Ossekeag Closure

It is with deep regret that we have chosen to close the doors on our little family publishing business. Effective immediately, Ossekeag Publishing will be closing and no further issues of the Valley Viewer, Hampton Herald or Sussex Herald will be printed.

We thank all of our advertisers for allowing us the pleasure of working with you over the past several months and wish you all the best in your future endeavors.

A very special thanks to our readers for inviting us into your homes.

Director’s Notes: Notes From Imperial – July

The theatre is quiet this summer. We are doing maintenance in our technical department – sound, lighting, stage, etc – and working on the final details of our new marquee installation. And, let’s face it while people love to see live music and theatre, with a short summer like ours we’d all rather just be outside. We still welcome lots of tourists (thanks summer students for helping out!) but for the most part we are in planning mode.
I love planning mode! It’s finalizing all of the small and large details – like media buys, show posters, playbills, brochures, sponsorships, hotel bookings for artists, video trailers for Box Office, budgets, media releases, and… I could go on. It’s all of the details that, when done well make the Season run smoothly. Of course were working with people (artists and audiences) so it’s not quite as simple as that, but I still like the principle.
Of course something can always go wrong no matter how well you prepare. An artist can be stuck in a snowstorm; or they can find a body and have to meet with police so they almost miss their show (this happened!). The newly installed sprinkler system can go haywire and soak all the instruments of a visiting orchestra (happened!) or the power can go out when you have a house full of 800 toddlers (happened!). You can perfect the sound for a rock show and still have 2 people standing side by side while one says it’s too loud and the other, it’s too quiet (also happened). You can have all of the very best of intentions and still have an unhappy audience member or a grumpy guitar player. But, I swear if we didn’t do the work and preparation we’d never make it through the season with our senses intact.
It’s funny because I mention all of these things that have gone wrong and I don’t mean it in any way as a complaint. The truth is that those are the types of things that make a season interesting and memorable. After the soaking of the orchestra’s instruments the whole staff, local musicians and friends banned together to clean up the stage and find replacements for every single instrument and the show still went on. The 800 toddlers were invited back the next day when the power returned and for the most part a sincere apology and taking the time to listen can help even the most unhappy of customers to feel better.
Here is to preparation with the full knowledge that it may not matter a jot.  B.

Ossekeag Closure

It is with deep regret that we have chosen to close the doors on our little family publishing business.  Effective immediately, Ossekeag Publishing will be closing and no further issues of the Valley Viewer, Hampton Herald or Sussex Herald will be printed.

We thank all of our advertisers for allowing us the pleasure of working with you over the past several months and wish you all the best in your future endeavors.

A very special thanks to our readers for inviting us into your homes.

Tending To My Patch: Kids and Gardening

Gardening can be an introduction to the many ways children can interact with plants and the outdoors. There are few things children enjoy more than digging in the dirt and making mud pies. They are fascinated by looking for worms and bugs and love to water the garden and anything else in the near vicinity.
A child’s garden should be about the excitement of discovery in a world that is always changing. Gardening is a wonderful training ground, teaching children botany, agriculture and the life cycle of plants and insects while helping them to develop a sense of responsibility and accomplishment.
There is a wealth of educational experience locked in a little piece of dirt and a few plants. Many children have learned about seasons, plant physics, and insects. They practice math and reading, measuring and calculating. Many small gardeners have potential to develop good work ethics. Most importantly they have fun. The hours of entertainment that comes from digging, gathering worms and collecting bugs are immeasurable. Gardening reinforces ecological lessons, from effects of weather on plants to the relationships between plants and insects. There are many ways we can encourage children to garden by planting fun flowers and plants especially just for them. Emphasize the rewards of gardening. Parents, grandparents and mentors can promote positive thinking, and by doing so can help raise the confidence and self esteem of their small gardening friends.
Kids need to have a space to call their own, but keep the size manageable so the child does not become overwhelmed. Section them off their own little garden plot. Let them choose what and where they want to plant. After the site has been chosen, it is a good time to talk about what is required for a successful garden. Teach the young gardener that growing a healthy garden begins with good soil. Explain that plants, just like people, need to eat and drink. Make sure that the chosen spot gets enough sun and has a readily available source of water. The garden should be located where is easily accessible to the child and can be admired by others. Allow them to play gardener. Your child’s garden can include flowers and vegetables.
The rich rewards of gardening can last a lifetime. Become a garden facilitator for a child and do what you can to create a positive experience. Then stand back and let nature work its magic.
Get the kids in your life hooked on the joys of gardening.

