“The earth has music for those who listen”
March is here. One of my favourite months. When winter is less wintery. When things planted last year begin to poke boldly through the still cold ground. If they can be so optimistic then for sure so can I. After all, the ground hog said it would be an early spring back in February. There will no doubt be more white stuff dropped on us I’m sure, although this has been a very mild couple of months, even by east coast standards.
It’s been a year now since the pandemic entered our lives and ensuing restrictions descended on us….a year like no other. I remember with clarity that time last March when celebrating my son’s birthday, friend’s invited to make it more festive, those comfortable enough with human contact came. Cake with lit candles. Traditional wish made. Candles blown. It was at the very moment that I realized that something as common place and customary as a puff of breath over cake shared with others to extinguish a candle would forever change.
It’s been a year to reflect. A year to decide who and what and where we wanted to be. In essence, a year to return to factory default settings. When you are two retired folks living in a seaside country village, reset is minimal. We focused on things we love…F, his plants, his terrain, his construction projects….me, who spends a good deal of time in the kitchen, I focused on improving my culinary interests and planning for and designing future renovation projects.
We keep in touch with our small group of friends, locally known as the Hubbards Hooligans, because with exception of one short period of restricted groupings we have been allowed gatherings of ten consistent friends….and one family bubble.
So now we are springing forward to our next phase of retired life. RED II landed in Canada just before Christmas and has rested safely at our local RV dealer for the past three months. We visited once to gather the keys, secure an appointment to install the ‘extras’ to make us and her road-worthy….and to have a peak at her. Even though she is a few inches shorter than our dear RED (sailboat), she looks so big by comparison. Twenty-three feet of indoor awesomeness that we can actually stand upright in with not just one but two sinks with running water, a real porcelain flushing toilet and an actual refrigerator. I’m in land-based heaven.
I know I will miss sailing…and RED… but that feeling of loss will fade with time. We continue to get updates from RED’s new owners who were consummate camping folks before buying our water baby last year (they are our mirror image). They have been a great resource for what to do in the camping world…and what not to do. I can’t imagine it being too much different from being on the water. Most of my galley gear will come aboard our land trawler and we’ve been collecting bits and pieces to make our little home on wheels more ‘homey’. Being ‘on the way’ or in a storm on the water will be similar to land travel, making sure things are secure. We have friends who are a few steps ahead of us who warned to take care to stow the ‘pretty things’ before heading out. She said when they reached their destination it looked like a cyclone had descended inside her home on wheels. Message received!
When we went to bring our baby home last week, the getting-familiar-course was rather intense but our technician John was very patient giving us a thorough run through both inside and out.
Major Pig (ret) has gone from First Mate to Supervisor and he continues to perform his duties in his usual dependable quiet watchful manner.
RED II looks quite fine coupled with our tow beast but this will be our first road venture with 4000+ pounds of dry weight and it’s a little unnerving although my Captain remains confident. Total length is actually a touch shorter than RED on her trailer but RED II runs wider by about two feet.
Parking our baby at home base seemed a lot easier than parking a sailboat and the mast stepping and un-stepping process (AKA coupling and uncoupling) took no more that 30 minutes from parking to unhooking to levelling to where’s the wine. This is the type of ease of operation I was hoping for. I can see us doing this for many years to come.
So here we are, very excited, very happy and we can’t wait for our first real adventure. We have some ideas of where we would like to go…after a bit of nesting at RED by the Sea while waiting for warmer weather of course…but there is a life time of wonderfulness to experience not too far from our front door while we wait for this virus thing to be gone. Remember, in Nova Scotia, we are never more than sixty kilometres from the ocean no matter where we go.
The Ovens (photo cred Tourism Nova Scotia)
Because prime sites book up quickly, I secured three days at a nearby campsite called the Ovens Natural Park (https://www.ovenspark.com) a mere hour drive down the coast from us to begin the season with a roar. The site boasts not only of coastal hiking trails, of natural sea caves to explore, of chances to pan for gold on the beach but the best will be the spectacular view overlooking the Atlantic Ocean and hearing the sounds of the waves as we drift off to sleep.
Camping with a View (photo cred Tourism Nova Scotia)
Thanks, as always, for stopping by. We love it when you do. Stay well and please drop by soon to catch up and see what’s happening in our little corner of the world.
Peace and love
My goodness gracious this month went fast! Time for a little update from the crew because aside from some fun things that have happened this month, we have some very good news to share with you (inserting my happy dance here)
First off, we had family from Quebec visit for a few days and are very proud to say we managed well hosting five extra people without any fatalities. Not to say this will be a common occurance. It was tight but cozy. We gave up our rather large bedroom (sleeping bags and blow up mattresses installed) to take over our guest room (tiny tiny). The biggest revelation was that when we expanded the single day bed to make room for the two of us we realized it actually converts to a kingly sized bed. Yay! for any extra-tall guests.
