It’s All About Timing

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I’d been thinking about the deadline for my stove installation in terms of the beginning of Lobster Season – I should have been thinking about the weather. 🙂

The good news is that the windstorm and cooler temps arrived after the stove did. (Along with, and yes I’m showing off, a cooked lobster. I thought I knew what lobster tasted like – I do now. I really am being spoiled here.)

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I had this semi-formed plan in the back of my mind to get the place ready for winter, then, when I have more time, unpack the camera and learn how to use it.

I was aiming for some level of half-assed expertise by next summer when it’s possible to take a boat to see the nesting puffins and other pelagic birds. The trip will be a big deal for me, so I want to be able to capture it.

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However, it turns out that the start of Lobster Season is an actual “event” here. There will be a huge pier-wide breakfast for the sailors, followed by the Blessing of the Fleet, followed by a 6:00 am start when they will all sail off.

I really think I need to get some shots of this. I have 4 weeks until November 14 – I’ll work on it.

This will mean better pics for the blog as well, I hope. 🙂

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I’ve spent the past few days installing bits & pieces around the place: shelves under the island, insulation & plywood to cover a couple of holes in the walls (one for a long forgotten vent in the kitchen and another weirdly for a weather station that only needs a tiny hole drilled for a wire), smoke/CO2 detectors, the fire extinguisher, and some nightlights.

Just so you know, motion-sensors on nightlights are a wonderful thing. Unless of course you install them at ground level and you have two cats and a dog and you wake up if somebody turns on the lights.

Ah well.

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It’s Alive!


So we started on the stove install 2 days ago. When he opened the wall to look at the old chimney we decided to change our strategy. 🙂

I was sent up-river to exchange some parts and buy what was needed to construct a whole new chimney.


That happened yesterday.

Apart from some continued trauma and angst felt by the cats, things went smoothly. I did an “omg I have a working stove” dance.


Yes the lightning rod was put back where it belonged. I’ve mentioned before, I think, that I have 4 of them.

Now I also have a working stove. I am thrilled!

I also have a whole lot of sawdust, bits of plaster, and wood pieces to clean up. I’ll be smiling while I do it though. 🙂



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Idle thoughts.

Autumn is arriving quickly. Suddenly there are leaves all over the ground and frost warnings are being broadcast on my phone & tablet.

I gave the Postie a heads-up yesterday that there are a lot of packages arriving in the next week – this means I’ll have a few projects wrapping up. I hope. 🙂

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We’re getting more wind and fewer days of calm water. I can’t imagine what it’s going to be like when lobster season finally starts in mid-November.

Jamie has stopped wanting to go for walks. She seems convinced there’s something in the woods behind the house that poses a danger.

She has also added to the number of “beds” she feels are absolutely mandatory on the floor of the sun porch.

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I’m frustrated by the current state of the house – there are multiple projects in different stages of completion and piles of “stuff” everywhere. Mostly I look around and see mess, but I’m convinced progress really is being made.

Even if appearances would indicate the contrary.

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The primary reason I’m feeling optimistic about progress today, though, has to do with the amount of hammering, and banging, and just general noise in here this morning.

Stanley arrived with his tools and he’s starting on the wood burning stove. Step one – make a chimney.

I left the west coast during a full moon. Two and half moons later – things are starting to come together. Soon I’ll allow myself to unpack that new camera and started trying for better pics. Soon. 🙂

Update: Stanley left for 10 minutes to get a different saw. When he returned, and resumed work, a dark furry beast erupted out of the hole and took off. That was Fergus. The cats had decided to explore. I don’t know where Duff is, but having looked all over the house he’s probably in between the floors somewhere. It’ll be a long time before I’m forgiven for this one.

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I’m Grateful, but Nothing is Simple

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The good news is that I now have internet in the house. The bad news, from a blogging perspective, is that I realized how much I have to do to fine tune the look of this thing and get the images under a manageable size. Ah well. I’ll work on it.

