Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Another Flu Restriction At The International Border

This morning I was coming through the International Border back onto the island. I had gassed up and stopped by the local IGA to get some milk and a yummy ice creme. When it was my turn to roll up to the little customs window, the friendly officer informed me (I think she was sorry about it) that due to the Avian Flu virus, it was now prohibited to take raw chicken or eggs across the border. 

DANG!

I almost got a laughing fit right there. Doesn't the Canadian government know that the Avian Flu is spread by birds - living flying birds - that is!?!?

I guess Canada Customs agents will now have to spread in close formation along a 5500km long (the longest in the world) international border to shoot down crossing migrating birds, after all, anyone of these could carry the Avian Flu virus and infect poor Canadian birds with it. And btw. the Avian Flu is already in Canada. In Nova Scotia lots of dead birds have been found. 

Mr. Trudeau, it is too late. We might as well eat American chickens and eggs. And when it comes to me, I prefer both cooked or fried, never eat them raw.

Likewise, it is outright stupid that Canada still requires travelers to fill out an app, called ARRIVECAN, where vaccination certificates need to be uploaded. What about showing the actual paper certificate at the border? Thousands of seniors are already having difficulties with downloads and uploads and the whole damn digital rigamarole. Customs agents have already voiced their concern that car line-ups this summer will be of epic proportions. I have already personally been waiting behind of foreign licensed cars at the border watching the minute hand go round and round and round. And quite a few of those hopeful travelers had been turned around. Just imagine, that happening hundreds of times every day. Oh what fun!

According to the government, ARRIVECAN will never go away. The reason being that the government has spent 100Mill tax dollars on an idiotic app which btw. came in way too late during the pandemic and is now utterly obsolete. But admitting to having spent that kind of money for some BS-app must be hard for the government as they fear backlash for wasteful spending from the opposition.

Meanwhile, we must hope that chicken and eggs will not be sold out in the local island store. If such fatal thing should happen you ought to know that both products found in grocery shelfs on the Canadian mainland cannot be brought through the US, as the US government has copycated (is that a word?) the Canadians, and prohibited even the transfer of such delicacies through the home land. The last open way to locate chicken and eggs would then be the Deer Island - Campobello ferry. Alas, come June, our wonderful ferry connection will cease to commute back and force for at least 2 weeks, mainly because the company operating the ferry prefers to do their yearly maintence in June while tourists are tripping back and forth waiting impatiently for the opportunity to visit Campobello island, instead of during May when traffic is low. That being said, you know what the implications are: No chicken nor eggs will reach the island during the down time of the ferry. 

I have seen some green herbs, like chives and parsil, coming up in our garden. They give me hope. I will try to make a soup of them. I still have some salt and pepper.

Sunday, May 1, 2022

May Day It Is Again

True to the tradition of International May Day, our flag is out today. I have written about Mayday before, so won't repeat it here. You can read the old post if you like.

It also reminds me that it is almost a full month since my last posting. The reason for that might be that I have been so dismayed with the weather. 

I mean, come on, we should have seen some warmer days by now. But snow showers, rain and hail have been dominating the month of April. 

When ever the sun showed itself we rushed out to enjoy it.


 

 

One highlight of the month has been that Bea succeeded with producing sourdough breads.

 A neighbour gave her a sourdough starter and the results of Bea's baking were just delicious and extremely appealing to look at. 

Another highlight of the month was Bea's birthday. 

She has now joined the ranks of pensioners, receiving her Norwegian pension status. Canada allows people to retire at 65, in Norway it's 67. We had a nice party with neighbours, all enjoying a couple of sumptuous cakes.

 Recently, I have busied myself with some necessary maintenance on our trailer. And speaking of RVing, I will add that right now it is mighty unsure whether we will go south again this fall. Firstly, there are the current fuel prices, which I find not tempting for a long trip, and secondly, I am not happy with the towing performance of our van. Unless we avoid every mountain on the way, it is a pain in the behind to tow our trailer. So we will wait with making a decision until next fall.

