Team-work and problem solving are key strengths that help Wiles Lake Farm Market adapt to change.
William Naugler, market worker at Wile's Lake Farm Market and Park View Education Centre student.
Arguably, you can taste the difference between a strawberry grown in Nova Scotian soil and one brought in from California. The local berry just tastes sweeter.
At Wiles Lake Farm Market, bakers, Izzy Pawit, Tracey Nillson, Brandi Cole and Brenda Verreaul. make sure that your berries, that have been grown and picked locally are made even more inviting by their freshly baked biscuits.
Thanks to Covid-19 there has been a new and welcome level of gratitude and appreciation for food service workers. These workers are key members of the group of essential workers who are credited for helping to keep the rest of the world home, safe and fed.
Elspeth McLean-Wile, owner of Wile’s Lake Farm Market, credits her team for keeping the market going through all the challenges saying, “Through thick and thin they stand with me!”
William Naugler wears one of the many smiles that will greet you at the market. Will is not new to agriculture. This is his second summer at the market, and he’s worked on his family’s chicken farm. Will’s certainly no stranger to hard work. “You can’t be lazy working at the market,” He said of his experience and of his fellow co-workers. “Things change from week to week,” Will said about the operations due to safety measures and evolving restrictions, “So you have to be willing to adapt.”
According to Elspeth McLean-Wile, he and the rest of the team have adapted incredibly well. "I have been so impressed with how all our staff have been willing to offer up suggestions of how we can make changes in our store layout and how we can serve our customers under the COVID 19 circumstances,” she said. “Their patience with explaining our set up to customers has been remarkable. I am very proud of them all."
Will also said that being a food service worker, you have to be a good problem solver, sharing that when they were unable to scoop ice cream, they decided to package ice cream in containers instead. When asked what the best part of the job is, he paused, saying he likes it all because it changes. But then stated that it was the customers that made it the most rewarding.
“People are so appreciative. You get to see the same faces and they’re just so happy to have us open to serve them,” he said. Will hopes to pursue agriculture in the future and is working to save for college.
"He is always polite and seemingly takes it all in stride." Elspeth said of her youngest team member who attends Park View Education Centre. "We love Will!"
6-beers brewed within in an hour of home
Like favourite hockey teams, beer brands are often inherited. Perhaps we acquired a taste for it after taking a sip from our parents can. Perhaps it’s the tradition of drinking “the old man’s” brand that draws us to the traditional Oland’s, Keith’s or Moosehead. Or maybe, we just like it. But our parents didn’t have the choice that we’ve been afforded. We can choose to drink a beer brewed pretty close to where we were born. And with a little effort, you can fill a 6-pack of beer and cider, wine or spirits all made within an hour of your home.
So that’s just what I did. It’s a tough job, alas, someone must do it.
Many local breweries have adapted to the pandemic by doing home delivery or door front pick-up. Me? I like to belly right up to the bar and ask the barkeep what they drink. Over the years I've learned that bartenders are typically the "knower of all things." I take their recommendations in all cases.
The truth is, beer is not my alcohol of choice, which is perfectly fine because cider, wine, rum, even vodka and spirits are being made right here in Lunenburg County. While they taste wildly different, all the beers and ciders I tried all have a characteristic similar to our people: they’re strong! Varying in alcohol content from 4-8% they are, in my opinion, best shared.
Undertow Pale Ale- Shipwright Brewing Company- Lunenburg
This ale packs a punch- and not just the size of the can! You can imagine that this beer was brought over in barrels like the famed rum, the can is a keepsake, and the beer is super tasty and refreshing.
Holy Mackerel- Salt Box Brewing Co- Mahone Bay
Hipster breweries that have become the norm around Canada want to grow up and be like the Saltbox Brewing Co. The atmosphere of both the Salt Box and King Street Brewing company is light, airy and contemporary. This beer has notes of subtle melon so it's not too bitter, making this a great summertime Saturday afternoon beer. Plus, it’s fun to say.
