Finally a post about boats and boat-related stuff for you.

After six years of putting together the winter igloo, we felt it was time for a change.  For practical reasons it was time.  The old tarp that we’ve carried from the time R.E.D. came home with us in 2013, the PVC electrical conduit tubing that was labelled and colour coded port and starboard, numbered from bow to stern and all the plastic tie wraps that went into securing everything each year…it was time for an upgrade.

The discussion centred around what was practical.  It centred around costs.  Should we replace the tarps?  It was time, after yearly patching.  Should we re-design the igloo so there would be less stress on the rub rails and stanchions?

When we thought of what we would need do and the costs involved to make those improvements we decided it was long overdo to upgrade.  Shrink wrapping was considered.  A lot of boaters around here – mostly power boats – winterize in this manner.  For me it was an instant ‘no way’.  All that plastic wasted each year.  Not to mention the costs….each year!

If we were going to invest in something more long term then why not a portable garage shelter or what in Montreal was referred to as a tempo?  When I mentioned the term here a neighbour said: ‘oh you mean a Quebec garage?’

Decision made.  Order placed.

We were a bit late in the season winterizing R.E.D.  As usual we were one of the last to haul out and she spent a couple of weeks at a local marina waiting her turn for the engine’s three-year servicing.  Plus there was more focus on getting the Crow’s Nest roof tight for the winter.  It’s not been super cold but our worry about installing the garage anchors in frozen ground was becoming a real concern.

The order finally arrived…part of it that is…four out of six boxes, and you can be sure Francois counted every single nut and bolt, carefully checking it against the packing slip and assembly manual, highlighting discrepancies.  Lots of apologies from the company.  Lots of apologies from the shipper.  This was not looking good.  End of November.  Frozen ground.  No winter cover yet for our lady.

Until we decided how to proceed, Francois installed the full enclosure in case of snow and covered the anchor well to protect against water infiltration.  Because of the size we ordered  – 30‘ x 12’ – we needed to remove the mast, so carefully rolled it, ancient Egyptian style, under R.E.D.’s belly..

And  the solar structure was too high, but thankfully Francois had had the foresight to create a junction for easy removal.

Then we waited.  Company issued a new order with many more apologies but within two days the shipping company had located the two missing boxes…many more apologies issued…and boxes delivered…all bits and pieces accounted for…

…just in time for a wicked wind/rain/snow storm.  Luckily the snow missed us but wow, was it ever cold and windy! And yes, I still check the wind and wave charts daily…on or off the water.

This project is every kid’s dream…or kid at heart…to have a life-sized mecano set to assemble.

Once we got into a rhythm, assembly went well.  Between the two of us the skeleton was assembled the first day…

The next day I had commitments so Francois called friends to come help mount the tarp….

Now we have a place during our off-season months to work on the boat unimpeded by weather with lots of extra room for storage.

A beast of a structure it is, weighing in excess of 700 lbs, so bring it on Mother Nature.  We’ve got it covered!

With some of the leftover PVC conduit piping from R.E.D.’s old igloo I made a wreath to place on an empty space on RED by the SEA. To all who follow this blog, may this coming holiday season bring joy, health and happiness, however and where ever you celebrate.

Thanks for stopping by.  Just because there will soon be snow on the ground here on the south shore of Nova Scotia, doesn’t mean there won’t still be stories for us to share with you.  So drop by any time.  You know us by now…always another adventure on the horizon


For those reading this in a language other than English (see language choice upper right side bar of each post), please forgive the automatic translation.

CROW’S NEST – it takes a village

CROW’S NEST – it takes a village

This post has taken SO long to reach the point where I felt it to be publish-worthy.  Francois finished the exterior of the Crow’s Nest a while ago, making it all roof tight and weather proofed as only Francois could do.  It’s identity was to be that of storage primarily and secondarily, green house.  Which it is.  But during the process though we got comments from family and friends and neighbours…such as…what is it?…a he-shed?….a she-shed?…and the best was, why not a tiny house?..and why not put in a loft for sleeping?  We became a neighbourhood curiosity with people stopping by from time to time to have a look and we became known, not as the yellow house with the boat in the yard but as the place with THE SHED.

So let me begin at the beginning…

It all started with a need for storage, a picture to inspire and lots and lots of planning and drafting.

