Mars Survival Lessons in Newfoundland

dave-checking-out-tablelandsLast night the CBC program Ideas began a series called Generation Mars about the possibility of exploring and colonizing the red planet.  Last Tuesday President Obama said we will be sending people to Mars by  2030. On our trip to Newfoundland we went for a hike in a place that is helping scientists figure out just how people might survive on Mars. tableland-marylouWe hiked the Tablelands in Gros Morne National Park. dave-tablelandThe rocks which make up this desolate place originated in the earth’s mantle. They were forced up during a plate collision several hundred million years ago. boulder-tablelandsThere is methane in these rocks from deep in the earth and since methane is also produced on Mars, there’s the possibility that deep down in the crust of Mars, there could also be life. dave-rod-tablelandsThat makes the Tablelands a great place to test technology and equipment that will be needed for space missions to Mars. stream-tablelandScientists have discovered that the water flowing thourgh The Tableland rocks while low in oxygen and high in pH is actually teeming with life. That gives them hope that there may also be life on Mars.  plant-on-tablelandI think its pretty cool that the Tablelands of Newfoundland are helping us discover how we might explore and even live on Mars in the future.

Other posts about Newfoundland


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Queen of Katwe and A Tour in Delhi

Dave and I saw Queen of Katwe this week.  The movie tells the true story of a girl from the slums of Kampala who becomes a chess champion.  The film connected with us because it was directed by Mira Nair. Although Queen of Katwe takes places in Uganda where Ms. Nair has lived for decades, her first movies were set in India where the accomplished film maker was born and educated in the city of Delhi. After her initial movie successes in the 1980s Mira Nair established the Salaam Baalak Trust a charitable organization that now provides food, clothing, education and health care to more than 8,500 street children a year at 25 centers throughout the city of  Delhi. canadian visitor with children at salaam barakk trust dehliWhen we visited Delhi we were able to take a tour of one of the centres and be guided through its neighbourhood by a graduate of the Salaam Baalak Trust to learn what life is like for the 50,000 children who call the streets and train stations of Delhi home. 

At the movie theatre on Tuesday night the film Queen of Katwe gave us a glimpse into life for children on the streets of Kampala,Uganda. On our trip to India we were given a glimpse into life for children on the streets of Delhi, both courtesy of Mira Nair. She has used her profession to raise people’s awareness about the needs of children living in poverty around the world, and to strike a note of hope that they can have a better future. 

Other posts……..

Children on the Streets of Delhi

India Inspiration

Love in a Lunchbox




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Finding An Old Friend

home-to-bragg-island“I know that painting,” I said in surprise as I walked down the stairs at The Rooms museum in St. John’s Newfoundland.  “It’s Home From Bragg’s Island,”  I said to my husband.  

In 2013 the Winnipeg Art Gallery celebrated its 100 birthday by hosting an exhibit called  100 Masters.  As a guide in the education department of the gallery I gave countless tours of that exhibit and got to know the pieces in it very well.  One of them was Newfoundland artist David Blackwood’s painting Home From Bragg’s Island. Seeing it again in St. John’s was like seeing an old friend. 

black-well-home-to-bragg-islandThis isn’t the first time this has happened to me. Since the art for 100 Masters was drawn from galleries all over Canada and some in the United States, it isn’t surprising that if you visit art galleries in other North American cities you have a chance of seeing some paintings from the 100 Masters. 

I look forward to finding more old friends on my future travels. 

Finding an Old Friend in Quebec City

Kirchner at the Minneapolis Institute of Art

The Rooms

Thanks to the 100 Masters


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Happy Birthday with the T-4s

I celebrated my birthday with three good friends who I meet with regularly. We call ourselves the T-4s.  For our October party we were spending a crafty Saturday afternoon together. But……… we started with lunch.  making-pizzasWe each made our own little pizzas on naan bread. 

Delicious!esther-and-glenys-craftingWe had each brought projects to work on after lunch. Esther was using different pencil shadings to complete a picture in her English countryside colouring book, while Glenys was making plastic covers for take home reading books for her grade one classroom. making-leos-stocking

My friend Debbie was helping me make a Christmas stocking for my new grandson. working-on-th-estockingI had bought a kit but would never have been able to put the stocking together without Debbie’s expertise and sewing skills. birthday-cakeMy friend Esther and I both have fall birthdays and Glenys had made us a beautiful cake to share. There were gifts for both of us too. 


It was a perfect way to mark my birthday.  


On Sunday Dave and I hosted sixteen people from our family for a turkey dinner and we celebrated Thanksgiving and both my birthday and my Dad’s birthday. 

And so another year has begun! 

Other posts……..

Birthday’s Past

A Sunny Birthday on a Rainy Day



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Exploring Newfoundland’s Gros Morne National Park






















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Holding Joey Smallwood’s Hand


In Gambo Newfoundland I held hands with Joey Smallwood, the first premier of the province and the man who was behind Newfoundland becoming a part of Canada in 1949.


The statue of Joey Smallwood in Gambo his birthplace shows him with one hand over his heart to demonstrate his love for his province and his other hand pointed down to show how he was a down to earth man who concerned himself with doing things in a practical way.

I have been reading The Colony of Unrequited Dreams by Wayne Johnson during our time in Newfoundland.  It is a fictionalized account of Joey Smallwood’s life. The book makes me appreciate Joey Smallwood for the things he accomplished, how he survived through incredible hardship, and his dedication to his ideals. But there are some things about the way he is portrayed in the book that I don’t find appealing. I don’t like the way he treats women. I don’t like his single-mindedness and inability to consider other points of view.  I felt sad about the seeming lack of real pleasure and personal joy in his life.  


The bottom of the Joey Smallwood statue is a tree to show that the first premier was firmly rooted in the life and land of his province. He is surrounded by rocks representing the people who supported him and came out to hear him speak. The rocks also allude to the fact that Newfoundland is often called ‘The Rock. ‘

I have read that Joey Smallwood was a much more interesting and likeable figure in real life than he is portrayed in Johnson’s book. There are many people who admire the way he pulled Newfoundland into Canada and really into the modern world.  But I also have talked to people here in Newfoundland who don’t like Joey Smallwood because he shut down many small communities where people had lived for hundreds of years and basically forced them to resettle in other places. 

joey-and-meWe decided to stop in Gambo on our way to Gross Morn National Park because I had read they had some nice hiking trails. Finding the Joey Smallwood statue and learning more about his story in Gambo, was one of those coincidental things that happens sometimes when you travel.  And now I can say that I’ve held Joey Smallwood’s hand. 

Other posts………

Brush with Greatness


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The Arches

color-the-archesjpgMillions of years of water erosion, wind erosion and glacial action have created a unique geological formation called The Arches in Newfoundland just north of the Gros Morne National Park.  Severe storms continue to change The Arches. serious arches.jpg










Other posts…….

The Dawn Chorus

Tree Inspiration

A Serendipitous Sail


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