Get to Know Nova Scotia’s Eastern Shore.

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Hang a frosty ten on the Eastern Shore, where surf’s up year round. The pounding waves at Lawrencetown and Martinique beaches are music to the ears of longboarders.

After playing in the chop, try playing in the sand – with miles of beaches and dunes, we’ve got you covered, sometimes literally. Re-awaken skills honed in childhood at the annual Clam Harbour Beach Sand Castle Competition although expect to see pirate ships, dinosaurs, and human-eating octopi among the sand forts.

Outdoor Adventures

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Explore 100 Wild Islands

The Eastern Shore features 100 coastal islands that have been largely undisturbed by humans for over 10,000 years.  Stretch from Clam Harbour to Liscomb, the islands are easily accessible by a guided sea kayak tour with Coastal Adventures. These islands offer pristine white sand beaches, sheltered coves, dramatic windswept headlands, and unique boreal forests, bogs and barrens, as well as a rich diversity of seabirds, songbirds, and shorebirds.  Deemed a “Coastal Wilderness of ecological significance unmatched in North America” by the Nova Scotia Nature Trust – climb in a kayak and start exploring.

Stan Rogers Folk Festival

Shake the sand off your beach chair and unfold it at the Stan Rogers Folk Festival. Held in the small fishing village of Canso, this musical smorgasbord offers more than 100 concerns featuring an eclectic menu of Celtic, country, folk, blues, rock, and bluegrass music and attracts over 12,000 music fans each year.

Historical Adventures

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Culinary Adventures

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YOU MAY FIND THESE LINKS HELPFUL WHEN PLANNING YOUR EASTERN SHORE ADVENTURES:

http://www.threeshoresnovascotia.com/eastern-shore

http://www.novascotia.com/about-nova-scotia/blogs/10-things-do-beachbesides-laying-towel

http://www.liscombelodge.ca/2010/07/30/top-10-things-to-do-eastern-shore/

http://seacoasttrail.com/drupal/

http://www.novascotia.com/see-do/outdoor-activities/crowbar-lake-hiking-trails/1932

Play Safe. Have fun!

Content from, http://www.novascotia.com/about-nova-scotia/regions/eastern-shore

Wild About Blueberries

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Wild blueberries can be found in abundance all through Nature Ridge, so we though that we would take the opportunity to pay homage to this pint-sized super fruit with some fun facts:

Not all blueberries are created equal. There’s a difference.

Frozen or fresh Wild Blueberries are wildly different from regular blueberries you find in the produce section. They pack more intense blueberry flavor into their tiny blue bodies than any other blueberry – making them the blueberry of choice for anyone interested in cooking, baking, making smoothies and more.

Don’t be fooled by their tiny size – Wild Blueberries pack 
a powerful punch. Jam-packed with a variety of natural phytochemicals such as anthocyanin, Wild Blueberries have twice the antioxidant capacity per serving of regular blueberries.
At just  80 calories per cup, tiny, potent Wild Blueberries are loaded with antioxidants and pack a serious nutritional punch for every calorie consumed.  They are naturally low in fat, high in fiber (25% of your daily value – 2x that of regular blueberries) and have no added sugar, sodium or refined starches. Wild Blueberries are also an excellent source of manganese (200% of your daily value – 8x that of regular blueberries), which is important for bone development. All of this makes Wild Blueberries a naturally nutrient-rich choice–a food that adds important dietary nutrients without adding a lot of extra “empty” calories.

A growing body of research is establishing Wild Blueberries as a potential ally to protect against diseases such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes and Alzheimer’s – so it’s no surprise that more and more people are picking Wild Blueberries than ever before!

FAQ’s:

Where do Wild Blueberries grow?

Wild Blueberries thrive in the glacial soils and northern climate of the special place we call the Land of Wild Blueberries – Maine, Atlantic Canada and Quebec.

Wild Blueberries are one of three berries native to North America — what are the others?

