Drawn to Quebec

Drawn to Quebec: Cranberries take the cake

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Photo: Drawing © Bethann G. Merkle, 2015

Before moving to Quebec, my frames of reference for cranberries were a music group and cranberry juice. While living in Quebec, though, I discovered that cranberry products have become second only to maple syrup products in diversity and ubiquity. Over the course of several harvest seasons, I picked up some interesting tidbits about cranberries, including: 

Drawn to Quebec: A pumpkin by many other names

Photo: Bethann G. Merkle, 2015

Drawn Quebec: Sketching the harvest

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Photo: Illustration © Bethann G. Merkle, 2015

Daily, our eating turns nature into culture, transforming the body of the world into our bodies and minds.” 

Drawn to Quebec: Fireflies light up the night

Photo: Illustration © Bethann Garramon Merkle, 2015

"Through the whole land did shew themselves an infinite swarme of fierie wormes flying in the ayre, whose bodies make such a shew and light, as if every twigge or tree had been a burning candle.” Sir Francis Drake recorded this description of fireflies in 1577, but he could have been writing this summer.

What is a firefly?

Drawn to Quebec: An eel is an eel is an eel, or is it?

Illustration by Bethann G. Merkle

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Photo: Illustration © Bethann G. Merkle, 2015

American eels (Anguilla rostrata) are from "the most ancient lineage of fishes," a characteristic that "makes them full of surprises" for scientists, according to Université Laval researcher Scott Pavey. As Pavey explained, "There is only one population in the entire species of American eels.

Drawn to Quebec: Wild birds: attracting without feeding

Photo: Illustration © Bethann G. Merkle, 2015

In order to see birds it is necessary to become a part of the silence," said Robert Lynd. An oft-practised way of doing so is feeding birds.

Drawn to Quebec: Wild birds: To feed or not to feed?

Photo: Illustration © Bethann G. Merkle, 2015

If hope really is "the thing with feathers" as Emily Dickinson said, then Canada is aflutter with optimists this time of year. For wild-bird enthusiasts and ornithologists alike, bird watching is much more than optimism.

Drawn to Quebec: The Northwest Territories Connection

Photo: Illustration © Bethann G. Merkle, 2015

Although the Northwest Territories are more likely to be lumped with "the North" than "the West" technically, Tulit'a - a small Dene First Nations community of some 500 inhabitants I visited in March - is farther west than most of the United States and Canada.

Drawn to Quebec: Evergreen adaptations

Photo: Illustration © Bethann G. Merkle, 2015

Aside from March's Irish festivities, it can be hard to find green in our lives in midwinter. However, a number of plants have developed an array of adaptations to the rigours of winter that help ensure even snow-covered branches remain verdant.

Evergreen trees

Drawn to Quebec: A taste of Asian heritage

Photo: Illustration © Bethann G. Merkle, 2015

Canada's cultural and culinary flavours have long been based on the heritage of immigrants. Nowhere is this truer than Quebec, where modern residents produce regional cuisines steeped in their own traditions. As an American expat living in Quebec City, I spent the past few years seeking out these culinary traditions.

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