“In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.”~ Albert Camus


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.

Duck Sanctuary

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.

Kitchen Sprouts

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.

Bird Sanctuary

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.

Our Sanctuary

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.

Pizza Picnic

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



“As much as you want to plan your life, it has a way of surprising you with unexpected things that will make you happier than you originally planned.”

Now that our R.E.D. has a home we can place more attention on finding an off-season home for the crew.

Water Home

To keep things focused we made a list of priorities in the search for our land home, a sort of wish list.

  • The most obvious, affordable.  We’re retired and one of the main points of this exercise was to be mortgage free.  If a small mortgage were needed then we have to be able to pay it off in a very short period of time.
  • Property on the sea or at the very least a view of the sea.  Can’t call it ‘Red by the Sea’ if it’s not by the sea can we?
  • Southern or south-east exposure for capturing heat from the sun especially during the winter months.
  • The perfect size for the two of us.  In ‘Goldy Locks’ terms, not too big, not too small, just right.  But it has to have room for family and friends to visit. Got that?  We EXPECT visitors!
  • Two bathrooms. The key to a harmonious relationship.
  • A place for R.E.D.  Lots of cost saving if we don’t have to store her for the winter months and it would be great to have her close to be able to make modifications in the off season.
  • A garage or at the very least a space to build a garage in the future.
  • A place for Francois’ workshop.  Maybe that should have been higher up the list.
  • Charm.  For me it needed to feel like home.  You notice I put this priority below Francois’ workshop but we all know it easily could have been #3 on my list but we’re a team.  Life’s a balance.
  • Minimal work to be done.
  • Not too far from a marina so during sailing season we don’t have to drive forever to be out on the water.
  • Other minor things came up in our discussions. Very minor but Francois said he would like to have wild roses and lupins in the garden and I have always wanted a window seat, my Kat perch, at which to read and write and dream.

I think that’s it. Now that I’ve written it down, it’s a longer list than I realized.  We fully expected some properties would have features we loved but never would have thought we’d find one with all boxes checked. It was just a guidline. The main points we put at the top as priorities.  The rest we knew could be added with time. We also thought that it might be best to rent for a year to get to know the area better although we have both fallen in love with the south shore of Nova Scotia in particular St. Margarets Bay area so that became our focal point real estate wise.

St. Margaret’s Bay

A couple of casual outings with our agent and several drives along the coast checking out communities, marinas, boat clubs and making note of places for sale.

Down to the Sea

And there she was, our RED by the SEA.  With lupins and roses in the garden. And a window seat. All of the above stated priorities checked off. All! We never expected this! A ten point landing.

Charming with a View

We sat back and thought ‘whoa‘!  Then a touch of fear set in. Are we really ready for this?  Maybe it’s too soon.  Maybe we should wait.  Always best to sleep on big decisions and never good to make it emotional.  I remembered Francois’ words when we first visited our condo in Montreal, top floor with the phenomenal view. ‘Poker face, Kathy. We’re negotiating’  Sorry, buddy but that ship has sailed on this one. I gushed to the super nice owner just how utterly charming her place was to which she responded that she immediately saw it in my face and told us she hoped we would return when we have time to enjoy a glass of juice with her.  Yep!  That ship has sailed so far away it’s out of sight.

Ocean Frontage

So we slept on it or rather we went to bed but neither of us slept much.  Each mulling over our own thoughts.  Francois the sane practical one thought finances while I was placing furniture and in full on nest phase.  We did however secure a second visit with our agent,you know,just in case.  We went to discuss finances at a local bank branch, you know, just in case.  We secured contacts for a property lawyer, inspectors etc.  You know, just in case.

There is still so much to happen before we can truly say we are no longer homeless…so very much! And when I can channel a more rational me, I know it may not be this place that becomes Red by the Sea.  It’ll be disappointing for sure but as a good friend said, if not this one, there will be others. More to come as the adventure unfolds but for now we get to dream a bit and mentally arrange some furniture and virtually tend to those wild roses and lupins just down the lane.

Down the Lane