We would like to introduce to you, an addition to our little family by the sea, Zula, our four month old Abyssinian kitten. At barely three pounds she is, as F exclaimed, the best therapy any retired couple could ever hope for.
As some of you may or may not know, this has been a very long planning period. Several years ago while still those boat people, we both followed the blog, Bailey Boat Cat, and thought it would be fun to have an onboard pet. But there was the issue of F’s allergies…dogs, horses, dust, mold and above all cats. There was the time when visiting family that he couldn’t breathe, the reaction was so severe.
In spite of this he was keen to give it a try. His criteria was simple…pure bred. So we did research and settled on the one breed that we thought would fit into our lives. Abys are very social and adaptable. They are very intelligent and more like dogs in nature. And we found they love water. Sounded like the perfect fit.
I located a local cattery in Quebec and arranged for a visit. F decided to go medication naked…no antihistamines to test the waters. There had to have been at least a dozen critters roaming around the breeder’s kitchen. One dear old thirteen year old was obsessed with him and wouldn’t stop caressing his face and neck. No bronchial reaction…just a couple of welts on F’s neck from all the licking. It was all I could do to keep him from taking one of the babies home with us. But it wasn’t the right time..what if we wanted to be away from the boat for the day. We couldn’t just leave the kitten onboard all locked up and for sure would never leave a pure bred animal free to roam the marina by itself. So we put the thought away.
With the sale of RED and purchase of RED II, the topic resurfaced. We could think of no reason not to move forward. We found a local breeder and sent an email ‘feeler’, you know, just to see where it would take us. Well, didn’t she have one female kitten ready for adoption. A ruddy, rich caramel coat, just the colour we both loved. And golden eyes. The breeder wanted to know a little about us first to make sure the fit was right so I sent a response outlining our current lifestyle.
Zula Road Warrior
Once we saw that sweet face there was no turning back. With melting hearts we took our little fur baby home. She took a couple of days to get used to her new home. Every sound, every smell seemed to disturb her but by the second day she was considerably more calm, exploring every inch of the house.
Room with a View
By the time we had visitors she was ready to participate in whatever was going on.
We gradually got her accustomed, introducing what would hopefully become her travel backpack. Bike rides and hiking with us, we hope, will be in her future.
Getting used to water may take some time though. For now a dripping faucet is about all she can handle…but it keeps her well hydrated.
Of course F thought his baby should have all the best. New toys and a climbing tree.
It has been placed by the window overlooking Duck Pond so she can keep an eye on our feathered visitors…
The tree top, is now her favourite spot to observe her universe…
F even put in a pet door for easy access to the litter box in the basement and it took no time at all before she had mastered the ins and outs…
Next came familiarity with RED II as Zula will definitely be coming camping with us this summer. After bringing it back from de-winterizing we parked it so our petite madame could still have her favourite view of Duck Pond and take naps in the sun.
Camping with a View
I thought some fresh air would be appreciated while setting up the camper but it wasn’t too long before she found a new way to access the upper cabinets. There is also a small pass-through section in the screen door which she apparently can now open by herself so will have to be extra careful.
Her spaying operation is scheduled in two months with a chip inserted in case she gets lost but in the mean time getting her used to a harness and leash will be important so we and she can enjoy some outdoor activities.
We spent several days outfitting the camper for the season with some quiet time for F to work on his latest boat model….cat supervised of course.
She hasn’t quite grabbed the concept of sleeping inside the sleeping bag but she seems to like it for taking naps.
Just Me and the Pig
As always we really appreciate you dropping by to catch up. No doubt there will be more to write about this year with antics of Zula the Road Warrior to take up the slack where Major Pig (ret’d) left off. Stay tuned…
…peace and love…
Hello there all of you followers of the crew of two (2.5 if I include the Pig). Firstly, a very Happy New Year just a little late, I know! I started writing this post almost two months ago and when I revisited it I realized so much of what was then, is no longer valid…so I’ve done a little rewriting.
