Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Red Tape (not as much as in Ontario though)

So, I promised that I would update you on what has happened so far hear in Crow Head Newfoundland.

It was a pretty hectic trip getting here since we had to be in St. John's on Monday morning for a Newfoundland craft show (which by the way was very beneficial). We had a flat tire on the trailor (the weight we were carrying was a bit much). We ended up having to replace both wheels in the end, an added cost but we might not have made it to our destination.

The craft wholesalers show (as I mentioned earlier) was great. We were treated on a first name basis and met many talented individuals that were selling crafts etc. We got many contacts for selling the products in our shop. We were so happy we worked like madmen packing everything up and moving everything out of our house because it was so worthwhile in the end.

Since we settled into our little cottage in Crow Head we've been getting our lives organized. The town mayor has been working in our favour although they still haven't had their town meeting. We have been into the office almost every day with new questions and concerns. I think he is trying hard to get everyone together. He himself thinks our ideas are great but he needs the approval from the rest of the council.

Parking at our cafe has been a bit of a concern for us. With all the rock faces on our property it will be difficult to incorporate parking. After talking to the Crown Lands Office in Gander we learned that the piece of land across the street is Crown Land. Our easiest way to make a piece of this land into a small parking lot is to get the town to put it in (us footing the bill) and them giving us permission to use the space. Again, according to Johnny (the mayor) we have to run it by council but he is enthusiastic that this would work.

We have got the ball rolling for both accessibility requirements and health inspection too. We were going to bake our goods in home and bring them over to our shop. This is not an option with regards to health inspection so we will have to make room for the kitchen in the shop itself. This is good to know now because then we don't have to upgrade our home kitchen to suit our needs. We're finding out that its best to encounter all the problems at the beginning so we can build accordingly. You don't want to have to be changing major components of the building because we don't meet the requirements.

With regards to building, we talked to someone today about doing a bit of excavation and leveling so we can start to get our footings in. Once our footings are in we can start framing. Here in Newfoundland, they start by pouring the footings, then they build the structure and put a roof on, then they pour the slab. Since the weather here is often unpredictable the slab being poured last will allow it to stay protected from the elements. Once the footings are in then we have more control with regards to time because we will be building and making our own schedule (not running on someone elses). Today, we have finalized our building proposal and floor plan (after many changes to it).

Enough about the dry topic of bureaucracy lets get into the fun stuff. We figure that its important to keep exploring locally and learn as much about our area as possible. We have seen icebergs (two small ones in our own harbour of Crow Head). We thought it was such an amazing site. I think the locals thought we were a bit crazy because they were quite small compared to some they see.

The big storm that we had here last weekend brought in a lot of ice, which when packed together and freezes is called "Pack Ice" (or as a Newfoundlander might say "Pack Hice". What's amazing is what comes along with the ice...baby seals. They are born on these chunks of ice and stay there until the ice melts and they swim away. With a pair of binoculars you could make out all these little seals scattered across the ice from our window. When the storm subsided, we went out and got pretty close to the seals. Crosbie (our 6 month old pup) was quite excited to find a seal. He wouldn't stop barking at it and trying to get it to play with him. The seal wasn't too thrilled and kept trying to bite him. Finally, we had to go out on the pack ice (which can be quite dangerous) and retrieve him.

As for our companions, Iris and Crosbie, they are having quite an adventure. It is rather ironic that Crosbie has gotten into chasing crows as we are in Crow Head and our cafe is called Crow's nest cafe. When we go walking along the shore on the trails he chases them the whole time as they soar through the air (probably teasing him). We are sometimes worried that he'll jump right off the cliff in his excitement. Today, he was chasing bald eagles. We were trying to explain to him that they are a bit bigger than him but this didn't stop him. It is so great for the dogs to have the open space to explore and run.

Now that I have brought you up to speed with where we are it will be easier to update more frequently. I should mention that if any of you have a super duper recipe that you are willing to share we would be happy to give it a whirl. We have been trying out different recipes in our spare time to try and nail down our menu.

Thanks for all your support. It is a big project that we have taken upon ourselves and its nice to know that we have your support and enthusiasm. With the excitement comes also lots of apprehension, stress and obstacles, which we have definitely been encountering as well. It comes with the territory though and we're managing to keep a positive attitude.

love to you all


  1. Awesome job you guys! It sounds like a lot of work but yet I can imagine how satisfying it will be when the first customers come in :) Kudos for reaching for your dreams! - Andrew in Ottawa :)

  2. I will send you some recipes when we get back to Ontario. In the meantime, stay off the pack hice! $20 says Crosbie will come home when he sees you leaving :)

  3. Katie and Ted, this is all so fabulous! We look forward to visiting soon. Will you be serving hot chocolate?