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Our new favourite thing to do is go to the museum, called The Rooms because the one building holds the museum, the provincial art gallery and the provincial archives. Alex, our three year old, would rather go to the museum than go to playgroup, the park, the beach, the playground. To him, the museum is the best thing in the world. We went to the museum for the first time about a month ago when my mom was visiting. We were so impressed with it that we got a year’s membership for the family and we’ve already gotten our money’s worth as we’ve been going once or twice a week since then. It helps that the museum has some exhibits that cater to kids, like puzzles, computer interactive exhibits, stuffed animals, kids books, etc. Last month, they even had an exhibit that allowed kids (old and young) to use ink stamps on a Newfoundland map that was mounted onto the art gallery wall.

One of Alex’s favourite exhibits is the seabird exhibit because you can hear the sounds that different seabirds make. Since birds are also one of my favourite things, we both thoroughly enjoy the exhibit together and are learning what puffins, gannets and murres look and sound like.

The Rooms is a beautiful building with huge windows that overlooks the harbour and has a beautiful view of St. John’s and Signal Hill. I’m thrilled that we’ve found this treasure in our city.

2324710-Another_example_of_the_harbour_view_from_The_Rooms_St_Johns

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This is our first summer in this home and I am loving getting to know our neighbours.  I have met at least one member of each of the houses on our cul-de-sac. I love feeling part of a community. There are many retirees on our street, many couples who have been on the street for 30+ years. Some younger families have also started to move onto the street, including one couple who is expecting a child at the end of August (a potential playmate for Alex in a couple year’s time!). There are also some older boys (ages 8 to 11) who Alex enjoys chasing on his tricycle.

Alex loves meeting the neighbours as well. If anyone is outside of their home when we are outside, Alex makes a point to go over to talk to them. Everyone on the street knows Alex’s name. One of the neighbours has a swing set in their backyard for their grandkids and Alex has a standing invitation to use their swing set.

I love our street!

This is the first time that we’ve had our very own garden and I am loving spending time in it.

Digging around in the dirt.

Breathing in the fresh air.

Talking to the trees.

Mixing up our compost.

Admiring all of the snails.

Picking the dandelions.

It feels like our own bit of heaven in our backyard.

Slowly we are putting in our touches — we have two bird feeders so far, a finch feeder and a millet/black sunflowerseed feeder.  We’ve had American goldfinches, black-capped chickadees and dark-eyed juncos visit so far. Eventually I’ll put out a suet-feeder too.

We had some perennials come up in our front garden, and we’ve planted some more perennial seeds.  The nice thing about gardening in Newfoundland is that it rains so often that you don’t need to water the garden at all.

We eventually would like to landscape the entire front yard and transform it into a xeriphytic / naturescaped area.  No more lawn.  But, we’re going to take our time to do it. In the meantime, the front lawn has been completely overtaken by dandelions.  There were so many dandelions that going around with the dandelion-picker was pretty futile. I tried to go around and pick all of the yellow flowers before it went to seed, but again the dandelions won. I kind of feel like dandelions are so hardy and good at growing, they deserve to take over the world. (Though I also admit that I also feel a bit like a bad neighbour with all of our dandelion seeds spreading across the neighbourhood).  I picked a few of dandelion leaves tonight and will try eating them as a green — I hear that they are very nutritrious for you. If you have any tips on how to “control” dandelions in an easy and non-chemical, let me know!

In our backyard, there was a very small vegetable garden that was started by the previous owner.  Very small.  As in a wild onion plant and another plant that we haven’t been able to identify yet. We’re slowly extending the vegetable garden and planted a couple of tomato plants, sage, thyme, peas, tomato seeds, and pepper seeds. I’ll let you know how it goes. I’m pretty excited about it. I don’t know anything about gardening and I’m also pretty lazy about it — I want to see what will grow with minimal effort and will grow more of whatever grows well over the years.

Eventually I’d love to turn most of our lawn into a vegetable garden. But, again we’re starting small and will slowly build. It’s pretty exciting…

Alex enjoys his time in the backyard as well — digging in the dirt — he calls it “his dirt”, pushing his toy lawnmower and riding his tricycle around.

We purchased an old-fashioned push lawnmower — the non-gas / non-electric type. Mel’s been doing the mowing and he says that it works pretty well. You need to exert a bit more force than with the electric/gas type, but it’s non-polluting and quiet and does the job! We highly recommend it.

I posted here some of the places that we’ve previously found that you can buy local foods.

To add to this list, today we found Belbins on Quidi Vidi Road.  It’s a grocery store that sells some organic foods, local foods, and also frozen foods that have been prepared onsite with good quality ingredients and no preservatives. We picked up a few of these for Mel’s lunches.

Last weekend and this weekend, we visited a local farmer in St. Phillips who sells chickens, eggs and lamb. We go there for their lamb especially because it is one of the few meats that Alex can currently eat (although there are strong signs that this is changing). They are starting to get to know us and they brought us into their chicken coop so that we could see their one-week old chicks.

Yesterday, we went to the first farmer’s market  of the year.  We arrived near the end, so we only had time to pick up a couple of tomato plants, but we plan to make it a part of our Saturday date to pick up some fresh produce at the farmer’s market.

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