Bulwark Blush- Bulwark- New Ross
It was my family’s tradition to stop in New Ross on our way to the Valley to visit family. We’d stop at the racetrack and have milkshakes at the diner. While milkshakes and cider are quite different, I can’t express how happy I am to see another tradition forming in one of my favourite communities. New Ross has a history of hardworking people. You can taste it in its cider. It's crisp like biting into a juicy Gala apple, with some added blueberries to cut the tartness. It's my new favourite cider!
Jib- Firkinstein Brewing Inc – Bridgewater
You know the saying, ‘All sizzle and no steak?’ Firkenstein is all steak. There is absolutely nothing pretentious about this place- they are exactly who they want to be. The people sitting at the bar and the musicians that play there are all as real as the beer they serve. The can is the least flashy, perhaps because it doesn’t need the sizzle. The beer inside is a strong, earthy beer just like their dedicated followers.
Principal Pale Ale- Schoolhouse Brewing- Windsor
The Valley is my second favourite place in Nova Scotia, second only to Lunenburg County, so I had to select a Valley beer. The Brewery is very cool and just as the name suggests, it looks like a schoolhouse, so much so that it felt like I was doing the unthinkable - drinking on the school property. The beer is hoppy, fruity and not too bitter.
Sour City- Sourwood Cider Company- Halifax
As the name suggests, it is tart, which I really liked. The can is without a doubt, my favourite and the crafter in me is thinking of how to reuse it. The interesting scene of a working harbourfront will NOT be going to the bottle depot! The beer is really good. The marketing is brilliant!
I promise, whatever small batch craft beer you chose, you can’t go wrong. Get out and enjoy and taste for yourself.
Zack Hynick was 11-years old, living in Bridgewater when his mother bought a set of old buoys on-line. She wasn’t thrilled with the look of them when they arrived, so she gave them to Zack and asked him to paint them over.
And a business was born.
“He was really good,” mom Danielle Hynick said of Zack’s nautical theme and natural artistic ability. He turned to his grandfather, James Drouin of Martins River, for help making the natural wood product. “It was pretty easy to go to my grandfather. He was excited. He’s an amazing woodworker,” Zack said his grandfather made the pattern, designed all the cuts and helped source and price the wood.
And so, the little entrepreneur set off, creating nautical themed buoys for his business called Nauti-Buoy and began supplying gift shops with his finished products, attending craft fairs, sending them as far away as Florida to people with a strong connection to the Maritimes and the sea. Then, Zack experienced a devastating set-back; one that would have any experienced businessperson question their resolve.
Zack’s equipment, tools, gear, his stock, everything went up in flames in the fire on Kings Street on October 22, 2018. “That really didn’t matter all that much to me,” Zack said of the loss of all that he worked for. “No one was hurt, and that’s really all that mattered.”
Watching your business go up in flames might be enough for anyone to call it quits. But you don’t know Zack. He’s a resilient young man. This was not the first time he had shown the strength of his character.
Zack has a mild form of Tourette Syndrome, a neurological disorder characterized by repetitive, involuntary movements and vocalizations called tics.
“When I’m painting, it silences the Tourette's. It pushes it back. It still happens occasionally while I’m painting,” Zack said of the tics that he experiences as a result. “But it adds to my work. I don’t notice it anymore," he said.
After the fire, the family moved to Halifax. During COVID-19 Zack was applying for summer jobs and not hearing back from anyone when he decided to resurrect his old business by dusting off the saw and invest in new supplies. Once again, Nauti-Buoy has been busy taking orders from his Instagram and Facebook pages.
“The response has been huge,” Zack said, “Overwhelming.” His Nova Scotia themed buoys being the most popular, he believes from the swell of Nova Scotia pride felt after numerous tragic events felt by Maritimer’s everywhere.
And the advice this now 15-year old has for others: anyone starting a business, anyone dealing with adversity, any other young person unable to find a job, or someone dealing with a tragic event: “Don’t give up! There will always be people hating on you for what you’re doing. Don’t focus on them. There is so much support out there. People really want you to do well. Stay focused on the good. If you can’t find a job, make one. You will learn more from being your own boss anyway.” As for his future, Zack plans on pursuing a career in construction and woodworking when he gets older, “I want to make a living doing what I love," he said.
