Saturday, July 20, 2019

Kayaking and Busyness

On Gaspereau Lake in 2009
On Thursday I went on a 5 hour kayak expedition, that includes time spent eating lunch onshore and going for a nice swim. I was utterly exhausted by the time I got home, emphasis on utterly. It was gorgeous and I enjoyed every minute of it but never took any photos so sorry about that, you'll just have to imagine it.  I'm using photos from other years here.

On Gaspereau Lake, 2009
The lake we were on has lots of islands and submerged rocks, which make it both interesting and relatively safe for kayaks because few motorboats want to risk running into those submerged rocks. We encountered a large group of teenagers with a couple of older leaders, maybe in their 20s, travelling in canoes and taking a break on an island with a large flat rock that easily accommodated the entire group. It turned out that they had been on the lake for several days, camping on various islands. Which gave us the idea that we could do that in the future too.

Gaspereau Lake, 2009
One of the interesting things we saw was in a bay called Lower North Bay. I joked that it was not as far north as Sudbury. From a distance we saw a row of black dots that might have been birds, or might have been semi-submerged tree stumps, we weren't sure. As we got closer the black dots disappeared! Then we wondered if it was some kind of mirage. The far end of the bay was kind of marshy but we followed a channel through the marsh and eventually spotted our black dots again. It was a large family of Canada Geese who easily disappeared into the marsh grass when we got too close.

On Gaspereau Lake, 2009
Another interesting thing we saw was while we were eating a rather sumptuous lunch feast on a rocky shore. We heard a loon and looked across the lake in the direction of the loon call, we saw another black dot out in the middle of the lake. But it was too big to be the loon, loons swim low in the water and are sometimes hard to spot, this was more of a black blob than a black dot. Then one of us remembered that she had brought binocs with her so we checked it out. It turned out to be a bald eagle, standing on a submerged rock! I'm guessing the loon was calling a warning about the eagle, and the eagle was just standing there either resting or looking for his next meal.

At the Reservoir, 2018
I was in my new inflatable kayak. I got it last year and tried it out on the Reservoir once before getting sick and not being able to take it out again. On Wednesday I practiced assembling and inflating the kayak in my back yard, which took well over an hour. However I learned enough to be able to do it a lot quicker the next day. When we arrived at the lake I was able to assemble, inflate and load the kayak for travel in under 20 minutes. It rides very high in the water and in my opinion looks kind of ugly (it's made of black rubber), but is adequately fast and amazingly maneuverable. I can turn on a dime. I had a spray skirt for it but had a lot of difficulty getting it on and after several minutes gave up. Didn't really need it though, very little water ended up inside the kayak by the time we were done.

Once deflated and disassembled it fits neatly in a large backpack that makes it possible to transport from the water to the car. I weighed myself with the kayak on my back and it came to almost 45 lbs, which is a lot. If I lose my balance I will topple with that kind of weight, so I do have to be careful. I use the paddle as a staff to hopefully prevent falls. The others were able to move their kayaks to the cars much more quickly than me, but the time it took to load their kayaks onto the car roofs and tie them down was much longer and I actually stood around waiting while they finished loading their kayaks. So I think it was worthwhile. Mind you, I just got an email from a store out west that sells inflatable kayaks with a kayak on sale (and free shipping!) that was cheaper and looked far better than mine, one I had looked at last year but thought I couldn't afford. Oh well.

On Friday I was still exhausted, I woke up too late to take Hapi for her walk before my writing group meeting. Then I got a call from a contractor who had said he was coming Saturday but now was coming on Friday and expecting to be at my place before my writing group meeting was over. So I had to call him to say I wouldn't be home and could he postpone. He went off and ran some errands, said he'd be at my place shortly after 1.00pm but his errands took till 2.30pm and I again postponed Hapi's walk until he arrived. And by that time it was too hot, so Hapi never got a walk. In compensation I drove her to the post office for a dog treat.

