The family neige

As we enter our sixth week on the island with no trip to town, I begin to feel quite smug about how clever I was when stocking the pantry last summer. I do at least, until I remember how much we rely on the weekly community grocery delivery. Although we rarely order more than milk, butter and eggs, those few items and their delivery to the local dock here are an important factor in our ability to stay home.

Due to the recent flooding in our province there is currently a gas ration of 30 litres per visit. The boat uses 20 litres of gas just to take us to town to buy gas. Fortunately the boat was full when the rationing began. But we are going to need diesel pretty soon for our generator. You can see the issue. In order to make it worth our while to get a few months worth of diesel (60 litres) for our generator, we have to use 20 litres of boat gas. Math is very definitely not my strong suit but even I can figure out that it is best if we just stay home as long as we can.

This brings us to the discussion of the recent data recorded on the weather station here at the cliff. The total rainfall for the month of November was 273.80 mm. The highest sustained wind was 34.6 kmh with gusts recorded at 49.7 kmh. Needless to say our water tanks are still full and the storm watching has been great. Our solar panels do their job when they can.

Even with all of those rainy days in November we were still able to capture 72.8 kwh of solar to power our systems. Having said that, E thinks it should have been more. Sept was 183.1 kwh and Oct was 117.8 so he is wondering if a connection has come loose.

I have yet to begin my Christmas sewing. I confess to a certain seasonal melancholy and the hours seem to slip by with nothing of note accomplished. This time of year, I miss my kids and my life in town, my friends and the routine we had. Most of the feelings I am having are the result of Covid isolation but, at this point, off grid island living is easier to blame. If we hadn’t left town we would be seeing our kids more often etc. etc. yadda yadda yadda..

Having said that, I have no idea what I would do all day if we moved back to the city. Our kids have all been here during Covid to visit and we are seeing them at Christmas, so I have nothing to complain about and, at the end of the day, I do prefer just to spend my days with E here alone. But at this time of year, this feeling returns, albeit briefly, like clockwork.

We are currently working on our list of books to read and movies to watch in January/February. Hopefully, we will have wildlife to watch too. Once I see my family in December, I will be quite happy, almost excited to snuggle in for two months, just the two of us with nowhere to go. The colder the weather and the crazier the storms, the better. Just bring me wildlife to photograph.

While I waste my day with nothing more than another pot of soup on the stove to prove I got off the couch at all, E has been up at Santa’s workshop building

the family neige

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.

E and I 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 however, 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 seem to 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