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 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.