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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Hooded Mergansers

These were the two mergansers I was photographing just prior to getting the photo of the muskrat emerging from underwater in 'Muskrat Ramble'

North East

Although the wording on the sign could have been better it is still an interesting overview of this small town.  I will add farther comment on St Mary Ann's church and "The Little Shannon" later - probably as an update to this particular posting. 

Muskrat Ramble - II

I took two more photographs of the muskrat as he swam upstream - just above Twin Bridges - with the second shot showing him about to go into a 'lead' under the bank.  As I was thinking about my good luck in getting these photos I remembered that this was one of the places that my father back in the late '40s had ran a trap-line for muskrats.  We would be up before day light walking in the cold morning from where ever we lived at the time to all these places I now photograph along the river while he 'looked' his traps - all set underwater and usually in the leads where the muskrats would be returning home from foraging for food.  It was a brutish way of earning a living both for the muskrats and for my dad.  He would take off his coat and any under garments save a tee-shirt, then lay on the bank on his belly and thrust his bare arm into the freezing cold water both to check his trap and to set or re-set it.  When he would stand up after, to put his heavy clothing back on, steam like vapor would be evaporating off his arm floating upward in the cold while I shivered just thinking about it.

The Morning News

10 °F   <>   -12.2 °C

Muskrat Ramble

The Hooded Mergansers that I had seen swimming had dove underwater so I was aiming the camera at some ripples that I thought was a Hoody surfacing - but instead up comes Mr. Muskrat.

- and he just paddled along like he belonged there.


This hawk glided in front of my truck as I drove down the lane, then did a small up swing and landed neatly on the overhead limb on my right.  He calmly eyed me as I stepped out, camera in hand, and waited till my first step forward before he flew off.  Although I had the camera set on multiple (12) burst I could not focus in on the flight in time to get a good wing-beat photograph.   But this is grand for me.

Hooded Merganser - Lophódytes cucullátus

The two wary mergansers beyond the Canada Goose caught my eye - and as wary as they are I decided to go with as much 'zoom' as my camera could give me while I tried to catch a few reasonable photographs without moving closer to the waters edge.  They were both diving for fish and resurfacing in different locations with their dives swift and unexpected so I caught a few empty water shots.  They definitely seemed to be a mated pair - the male with his prominent black and white head and white chest and the female with her 'bushy' reddish head.  If they did get any small fish I was not lucky enough this day to get a shot like the one in the 8 February posting 'Hooded Merganser with Fish'.

Twin Bridges

When I was a kid growing up in the little community of North East, I sometimes wondered why most everyone called this bridge on old route 7 leading out of town toward Charlestown 'Twin Bridges' for although I could easily see the two arches that supported the roadway that didn't seem sufficient to call it Twin Bridges.  Some really old fellow (about like me now) at the time told me it was because the original bridge was really two bridges meeting at an angle in the middle of the river where a large rock formation supported the junction.  I somewhat doubted this but stored it away in the recesses of my memories until years later in a photographic history of the county given to me by a good friend, I spotted a photo of that very set of 'twin bridges'.    Sometime soon I will photograph that photograph of a photograph and add it to this scene above to let you see the original 'Twin Bridges'.

The Morning News

Clear with cloud (that cheerily reflects the sun)
16°F  <>  -9°C

Great Blue Heron Day

As the river opens up the Great Blue Heron are finding it easier to feed along the banks - and thus provide me some lovely photographs.  It's still cold but above freezing in the day and the freshly running North East Creek feeds relatively warmer water to the river giving larger and larger ice free stretches for all the water fowl to go about their natural rounds.

Dream of Summer - III

I can hear the water lapping along the kayak, smell that clean clean air, feel the breeze, I am home.

Dream of Summer - II

Kayaking down at the 'Marshes'

Dream of Summer

The Morning News

Light Snow
25°F  <>   -4°C



The two small lots across the road that provide me access to the state forest preserve are described in relation to a Stone with an X engraved therein - and shown above.  The larger metal stake was driven by me to use as a line of sight with regard to another Quartz stone with an X engraved therein so that I could clear a right-of-way on my home property that would both give me access and fairly openly define my property line.  The smaller plastic rod was driven by a surveyor who was determining another property some distance away.  This seemingly casual property defining that has been here for a rather long period of time has always amazed me.  However it must be fairly definite for I know that some 20 to 25 years ago county surveyors spent a long period of time re-surveying from an old historically fixed point to resolve property issues further up route 272 - and of which in the way of boundaries led back to this stone. 

English Ivy on Holly Tree


The Morning News

35°F  <>  1.7°C