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Hello there folks.  I was in the midst of writing a post to tell you about one of our recent road trips and stopped mid-sentence thinking how inappropriate it would seem to tell you about a rather large gathering of random people in a confined space…in this case a steamy green house. So I flushed that idea…for now.

Here we are, the two of us, at  RED by the SEA, March 2020. The world is currently dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. Our little province is no longer untouched with three presumptive cases to date. There will likely be more. We’re being asked to stay home, don’t travel, respect social distancing. And I couldn’t be happier.  Yep! I am one happy Kat! To be given permission to socially distance myself, to self-isolate is a gift for someone like me and I’m going to milk this baby dry. This is what it’s like to be an introvert.  I guess in truth I am more of an extroverted introvert.  I love social gatherings and enjoy being asked out.  The bigger the gathering the better because I can usually ‘disappear’ in a crowd.  Smaller groups are more of a challenge for me but I’m happy and comfortable with our circle of friends here….labeled the Hubbards Hooligans by the cafe owner where we meet once a week. Each of us is a little quirky in one way or another…some more eccentric than others…our island of misfit toys…and they accept me for who I am with my own brand of foibles.

But enough about my foibles and on to the present…

We really needed this break in our routine for so many reasons.  We’re constantly on the go.  Every day is full of something or other and I feel time passing far too quickly.  One month crashes into the next.  We’ve become so reactive in our daily lives it’s like living in a pinball machine. This is not how I imagined retired life.  Full, yes, but not overwhelmingly busy.  Although maybe it’s just overwhelming to me because of my nature. Whatever the reason, I often feel overwhelmed.  What happened to the long walks to the beach? Sea glass gathering for hours that I found so therapeutic? Scanning my iPad for news/information/inspiration has replaced reading of real books.  I used to love disappearing into a good novel and I honestly can’t remember the last time I did this. So I see this, not as a negative, but as an opportunity.

I can disrobe our outdoor Christmas tree.  Yeah, I know, it’s March, but my excuse for not doing it sooner was an honourable one.  The little winter birds love hiding in it.

Bird Sanctuary

Coincidentally, I purchased a book to curl up with entitled “Wintering” by Katherine May. Now how appropriate is that to read during these times of isolation?

A Good Read

I started taking painting classes in January.  They’ve ended now and I get together with a friend once a week so we can practice what we learned.  Our get togethers are on hold for now but I have a bin full of paint tubes and other related paraphernalia that keep staring at me begging me to show them what I’ve got.  I have a condition called Essential Tremors which means my dominant hand shakes when I hold things so abstract will likely be my method of choice (or lack of).  I do however enjoy smearing beautiful colours over the canvas.  Will see how that goes.


I’ve also committed myself to write a cookbook focusing on the use of a Swedish-made stove top oven that we have used extensively on our trips aboard R.E.D.  That’s been stalled for several months now so it’s time to breathe life back into that project. It will give me a chance to create new recipes from what we have on hand…shopping my pantry instead of frequent visits to the local grocery store.  I refuse to be drawn into the hoarding frenzy that has consumed so many. The run on hand sanitizer I guess I understand but toilet paper?…really?

A Galley Kat Creation

I also joined the gym in January…challenged by my painting friend…to get my aging body moving.  Rising at 6:00 to meet her each weekday has become one of my better habits but now that door too has been closed until further notice.  So I’ve reinstated walking to the beach, sea glass hunting and breathing in fresh sea air…as well as daily at-home yoga.  My sun salutation is a bit rusty but some movement is better than sitting on my wrinkled ass all day.  By the way, the painting above is my abstract interpretation of Gramma Beach on a stormy day…in case you couldn’t figure out what I was trying to say with those globs of blue paint.

Gramma Beach

Francois, of course, is never without something to do around the house.  Spring is breaking through the ground more and more each day so there will be lots of yard work and the Crow’s Nest is nearing completion inside.  It’s now insulated. Shelves have been constructed and he built me the most wonderful potting table which means I have another project to add to my list – garden planning and spring planting. It’s a very good design so if you like I’ll write up a post with step by step how-to.

Francois’ Creation

Sounds like quite a list doesn’t it?  And now that I’ve itemized it I realize these are all things that bring me joy and peace, so you see, this current situation, however difficult, scary or frustrating and in some cases potentially dangerous for some, is an opportunity. So for the next while, this Kat will be busy making lemonade from my basket full of lemons.

