Saturday, October 24, 2020

You Are A Canadian Snowbird, So What Are Your Plans?

 Leaving Canada during the long and cold winter has been a Canadian staple for decades. Thousands have gone south before winter came to their town or village. Florida and the South-West have been the most popular destinations. Starting in 2005, we did it ourselves until the winter 2013/14. Then our dog got old and didn't like to travel, so we stayed home. But dialing back to 2008, we had sold our property and became fulltimers. During that time plans were discussed to continue full-timing, but ultimately we ended up buying another property in Maritime Canada. And we started to enjoy celebrating Christmas at home. It was fun too.

Meanwhile, many of our friends continued with their snowbird commute, and of course some times we thought about doing it again as well, and this year we bought an RV again, making plans for a trip south to the desert of the South-West. But then Covid-19 came making any further thoughts of a warm winter in the desert pointless.

Just like us, tens of thousands of Canadian Snowbirds will have to accept the new harsh reality. And those who have a comfortable home, like us, may still have a  tear in one eye, but at least can settle in with a homey fire in the oven instead  of sitting by a roaring campfire. 

But what about the others? Those who were fulltimers before Covid turned the world upside down? Some might trek over to Vancouver Island or the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia, both places are known for milder winters. Some have to rent an apartment or move in with family and relatives.

When we considered going full-timing for good Bea argued that we could be in trouble if one of us gets sick, preventing us from going south. The fact that an outside enemy like the Coronavirus would play the deciding role never occurred in our thoughts. But here we are getting ready for snow and another winter up north. Not a tragedy, of course, just not what we had in mind.

And what is the outlook for the winter 2021/22?

Right now I would advise anybody not having a winter home, "Get One". We feel very strongly that we will have to stay yet another winter away from the desert dunes. The fact that the United States does not even make a serious attempt to rein in the spread of the virus and that daily infections will reach 6-digit numbers in a very short time and that the total death toll will go to 500.000 during the first 4-6 months of 2021 with no distributed vaccine available until earliest June 2021, would make it still quite questionable whether a snowbird winter 2021/22 is realistic.  Even though it wouldn't be what we want, it would still be doable for us.  And come summer we have our trailer rented out to make us $$$.

Saturday, October 17, 2020

Hero Of The Week: Ms. Savannah (GUTS) Guthrie


The now famous statement came from Savannah Guthrie, who was moderating Trump at the town hall meeting in Miami, when reminding him he as the president should refrain from retweeting any and every statement he sees on twitter.
But after 4 years of practicing, president "twittler" will most likely not change his "crazy" behavior. He truly enjoys his role as someone's crazy uncle.
Ms. Guthrie had the guts to confront Trump in the most direct way and was able to uncover that Trump indeed is America's crazy uncle, who throws out wild statements when he is getting most desperate to lose the election.
There have been many WH press briefings when Trump had been confronted by journalists on certain topics, and where he has either just left the stage or ignored questions or even insulted the asking journalist. But what Ms. Guthrie performed was long over due. Her relentless questioning, not letting up while Trump tried to evade answering, showed the weaknesses of this so-called president.

If the circumstances wouldn't be so sad this townhall actually was great entertainment while at the same time showing the American voter the insanity of Trump.

Friday, October 9, 2020

America On The Brink Of Civil War

Is CIVIL WAR coming to America?

The FBI has charged 13 men who have been plotting to kidnap MI-Governor Gretchen Whitmer and "putting her on trial". At the same time we hear Trump demanding to arrest President Obama and Joe Biden for "high crimes". We also heard him call Kamala Harris a "Monster". Trump is still riling up white supremacists and private militias to start a civil war. A threatening letter has been sent to people who have Biden lawn signs out front. Homeland security has already warned the public of wide-spread unrest.

According to reports, the letter warns: "If you are a Biden-Harris supporter, you will be targeted. We have a list of homes by your election signs. We will not comply or give anything up, especially our guns."

The letter also threatens to shoot and kill former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who survived a 2011 assassination attempt against her in Arizona which went on to leave six people dead. She has since gone on to launch the anti-gun violence group.

This is serious behavior which should not be tolerated. If US law enforcement is not clamping down on any such violation, it will end in a civil war. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced that Canada must prepare for "public disruptions" in the US, but refrained from weighing in on US politics.

The Canada border is currently closed because of Covid-19. After the election it might still stay closed because of an outbreak of civil war in the US.

