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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G clef

Bald Eagle Chicks - Two

Vagabond's House - X

Vagabonds House - the poem goes on

All these things I will have about,
Not a one could I do without;
Cedar and sandalwood chips to burn
In the tarnished bowl of a copper urn;
A paperweight of meteorite
That seared and scorched the sky one night,
A moro kris . . . my paper knife . . .
Once slit the throat of a Rajah’s wife.
The beams of my house will be fragrant wood
That once in a teeming jungle stood
As a proud tall tree where the leopards couched
And the parrots screamed and the black men crouched.

The roof must have a rakish dip
To shadowy eaves where the rain can drip
In a damp persistent tuneful way;
It’s a cheerful sound on a gloomy day.
And I want a shingle loose somewhere
To wail like a banshee in despair
When the wind is high and the storm-gods race
And I am snug by my fireplace.

Kilchoman, Machir Bay, 2014 46% Alc/vol Single Malt Scotch Whisky - update notice

I updated the 28 April '15 posting as named above with a photograph of the rather distinctive bottle that the whisky is distributed in.

M1 Crab Nebula - 6500 light years away

from the internet

Snowy Owl

from the internet

Old - and a little tattered but not bad

Catbird - I Think

whoops I am wrong but don't know this guy for sure - update later

Carol Puts The 'Super' on Her Hive

Eastern Towhee - Pipilo erythrophthalmus

the photo was taken through our kitchen window-pane, so a bit soft
A strikingly marked, oversized sparrow of the East, feathered in bold black and warm reddish-browns – if you can get a clear look at it. Eastern Towhees are birds of the undergrowth, where their rummaging makes far more noise than you would expect for their size. Their chewink calls let you know how common they are, but many of your sightings end up mere glimpses through tangles of little stems.

Kilchoman, Machir Bay, 2014 46% Alc/vol Single Malt Scotch Whisky

Kilchoman, Machir Bay  2014 release   46% Alc/vol

NorvellHimself – using Michael Jackson's summary style Guide to Single Malt Scotch:

   House Style –after dinner reminiscing

     COLOUR   - pale, pale gold – pale straw

     NOSE         - lovely mild heather breeze with subtle hints of peat

     BODY        - overtures of spring country-side, rich sweet porridge giving

                          way to fresh mown green hay

     PALATE     - uncloying sweetness, mild peatyness,

     FINISH      - long and smooth for a 46%



score 88

NorvellHimself’s take:

I like to try new Scotch offerings, but am so mean with giving outlay to money that I agonize each time that I venture into the liquor store.  But this time, after being beguiled by the presentation of the bottle and the packaging, the aftermath is more than pleasing – Kilchoman (kil – ho – mon) is a great flavour treat that surprises me with incredible smoothness combined with continuing different offerings of flavour.  As I jotted it down while sipping:

            Lovely nose, mild heather breeze

            Very smooth for 46% with long lingering finish

            If flavours were colours then this would be a warm pebbly gray with overlays of glistening brown and yellow-orange - and in the real world a pleasant mild sweetness overlaying the essence of Scotch 

            Grows better with each sip – now giving taste to fresh mown green hay

            This has to be at least an 85

            I like heavy peat and this is mildly peaty

            but it demands another bottle which is unusual for mildly peaty whisky

            This is indeed a soul stirring sipping whisky for a nice long evening’s contentment – make

            that an 88
Highly recommend this!!!! 

I have read many reviews with only one bad apple guy - and I think he must have misidentified his whisky - below read a professional review

Kilchoman Machir Bay 2014 – Tasting Review
By Loch Fyne Whiskies News
On the nose is a summery mixture of fruit, heavily leaning towards a more dominant citrus kick. The classic character of Islay peat is also heavily present which balances well with a slight vanilla aroma.
On the palate again those fruits dominate whilst the vanilla deepens bring forward a welcomed sweetness; possibly gifted to the dram by those oloroso sherry butts.
As with the 2012 and the 2013 Machir Bay, the finish is long and lingering; less harsh than the 2013.
Overall the Kilchoman Machir Bay 2014 is another positive step towards something truly remarkable and again displays this small, farm distilleries talent for distilling superb whisky. The 2014, is for me more well balanced and shows more clearly the development of character that has taken place than that of the 2013.
But what is clear, is that the Machir Bay 2014 is a truly sublime dram and is just a glimpse of the superiority we can expect to see from this distillery in coming years.

Tide's In

Juniper and Ganymede

Blueberries and Cape Breton Go Hand In Hand

The Ultimate Weakness of Violence

The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral,
begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy.
Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it.
Through violence you may murder the liar,
but you cannot murder the lie, nor establish the truth.
Through violence you may murder the hater,
but you do not murder hate.
In fact, violence merely increases hate.
So it goes.
Returning violence for violence multiplies violence,
adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars.
Darkness cannot drive out darkness:
only light can do that.
Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do th

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

This post was prompted by a post of my very young granddaughter condemning violence on facebook

Vagabond's House - IX (continued thru 3rd picture)

this lovely old 1920's poem continues now with the 3rd picture he would have hanging in his vagabond's house

The picture I love the best of all
Will hang alone on my study wall
Where the sunset’s glow and the moon’s cold gleam
Will fall on the face, and make it seem
That the eyes in the picture are meeting mine,
That the lips are curved in the fine sweet line
Of that wistful, tender, provocative smile
That has stirred my heart for a wondrous while.
It’s a sketch of the girl who loved too well
To tie me down to that bit of Hell
That a drifter knows when he know’s he’s held
By the soft, strong chains that passions weld.
It was best for her and for me, I know,
That she measured my love and bade me go
For we both have our great illusion yet
Unsoiled, unspoiled by vain regret.
I won’t deny that it makes me sad
To know that I’ve missed what I might have had.
It’s a clean sweet memory, quite apart,
And I’ve been faithful . . . in my heart.

