Newfie Screen Door

This post comes from a conversation I had with a lighthouse keeper on my second trip to Bell Island.  Yes, a real lighthouse keeper.  How cool is that?

A “Newfie Screen Door” (his words, not mine) is a natural insect repellent that keeps pesky pests out of your house when it’s a nice day in St. John’s and you want to leave your door open.  It mimics a wasps’ nest, so other wasps, bees, and flies will steer clear.  The lighthouse keeper said it worked about 80% of the time, which is pretty good, I think.  Of course, there aren’t that many bugs around in St. John’s, it being a rather windy city on a geographically isolated island in the North Atlantic Ocean, but this is how they do it here and it seems to work.

I already have a screen door.

But it’s an experiment worth trying, especially considering the wasps’s nest in the eaves outside my bathroom window.

Take yourself a brown paper bag, like the ones you buy to put lunch in (unless you’re smart and you use re-usable lunch bags).  I keep them on hand so I can roast red peppers in them.  Mmm-mmm …

Squinch the top.  For today, I have decreed that “squinch” is a word.And blow it up like a balloon.

If you have no sense of fun, you can fill it with crumpled paper.  Obviously, I have a sense of fun.

For the record, I’m not in the habit of standing in front of mirrors, watching myself do things.  There just happens to be a mirror in my kitchen (there are three, actually, all built into the walls), and I was standing at the window doing this and looked over.  So there I am.  Pretend for me that my hair looks good.

Tie the top with string.  Maybe work in a pretty bow.

Hang it over your threshold.  TADA.  No more bugs inside.  Or at least, 80% less bugs.I even put one up at my parents’ house too.

Tourist at Home: Bell Island

On a gorgeous Saturday morning we made a trip to Bell Island.

We drove to Portugal Cove-St. Phillip’s, about twenty minutes north of St. John’s, and waited next to a waterfall for the ferry to take us away.

A trip on the ferry costs nearly nothing, and you pay the fare only once to get on and off the island.  The ride there was pretty awesome, and we all took lots of pictures.The ferry itself was super-ghetto, which made it also cool.

Bell Island was settled by farmers in the early 1700s.  Iron was discovered there in the late 1800s, which made Bell Island into a thriving mining community.  The mine closed in 1966, however, and since then the population, once around 12,000, has declined to less than 4,000.  Most Bell Islanders live in the incorporated town of Wabana, but a few live in the smaller towns of Lance Cove and Freshwater.  The mine is open to tourists, but unfortunately we were about two weeks too early to get a tour.

Fun fact for you.  Bell Island was one of the only places in North America to see enemy action during WWII.  A pier where 80,000 tonnes of iron ore was stored in preparation for shipping was torpedoed by the German u-boats in 1942.  Supposedly at low tide you can see the wrecks of the four ships that were sunk in that battle, and there stands a memorial for the 69 men who died in the conflict.

Unfortunately we got lost (hard to do on such a small island, but we managed) and we didn’t make it to that memorial.

We did, however, find a beach.

There was a duck who had it in for me.  Cait chased it away with her scary red boots.And a boat that probably didn’t float.

And a seagull.

On an old wharf with missing pieces and a warning sign.And some rocks, which the Pie threw into the ocean (surprise, surprise).

And an inukshuk, which I built.

Cait found a rock with a happy face on it, so we gave the statue some expression.

We drove around a bit more, and then we found the lighthouse, which made the entire day worth our while.  This shot reminds me of an Alex Colville painting.

There were warning signs everywhere about unstable coast line, which we ignored, and were glad we did.  Well all of us except the Pie, who worries about such things.

The lighthouse sat on the edge of an enormous cliff.

Below it were some utterly fantastic land forms. 

This huge broken piece had all sorts of little caves underneath it and the water was so blue.It reminded me of some kind of pirate meeting place.I crawled over some strawberries to get some of the photos.  The ants living there didn’t like it very much and I was soon covered with the little buggers.

This mini staircase was at the edge of the parking lot.  You could pick it apart with your hands, which made me a little glad I hadn’t gone right to the edge of the cliffs.

I think this is a pitcher plant.Behind the lighthouse it looked like the horizon stretched off and ended abruptly, and it actually did.  You can see in this photo, where the grass ends is just empty air.  The cliff drop-off is staggering.  You really do get the impression that you are at the end of the world.  Most of Newfoundland is like that.

We ate lunch at Dick’s, a family restaurant celebrating its 60th year in operation.  I enjoyed my sandwich. It had a nice view.  The restaurant, not the sandwich.The ferry back was slightly newer, and we passed the old on on the way.  And a sailboat. 

It was such a nice day.