Last week really was a week of Bell – Canada’s largest communications company. It took a long time to get the internet sorted out because we discovered I didn’t actually have a landline. Remember, I’m reduced to a phone linked modem which is really only inches away from dial-up.

Whoever had set up my account had reprogrammed the wrong number. I’m getting a refund.


Two days later I did some meditation, drank some calming tea, and assembled my TV. Then I unboxed one of the satellite receivers I had purchased and tried to install it.


I wound up spending 7 hours on the phone to Bell Aliant (from whom I had purchased my phone/internet/tv bundle) and Bell Satellite TV (a separate company from which I have to get my tv signal) because I’m on this island and they don’t have cables connecting us to the mainland.

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I won’t give you a blow by blow, just the highlights:

  • I spoke to 9 people. They were all very nice and really wanted to be helpful. Bell’s staff are great – their internal systems suck.
  • I was put on hold multiple times – 4 times some internal phone system grabbed me, offered me traffic numbers and techie stuff and then hung up on me.
  • It turns out that you have to have two accounts with Bell to access all the components of one bundle sold to you by one subsidiary. Oh, and they don’t talk to each other.
  • I can now use my TV – once somebody figures out why the dish isn’t working. They tell me I’ll have to find a technician, but they’ll reimburse me once I’ve paid them.


I have learned a few other things this week:

  • The cats hate the power drill more than they hate the vacuum.
  • If you’re going to mount something on a plaster wall – use short screws. Stop trying to do things the “right” way by using the parts which come with the object.
  • Plaster walls should have been used for battle tanks. They are impenetrable.
  • When the guy at the hardware store says “just use your stud finder”, simply smile and wonder aloud why you hadn’t thought of that. Don’t bother suggesting he google what happens to the efficacy of stud finders through 3 inches of plaster (see battle tank comment above).
  • Have multiple bits available for pre-drilling. You’re going to lose your favourite one when it embeds itself in the plaster and breaks in two.

Having said all this – it’s Thanksgiving and I can’t possibly express how thankful I am to be where I am. The Universe has given me a gift I truly appreciate.

Also I’m still addicted to the sunsets. 🙂

tired yet



I was woken (well the cats and I were woken) at 4:51 when a man’s voice loudly announced that a frost advisory had been issued for our location. The cats took off and I vowed to find the clock so I don’t need the phone next to my bed.

When I finally did get up, and checked, there was frost on the roof. Jamie and I found the ground frost up a short hill behind the house. So fall really is here.

There’s a strong feeling of anticipation on the island right now. It’s been building for weeks and I don’t expect any change until November. That’s when the lobster fishing season starts.

There aren’t many men here who won’t be actively involved. As for the women, well this is a “traditional” community in many respects. I will see a female plumber here before I see a female fisher. I won’t give you odds on the plumber.

Meanwhile every empty piece of ground or dock is getting covered in row after row of lobster traps.

Don’t get me wrong, the women aren’t idle. There’s a lot of money to be made from the fishery and the entrepreneurial spirit is alive here.

Two women I know have opened a roadside food oulet in a small trailer. It’s ideally situated on the road to the main harbour and they plan to serve the fishermen breakfast from 2 to 6 every morning.

I’m hoping to get up early a few times to get shots of the boats heading out. That’s the plan anyway.

I found another one of those rain drop doors on our walk this morning. I haven’t, however, found anybody who knows anything about them. It’s a mystery I’d dearly love to solve. The person who created these doors was obviously an artist and I think they deserve recognition.

I’m still unpacking and still have the major plumbing and wood stove projects underway. I know they’ll get done soon because my “guys” will be going lobster fishing. The season automatically creates a hard deadline.

At some point I’ll think about the outside of the house. It’ll be a while, but I’m starting a list. This morning I discovered that some people have finished their lists and now they’re just making stuff up.

Most of us have weathered grey garbage bins. This person obviously doesn’t think that’s good enough. Sigh.