Self Esteem: Embrace The Darkness; See The Light

Don’t give into the pressure of becoming too positive. I know that must sound strange coming from me. And while I truly believe in the power of positivity, negative emotions must be addressed.
We tend to pretend a lot. We pretend not to notice, or even hide what we truly feel. We want to bury resentment and anger. In today’s society, the pressure to suppress or camouflage negative feelings is real. However, when we accept those negative emotions we can regain and maintain peace of mind.
Acceptance of one’s darkest emotions brings about emotional resilience, and fewer symptoms of depression and anxiety. Acceptance involves not trying to change how we feel, but staying in touch with the feelings and taking them as they are. Doing so leads to positive mental health and higher levels of satisfaction in life.
How could that be? By accepting dark emotions like anxiety and rage, they will no longer have control over you. You are in control. You always have been. We have all, at one point or another, said or did something in a moment of anger that we soon regretted. Accepting all emotions whether you view them as negative or positive makes you happier in the long run.
We tend to fight with ourselves when we feel frustration, anger, resentment and the like. We feel bad for feeling that way. It is natural to feel that way from time to time. Do not fight it. Accept it. Know that feelings are fleeting. Personally, I follow the five year rule… is it something that will still bother me in five years? If so, I’ll discuss it, work it out, and try my best to resolve it. If not, I let it go (no matter how long it takes).
Fortunately, acceptance works for everyone. It is effective whether you are dealing with feelings related to intense life events or minor inconveniences. Habitually accepting all emotions not only reduces feelings of ill-being but also is more likely to lead to elevated levels of well-being.
Emotions occur in the brain. They create reactions in your body that change your physical state (sweating, increased heart rate, panic, etc.) Feelings are mental experiences that arise from the body’s physical state. Feelings are sparked by emotion, yet colored by thoughts, memories and past experiences.  Your feelings are shaped by your own temperament, experiences and varies greatly from person to person and from situation to situation.
You are unique and so is your perception of the world and how you feel about it. Do not fight the darkness. Instead, embrace it and only then will you truly see the light. You are the light!

The Crayon Box: Every Vote Matters

This has been a wonderful journey for me, but at last it reaches its end. But before I deliver my final thoughts, there’s one more interview: PC member Bill Oliver (Kings Centre).
Mr. Oliver says that a historical figure that inspires him is Winston Churchill. Mr. Oliver described him as a direct man who took charge and made good decisions. Making good decisions was a central theme of our interview, as he pointed out that government needs to focus on what’s best for the province, not just a party. He feels as though it’s time for the different parties, who he believes all have good members, to start working together to bring real change. He notes that we’re at an important moment in history, one where we’re going to have to make some unpopular decisions because that’s what’s best for the province. He feels as though one of the reasons some people don’t trust government is because of the lack of communication governments have with their people. He feels as though government needs to be very open and clear on its position. After that, people will start to understand why the government does what it does. He said that being a politician has actually made him more compassionate and has taught him how to multitask. Mr. Oliver noted that we need a better education system, one that encourages innovation. “Politicians don’t always make the best choices,” he says, which is why he wants input from the people legislation will actually affect, like teachers contributing to education reform. And based on precedent, you can probably guess that he said that he would be a blue crayon. To him, the question had nothing to do with associating a colour with a party, which he says is bad, (and wasn’t the intent behind my question), but simply because blue is a colour that calms him and that he enjoys.
Now, I wanted to take this time to summarize some of the more important things the politicians said. One common theme was that the government needs to start working together more. As of late, politics has become about division, about Viewpoint vs. Viewpoint. But as anyone who has ever been in an argument is aware, not much actually gets done when all you do is fight. Secondly, many feel that the lack of communication is causing a huge divide between the voters and the politicians. That’s one of the reasons we decided to start this column. The voters need to take some initiative, but politicians have a much larger role to play. Third, whipped votes. Some parties feel as though they mean politicians can’t serve their constituents, while others feel as though parties have to be united to get anything done. Finally: be aware and get involved. It’s easy to become cynical about politics, but not trying to change anything, nothing changes. And make sure you learn how to spot the stories that are real and the ones that aren’t. There are some people who spread false information to sway you into voting for one thing or another, so try reading about the same stories from different sources to make sure they’re valid.
Just remember: your vote does matter. Sure, it’s just one vote, but if everyone who thought “my vote doesn’t matter” voted anyway, I think the province would be a much better place. Democracy is a group effort, we all have to play our part. That’s what makes it so difficult, but also so great. So, this September, go vote for who you think would run our province the best. I know I will be.

