|Today we got up to thunder, rain and lightening (yes Trish lightening) so we took it easy and around 10:00 it started to clear up. We decided to drive up to North Cape. We said goodbye to our neighbors John & Mary as they were leaving for Pictou. Last night we enjoyed another nice evening with them chatting about the places they have travelled to. We are hoping to run into them again in either Pictou or Baddeck.
We headed up to The Prince Edward Island Potato Museum which is located in the community of O'Leary. It is surrounded by fertile potato growing fields where the humble potato has played an important role in the economy for many years. The museum depicts an interesting display of the potato industry, and houses a large collection of farm implements and machinery related to the growing and harvesting of potatoes. In fact, this museum contains the largest exhibit of potato artifacts in the world so they tell us. We found the museum very interesting and we tried Lobster potato chips, potato pancakes, and even some chocolate squares that were made out of potatooes all very good.
Once we left O'Leary we decided we wanted to head along the coast so we programmed the GPS (Nancy) to find Miminegash. Were we excited she knew how to get there. So away we went following Nancy's instructions she told us turn right we did turn left we did but then when realized the road we were on was going from paved to red soil. Not only was it red soil but it had big pot holes from all the rain that morning and when the red soil gets wet it's like a sheet of glass and sticks to everything like gum.
We had no where to turn around as the shoulder of the road was so soft we thought we would get stuck so we looked at the GPS and we have five miles of this road. We ended up having to put it into four wheel because we kept slipping around and we felt we were going to go off the road. But we survived the five mile road and at the end we got out and looked at the truck it was covered from head to wheels in this dark red soil but at that time we couldn't do anything about it so we gave Nancy a lecture and continued on our way but this time we used Brian as the navagator and he did an excellent job. Brian actually is getting better all the time at navigating.
We finally arrive in Miminegash which we were told that they had really good seaweed pie at the Seaweed Pie Cafe. Seaweed Pie is like a sponge cake very light and has a different taste that is hard to describe. We had blueberry sauce on the top of it and both of us said we quite enjoyed it. We talked to one of the owners of the cafe and we were told that at one time, a couple of decades ago, everyone in the community was involved in mossing.
Even as small children, they would go to the shore after a storm and gather small bread bags full to sell to the moss plants for the few cents that it was worth. During the peak of the industry in the 1970s many people across the Island shared similar experiences. People from the western tip of the province, to Rustico and as far as North Lake, which is near the eastern tip, would harvest moss after storms and make a reasonable living at it.
For the most part, the moss industry is gone in other parts of the province but the industry and the way of life are holding on in the far west of Island. Even in decline, the moss industry still brought $1 million into the economy of Prince Edward Island in 2000. This is a far cry from the many millions earned in the past but it still leaves a large impact on the lives of the people in the local communities.
Irish moss has been an important commercial crop on Prince Edward Island for so long that some unique Island terms have grown up around its collection, notably the noun mosser, referring to one who harvests the seaweed. A mosser is also a high, stormy wind that wafts Irish moss toward the shore. Such winds help produce the underwater waves of turbulence that rip Irish moss fronds from their holdfasts on seabed rocks in the lower tidal and subtidal zones.
Moss that reaches a beach is forked into piles by combers using hand rakes. Horse mossers collect Irish moss near shore by rakes and wire-mesh scoops pulled through the water by a moss horse. Such horses are usually large and fearless, for they sometimes have to haul moss in water right up to their necks and work among several dozen other horses when twenty or thirty horse mossers all harvest one stretch of shore after an especially bountiful storm.
A former term for profit from such a sea-gift was moss money. In olden days, children often had the job of cleaning freshly harvested moss of pebbles, shells, sea wrack, and other unwanted seaweeds. On Prince Edward Island one such impurity is called monkey fur, being the seaweed genus Halopteris, whose thick brown strands are matted through the Irish moss and make it hard to dry.
Another tangly intruder has the P.E.I. nickname, shoe-string. It's a green, eelgrass-like seaweed of the Chondra genus and must be plucked from a mosser's haul if the harvester wants top price from processors.
Popular Canadian balladeer Stompin' Tom Connors who wrote the rollicking "Bud The Spud" about P.E.I.'s potato industry also celebrated seaweed in his "Song of The Irish Moss" where he wrote "You can hear them roar from the Tignish Shore / There's moss on Skinner's Pond."
We found the whole history of Miminegash very interesting and about how they harvest the moss. As we drove through Miminegash we saw a number of barns where the horses were and it was so funny I pulled off the side of the road to take a picture of these two horses outside a barn and just as I took the picture they went inside and I thought Oh! boy I'm not going to get a picture the next thing you know there was about 7 of them come out of the barn and line up in a row as if they were posing for the picture. Once I took a couple of pictures and put the camera down they turned around and went back in the barn. Brian and I laughed and laughed at this. (I think you might of had to see it to understand how funny it was).
From Miminegash we drove up to we drove up to North Cape which is at the tip of PEI. The community of North Cape is located at Prince Edward Island’s most northwestly point of land.
North Cape is famous for its natural rock reef where the waters of the Gulf of St. Lawrence and the Northumberland Strait meet. At low tide you can stroll along the reef and enjoy the many seabirds and marine life. As a matter of fact it was not quite low tide but we saw there was a walrus on the reef with a baby so of course my husband takes the camera and he's going to go out to this reef. Well my little hero takes his sandals off and away he goes now you have to know the water is still about 3 feet because the tide isn't yet at it's lowest. He rolls up his pant legs heads out smiling away calling me a sissy for not going HA! HA! Anyways he realizes half way out that it doesn't at all become sandy it is solid rocks and it is killing his feet.
The next thing I know he is standing there looking back at me and I can see he's thinking about coming back. So I way him back and a big smile comes on his face well let's just say it took him 5 minutes to walk out half way and about 20 minutes to come back because the waves kept hitting him hard so he would have to stop get his balance so he didn't fall off these rocks and in the meantime the walrus has taken the baby and gone somewhere else. Well I felt so sorry for him his feet were so sore and I know he was just trying to go out and get the picture for me. I have to say though he kept his sense of humor and we laughed at the little juggling act he had to do to keep his balance. The stupid thing about it is the day before we had bought these water shoes and if we had brought them he would of made it all the way.
North Cape is also home to the Atlantic Wind Test Site (AWTS) which was established in 1980 as Canada’s National Wind Energy Laboratory. Located on the northwest tip of PEI the AWTS is exposed for 300-degrees to the wind-swept Gulf of St Lawrence. This 38 acre facility houses wind turbines of all shapes and sizes.
It was getting late in the day so we headed back to the campsite so we didn't quite get to see everything we wanted to that day. We got back and Brian barbequed a really nice Kiwi-lime pork steak it was delicious. We then went out and joined our neighbours for a campfire. They have two little girls and a boy then a three month old baby which was so cute. They are from just outside of Halifax in Lunenburg. We came in a bit early because it was getting fairly cold outside. Well tomorrow we are going to head off and do the east coast drive.
We both said we enjoyed today immensely the scenery and people we met along the way were just great.
Brian's turn: Last weekend when we went to church I read a poster on the wall that read "The will of God will never leave you where the grace of God cannot keep you" those words I felt had so much meaning to my life. Sometimes we are in situations which seem impossible to get out of I often wondered if God knew what he was doing particularly with the pain I was going through with my back. The exciting them is with every situation God does know and he always works out everything in is own time and his own way. I have no doubts or fears the places God is going to lead me because I know he will always be with me. My prayer is thank you Father for the knowledge that whereever you will lead me your grace will always keep me. Amen!