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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Pencils Image

Into My Own

Into My Own 
 Robert Frost 1915

ONE of my wishes is that those dark trees,
So old and firm they scarcely show the breeze,
Were not, as ’twere, the merest mask of gloom,
But stretched away unto the edge of doom.
I should not be withheld but that some day      
Into their vastness I should steal away,
Fearless of ever finding open land,
Or highway where the slow wheel pours the sand.
I do not see why I should e’er turn back,
Or those should not set forth upon my track       
To overtake me, who should miss me here
And long to know if still I held them dear.
They would not find me changed from him they knew—
Only more sure of all I thought was true.  

Frozen Solid

If We Could Look Back Through Time


One of the greatest unsung men of modern technology

Had A Little Help Getting In My Firewood

Kittysauras - (for the Cat lovers)

Barbed Wire - Oxidizing Away

two quick comments
I might have posted a similar picture and thought before - can't remember for sure

when I purchased this property some thirty five years ago a previous owner had run barb wire all through the woods to fence in their horses.  I have de-strung most of it and then simply hang it in coils on the nearest tree.  But the damn stuff sometimes gets buried deep into a tree as the years pass, then when I am cutting firewood I ruin my sharpened chain running through some of that buried wire.


Skating on Stoney Run - AKA Mae's Gut

When I was growing up , lo those many years ago, every creek, pond, and river was skated on most of the winter - grown ups, teenagers, young kids all out on the ice with skates or sleds.  But for the last ten to fifteen years the winters have been too warm for safe traffic.  This winter is like a throw-back to the old days but I have been hard pressed to see many kids or whomever out on the ice until the last week or so - these photographs are of today



The Darkling Wood

My Constant Companion


Slieve Foy's Single Malt Irish Whiskey - II

This is a follow up with the same lament theme as the post with same title of Tuesday, 10 Feb '14

“Romantic Ireland’s dead and gone,
It’s with O’Leary in the grave.”
– William Butler Yeats

So just now, before supper (‘supper’ a good old fashion word for the evening meal which I prefer over ‘Dinner’) I poured about two fingers of Slieve Foy - the best Irish Single Malt Whiskey (with an 'e', eh?) that I have ever imbibed - and unless I luck out in some back-water liquor store someday and find a dusty old bottle of the same when I finish this bottle I'll never taste it again, for:

"Slieve Foy 8 Year Old Single Malt Irish Whiskey is no more - production has finally ceased. It was terribly sad; almost like the passing of a dear friend.
     But what prompted the demise of this whiskey? Money. Beam Global, owners of Jim Beam and many other spirit brands, decided that they would really like a slice of the burgeoning Irish whiskey market, which has seen tremendous growth over the past few years. The only available distillery to buy was the small, independent Cooley distillery. Beam bought the distillery in late 2011, and with it went independent distilling in Ireland. Up to that point, John Teeling, Cooley’s founder, had bought the rights to and resurrected many of the long-forgotten whiskey brands, much to the delight of whiskey fans at home and abroad many old brands had started to pop up again, like one best-selling value brand of the last few years - Merry’s Irish whiskey?
     However, it didn’t make financial or marketing sense for Beam to produce many smaller brands. No, what they needed was a flagship whiskey which could compete on a global scale with Jameson. Kilbeggan, the blend named after the Old Kilbeggan Distillery in the heart of Ireland, was chosen to serve as Jameson’s arch rival. It takes a lot of marketing money to pit oneself against the best-known whiskey in Ireland, but it also takes an ocean of whiskey. The production volume needed to meet the demand of this brand over the next few years meant that there would be casualties: Michael Collins, Merry’s, Clontarf, Slane Castle, Millar’s and Slieve Foy, to name just a few. Simply put, Beam needs every drop of whisky it can get its hands on to supply the Kilbeggan brand."
Re <http://eatdrinkevolve.com/slieve-foy-irish-whiskey-of-the-year-is-dead/>

