Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Snowing And Blowing

…makes for a lot of shoveling the day after.
1-DSC_0226        Yesterday: Fighting with the elements
Today was “the day after” and we went out armed with shovels to do our 60yd driveway and got the vehicles going.
Winter arrived yesterday with nonstop snowing and a fierce wind producing all kind of snowdrifts.
Powdery snow is easy to get out of the way but after a full day’s storm has blown, snow is not powdery no more. It has been converted into a heavy hard-to-dig-in-frozen-together hard-packed backbreaking mess. And when we reached the lower end of the driveway we had to dig and push through the heap which had been pushed into the driveway by the community snowplow. Oh what fun, oh what fun….
There is one good thing though: What other people have to pay for – a real work-out in a gym – comes free of charge for us.
And since we had so much fun with our work-out we also did the property of our next-door neighbour.                                                                 

Well, today it did start to snow again but  yesterday’s frigid temperatures of – 13C have given way for some milder temps and so the new snow was melting. But make no mistake….the stuff we got on the ground, somewhere between 8-10”, will stay until it’s time for the crocus to enjoy spring.

Monday, December 28, 2015

The Eastern-most City Of The United States

It’s about a mile from our house and the village of Welshpool over to the City of Eastport,Maine. Eastport prides itself to be the first city of the U,S. to be greeted by the rays of the rising sun, but the West Quoddy Lighthouse in Lubec is indeed the eastern-most point of the U.S. to receive sunshine.
1-DSC_0198          Eastport in glorious morning sun this morning

is a small city (consisting entirely of islands) in Washington County,Maine, United States. The population was 1,331 at the 2010 census. The principal island is Moose Island, which is connected to the mainland by causeway. Eastport is the easternmost city in the United States (although the nearby town of Lubec is the easternmost town of the U.S).

The native Passamaquoddy Tribe has called this area home for at least 10,000 years. Some archeologists estimate the habitation at 20,000 years. The first known European contact was the St. Croix colony founded by the French explorer Samuel de Champlain in 1604. Near present-day Calais, the unsuccessful Saint Croix Island Acadia settlement predates the first successful English settlement at Jamestown, Virginia, by three years. On June 25, 1604, Champlain and his men arrived at the St. Croix River and spent a long and severe winter on St. Croix Island with no fresh water and diminished supplies. Two-fifths of the men died of scurvy, and the colony moved across the Bay of Fundy to Port Royal in present-day Nova Scotia.

Fishermen and traders visited the area in the 17th century. Moose Island was first settled in 1772 by James Cochrane of Newburyport, Massachusetts, who would be joined by other fishermen from Newburyport and Portsmouth, New Hampshire. On February 24, 1798, Eastport was incorporated as a town from Plantation Number 8 PS by the Massachusetts General Court, and named for being the easternmost port in the United States. Lubec, on the mainland, was set off and incorporated as a town on June 21, 1811.

Just like also Campobello, from 1807 to 1809, the town was a center of extensive two-way smuggling during the Embargo Act imposed by President Thomas Jefferson. In 1809, Fort Sullivan was erected atop a village hill, but it was captured by a British fleet under command of Sir Thomas Hardy on July 11, 1814, during the War of 1812 as part of the initiative to establish the colony of New Ireland. England claimed that Moose Island was on the British side of the international border which had been determined in 1783. Nevertheless, the town was returned to United States' control in 1818. The boundary between the U. S. and Canada in the area remained disputed until settled by the Webster–Ashburton Treaty of 1842. Eastport would be incorporated as a city on March 18, 1893.

Farms produced hay and potatoes. Industries included a grain mill, box factory and carding mill. But the island's economy was primarily directed at the sea. With tides of about 25 feet (7.6 m), Eastport's spacious harbor remained ice-free year round. The first sardine factory was built here about 1875. The population grew with the emergence of the sardine fishery and related canning businesses, which studded the shoreline by the end of the 19th century. By 1886, the town contained 13 sardine factories, which operated day and night during the season, and produced approximately 5,000 cases per week. About 800 men, women and children worked in the plants. But the industry would decline, and many people moved away. Indeed, the city went bankrupt in 1937. In 1976, the Groundhog Day Gale destroyed many structures along the waterfront. Today, catching fish remains the principal industry, although tourism has become important as well.