Like Wild Blueberries, Concord grapes and cranberries have grown naturally for thousands of years.

How are Wild Blueberries harvested?

Wild Blueberries are often harvested the traditional way, with hand-held berry rakes that have been used for generations. Within hours of being picked, the berries are sorted, cleaned and processed, using state-of-the-art technology to preserve their flavor, quality and antioxidant goodness.

How are Wild Blueberries different from cultivated blueberries?

Wild Blueberries (vaccinium angustifolium) are distinct from their cultivated cousins in several significant ways. Unlike cultivated (highbush) blueberries, Wild (lowbush) Blueberries are not planted. They are spread primarily by rhizomes or underground runners, which give rise to new shoots and stems. Wild Blueberry fields and barrens contain many different varieties of berries, which accounts for the variations in size and color that characterize the Wild Blueberry crop. Wild Blueberry growers use many modern crop management techniques to carefully tend their fields and encourage growth.

Other differences include:

  • Antioxidant capacity – Wild Blueberries contain more of the powerful antioxidant anthocyanin and demonstrate greater antioxidant capacity per serving than cultivated blueberries.
  • Taste – Wild Blueberries have a more intense, sweet and tangy taste than cultivated blueberries
  • Size – Wild Blueberries are naturally smaller and more compact (less water content) than cultivated, which means you get more Wild Blueberries per pound.
  • Performance – Wild Blueberries hold their shape, texture and color through a variety of baking and manufacturing process. They also freeze very well: Wild Blueberries can maintain their quality for more than two years.

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Wild Blueberry Health

What do antioxidants do?

The cells in our body are constantly waging a battle against free radicals – unstable oxygen molecules associated with cancer, heart disease and the effects of aging. Antioxidants, which are natural substances found in fruits and vegetables, come to the rescue by neutralizing free radicals and keeping us healthy.

What is anthocyanin and why is it important?

Anthocyanin is a powerful antioxidant responsible for the intense blue and red pigments of fruits like Wild Blueberries. Anthocyanin is believed to protect against brain aging and promote vision health. In addition to reducing eye strain and improving night vision, scientists are examining the ability of anthocyanin-rich Wild Blueberries to prevent macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness in people over age 65.

Why is eating colorful foods, like blueberries, such a hot topic?

Scientific research is showing that many of the very chemicals, known as phytochemicals, that give fruits and vegetables their color are good for us.

Wild Blueberries are a “nutrient-rich” food. What does that mean?

At just 45 calories per serving, Wild Blueberries deliver substantial nutrients for every calorie consumed. That makes them a nutrient-rich choice for your daily diet.

Are frozen berries as nutritious as fresh ones?

Recently, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration concluded that frozen fruits and vegetables are just as healthy as fresh and many even retain their nutritional value longer. That’s good news for Wild Blueberries, which freeze extraordinarily well.

 

 

From, http://www.wildblueberries.com/the-better-blueberry/

*Do not reply on the information in this Blog as accurate medical advice, consult a Health Care Professional for that.

Eat Your Yard! How to Design an Edible Landscape.

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Many of us are lucky enough to have at least a small plot of land surrounding our homes. Yet we often choose to occupy that land with grass, marigold and azalea beds, wisteria, and the occasional privet or maple—plants that look nice, but don’t give us anything in the way of food or value. Edible plants are equally beautiful, and nearly any homeowner could grow a meaningful amount of food in your yard—a much more noble use of the soil. Consider replacing the typical landscape with decorative borders of herbs, rainbow chard and striking paprika peppers. Instead of the fleeting color of spring azaleas, try the year-round beauty of blueberries—or pear and plum trees, which put on a spring show of flowers, have colorful summer fruits and produce yellow fall foliage. These plants aren’t just pretty—they provide healthy food and save money and resources.

In addition to being a viable design option, an edible landscape (if maintained organically) is the most compelling landscape concept for the future.

