Me and E

There is unusually cold weather coming in the next few days, so E bought more foam pipe wrap for the water pipes which feed the guest cabin. The kids are coming so we need to open up the water for them. With these upcoming crazy temperatures we want to make sure we have no unfortunate water situations to screw up the current awesome water situation. All of the storage tanks are full to the brim, with only one 1500 gallon tank open for use. No one wants to see any of that water needlessly lost, least of all you guys. You would never hear the end of it.

E has connected a hose from the hot water tap on our deck to the water tank under the house. We can leave the hot water dripping into the hose and it will run from the tap to the tank during the sub zero nights and the water won’t be wasted. The guest cabin is another deal entirely. We will have to accept the loss of the little bit of water needed to keep the tap dripping in the bathroom up there at night. There shouldn’t be a big loss and the kids can keep an eye out for problems. Better that than having a pipe crack.

In the guest cabin there is an 11,000 BTU propane heater, which has been on for two days. We went up to make the beds today and it is quite comfortable.

We were doing some meal prep and Christmas baking this afternoon, when a text arrived alerting us to Orca visitors heading our way. Two adults and a baby passing by is always a welcome sight and worth putting down my spatula. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if they should hang about over Christmas to entertain us all.

So this brings us to my last post for a while. I want to again thank you for reading. Thank you all for taking the time out of your lives to read about our life and supporting this blog. I hope it gives you a pleasant diversion from the day to day trials and tribulations that these last months have been. E and I both wish you all a very merry Christmas and sincerely hope you can be with at least some of your loved ones this weekend. Stay safe. Hugs from Me and E

celebrate Christmas with

My daughter arranged for my Mom to surprise us and come for Christmas. Quite a feat considering Mom died four years ago.

For sixty years, I don’t think I ever spent one Christmas day without Mom at my dinner table. I know I was fortunate to have her for that long, but now she is gone and, with friggin Covid, it has been more than two years since my children have sat together with their Mom and Dad to share a meal. It is surreal. I am not dealing with anything most of you aren’t also dealing with but, as time goes on, I do get angrier and angrier at the unvaccinated. I give less and less f#cks about people who go about their lives as if there is no pandemic and then complain when they have to wear a mask or are inconvenienced at the border or lose their deposit on a vacation rental. Sigh, sorry… Back to happy stuff….

I will tell you a secret. It wasn’t just Santa I lied to my children about at this time of year. Not only did I tell another lie but I am quite proud about the idea for the lie.

On December 24th, around noon, I would start to play with all of the clocks in the house, slowly turning them all one hour ahead. After dinner my Mom would come for the evening. She lived around the corner and our children loved her. They would play their instruments while my mother would desperately try to get caroling going around the piano. Just before what the clock said was bedtime, the kids would put out the cookies for Santa and our resident atheist, E, would read the Christmas story from his family bible. Because it was Christmas we would “let” them stay up one hour past their normal bedtime and they would then go upstairs happily when we suggested they really should go to bed. The next day they all had had their normal amount of sleep which they needed to be happy campers for the day’s activities. Brilliant! It was one of the more brilliant ideas I had in my years of parenting…

As we lived those days, did we realize they were the best days of our lives? I think we probably did. We normally hosted the family dinner on the 25th and E’s father’s family on the 26th. The house full of family for days on end. I vividly remember the dishwasher on its third cycle one night as I cleaned up after the guests were gone past midnight..

The reason it was fun was because it was a team project, our entire family helped. I would make a big job jar which contained all of the chores which needed to happen before the guests arrived. The kids would come in and take one chore at a time, along with E and I, until the house was ready for Christmas. On the day, E would cook the turkey and I would see to the guests and do clean up.. It was a team project and we all loved every minute of it. Honestly, I have great kids, a great husband and they were the best of days.

Last night, we sat in front of the fire and our new Christmas tree, watching season appropriate movies and nibbled on cheese and crackers. Christmas cheese offerings always include Mclarens Imperial sharp cheddar which my Mother always served at this time of year. It wouldn’t be Christmas without that cheese with red pepper jelly. As I reminisced about it and E confirmed his Mom served that cheese too, we looked around the very beautiful room and toasted our Moms who are gone. We also toasted our children who are missed, but celebrated that we are still having pretty darn great days with just the two of us together. They are just different.

Mom coming for Christmas was my dream last night. There isn’t a day I don’t wish I still had her to celebrate Christmas with

our pipes freezing

Last year, in season one of the Covid show, there was an idea to have a sail past to provide some way for the islanders to celebrate Christmas together, but apart. Our individual boats would be decorated for a circumnavigation of the island with follow up drinks and appies consumed, socially distanced, outside. But the numbers of interested participants grew and grew and, as you remember in season one, there was no vaccine and it became quickly obvious that safety would not be able to be ensured. The event was cancelled. Two of our most esteemed Captains still circled the island with their festive lights to spread a little cheer for the good of us all. Even the whales felt sorry for the housebound and made an appearance.