Thursday, October 8, 2020

Thursday Walk With Dixie

October is between the most windy months of the year here on the island, and today we got another proof of that. I am pretty sure that we had about 50 mph. wind speeds this afternoon. But you what? It was sunny. Yes, we had a beautiful sunny day, though it hadn't been looking like that early on. But more often than not, the clouds gave way to the sun and there was nothing holding me inside anymore. So when I suggested a "family walk" in the woods, we got all ready in a heartbeat. I mean, Dixie is always looking forward to an outing, us humans tend to be more lazy at times. 

We went to "Fx Farm" in the Roosevelt Park. It once was a site for  - yes, a fox farm. From there a brand new  trail leads through a small valley, then going on through a tall forest which eventually ends in a huge bog higher up in the terrain. 

Underway, we saw moose tracks. Luckily, not fresh tracks, probably a few days old. I wouldn't want to meet "The King of the Forest".

Bea was on the outlook for birds she could get a picture of, while I was enjoying the serenity of nature. Down on the trail I couldn't feel much of the storm going on, but the treetops were swaying and there was quite some swishing in the forest. 

These mushrooms are "False Chanterelles" not poisonous, but taste bitter and can cause an upset stomach.

Leaves were falling everywhere. Our good old maple tree in our driveway is gonna be bare of leaves this weekend. But the tree is very old and had been showing signs of its old age for a couple of years. The bark at the lower end is damaged by frost and I guess it can't get enough sap into its top branches anymore. We are facing reality and that we might have to take it down before its becoming a hazard during a powerful storm.

Monday, October 5, 2020

What A Great Day For Yardwork

 Looking out the window this morning, I wasn't too optimistic. A grey sky looking like rain was imminent, was not what I had expected for today. However, checking the weather forecast I eyed some hope as it predicted sunny skies a bit later.

As always I took Dixie along Herring Cove Beach for her morning walk. The new herring weir which has taken several weeks to build, was now finished.

I had a little job for a neighbour, so tending to that was my first task of the day. And lo and behold, I wasn't even quite finished when the sun broke through the clouds.

My spirits lifted immediately and I decided to mow the lawn for another neighbour. 

By lunch it was so warm that I threw off my jacket and started working on my snowblower. I mounted the new pull-start which had arrived in the mail yesterday. The  next thing I expect to arrive by mail is a new carburetor. After that the machine will be ready for a snowy winter. 

Looking around our yard, I found that a last lawn mowing should be in order. So I started my ride-on and had that done in no time at all.

While I had been doing all this, Bea had thrown herself over her garden and harvested many pounds of green tomatoes and carrots. 

Some of those carrots have real strange looking shapes.

Already yesterday, she had made tomato preserves in jars, made chutney and apple sauce for delicious meals during winter. 

What a feast! So much fun to have a garden.

The beauty with all that is that we are never too busy to also take a seat on the porch with a coffee and  a few cookies. Life is good indeed! We love this place and have never regretted to settle out here on the fringe of Canada!

Sunday, October 4, 2020

The Gull Has Left The Rock

When the gull has left the rock, it is time to head back.

The Bay of Fundy has the highest tides in the world and when you live along the bay you gotta watch the tides. 

Campobello Island sports one of the oldest lighthouses on the Canadian East Coast. Yearly, The lighthouse attracts around 20,000 visitors. But visiting the beautiful place comes with a challenge as the 5 buildings are located on a separate little rocky island, and to get there you have to deal with the tides. That means you have to wait until upto 25ft of water have vanished exposing a gravel bar, thus offering a way to walk over to said island. This always happens about 2 hours before the lowest tide and lasts for 4hours. With other words, one has to get back before the water is again washing across the gravel bar. Also you have to balance your body along a narrow trail between rocks and slippery seaweeds. To make that trip a bit safer the "Friends of the Head Harbour Lightstation" are offering a collection of walking sticks at the ticket kiosk. Volunteers of the association have worked hard over the years to repair and staff the lightstation. 

When the summer visitors are coming over there are usually knowledgeable volunteers at hand to tell the story of the lightstation.

One day, a couple of years ago, 2 elderly ladies volunteering, were taking a rest on a bench. They had been busy with a variety of maintenance issues and were now just immersed in enjoying the peace and beautiful view across the bay. A lady from Michigan was also on site and the last visitor that day. She too was still admiring the surroundings, when one of the volunteers suddenly shouted: "Oh gosh, the gull has left the rock, we have to rush back". They quickly informed the Michigan lady about what was going on preparing for their hasty departure.