And as we ended the call, I asked Zack if it would be ok that I mention his Tourette's Syndrome in the story.
“Sure," he said. "Someone might read it and it might be just what they needed to hear.”
To find Zack and buy some of his incredible buoy's, you can find him here on Facebook or by visiting Brindle Boston in Blockhouse, 531 NS-325, Mahone Bay
Doctors Choose to Practice Medicine on the South Shore
The Health Services Foundation of the South Shore
A career in medicine can take you anywhere. For Dr. Andrea MacDonald and Dr. Chris Bebbington, their careers have brought them home to Lunenburg County.
After meeting at Dalhousie University’s Medical School, the pair followed their medical dreams to residencies at Memorial University in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador.
“We decided to stay in Newfoundland once we finished,” says Andrea. “We enjoyed Gander but after a few years we decided it was time to take our kids and go home!”
Andrea started to think about coming back to the Maritimes while chatting with a colleague at a conference. “They asked if we ever thought about coming home to practice medicine. I told them we had but it was really challenging to find a hospital that would take on both of our specialties. We knew we didn’t want to be in a big city. And the conversation blossomed from there.”
South Shore Regional Hospital offered the perfect fit for both Dr. MacDonald (an OBGYN Specialist) and Dr. Bebbington (an Internal Medicine Specialist); they will be able to practice medicine in a smaller hospital and have access to all the things they need.
After the site visit to South Shore Regional Hospital, Chris took some time to research the area online and found a familiar face in a NOW Lunenburg County video. “And there was Dr. Rob Harris, who I went to medical school with, in a physician recruitment video for Lunenburg County! So I called him and we chatted about what it was like to practice in the area. I heard a lot of good things and it turned out I knew or had connections with a lot of people in internal medicine at South Shore Regional.”
With Chris’ family mostly in Halifax and Andrea’s family across the border in New Brunswick, creating a home in Bridgewater made sense to them. “Not only will we be able to practice community medicine and our specialties, we will also be able to see our families.”
On top of being a perfect fit for their career, they’re also looking forward to living the South Shore lifestyle. “Coming from Newfoundland, Nova Scotia’s weather is a huge benefit for us,” admits Andrea. “We are looking forward to the community farm markets and having easy access to beaches. Our kids are in love with going to the beach and we are excited to enjoy the outdoors. It’s really a blend of all the things we need.”
The COVID-19 pandemic threw a bit of wrench into their plans. While Dr. Bebbington and Dr. MacDonald did find a place to live, due to COVID-19 restrictions, they couldn’t come and see the home in person. “So we bought the house without even seeing it! We were able to do the home inspection virtually,” says Andrea. “We made it work!”
The arrival of Dr. Bebbington and Dr. MacDonald to Lunenburg County highlights the success of a collaborative community approach with The Health Services Foundation of the South Shore, Western Zone Physician Recruiter- Patti Smith, NOW Lunenburg County, and local physicians all working together.
NOW Lunenburg County shares stories of resilience from our community
COVID-19 has taught us many things: It's taught us the importance of our food service workers. It validated our long held belief, that access to reliable internet is vital and worth fighting for. It's highlighted our vulnerabilities, and made visible the gaps in our systems and society.
We've seen people rise up, help neighbours, support local and dig deep. People have displayed their hearts, strength, creativity and resilience like never before. Businesses have responded and pivoted to reaction to the changes demanded by the pandemic. People are doing things differently, and in some cases, people are getting better at being regularly outside of their comfort zones.
For NOW Lunenburg County, the pandemic means we're doing our work differently. You may recall we were planning our second tour, driving to Ottawa to attend a physician recruitment event. The cancellation of in person events has forced us to change how we host and welcome people. Even our magazine has been impacted, this year we're doing it a little differently.
