Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Welcome Sophie!

Welcome Sophie! 
Melville has been hit by a whirlwind of chocolate chaos, as we welcome Sophie!

For Valentine's Day this year, we decided to take mom a little chocolate surprise while on spring break in Calgary. Raven and I took Sophie out on the plane when she was only 8 weeks old and now it is fair to say that she is not so little anymore!

Sophie has brought so much new energy to Melville, exploring the beach and fields, listening to the birds, meeting new people, snacking on dandelions (apparently a new delicacy, which I think I will let Sophie enjoy all on her own!) And of course doing what all puppies do best; playing with such un-coordination that it makes you both dizzy and a fit full of giggles as she bounces around Melville!

Raven has been very receptive of Sophie's antics, bounding back gently when Sophie nips or tugs on her ears and playing the way only dogs know how. Raven has also accepted the mentor role and is showing Sophie the ropes of Melville, the best sticks to chew up, how to retrieve balls and if you steal treats, you may not get more.

We cannot wait to see what Sophie explores next, but for now it's time for a nap so she can re-fuel for more running, swimming and bouncing around Melville tomorrow!

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Happy Summer!

Happy Summer!
Summer has finally arrived in Melville, with green leaves, blue skies, warm breezes, the smell of barbecues and hot temperatures (it was 45 degrees yesterday in the sunlight on the deck!). Raven and I have been taking advantage of the lovely weather on my days off and I have been getting in some wonderful pictures down at the beach!

With the sunshine warming up the water all day, I could not help but walk in the water on our sunset stroll last night! Although it is not quite warm enough for a full swim, the water has been tempting me to venture a little further each day!

After a long, cold and snowy winter in Nova Scotia, nothing says summer is here more than a beautiful Melville sunset!

Saturday, 17 May 2014


Last week I was walking Raven later in the evening and we heard some peeping from a frog in the pond at the end of the road. The next morning when the light was better I was able to see three spawns of frog eggs and a few tadpoles scattered in the shallows along the rocks. 

Everyday since, I have been checking in on the little tadpoles and seeing how many have hatched. Yesterday there were not any eggs left and the pond was filled with so many tadpoles they made the rocks look dark because of their dense numbers.  

Here is a neat little diagram of the life cycle of tadpoles, too bad it will take approximately 84 days before any little legs will form on the swimmers, resembling any frog-like features!

Thursday, 8 May 2014

Rushton's Beach Provincial Park

Rushton's Beach Provincial Park
Raven and I took a little road trip yesterday to take advantage of the sunshine and "spring-like" temperatures (6 degrees!) and headed approximately 11 km down the Sunrise trail towards Tatamagouche. It is a little difficult to find, as there are no signs indicating the entrance and the road to access the beach parking lot is about the size of someone's driveway. With a little help from Siri (If you do use Siri, she will tell you it is on the land side of the road, which it is not, it's on the water side), we managed to find it and confirmed we were in the right spot as there were some workers from Nova Scotia Parks and Recreation there cleaning up for the coming beach season. 

You enter Rushton's beach through a large gravel parking lot, it is complete with picnic tables, on-site change rooms and restrooms, as well as a long boardwalk leading you right to the beach! Perfect for anyone that has mobility difficulties, uses mobile aids or a wheel chair (there is even an access ramp to the beach!). 

Following up from my last post, I found a few more shells on Rushton's beach. Above is another soft-shell clam that was about the size of my hand, a lot bigger than the ones we see here in Melville! To the left of it is a Razor clam shell, which can cause quite the injuries if you have ever tried to dig them up! These razor clams are the same type that are found along the coasts in Europe and I found this funny video of some people catching them in the UK!

All of the oyster shells I found on Rushton's beach were all bunched together, like the ones pictured here. Sadly, no pearls.

The beach itself is mostly sand and stretches along for my guess of 2 km each way from the boardwalk entrance. Looking out at the water, you could see more sand and shallow levels of water, likely making an ideal environment for warm water temperatures in the summer months and some great beach days to come!

There are some really cute cottages down the beach on Rushton's, this is the break wall that has been constructed to protect the property that they are on from shoreline erosion.

Finally, on our way out of the park, we saw this little guy. Now you know that I am not great with naming birds, so I appreciate any help! S/He looked to be about the size of a plover and made a noise that sounded very similar to a car alarm going off when s/he took flight. S/He had a very unique beak as well, it was long and pointed, almost ideal for pulling up worms or insects from holes in the ground! Comment below if you know what kind of bird this is!