Eastport is a port of entry. An international ferry crosses to Deer Island, New Brunswick, during the summer months. Each 4th of July, the city becomes a destination for thousands of celebrants. Navy ships have docked there during the 4th of July celebration for many years. Eastport celebrated its bicentennial in 1998. Each September, the city hosts the annual Maine Salmon Festival in the historic downtown district.

Another big annual event is the Pirate Festival.


Pirates from Eastport are even doing an invasion of the nearby town of Lubec.


Living that close to Eastport, we are always partaking in whatever is going on in the city as the noise they make is easily spilling across the water to Campobello.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Unbeknownst To Me I Photographed A Monster

After days with daytime highs around 50F we got a break with wintry conditions. We knew it would be coming, so when I looked out this morning it had just started to snow. The reflecting light off of the snow compensated for the cloudy sky.
The dandelion we saw peek out between the grass yesterday got a bad surprise today when it was all covered up by an inch of wet snow. Of course I felt an urge to take some shots of the arrival of winter. So through the bathroom window I pointed the camera towards the spruce trees behind the house. It wasn’t before I had published the pics on Facebook that I saw the scary monster looking at me. Dark eyes, an open mouth and white teeth showing….what was it doing there?
1-DSC_0186        An innocent picture taken out back…..
1-DSC_0186-001                 …turned up a frightening monster!

         Frosty the Snowman is looking forward to some winter.
Had visitors coming by yesterday and I am not ashamed to say that we indulged in food most of the time. Started out with lotsa cakes (Linzer Torte) and pastries, moving towards a full dinner with Beef Stroganof and “Mousse au Chocolat” for dessert. What a feast!  Christmas has always been my winter highlight!

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Flowers Are Blooming And Birds Are Singing

It sure seems to be the perfect winter to stay on Campobello. Temperatures have been on the upside over Christmas and the temptation of taking a nice forest walk became too big so I took off with Molly along one of our favorite trails through The Campobello Provincial Park.
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It’s a walk through a Troll-forest with fallen and half-fallen trees and a fresh little brook running along the mossy forest floor.
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The park has covered the wettest parts of the trail with gang-planks and nailed asphalt roof shingles to them so people have a better foothold. Previous rain had made the ground real soggy but we kinda found our way around without getting our feet too wet.
Again I have been amazed how smart Molly is. When arriving at a puddle she walks around it, even if that means she has to jump across a tree limb.
The trail leads along Lake Glensevern, which once was created by the ocean as giant storm waves have thrown up a high gravel bench over throusands of years, thus dividing the lake from the ocean. Of course, the lake is fresh water today, but gets the occasional injection of sea water when winter storms are going over top of the dividing beach.
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I am sure the temperature reached 65 or more in sunny spots. Temperatures in the shade reached 58F yesterday.

However tomorrow we will get a dip into colder weather and apparently some snow is on the way. Well, after all IT IS WINTER even though we haven’t been having much of it.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Christmas Eve On The Island

Waking up on Christmas Eve has always been wonderful, even now when I’m 63. The wonder of Christmas has never left me, thanks to my parents who always managed to get us kids very excited in the Advent of Christmas.
But when i stuck my head out the door this morning, I got wet and so did Molly on her early outside trip. It was raining pretty steady, but it was also extremely warm. In fact at 8am the temperature was 7C (45F). Now, 13hrs later it is 11C (52F)
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Not much of a difference!
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Over the last days I have spent hours in my workshop. Bea calls it a “man-cave”. I had told her to stay away from my shop these days and she did. Today it was time to reveal what I had been busy with. I have made a model of our wonderful Head Harbour Light Station. Mind you it is the tower only, not including 4 other buildings. I had found a 12V car bulb and fabricated a holder for it, then connected it to a 12V phone charger, and voila…the tower had a light on the top. The model ist about 18” tall.
head harbour
We had a great Christmas Eve dinner and I made a Coconut-Cream Brulee adorned with pineapple for dessert. One of the best desserts I have ever tasted. Then it was time to drive the short distance over to the old Anglican Church for a Christmas Service. The church was nicely decorated for Christmas. The Anglican Church is the oldest church on Campobello and even Franklin D. Roosevelt attended service here when he stayed on Campobello.
We spend the rest of the evening with some nice music and our dear Molly right at our feet. She loves to be close to us.

A peaceful Christmas Eve it sure was.


Fulltiming Or Seasonal?

