Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Cat Sandwich

She might have been happier tied up in blind cords.

Cat's Cradle

Monday, September 13, 2010

Spending Time with Earl and Dan and Dorothy

For the last few days of our trip the airwaves were full of talk about Hurricane Earl. The category one hurricane was supposed to be centered over Sackville at the time we planned to leave. We had limited tv and internet access so it was very difficult to know exactly what was coming.

We had a hard time deciding what to do. Stay and hope for the best? Desert Tori and the roomates? Her landlord is a firefighter and reassured us that Sackville was well equipped to weather the storm. The town is high and the tide was going to be out. The water is gravity fed so it wouldn't be affected. We were a little concerned that both front and back lawns were covered in lumber because he is in the middle of rebuilding both entrance decks. One of the roomates boyfriends couldn't understand what we were worried about. He spent most of his life in Mauritius where they get spinoff tornados several times a year. But we don't so it was a big deal. I remember my dad's stories about Hurricane Hazel. Kevin's aunt is still traumatized by Hazel. It is not something we deal with often in Canada. The internet worked for a few hours so we could start looking for hotels out of the danger zone. They were all booked already by people more decisive than us. The one we found had been increased 60% so we decided to stay and leave early in the morning and race Earl. Then my boss' husband called. His daughter also lives in Sackville (small world) and he spent 3 years counselling Hurricane Katrina survivors and he was very concerned. At that point there wasn't much we could do. We had nowhere to go and it was 5 pm.

The next morning we got up at 5 and were out the door at 5:45. Shortly before we left I glanced out the window. I was startled to see a big cat. I had hoped most pets had taken in. Then I realized how BIG a cat it was. I was thinking it was a bobcat then it turned and I got a good look at it's tail. It was a cougar, meandering down the main street of town. It was about the size of my dogs so not full grown. I figure it is a baby from this spring just cut loose and trying to find it's way in the world. This is undoubtedly something I will never forget.

The drive to Oromocto was eerily quiet. We only saw two other cars in the first 2 hours. We arrived in Oromocto just before 8. We had intended to visit friends on the way to Sackville but we were late (sorting out Tori's financing). We didn't call so they weren't expecting us. We cruised by their house and saw a light on so knocked and surprised them at breakfast. Here is Dan and Dorothy.
We have known them since Caitlin and Alec were born. Dan (he's the one on the left) was a helicopter mechanic at the Search and Rescue flight were Kevin was and Dorothy and I hit it off at the twin's shower. We had two years together in Goose Bay, then encountered them again when we lived in NB. Dan became our car and small engine mechanic (he can fix anything and makes awesome first beds for all the grandkids). Connor loved playing at Dorothy's when he was a toddler. Dorothy makes amazing quilts to grace the beds Dan makes. We have met all their children and grandchildren. It was good to see them after 10 years. But remember we were racing a hurricane and didn't have time to dilly dally. Off to Edmundston, near the border of Quebec, where we had tried to seek refuge the night before. Surprise - the worst weather was in Edmundston. The forecast had been 50-70 mm rain in Sackville, 40-50 in Fredricton and 20-40 in Edmundston. It turned out to be exactly backwards (Oh, I love weathermen!). The rain was very heavy here. It was the only place we had to slow down and we saw a car that hydroplaned into the guardrail.

The rest of the drive was uneventful, just long. We hate driving through Montreal. We had 3 maps and none of them had highway numbers that matched the actual road signs. We had supper in Brockville at 9. We got home about 2:30 after 20 hours of driving. That is a new record for us. We used to drive straight from Oromocto to Newmarket but we have set a new record. And Kevin did all the driving. I read. The kids slept.

The End

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Sackville is almost a town time forgot. It is centred around the old stone university buildings and a quaint main street. And of course there is a rustic train station.And there is a huge waterfowl park with a maze of boardwalks.

Stay tuned for the exciting conclusion of our trip tomorrow.

Sackville carvings

We spent the last day in Sackville exploring by bike. In one area of Sackville there are several beautiful wood carvings made from giant stumps of trees that had been cut down. If you enlarge the first picture you will see that the tree right behind the bitterns has orange lines drawn on the branches. It looks like they are going to do another carving. I love the perfect wood grain, especially on the ladies dress. Some people are so talented ... and patient.