The good news this spring is that the Canadian government finally dropped the testing requirement for border crossers. At least that signals a more normal tourist season this year. As a direct result of 2 years of pandemic and border restrictions, Americans have started selling their vacation homes here on the island. Some homes have already found buyers, this time Canadians, and for the first time in many years, the number of island residents have not declined further.

 Celebrating Easter is always an event we  are looking forward to, and this year I sent a special image of "stony eggs". If you think this was nasty, remember the "hard" times we are having.      

But like mostly this April, the weather was "in the pits".    

So, I guess that's all for now, friends, see ya around another time.



Friday, April 8, 2022

In These Gruesome Days

 I have a really hard time to find my words today.

I am fearful to read the news these days, fearful and increasingly mad, in fact so mad that if I was younger.....no let's not go there.

I think everybody is shocked by the events in the Ukraine, and are feeling fear for what this is and what it can still develop into. How a country in the 21st century can suddenly assault a neighbouring country the way Russia has done since February 24 is just unfathomable. Neglecting the agreements of the Geneva Conventions committing such gruesome war crimes, which are now coming into the eye of the public, is even worse.

But let me tell you something from long-gone days when I grew up in Germany.

It was 10 years after the end of WWII. Adults talked about the Russians. "Russians eat little children". Now, where did that come from? It came from Prussia where the advancing Russians took fierce revenge for the grueling events German Nazis had committed. And the tale was brought into the west with escaping Prussians, who had witnessed the terrible acts of violence Russian soldiers had committed along the way.

I get it. It was tit for tat. And unspeakable things had happened in Russia committed by German SS troops.

The Geneva Conventions was a series of international agreements from 1864 - 1977, establishing standards for humanitarian treatment of prisoners of war soldiers and civilians. Time after time these provisions have been violated. The last time that happened in Europe was in the Kosovo and Herzegovina. Most of us will remember the news in those days, but what is the difference when it happens today? The difference is that our media are posting the gruesome events of today's war on social media and that brings it so much closer to home. I don't know any people who are not disgusted about what happened and still happens in Ukraine. 

I am grieving for the people of Ukraine, their innocent children, and I grieve for the many animals. like the 220 dogs which were locked up in their cages without food and water and died a slow agonizing death. And I am grieving for the many zoo animals who had to die because their zoo was shot up and destroyed. And there was no alternative accommodations for surviving animals. 

Every day I am asking myself how the people will be able to live on with the memory of these violent acts.  

Sunday, April 3, 2022

Sunday Morning Walk

 When ever I wake up on a Sunday morning, I have this happy feeling of the beginning of a special day. I am sure it has to do with the way me and my brother grew up in Germany. Sunday was a day we had different, finer clothes. Mother made sure of it, but as kids we hated it at the time, cause it meant we couldn't play outside and get dirty. No, it was Sunday and though we weren't church goers, the day stood out as a special day. Dad didn't have to work, mom would cook a special dinner, which btw. we always had at 12:00 noon. After dinner, it was time for a walk. Some times we drove to a wooded area, other times we went along the beaches. After that, it was coffee and cakes, often shared with Grandpa and Grandma or it was us who were invited out to family. At 6:30pm we had our evening meal, - dark rye bread, cheese and cold cuts.

This way of spending Sundays is so ingrained in me that I mostly still live after that pattern.

Today started with bright sun which led us to take a Sunday walk in the morning, before having lunch. 

Sooo good to see the beach again and let Dixie enjoy her freedom. 

Powerful storms had moved the big root farther down the beach and turned it around. 

And more of the grassy area behind the beach had fallen victim to the rushing waters and big waves. Is that happening due to a rising ocean level or are the storms getting more powerful? We don't know, but it's gotta be one or the other.

