Silence

A little bit snowy, a little bit foggy, a little bit sunny. Late afternoon light on a December afternoon.

WPC – silence

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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!!😉). 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

Merry Christmas!

Christmas is coming – The goose is getting fat – Please put a penny in the old man’s hat – If you don’t have a penny, a ha’penny will do – If you don’t have a ha’penny, then God bless you.

A bit of peace and bliss at the beach today. A calm before the storm. Literally. The (ungrateful) weatherman is forecasting a Christmas Day storm of snow turning to rain with high winds for tomorrow. I expect we’ll get mostly rain. However, it’s the winds that can get me down.

We won’t notice this time though. Just so glad that we are all home here together. Both boys are home. The turkey is brining. The tree is lit and decorated. We’ll be busy catching up, playing games and just general silliness. Revisiting some traditions and creating new memories.

May the magic of the season gladden your heart and fulfill your desires!

Merry Christmas!

Ascend

I’m cooling my heels in downtown Toronto. Husband is working here and I tagged along for a pre-Christmas visit with my youngest son. And even though I’m sitting pretty high (in a hotel room on the 42nd floor), the view from here has me looking up. Way up.

Toronto’s iconic CN Tower is practically next door. Built in 1976, and the equivalent of a 147 story building, the Tower held the title of the world’s tallest freestanding structure for 32 years. Now, I think, it ranks 9th in the world and 3rd or 4th in the western world. Something like that. Everyone wants to go UP, UP, UP it seems …

If you are so inclined, you can travel by glass elevator – through the channel in the middle of the structure – to the observation deck and dine in a revolving restaurant which obviously offers amazing views.

Last summer, my very brave (crazy?) sister participated in the Sky Walk – in which she paid for the privilege of being strapped in a harness and hung over the side of the building from a platform ABOVE the observation deck!

And at night, the whole thing it’s lit up. I noticed the colour of the elevator shaft moves and changes as the car travels up and down.

These photos are not great. My excuse is that they were all taken through the window from the warm coziness of inside the hotel.

Did I mention it’s a tad chilly here in Toronto this week? A cold snap has descended (after a pretty mild autumn) and it’s been getting colder every day! This morning we woke to -14C, with a wind chill of -27. It feels like -27 out there!!! So! Photos are being taken from inside.

You can see “smoke” off the lake this morning – as the relatively warmer water evaporates off the lake. And if you look very closely, you can see the vapour reach up for the clouds. Mesmerizing pretty … from in here.

WPC – ascend

Beacon Hill Doors

Recently, we found ourselves in Boston, on a layover; a few delicious hours to reunite with one of my favourite cities.

Not surprisingly, we gravitated toward Beacon Hill, where the low November sun added to the ambience – even though this shot was taken at 11:00 in the morning.

The pre-Thanksgiving (American) door decorations were bang on point. Natural, understated and elegant.

There were big doors… (love the reflections)9

… small doors …

… and the door of a famous author!

Did I mention it was chilly? As in, and downright cold? These little birdies had the right idea … soaking up the tiniest bit of heat from the sunny door step.

We took our cue from them, and popped into a warm and bustling corner coffee shop.

If you find yourself in this neighbourhood, drop in. The rest of the menu looked just as amazing as the pastries and coffee.

Linked to Norm’s Thursday Doors.

Just Dropping In …

This lovely lady rested beside me for a moment or two.

Dragonflies carry with them a weight of myth and folklore.

In Feng Shui, dragonflies mean change, new beginnings and bring all kinds of nice things.

Some people think a visit from a dragonfly is a visit from someone from heaven.

Another take suggests that they represent self-awareness and living in the moment. This might come from the fact that dragonflies spend most of their lives as nymphs, living as adults for only usually a few months.

All of this adds to the beautiful mystic of the dragonfly. These elegant and versatile fliers are equally at home in the air, on land and on the water. And they eat mosquitoes!! Or, so I’m told. A positive characteristic in any visitor.

One thing I know for sure, when this particular dragonfly alighted beside me, the world stood still for a few breaths as I marvelled in this small gift.

WPC – temporary