Edible landscapes offer these incredible benefits:

Energy Savings: Food from your yard requires no shipping and little refrigeration. Plus, conventional farms use a large amount of energy to plow, plant, spray and harvest produce—planting and picking tomatoes in your front yard requires a miniscule amount by comparison.

Food Safety: You know which chemicals (if any) you use.

Water Savings: Tests show that most home gardeners use less than half the water to produce the same crop compared with large-scale agricultural production. Drip irrigation saves even more.

Money Savings: You can grow an unbelievable amount of food in a small, beautiful space.

Better Nutrition: Fully ripe, just-picked, homegrown fruits and vegetables provide more vitamins and nutrients than supermarket produce, which is usually picked under-ripe and is days or weeks old when you eat it.

Designing Your Edible Landscape

Any landscape design begins with establishing the “bones” of your garden—choosing the location of the paths, patios, fences, hedges, arbors and garden beds. This is critically important in an edible garden because the beds are more apt to have plants with a wide array of textures, sizes and shapes, such as curly carrot leaves, mounding peppers and climbing beans. Edible garden beds may be filled with young seedlings or even be empty at times. That’s when paths, arbors, fences, hedges and even a birdbath are vital for keeping things attractive.

After you’ve determined the setup of the landscape, it’s time to choose the plants. Herein lies the true subtlety of the landscaper’s art. First, make a list of edibles you like most. Find out which ones grow well in your climate, and note their cultural needs.

With your list of plants in hand, create special areas of interest. You could plant a curved line of frilly-leafed chartreuse lettuces or a row of blueberry shrubs whose blazing fall color can lead your eye down a brick path to your entry. Instead of the predictable row of lilacs along the driveway, imagine a mixed hedge of currants and gooseberries. The possibilities are limited only by your imagination.

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Edible Plant Selection

Your choice of plants is determined by local growing conditions. When choosing the plants, ask yourself: First, will this plant grow well in my region and yard? Second, does the plant produce something I want to eat? And, last, what does the plant look like (size, form, leaf texture and color)?

Size: The single biggest mistake all garden designers make—professionals and amateurs alike—is underestimating the eventual size of plants, especially in foundation plantings. Large plants can quickly cover windows or look out of scale for the space. Conversely, a fully grown plant might prove too small to serve its intended purpose. Consider the probable end height and width before making your final selections.

Form: Form (or shape) is usually a plant’s most obvious characteristic. Many woody edible plants, such as apple and peach trees, are rounded. Another typical shape is upright, as seen in raspberries and bamboos. Some plants, such as pomegranates and highbush blueberries, are vase- or fountain-shaped, while others, including thyme and cranberries, have a matlike form. Plants such as gnarled fig trees or grapevines are considered accent plants for their striking form alone. Such forms dominate the area where they grow; give them ample space so they can be enjoyed as the focal points they deserve to be.

Texture: Texture describes the size and shape of the leaves and the spacing between them. Bold banana leaves, which can grow 6 feet long, and the dainty leaves of asparagus exemplify two texture extremes. Fine-textured plants work well in small gardens. Coarse plants, which give a bold look and substance, make a superb foil for large structures.

Color: Color is the most versatile design tool for an edible landscape. Unlike patios or arbors, adding color doesn’t require a large commitment of time, money and labor. If you don’t like the look of lots of red peppers and yellow containers, simply change the dominant colors next season.

Plants add color to the landscape in a variety of ways – multi-hued flowers, showy fruit or vivid seasonal foliage—but only for a relatively short period. The leaves, in every hue and intensity of green, help tie the design together, from the rich deep green of strawberry leaves to the bright light green of lettuce to the gray-green of sage. Green becomes the neutral color against which you see all the other colors in a landscape.

After choosing the basic foliage hues, add colors with trees, shrubs and herbaceous plants that bloom at different times of the year. I limit myself to two or three basic colors in simultaneous bloom; other gardeners like a full palette, a riot of many colors. It’s all about individual taste.

