Posted in General, humor, humour, winter

Last Winter in Our Lovely Home

As many of you know, we have sold our house and will be looking for a new abode.

Also, as many of you know, for twenty years we spent four or five months of the Canadian winter in the delightful city of Palm Springs in California, where we, usually, except for the one year when we had flooded impassable roads, had lovely warm days.

That all ended in April of 2017, four years ago, when both My Beloved and I had some little issues requiring the use of a knife. Perhaps I should say scalpel, but whatever it was, it meant we couldn’t leave for extended joyous days in the sun.

And then CoVID-19 paid a visit to this planet.

The past four winters have been spent here in Nova Scotia and, to tell the truth, the first three of them were respectable, or at least, proper, tolerable. I must admit that ofttimes while in Palm Springs, I have been guilty of Schadenfreude in that I would scoff at my winter-bound friends back in Nova Scotia having to shovel snow. So, it seems that this fourth winter is pay-back for my naughtiness.

Weekend after weekend would see my snowploughing guy, Monty, come with his tractor to rid my driveway and parking area of the dreaded atmospheric water vapour, frozen into ice crystals and which falls on my property as light white flakes comprising drifts a metre or more in depth.

Don’t think that because the cars look relatively clean that I exaggerate. Oh, no, that’s because Monty’s son came and brushed off the worst before his dad came to clear around the cars. After all, what would be the point of ploughing the parking clear and then dumping more on the ground?

Now three successive weekends meant I dished out sixty bucks a plough. That’s more than a good Mexican meal for four at JJ’s in Palm Springs. With vino tinto.

Before we write of the fourth weekend, which is the one in which I am writing this, let me take you back to Thursday. The day started all right: a good clean shave, no nicks. Breakfast of grapefruit and eggs on an English muffin, well-buttered. But, somewhere during the course of the morning, there was the ominous sound of water splashing on ceramic tiles. Oh, no!

Opening the doors to the music room/joint sunroom (what the Brits might call, in their inimitable way, a conservatory), revealed what an ant could call an Olympic swimming pool. The niagara (lower case n intended) was cascading at a rate of ‘can-I-keep-up-with-it’ by wringing out towel after towel (actually the same towel) and squeezing the one oxygen and two hydrogen atoms into a bowl. I lost count of how many squeezed atoms filled a bowl and how many times I carried the bowl to the sink to empty.

It wasn’t until My Beloved said, wouldn’t a mop be easier? Of course. Where was the mop? Oh, it was in such bad shape it got put out with the garbage as part of our downsizing.

Into the car and drive to Redmond’s (aka Home Hardware, but all locals still call it by it’s founders’ name). As I was looking at their selection, granddaughter in Seattle videoed me. Ah, she’s such a lovely young woman whom I love deeply, I had just taken the call when, simultaneously, our new owner of the house, Darrell, called to ask for photos of the sunroom and of the roof over it. I had to abandon Cierra. It has to be explained that our deal with the house is that the closing is the end of April, so we, My Beloved and I, are still responsible for the house until then. About two months ago, a similar flood had occurred and, at that time, Darrell had asked me to phone him if it happened again and while it was happening. So I had phoned him before starting squeezing towels after towel. Darrell is a developer, so has trades at his beck and call. Except this was a miserable day and they may be tied up somewhere else. Of course.

I couldn’t find what I wanted for a mop in Redmond’s, so went on to Canadian Tire. There I saw Margie, a cashier who is there all weekdays, but not on weekends. Hi, Margie, can you point to where I can find a mop? Margie, as happens if she is not serving a customer, walked me down the aisles past electrical and plumbing and camping and other categories until, yes, there were the mops. Who uses mops these days when there are such great accessories as water vacs? The mop will have to do.

Back home mopping was commenced and my arms, hands, and back certainly said thank you for getting a mop. Just after the snow on the skylights had melted away, niagara slowed to a lovely country brook.

A knock at the door and there was a face I recalled from the past. Matt, our sometime grass cutter said hi and asked if this is the house that has snow on the roof to be removed? He told me he now worked for Raymar, the family company soon to be the owner of our house and he had three helpers with ladders. Around the side of the house they went and started tackling the snow.

Young Matt had a shovel larger than I could ever have handled and he was lifting ice and snow and throwing it over the side as easily as I used to throw snowballs at our kids.

To be young again!