RED II has gone in for her seasonal check and winterizing. There was a short list of repairs, little defects to be fixed while still under warranty. One was a faulty brake actuator which also meant we had to replace our vehicle connector….which…ahem!…may have been due to something we did incorrectly. Busy time at our local car repair because of snow tire instalments meant a delay in bringing our home-on-wheels back for the winter, but she is now here and comfortably installed right where her water-based predecessor RED used to reside.
For a while, travel opened up modestly, people were generally behaving and vaccination rates increased which allowed for visits from away. We do enjoy showing off our little corner of paradise and playing tourist in our own backyard which led us to an autumn revisit of a local winery for some sipping and fine dining.
We’ve enjoyed watching the seasonal change of our feathered friends. Most of our flock of starlings has changed plumage colour from dark browns to winter beige and paler brown freckles. Even Skippy our one-legged fella seems to be managing quite well in spite of his obvious limitations. You may have noticed that I like to name things, like our crow in the lower right – Russell and another frequent flyer, Robert Junior, our Downy woodpecker. Well, enough about silly me.
Even though we don’t feed them, directly that is, Duck Pond is constantly filled with at least two or three dozen Blacks and Mallards. By directly, I mean that when they need to supplement insects and green shoots in and around the water, they wait below the bird feeders for the occasional droppings…but not always patiently with tribal infighting common. We keep watching for the annual pair and we think it’s either a new pure Mallard couple or Beatrice and Andre are back this year. Because of their distinct personalities we think it’s the latter.
We’ve seen an increase in winter storms. Six nor’easters to date. Because we seem to live in a more vulnerable area for power outages which can create issues needing to pump water from the well into the house (toilet flushing an obvious concern over several days), our electrician wired a second panel to run the generator. This past summer F created a shelter for the Generator and now all we need to do is flip a switch and we have heat, refrigeration and of course running water. The only thing it doesn’t run is the hot water tank but hey, if you’ve kept up with our adventures you know that we’ve functioned quite nicely bathing in the frigid Saint Lawrence waters (AT REST IN PARADISE).
Me and my Beauty
My daughter was involved in the rebranding of the non-profit company she now works for that provides camping experiences for kids with special needs and illnesses. Recently she invited us to the launch and fund raising event in Halifax. As this was our first large gathering outing since the beginning of the pandemic and it felt a wee bit strange at first. It was however a spectacular success and we thoroughly enjoyed it.
Next on our event agenda was Remembrance Day. Our local legion held a stationary parade with music from a local marching band. We all still had to respect social distancing rules but a fine crowd of locals gathered for the ceremony.
Decorating for Christmas this year for some reason has been a lot more fun than usual. It’s the first year since moving in four years ago that we paid any attention to outdoor lights. Our two hydrangeas now boast 600 lights per bush. A little over-kill perhaps but it does give a wonderful glow arriving home after dark.
F mentioned last year that he really likes those candle type window lights and thought each window should have them this year. So I rose to the challenge with enthusiasm and purchased several to display in our thirteen windows upstairs and down. I opted for battery operated but clearly didn’t think it through. Each of those babies uses three AAA batteries, but oh how lovely they look when darkness descends on our little home by the sea.
By the Fire
I think every fireplace needs a mantle…just so there can be a display of some sort at Christmas. It’s a childhood thing for me. So last year I asked if F could create one and I love it!. It’s simple and functional and we now have a place to hang stockings should Père Noël decide to pay us a visit.
Noel by the Sea
It’s unlikely we will be travelling this year but my son-in-law secured a chalet nearby to house a few of the family members able to join in for Christmas. The perfect place for feasting, tree-trimming and cookie decorating.
Tidal Bore Resort
Letters to Santa
I think that’s about it for now. F is heavily into model building , inching his way to finishing the Pinta and I, working on my latest galley project…sourdough bread making.
La Pinta, 1492
Wishing you all a joyous and healthy 2022.
…peace and love…
Our final camping trip for this year was a trek not far down the road to Kejimkujik National Park. Kejimkujik. That’s a mouthful isn’t it? Pronounced “Ke – jima – koo – jik” and translated from the Mi’kmaw to mean ‘little fairies’, it’s simply referred to as ‘Keji’ by locals.