We enlisted the services of a local guy to dig out and grade a place for R.E.D. to rest off-season. The space was to eventually house a location for a shed.  If you go back to the criteria we used when house hunting three years ago (three years already?), the property was to have a garage or at least a place to store the boat or room to build a garage.

Then came another local guy who agreed to pour the foundation for the future build.  The deal was that Francois would do all the form work in advance.  On the day of the pour, the guy showed up and offered Francois a job, the forms were prepared that well.  At this stage we had  bathroom issues and winter was approaching so instead of splitting energies, the decision was made to work indoors and begin again outdoors in the spring.

Next step…ordering and delivery of the materials…all locally sourced.  Early spring we began again.  Friends showed up for the wall raising.  Our neighbourhood supervisor arrived with all the right gear…and a jar of his harvested maple syrup.  How sweet is that!?

And supervise he did!  Rocking chair and all.

In no time three walls were up…

The rest Francois took care of himself, installing the beams and trusses. I helped when I could…holding stuff…handing stuff…acting as the ‘go-fer’.  You all know my strength is mostly on the inside.

It didn’t take much time before things were actually looking real.

I ordered windows and doors…locally sourced again. And for the roofing we hired the same company that replaced RED by the Sea’s roof.

The green house glass was a bit of an issue.  Should we go with laminated glass, tempered glass, polycarbonate?  Online research gave no definitive preference.  Each type had their benefits.  Finally after consulting the leading Nova Scotia green house expert, we went with 10 mm tempered glass, professionally installed, each of the four panels weighing 70 pounds.

The electricity is all complete now inside and out, again locally contracted. The black lamps  at each entry weren’t my first choice but Francois wanted ones with motion sensors so when he goes out to HIS SHED at night he won’t have to fumble around in the dark.  Working in the shed at night…really? Can you hear the eye roll? They do however have a touch of the nautical which I like.

Adding a new structure on the property created another big discussion.  How do you make a modern building blend with a yellow-sided 90 year old home by the sea?  You make it disappear…like a shadow.  The black steal roof  with white doors and windows are the shared common factors and the rest we made ‘disappear’ with black stained ship lap and cedar for the cladding.

Weather depending, the rest will be inside finishing.  Even on chilly days, when the sun shines, it’s all toasty warm inside.  Come spring there will be landscaping to pretty it up a bit but for now we are complete for this season.

Thanks for stopping by.  It’s now time to put our dear R.E.D. to bed for the winter season.  Please come back soon for another visit to see how we’ll accomplish this Quebec style.

For those reading this in a language other than English (see language choice upper right side bar of each post), please forgive the automatic translation.



We had a toddler sleep-over recently, after which my daughter asked about our ‘in case of fire’ plan.  My immediate response was (if on the second floor) open the nearest window, slide down the roof and hope for a reasonably soft landing.  Broken bones aren’t a huge concern if escaping quickly is an issue.  But I got the impression that my response was far too loosey goosey.  Which brings me to the post today.

…an alternative to sliding down the roof…

I did a fair bit of research on types of escape ladders including reading endless product reviews.  The one I chose ticked off all boxes – securely installed…easily accessible….and it included my design diva criteria for looking good or if it couldn’t look good than it had to at least be discretely located.  Form follows function used to be the norm, then function followed form but now it’s really a chicken/egg question…the answer to which is the egg of course…you know…potentiality precedes eventuality (has your head exploded yet?).  Philosophical discussions aside the only valid concern is to focus on safety first…of course.

Francois installed the first one in the guest room.  It meant a little modification….securing extra studs and plastering the wall scar over several days.

As with all renos, a little of us was left behind.  A smile for future ‘others’ to discover.

The finished product is discrete, can be painted to match the wall colour and the only remaining factor is to try it out.  Which is one of the main reasons I chose this model.  If you read the fine print of the ‘hook onto the window sill’ models you will notice that the guarantee is good for one use only.  So how can I test it out in advance to make sure it works properly, I might ask?

These have now been installed in both bedrooms.  Time for a test.  He who has the most weight not she who has height issues…of course!

…a good start.

…seems to be holding.

…safely extracted.

Easy to deploy.  Easy to use.  Easy to put away.  Another marvellous modification at RED by the Sea.

Thanks for stopping by.

For those reading this in a language other than English (see language choice upper right side bar of each post), please forgive the automatic translation.