This year, in season two of Covid, where the intelligent are vaccinated, and many have had booster shots, we decided to give a sail past another try. Eight boats decorated with lights, a Christmas tree or two and a Santa, went half way around the island and back. The weather was perfect. We had a thermos of hot chocolate, laced with rum, and snacks in our boat. We were bundled up warm and it was lovely, just lovely. We didn’t dawdle on the dock, once we were back, still too soon for crowds, but next year we have high hopes and plans to up our decoration game. More lights, speakers for carols etc… I fully expect, once this Covid show is eventually cancelled, the annual sail past with rum will be an ongoing tradition born from a frustrated group who just wanted to celebrate the season together, somehow.

I came across this wee deer in the woods the other day. The whales didn’t show up for this year’s Christmas parade, so a video of Bambi will have to do.

For those of you curious about our current weather. It was three degrees all day today. We had a little bit of snow but ended up with enough bright sunshine to charge the solar panels. For those of you tracking where the sun sets, it is almost the 21st of December and the sun set right over Boat Harbour tonight. For those of you wondering about what weather to expect for Christmas, snow is on the horizon with temperatures as low as -7. Let us hope none of us have issues with

our pipes freezing!

in the oven

The house propane ran out yesterday. We had a spare tank on the bunkie, which we put on the house in the emergency. Our need to travel by boat to town in wild weather is one thing, when we need to go back and forth during the winter, it is quite another to do it in a boat laden with propane tanks. With all of the heavy wind and rains we have been having lately, we decided to wait for a break in the weather and some calm water before E would go over to town to fill four 40 pound propane tanks. 160 pounds would do us for six months. If need be, the tank we put on could handle our needs until we have to pick up the kids for Christmas next week.

I was up in the garden and the greenhouse today and it made me so eager for spring again. It is crazy what is going on up there. There are gladiola in bloom, the Kaffir lilies are up and there are roses covered in healthy green foliage. A lot of the cuttings I started are thriving in the dirt where I stuck them in September. The garlic is peeking out and the anticipation of next spring’s flower show is inescapable.

With the same excitement, with which a child awaits next week’s visit from Santa, I look forward to the arrival of the 2022 seed catalogues in the mail. I am a simple woman with simple needs and choosing seeds for weird new plants to experiment with, is a highlight of my winter life.

What was most surprising was to find the peas in my greenhouse flowering. It is 8 degrees in there and I counted 14 flowers on the peas. Sure, not a feast, but if we are eating peas from the greenhouse in the dead of winter I will be more than thrilled.. Shouldn’t they need bees though?

As is usual, we were up well before six this morning and, as the day broke, it became apparent that the waters were calm and the window of opportunity was already here. E went to town and we are again set for propane. I can total our 2021 propane costs now. After spending $550.00 on propane this year we start 2022 with all of our tanks full. Great timing to sort out the propane this week as it would have been a giant pain to run out next week when the weather might be worse and the turkey is

in the oven

if not flexible

We have rearranged the furniture, again. With the hope of giving us more space for the family visit at Christmas, we moved the dining table into the guest room. We rarely sit at the table so unless I am sewing it is a needless waste of the space we have in the living room. So the granddaughter’s bedroom/guest room is now a dining room/sewing room.

After months of diligently soaking the fruitcake with alcohol, today was the day for the final preparations.

We ended up with ten, individual, one pound cakes. There would have been more but E and I had to consume quite a bit in the interests of quality assurance. The alcohol certainly kept them moist. Note to self, we are going to need more rum.

The upside of getting up at five a.m. is that I was finished with the fruit cake and also had the bread made by 11:30. That included the time it took for me to stop and repair the dog’s bed, with a needle and thread, ‘cause their tug of war game got carried away. There was plenty of time left in the afternoon to stare aimlessly out the window.

When granddaughter returns we can change the furniture back. We are nothing

if not flexible

taste in music

With temperatures threatening to drop in the next few weeks, E went up to wrap the pipes under the bunkie with foam pipe wrap. The pipes from the bunkie to the well head haven’t been buried yet so they are susceptible and we will likely have problems but it was worth the effort to protect what we could. There is no actual soil between the bunkie and the well head and it is kinda hard to bury pipes in solid rock.

With E out of the house I was able to put my music on the stereo. Don’t get me wrong, we have a lot of shared likes in our music (Knopfler), but sometimes I like to listen to songs that very definitely would not be a choice for E. So with E otherwise occupied I cranked up my playlists on the Sonos.

I had sewing to do but, unlike yesterday, I was not going to miss anyone interesting swimming past the house. Fool me twice shame on me, kind of thing. So as I sat at my machine, singing like I was alone, I kept a careful eye on the water below me. With the high water levels common to December king tides, the debris normally found on the shoreline is floating everywhere on the surface, making a real mess of things. I thought I was looking at the usual debris when one of the logs looked up at me. It seems a sea lion had decided to have a rest at the tideline where he could hear the music I was playing. I was sure I could hear him singing along with Blake and Gwen.

I finished the first sewing project on my Christmas list and now have almost finished the second. The huge project I have left to complete sits on the table mocking me. Not really sure how far I will get with it before Christmas, but I will persevere.

My Stellar friend hung around for about an hour until his partner showed up and they promptly swam south together. Apparently his friend, like E, doesn’t share our

taste in music