Well, I never imagined hypothesizing about ‘being awake’ – but here I am! Is it the Atlantic influence, the stars, or some other unknown phenomenon that’s waking us up bright-eyed and bushy tailed… AT DAWN! Yep, since we arrived in the house five days hours ago (apologies for being so tardy in posting this blog), we’ve been waking as soon as it’s light, ready to start a new day, and it’s not like we have so much to do while we’re in the ‘glamping’ phase of our move.

On the first night we thought that maybe it was the rock-hard bed the sellers left behind – in fact, I’m sure there are rocks more comfortable than this mattress, which meant we were awake before the alarm. But, obviously not, because we were up even earlier on the second, third and subsequent mornings, having gone to bed at our usual time (10:30 ish). Not sure whether this is an ongoing lifestyle transformation that’s been revived by the Nova Scotia air, or the distant sound of the Atlantic waves breaking on our beach, but we’ll take full advantage while it lasts. You know the saying: “Make hay…. Etc. etc.”

THE BED!

Not wanting to cripple ourselves by sleeping on a rock for more than one night, so first thing Thursday morning we were in Bridgewater buying a new bed. However, we were mortified to hear that their delivery schedule couldn’t fit us in for six days (!!!), so Peter trundled to U-Haul, having only dropped off our moving trailer the previous day (more to follow on that), so we could do a cash-and-carry bed intervention.

There was an additional method to this apparent madness because, in researching our garbage pick-up days, Peter noticed that ‘bulk items’ were collected from the roadside several times a year – illustrated by the fact that there were freezers, washing machines, desks, mattresses, old chairs sitting outside peoples’ gates. (The first time we’ve ever seen such a fabulous service, but it certainly prevents people from trying to convert natural areas into living rooms, kitchens, bedrooms… by intentionally ‘dumping’ stuff that litters the countryside forever and a day.)

So, having purchased and delivered the new bed to ourselves, we loaded the ‘rock’ and old box spring into the trailer (too far to carry them to the front gate as our driveway is 200 metres long) and hoped we hadn’t missed the collection. Sure enough, when Peter returned from dropping off the trailer, it was as an invisibility cloak (for any Harry Potter fans) had dropped over every trash pile because the roadside had been totally swept clean of every discarded item thanks to a legion of burly garbage men. Having already discovered how conscientious Nova Scotians are about recycling, reusing, and repurposing, one can only assume, or hope that new life will perhaps be breathed into some of the salvageable items, and that, as I write, they are being sorted, repaired or reprogrammed into new careers for someone who needs them.

Anyway – out with the old, in with the new and, thankfully Peter and I are both still pretty fit and strong. But we decided to haul the mattress up two flights of stairs ahead of the box spring so, if worst came to worst and we didn’t have the energy or inclination to shift the base, we could at the very least sleep on the mattress on the floor for one night. No problem! With a few changes of angle and some pushing and shoving, we left the mattress in the master bedroom and returned with sufficient energy for the base. First flight of stairs – no problem. Second flight – oops! Without the flexibility of the mattress, the box spring just wouldn’t budge around the corner, without removing a whole window and/or lowering the stairs. Damn! We only needed three inches more space to make the turn. (Thank goodness our king size mattress on its way from Mexico has a box spring that comes in two halves.) One night sleeping on the mattress on the floor – okay! Exchanging the queen bed for a double, or sleeping on a mattress on the floor for the foreseeable future…. Not gonna happen!