New Take On The Old River

looking across part of the ole tailing of the old mill race - facing upriver

This Year's Skunk Cabbage

Last Year's Cattails

Invasive Understory In This Marshy Wood

Phragmites is a perennial plant with feathery plumes at the top of tall, stiff stalks. It grows in wetlands, along roadsides and along shorelines throughout the Bay watershed. Although its origin is unclear, it is widely distributed across Europe, Asia, Africa, North America and Australia. It was introduced to North America inadvertently in the 19th century from the ballasts of Eurasian trade ships. Phragmites crowd out native plants by creating tall, dense stands in wetland habitats.

Vagabond's House - IX

Vagabond's House continued

Pictures . . . I think I’ll have but three:
One, in oil, of a windswept sea
With the flying scud and the waves whipped white . . .
(I know the chap who can paint it right)
In lapis blue and deep jade green . . .
A great big smashing fine marine
That’ll make you feel the spray in your face.
I’ll hang it over my fireplace.

The second picture . . . a freakish thing . . .
Is gaudy and bright as a macaw’s wing,
An impressionist smear called “Sin”,
A nude on a striped zebra skin
By a Danish girl I knew in France.
My respectable friends will look askance
At the purple eyes and the scarlet hair,
At the pallid face and the evil stare
Of the sinister, beautiful vampire face.
I shouldn’t have it about the place,
But I like . . . while I loathe . . . the beastly thing,
And that’s the way that one feels about sin.

Female Mallard

Two Prong

Eagle Glide Turn


Well just guessing but the only other vehicle parked nearby had Montana tags so I'm guessing that the fly fisherman is from Montana - possibly a Cecil county resident of yore - will never know for sure

Vagabond's House - VIII

continuing one of my favorite poems -
certainly not high-brow but certainly one with easy cadence pictures of the mind 

And there where the shadows fall I’ve planned
To have a magnificent concert-grand
With polished wood and ivory keys,
For wild discordant rhapsodies,
For wailing minor Hindu songs,
For Chinese chants and clanging gongs,
For flippant jazz, and for lullabies,
And moody things that I’ll improvise
To play the long gray dusk away
And bid goodbye to another day.

It's A Ringer

Osprey Circling Up River

Bald Eagle

the eagle is in the treetop background - center top

Vagabond's House - VII

continuing one of my favorite poems -
certainly not high-brow but certainly easy cadence pictures of the mind 

Then just in range of a lazy reach . . .
A bulging bowl of Indian beech
Will brim with things that are good to munch,
Hickory nuts to crack and crunch;
Big fat raisins and sun-dried dates,
And curious fruits from the Malay Straits;
Maple sugar and cookies brown
With good hard cider to wash them down;
Wine-sap apples, pick of the crop,
And ears of corn to shell and pop
With plenty of butter and lots of salt . . .
If you don’t get filled it’s not my fault.

More Ground Mist w/soccer field

Skunk Cabbage - Symplocarpus foetidus

From Wikipedia - a great free source of information that depends on contributions rather than advertising for its' revenue - please contribute to its' continuation:

Breaking or tearing a leaf produces a pungent but not harmful odor, the source of the plant's common name; it is also foul smelling when it blooms. The plant is not poisonous to the touch. The foul odor attracts its pollinators, scavenging flies, stoneflies, and bees. The odor in the leaves may also serve to discourage large animals from disturbing or damaging this plant which grows in soft wetland soils.
Eastern skunk cabbage is notable for its ability to generate temperatures of up to 15–35 °C (27–63 °F) above air temperature by cyanide resistant cellular respiration in order to melt its way through frozen ground,[3] placing it among a small group of plants exhibiting thermogenesis. Even though it flowers while there is still snow and ice on the ground it is successfully pollinated by early insects that also emerge at this time. Some studies suggest that beyond allowing the plant to grow in icy soil, the heat it produces may help to spread its odor in the air.[3] Carrion-feeding insects that are attracted by the scent may be doubly encouraged to enter the spathe because it is warmer than the surrounding air, fueling pollination.[4][5]
Eastern skunk cabbage has contractile roots which contract after growing into the earth. This pulls the stem of the plant deeper into the mud, so that the plant in effect grows downward, not upward. Each year, the plant grows deeper into the earth, so that older plants are practically impossible to dig up. They reproduce by hard, pea-sized seeds which fall in the mud and are carried away by animals or by floods.

The middle photograph shows clean fresh water flowing from the earth over a wash of sand and small pebbles - the Skunk Cabbage is growing all around this small rill-let.