Tucson! Tucson, Arizona

The defining feature for the best picture of the year Oscar should be its ability to draw you back to watch it over and over again. Case in point, The Bridge on the River Kwai. It won best picture in 1957 but it has always been a favourite of mine and I could probably recite the script word for word, I have seen it that many times. Not many of today’s movies bring us back to watch again and again.

But we do like movies and we binge a lot of tv series. Winter hours watching British crime dramas fill a lot of our evenings, especially during the last two years when there has been no socializing to speak of.

Our days, fortunately, are filled with hours watching wildlife.

We had the great pleasure, this week, of watching Peter Jackson’s Get Back documentary about the Beatles. I have to say it is one of the best few hours we have spent in a good long time. At the risk of over simplifying a complicated dynamic, I don’t think it will spoil anything for you if I tell you a few of my reactions.

George was quite right to record all the songs he had in his head on his own. One of my favourite albums was All Things Must Pass, but I couldn’t help but want to warn him to quit smoking.

Ringo seems to be a gentle, easy going, great guy with great hair.

Paul is a genius. To be a fly on the wall and watch him create with the boys was mesmerizing. The very process to pull a song out of nowhere, incredible..

John was a lot of fun and came alive once they got to the studio. They all obviously loved each other. You can see it in Paul’s eyes when he looks at John. Even when they were arguing they always spoke with respect and had each other’s back.

Yoko was misunderstood and although she cannot sing, (good lord that woman can’t sing) and liked to stick really close to John at all times, she didn’t interfere.

The whole series was amazing. I don’t think it qualifies for an Oscar nomination but it should. It is a show, I know, we will watch over and over again. There was so much going on, I imagine I missed a lot. If you are Beatles fans like we are, you will love the show and also find yourself trying to help them with the lyrics. It’s

Tucson! Tucson Arizona

Back to work

If you don’t want to hear stories about Christmas, come back in a month or so. Fair warning, the yuletide season is likely to be mentioned a little bit over the next wee while.

This time of year, back home, when we were raising our kids, I would have been spending a lot of my time at Christmas craft fairs with my girlfriends. Over the years, a lot of really nice decorations were added to my collection. I had a big house with lots of nooks and crannies to tuck a Santa or two. It was fun and I enjoyed everything about it.

That said, nothing was ever put on display until December. The tree itself, traditionally, went up the weekend before Christmas day. When E became ill in 1999, I bought an artificial tree. I was not going to deal with the buying and transportation of a real tree with three young kids. Not going to happen. Everything in our lives had to be simplified.

Once we had a fake tree, I was able to decorate earlier than ever before, but still, never before December first. I enjoy the season. Especially the pretty lighting. I like to do my baking with the music on and the lights up. But once the 25th is over, I cannot wait to take it all down and tidy up.

Since living here, we have given most of the decorations to our kids. There is just no room in this little house to store them or display them. Three years ago I was in Ladner in December and saw a Christmas tree made out of twigs hanging on the wall of my favourite gift store, Rembrandts Cottage. I really liked it as an option for a very tiny living room. I took a picture of it and saved it on my phone. Since then, I have seen the idea well explored on Pinterest, and it is no longer anything original. But still, we wanted to try it this year, with Arbutus tree branches.

Once E had his heart transplant in 1999, I gave out heart ornaments to our friends at Christmas. Keeping one each year for ourselves, we accumulated a nice selection of heart shaped decorations. They are really all that we have left of my craft fair days. Our take on the elf on the shelf has E’s stuffed Tinman sitting on this years tree.

I am pleased to report that E is feeling more like himself. Still not presentable to the public, but he is a much happier camper today, so he and Shanty got

back to work.

While he relaxes

Didn’t have too go far for your moment of zen tonight. It was a beautiful sunset.

I realize it is too early for Christmas lights or thoughts of yuletide decorating. This light display will be considered Christmas lighting in December but right now they are simply a celebration of life and full water tanks. Don’t judge me!

When we were in town in October and the turkeys and hams were on sale, I bought what we would need for Christmas and the fridge is now full. Does it sound to you that I miss my kids and am looking forward to their visit in December? Shhhh, don’t tell them, I don’t want to sound needy..

Post heart transplant, E has to take a lot of brutal anti rejection drugs which make him susceptible to skin cancer. Once a year he has to do a chemical peel on his face and head. The downside is it makes him feel less than great and he looks kind of scary for a little while until he heals. The upside is he remains cancer free and his skin, when said and done, looks like he is forty.

It is November and easy for us to schedule ten days with no socializing or incidental sun. E can be miserable, if need be, in peace and quiet. So today is day one of the four day treatment. Heavy rains are expected so the only thing left to do is to figure out a show to binge on Netflix mindlessly

while he relaxes.

Canoodling beside me

I have so much sewing to do before Christmas but can’t seem to get into it. With the endless rains, we seem to be more inclined to watch the ongoing storms, drink coffee and discuss future plans for the property.