Just as the sun set at the back of the house yesterday evening, it created a glow in the tree tops at the front – although the photo snapped with my iPhone doesn’t do the scene justice

Lightbulb moment! There’s a reasonably large balcony at the front of the house on the second floor (first floor to Europeans), with a slightly smaller balcony on the floor above. So, if we roped up the base, we could theoretically haul it from one balcony to the other, outside the house, avoiding the staircase altogether. Not shy of putting our theory to the test, Peter had to return to Bridgewater for a suitable length of rope, and all the while I made drawings of how we might defy gravity and avoid injuring ourselves in this crazy process. So, new rope in hand, we trussed up the base like a Christmas turkey in what we’d both agreed was a suitable configuration of lashings and knots, plus also banded some self-tightening straps around the box spring, and Peter hurled the ends of the rope up and over the bannister rail of the uppermost balcony. He then went upstairs to take up the slack, and while he pulled I steered the box spring quite handily over the lower balcony railing until it was suspended in mid air. I then leapt up the stairs to add my pulling power to Peter’s and, apart from one moment when the polythene cover snagged on a nail, we were quickly able to reach the straps and woman/man-handle the base until it was safely balanced on the top-most bannister. A quick high-five, and the box spring was soon reunited with the mattress…. And, on boy, did we sleep well Thursday night. I just wish there’d been time to nip downstairs and snap a photo of the box spring hanging between the two balconies, but I didn’t think Peter would appreciate being left for longer than it took me to run up the stairs and relieve him of one of the hauling ropes!

However, given that we slept like logs, Friday morning, for the second night running, we were awake with the larks (or, in this case, the robins, warblers and rock pigeons). In fact, by 7:30 we were discussing whether coffee and toast (having already breakfasted before 6:00), should be categorized in true Hobbit fashion as second breakfast or early elevenses. By the time we had lunch, we’d had two breakfasts and two elevenses; read and replied to our emails; designed and sited the new kitchen island; measured and planned a range of wardrobes for the master bedroom (15% off at IKEA this coming week); measured for storage cupboards in the craft room; washed, dried and folded two loads of washing; drove to the post office to collect our mail that had been on hold; and stacked several cords of logged wood that came in a huge pile with the house…. And it was only midday. So, for anyone who doesn’t consider there are sufficient hours in a day – get up with the sun at 5:30. (Okay – I do realize that for our Mexican friends it doesn’t get light until at least 6:30 most of the year, and I agree that it’s no fun getting up in the dark when there’s outdoor work to be done.)

THE NECESSARY U-HAUL

Given that we returned from Mexico with all the very basic essentials we deemed necessary for some weeks in a rental cottage, then camping in a new home in the car – why did we need to rent a U-Haul? You might well ask. The decision was inspired by the fact that I’d bought several dozen plants at a sale and the local farmers’ market, had acquired half a dozen tomato plants given to us by a generous pickleball friend, plus an office chair so I didn’t cramp my back working at the kitchen table in the cottage and, finally, a large box of new saucepans I needed to replace a very worn-out set I’d thrown out in Mexico. So, no way to fit everything into our car, even with the top box, and a $33/day rental seemed a bargain to shift everything painlessly from one side of the province to the other. Fortunately, NS is a very small province from coast-to-coast – a little over 100 kms from Annapolis Royal to the South Shore where we were destined to meet our realtor for the pre-possession walk-through. Then after closing with the lawyer, Peter carried me over the threshold of our new home! Hah! That last statement wasn’t entirely true, but I know the thought was there.

Jenny enjoying a nap – but safely guarding her rope at the same time

Coincidentally, we’ve already met one of our new neighbours when we decided to ‘beat the bounds’ of our acreage – some of it, in any case – last Thursday evening. Decided to follow a stream running down to the sea, which meandered at one point onto the neighbouring property, at which point, Jeff, who was planting beets in his garden at the time, came to introduce himself. Interestingly, in the three years that our predecessors had lived here he’d never met them once. A youngish guy with a new-born, I could well imagine the conversation with his wife going something like: “Just met our new neighbours, a couple of old farts who were trespassing on our property.” LOL He actually talked to Peter about jointly caring for the stream (which does meander through both his land and ours), removing fallen trees that are eroding the banks, and generally creating a managed haven for wildlife. We like him already. Also, somewhere nearby, there must be a beaver lodge because we’ve spotted their handiwork on some trees that border our property – but some of the forested sections of the 50 acres (which we’ve dubbed ‘Fanghorn’ with a nod to Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings) are so thick with undergrowth that it’ll need a machete wielding madman (Peter) to fight his way through and create some welcome dog-walking trails. Or a legion of orcs to pass through with their battleaxes!

