Living La Vida Locavore – (aka the Bayman of Pine Bud)

May 29, 2017 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Google+ in your neighbourhood,living la vida local!,stories

packages of vacuum sealed moose

shed with windowby Bernie Doyle

Kim Todd, Chief of Guide to the Good, is a friend of mine.  Our teenage daughters are also friends and teammates on their Jr. High volleyball team.  While watching the girls play in a tournament recently, Kim casually asked me how I had spent the previous weekend, and I told her I had butchered a quarter of moose in my shed.  I don’t think she was expecting this response.  “In your shed,” she asked, “on Pine Bud Avenue?”  She was enthralled, and dubbed me ‘The Bayman of Pine Bud Avenue’. 

Growing up in Petty Harbour, a community that had been built around the inshore fishery since the early 1500’s, I could have made a strong case for bayman citizenship, but I never felt I truly deserved that noble title.  Living just 15 km south of St. John’s, we made the trip to the capital city regularly and availed of everything it had to offer.  But that didn’t make me a townie either.  And even though I’ve spent much of the last 30 years living in St. John’s, many of my bayman tendencies have endured, most notably my connection with food.quarter of moose, hanging

Living in a small rural community on a limited budget, we usually knew where our food came from.  We got fish from our neighbours, wild game from our hunting friends, and vegetables and herbs from our own gardens.  That food sensibility became engrained and whenever possible, I use local food sources.  According to Merriam-Webster, that makes me a “locavore”.  Who knew?

Upon learning this, my wife cleverly quipped that we were “Living La Vida Locavore”, a line I wish I had come up with, and one which should get strong consideration as the ongoing title of this space. 

Here’s the recent example that initiated the request to pen this blog.

On a brisk November morning, I received an unexpected text from a neighbour returning from a successful moose hunt.  He offered me a quarter and without a second thought, I accepted.  Within an hour, there was a fresh quarter of moose hanging in my center city backyard shed.

So what now?  I had a single piece of meat hanging in my shed that weighed roughly 150lbs.  I guess I could have called a local butcher to take it away for processing, but that’s not our thing.  After watching a few YouTube videos on the subject of butchering (one very useful one came from Labrador), and armed with a good knife and a hacksaw, I was off.  Over the course of a day, I disassembled the beast into loins, chops, flanks, roasts, steaks and shanks.  I was delighted.  I had never been a hunter, or even shot a gun, but I had always loved wild game – moose, caribou, rabbit, partridge – whatever we were offered.  But this was the first time I’d been offered more than a single meal, so I felt obliged to invest some time in its preparation.  And it felt wonderful.

A few times that day, as I walked from the shed to the house brandishing a 12 inch butcher’s knife, the evidence of the day’s activities clearly visible on my apron, I noticed a neighbour’s blinds open slightly, then snap shut again.  I expected a visit from the RNC at some point, but they never came.

But I think they’re watching me.



Bernie Doyle is from Petty Harbour, NL.  He was educated at MUN and McGill University and has worked around the world as a consultant in the oil & gas industry.  He now lives in his favourite city of St. John’s with his wife Jenny and daughters Sophie and Charlotte.  He is a bayman at heart, if only in his mind.



A last note from Kim Todd:  to me ‘good Bayman’  means no pretense, sharp wit, capable and competent, calculated risk-taker, cares but is not foolish, and carries a sense of the world with a sense of the land and the sea.