Once a jumping off point for swimmers, this lighthouse is now 600m from the channel at St Peters Harbour PEI due to coastal accretion. Historical photos courtesy of Carol Livingstone, PEI Lighthouse Society.

Swallowed by the Sea/shore

At the start of the summer NiCHE asked for our favourite and most meaningful photos from summer research or vacation. OK I’ll bite. I’ve seen some amazing landscapes and images so far this year, being lucky (or maybe foolish) enough to have travelled from Vancouver Island, BC to Twillingate Island, Newfoundland, and spent at least…

The Blue Marble: View of the earth as seen by the Apollo 17 crew traveling toward the moon. Source, Wikipedia

Remote Sensing and Historical GIS

(Originally posted on The Otter, Jan 10, 2013) Forty years ago, on Christmas Eve 1972, NASA released a gift to the public, the “Blue Marble” image of the whole Earth from space. This photograph was unplanned and originally unwanted by NASA, but it quickly became one of the most reproduced images on Earth.[1] The astronauts…

Spring planting: Prince Edward Island Potatoes

As a Man Sows: Spring Planting, Prices, and the Birth of Monoculture on PEI

It is now common to read statementslike “Modern industrial agriculture is a disastrous failure, as it defies practically every natural law related to food cultivation, ecological and environmental protection and stewardship, and human nutrition.” But if this is true when did it begin, and why did new settlers decide to farm in this way? On this the last…

Francis Bain sketch of PEI shells, Nov 3, 1878.
Source: PARO, Image No. 4.2353.92

Prince Edward Island Beaches and Bain’s “Old Friends” Released from Winter’s Ice, 1866

On this day in nineteenth century Prince Edward Island, the farm landscape is only just beginning to emerge from beneath the ice and snow. The shores of York Point, at the confluence of the North and West (Eliot) Rivers at visible for the first time this spring, and the ice sheets break away from the…

Mennonite and flax culture: 2009 CHA podcast

The Network in Canadian History and Environment (NiCHE) has recorded several talks from the Canadian Historical Association’s 2009 annual meeting at Carleton University and made them available as podcasts.  My paper was titled “Mennonites and Mixed Paint: Canada’s Flax Commodity Chain, 1850-1900.”  It examined how the image of flax production as a Mennonite folkway and…

The Future of Object-ivity

This website has been dormant since the summer of 2008, due to some sudden family expansion, but now it’s time to revive historical object-ivity with updates from my travels and recent work in the flax-paint commodity chain.  A good prompt was a recent comment recieved here from a woman who found a “mastere oljeslagaren” in…

What is a flaxwife?

Yesterday I received an interesting question from someone in New York City. She came across a reference to a “flaxwife” in The Magna Carta Manifesto by Peter Linebaugh (2008), and asked if I knew what it meant. The word is pretty rare, and I hadn’t come across it before now.  It’s not in the OED,…