Our last two magazines were handed out at festivals, fairs and events. Locals took the magazine with them on trips and helped to spread the word about our community. Copies were left in dentist and doctors offices. This year - we weren't sure how we would get this magazine into people's hands, or even if they'd want a hard-copy.
How would people even be reading magazines post COVID-19?
While we weren't sure of the answer to that question, one thing was certain: people needed to hear the incredible stories of Lunenburg County resilience, NOW, more than ever!
So we're going ahead and publishing the stroies digitally to share some of the amazing stories of the incredibly resilient, resourceful, creative people in Lunenburg County adapting to COVID-19.
And because things are always changing and evolving, so too will this. Additionally, we will be creating a hard-copy commemorative edition, filled with all the stories. The commemorative edition will be available to purchase in November.
We, like you, are learning as we go, painting the rocket-ship while it's in flight. We are inspired by and learning from you, and embracing change. We invite you to join us as we take flight. Let's paint this rocketship together!
Back Centre, Lunenburg
Grad 2020. That has a nice ring to it. I’ve been told that it will be a great year to graduate since I started high school, and in my mind it still is. Friday, March 13, 2020, I left math class so antsy to get out and hop on that plane down south. Little did I know that was the last time I would walk those halls as a grade 12 student. The last 4 months of high school are said to be the best and most precious months. I, as a 2020 graduate, wouldn’t know. That is now something I actually laugh at and here’s why. During quarantine, I gained time with my parents that I may never get again. I adapted to new normals quickly and I learned valuable life lessons.
In the beginning, I was mad. I was mad that I was losing time with people I may never see again, I was mad that rights of passage as a grade 12 student were cancelled. I was mad that my grade 12 year was ruined by a virus. But what good comes from being mad? Nothing. Instead, I found the positivity it brought me.
Graduating high school is a huge accomplishment and it was recognized by very many people. I get to say that I had a video speech played at my graduation dedicated to 2020 grads by Justin Trudeau, and Bernadette Jordan. I have letters I get to keep written by Zach Churchill, Hon. Bernadette Jordan, Suzanne Lohnes-Croft and Stephan McNeil dedicated to 2020 grads giving congratulations and best wishes. I was even given virtual graduation speeches featuring Barak Obama, Kevin Hart, LeBron James and Oprah Winfrey, that’s just a few of the amazing stars honouring 2020 graduates. Not many previously graduated classes can say the same and for that, I am thankful.
Although graduating during a global pandemic wasn’t ideal, in the end, it truly wasn’t that bad. As a 2020 grad, I’m walking away from high school not only knowing how to solve for X but also with more patience, maturity and appreciativeness. A better perspective on the world and how little you really need to survive and to be happy. I’m walking away with a never seen before graduation and prom ceremony that was live-streamed and watched by many people in the community whose hearts were saddened for us. I am walking away being able to adapt quickly to new changes and lifestyles, with many people congratulating me on this huge accomplishment through tough and uncertain times. I am taking this learning curve and using the strength it has given me and putting kindness back into the world. I have confidence that my fellow classmates and our generation will be more open-minded, will see the good in any situation and encourage others not to take things for granted. A lot has been taken away from my graduating year but that does not define me and what I have and will continue to accomplish.
As a graduate in 2020, I have one word to describe my this school year: unpredictable. The other twelve years of my education always had one constant, something that made sure every year of school was the same, which was completely thrown out the window as of March. This was the brick and mortar classroom setting. Senior year felt different and exciting, and in September I was overjoyed to experience all it had to offer. I began the year curious about the possibilities the year held, and I end the year with a different perspective on loss and adversity.
If I was not superstitious enough in the past, Friday, March 13th proved itself to be an unlucky day this time around. It was my last day of high school, and I never knew that it would be the last time some of us would see each other. I spent that day cracking jokes, hoping maybe our March Break would be a bit longer than usual thanks to COVID-19, and collecting the work I would need to complete over the one-week break. Needless to say, this has been the longest March Break I have ever had, and it has been a lot less eventful than I might have guessed a four-month break to be. By the end of March, I found myself taking online courses and utilizing poor time management. The lack of scheduling proved difficult for many of us. Weeks flew by without anyone noticing, and Google Classroom deadlines crept up on us when we had not been paying attention. It felt as if March and April appeared and left in one week rather than eight, and the disbelief of the tragedy faced globally and locally kept me numb to the possible idea that my graduating year may not ever return to what I expected it to be.
