Sunday signagePosted: June 24, 2012
After driving by this cemetery the day before on our way to Cape Enrage, I had to stop when we saw it again (coincidentally on our way to Cape Enrage again). Who names a cemetery the “Ha Ha Cemetery?” And what do they mean by that? Are they laughing at death? Was there something funny about the way the people in the cemetery died? If you Google the Ha Ha Cemetery, you’ll find that many people before me have stopped to take photos and contemplate the meaning of Ha Ha.
This sign outside of the cemetery explains all. “Ha Ha” is applied to the cemetery, a small bay, a creek, and a lake in New Horton, New Brunswick. According to the sign pictured above, there is a legend that the Indians took the name “ha ha” from the sound of the loons. There is a small island in the center of the lake called Loon Island, and on a quiet summer morning you can hear the calls of the loons nearby. John Smith, by the way, the “founder and first representative of New Albert County,” is buried in the Ha Ha Cemetery along with two of his three wives.
Let’s put aside legends and the story from the sign at the cemetery for just a minute or two. Wikipedia defines a Ha-ha as a term in garden design that refers to a trench, an unexpected obstacle, or an abruptly ending path. You can read the entire entry here. The part I find particularly interesting is this:
In its modern form, the concept and term are of French origin, with the term being attested in toponyms in New France from 1686 (as seen in modern times in Saint-Louis-du-Ha! Ha!) and being a feature of the gardens of the Château de Meudon, circa 1700.
The colony of New France was located in the Canadian Maritimes, including Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick. The Acadians (the French colonists of New France) used trenches and dykes to drain the water from the marshlands in the coastal regions of the Bay of Fundy in order to farm those lands. No easy fete, that’s for sure. The salinity of the dried out marshlands was such that they had to leave the land barren for at least three years before they could grow crops there. After about 80 years of living and farming the area, the Acadians were expelled by the British during the French and Indian War. Many relocated to Louisiana (and are called Cajuns). That must have been quite a change in climate for them.
I’m not saying that “ha ha” comes from the gardening term. It’s likely I’m wrong. My blog friends from New Brunswick, PEI, and Nova Scotia might want to weigh in on this as this trip involved a lot of new history lessons for me. I came home with a little knowledge which, as we all know, is a dangerous thing (and often so incomplete as to lead to wrong conclusions). Whatever the source of the name, it does make for an interesting sign, especially in a cemetery.
The Ha Ha Cemetery is a small one with a nice view of the marshland. It was peaceful there, but then I find that to be true of most cemeteries.
It’s been a busy weekend, mostly involving food. I went to the farmers market for the first time this season. The drive over was on back roads through some beautiful scenery. The interesting thing is that I keep thinking it’s mid- to late July. Along the roads the orange of the daylilies line one side and the blue of the chicory line the other. I need to get out there on my bike and take some photos. It really is quite beautiful.
Here at Breezy Acres, all sorts of things are in bloom. The purple coneflowers, daisies, black-eyed susans, and other flowers (that’s the category of unidentified by me flowers) are blooming. Everything is several weeks ahead of time. That includes the locally grown foods at the farmers market.
I came home with lettuces, beets with the lovely greens still attached, green onions, radishes, new potatoes, cilantro, and more. I suspect our CSA will be starting to put together boxes of stuff soon.
That’s about it from the Bogs (and the Ha Ha Cemetery) for today. Thanks for stopping by. I hope your weekend has been filled with wonder and joy. Or at least a little (ha! ha!) laughter.