“In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.”~
I got to thinking that I should post pictures of snow for you, at the same time bring you all up to date. We brag to friends and family from away, especially those who are now up to more than their ankles in snow and frigid temperatures, that the heavy part of winter usually passes us by. But in truth we do get the occasional snow fall. That eight to nine inches that descended the other day wasn’t a lot in the grand scheme of things but we treasure these days knowing that they won’t last. They feel cozy and insulating. I pulled out my book du jour, lit a fire, donned my woollen socks and sweater and cocooned for a few hours. That container of veggie chilli and whole wheat rolls that I made last month and stashed away in the basement freezer made the perfect supper.
Duck Pond is frozen over now and in the morning the ever-growing flock arrives to grab whatever seeds fall from the bird feeders or what morsels of plant life remain poking through the blanket of white.
We have noticed some pairing off lately and now have our favourite couple-of- the-year. A male and female we call André and Béatrice, both mallards of pure looking lines. He is never far from her side, makes a point of discouraging suiters and quite often we see him guarding her while she forages for food. As they aren’t a part of our ‘regulars’ they are more cautious, so it’s been difficult to capture a decent picture of just them but we have hopes that in spring they will bless us with a new crop of ducklings.
Béatrice et André
Every so often I venture outside to our cold frame garden to harvest some greens. It wasn’t the huge success I was hoping for but we’ll make modifications another year experimenting with different crops and the structure gives us additional space when spring comes to get seedlings going.
Cold Frame Greens
Francois has had a lot of success with the lettuce seeds I planted indoors. With super grow lights and heating mats in the basement for his ‘special’ plants, my greens have flourished. Until my cold-framing improves I’ll have to be thankful for clippings of those and from my kitchen jar sprouting.
We left our Christmas tree up on our outside deck because it acts as a shelter for the small birds, most welcome I’m sure during the last storm with high winds and horizontal snow fall.
Our little RED by the Sea has become picture perfect with this new layer of white stuff. We know if won’t last because rain and warmer temperatures are forecast for tomorrow but from time to time we can enjoy these little gifts without it dragging us down, aching for spring thaw.
To celebrate my son-in-law’s birthday, my daughter booked us into a local hotel, a kind of staycation for us, a treat for the wildlings and an overnight reprieve for the sleep deprived parents. During the pandemic the hotel even made accommodation for pool usage. Water time booked for an hour with limited numbers, a warm shower, then by the time we were back to the room, dinner was dispatched and left touch-less at our room door thanks to the Skip the Dishes delivery service. It was all very magical until Wildling #1 decided to call 911 unbeknownst to us. I’m not sure whether the ensuing police visit and lecture from the uniformed officer was a reward or deterrent but it did add a touch of spice to the day.
A mighty ‘noreaster’ blew through the other day but we were ready for her. Several months ago we had our little home by the sea wired to accommodate a permanent generator. It was all a part of F’s ‘emergency preparedness’ plan….because that’s what he does so well. Prepares for the worst. Hopes for the best. So since then we’ve been ‘hoping’ for the ‘best’ possible storm. We’re like that. (loving our storms by the sea). And Momma Nature didn’t disappoint. By dawn one morning we found ourselves in the dark and a little chilly…but this time, with a flick of a panel switch…voilà!…we had coffee and warmth. And a big plus…and probably right up there with the warmth and coffee or at least a very close third place – we can flush the toilet, guilt free. Tee hee!! It’s the simple things you know. No beer or storm chips in the pantry but a nice bottle of wine will do when cocktail hour rolls around.
Rockin’ the Storm in Atlantic Canada
All caught up now, we leave you to enjoy Ground Hog Day. That special anniversary we have been celebrating happily for twenty five years now. Wow! A quarter of a century! It has been that kind of life together that we haven’t minded repeating over and over again.
Bed Picnic Deluxe
Here’s a little modification recap. Mostly meant to provide additional security and improve independence for this and future adventures it was a big financial output this year but we can now untie the lines and feel we are well prepared.
Solar panels were installed to supplement battery power (story here, here and here)
And should we be fogged in along the Saint-Lawrence which is very likely this time of year, we have Gen the Generator to provide power at anchor for that much needed morning coffee (story here and here) and to fire up our little electric heater to take the chill out of the cabin.
