and see shapes in them? Itâs kind of like that with sea glass for me,â she says.With Snowmageddon eating up much of January and the COVID-19 pandemic striking in March, 2020 has been a tough year on many small business owners, Lauren included. However, she managed to keep She Sells Sea Glass NL afloat through online sales and free local delivery. âLuckily, people are getting on the bandwagon of supporting local small business,â says Lauren, happily adding that she actually filled more Motherâs Day orders this year than last. Speaking with her in late June, she was happy to be getting back to her regular spot at the St. Johnâs Farmersâ Market after months away. (Her work can also be found at the Dock Marina in Trinity.)While some of her pieces adorn the walls of her own home, most of Laurenâs work sells before she has the chance to become too attached to it. There are some pieces of that beautifully frosted, ocean-formed sea glass, however, that are priceless.âMy husband and I went on a delayed honeymoon last year to France. When we were in Nice, we collected some sea glass there,â says Lauren. âIâm planning on making something out of that to hold onto.â Find She Sells Sea Glass NL on Facebook and on Instagram to see more of Laurenâs work.
By Dennis Flynn With a throaty rumble, the engine springs to life. The beautifully restored 1958 Land Rover shakes off inertia and rolls out of the garage into the sunlight on a stellar July 2020 day in Cupids, Newfoundland and Labrador. Cruising past the landmark 1875 Cupids United Church, a gigantic 7x14-metre Union Jack Flag flaps overhead against an azure sky. A number of immaculately shined antique automobiles line the waterfront to watch the rugged little vehicle roll on by in something akin to an honour guard. Everyone there realizes this is an occasion for the history books. Classic Land Rovers hold high prestige among adventure travellers and off-road enthusiasts the world over. Founder Maurice Wilks supposedly drew a sketch of his vision of a vehicle âthat could tackle any terrain, weather condition or challengeâ in the beach sand in Anglesey, UK. His Land Rover made its debut on April 30, 1948, at the Motor Show in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, and been synonymous with exploration ever since. Closer to home there is a surprising Land Rover connection: it was the first vehicle to complete the new 903-kilometre TransCanada Highway from Port aux Basques to St. Johnâs, Newfoundland, and the provinceâs first premier, Joseph R. Smallwood, was behind the wheel. According to TransCanadaHighway.com, âThe paving of the TransCanada across Newfoundland was completed on November 27, 1965, with the official opening ceremony at Pearsonâs Peak near Grand Falls in 1966, which was attended by Premier Joey Smallwood and Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson.â The slogan for the federal-provincial project was âYes, Weâll Finish the Drive in â65.â Pearsonâs Peak is the halfway point of the Newfoundland section of the TCH, and there was once a roughly 25-metre-high stone pillar with a bronze plaque at the site where Smallwood and Pearson met on July 12, 1966. Eventually it fell into disrepair and was removed. But this wasnât Smallwoodâs first time on this new highway. According to CBC Archives, âThe first car crossed Newfoundland in 1958. In fact, five Land Rovers made the drive together, and Premier Smallwood was at the steering wheel of the head car.â Not just any car. It was this exact Land Rover that rolled out of the garage in Cupids in July 2020. The same Land Rover which returned, I am told, to the official opening ceremonies of the TCH in 1966. Harold Akerman, aged 71 and a resident of Cupids, confirms that with a grin. âThis is a pretty special vehicle. In 1984, the Newfoundland Antique and Classic Car Club [NLACCC] obtained this 1958 Land Rover from the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador. It was donated to the Club for restoration and preservation as a piece of the provinceâs transportation history,â he says. âThere were actually a number of Land Rovers purchased from Adelaide Motors in St. Johnâs by the provincial government of the day, since the going on new roads being built was very rough. We have been able to verify this one was used by former premier Smallwood. Government officials or groups such as Mines and Resources used the others for doing survey work and such. When this particular Land Rover reached the end of useful life, it ended up in a storage facility in the White Hills in St. Johnâs, where some of the NLACCC members heard about it. The government asked if NLACCC would like to have the vehicle. It was in sad shape, but they took it on and became custodians of it, and started an extensive and excellent volunteer restoration.â Harold adds, âThe last time it was driven was in the year 2000, when the National Association of Antique Automobile Clubs of Canada did a coast-to-coast tour that ended in St. Johnâs on August 18. Premier Brian Tobin met the tour group at Paddyâs Pond on the outskirts of the city, and he drove this Land Rover and led the group of approximately 200 antique vehicles to Confederation Building...â The Land Rover remained in storage these last 20 years, requiring some fixing before it could go on another ceremonial run. Though overall, itâs in remarkable shape. âThis older Land Rover has an aluminum body on a steel chassis, so it held up well,â Harold says. âThe springs probably have about 15 leaves in each spring, which makes it really stiff and hard to ride, but that was the way of them.â With a new radiator, carburetor, brake shoes and drums - all shipped from England - the Land Rover was ready for a 2020 outing, and this time it was more personal. Destination: home. âThis was a great day for everyone, but especially for the Smallwood family and Joeyâs children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren as we brought the Land Rover to the former premierâs home and the family got to enjoy the vehicle for a couple of hours,â Harold says of todayâs outing. âIt was a chance to share memories, stories, and an opportunity to take photos; and they were really, really pleased. I am sure the late premier Smallwood, if he was here, would be just as delighted to have that Land Rover come back there today. I met Joey quite a few times, and I remember he attended the unveiling of the Land Rover when the original restoration was done by the NLACCC. It was a very emotional and moving moment for him and the audience. It meant a lot then, and I think it still means a lot now, not just for people who like antique autos, but for everyone in the province. Thereâs a lot of history tied up in this vehicle thatâs bigger than the Land Rover itself.â After an afternoon of visiting, reminiscing and children exploring the Land Rover, it was time to head out. On the way back through the famous gates to Premier Smallwoodâs former home, the Land Rover turned upon the access road and pointed its grill towards the TransCanada Highway. It was a tip of the hat to Smallwood, Pearson and all who strived in any way to complete that remarkable ribbon of road that brought together this vast country. I went in search of a story of a classic car, but came away inspired by the doers and the dreamers, both the famous and the obscure, as a journey along the highway of history came full circle. The legendary Land Rover finally headed home to finish the drive. Watch this short video of Dennis's ride with Harold Akerman and his grandson Daniel Gosse in Joey Smallwood's Land Rover.