On the way back we met neighbours with their dogs. There was "Ollie" the yorkie, who really loves Dixie and tries to "kiss her" by jumping up to her head. Maverick is a setter and the family recently got "Becket", another setter, but still a small puppy. All 4 dogs were milling around and enjoyed eachother's company. So much fun to watch!

Saturday, April 2, 2022

One Week Home - Getting Things Done

 Despite the "Homefeel", lately it's been somewhat difficult to enjoy being home, cause the weather just didn't play along. During a wintry night when temperatures got dangerously close to -10C (is it still January?) our trailer froze up. I had drained all freshwater out of the tank, but stupid me had all neglected to get the water out of the pump and the water lines. So, that morning everything was solidly frozen.

I simply hadn't expected such low temps or otherwise I would have let the furnace run and put a heater into the cubby hole where the pump sits. I removed the pump and took it inside. The furnace thawed out the interior and the boiler warmed up so I could drain the water there. Once we get lucky and the weather warms up, I will reinstall the pump for testing. Then we will see whether there is any leak in the system.

While temps were way down, the wind was way up. The strong North-West standing off the water was icy and outside activities were canceled.

Then it warmed up, but days with a nasty drizzle followed. So here we are at home and a full week has passed. With the sun out, (it was still blowing) today I drove the van to the garage door and started removing our wooden travel arrangement box/bed. A thorough round with the vaccuum cleaner followed and then we were ready to reinstall our bus seats. 

 

They had wintered in the house and luckily our house mice had abstained from gnawing holes into the upholstery. 

Installing seats in these vans is a work I would not wish on anyone. These bastards are soo unbelievably heavy and hard to mount and secure, that a lot of non-printable words escaped my mouth. But eventually, it was done and we could rest with some coffee and cookies.

The late afternoon was spent in a much more delightful way. 

We hiked to the Gibraltar Rock in the Prov. Park. The rock was once deposited there during the ice age. How the rock got his name escapes my knowledge, I can just imagine, that some (young) folks climbed to the top and imagined to look across the sea with Africa on the horizon. 

A smaller piece split straight through down the middle.

Mind you, today the rock is entirely surrounded by trees. And trees are even growing on its surface. 

I can't see how these trees could get that big, just by running roots across the surface where moss is providing moisture, but where soil is largely missing. And it seems they even withstand strong winds.

While we explored the rock from all sides, Dixie had been scraping in the ground looking for rodents. (She didn't find any)

Some of the trail has water puddles and we had step around them, but most of it was in good shape. 

Some stretches are a boardwalk. A few small trees had fallen across the trail over the winter, but we always found a way around it. Dixie hasn't been on this trail for at least 7 months, but she was always ahead of us showing that she remembered every bend along it. Dogs must have an amazing remembrance.

 

Saturday, March 26, 2022

Homefeel

 I really thought this word would not exist in the english/american language, at least not spelled together, but rather like "Home Feel". 

Google taught me otherwise though. Apparently, there are Hotels and Inns, which use the word in their name or marketing. Of course, I didn't want to lecture you about english spelling. No, the reason for using the word "homefeel" in today's headline is that when I woke up on this first day at home after almost 5 months away, I had a "homefeel". Mind you, I slept on the couch in the living room, as the bedroom was frigid. Yet sleeping on the couch is not quite as comfortable than in a bed, I had the luxury of starting a fire in the woodstove at 5:30am and making a cup of coffee, all without waking my better half, who didn't mind a cold bedroom.

So "homefeel" is, in my opinion quite different from living in an RV. This is not meant as a critique against those RVers who have decided that their RV is a year-round home, but rather a self-learning experience for me, especially since years ago, I thought of starting a year-round life as an RV-tramp on the road. I still enjoy seeing new places, learning about them along the way, but I now know that it can't stand up against "homefeel".

Just imagine, yesterday we got home after a 3-hr drive in nasty rain weather. We got our tests done at the Health Center across from our border (didn't even had to pay for it) then went to the border where 2 officers rummaged through our trailer in search of what??? (they came up empty-handed) 

I phoned a couple of neighbours about our home-coming and promptly got a supper invitation. Yes, a seafood chowder and dessert was, what we enjoyed. So, think about it, we didn't have to cook ourselves in all the unpacking of the RV and getting back into order in the house. How nice is that?

