It’s a bit surreal preparing for a hurricane. If it weren’t for the weather forecasters and mass media, we’d have no idea that anything was coming. We take it on faith that they’re right, and act. We aren’t going camping or sailing this holiday weekend. Instead we’ve battened down the hatches and stocked up on cheese, and we’re waiting it out.
It looks like Earl will have been downgraded to a tropical storm before it hits Nova Scotia. We’re used to that. The colder water around Nova Scotia sucks the juice out of many hurricanes. But tropical storms can still pack quite a punch and cause damage, flood roads and unmoor boats. And occasionally a big one hits, like Hurricane Juan in 2003. So it’s best to be prepared.
This has got to be one of the coolest webcam locations in the world. It’s in Halls Harbour, where you can see the fishing boats go up and down with the world’s highest tides on the Bay of Fundy. Here’s how it looked today, Sunday March 14, at high tide. Go to www.novascotiawebcams.ca/hallsharbour/ (will open in new window or tab on your browser) and compare what you see with this.
Across from the tidal inlet near our house is a small island which is a symbolic destination for us, depending on the time of year. We celebrate spring, and the ice breaking up, by canoeing to it. In winter, if the ice is thick enough, we walk or skate to it. Today the ice was over 6 inches thick, the required minimum, and we walked there.
With thanks to my Facebook friends for their contributions.
The smooth, quiet brush of fresh snow under your skis.
The way ice breaks and cracks over rocks as the tide falls.
Empty beaches with shimmering vistas.
The mildness, softness and peace a snowfall brings.
Like the folks here, a winter is softness and gentility: quite well mannered, and departs when the welcome is worn.
A crackling fire in a woodstove making heat that penetrates to your bones.
Walking ON the bay in places we usually row, paddle or sail.
Sunlight sparkling off snow-laden branches.
Minas Basin ice shifting, buckling, making strange sculptures on the shore.
Magnificent bald eagles.
Watching the days get longer in the coldest part of the winter.
Shovelling the driveway with a helper who will clear up the last little bits: the sun.
NO mosquitoes, NO blackflies, NO no-see-ums!
The weather changes frequently: it’s fairly mild, and cold snaps are short, warm periods are also short. There’s something for everyone and no time to get bored!
The province is small but has a variety of microclimates. Want more snow? Ski hills are not so far away. Want less snow? Go walk a deserted South Shore beach.
Memories of crazy winter antics performed when we were young and immortal: descending hills at great speed, jumping from one ice floe to another as the frozen ocean broke up (some have memories of being rescued in these situations!), “getting towed on a sled behind my dad’s car on a snow-covered gravel road, riding my bike through the streets of Halifax when the snow wasn’t too bad,” ice boating, skating on thin ice….
Maple syrup made in the woods.
Patterns made by drifting snow.
Winter skies unlike anything you see in the summer.
Eating fresh snow.
Cardinals and purple finches at the feeder.
Getting insight into the life of rabbits from their tracks in the woods.
So there are some of the things we love about winter in Nova Scotia. What are yours? Leave a comment below.
I’m fascinated by the formation of ice and how it interplays with the tides. And it has started again with cold morning temperatures which leave a layer of ice which plays with rocks as the tide goes down. You can hear the cracking as you walk along the shore – just little crick-clicks now, but bigger booms when the ice is thicker.
Is there any boat more beautiful than a schooner? What is it about them that draws the eye? The Schooner Association met in Chester this weekend. We passed a few heading home on Sunday. Some photos, taken from our boat:
Since we live and sail on Mahone Bay and have come to know most of its islands by sight, I read Frank Parker Day’s 1928 novel Rockbound with great interest. I wasn’t the only one. Thanks to CBC’s Canada Reads program, the previously obscure novel has been lionized by the Canadian literary establishment and the public.
One of the book’s biggest fans is my mother. She has read it several times. When I took her sailing around East Ironbound Island, the setting for the novel, the binoculars and cameras were in constant use.
If Day’s characters were as thinly disguised as his settings, it’s no wonder that the locals he met on Ironbound felt betrayed by his portrayal of hard-drinking, feuding fishing families eking out a hardscrabble living on a small island. But they are long gone now, and new generations of readers marvel at the dramatic sweep of his story, his vivid characterizations and the detailed portrayal of pre-industrial fishing. For me, Rockbound has made the outer islands of Mahone Bay come alive with the ghosts of those who have gone before. Imagine rowing from Tancook to Ironbound, from Ironbound to Pearl (“Barren Island” in the novel) – well, I can’t, really, but characters that I have come to care for do just that in the novel, so I believe it is possible.
When I heard that Two Planks and a Passion Theatre Company was developing Rockbound as a musical, I was astonished and very curious. Written by Allen Cole and under development since 2006, it is now playing “off the grid” (outdoors) at the Ross Creek Centre for the Arts, half an hour north of Wolfville. My mother and I, both very excited, went last Wednesday.
From the opening song, my questions and doubts about how a musical format would serve the story were laid to rest. My ears were awash in delicious sound and my jaw remained in my lap for much of the performance. Harmonically and rhythmically complex and expressive, the music transcends genres and beautifully evokes the epic story and the setting. The acting and singing were wonderful. How else could this play have been done? The music elevates the story, poeticizes it, universalizes it.
I hope to see Rockbound again when it comes to Chester Playhouse August 13-16. Meanwhile it is playing until August 9 at Ross Creek. Not to be missed.
The was a brush fire on Oak Island today with fire departments from half a dozen communities responding. We couldn’t see the fire from the causeway, just the helicopter scooping up and dropping seawater on it. No serious damage, just lots of excitement, and a traffic jam of firetrucks making their way over the causeway.