Thursday, July 24, 2008

Cherries.....oh so many cherries

This is a very quick blog to let you know I am going away for 4 days to Clare.... to curl. I am so excited. I am a last minute replacement for someone who had to back out... and I will be on my DREAM TEAM..... Richardson/McEwan/Walker/Peters....... yipee. We are golfing today at 11:45, and then curling at 10:30ish tonight. And then curling for the rest of the weekend. We will be curling in Nova Scotia Tartan shorts (thanks to Debbie's quick sewing abilities, I have my own pair too). Should be sooooo fun, and soooooo fun... no other way to describe it..

Wanna know what Terry and I did all evening last evening..... Cherries... gobs of them. We helped pick Kay and Bob's cherry tree and before I went away, I had to harvest most of them. We pitted 18 cups of little tiny flavorful cherries and they are packed away in the freezer for further use.! We didn't have cherry pitters (which don't really work well anyway, so we had to use paring knifes. Our fingers were stained beyond pretty and we javexed our hands last night. Oh what fun we had...

We didn't make it to the end but we divided them up into containers and I am taking two containers for eating with me, and Terry has one big container to take to the cottage with him (if he remembers). He is off to Toms Cottage this weekend with Tom and his kids and the kayaks and Michelle, Scott and the pigs. Have a great weekend everyone!~

Saturday, July 19, 2008

The Fall of a Castle

Just a quick point, about yesterday's blog. Our camping trip to Blomidon last year was a castle bust. It rained the entire weekend. We didn't get to build a castle last year! No fun without kids, anyway!As the tide surged its way up the beach towards the castle, the kids decided they were ready to take it on. Walls were sturdy and reinforced with as many boulders as Scott could retrieve! Gillian watched pensively as the tide rolled past our Early Warning Marker and made it way to the front walls. Thank heavens for the boys who put in a second wall to protect the castle. Aubrey tried her hardest to shore up the little walls of the warning fort... but had to give it up for bigger worries. On Guard.... read to fight the tidessss
Then it started to break through the first wall. The panic and excitement was on... I was so sure we would win this year and beat the tides... it was the best castle ever.!!!
Then the second wall.. The bridge held off the assault for seconds before it raced totally around the main part of the castle. And now the end.... time to stand on the castle and go down with the fort.! United we stand.... united we go under!!!! But Aubrey saved the front rock and some of the crab/shell decorations and then made a tribute to a fun day! the entire destruction took less than 10 minutes!!!! What a hoot.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Castles in the sun

Blomidon. It means family to me. I know it is a Miqmac word for some sort of God, or something but to me its family warmth, and family fun. Its warm (and sometimes wet) memories. We have gone there to the shore for as long as I can remember living here. Its an undiscovered beach of miles. We take advantage of this beach to build sandcastles and then watch them get destroyed by the fast moving tides. The tide rolls along the beach at a rate of 15 feet per minute, and while it is really fun to build the castle... its so much more fun watching the tide come rolling in like an army... and totally take it down. We have learned so much over the past twenty years about castle building. Its not really about the castle... its about the breakwalls and the mot!

Below is a series of pictures that James took at our family outing last week. Kelly, James and the girls come to Nova Scotia about every second year, and since the girls were born, they have been a part of the Blomidon custom of castle building. We are not expert castle builders... its all about the destruction of the castle and how long we can prolong it!

