What's It All About, eh?

Cape Breton evokes deep memories and strong emotions for me as well as a deep appreciation for the beauty of my adopted island. My hopes are that you too might find the photos evocative - maybe a view you've not enjoyed before, or an 'Oh I've been there', or if from away that you may be encouraged to visit this fair isle so that you might come to love and breathe Cape Breton as I do. One word about place names that I use - some are completely local usage while others are from maps of Cape Breton that I've purchased over the years. I frequently post travel and other photos that are of interest to me - and hopefully you.

On the right hand side bar find my take on Single Malt whiskey - from how to best enjoy this noble drink to reviews (in a most non-professional manner) of ones that I have tried and liked - or not. Also musings, mine and others, on life in general.

Photographs are roughly 98%+ my own and copy-righted. For the occasional photo that is borrowed, credit is given where possible - recently I have started posting unusual net photographs that seem unique. Feel free to borrow any of my photos for non-commercial use, otherwise contact me. Starting late in 2013 I have tried to be consistent in identifying my photographs using ©smck on all out of camera photos I personally captured - (I often do minor computer changes such as 'crop' or 'shadow' etc but usually nothing major), and using
©norvellhimself on all photos that I have played around with in case it might not be obvious. Lately I have dropped the ©smck and have watermarked them with the blog name.

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29 November 2013    ©norvellhimself


The GIANT SLUG of SUMATRA, a novelized account of one of Indonesia's stranger fauna and its relation to the Great Belgium Tea Company by Gutzon Borglum   © 1892     published by Knoffe and Berger, New Hebrides, Minn.

As usual my reading is destined by the mundane rather than the cultivated dictates of such as the New York Times (although to be fair I sometimes succumb to that siren song).   The companion duplex antique shop to the Beans and Leaves shop (a wintery scene of same is shown in the blog proper) has a $1.00 book trough outside.  And that price sirens me every time I purchase a $1.00 cuppa of the coffee of the day - which may range from the smooth North East Blend to the robust Sumatra Mandheling and all superior to the bitter Star Buck - at Beans and Leaves, a grand small time gourmet competitor  here in my tiny town of North East.  Back to the book in trough so to speak, this vintage book with the author Gutzon Borglum was like a magnet.  I am sure you know - but just in case - Gutzon Borglum is the chap that carved Mount Rushmore in South Dakota.  How many Gutzon Borglums can there be.  It has to be him – (John) Gutzon de la Mothe Borglum, b 25 March 1867 - St Charles, Idaho - and d 6 Mar 1941.  I had no idea that he had ever written a book.  After purchasing the book (and all you do. to do that, is stuff a one dollar bill down a little tube in the shop window and walk off!! Neat eh?), and on arrival home I did the Wiki- thing with nary a reference to his writing said Giant Slug etc., or any book for that matter.  Well the publication date seemed about right for a young man not yet settled in to his life's work, and that name Gutzon doesn't bring too many other people to mind.  And in retrospect his carvings did tend to the grandiose – who knows maybe this giant slug thing caught his fancy about the impressive right off the bat of youth.  Again Wikipedia gave me a nice run down on slugs and they can become large but it is the sea slugs that are the giants, with some ranging over a meter in length.  I am sure that it was the sea slug that had so impressed Borglum though in the novel it was a giant land slug that fell from the coffee tree in the mountain plantation that so affected the young heroine – Sumatra (Sammy) Mandheline – driving her into the arms of her mother's lover.  Her father, a Belgium minor nobility sort, had landed in Indonesia as manager of a Dutch Kaffee and Kao Koa exporting firm.  Her mother, a native from a countryside tribe, the Mandhelings (an older Dutch spelling of Mondailing) that eventually gave all the coffee from Sumatra the name Sumatra Mandheling, epitomized the allure of the far east - slim, golden, sensual in appearance -  and she was all eyes for the young European nabob van der Arschoot.  The novel takes place as their daughter Sammy approaches young adult hood and her father, old van der Arschoot (the small v in van and d in der indicate decent from ancient nobility) increasingly involved in the Kaffee Kao Koa export spends long hours at work, leaving Sammy and her mother alone and to their own devices at their rambling plantation home.  Well as is the case in turn of the century books, love intervenes both with Sammy and Bialicti, her mother.  The giant slug plays a minor but important role and the book comes to a happy and conventional (for that day and time) ending.  What is most interesting is the amount of detailed information; descriptive, learned, and ranging about the flora and fauna, with historical accuracy (to the best of my Wiki knowledge) of Indonesia and its ongoing contact with the western world.  Three stars out of five – but only if you have the rare patience to accept turn of the century conventions and writing styles.   Presented by Norvellhimself!