House To Home: Take It Outside

Happy Summer! It’s finally here and as the temperatures rise and the days get longer it’s time to take it outside; time to create an outdoor space that’s a welcoming extension of your home. The inside of your home is a reflection of your style, and your outdoor space should be the same. With a few special touches, you can transform any patio, deck or outdoor space into a personal oasis that reflects your sense of style.
To get started, consider the size and function of your space to select the right furniture. If you’re looking to create a cozy, personal getaway to curl up with a book, choose a few chairs, a side table and a chaise lounge. If you love to host outdoor parties during the spring and summer months, consider adding a full outdoor dining set, multiple lounge chairs and even an outdoor bar cart. If you want a place for a large family to gather around the bonfire, choose a sectional and maybe some additional seating. Everyone’s outdoor style is different, so think about how you envision using the space. Start with what you need, and know that you can always add pieces as your needs change.
Once you’ve chosen outdoor furniture and decided how you’ll use your space, you get to have some fun decorating! This is where you can truly let your personality come through and give your outdoor space the fun touches that will make it shine. Start by choosing your favorite color scheme, summer is a great time to try bright and bold colors! If bright and bold isn’t your style go for a contemporary look with blues, whites and greys. With your color palette in mind, search for outdoor rugs and textiles that create a cohesive look. Then, add finishing touches such as lanterns, twinkling string lights, stylish planters or metal wall art. Have some fun by adding one-of-a-kind personalized pieces to the space to really make it your own. Try adding a hand-painted birdhouse or planter or maybe a homemade wind chime. If you have a green thumb, plant your favorite flowers in unique planters in various shapes, sizes or colours.
Keep in mind, creating a new outdoor oasis doesn’t have to be a pricey endeavor, there are plenty or budget friendly ways to get a new look. Classified sites and yard sales are a great place to find outdoor furniture that can look brand new with a fresh coat of paint or new cushions. Flowers and décor usually go on sale mid season; leaving plenty of time to enjoy before summer ends. Remember the more creative you can be the more unique and personalized the space will feel.

More Than Fitness: Support Without Criticism

I was so excited when I learned I could write this article, until I sat down to write it. I was actually afraid to disappoint the person who smokes who decides to read this tiny article. So, I aimed for quick, meaningful and motivating.
People who smoke are not just smokers. Most people who smoke don’t wish to be defined by that.  People who smoke are people with family, friends, jobs, educational pursuits, hopes and dreams. They aren’t smokers, they are people who smoke and research says most of them wish they could just stop.
While most people who smoke don’t really want to do so forever, they don’t need to be told by their loved ones that smoking is harmful. They already know. Has there ever been a time that a loved one told you that you needed to lose 25 pounds? Chances are, you already knew (chances are you imagined throat punching subsequent friends and family who felt compelled to tell you that again). In Canada, there are somewhere between five and six million people who smoke and over half of them attempt to stop smoking yearly. Most know it is bad and many crave support to stop without any added criticism. What scares me, what made me so nervous to write the article today, is that without additional help, only 5 out of every 100 people who smoke will be able to stop. The good news in this? With help, in the form of counselling and/or medications, the chance of successfully stopping smoking is much higher.
If I told you that lettuce was the leading cause of preventable death and disease in those from Hampton, Saint John, and the rest of the world, would you stop eating lettuce? It is very likely that you would.  Lettuce would likely be relatively easy to stop as it doesn’t have addictive properties (there’s no sugar and no nicotine). Of course, lettuce is not the world’s leading cause of preventable death and disease; unfortunately, smoking is. Smoking is also difficult to stop because it leads to addiction which is a disorder that can be uncomfortable to cure without assistance.
Do you smoke? When you’re ready to talk, there are people that can support you to develop an individual plan to help you stop. Your family doctor, pharmacist and respiratory therapist are examples of people who can help. Truth is, it is so important to your health that we hope you never hesitate to ask for assistance you need to stop smoking.  You have the capability to stop and your health is worth our time.

By Guest Writer, Tammie Fournier, RRT

Tales From The Camera Bag: Plain Vs. Simple

“Plain” according to Google is; ordinary, unembellished, unadorned, unfussed, basic, modest, and unsophisticated. Simple is defined as; straightforward, easy, uncomplicated and elementary.
These two words are often used together and used in the same sentence as ordinary. As I was going through (and deleting) images I came to realize that I was attracted to the more uncluttered, simple, uncomplicated images. Simple does not mean that we ignore the “protocol’s” of composition. Rather, these simple images become less complex and might have just one theme to them, like, colour, texture, lines or contrast. I’ve included an image of the Kennebecasis river during a sunset, it is simple as it has been broken down to three elements and in ways some of these have been simplified. The river has been calmed and smoothed out by using a six stop filter, giving me a 30 second exposure, causing the water to become silky smooth. The second component Long island, is almost featureless as a silhouette, all you can see are the peaks of the trees. Well the sky is what bring this image from plain to simple, as it has marvelous, “if you did not see it for yourself you would not believe it colour”. Yes there is some texture in those clouds but the time exposure smoothes those details out. So if using a time exposure simplifies and images what other techniques can we use to reduce an image to a simpler form, selective colour. I can hear the collective groans of the many of you who have been involved with photography for a while as it was a cliche, not none the less it is effective.
I remember making an image on Grand Manan island. Where I found myself behind a rustic and weathered, small fishing shack, the kind where the fisher whiles away the hours repairing nets. Behind this shed was a red wooden bucket. It was such a contrast to the gray, weathered shed. So I made it a black and white image except the red bucket. It may be corny but it still works for me. I encourage to go online to see the online version to see the next image I have included. It is a small storage shed on the side of the hill on a well known farm in Sussex. Yes there is a ton of clutter all around this shed, the farm house farming implements, bales of hay… I focused on just the shed and the glorious light that was on it. White shed on white snow but the roof and door were red and the sky was blue. Again, this might have been a plain image but those few colours bring it from plain to wonderfully simple.
The summer bring with it so many opportunities for photography. Chose a gendre and then make is simple. Look at your image and ask what can I take away from this image and bring it to its essence. Shoot – Print- Share.