That day, the 3 ladies got their feet wet. But what is it about the gull leaving the rock?

Well, rocks are exposed at low tide, but as the tide comes rushing back the water will swallow them. And that's when the gull too has to leave the rock where its been sitting. When the gull is leaving, it is already a bit too late. You gotta leave before the bird has left the rock. The water rises at 5ft pr. hour.

Saturday, October 3, 2020

The Summary

 Trump's desperate hours: He was contemptuous of the virus — now it has him trapped

Trump was convinced COVID-19 was nothing — and now it's in the White House. He's a desperate, dangerous man.


Imagine you're dreaming, and it's a really, really bad dream. It's night, and something is chasing you down a dark street. You're running and running and running, trying to get away. All the windows are dark. No lights are on in any of the houses and apartments along the street. You bang on doors, but no one answers. You try the door handles, but the doors are all locked. When you cry out for help, no words come out of your mouth. No one can hear you. You keep running and running and running…

This is why Donald Trump is awake at 2:30 a.m., rage-tweeting. When he sleeps, he dreams, and his dreams are nightmares. He's a frightened, desperate man. Every day, he turns on his television, and the death count from the COVID-19 virus keeps going up. The economy — the precious economy, the one he's so proud of for no particular reason — is tanking. His poll numbers are down. His approval ratings are down. He's losing to Joe Biden in national polls and in every important swing state. Nothing he does is helping.

He has tried everything to beat the virus. First he denied it was a problem. You remember the quotes from February and March: It's only a few cases. Like magic, it will just go away. Then his people convinced him it wasn't going away, and he had to do something. So he trotted out a string of corporate execs and golf buddies onto a stage in the Rose Garden and declared a national emergency. Surely that would fix things!

But the virus kept spreading, and people were dying. The NBA canceled its season. So did Major League Baseball and NASCAR. Businesses started closing … General Motors, Ford, big businesses — and then small businesses like restaurants and retail stores and salons and barber shops. Unemployment numbers skyrocketed. Six million. Then another five million. Another six million. And those were just the people out of work who actually applied for unemployment benefits.

The virus kept spreading, and people kept dying. Trump called together a "task force" to confront the problem, and he put his vice president in charge. So Mike Pence started holding briefings in the White House press room with input from experts like Dr. Anthony Fauci and Dr. Deborah Birx, the one with the shoulder scarves. When all the networks started covering them and the ratings were through the roof, Trump took over the briefings himself.

But things kept getting worse. The virus was everywhere. Hospitals were running out of protective gear like gowns and masks, emergency rooms were overrun, there was a shortage of ventilators. They had to do something, so they printed up a bunch of cards with "guidelines" for something called social distancing that was supposed to last 15 days.

Then Congress got involved and passed some emergency bills. First it was in the billions, then it was in the trillions. Small business loans, hundreds of billions — gone in a matter of days. And still the unemployment numbers went up.

Then they hit the end of the 15 days, and the death count kept going up, so they extended the "guidelines," and he started pushing a cure his pals were talking about on Fox, some malaria drug called hydroxychloroquine. "What have you got to lose?" he crowed from the podium at the briefings.

Apparently, a lot. People started dying from the hydroxychloroquine, something to do with their hearts. So he stopped pushing the pill, and he pivoted to "opening up" the economy. Away went the "guidelines," and up popped the tweets: LIBERATE Michigan! LIBERATE Virginia! Let's get those businesses up and running! He put out new "guidelines" for opening up the economy. Three phases! Real simple! Just get your numbers of new cases down for 14 days, and everything can start getting back to normal!

About half the states announced relaxation of rules, and businesses began to reopen. But the virus kept spreading. Now it was in rural Georgia and Arkansas and Iowa, all those precious red states he could point to that were "doing things right," that didn't need to be "bailed out" like "Democrat states."

The death count kept increasing, and some idiot in the CDC came up with the theory that sunlight and ultraviolet rays could kill the virus. Bleach and other disinfectants definitely killed it (on countertops, that is), so Trump pushed the "light" and the disinfectants "inside" and his whole house of cards fell apart.