First let me share the vast beauty of Blomidon through the eyes of James, who I am so thankful to have in our family...not just for his great photography, but for his creative take on just about everything!
Blomidon has some of the longest tides, as everyone knows, the Bay of Fundy has the highest tides in the world. We take that for granted around here, but they are spectacular. When the tide is fully in, the water goes right up to the rocks. Every 6 hours, the beach changes from a kilometer long to about 100 feet long. We gauge how much time we want to spend on the castle and how long we have to spend at the beach in general. Then we pick a spot on the kilometer worth of red clay to start the creation. That is a job for the parents... we pick the spot..... then Daddy starts the big pile of sand in the middle and mom and kids start the mot and walls. Then positions change when things get boring. And the castle creation takes shape. Its such a fun and fast task and even when you think your done, your never done, cause there is always one more decoration to lay or another wall to build! (Sort of like Xmas shopping) Meanwhile, the panic is on as the kids (and grownups) watch the ever advancing tide. This year, we had an "early warning fort" too, since we had quite a crew to build.
Michelle and Scott took on the task of picking the spot this time, and we figured we had about 2 hours of creating before the onslaught of tidal destruction.
The moms started on the breakwalls and the mot.
The older girls discussed possible fort decorations and someone dug them a pile of loose clay and they started on the decorating. The walls were built, the castle was raised, the bridge was made and rocks were gathered. Seaweed and crab shells adorned the top and walls, and the turrets were reinforced with rocks (and seaweed... and crab shells)

Gillian kept a keen eye on the tide, and the progress of the whole production. She was in charge of shells and seaweed (although reluctantly, at first...ewwww) By the end, and near the crashing point, she was sprinting across the beach for one more slimy piece of seaweed!

Check in tomorrow to see the slaughter.....

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Still More Wildlife...still no camera

The company is gone, the house is clean, supper is planned and I am sitting on the deck with my book and pink beaded bookmark and my pink lemonade.The little birds are hopping about, cautious of Mollie who is sprawled out on the pink blanket on the deck, oblivious to the birds. Our hummingbird feeder sits about 3 feet from the back door, in a new location since last year (after the awning went up). There has been lots of beeping this afternoon from the little darts and just once in a while one of them will land on the feeder and drink for just a second and then leave. I am always amazed at the miracle of hummingbirds and always seem mesmerized when they are feeding. I also stop and watch them, and marvel at how tiny they are. This whole activity was taking place, and I had put down my book to watch the little red throated black hummingbird take a long and leisurely drink and then he buzzed around a bit, instead of darting away. I watched for a second and then he darted right at me, not by mistake but right to within 6 feet from me. He stopped and hovered... looking at me. I spoke to him, and called him Pins... "Hello there Pins", how was your lunch? To this, he darted right at me.... at break neck speed, enough for me to put my book up for protection. it was for only a second and then he retreated back to the 6 foot mark again. You visualize 6 feet in front of your nose, and see how close he was. Then visualize 3 feet and that's how close he came again. He hovered again and I let out a little nervous giggle, put down my book in embarrassment and didn't he do it again. I let out a little squeal, but that didn't even stop him. He retreated but only to about 5 feet. Now I was getting nervous. He didn't give me time to recover this time and he buzzed in again, 2 more times and then he retreated back to the bird feeder. I watched him very nervous and confused. Then it dawned on me that I was wearing a Burgundy tee shirt and maybe I was a yummy color... He buzzed by for a final look and then zipped off. This left me quite confused and then I thought about how stupid I must have looked being afraid of a little 2 inch zipper! Geesh.....10 minutes later he was back at the feeder and then came over to me again. This time, I was brave and friendly, and waved my book a bit to let him know I was HUMAN, not flower. He didn't seem all that scare actually.... But he hovered, I watched and we were one with nature... until he decided to bully me. He darted at me about three times but only moving a foot from his original hovering spot. I was clearly feeling threatened by this little smart dart so I clapped my book open and shut to discourage him.... little bugger! He left and so did I! and Mollie, again, slept through the whole exchange.At supper, I told the story to Terry and he said it must have been the color of my shirt.... and I agreed. It wasn't that he thought I was beautiful and flowery.... or that I was a phenomenon that could communicate with birds.Yesterday, another awesome day, same scenario... book, lemonade, birds....Actually, I changed the hummingbird feed that was in the feeder, to freshen it up, just because, maybe the little guy was complaining to me that the food was blah.... so, the only difference was that the food was fresher. And, you guessed it, little Mr. Pins came back. I know it was him, because he had the same routine as the other day. He went to one dispenser, then the other and back to the center one. You get to know these guys after a while if you watch them as much as I have. He drank heartily and I know he enjoyed the fresh food. He buzzed again around a bit then came to me again. He didn't waste any time, this time, he didn't hover long, he just came right at me... he buzzed to within two feet of me and then back. This time, I whipped my book up over my face, cause I was shocked and afraid.... geesh. He did it at least three times before I swapped at him with my book. He left then, and so did I. But friends, this time, I was wearing WHITE.Do you think he was threatened by my beauty... or do you think he has claimed by deck as HIS territory! Me thinks he is in for a battle. Today, while I am reading my book.... I will be armed... with my camera, and I will be Custer... and I will stand for MY deck. (while video taping his attack). I will be brave, I mean, what damage can a 2 inch bullet do!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Wildlife.... and no camera