A word about fog…Ray the Radar will let us see what’s coming and going around us (story here)
Our boat came supplied with a collapsible camping water jug which we have now upgraded…modestly for now (story here)
15 Free Flowing Gallons
Mostly esthetic, the Weather Station (story here) was added to give us an indication of changes in barometric pressure, temperature and humidity but the added benefits of having a safe place to store charts and navigation tools made it a step up from ‘pretty’.
A Place to Hide All Precious Cargo
Solar Luci Lights will be used to supplement our mast light when at anchor. Solar instead of battery power is always good.
…and little ‘AA’ battery operated LED cabins lights can be used at night instead of using the boat battery. Only thing missing in this picture is our evening cocktail.
This year we’re trying something new. We removed all the bilge covers in the rear berth and found bins that fit securely into the depressions. Lower priority items and less used are stashed at the back and the containers are small enough that they can be lifted out easily to access things stowed in behind. Thanks to a great suggestion from our friend Beth we used large pool noodles to safely store fishing rods.
A word about balance: we are very conscious about equilibrating load. The weight of the extra 15 gallons of water port-side will be balanced with provisions starboard. An eye’s view from land shows an even distribution and the onboard clinometer shows zero degree healing at rest and because the load sits low, the righting arm and centre of gravity should be at peace with each other.
This sack made of breathable Phifertex holds 2 sets of full foul weather gear, long underwear, tuques, gloves, wet suits and will be stowed below. Everyone we have talked to says to be prepared for the cold. Hoping this will be enough. And regarding cold, who wants to fall in the Saint-Lawrence River with near freezing temperatures? Life vests with safety harnesses, webbing life lines along both port and starboard with tethers have been added.
Two sets of simple pole clips will keep our docking/locking poles secured and out of the way mounted just behind the companionway stairs.
Clips for Docking Poles
What’s left? Well I guess the only thing left to do is provision. That’s a personal preference thing. What works for us won’t necessarily appeal to another. I’ve spent the winter working on easy galley recipes and there will be new ones posted from time to time along the way in Sea Salt Galley Kat. We’re counting on being at anchor more often this trip but as with previous years what’s worked best for us is to count number of days away from supplying and add a contingency factor of +20% to allow for bad weather and unforeseen delays, There are lots of places along the way to pick up supplies though. Oh yeah, speaking of our bellies, we have our fishing permits.
…and some super duper lures thanks to Tim the Master Fisherman, so hoping to snag a fish or three and Francois knows of places where we can dig for clams. We may freeze but we won’t starve.
A word about internet. In a perfectly plugged in world we would by now have an internet booster but haven’t we already done enough for one year? It’s on the list of improvments but the priority had to go first to those things that will make us safer. We did however augment our data plan which included a super deal from our provider giving us a new iPad mini which hopefully will provide more latitude with blog posting. Will see just how great that signal is along the Saint-Lawrence.
…and last but not least is what we have been referring to as Little Red, our new-to-us dinghy. Names have been thrown around, suggestions offered but Francois has come up with what we think is the best of the best. In France if you order a glass of red wine you ask the waiter for a ‘ballon de rouge’ so don’t you think it very fitting that our little inflatable should be called…
‘BALLON de ROUGE’?
So that’s it. Next time you hear from us we will probably be on our way. Feel free to stop by to check in on us. It will be an adventure for sure.
To answer some of the questions asked about the physical placement of our Gen (the Generator), the following pictures may help explain…
Travelling Position, Captain Seat Up
Swim Ladder Down
Even without moving Gen we can easily access the swim ladder
…but should we need more space, Gen can easily be removed ‘en masse’.
…and set aside on one of the cockpit seats.
With the engine up the prop still trails in the water but the Gen platform can be trimmed an inch or two which will allow more tilt to the engine. It was hard to design during the winter months to know exactly how wide to cut it. It will remain as such for now.
Filling Water Reservoir
While we were at the service dock snapping pictures for you I thought I would show just how easy it is to refill our three water jugs.
Ready to Set Sail