They were making fun of him! All those pundits and newspapers and networks he had been having so much fun yelling at during the briefings … they were laughing at him! So he decided he'd show them! He canceled a few briefings, then he showed up for one and walked out after a few minutes. Then he decided he would announce that he was phasing out the "task force." A day later, he was back in front of the cameras saying he hadn't realized how "popular" the task force was, so of course he'd keep it going — not because the task force was accomplishing anything, but because it was "popular."

But behind the scenes, Trump was getting briefings. Terrible briefings. Really awful stuff. His own campaign manager, Brad Parscale, who was reported to have spent his hefty paycheck from the Trump campaign on condos, a luxury boat and a Ferrari, met with him and showed him his internal poll numbers. They were terrible — worse than the public numbers according to some reports. He blew up at Parscale. He was in a rage, screaming at the poor guy at the top of his lungs. All the stuff he'd been doing — all the briefings, all the guidelines, all the trillions in relief money, all the magic cures — and look where it got him! Nowhere!

This week came the private briefings on the economy. They were terrible, according to NBC News. "Some of the projections showed the unemployment rate skyrocketing above 30 percent and the widespread collapse of small businesses, according to multiple people familiar with the briefings." One projection had more than 50 percent of American small businesses collapsing if the country did not get back to work.

"The projections have infuriated Trump," one source told NBC. "He lost it."

He must have "lost it" again on Friday morning when it was announced that unemployment in April hit 14.7 percent. "I think the real number is probably around 23 or 24 percent. It's devastating," said Neal Kashkari, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, on the "Today" show.

Trump got away from the White House for the first time this week, traveling to Arizona (a state where his numbers aren't where he wants them to be) to visit a factory that makes face masks. Hovering over a worker wearing a mask who was making masks, Trump didn't wear one. Aides later explained he thought he would look "weak" and "ridiculous" in a face mask.

By Thursday, it was revealed that one of Trump's valets had tested positive for the virus. This is the person who serves Trump his meals and brings him his Diet Cokes. On Friday, we learned that Katie Miller, an aide to Vice President Pence — who is married to Stephen Miller, Trump's most nefarious adviser — had tested positive for the virus. Pence was conspicuously unmasked last week during a visit to the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, flouting the clinic's rule that everyone wear masks.

Donald Trump has consistently shown contempt for the coronavirus. Now the virus, which has infected 1.3 million people in this country and killed more than 78,000, has made its way into the White House. Experts were saying on Friday that the virus has probably spread completely through the West Wing. Of course it has. Sources told MSNBC that "no one" in the White House has been observing social distance rules or wearing masks.

Trump's arrogance and dithering and denial has cost tens of thousands of American lives and will cost tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, more. He is the president, and he is supposedly in charge, and nothing he has done has worked. His scattershot plan to "reopen" the economy won't save him. Blaming China or Barack Obama or Joe Biden or anyone else won't save him. He is a defeated, desperate man. We still have to vote in the election in November, but he has already lost. The virus beat him.

And now Trump is at Walter Reed Hospital for contracting Corona Virus. And several of his aides including his campaign manager have the virus. The West Wing is in chaos, and so is the country.

Thursday, October 1, 2020

Move To Canada? I Don't Think So.

 During that horrible presidential debate (nothing was presidential there) GOOGLE reported a surge for "Move to Canada" and "How to move to Canada" searches.

Naturally, we understand why Americans start looking for better places to live, but Canada will remain out of reach for most Americans unless there is a valid job offer or an American company sends an employee to Canada to run a Canadian branch office there. (Intra-company transferee) Americans can also get married to a Canadian spouse, but that is a lengthy process to be admitted as a permanent resident. You could also enroll at a Canadian university for studies and get a student visa. Based on Canada's free universal health care and its basic pension income, the law does not allow retirees to move to Canada. 

The fact that so many Americans have been looking to move away from "The Land of the Free" is not surprising, given the problems the USA is facing. The rampant Covid-19 pandemic and general unwillingness to curb it and enforce protective rules, the political mess the country is in, and finally the resulting threat of a civil war in a divided country would have me looking for a new haven for sure. Best bet would be to stay in Canada for 180 days, then fly or drive to Mexico for another 180 days. Not a good solution if you need to have a job, but could be OK for retirees or if you work remote.

Of course, you could also go and vote the orange devil out of the White House and restore peace and civility in the US. Canadians would consider that a great service to themselves as many of us have spent the winters in your country and would most likely continue to do, once the said problems are solved. I know a lot of places in the south which would appreciate to see Canadians return for the winter.