21 March 2016

Interlude: My fondness for old buildings (& other things)

Long ago, I lived in a farmhouse with a huge, round-roofed barn in the back yard. The barn was in tender shape, gradually worn down over the years of use, elements and neglect. One day, it collapsed in on itself, and that was that. I wrote about that barn, and it was well-photographed in its day. 
I'm not sure if that's where my fascination with old buildings began, but it was certainly nurtured by that event. 
So I've been spending a fair bit of time in the past number of months making pictures of various buildings. Many are abandoned, and gone beyond help, like the famous one in Earltown in the photo above. Some are conserved by local groups, and some are well kept but elderly, with stories to tell.
Truthfully, they ALL have stories to tell, although I'm not sure who is around to share those stories.

Look at this house with the carefully built railing. Someone loved this place once. Now it, and its half-dozen outbuildings, stand empty, or at least uninhabited.

There was a time when many of us went to small schools such as this one (now, I believe, used as a hall, but possibly in private hands). My late grandfather owned a former schoolhouse in his community for many years before he finally sold it. Today it is a home, and well cared for by the look of it. So old schoolhouses draw me in. 

I know nothing about architecture. Zip, zilch, nada. I have an appreciation for older, well built buildings in part because they do stand the test of time. This barn further down the Valley is a beautiful thing, well cared for and still used, although I'm not sure for what. 
When I go on my jaunts around the province, I tend to go down sideroads just to see what's there. Sometimes, I find real gems, like this tiny crooked house at the end of a lane. Is it for kids to stand in and wait for the bus? Just an attractive thing to mount a civic address on? I don't know, but I do like it. 

I will never be a wildlife photographer. I don't have the patience, nor the gear nor the ability to trek off through the wilds looking for wildlife. I do, however, have the ability to see eagles on a daily basis, and with a good lens and a fast shutter speed, I can get fairly good captures. 

 Water soothes me, being a child of the Fundy/Atlantic as I am.  I'm learning to shoot moving water in a number of ways, and it's a lot of fun--on a decent day when the wind isn't screaming sideways, of course! This is a waterfall at Baxter's Harbour, going through a man-made culvert under a road and then cascading down the rocky face to the beach. It's always a fascinating place to make pictures.

To go along with the old buildings, I have a fondness for old equipment, be it rusting cars, or farm gear like this ancient rake. This would NOT be a fun thing to ride on a hot summer's day!

 An old pump, someone told me this was. I was just charmed by the name. Darling pump. At an old farmstead. I'm surprised it hasn't been toted off and sold for scrap metal.

One of the oddest things I saw on my trip back to Newfoundland last summer was the abandoned Trinity Loop amusement park. I'll do a whole post about that in the future, but had to share this image of the Trinity Loop railroad track that used to run to the local communities off the main railroad line. When Hurricane Igor blew through the area in 2010, the flooding washed out the track quite badly, and further degraded the once busy park. It's kind of surreal to go back this road and find the remains of a ferris wheel, train cars, and other oddities. 

 Another place I got to explore, although briefly, last summer was the Iles de la Madeleine, aka the Magdalen Islands. I fell in love with the place and the people, and want to go back. Soon. It's an incredibly beautiful place, part of the province of Quebec, and well worth the 5 hour ferry ride there to spend a few days.

To wrap up this little essay of randomness, I always tell people it's good to keep your camera on hand at all times. You never know when you are going to discover a piece of 'found art' like the ice sculpture around this well. You just never know. Keep your eyes open and your camera close, and have fun--at least, that's my motto! 


  1. Such an interesting array of photos. I too am attracted to abandoned buildings and I find the odd equipment left to rust attractive. I could see that pump sitting in my garden with flowers coming up around it. After all flowers and plants are darling.

  2. Hi Jodi, I found this post both evocative (child of the Maritimes) and inspiring (love a good side road). I can hike for days but can't seem to take a decent photo ;)
    Thanks, Iain

    1. Also should've mentioned my love of old buildings too: when we bought our circa 1880's house in Hubbards almost 20 years ago the inspector described it as "half-way between antique and derelict" - Perfect!

  3. Thank you for sharing these pics . . . I find myself imagining the lives of folks who occupied these spaces and wonder what stories they would tell if we could speak with them now. Lovely post :-)

  4. I live so close to that house in Earltown and tend to take it for granted until recently when I contacted this need to visit old buildings.

  5. You see things others might overlook.

  6. Lovely to look at all these older places and items..They do have a special feel in the heart ..Thanks for sharing...

  7. I love old abandoned buildings too ! And Nova Scotia is awash with lovely old places. Your images of the buildings and nature are marvellous. I really would love to see that abandoned amusement park.

  8. As usual, I enjoy seeing the beautiful country there where you live. Great photos! You are very talented.

  9. Hi Jodi. I just discovered your blog while researching what they call "The Wind Tunnel" at Cape Split. I was talking, a couple of weeks ago, to a man who remembers it as a small tunnel you had to get down on your hands and knees and crawl through. I have been unable to find photos that show this stage in the development of the rocks, or even a stage between his memory for the late sixties and now, but the photos on your May 2010 entry appear to do so. Do you have any idea of the dates? You mention the one you took was some years old at the time. And do you have any others?
    The blog is great. A real treasure trove for a compulsive gardener.

    1. Hi Sheila, nice to hear from you. I don't know anything about this wind tunnel of which you speak, and unfortunately, my late husband, who would have known if this was legit, died 4 years ago. I will do some sleuthing around for you, though. The photos in the post that are mine range between 1998 (the grainy one) and mid 2008.

    2. I'm afraid I was disoriented and confused in my last message but a gentleman from Kentville who has been visiting the cape since the sixties and who actually crawled through the tunnel, has set me straight. The wind tunnel occupied the wide space to the left of the V notch. He has a photo from 2010 taken from the beach, with some of the debris still on the ground from the most recent collapse. You can look at it here - https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=1055793877892&set=a.1055789557784.2009109.1317206001&type=3&comment_id=10206335980861194 Just go to the bottom photo - the one with 31 on it, click that and then it's the twelfth photo as you click the arrows. It's a series of pictures taken from the beach on both sides of the gap.


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