Day trips were a fun way to play tourist. Walks to Gramma Beach, Peggy’s Cove for a romp on the rocks and a ferry ride from Dartmouth across Halifax Harbour for some touring of our big home village.
This month has been wicked for storms. Three nor’easters blew through within a five day period. Predictable power outage for sure but just once for a few hours for us and it was back on in time for our morning coffee.
We’re thinking that if this wind direction keeps up much longer we may loose our big (about 40 feet we figure) evergreen. With every storm she leans more and more to the south-west. Luckily when she goes there is no danger of harming anything and with the loss, our view of the sea will improve.
The last nor’easter brought snow and a decent pile of it too. First real dump of the white stuff since December. Beware the Ides of March indeed! It slightly eroded our faith in Shubenacadie Sam and Lucy the Lobster who predicted an early spring but this couldn’t last long. Could it?
It’s what we lovingly called our nor’Easter. Our planned Easter egg hunt may be a bit tricky but you know what they say? If you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes.
Halifax Burger Week
We’ve been taking in some of the local activites too. The Saltbox Brewery’s Irish St. Patrick’s Day brunch was delicious and it gave us a chance to try out a couple of pints of their Jeezus Murphy Irish Red. The second gathering of South Shore Naturalists hosted the program coordinator from Canada Bird Studies who spoke about the endangered Piping Plover. And of course why wouldn’t we support Feed Nova Scotia with a meal from one of the 125 participating restaurants for Halifax Burger Week….especially after filing our first Nova Scotia tax returns, we felt like a little celebrating was in order.
Every week or so there are small improvements here and there. Francois continues his outdoor garden purge of unwanted plants. We’ve started to see new growth pushing through the sun-warmed earth….that was until the latest storm which brought a healthy snow covering. Poor things. I’m playing permaculturalist to draft a rough plan for this year’s vegetable garden. Three more birdfeeders have been hung. Our favourite duck couple, Harold and Maude have started to come back to Duck Pond more consistently to dine and hopefully nest.
Inside, undercounter lights make cooking up deliciousness in my galley much more enjoyable. Sunshades for all of our main floor windows have been ordered. Privacy is not an issue but when the sun shines…especially through our south-facing windows…it can be quite blinding. We also took advantage of the provincial government’s power-saving initiative and ordered installation of a heat pump.
So here’s the big news that has put a little extra ‘spring’ in our step these days. No, not because of the general fine weather. No, not because of a very generous tax return from jumping provinces. And not because we are still very much in love with our life by the sea….although all of the above is true.
Remember the last time you checked in with us and we told you we had decided not to splash R.E.D. this year? When you have an extra minute you can read about it here.
Well!!!! Let me tell you about our latest brush with Eastern hospitality, generosity and all ‘round niceness. We saw a sign down the road advertising landscaping and earth moving services.
Our New Best Friend
We called the guy, Johnny was his name, to ask for a quote on making a few changes so we could reposition the boat, fill in a few low spots and add some gravel to the driveway. He promised to drop by after work, around supper time he said to see what we needed. And he did. And it happened to be my birthday. Super nice guy. Told us what was needed. Gave us a responable price for the work. And then he casually asked…wait for it… if we needed a place for the boat this summer. Let me repeat that..do we need a place for the boat this summer? It seems he owns a dock finger at the village marina just down the road (six kilometres to be precise). We had checked out that place last summer but were told all spaces were privately owned and the only way we could use the place was if someone wanted to either sell or rent to us and that was unlikely. Well it so happens that Johnny sold his boat. He told us it could be ours for the summer if we wanted. Happy happy HAPPY birthday to me!
So many ideas for the summer now spinning around in our heads. Thinking…cycling to the Hubbard’s Farmers’ Market next to the marina (when it opens for the season of course). Picking up a few weekend supplies, then continuing on down the road to spend some quality time on our little water chalet. And since it’s that much closer to the mouth of St. Margaret’s Bay we will be that much closer to new sailing grounds yet to be discovered.
See what I mean?
We have a lot of fun joking
about this rather fair division of ownership.
Francois can’t take the boat on the water without my permission.
And I can’t take the boat anywhere on land without his permission.
So today to make MY engine ready for the season
we performed one of the
3 year/300 hours maintenance procedures…
…upper drain screw removed.
…lower drain screw removed.
…and a lot of yucky crap came pouring out.
How’s that for technical jargon?
Gear case lubricant replacement pumped back in.
…and just in time!
…thunder clouds rolled in…
…and the rains came…
…thankful for that little breath of air while we waited out the storm.