And they discovered the flaw – otherwise called the flow. It was an ice dam at the base of the skylights preventing thawing snow, aka water, from flowing off the roof and forcing it up and over the flashing. And if that description is incomprehensible, it translates to an easy fix when the sun is shining from the heavens and warming things up a bit.

With that event solved, we turned to the fact that most of Nova Scotia was in a freezing rain warning. Freezing rain can form on power lines and break them or pull the power poles over. (Why haven’t developers and power companies gone to the extra cost of laying power lines underground everywhere? I know I would pay extra to get uninterruptable power.)

Without power I would have to light the fire.
To light the fire I would need matches or a lighter.
We have no lighter – it was left in Palm Springs.
We are downsizing and my two large boxes containing thousands of book matches, collected from hotels and restaurants all over the world, were taken by our BFs Peter and Karen to a store which will sell them.
No matches in the house.
No fire to warm the house and us.

Remember Redmond’s? Back there again, late Friday – oh, yes, we are in Friday – and the trip was successful. I returned with matches and a lighter. We are set for no power.

But as for this winter……
…….I can’t wait to get into an apartment around August.
No more snow shovelling.
Parking underground.
Close to civilisation. i.e. theatres and stores.

Oh, I hear there could be other issues, though. i.e. noise from neighbours or outside.

And I will miss my bird friends and squirrels and, particularly my chipmunk friends.

But, maybe, I will make more friends of the human kind.
And perhaps I will find doggy friends through becoming a dog-walker.

Stay tuned!

Posted in Dining, General, humour

It’s winter, but…….

Sure, just a couple of days ago it was above freezing.
Now it is -4C and going down tonight to -11C.

And, call me a liar, I said there was no snow.
Now there is.


The sun was shining brilliantly, so I cleared the snow off the decks – no worries, it was light fluffy stuff and I just pushed it over the sides of the decks, so no lifting – and I felt wonderful. It was exciting to be back in snowland after so many years away from it.

Even better was the fact that I could watch all my friends: Mr & Mrs Blue Jay and a few others, the Black-capped Chickadees, the Dark-eyed Junkos and even a remaining pair of Goldfinches, which I did not expect to see. And from time to time, they all came to one or other of my four feeders. Additionally, the two regular red friendly squirrels came as soon as I started to refill one of the feeders. One is Noisy, because he is noisy, and One-eye, because he has only one eye. He’s my favourite and has been around for at least three years, feeding from our hands every summer, so I imagine he is very pleased to see we are vacationing at home this winter. How he manages to survive, jumping from branch to branch, never falling, with only one eye, is a wonder of nature.


The last time I was able to watch my feeders during winter, some twenty years ago, there were never any Goldfinches around at Christmas. However, I now see that they are quite common at Christmas and I am very happy. No global warming? Ha! Their colouring, however, is very dull with no yellow on the male at all, just the olive-greeny shade. There are actually two in the next picture, one on each side of the feeder.

IMG_20171217_1426125 - cropped

Now I have to admit that, aside from having to get rid of a little bit of snow, winter can be quite pleasant. My Beloved and I live in our house with five acres, basically unable to see our neighbours through the forest of trees, able to view the Atlantic Ocean in St. Margaret’s Bay from 100 metres up above, occasionally watching the lobster boats when lobster is in season as now, or the sailboats in the spring through autumn, being able to feed and talk to our avian and mammalian friends, with a feeling, even in winter, that all’s right with God’s world and we are blessed to be able to live and share in it.

Now, what’s for dinner, just to underline that all’s right with God’s world, particularly in this house at our feeding time at our feeder? First, a wonderful, flavourful beef stew, filled with carrots, cabbage, onion, herbs, garlic (how can you eat without that), with potatoes to mash into it and a glass of wine to accompany it.


But, delicious as that was, I did not finish it – it’s now leftovers for Tuesday’s dinner, for we have to be out early on Tuesday for carols at a Seniors’ home followed by choir practice at our church. And I had to leave room for dessert. Simply had to.


Oh, a so scrumptious apple and wild blueberry crumble. The apples were from our own tree; the blueberries had been handpicked by someone and frozen by My Beloved. And she has a secret for the crumble, which I shall share with you: mix in some crystallized ginger – what a difference it makes.

As I wrote above, It’s winter, but…. how could such a wonderful day; singing joyful songs in church for the 3rd Sunday in Advent; a gorgeous afternoon out on the deck with my little friends; and a superb home-cooked meal be surpassed?

On Facebook, my nom-de-plume is Nuntius Muse.

Until the muse catches hold of me again, it will be from time to time.