Produce Pointers

• Make sure your yard has rich, organic, well-drained, fluffy soil with a pH between 6.0 and 7.0; it’s critical for growing healthy vegetables. You can test your soil pH with an at-home kit, available at nurseries and garden centers. The next step is to correct the pH if necessary. For acidic soil, raise the pH by liming the soil (some call it “sweetening”) with pelletized calcitic or dolomitic limestone. For alkaline soil, add sulfur. In both cases, follow the directions that come with the test results.

• Position plants so tall ones such as corn and staked cherry tomatoes are in the northernmost part of the yard, where they won’t shade shorter plants.

• Interplant long-lived tomatoes, peppers and other such plants with fast growers such as spinach, lettuce and radishes; harvest them before the larger plants fill in.

• Provide support for sprawling plants—including most tomatoes, cucumbers, pole beans and peas—to save space, prevent diseases and make vegetables more accessible for harvesting.

• Allow ample room between plants so they can grow to their full size without rubbing elbows with their neighbors. Good air circulation prevents many diseases.

• Determine the first and last frost dates for your area and plan your landscape accordingly. Planting recommendations on seed packets, in plant catalogs and in garden books are based on those dates.

Get Started!

Finding ways to grow more of our own food and reduce our homes’ resource use is a worthy goal. Start your edible landscape simply. Try replacing a few shrubs with easily grown culinary herbs and salad greens. The next step may be to add a few strawberry or rhubarb plants to your flower border. Or maybe this is the time to take out a few hundred square feet of sunny lawn in your front yard to create a decorative edible border instead.

Inspiring Plant Pairings

Combining edibles and ornamentals can lead to a harmonious, productive garden. Consider these colorful combinations:

• A geometric design of orange tulips under-planted with mesclun salad mix and bordered with parsley or frilly lettuces

• Red or orange cherry tomatoes growing over an arbor planted with blue or purple morning glories

• Cucumbers climbing a trellis as a backdrop for a splash of coral gladiolus

• Gold zucchini and yellow dahlias bordered by red zinnias and purple basil

• A bed of fern-like carrots surrounded by dwarf nasturtiums

• A path bordered with dwarf red runner beans backed with giant, red-and-white-striped peppermint zinnias

• A wooden planter overflowing with strawberries and burgundy-leafed cannas

The Real Cost of Lawns

An organic lawn area can be wonderful for frolicking children, but those large, “well-maintained” areas of verdure generally are the landscaping equivalents of gas guzzlers parked in the driveway. Consider the following:

• Lawn mowing uses 300 million gallons of gas and takes about 1 billion hours annually.

SafeLawns.org estimates that Americans spend $5.25 billion on petroleum-based lawn fertilizers and $700 million on lawn pesticides annually.

• According to the EPA, running the average gas-powered lawn mower for 1 hour can create the same amount of pollution as driving a car 340 miles.

• Nationwide, home landscape irrigation accounts for almost one-third of all residential water use—more than 7 billion gallons a day. Lawns gulp more than half of that.

High-Yield Tips for Beginners

Apply techniques experienced gardeners use to make their efforts more productive. To get the most food from a small garden area:

• Plant mesclun salad and stir-fry green mixes; they produce a lot in a short time.

• Choose plants that produce over a long period of time such as eggplants, chile peppers, chard and kale, which yield a large total harvest for the space they take.

• Grow indeterminate tomato varieties, which produce more fruit over a longer period than determinate varieties.

• Plant pole beans, peas and vining cucumbers, which grow vertically and for a longer season. They are more productive than bush types.

• Choose day-neutral strawberries, which bear from early summer through fall and outproduce spring-bearing types.

• Include plants that are in and out of the garden quickly—radishes, lettuce, arugula and green onions—among your other edibles.

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From, http://www.motherearthliving.com/gardening/eat-your-yard-edible-landscape.aspx?PageId=1