Over the past week, I have had several death defying brushes with wildlife and haven't had time to blog about it, and sadly had no camera at the time.
Last week, while my company was still here was my first brush! It was a sunny, calm morning and Terry had just left for work, around 7:30am. Kelly was sitting on the couch facing me; I was in the armchair facing the kitchen/hallway. Gillian was sprawled over the couch, like a groggy octopus. Kelly and I were chatting about stuff and that's when it happened. I sweet little 8 inch chipmunk came bouncing up the steps, and sauntered into the kitchen. Very calmly, very relaxed, like he had been there millions of times before. I, in turn, calmly looked at Kelly, and asked if she knew where my cat was. My first thought was that Pika and brought him into the house, somehow.
Now, if we drift back in time, I need to tell you that, last summer, Michelle swore (passionately) that there was a chipmunk sitting on the craft room floor, while she was on the phone down there. We never saw it. We searched for weeks..... left food out even...nothing. Again, this winter, Dad (along with Sonny) both saw a little critter on Mollies bench UPSTAIRS in the livingroom, looking longingly out the window at the snow covered yard. Ok, Dad was mostly blind, and Sonny was.... just old. We searched again. Nothing, but both Dad and Sonny, also swore passionately that they saw it. Sonny even chased it down the hall to the bedrooms!
So, back to now. Kelly said she didn't see Pika at all this morning, but she could tell by my face that something was up. I lip whispered to her that there was a chipmunk in the kitchen, to which she stood straight up, ready to either help or run, I wasn't sure. Just then, the phone rang... which I answered... sort of in the fashion of James Bond, in the middle of a gun fight! It was Kim and I immediately passed the phone off to Kelly and instructed Kelly to go open the back door and I would chorale the little chippy out the back door..... so picture us, both in jammies, Kelly on the phone whispering to Kim, as to not scare our little intruder, and I am tip toeing around both to not scare him, and to keep all this action out of Gillian's ears because we didn't need that excitement either. Between us, we watch as he darts around the kitchen, now aware that he is discovered. He comfortably darts back out the kitchen and down the basement stairs...on his way, trying the bottom of the door to escape. Great idea, I figure, so I rush down the steps after him, both to keep an eye on where he goes, and also to open the door (which wouldn't stay open). He stops at the bottom of the steps and watches me, as I hold the door open and try my hardest to lift a 50 lb planter onto the door step to hold the door open. After that was accomplished (remember, in my jammies), he darts down into the craft room. Here are my thoughts.... James is sleeping downstairs in once of the rooms off the craft room.... we already woke him up the day before, by throwing a giggling pig on him while Aubrey video taped him. I didn't think he needed to have a panicked chipper run across his chest this morning. Then I thought, with all the crap in my craft room, that little bugger could hide anywhere, and actually, maybe he lived down there, from last summer..... ewwwwww!!!!! I tiptoes down the steps, while he watched me... I wasn't planning on losing sight of him either. He inched back a bit, but still not too afraid that he had to hid. I inched my way around the corner and quietly shut James' bedroom door. The little chipper knew what he had to do. He could see the front door open... he had to get past me to freedom and I didn't want to be in the way, but I wanted to keep him in my sight. I pressed my back against the wall, to give him clear passage, and he made his move... just as Kelly hollered down the stairs.... I had to answer because I didn't want her coming down.... but that caused panic in the little guy and he darted right at ME!!!! AHHHHHHHHHH
I started clapping my hands to startle him and he ran back into the craft room..... I told Kelly to stay there and not let him come up the stairs... I could hear her then.... starting to panic.... Then we were all quiet... he pranced 6 inches and stopped. pranced 6 more inches and stopped. And then, with lightening speed he bound up the stairs and out the door to freedom. We both laughed (Kelly and I) and wondered how he got in, and how all this 5 minutes of excitement could transpire without Mollie and Gillian even knowing! We are good!