Three years ago we agreed any new projects we would start needed to make use of all the construction materials left over from the house reno. So we began building the guest cabin and the greenhouse. We finished them, like we wanted, and were able to use everything we had laying around the property, but still we needed just a few more bits. It is a slippery slope.

We hired a barge last March to bring over all of the bits and pieces we would need to finish the projects we had in mind. The house and guest cabin are essentially finished and the greenhouse and garden are almost done. There are few construction materials left unused, everything that came on the barge has been used, and we have nothing urgent which needs to be seen to.

Our latest plan is to absolutely not start any new projects. None, no more. No new projects until 2023. None! In 2023 we will think about replacing the roof on the workshop but the new tarp we put on it is holding up well and I think we can ignore the whole thing for a little while longer.

But, as is always the case living here, none of the projects we have already begun are finished. There is always just a bit more to do. The trim on our bedroom doors, the trim in the guest cabin, the pond pump, the greenhouse countertops. Lots of finishing touches to finish. So that is the goal for 2022, finish what we have started. When and if we ever do, we will start on the workshop.

It should be a nice pace for us, slowly plugging away at small jobs.

I went down to the waters edge today for your moment of zen, as the sea lions were here

Do you remember when I showed you pictures of the eagles kissing at the cut (Know eagles kiss )? Well the sea lions were at it today. Here is a wee clip of them

canoodling beside me

For you tomorrow

We have all heard of famous wild life photographers who spend hours frost bitten in hidden blinds waiting for the perfect rare shot. Well, I want to get some fun pictures for you but am hoping my sit me down needn’t get chilled.

As the seasons pass, we move through riveting topics on this blog. Tomato growing and water issues often take a prominent role in the daily updates, but today we take a step back to my favourite topic and hopefully the main focus of the blog during the winter months ahead. The nature channel.

I went down to our water access at high tide, just before dusk, to try to catch the sea lions playing for you. There was no sign of them. While I waited, our resident seal floated by. He is often seen alone in front of the house. It looks to me like he has a problem with his eye. It is the first sign of an issue.

Resident seal

There was a kingfisher catching his dinner off the tree above me. He is hard to photograph as he is very quick and well camouflaged. Often, I only know he is there because of the distinct call he makes when on the hunt.

Kingfisher

We have three Harlequin ducks who arrived this week to the cut. I don’t remember seeing them here ever before. So beautiful.

As I sat on the rock bundled in my grey coat, disguised to blend in with the rocks near the waters edge, I had an intimate visit with an otter. I was sitting in the middle of the route which he takes to his home. He normally goes up the rock where I was sitting and climbs the hill to the cliffs behind our garden. He looked confused about my presence. We can consider my chat with him today’s moment of zen.

So no sea lion video for you today but I do have pictures of a nice variety of wildlife and, for me, it was a fairly beautiful hour spent on the nature channel. Lets see what I can find

for you tomorrow

The chore list

Our rain meter tells me that we have had 48 mm of rain since midnight. The pump has been going off every two or three hours since yesterday and every time it does, 250 gallons go up the hill to our tanks

There are only so many baths the two of us can take in a day, so E was looking for another project he could finish, which would benefit from unlimited water. During the heaviest rainfall we have ever seen he put on his orange man suit yesterday and started to power wash the decks. It is a 1200 sq foot deck with four years of grime. For a man with an old back, it is basically a three day job. Soaked absolutely through, he appreciated yet another hot bath and a couple of Tylenol when he was done. He was back at it today and should finish tomorrow.

We really need to stain the deck but it’s too late in the year now and we had no water for the job in the summer. Theoretically, with this weekend’s thorough clean, it won’t take much water to prep it for staining in the early spring.

Power washing with the pump light on

I took the opportunity to start cleaning the house. With no company, really, in two years, my inspiration for house-keeping has been non-existent. I tried to tell myself that, with the vacuum cleaner breaking last week, there was was nothing else I could do until Amazon sends the parts…. But I couldn’t just sit here and read while E slaved in the rain outside. It turns out there are other ways to clean other than vacuuming. Who knew? There are spider webs everywhere and the dust has turned all of our furniture and picture frames to a funny shade of taupe.

I know it probably means nothing to you but the third reason I was celebrating the other night was because a couple of new islanders have stepped up to edit the island newsletter. They are really keen with some great new ideas and I know they will do a great job and I am now officially retired.

I have recommitted to getting rid of a lot of the knick knacks I have carried with me since the big family home. My kids are willing to take some of them, but I want them gone. If all else fails, one option is to put them in a box under the house and let the kids deal them when we have left this mortal coil. I really love a lot of these objets d’art and have always treasured them, but it is a small house and I just do not want anything else to dust. Maybe the grandkids will want them.

I have taken almost all of the pictures off the walls too. They didn’t “being me joy” anymore. At the end of the day, the view out our window is the art. Now, all the holes in the walls need to be filled and painted! Add touch ups to

the chore list