These unique private whiskeys like Slieve Foy (Foy's Mountain) sometimes, and definitely in this case, so excel in taste and enjoyment that I almost cry at the shame of its' demise. So I slowly, painstakingly sip this superior brew, teasing out the flavour and the ambiance of that “Romantic Ireland’ – with O’Leary in the grave”.

and just a foot note on the said Kilbeggan – a year or two ago I bought a bottle of Kilbeggan Irish Whiskey, 40% ABV – ‘our finest blend from the worlds oldest distillery’.  I was under-impressed – this was not a single malt or even a blended malt it seemed.  I tried it and didn’t have to spit it out but it did set untouched until my son and some friends stopped by and the bottle dropped to a little over half full and there it has set these many months.  To be fair I will try it again soon and perhaps as with some Scotch single malts that left me cold at first drink, later captured my attention as my taste matured.  But at this present moment its’ prime purpose is to take up space in my little whisky corner.

For a fair review which ends by saying that Kilbeggan is not a ‘sipping’ whiskey but more for a ‘mixed’ drink whiskey see:

The other theme of this post is how much I hate big corporations whose only goal - all of them - is to make money with as cheap a product as possible and to destroy the little gems of businesses that have been peacefully making a good living with a good product and making the working man - and also many an astute wealthy man - happy.

Where On Earth -

net photograph

Things I H...

Time and Ocean Currents

White-breasted Nuthatch ... Sitta carolinesis


Universal Time


wanting to eat overcame his wariness of me - but he still kept the bulk of his body away from my camera

Al Capone in South Florida circa 1929

not many remember this 'mobster'


Only In Frederiksburg

Not Too Close

Blue Jay - Cyanocitta cristáto

A difficult bird to photograph well.  Like a crow the Jay is very smart, keeping his distance when humans are around (except in nesting season when they are quite defensive of their nest and young - years ago I had one peck me so hard in the head  that blood ran freely when I approached a nest).

For The Cat Lovers

internet photo


An anonymous novel written on the walls of an abandoned house in Chongqing, China (2012) 
from the internet

A Hoppy Bird, Eh?

Ms Cardinal

The New Pier

In years gone by there was a pier with railroad track built by the Arundel corporation to load gravel, brought in by barge, into railroad cars where this present pleasure pier for docking pleasure craft is located.  My father had worked here in his late teens loading the gravel - it was all done by manual labor at that time - along with other 'strong back but weak mind'  young men of the times one of whom was a well know young black who faced the 'white' world head on as a fighter of renown.  And my father was a poor but hard white who faced the whole world the same way.  For what ever reason they ended up coming to 'blows' as a hard fist-fight was then called with all the loading crews gathered 'round with work at an end for a good rousing time.  My dad said it was his second hardest fight in which he and his opponent (I no longer remember his name) fought brutally for some fifteen to twenty minutes with neither giving ground until they both were exhausted with bloodied noses, knuckles, and swollen eyes with no winner between them.  He, my dad, told me though that both he and the black guy were given a 'wide berth' by the rest of the crews from then on.  No one wanted to take a chance on challenging either one.

Walking The Track

from the net

Crow and Ice

Never - Except

Reflection On Snow

Japanese - from net


an excerpt from Mointeach - a Novel I sporadically work on from time to time

It had begun to snow again.  Dreamily I watched the flakes, silver and dark, blowing obliquely against the lonely crossroads streetlight.  The time had come for me to set out on my journey westward.  Yes, the newscasts were right: snow was general all over the island.  It was falling on every part of the dark central lake of the Bras D’Orr, on the forested hills, falling softly upon the Burnt Barrens and, farther eastward softly falling into the dark mutinous Atlantic waves.  It was falling, too, upon every part of the lonely graveyard on the hill above the river where Stephen’s clay lay buried.  It lay thickly drifted over the crooked crosses and headstones, on the spears of the little gate, on the barren thorns, smoothly blanketing the newly mounded grave.  My soul swooned slowly as I heard the snow falling faintly through the universe and faintly falling, like the descent of their last end, upon all the living and the dead – dimly falling into that good night.  

and apologies for briefly modifying that good bard Joyce in this one paragraph