So, was he there all winter... or is there a secret little door somewhere that lets these little critters in and out of my house!

Tomorrow... another wildlife adventure... this time... a hummingbird named Pins

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Garden News

Bet you have been missing my garden news. This time last year, I had several boring garden blogs. But I have spared you many of them this year.

I planted my Scarlett runners quite late this year, and I also have some awesome seeds from my blogger friend Ann. I was very excited to get these in the ground. They started popping up out of the ground around June 20th. Its been 20 days and they are coming up quickly. The Hyacinth beans were much slower to come up and I made sure to mark them on the row, so I would know which were which. Not really a problem to tell, as it turns out, because the Hyacinth leaves have a different shape and deep Burgundy vein going through them. About a week ago, when Scott and Michelle were home, the boys strung up the "upper" strings for the beans and really just in time! By the time they got them all up, the tallest bean was right to the top of the strings that were strung in June. They are way past that now, and they have made the bend at the top. I have to go out daily and wrap the new growth around the strings. They only need a bit of help for the first foot or so, and then the climb crossways instead of up. They don't really have a choice be

My yellow beans growing in my little garden are all up too. They were planted way tooooo late, but we will see how they do. I have tomatoes and cukes and 2 and a half small rows of Yellow beans. Oh and not to mention the rhubarb.

Monday, July 14, 2008

The Annapolis River

Ok, its been a kayaking weekend, for sure. We paddled the Annapolis... from Wilmot to Middleton. 6.9 km. Of course, as the crow flies, it would probably be less than 5 km. As you can see, we looped around quite a bit. The blue line below shows the river and we paddled every one of those corners!We had to crawl down a very steep hill and put the kayaks into "rushing" water right under the bridge near Frenchies.. Man I was soooo scared. The first part of our paddle was FULL of rocks. Big ones, hiding under the surface, then shallow parts that we had to drag across. The water ran swift all the way through the river, which was why we traveled almost 7km in just over 2 hours. There was no time to take pictures because I couldn't really let go of the paddles.

Here is a list of the pictures I DIDN'T take.

* 6 sets of rapids (well, little rapids, but rapids no less)

* the 3 times I got grounded onto big rocks, twice in the middle of rapids

*the one time I rammed into Terry, in the middle of the biggest rapids, as he grounded onto a high rock

*the one time Terry had to paddle back to me to free me from one of the tangles I got myself into.

*The one time I almost tipped over, while getting myself out of the rapids.... Terry didn't even see that, as he was trying to survive them just a head of me!

*the GIANT dragonfly that landed on Terry's hat and sat for at least a minute, but the river was too rocky for me to take out the camera... it was soooo funny.

* the piping plovers who were scurrying around along each of the sandy sides of the curvy part of the river.