Sunday, 4 May 2014

Shellfish Game

Shellfish Game
I was walking along the beach last night and realized just how many shellfish also call Melville home. For those that are not from Nova Scotia or have not had much exposure to shore life, identifying the many shells along the beaches in Melville may be tricky. Here are a few that I found, let's see how well your guesses are!

The picture above is a mussel shell, one of the most common shellfish found in Nova Scotia. The warm waters that surround Nova Scotia from the Gulf stream is responsible for the great numbers of mussels we see in this area of Canada, as the warm temperatures from the equator create an ideal environment for mussels to grow and thrive (Nova Scotia Fisheries and Aquaculture).

Now take a look at this picture, if you guessed scallop, unfortunately that is not correct. This is a soft-shell clam shell, but it is often confused with a scallop shell (Wikipedia). I did not find any scallop shells last night. We do see them occasionally on the shores in Melville, but they are contaminated and therefore cannot be eaten. Best to stick to The World Famous Digby Scallops, if you have a craving! 

Finally, an oyster shell. Great guess! This is my favourite type of shell to find in Melville and no, not just because if I am really lucky, I might one day find a pearl inside (How Oysters make Pearls). Although that would be really cool! I like finding oyster shells in Melville, because we had not previously seen them as a regular part of our beach until a few years ago. So each year that they return, it is a sign that the Melville ecology is flourishing! 

Well done guessing and enjoy this beautiful sunny Sunday!

Friday, 2 May 2014

May First's and Mystery Animal Revealed

May First's and Mystery Animal Revealed
Yesterday marked May 1st, which for many here in Melville marks the end of the busy tax season, so congratulations! Time for a well-deserved break!

May 1st also marked the beginning of tick season as I found one on Raven, her first of 2014. I won't be posting any pictures, because I find them really gross, but here is a link on How to Remove a Tick from your Dog. Unfortunately, I have had to refer to this website 3 times in the past year, as the ticks really seem to love Raven. As a result, I've gotten pretty familiar with the routine for removing a tick and the steps you should take in Nova Scotia. Because ticks transmit Lyme Disease, a potential fatal and reportable communicable disease, the government advises containing the tick for 72 hours after removal (Raven's little pest is sitting in a jar by the door...), watching for symptoms and inspecting the bite site for any changes (Lyme Disease in Nova Scotia). If after 3 days no symptoms show up, the tick can be destroyed, my preferred method is burning, so it will be into the fire pit. The PDF link also has some really great tips for protecting yourself from tick bites, like wearing enclosed shoes, tucking your pants into your socks and shirt into your pants. Avoiding tall grasses or heavily wooded areas and inspecting yourself with a mirror after being outside for any little unwelcome visitors that may have hitched a ride.

Although it was not on May 1st, on Tuesday of this week I was driving back to Melville and saw for the first time some wild turkeys! To be fair, I have seen wild turkeys before, while on a road trip through Montana, but these were the first in Canada! My pictures are really poor as I caught a couple on my cell phone, so sorry, none to post.

Speaking of first sights of animals in Melville, the mystery animal from last week's post made an appearance in the newspaper! Local authorities in the Miramichi had some trouble with a confused beaver causing traffic delays in the town and it was aggressive towards motorists and officers. So the mystery animal has been revealed! I have never seen a beaver before last week, not even at the wildlife park! Again, I'm sorry, but no pictures as the large member of the rodent family seems shy now and has made no more appearances in Melville since.

Since I did not post any pictures this post, let's declare Friday as throw back sunset day and you can enjoy this sunset taken in April of 2012.

Saturday, 26 April 2014


No, you haven't travelled a couple of kilometres down the road, but like the name suggests sea foam is a regular part of the beaches here in Melville as well (especially after a big storm!).

As a result of the last couple of stormy days, I haven't been able to get down to the beach to find our mystery animal from the last post, but I have gotten some good guesses as to what it might be. It is not a moose or a puffin, but I thought those were great guesses.

I have never seen a puffin, although there are many places in Nova Scotia you can go to catch a glimpse of them. One of the most famous nesting sites is Donelda's Bird Island in Cape Breton.

Sea foam is however, quite common along all beaches in the world and forms with agitation of the water, which is then blown ashore by strong winds. Which, if you have ever been to Melville on a stormy day, we get no short supply of! 

Here are a few pictures of the sea foam that has settled on the beach today. 

It is also my brother's golden birthday today, so if you see him around Melville make sure to wish him a Happy Birthday!