Liquid Sunshine

The 24th of May

Is the Queen’s birthday,

And if we don’t get a holiday,

We’ll all run away!

(A little rhyme from my grandfather’s childhood)

I’m not sure why we, here in Canada, still recognize Queen Victoria’s birthday with a holiday weekend, but I’m not complaining.

Neither, it seems, is anyone else.

Maybe because if falls nicely in May just in time to throw ourselves at the garden with enthusiasm.

Anyway, a walk through Halifax’s Formal Victorian Public Gardens, seems a nice way to tip our hat to Her Majesty. Even though it was raining – pouring, at times.

Hmmm. Someone looks a little impatient with me stopping every moment or two.

Understandable, really, as we were on a mission to find this now famous mama. (It was only me who was interested in strolling 馃槈)

The gardens’ 25 year old agave plant had to be moved out of her greenhouse earlier this spring because her flower stalk had become too tall for the building. The flower stalk can grow 5-6 inches per day, apparently.

And there she is – in her, presently muddy, bed. No flower yet. That might be due to the cool temps, or maybe she just isn’t in a hurry. After all, once the flower sets seeds, the mother plant will die.

Take your time, dear, and enjoy the Spring. There is a new queen in the Gardens.

Long may you reign.

WPC – liquid

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Weathered

We have to have weather, whether or not. Right?

Or … Adapting to winter on the Coast of the North Atlantic

Wind is the story here. And wildly fluctuating temperatures.

In the previous post, I mentioned that the weather gods were sending us rain and wind for Christmas. It was the forecast of high winds that had me worried. That “gift” was delivered with enthusiasm! Oh, it rained alight!! The rain gutters sounded as if someone had turned in a tap on full force. Temperatures were mild, well above freezing. The wind blew roof shingles off houses, toppled trees and knocked out the electricity to tens of thousands.

We had a simple, old-fashioned county Christmas dinner, ourselves. (Luckily, the turkey had JUST come when the power went out). For us the outage added an element of atmosphere and was restored after about 6 hours – much to the relief of my millennial sons. Others were not so fortunate – some folks made due without power for three more days. Which really was a challenge because the storm was followed by super cold temperatures – in the -20C area with windchill around -27C.

Our annual Christmas hike was postponed till Boxing Day – and let me tell you, it was “some cold”!!

I do not envy those folks who had to cope with freezing houses, not knowing when their power would be back. Those cold temps lasted into the New Year.

And then.

The temps warmed up. Up, up,up! And carried with them another rain/wind storm. This was the storm that brought snow to a Florida and flooded Boston. It was massive! Not so much rain for us, but wind gusts in excess of 120km/hr. Well warned, we were all better prepared. The Power Corp brought in extra help and spread them throughout the land in anticipation. Lobster fishermen moved their boats and secured them as best they could. Hubby stashed everything that could blow around into the garage. I filled my bathtub with water, bought new flashlights and batteries, pulled out our hand-cranked radio and stocked up with snacks (#stormchips!!馃槈). I even made a pot of coffee and stored it the thermos before going to bed. How’s that for planning ahead?!

The next morning, we still had power! In fact, we didn’t lose power the in this storm at all. Lucky, again. Because more than half of all homes in the province did. The winds and tidal surge did the damage. The Halifax waterfront boardwalk was flooded and torn apart. Flights were cancelled. Bridges shut. Ferries ties up.

Our beach was “breached”.

Boats were toppled off their cradles, twisting masts.

And, dramatically, an entire wall of scaffolding blew off the Lunenburg Academy. This beauty is undergoing much needed renovations. However, questions abound about the wisdom of wrapping a large building, which is perched on a hill facing the North Atlantic, in plastic for the winter. But, no one was hurt and no serious damage was done to the building. So, that’s a question for another day.

Again, the system was followed with a deep freeze which lasted for about a week.

As I write this, we are experiencing yet another “wind/rain” event. It is worth noting that it is +15C and the rain is falling in sheets. The radio is reporting widespread power outages and flooding. Again. And, you guessed it, the forecast is for falling temps. The ground is frozen and is, therefore, unable to absorb all this water. Because temperatures are due to drop quickly, forecasters are warning about a “flash freeze”. That can’t be good!

I’m delighted to report that we, here, have sustained no damage or inconvenience from any of these storms really, except for a dark Christmas dinner. We have been in this area for more that 27 years, and have experienced more power outages in the past two than all the previous years put together. This brings me to the question of the season….

How do we adapt to, what seems to be, the new normal?

My husband and I are planning to build a new house in the summer. (Downsizing. Haha! Yeah, sure!). As we consider heating systems, we are hoping to build for the future. Whatever that brings. And what should we do for back up, when the power goes out – as it obviously, inevitably will.

In our present home we have radiant in-floor heat powered by a geo-thermal system. Which is great, but expensive and invasive to install. It would require some sort of back up, if we were to stay. The thought for the new house is in- floor heat powered by solar panels. With a power wall as back up.

We are still researching. Any thoughts?

WPC – weathered