Dollars & Sense: Staycation… To Stay or Not To Stay

On top of dreaming about all the things I can achieve over my summer vacation, I am also looking ahead to the vacation I have booked off work and all the wonderful possibilities of where we could go. With all these ideas and thoughts… and travel costs, I really must look at what is most significant to me and how can I be most cost effective?
First, look at the actual time you have, if you are travelling distances with a lot of plans, your vacation money can be used up quickly with little return on investment.
Do your research, what will the weather forecast be? What are the options if you get rained out? Indoor activities can cost a lot more than enjoying the many beaches and parks. What are the options for free activities? Are there coupons you can pre-print or pre-purchase to stretch your vacation dollar further?
Limited lodging can add up quickly on the cost of your vacation. Looking at sites that compare cost and accommodation before you go can help determine where you will go on your trip. If it is a popular spot and a long weekend you could be paying a premium, where travelling during the week may save you in the long run. Also, the more accommodation available, likely will be more cost competitive.
Some of the biggest costs are the money gobblers in travel. Think about all the stops that you make, the gum, the pop, the water, the lunches, the snacks… these costs add up quickly and eat away at your budget. Having a cooler with snacks, sandwiches and water can save you upwards of $40 to $100 just on a simple road trip. It may seem like a lot of preparation, but you will reap the benefits of not standing in line for food, while keeping your cash in your wallet.
The real way to save on costs and still have a great summer vacation whether you stay close to home or not is to plan, research, and prepare. If you have a budget, allocate cash to certain expenses, that way you will more aware of what you are spending for food, tickets and incidentals. On our website at solveyourdebts.com you can find budget trackers to help.
Most of all, enjoy your summer vacation, money-worry free.

More Than Fitness: Staying Fit All Summer Long

We are quickly coming upon the anxiously awaited summer season and by this point in the year, most parents and kids are anxiously awaiting a break. It is a time to relax and enjoy the summer weather and a more relaxed schedule. However, it can also be a time that we all become a little less active – parents and children included.
During the summer months, many people give up their gym memberships or other regular fitness routines thinking that they are just generally “more active” during the summer as they spend time at summer camps and trailers. While it may be true that we are spending more time outside, often it is not being more active as much of it gets spent in a lawn chair. It also tends to be a time when we consume more calories as we head to barbecues, beach parties and other summer events.  Unfortunately, we see all too many people giving up their gym memberships in June only to return in October grumbling about the extra weight they have put on and the strength gains they have lost.
For the kiddos, if they are not involved in organized sports, summer can also be a time when they are less active with more screen time and video games now that school is out for the season. With less structure to their days, many kids do not get the same amount of exercise they are used to throughout the school year.
So, what can we do to make sure that we don’t fall in to the summer inactivity trap? Here are a few suggestions for both adults and kids to keep the whole family active over the summer.
Find some new summer activities you can do as a family. We are very fortunate to have a great trail system and beautiful scenery in our area so cycling, hiking or other activities such as kayaking can be wonderful ways to get the whole family active while enjoying the great outdoors.
If you love to be outside and hate to come in to the gym during the summer months, find an outdoor bootcamp or come up with your own outdoor workout that you can do in the park to keep up your strength. There are tons of exercises that you can perform outside to build your strength and endurance that require only your body weight as equipment or, make use of the equipment in a park for many different exercises.
Search out a fun run or other activity towards the end of the summer that you can register to participate in so that you have a goal to work towards. There are many local fun runs, paddling events and other activities that you can enjoy and train for throughout the summer and many are even suitable for families.  You may want to try something like a bubble run or tough mudder to get the whole family out and trying something new. One of my favorite events for the whole family is the Hampton 5-Miler which takes place just after Labour Day so it is a great event to register for to keep you accountable all summer long!
As the lazy, hazy days of summer come upon us, make sure you have a plan to keep the entire family active and healthy all summer long.