*the swallows that skimmed the water

It was fun to try and figure out where we were by what we could see off in the distance. We paddled past Sid's Par 3 course quite soon after we started out, but nothing familiar until we saw the Parson's Motor sign off in the distance. The river is so much lower than the banks, at least 10 feet down. Add to that the very tall grass that grew, so we were fairly isolated. We did see some wild life, a turtle sunning himself, a muskrat swimming with a pile of branches to deliver to his house. And a herd of horses (well 4 of them) and they were quite interested in us too. I thought the beautiful tawny one was going to jump into the river to get a better look.
The river was quite a challenge, but fun just the same. We paddled without the rudders which was a great way for me to learn the intricate steering needed to get around rocks, tree trunks, shallow spots and of course the really fun rapids. I lost a lot of nervousness, mostly because Terry was ahead of me always, and warned me of all the monsters lurking ahead. Even the rapids, which I thought would be terrifying were not as bad as the hiding rocks. I did bump into several of those rocks, and they didn't tip me, just re routed me, and that was OK too. I am learning. It helps when the water is only 4 to 6 feet deep and the banks are 20 feet away.

Baby steps...right. I was sad to see the end come so quickly. We thought it would take us 3 hours to paddle the 7km, just doing the math after the lakes we had paddled. We were surprised when

we turned yet another corner and the bridge in Middleton was there! (2 hours, 10 minutes) We had to do the car shuffle, so I waited with the kayaks while Terry drove to Wilmot to exchange cars and come back. That's it for kayaking for the next few weeks really. Maybe some evening paddles (hopefully to Trout Lake) but no big adventures because weekends will be busy for the next few!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

I don't like suspense...

I don't like movies with suspense, I don't like walking down dark hallways, I don't like not knowing exactly where we are either. Terry, on the other hand, has no fear. We are so the exact opposite. Today, when we were kayaking Lake George, and we would suddenly come across a shark hiding under the water (OK, well, really it was a rock, but it felt as scary as a shark), my heart would pound and he just gently steer around it, not worried one bit.

Well, before supper, he was studying Google Earth, which he does often, and he said come look at this. He showed me the Annapolis River and blah blah blah blah, about this and this and that and wow, and this and that...... ugh. Not my thing, at all. During supper he said he found a channel or a canal. Its next to a ravine, not far from here. It goes about 4 km and the there is a dam and it blah blah blah. All I heard was RAVINE and DAM. Like I want to kayak that!!!!! He is really anxious to kayak the Annapolis River, which I am too, but it will take some coordinating and stuff, and I didn't want to do that last night. Its a very long and windy river and we need both cars and a lunch! I did agree to go see this canal. I was really nervous, about rocks and ravines and dams, at this point. He assured me that there was no danger! Like he can tell from Google Earth.....

Off we went with sunglasses, bottle of water and the gear. It was just 5 minutes down Hwy 10 and we had to pull off the road onto a dirt lot and climb down a hill to get the boats in. I can not tell you how nervous I was. We paddled for just a few minutes when we came to a small lake, which Terry didn't see on Google Earth..... now I was terrified. I made him go ahead of me, and I stayed way back. If he got sucked under by a tidal something, or something big attacked him, I had time to back paddle! We wandered around the lake for a few minutes, trying to find the channel. We came to a weird shallow spot in the lake which scared me a bit but he gave me plenty of warning! Finally, he found it and he waited at the opening for me. I was leery and somewhat annoyed too.... Google Earth, indeed.

