A little off the grid in Nova Scotia

meat shop lornevilleTIDNISH, N.S. — I was parked beside one of the outbuildings—the one marked “Meat Shop.” It was a warm, beautiful day, so I had all the windows rolled down to let the sea air in.

I wasn’t sure at first what the sound was, but within a few seconds, it became pretty clear: it was bleating.

I looked out and down in time to see a small army of sheep rounding the building and coming toward the car. They were in good spirits, parading happily along the side of the truck and away, taking a well-worn path to the right of the main barn.

Melani, who was buying lamb and pork chops, hadn’t seen a thing. It turned out the sheep were freshly shorn and so suddenly were able to fit through a break in the fence. The farmer was as good-natured about it as her sheep.

And that, my friends, is a reason beyond economics to support a buy-local movement—happy livestock.

We had farm-fresh meat on the barbecue that night, paired with local potatoes and salad fixings; dessert contained strawberries from the same farm and raspberries picked by Melani and the kids that afternoon.

airbnb cottage tidnishContinuing on the keeping-it-real theme, we’re not staying in a big-chain motel operated by some faceless corporate whosit. This trip marks our first foray into the world of Airbnb.

jilly readingAs first experiences go, this has been miles better than we’d ever hoped. Our tiny, crooked house has a sweet little kitchen with an enormous butcher-block island, a fireplace that dominates a living room stuffed with overly comfortable, mismatched furniture and a dining table that slants enough that it’s Jilly-sized on one end. Upstairs are three bedrooms of varying cuteness, each with a different but equally lovely view of the English-style garden below. Parts of the upstairs look like a crafter’s first attempt at building a dollhouse—not everything fits just right, but it’s full of good intentions.

Beyond the deck at the back of the house is a writing gazebo complete with mosquito netting, a cushy chair and a vintage rocking horse for the littlest of us.

There is a blue painted chime that makes a deep, hollow sound when the wind blows just the right way. There are flowers in every colour of the rainbow and carpet-soft grass that leads to a path straight down to the salt-water bay and a beach that is ours, quiet and rocky and mostly abandoned.

We took this cottage for four days, but we’d have been as happy for 14, sitting on the deck or in the writing room, listening to leaves and birds, chipmunks and a low howling that is not a dog.

Though epic trips of epicosity are not something I’m willing to give up, sometimes finding pleasures closer to home is exactly what the soul needs.

writing shed

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