There was a time when we thought of going RVing fulltime. We lived the RV-lifestyle for 13 months and enjoyed every second of it. But there was the nagging thought WHAT IF….?
What if we can’t travel anymore? What if one of us gets sick and is in need of frequent doctor visits? What if the economy is folding? What if gas prices go through the roof?
We are Canadians and can’t choose a warm spot for living year round. We have no family in the country where we could “hole-up” for a time. So after 13 months we bought a house again and haven’t looked back.

When writing this I think of fellow RVers and bloggers
Betty and Joe, whom we had the pleasure of meeting in Borrego Springs at the Indian Head Restaurant. Joe has been diagnosed with cancer and, as Betty just blogged about, is having a lot of doctor appointments. They are having a homebase and have known some of their doctors for years, a very important support for them during this difficult time. We hope and pray for Joe and Betty that they find the strength to walk through this together.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

BERLIN After The War

A friend sent me a link to an after war documentary. It’s about Berlin in July 1945. The city was just doing it’s first breaths after the collapse of the Third Reich. Thousands of residents are out on the streets, working away to restore their lives.
The movie is especially interesting as it also brings our mind to what’s going on in Syria right now. Cities in Syria don’t look much different to what Berlin looked like in 1945.  Click on the picture to watch the movie.
Screenshot (16)
The ever present question, why are humans doing this to themselves, why are we destroying eachother’s lives time after time again, remains unanswered. For me this movie is a good reminder of that peace is one of the greatest achievements humans can have. But it is also one of the rarests.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Our Pets

We love our dog Molly and consider her a family member. My personal preference have always been dogs versus cats, horses, hamsters, rats or white mice. But everyone has his/her very own love for a pet.
Now, it has been deeply disturbing for me to read, see or hear about animal abuse. Every time that happens, it ruins my day. And that goes way beyond regular pets. In fact, many times the bad news are coming from farm units and are about farm animals.
From time to time we receive those absolutely horrific news about how bad animals have been treated. Often the animal shelters are seeing abused animals. I don’t want to go into details and destroy your peaceful Christmas celebrations.

Besides of regular abuse there are those people who think they can buy a cute puppy or kitten for a Christmas gift for their kids. Pretty soon the little pet becomes a nuissance as nobody in the family thinks of “educating and training” their new family member. Dogs are left to their own company all day long and turn into paranoical barkers which in turn will upset the entire neighbourhood. When enough complaints are received the pet will be (at best) brought to a shelter. Many times though the next shelter is either filled up already or simply too far to drive to. So the pet “disappears”. My sympathy for people like that has reached a historical low. Obviously they do not see their pets as family members but as toys which can be discarded at will.

If you come across animal abuse in your neighbourhood, pls report this to the police and animal control officers. We should all be aware of that animals are no toys or “things”. Pets are not Christmas gifts!

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Christmas Lights From Around The World

You like Christmas Lights? I have been an admirer of it for all of my life. The glitter in the dark of a wintry night has always fascinated me. So when we started to celebrate our own Christmas we also had lights, usually just on an outside tree or a couple of lights in a window. From the moment we came to Canada our Light display has increased in size, mainly due to the fact that we bought a bunch of light chains at some garage sales.

What I found on the internet – Christmas Lights from around the world- is probably going to blow you away.   Click on images to see a bigger version.

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Open Live Writer Works!

My relief today is noticable. After fighting with the Blogger publishing for days and even establish a back-up blog on wordpress, I have managed to get Open Live Writer to work. The creators of OLW have stated that Windows Live Writer will never come back to work with Google’s Blogger. It still works for wordpress though! But why bother with two versions if one is working well?

Out here we have had a couple of days with unpleasant drizzle and rain. It was warm though, yesterday reaching 49F (9C). We were considering whether we should start gardening again, but maybe better not, for today we are just at 32F (-1C) and we got a strong northern wind blowing straight through our garments. Well, yeah it’s Long-John-Time again. But that is OK, cause after all Monday marks the official beginning of winter. For Christmas Eve the prediction is 46F again, so no snow SIR.

Meanwhile we have brought more firewood into our basement.
I am also working on a Christmas project in my shop and Bea is not allowed in there! That’s why there are no pictures yet. (hehe..) Hopefully I can present the result of my work by the end of next week. Have also made a little extension of a window sill behind the couch, so that we can have a lamp sitting there.  I really enjoy being close to all my tools and my shop this winter. Who knows what else I wil make this winter.
1-DSC_0013                                            3 little elves waiting for Christmas
So let’s see whether Open Life Writer will get the publishing job done.