If there was a little piece of heaven in the non-scary kayak world... Terry found it. It was, as we both said, spectacular! What an amazing little treasure. We paddled for 1 and a half hours of quiet and peace. There were little birds skimming the waters just a head of us to pick up the only other wildlife there, which was little water bugs. We saw 3 large beaver dams but they were built on the sides of the channel.. Several dens that belong to fox or something. It was spectacular. Enjoy the pictures.... This one is our first few minutes. I was pleasantly pleased but still very nervous. There were several of these along once side of the channel. We can't really be sure who lives there, but somehow, that doesn't make me nervous. They aren't big enough to attack or anything, but I did give a fleeting thought to bears. It is a perfect watering hole for all kinds of animals, yet we didn't see any tonight. The water was so calm, and eventhough there was wind all around us, we were in a RAVINE and we felt no wind what so ever! The water was not clear, but Terry said because it was a man made channel, it was sure to be very deep.. um... well, I guess I have to believe him. But the water was certainly still enough to make these mirror imagines. One of three beaver dams we saw. We didn't make it to the end (thank God, cause all I can remember is Terry saying something about a Dam), we turned around after 50 minutes and paddled back because it was getting dark. That is the overpass on Hwy 10, and we were parked there. There is a walking road all along the channel as well. I think it would be fun to walk it too. Of course, if I was walking it, I would be wanting to paddle it too.
It was a great evening, a wonderful discovery. I will be going back there many more times, and for anyone who wants to come for a soft, peaceful paddle with me, this is the place for us. It was a great Saturday, to be sure....

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Catchin up!

Its Saturday... again. Yipee...
I have a lot of catching up to do. I have been off work for one week now. Its been a glorious week of beaches, gardens, food, family and fun. I have had the pleasure of a whole week of family visiting and they left yesterday. It was very sad to see them drive off. Mollie and I just sat on the door step and talked about what we were going to do now. We had fun filled days for the whole week and now we sat in the cool morning sun, soaking up the quiet buzz of the front steps. Little bees and wasps flittered from blossom to blossom and would dive bomb Mollie, totally not interested in either one of us, but enjoying the fun of freaking her out. The constant fly byes near drove Mollie mad, and her agitation certainly put a damper on the peacefulness. I finally had to give it up and take her inside. I wandered around looking for forgotten items and assessed what needed to get done to get the house back into a normal state. You know the "after company" clean up. My day was filled with laundry, vacuuming, cleaning the fridge, dusting (which should have got done BEFORE the company!) and thinking about next year at this time when they will be back!

Gillian and I will be making a book together on Shutterfly, so she will have a memoir of our vacation!

Today... Saturday.... Kayaking. We put the boats into Lake George at 9:00am and we were back in the car on the way down the mountain by 11am. Lake George is shallow and has a lot of rocks and some of the rocks are so close to the surface, they have only about an inch of water covering them. It was actually freaking when paddling between a few of the little islands dotting the Lake George, we would come across boat size boulders that could easily have tipped the kayak just lurking below the surface. I would hate to own a motor boat in this lake, unless you know every inch of it. Its not that big a lake, really, so any of the life time cottagers would probably know where every shallow spot is. Anyway, enjoyable no less.

I pulled out my first book of the summer. This time last year, we were all entranced in Harry Potter... Today, I pulled out ISLANDS byAnne Rivers Siddons and also my beautiful bookmark that Kelly made for me out of beads. She made like 50 or so for Kim to sell, to help raise money for her Walk for Breast Cancer. (just in case anyone is interested in owning one) This afternoon, while Terry snoozed after 2 hours of kayaking, I enjoyed the deck, a tall glass of Iced Green Tea (Tangerine flavored), my book, my dog and the little birds that seem to enjoy hopping along the railing!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

92 degrees....

Well, summer has arrived. We are in the hot and humid days of valley weather. Today was 32 degrees and just blah, so off we went for an hour by the ocean. In less than 15 minutes the temperature went from 32 to 17 degrees. Michelle actually had to wear her sweater...
I think Mollie was the happiest of all of us. She started crying as soon as we started the decent over the mountain and down into the village... she loves water sooo much.
Margertsville is a favorite spot of our family. We are not "laying on the beach" kind of people. We are more "beach walkers" and "beach searchers". This is a very quaint rocky beach near the village and is so peaceful and there are always interesting things and people around to look at. This little building is new this year. Its a second hand book store, and for all its "tinyness" it has a lot of books in it. Very cute. The Artist Circle building has been here as long as I can remember, and I actually bought a painting for Marie from this building quite a few years ago. It was of antique stone jugs all sitting on antique chairs. Marie has both in her house, and it was just perfect for her.