Thanks for stopping by.  Go forth, make your own lemonade, wash your hands, breathe in the fresh air when you can, stay well and drop back whenever you like.  We’ll be here doing what we do as well as we can for as long as we can.



The following is the story of our recent road trip to Bear River, Nova Scotia…

Hummingbird House

This is the amazing 150 year old captain’s house with a sprawling 5000 square feet of beauty, antiques and charm where we stayed. I had booked the two guest rooms well in advance for us and our friends and arranged for purchasing four tickets for the sold out performance of Hold Mommy’s Cigarette. So super excited but a bit nervous that maybe I just might be over-selling how wonderful it would all be. I needn’t have worried.

Hummingbird House

Before Shelley departed to prepare for her performance, she asked what time we wanted breakfast and before I could answer, she announced “OK, 11:00 it is then”.  Always the comic!  She told me that after the show she is usually drained and crashes while she regroups so I didn’t expect any special treatment

Hold Mommy’s Cigarette

She and her husband set up and prepare for the show with minimal help, the set simply a reproduction of her growing up environment.

The Set

During the performance she plays her seven year old self, her mother, her grandmother and her current self.  She deals with such emotional and traumatic events with such ease, moving effortlessly from character to character.  We belly laughed and at times felt our eyes welling up with tears. It was truly a world class performance.

Gramma Persona

Following, we returned to Hummingbird House, stripped down to our bathing suits and wrapped in the fluffy robes left for us in our rooms.  We skipped the sauna warm up and headed straight to the Nordic salt water spa that overlooks the Bear River and soaked and soaked and soaked until pruney, chatting and sipping wine.  Actually I think we stayed there relaxing with our friends until at least 1:00 in the morning.

Hot Tub Heaven

That night we slept with the angels.  Morning came with the delicious smell of freshly brewed coffee and when we descended to explore we found the breakfast table already set for the four of us.  Cereals, toast, homemade jams and cake, freshly squeezed orange juice.

Good Morning

The sign she left on the table for us made me smile.  So very Shelley!

Host with the Most

Four hard boiled eggs gathered that morning, two blue, two brown, prepared with love and so much care.

Farm Fresh

We asked Shelley to join us while we sipped coffee and chatted about the show and her life in general.  She truly has had quite a challenging life and has come through the other side with such dignity and strength.  I could have sat there listening to her for hours.  Even as draining as it must be for her to perform then change costumes to become super host she carried it out with such ease.

Super Host

After breakfast was cleared away we packed up our gear and headed down to the barn to visit with Jason (Shelley’s husband) and the Farmacy menagery.

Farmacy Visit

I have such a soft spot for ginger cats! There was Marlowe, Peewee, Junior and Archie. Lucy Maude, the momma ginger, had previously departed for unknown adventures.  Then there’s Johnny the black feral barn cat who is not a favourite friend of the Gingers.

Lucie Maud’s Tribe

They have an impressive variety of critters all with very distinct personalities.  The shy and very grumpy pot belly pig. The curious sheep. One somewhat aggressive alpha goat who was insistent on challenging Francois to a head butting competition. The cautious feral black cat with vampire fangs.  The adopted cow that nobody wanted.


Jason told us a hilarious story about the time Shelley called out to him and asked where Mork, the goat, was to which he answered: ‘out in the yard somewhere’.  To which she replied: ‘no, just got a call, he’s down at the legion and it’s not even happy hour.’  They said that one or other of the animals with wander off into the town from time to time but they have become such a well known fixture in Bear River that it’s never really a problem.

The Farmily

Let me see if I can remember the names of Shelley and Jason’s crew.  There’s Maynard the Indonesian Ayam Cemani Rooster (complete with black feathers, black internal organs and black bones), Rosie, Tammy the Silkie with feathered slippers and Susie. Then there’s Oscar the cow; Bean, Hana, Gilbert, Mork  and Mindy the goats; Molly B, Seymour and Audrey the pigs; Sweetie the sheep; and last but definitely not least, Steve the pony. I think my favourite of their critters was Phyllis the Frizzle hen with her perpetual bad feather day.

Phyllis Diller

Shelley refers to these wonderful animals as her ‘farma-suitables’. We came home totally relaxed and refreshed.  Great entertainment, beautiful healing surroundings.  The very best medicine indeed!