I thought I was going to mow the lawn but I was way too exhausted, so I spent the afternoon listening to the contractor tell stories about himself. He's someone who can work and talk at the same time so I didn't mind, but what I really wanted to do was just read a book, even listening was energy consuming. When he left he said I should just tell him to shut up because he lives alone and takes advantage of having an audience for his non-stop patter. Probably should have but he was sufficiently interesting that I didn't like to interrupt. Fortunately he is not coming back today, he'll finish the job on Sunday or Monday.

I'm not as exhausted today and I have to pick up a couple of things for the contractor to finish the job, but otherwise my day is pretty much clear, a welcome relief to several days of busyness!

Sunday, July 14, 2019

The Carrot, and some Onions

I made a deal with myself that I could write in my blog after I've written some of my novel-in-progress. I'm kind of bored with it right now so I need a carrot on a stick. I'm collecting my reward now.

I went to a concert on Saturday night, the Canning Kitchen Party. A Middle Eastern Ensemble came to Canning from the Halifax Jazz Festival to play their music for us and it was a small but packed house. Quite amazing music, made me feel very grateful that these people moved here as refugees. I heard about this concert earlier in the day via an email from a friend; I already had plans for the day but thought I should rearrange in order to go. I called a neighbour who is a musician to see if he wanted to go and he did so that was the motivation to get it together. We were both glad we went.

One of the musicians was trying to explain to us the basics of Middle Eastern music, how it is based on up to 52 different tones and there is music to be played in the morning and music to be played in the evening and music that is good for different parts of your body. I tried to understand the stuff about tonal music but I am afraid it is beyond me. It does sound very different from Western music.

This morning another email, this time someone wanting to celebrate the sale of her house after listing it for only 5 days. The real estate market has exploded here, "Sold" signs popping up everywhere. Usually it takes months, if not years, to sell a place but now the pace is dizzying. The woman who just sold her place has no idea where she will move to, she really hadn't expected it to go so fast. The buyer offered her asking price because they were afraid it would go to someone else if they didn't. Again, I had other plans for the day and I wish I'd seen her email when she sent it the day before but oh well. I was going to visit someone else but at the last minute they cancelled out so I toddled over for the celebration. A glass of bubbly and a plate of food. Maybe I should sell my place…

Just kidding. I have no plans to go anywhere. Some of the people at the celebration were talking about all the crazy housing developments going on around town and how the town council isn't handling it very well (in their opinion). But as one person said, we'll all be dead before the worst of it comes to pass so let's not get our knickers in a knot.

I chatted with a woman who is 88 years old, she's the mother-in-law of a friend of mine. She told me she'd just gotten back from her cottage and had had a wonderful time there, she'd gone kayaking 4 times. She can hardly walk but she still kayaks. She explained the process of getting from her wheel chair into the kayak and then back out again. Impressive!

I complained to my musician neighbour on the drive to Canning about the small size of the onions I grow, he gave me some advice on how to fix that. So this morning I was mulching the onions. I didn't have quite enough straw, so first I stole the mulch from the tomatoes—I think they're big enough now to live without it at least temporarily—and then I started using lawn clippings. We'll see what happens. I always plan to mulch but somehow never quite get around to it. My neighbour said he didn't use straw he used sea grass he collected from a couple of local salt marshes. I did that once, it's a lot of work and your car ends up full of mud and salt marsh insects.

I know my neighbour hasn't had a garden for some years now and has a few mobility issues so I pointed out to him that that was when he was so much younger and spryer, and besides $5 buys a bale of straw that could take an hour to collect and transport as sea grass. But this morning I was not willing to go look for a bale of straw to buy so I used what was left over from a couple of years ago. Next time I go for eggs I'll see about getting some straw as well.

The summer is slipping by so fast! I still haven't gone swimming or kayaking (I was terribly envious of the woman who has already gone 4 times!). I feel so lazy, all I want to do is sit on my back deck and watch the garden and listen to the birds.