Culture Shock

Thursday, July 5, was spent mostly on the road, as I drove from Fredericton, New Brunswick, to Sherbrooke, Nova Scotia, via River John and the Sunrise Trail.

I also stopped in Pictou to see the Hector, a ship that brought the first Scottish settlers to Nova Scotia.

It started out pouring rain and rained most of the day. Although most Americans don’t realize it, there are differences between the US and Canada (besides the currency and national sports).

Things you may not realize about Canada:

  • The speed limit and distance signs are all in kilometers.
  • They have all kinds of picturegrams on road signs that I didn’t instantly recognize. The one for national parks is a beaver, but at first glance I thought it was a fortune cookie.
  • The temperature is in Celsius. The thermostats too (this makes sense, but caused me to giggle since it had never occurred to me).
  • They spell things the British way (centre, fibre).
  • One and two dollars are coins (loonies and toonies), not bills.
  • There are no postcard stamps. You ask for domestic or international stamps; if the postperson is nice, she explains this to you. Or, the first one you ask may just look at you funny and give you international stamps.
  • Restrooms are called washrooms here.

Lismore Sheep Farm
I had e-mailed Gillian Crawford and asked if I could visit the Lismore Sheep Farm, which she and her husband run, near River John, NS. When I arrived, Gillian explained their operation to me. The wool shop and the the barn are open to visitors. They have about 100 sheep of the Dorset variety. This is a good all-around sheep: they sell the lambs for meat and use the sheep for wool. Usually sheep are sheared in the late spring (May or June), but this year they are saving the shearing for the end of July.

Some of the sheep are in the barn, along with a display on the sheep and turning the wool into yarn. One of the sheep let me pet it, but most ignored me. There also was a cute baby Highland bull (he won’t be so cute and cuddly when he grows up).

Lismore Sheep Farm Wool Shop

Display on processing wool (l to r: unwashed wool, washed wool, carded wool). Carding combs in front.

A sheep!

Woolly Bully, the Highland bull baby.

Outside sheep.

Some of the sheep were out in the field. The wool shop has yarn from the sheep’s wool, roving (unspun but prepared wool), and knitted items. The Crawfords send their wool to a mill on Prince Edward Island to be carded and spun, as they deal with far too much quantity to do it themselves. In addition, they employ local knitters and dyers to create hats, mittens, socks, etc., as well as hand-dyed yarn. Some of which may have wound up on my credit card, ahem.

It was late (sevenish) when I got to Sherbrooke, down highway 7 by the St. Marys River. I stayed at the St. Mary’s River Lodge run by Fred Shupbach and family, who are from Switzerland originally. This is more like a B&B than a hotel. It was very clean and homey, and the breakfast was delicious. Fred even did some impromptu Internet family history research – apparently there are a lot of Wrights in Nova Scotia.


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