WILDLIFE

Although we’ve not seen one deer anywhere since we arrived (they seem to prefer lush golf courses for their daily nibble…), the local bunnies seem determined to torment Pip – our springer spaniel. Although she knows better, the brazen temptation of giving chase was just too much yesterday morning. Having let the dogs out for a last comfort break before we headed off to Costco in Halifax for our pantry-stocking trip, a twitching nose and bobbing tail was more than Pip could bear. She shot off at 90 mph with Peter yelling, whistling, leaping up and down, and generally causing a ruckus that would have annoyed the neighbours had there been any within hearing distance. Some minutes later, a very bedraggled and contrite Pip returned, dripping wet and tangled with undergrowth that she’d snagged during her frenzied chase, while the bunnies, of course, were all hiding out of sight and laughing behind their paws at the mad dog who flashed by at breakneck speed. Joking aside, Pip’s now confined to the area immediately around the house until she relearns some wildlife manners although, hopefully, the Watership bunnies will take our arrival seriously and decide to relocate to a dog-free zone to save everyone’s sanity.

Baby red squirrel
stealing sunflower seeds from a sack

And, finally, a very cheeky, baby red squirrel scuttled into our garage, took a bite out of the corner of a sack of sunflower seeds we’d bought for the birds, and quite calmly helped him/herself to a snack while we stood watching from a few feet away. At least squirrels don’t eat plants, and I’m sure the birds will be happy to share.

Until next time….

9 Replies to “Yikes! What is with the Nova Scotia air?

  1. I love your blog Jean! Reading it, I feel like I am right there with you, smelling the salt in the air and taking in the glorious setting…….but this getting up at 5:30 is really a bit much! I guess I’ll just have to live there vicariously through your blog!
    Love to you both/,
    Mary

    p.s. Koko journeyed over the rainbow bridge on April 11, then, on Monday of last week I gave in to the urging of friends and found the most adorable 2-month old Shih-tzu-Poodle mix…a cute little girl this time and am thoroughly enjoying getting to know her!

    1. Thanks Mary. I do still miss all our good friends from LLT and Ajijic, but just met another neighbour today – after posting the blog. We decided to investigate the far backside of our property this afternoon – stopped the car on the boundary road and another neighbour saw us and came out to say “howdy”. It certainly seems to be a community where everyone looks out for each other. Yes, I was very sorry to hear about Koko, but so pleased that you’ve found another pup. I had to laugh because one of our pickleball friends from Annapolis Royal was talking about a similarly bred pup last week that Peter afterwards decided should be called a ‘poo shit’! Warped sense of humour! What are you calling her? Hope all goes well with the house training, etc. Love and hugs… Jean

  2. Great stories Jean. Sounds like you have plenty to keep you busy. Always lots of unexpected energy with a new house.
    We are in the airport on our way to Vancouver and then Ottawa at the end of the week. Lots of family time ahead.
    Have fun setting up!
    Lynn

    1. Thanks Lynn – the blogs will be a great reminder of our adventures in years to come. Have a great trip, and if you feel like a quick detour from Ottawa, we’ll be here… Safe travels. Give each other a hug from both of us. Jean xx

  3. Hi Jean,
    Your update and the visual of the two of you pulling a box spring up two flights was most entertaining. (and it sounds muy Mexicanada)!
    I finally convinced the owner to do some major repair work on the house…repairing the salitre on the exterior and interior walls, the roof which has been leaking since I got here. It’s a huge job, messy and I have to lock Kika in the bedroom so she won’t bite the workers. She is depressed because she thinks she is being punished not to mention the cohuetes for San Antonio started at 6am this morning so clinging to my side like velcro.
    I love all your allusions to Tolkien’s writing…Assuming you must have many
    “Ents” in your forest…Have you spoken with them yet??
    Regarding the illusive deer, that may be a good thing for your garden. However to be sure you must plant bushels of iris bulbs and lots of salvia.
    The deer hate iris and salvia and the hummingbirds love it. There are so many kinds of both with an incredible array of colors and scents and both are low maintenance and almost always free of “plagas.”
    Not going to make it north this summer as I advertised my place a bit late and now with the repair I need to hang around. But next year I just may have to come and check out your completed projects!
    More when the dust settles. Until then, hugs to you both!
    PS Doesn’t finishing everything by noon give you a smug satisfaction??
    Love, R

