Friday, January 6, 2012

Janus, looking backward and forward

Apparently my brain goes to sleep shortly after supper. The longer I can postpone supper, the longer I can keep it awake, but I think there might be a limit to that.

I was supposed to go to a birthday party tonight, a friend's 50th, but I could not get up the energy. I feel bad about that, but I don't think it would have been much use to force myself out the door. I'd like to think this is the tail-end of the 'flu but I am pretty sure it is not, I think I am pretty much over that.

Today was one of those crisp bright January days with a light dusting of snow on the ground, just enough to be blindingly bright. Hapi and I went for a brief walk along the Gaspereau canal, a kind of short elevated canal along one side of the Gaspereau Valley. It's about halfway up the side of the valley so you get quite a view from there, and you're mostly looking down on treetops on the lower side of the canal. The canal is not frozen.

Most of the electric energy produced in Nova Scotia is from coal, but there are a few small hydroelectric dams scattered through the province. The Gaspereau canal connects two small power dams. No boats use the canal, it is only about one kilometer long and there is no place to put a boat in, the sides are too steep. In the summer kids jump into the water from the one bridge that crosses the canal, but that is the only use the canal gets other than power production.

Sometimes it seems like the year has two beginning months, January and September. September always seems like a beginning, being the start of school after the summer I guess. And January is the official start of the year. You'd think the first month of spring ought to be the start, not a month into winter. Anyway, winter here doesn't really start until January. Might have a couple of good snowstorms in November or December, but January is the real start. In January there is nothing to look forward to except winter, at least two or three months of it. Sure, the days do get longer, and that is definitely a blessing, but it's still winter.

I've been trying to think about what I have accomplished in the past year and what I hope to do in the year coming. It's hard to think about accomplishments, I had a fairly aggressive list of things I wanted to do and hardly any of them got done. I was going to do so many things around the house that need work. A lot of painting, a couple of building projects, a few repairs...

The fence got built. Sam replaced the kitchen faucet. I got my loom set up and took a weaving workshop. I joined a choir and then unjoined. I got a dog. I stacked 4 cord of firewood, a cord and a half of it had to be stacked twice because I had to move it from inside the woodshed to out behind in the lean-to.

I built 4 raised garden beds and grew some vegetables, I planted 6 berry bushes (raspberry, blueberry and gooseberry), bunches of chives, strawberry plants and asparagus. I froze some of the vegetables and a whack of strawberries and blueberries (not my own), I made quince jam from 6 quinces I got off a bush in front of the house. There would have been more than 6 if I had not done an overzealous pruning job before I knew that it was a quince bush.

I also have a plum tree that does not produce plums, I thought it was because it is a type of plum that requires two trees to pollinate each other. But apparently it did produce one plum that a young man visiting next door managed to snag and eat before I realized what it was.

I got into artisanal bread baking and have developed a sourdough recipe that works pretty well. I bake about one loaf a week. I don't eat a lot of bread.

I volunteered at the foodbank and at the film society. At the foodbank I help bag up food for distribution every couple of weeks or so with 5 or 6 other women. There are over 90 families in our town that use this foodbank, up from around 60 during the summer.

At the film society I help put together a short presentation of movie trailers as previews of upcoming shows. It's a complicated process, but sort of interesting. I now have my own key to the projection room. The projectionist, also a volunteer, is a quiet but multi-talented fellow who is among other things a playwright, a director, a dancer, and a fiddler. We kid him about his hidden talents, that the next thing we know he's going to reveal that he is also a NASA space engineer or something. He says not.

I had a bunch of visitors, friends and family, who came to see my new-old place. I took care of my son's two dogs for a couple of months. I visited PEI twice for a couple of days each time. I went kayak camping once.

I think that pretty much sums up the past year. Mostly it seemed to me that it was about getting settled here.

The to-do list from last year is still around, I still need to paint and repair and so forth. I would like to expand the garden, from 4 beds to 8. I would like to get out more often with the kayak, although how exactly I am going to do that with this dog I don't know. She really does not like being left alone. I would like to go to Cape Breton. This winter I hope to get out skiing and snowshoeing.

I think I would like to be a little more focussed in the coming year, but what exactly that means I don't know.

I was in the Kentville Ravine the other day with Hapi, we ran into a woman I have met there before with her Great Dane puppy, Bodhi. This "puppy" weighs 137 lbs. Last time we met Bodhi kept trying to get Hapi to play with him and Hapi just growled at him. This went on for almost half an hour before Hapi finally caved and played chase with Bodhi. This second time Bodhi again tried to get Hapi to play and Hapi again growled at him. Only this time Bodhi appeared kind of upset by that, he started barking at her and leaning up against me. He leaned so hard that I had to step back a couple of paces.

His owner was watching this and said, I think he is trying to push you away from Hapi. We wondered what Bodhi was up to, but it really did seem like he was pushing me away from Hapi. Almost as if he thought Hapi was dangerous and he was trying to protect me from her. Or else maybe he thought Hapi would play with him if he could just separate us.

Last time we met Bodhi's owner asked me what my passion was. Kind of an odd question and I couldn't answer it. I said I was too much of a dilettante to have a passion for one thing in particular. She said her passion was for gardening and creatures, she likes plants and animals. I think it would be nice to have a passion for one thing, I just have too many interests and not enough time or focus.

I am just too scattered, too much of a dilettante.


Wisewebwoman said...

Ah but that is what makes you so interesting, Annie!
Did you have to get topsoil for your beds? I am having so-so results with my soil, compost and lime. soil is pathetic here but there has been much success in the community gardens. Also in container gardening, did you do any of that?

Anne said...

Same here, Annie, I'm a complete dilettante, and besides that I'm kind of lazy, so my list of accomplishments of last year would be a fraction of yours. I thought the list mighty impressive.

Barbara Anne said...

Hi Anne!

I'm back and just couldn't even begin to fill you in on all that's kept me away. Suffice it to say "eldercare" as the in-laws live next door, sewing as I was crazy to make two quiltie gifts for Christmas (am slow, too), and such. I didn't actually fall off of the planet.

How handy that I popped back in for your summation of the year! Hapi looks like a good companion and perhaps she would learn to like kayaking?


Annie said...

Hi Barbara Anne, glad to hear from you, glad you're OK! Hope I'll hear more from you... I kinda doubt I'll be getting Hapi into a kayak ;-)

Annie said...

Hi Barbara Anne, glad to hear from you, glad you're OK! Hope I'll hear more from you... I kinda doubt I'll be getting Hapi into a kayak ;-)