I’m Officially a Resident! … I think …

The ferry from Deer Island stops running this weekend which means a very small window in time was left to get some outstanding paperwork done. Oh I can still reach the mainland (or as the locals say, go up-river) if I go through Maine, but that means leaving Jamie at home and the angst level on her part is way too high for that.

Deb and I went to St. Stephen on Thursday. My goal was to get everything done. However, nothing is simple – I accept that, but it’s like living in a Bunuel movie.

It was a 9 hour day (including the 4 ferries) but I got parts for the wood stove, bits for my “convert this desk to a kitchen island project”, paint and primer and rollers, plus a healthy haul from Dollarama.

I also finally made it to Service New Brunswick and applied for the Provincial Medicare. BC will hand off to them in November.

I transferred my Drivers License and attempted to register my car. (I cannot tell you how much I miss ICBC and not just because insurance is twice as much here.) I had all the paperwork necessary, including the Proof of Insurance card from my local Insurer.

That might seem unnecessary to say, but as you’ll see this is an issue.

When the woman helping me got to the car registry part of my agenda she apologized. It seems they’d run out of stickers for the plates. No stickers meant no plates for me and no transferring the car to New Brunswick.

This is the last of the tasks the Province insists you’re supposed to take care of as soon as you arrive. I’m already pushing the limit of “as soon as”.


It took the entire return journey for me to accept, and commit to, the idea of going back to the mainland on Friday. The good news is that I could do the shorter trip to St. George which also has a Service New Brunswick office.

I arrived just before 11 am and found myself 7th in line. One woman was taking care of everybody by herself (and she was remarkably patient). In spite of signs everywhere, and one presumes previous experience, 4 people tried to do their car registry without Proof of Insurance (You can do it monthly but you have to do it at least annually. The sticker indicates registry expiration, the insurance is implied.).

After they’d all had their insurance agents fax over their data (small town) it was my turn. There were now 5 people behind me. You can imagine how excited they were when the clerk first looked concerned and then said she’d have to make some phone calls.

The issue it seems was whether or not I’d have to pay HST on a car I bought before I left when I was a Resident of another Province. A Province which had already taken a healthy amount of sales tax.

It took a long time to sort out (in my favour) and that only left a large pile of forms to be completed and signed and witnessed. When it was all done I raised my arms in triumph and declared myself a Resident of New Brunswick. (No kidding. I really did!)

The (now full) waiting room applauded. They had, after all, been a part of the journey as well.

It’s done now. I’m officially here. Now we’ll see how long it takes me to get tired of these sunsets. *grin*

One Ton per Foot

Yesterday was full of firsts. My first touristy excursion (doing laundry at the Provincial Park doesn’t count) which took the form of a whale watching cruise, my first view of the East Quoddy Lighthouse – also known as Head Harbour Lighthouse, my first blue fin tuna, and my first local whales.

At some point I’ll go explore the Lighthouse (at low tide you can walk out to it) but it was cool seeing it from offshore.

We headed out to the Wolf Islands on a stunningly beautiful day. I quickly discovered that I couldn’t see the screen on my phone, so pics were hit and miss. Mostly miss. I have no acceptable photos of sea denizens.

You’ll have to trust me when I say we were entertained by some lazy humpback whales. One in particular, Chevron, made sure we knew it was him by repeatedly showing off his tail.

I had my first encounter with finback whales. The second largest whale in the ocean. We met two of them and OMG.

In the north Atlantic they grow to about 75 feet – 85 in the south. If you’re curious, they estimate a finback’s weight at 1 ton per foot of length.

They could each have picked us up and spun us like a basketball before tossing us to Spain. I think I’m in love.

If the subject of whales and Campobello sound familiar it’s probably because of the Whale Rescue organization here on the island. Our captain, Mackie, is one of the founders; my neighbours Moira (marine biologist) and Jerry (ex Canada Fisheries) key members of the team.

Yes, they lost Joe Howlett this year. They’re still passionate about what they do.

Finally today, for Ahuva. Trees, rocks, and water. 🙂