Things like that, add to the "homefeel" for me. Another neighbour brought the remaining mail to the door and yet another friend had been waiting along the road when we rolled on to the island, honking her car horn. Amazing!

I think it's very healthy to get this renewal of "homefeel", once in a while. It makes us appreciate our homebeing, and our life so much more.

Thursday, March 24, 2022

North To Maine And Almost Home

Yessss, we slept well even with the noise from the highway. If you are tired enough you can sleep in a closet!

Because we went to bed so early I was awake again at 5:30 and got up for enjoying a coffee. And that was a good thing as we heard a knock on the door an hour later. Outside was a DOT officer who had the nerve to ask us to move as they wanted to use this rest area for truck inspection. I was not amused by his request, especially as I cannot drive in the dark. So we had to pack up and leave, but moved over to where the cars were parked to take our breakfast. there.

It was drizzling too, so the weather would not be good today.

To make a=this very long day story short, we kept going most of the day ending up in Bangor Maine, where we know a truck stop off the highway. We have used this place many times before and it has always been quiet here, as truck are usually just parked here in wait for new orders. A couple of other campers are here as well. We are now only 3hrs. away from home. We still need a Rapid Covid-19 test to cross the border tomorrow, so we have scheduled for that tomorrow.

Looking back at this journey, which started on November 11, I have to say that we will not drive with this trailer/van combination once more. The 1t. van is equipped with the 6l GM Vortec engine and a 6-speed tranny. Despite the fact that GM states an allowable trailer weight of upto 10,000pounds, the van is not capable of maintaining normal travel speed on ANY incline or ANY headwind. 373pounds of torque is just not enough to pull our trailer weight of 7,500 pounds up any hill. 

The question becomes what to do. A big diesel for the trailer or back to a Class A Diesel? 

Time will tell.

Sorry, no pics today, it was just grey and rainy all day long.

Wednesday, March 23, 2022

We Did What We Did Only Once Before

We knew it would be getting colder, but when I stepped outside this morning, I was reminded of what March is all about. An icy wind from the east was sweeping across the campground. So both Dixie and I were quick with getting back inside.

Our ferry departure was booked for 10:10am, but strangely, the ferry left at 8:45, which was just fine for us as we would be saving some time on our trip.

Lewes Ferry Terminal

What we didn't know then was that later it turned out to be quite important.

View of Manhattan
Driving along the shoreline of New Jersey was a pain in the **s. The fierce wind hit us as a crosswind and it was almost impossible to keep the rig going at a normal speed. 

Then Bea got an idea. She suggested to take a route westward across the peninsula towards Philly, but without getting into the city. Another Hwy 206 was running parallel with the I-95 and offered a much better protection from the wind.

After getting through Trenton, traffic got really heavy. We followed the I-95 along the eastside of the Hudson river. This is a route we had once taken with our motorhome. We crossed the Hudson on the George Washington Bridge. And I had to shake my head over and over again. How can ANYBODY be living in such a congested area with such unbelievable chaos in traffic? We had to cross on the upper level as campers and trucks are not allowed on the lower level. (No idea why)

We went onto the I-87, then I-287 and finally the I-684. This is NOT a good route. Traffic is crazy there, and gas stations can only be found miles off of the highway and usually they are tiny places with extremely little space to get in and out for a camper rig like ours. One station we tried had a price for regular almost up to $6.00. I got out of there, but had to back out into traffic as the way forward was too narrow. 

A short distance from Danbury, we got into really heavy stop-and-go traffic. It was past 5pm and time to call it a day. Lucky us, we found a rest area and pulled in there for the night. It's full of trucks but we had an exhausting day and are dead tired. So, I guess, we'll sleep anyway.