DFHC 7/6/2011

Tee Hee!

I never cease to be amazed where web-surfing can lead you. In researching my French Canadian ancestors, I came across this curiously named town in Quebec, population just under 1500. The original name lacked the !’s…those having been added fairly recently, perhaps in the interest of tourism. But there’s an explanation to it, and it’s no joke…

A ha ha or sunken ha ha is a combination of a fence and a trench. One side of the trench is sloping dirt…the other side is a vertical stone or brick wall that does not rise above ground level.

It acts as a barrier because sheep or other grazers can enter the trench down the slope, and go back out the way they came…but they cannot get over the wall. At the same time, the fact that the whole structure is below ground level allows the homeowner to look out on an unobstructed view of the landscape. Where there are no longer livestock, a ha ha can be used as an “invisible”  boundary marker.

As seen above, they can be quite extensive…

And this is what you see looking out onto your spread…get it?

Ha ha’s are very common in western Europe, some of them quite old. Believe it or not, the best word origin they can come up with is the expression…Ha! Ha! in England, Ah! Ah! in France…one shouts when tripping over and/or falling into one. Of course, today, you’d sue…but this was long ago, see.

Speaking of Canada, if you were a big geography buff, you must make 3 updates since you were in school. In 1999, the Federal Territory of Nunavut was created as a sort of Eskimo homeland…the first change in the Candian map since the addition of the Newfoundland  to the Confederacy in 1949. Nunavut consists of the eastern portion of the Northwest Territories, and is one of the most sparcely populated places on Earth, with 33,000 souls spread out over an area the size of western Europe. The other 2 changes were in names…Newfoundland renamed Newfoundland and Labrador in 2001…and the Yukon Territory renamed simply Yukon in 2003.

It’s interesting to read about that incorporation in 1949. As all of you who collected postage stamps know, Newfoundland was a separate British colony, and a vote was taken to determine whether it would remain so…it did not, becoming part of Canada. However, there much opposition, as many Newfies felt more aligned with England, and oddly enough even with the United States, than with Canada, English or French. There was even talk of making it the (then) 49th state…obviously that didn’t happen, altho we did get their dogs…

And on the subject of Canadian history, you’re just an old grouch if you don’t chuckle over the fact that Lower (“Bas”) Canada…seen here in green…was north of Upper (“Haut”) Canada… in orange…the 2 provinces that evolved into Quebec and Ontario respectively, eh? Did they have their maps upside-down? Could be, could be…

great white plugs,  shameless as always…good day…

Podcasts at http://stolfpod.podbean.com  and  http://thewholething.podbean.com

Other Daily blog at http://stolf.wordpress.com  (the legendary Stolf’s Blog)

More bloggage at  http://travelingcyst.blogspot.com  and http://www.examiner.com/retro-pop-culture-in-watertown/mark-john-astolfi

Resume at http://travelingcyst.blogspot.com/p/resume.html

Audio samples coming soon…or just check the podcasts…twc-rr so still über-blows turbo…

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