Through all of this though, the connectivity of the internet has been a mental health safe haven to ‘escape’ the confines of our homes. While I may not have been able to physically visit my friends, I was always able to know how everyone was doing through posts and story updates. FaceTime’s usage on my phone increased drastically in comparison to before the lockdown, and the calls with my friends became my main source of entertainment, spending hours chatting to distract ourselves from what was happening on Twitter’s explore page.
Through all of this, I have finished out my year with many memories that would not have been made without the lockdown. The class of 2020 has always been unique, and now we have had the unique graduation year to follow suit. None of this has been particularly easy, but as a class and a generation we have banded together online to create great social upheaval and have found a sense of togetherness in facing the loss of our classic graduation year together.
We have learned that the class of 2020 is resilient, and we will continue to learn from our experiences.
Personal trainer triumphs through a pandemic and year one of business with strength and sobriety
Gyms are great, but they’re not for everyone. If they’re not your thing, and if you’ve ever said to yourself, “I’d work out if I didn’t have to go to a gym,” then you’re plum out of excuses. A mobile personal training service can come to your home. Oh, and you’ll be held accountable by the most lovely, likable person you’ve ever met. Continue reading, but only if you are prepared to get inspired. You’ve been warned.
Deb Silver is a long-time friend of mine, and we’ve spent many years sipping wine together, dreaming of living our best lives. Then she decided to give up the wine and go ahead and live that best life.
And I’m going to go ahead and write about it.
That best life started on January 14, 2018, when she had her last drink of alcohol. “When I was drinking I was living in a constant brain fog and I really wanted to learn how to be a better version of myself,” she said in a Zoom call, which is how we have been doing our workouts since COVID-19 prohibited her from coming to my home as my trainer. Deb explained that the decision to give up drinking forced her to search for something healthy to reach for. Deb turned to a set of handheld weights.
Since then, Deb's gotten healthy - mind and body! She competed in a body-building competition, completed her fitness training, life-coaching and recovery certificates to help other women in particular, but not exclusively. Appropriately named Phoenix Mind and Body Wellness, Deb explains that “these mythical creatures rise out of the ashes to be a better version of themselves.”
And there is no doubt that she is a better version of herself. Deb’s dream, since she was in her twenties, was to compete in a bodybuilding competition but she always made excuses to herself that she was “too old”. Today, here she is, almost 50 years old with more confidence and strength than her younger self. It was those photos of her in a bikini that inspired me to call her - not so I could enter a bikini competition, but to gain the strength to do whatever else I wanted to do. I’m one of a dozen women who would anxiously await her visits three days a week. We are all eager to follow her weight training and nutritional programs as she pleasantly encouraged us in the comforts of our own home, where no one can hear us cursing. We were all getting stronger, just like her business, when COVID-19 happened and forced Deb to scrap her entire business model as she could no longer go into her client’s homes.
“I really didn’t miss a day,” Deb said, explaining that she quickly pivoted to Zoom workouts and created programs based on the gear people had. The move to Zoom permanently changed her business model and added a new service which was what some of her clients preferred. “It took a while to figure out the platform, but I think we were all figuring it out together.” Being sober during a pandemic was a gift that enabled Deb to tackle every challenge with a clear and level head, including launching her new website, Phoenixmindbodywellness.ca.
“People are more aware of the harmful effects of alcohol,” Deb said of the new-found resurgence in sober living. “People are starting to question: ‘Am I having a glass of wine or am I feeding an addiction?’” If it’s an addiction you’re feeding Deb and Phoenix Mind and Body Wellness can help. Deb even offers a recipe e-book of mocktails to help ease the social discomfort of not drinking. Plus, they’re delicious. Click below for her recipe for a Virgin Raspberry Mojito.