I will leave with a final Wiki note, to wit:  
   “- the best known giant rat in fiction comes from the pen of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle , who in The Adventures of the Sussex Vampire has Sherlock Holmes declare, as an aside, to Dr. Watson:
'Matilda Briggs was not the name of a young woman, Watson . . . It was a ship which is associated with the giant rat of Sumatra, a story for which the world is not yet prepared.' “
Which said comment has long since been expanded upon many times by numerous authors and performers (e.g. see Firesign Theatre and its 1974 comedy album The Tale of the Giant Rat of Sumatra for one). 

Could it be that Gutzon Borglum writing in 1892 predicated those many tales with his novel 'The Giant Slug of Sumatra'?  Could Sir Arthur have read this strange romance and unwittingly influenced his 1920's Vampire of Sussex tale?  Is this the one and the same Gutzon Borglum of Mount Rushmore?  And more importantly from my point of view – is this seemingly first edition novel of Gutzon Borglum worth big bucks?  I doubt if we will ever be given a reasonable conclusion to any of these conjectures. 

Tiger Fire

22 November 2013    norvellhimself

The (Late) Morning News

29 November 2013

From The Oven

28 November 2013

The First Post - 03 March 2012

@September 2008
Looking out to L'Archeveque Harbour from the old carriage house hill - boats all up - cranberries ripening - and a cold breeze telling me that it is getting time to leave for home.  And every time I do I get that strange gone-ness feeling of leaving friends, and a way of life as if I were born to it, behind perhaps for the last time.

[and even here the pleasant world of the early second-half of the twentieth century is rapidly moving into the sterile anonymity of the twenty first century as evidenced by the close to disappearance of the locally owned and operated fishing boats - when going onto the wharf you are lucky to see a local face - mostly all strangers as in another world.]


25 November 2013


Out and About

26 November 2013
After I picked up our Thanksgiving Day turkey from Rumbleway Farm I continued along the small back road toward Octorao Creek where I got this lovely view of the stream well below the road.

Good Morning Lebanon

Welcome Lebanon, I hope you enjoy my everyday photos and low-key commentary - please return another day (and if you do tell a friend about the blog).  Norvellhimself.

The Morning News

27 November 2013

No Cameras Please!!

25 November 2013


Hello Spain

Visitor from Spain thank you for visiting my blog - and please return again.  Norvellhimself!


24 November 2013



24 November 2013

  Dutchwest Federal Convection Stove by Vermont Castings - this name says it all about consolidation of various wood stove companies of the past.  But it is a great stove and at the time of purchase was the cleanest wood burning stove on the market (in the U.S. at any rate).  It uses a catalytic combustor  (smoke burner) - which same has to be replaced about every four to five years - and a refractory chamber through which the smoke is routed before it goes up the chimney.  Both the combustor and the refractory unit are very fragile.  Newer versions of this stove do not use these accessories and through inlet air design are very similar in their low particulate output.  I am thinking about selling this stove next fall and putting in the newer stove. Stay tuned.
p.s. the glass doors stay clean from carbon build-up for a relatively long time due to inlet down drafting air design.

The Morning News

26 November 2013

Wild Blue Yonder

25 November 2013

Cold Blue Heron

25 November 2013


A hand-held shot with my Panasonic Lumix DMC FZ200.   I love the FZ200 for I really am a rank amateur with cameras, just shooting away with the 'automatic' setting and getting some nice photographs.  I was outside early for 'The Morning News' photos and took a stab at getting this shot of the moon high in the sky as the sun was coming up.  Since it was quite light out the automatic settings were able to handle the light entering the lens much better than at night.   I did use my computer program Picasa to bring the shadow detail into play - but the detail was there.  This means that when I finally learn how to set the manual settings then I will be able to get better detail than this with no computer adjustments. 


25 November 2013
Near the end of Winston Churchill's life there was a photo - quite famous at the time but now difficult to find - of Churchill setting with his back to the camera.  When the photographer had approached him to take his photograph Sir Winston turned his back and sat facing away signifying that he did not want another damn photographer snapping away but the canny photographer took his picture anyhow.  It was displayed in newspapers and magazines everywhere (the equivalent of 'going viral' today).

The Morning News

25 November 2013     ©smck

The small maple (yellow) and sweet gum (red) are still hanging in for fall - bottom photo is a close up of center of this photo.