    1. Dear Ruthita, Good to hear your house is being muy updated – not before time. No, we haven’t yet met the Ents – but we’ll be sure to talk to them. Currently, the undergrowth at the edge of the forest is too thick to comfortably walk – plus we arrived mid tick season, so dogs going to vets later today for ‘all’ the recommended deterrents. We have the female equivalent of James Herriott just down the road who hosted a coffee evening yesterday (with scrumptuous pastries from Lahave Bakery) and a presentation of local parasites: Worms, fleas and ticks. As it happens, we already have an appointment with her for this afternoon as a nice vet in Annapolis Royal prescribed a medication to alleviate Pip’s urinary incontinence, and it worked! Yay! Ladron told us it was simply her age and there was nothing we could do!!!! Although it didn’t bother us if she leaked from time to time (it happens to us all, eventually), it obviously bothered her as we noticed her looking around at her rear end with a curious embarrassment – not the indignity we want our dogs to experience. Anyway, one day she was especially leaky in the rental cottage, so Peter took her to a local vet who actually prescribed something that had been developed for children. Plus a daily dose of vitamin C that enhances the efficacy of the drug. Eureka!

      Although we were in an area infested with ticks during our 10 years in France (our first experience with these nasty critters), they are especially endemic to the US northeast and, by geographical proximity, Canada’s southeast. Peter and I are still both at the stage where if we get a slight itch, we’re immediately thinking ‘tick’ and, in fact, Canadian Tire has a half-price deal on a Bissell carpet and upholstery cleaner that Peter’s popped to buy this morning, because we do have carpet on the first and third floors – and the previous owners had cats (that also left a few stains)! Apparently ticks will bury themselves in carpets, but are killed by the steam, hence the purchase. I’ve also ordered a dozen Khaki Campbell ducklings as ducks, chickens and guinea fowl are the best outdoor tick controllers, and I’ve kept ducks in the past for their wonderful eggs. So ‘killing’ literally, two birds with one stone – or, in this case, a multitude of ticks with 12 ducks. I read, also, as a natural remedy, planting garlic or stevia around a garden’s perimeter will deter ticks. However, given the sheer numbers, I have no qualms about killing a few.

      I’ve already acquired some iris and salvia among the plants that I bought before we moved into the new house, so will keep an eye open for more. As it happens, we’ve seen more rabbits than deer, but I left my hosta pots out in the area I’m planning to plant them and they’ve been untouched. Famous last words! Will let you know how that goes.

      Your bed (the new one, that will move into the guest bedroom when ours arrives from Mex – hopefully next week), will always be here for you, although I’m not sure how many finished projects will be ready for viewing next year…. But our door is always open anytime you’re ready to visit. Love and hugs… Jean

  4. Oh Jean, I just love it. Sitting at Manchester Airport waiting to board back home the people around me sure think I‘m a but crazy. Just laughed when I came to the part with the bed and immagined both of you on the verandas 🤣

    1. Well – I’m very glad that I made you laugh. I have an even crazier story for the next blog – about getting a sideboard down the stairs!!! xx

      1. Wel Jean, I just came home from the airport and had to get on my computer and read it again. And all your replies to the comments of your other friends. It’s just hillarious (did I spell that correct) and I hope you get all the plants that will help to get those ticks out of your garden, or at least you have less. They are so useless and I haven’t found out for what that are on earth. I’m just glad Monty doesn’t catch many. He’s four and a half now and only had three up to now – I’m so glad.
        Looking forward to the story of the sideboard, xxx

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