Friday, September 10, 2010

What we found at the Beach

Tori is demonstrating to Connor and I how to find microscopic sealife in the tidal pools.

She has always had amazing eyesight. When I went on hikes with her classes the teacher would ask "Who can find a _______________? Tori was always the first. Eventually she would be asked to give the other kids a chance. The first picture is a hermit crab. The second a regular crab that was half the size of her pinky nail.

After all that fresh air we needed lunch. Look where we ate! It was excellent - both the food and the service.
After lunch we went to a beach north of Amherst and had a nice swim. It took us longer to find the beach than we actually swam but we had the whole beach to ourselves. I guess everyone else had problems with the directions and lack of signs too. A few seals joined us but kept their distance. Connor has a waterproof camera but didn't bring it so blame him for the lack of pictures.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Connor's Shoes

Before you look at the pictures you need to know a few things about Connor.
Connor does not wear sandals or flip flops.
Connor does not wear dress shoes.
Connor will not even wear running shoes.
Or winter boots.
Connor wears skateboard shoes. Period.
Connor wears brand new shoes biking. And in the snow and rain. Connor canoes and mows the lawn in brand new shoes. He will not wear his old shoes once he gets new ones.
He goes through shoes very quickly. Mom will not pay for his shoes any more.
Therefore he usually has only one pair.
He brought one pair of shoes on vacation with us.
I am sure you can already see where this is going.

There were spots on the Fundy Shore that looked like red rock. It wasn't. The smooth shiny surface was very deceptive. It was thick, gluey mud. People with sandals (me) or people with extra shoes (Kevin and Tori) could "walk" on the "rock". Not such a good idea for Connor.

He made the best of a bad situation. He used some of the coal deposits to put toe protectors on his new workboots. (The shoes were previously black, orange and bright blue - double click on picture to get a closer look)

We went shoe shopping as soon as we got back.


Sackville is only 10 or 15 minutes from Nova Scotia so we went there on a day trip. When we got there it was low tide so we went to the nearest "beach" to explore tide pools. I love, love, love exploring tide pools. We went to Joggins Fossil Cliffs. None of us are into fossils but it was close. I actually didn't even look at the cliffs - just the ground. I nevertheless found a few fossils. I have no idea what the first one could be - snakeskin? fishscales? The second one is obviously a section of a petrified tree.

The waves were quite angry.

This is one of the many coal seams in the area.

The colorful one plays pirate.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

A sidetrip

We lived in New Brunswick for 4 years before we moved to Ontario. We took a little detour from the highway to see our old house. Here it is, sitting in the middle of 1.37 acres. It hasn't changed much. There is a fence on the right side now and the septic tank has recently been dug up. We never had any trouble with the well or septic but the new owners phoned us a few years after buying it and apparently they had had a lot of trouble. They wanted our help in complaining to the builder and the township but we really couldn't help them out. There were 6 of us and if that didn't cause septic trouble I don't know what would.

New Brunswick is a scenic province and we enjoyed exploring the forests, rivers and coastline and many other attractions. This bridge is a 5 minute bike ride (downhill) from our old place. Pretty isn't it?

The Trip to Sackville

The long drive to Sackville to take Tori to Mount Allison University was uneventful.

Very uneventful.
Maybe even boring. 
Yup, most definitely boring.
The highlight was another visit with our good friends the Sylvester's in Kingston. Laurie fed us lunch (again). Thanks Laurie.

Kevin's shirt says "PADDLE FASTER - I hear banjo music". Just in case you cared.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Before we went

On Sunday we had a family gathering/farewell to Tori/celebration of August birthdays at the beautiful Springwater Park in Barrie. We don't go there nearly often enough. Springwater has lots of natural beauty, hiking/biking trails and a small wildlife exhibit. And there are several large playgrounds too. Something for the whole family. In the middle of dinner there was a bit of water fight.

Tori got the worst of it.
Our good friend Linda made this cake. It is hard to see here but there is a line drawn from Wasaga Beach to Sackville with the mileage and the balloons are for all the August birthdays in our family. It was a huge cake and there is still lots in the freezer.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Road Trip!

1713 km to get there. Can you guess where we went (and why?)