Spreading over 400 sq km , it’s a mecca for hikers, canoeists and kayakers , bird watchers and campers, designated a dark sky preserve and the seaside portion is a wilderness protection area. Over 80% of Kejimkujik is accessible by canoe or hiking only with 47 backcountry camping sites spread out over 17 lakes and connected by multiple rivers and streams.
We chose this as our last adventure at this time of year to see the fall colours at their optimum and we weren’t disappointed. We expected it to be chilly so came prepared with lots of extra layers, gloves, toques and wooly socks, because as a friend of mine says ‘any fool can be cold’. But it was anything but cold. More like a moderate summer day with mostly sun and 20 deg temperatures. Nights were cool so firing up the camper heater for a few minutes took the humidity down. And of course there was the traditional camp fire with toasted marshmallows.
Colours of Fall
At Keji, the serviced sites are with electricity only so this was our first time dealing with no water or sewer hookup…a kind of modified ‘boon-docking’….four nights/five days to see just what we could manage with using our internal storage tanks, and it gave us three full days to explore. Each site at Jeremy’s Bay is very roomy too, strategically placed so very private and view of neighbours is minimal. Plus there is a definitely advantage of camping this time of year. Even over the weekend there were very few visitors.
Front Door View
After setting up and enjoying a quiet supper, we took a walk around Kejimkujik Lake just before sunset, returning to light our evening campfire and discuss where to go the next day.
The choice for the day was Kejimkujik Seaside Park which was an hour and a half drive from the main camp ground. The trail to the beach through colourful bogs was a 2.8 hike ending at the stretch of beautiful white sand of St Catherine River Beach.
Keji Seaside Park
Keji Seaside Park
Keji Seaside Park
Day three was spent cycling around the park. The trails and roadways are easy and safe for the most part so we explored for the better part of the day, picnicked at Merrymakedge Beach then cycled back to our camp site for a respectable 30 km ride.
Mi’kmaw Encampment Site
Kejimkujik Lake is fairly large and dotted with small islands each with designated tenting sites. While we were eating our picnic lunch we saw a young couple, with two young kids and two cats on leashes piling their belongings into a canoe presumably heading out for an overnight adventure to one of these islands. Imagine, two adults, two kids, two cats one canoe and all that gear. So brave!..or extremely patient…or both.
We continued on the bike path along the Mercy River then headed back to camp. When one reaches ‘a certain age’, simple is so much better, don’t you think?
For those who prefer a little something out of the ordinary, this park offers Oasis Pods, a cross between a tent and pop-up camper. How fun is that? Imagine snuggling in bed at night with a view of the stars because this park is also a designated dark sky preserve with almost zero light pollution.
On our final full day we braved the newest Keji trail, Ukme’k, which means twisted in Mi’kmaw, a 12.6 km medium level winding hiking trail along the Mercy River. Near the end of the trek we both realized that 5 to 6 km is about our maximum for daily hiking. Sore knees, sore feet and ankles and we were more than ready to head back to camp for cocktails laced with a couple of ibuprofen.
Well, we made it to our fifth day away. Water was easy to conserve, having learned many good lessons after seven years of boating with limited resources. Potable water was available to fill our tank at the park entrance and there were filling stations throughout the park every few 100 feet as well as super clean toilet and shower facilities. Our grey water was at capacity as was the black water tank but we easily pulled through the dump station our our way out of the park. F purchased a back-up portable waste tank for a ‘just in case’ moment but we found we didn’t need it for this trip.
Portable Poo Pot
The trip home was beautiful if just a bit more muted in colour. We think we may have chosen the best week for leaf gazing now that we’ve had a couple of days of rain and wind and any of the leaves have fallen or turned brown.
On reflection, we both feel Fundy was our favourite place overall. Five Islands and Keji tie for second place with the Ovens a close third. Just four outings for this our first year with our little turtle on wheels. There are already plans in the works for next year but for now RED II is parked in our driveway, unloading and cleaning underway and appointment made for fall inspection and winterizing, after which she’ll be put to bed until next spring.
Back at our little home by the sea we begin to prepare for guests from away. We are so very thankful that for the most part we have remained healthy throughout this last couple of years of pandemic restrictions and that with a sprinkle of caution we can begin to welcome friends and family who have been eager to experience some east coast hospitality.
….peace and love…