St. Bernard, Nova Scotia
Well, my hope last week that the last storm was not the start of the rainy season seems to have been in vain. This weekend, we got another doozy of a storm, with high winds and torrential rain - almost 45 mm worth. There is more rain in the forecast for this week, so I guess the rainy season is upon us. Luckily, the power stayed on this weekend, with the exception of a couple of momentary "blips".
It is a good thing the power stayed on, because we spent most of the weekend cooking. It being Thanksgiving weekend, we had three couples over for Thanksgiving dinner: Bob and Velda, Bentley and Danni, and Andrew and Sharon. I was going to take pictures, but we got so busy eating and talking that I totally forgot. You will have to settle for my descriptions.
For the main course, we had millet loaf with onion gravy, roasted veggies (potato, parsnip, turnip, mushroom, carrots, red peppers, onions, broccoli, brussels sprouts and potatoes), maple-thyme roasted yams and dressing. For dessert, we had lemon tart with wild blackberry topping and chocolate-coconut cupcakes. The latter were brought by Sharon and Andrew against our strict rule that no one was to bring anything. Tsk-tsk! In fact, no one obeyed our restriction, since Bob and Velda brought some home-grown passionfruit for us to try, and Danni and Bentley brought wine and homemade preserves.
I am still keeping busy with miscellaneous projects around the house. We expect the house mover to show up any day now.
Today's photos show how tame deer get when you feed them surplus apples!
For a while, I had been meaning to repair a bit of the plumbing on the rainwater cistern. Some of the connections were dripping. As long as I had to disassemble the connections and rebuild them anyway, I thought, why not add the necessary hardware so that the fire department can make use of the water in an emergency? The fittings were not expensive, and were available at an industrial hardware store in Courtenay. The picture shows the result. (And it doesn't drip!) It is rather cheap insurance to have the equivalent of two extra truckloads of water on site and available for firefighting.
Our cultural event of the week was a concert on Friday night by Valdy and Gary Fjellgaard. They have both been around forever, but they put on a great perfomance, with lots of energy. They are both Gulf Islanders themselves (though from those other Gulf Islands down south), so it was like they were playing for their home audience. The hall was packed, and the audience had a toe-tapping good time.
We get quite a few people from off-island attending these concerts, especially when we have a big-name act like Valdy, so they are quite strict about timing. The performance has to be over by 10:30 so that the mainlanders can get the last ferry home. Unfortunately, that means no encores! This week's perfomers, being ferry-dependent themselves, understood perfectly.
Speaking of ferries, we have heard, unofficially, that the Quinitsa is not going to be going in for the second half of its refit until January. That means that it will likely not be back in service until after the May long weekend and the start of tourist season. Won't that be fun with the little Kahloke! We heard that, if the Quinitsa is not back in service by April, they will put a second small ferry on the route and have the two of them shuttling back and forth at the same time. Still, the lineups will be horrendous. It is a good thing that Wendy will no longer be commuting by then.
We are going to try to stretch out our trips into town at first to once every two weeks, and eventually to once a month if we can manage it. Not only because of the ever-increasing ferry fares, but also to cut back on our gasoline usage. It is the responsible thing to do for global warming, and it will become a necessity when the peak oil crisis hits, as it likely will in our lifetimes. Besides, we prefer being on our own island. The less time we spend in town, the better.
The second picture this week features Owen. For some reason, he loves water. He is fascinated by dripping taps, and loves to play in the bathtub or shower. He also prefers to drink water out of any container except his own dish. I was fully expecting to see him trotting off still wearing the glass on his head. Luckily, he didn't get stuck.
Although the weather has cooled off, we are still harvesting raspberries and the occasional strawberry. There are quite a few spartan apples and some gravensteins left on the trees that we will be picking over the next while. Today, we will be planting bulbs: daffodils, croci and snowdrops (the latter mostly so that we can brag that our flowers are up in January) as well as some garlic.
On Friday, Wendy and I attended an interesting all-day seminar, arranged through her work. It was aimed at police officers, suppport staff and their spouses, and dealt with the unique emotional challenges faced by those who work in the field of law enforcement. It was a fascinating insight into that world, and though Wendy will only be part of it for another week, was quite valuable.
Although it may not sound that interesting, I cannot recall attending a more entertaining seminar. I almost invariably fall asleep in seminars after lunch. This time, I was wide awake, and I cannot attribute all of that to Tim Horton's. The speaker, Kevin Gilmartin, was a former police officer turned psychologist, and was a superb speaker. He had a thousand hilarious stories and anecdotes to illustrate his talk, and was able to mimic police officer jargon in several different accents.
Today, we attended an interesting talk and video presentation here on Denman about Myanmar, the country formerly known as Burma. This talk was given by James Cowan, the Anglican bishop of British Columbia, who visits Burma frequently and was there during and shortly after the recent protests. He explained about the modern history of the country, its ethnic divisions, and how the people he met felt about the current situation.
My other excitement today was installing Windows XP on my computer. I'll spare you the details, but I am so fed up with Vista (the latest incarnation of Windows) that, while XP is technically a downgrade, being an older version, I considering it a major improvement. I sill have to reinstall and configure all the software, but the tricky part is done with no casualties.
The weather has been wet and stormy. One of the storms was the remnant of a tropical storm from the western Pacific. I see that there is a typhoon following the same track this week, so we can expect more rain in a few days. Yesterday morning, I noticed snow on the Beaufort mountains across on Vancouver Island. Alas, I did not have my camera with me, and the mountains got socked in by clouds later, so I didn't get a picture. The rainwater cistern, which I had drained last week to install the new plumbing I talked about in last week's Diary, is now full again. That is 1500 gallons in a week! The power has blinked a couple of times, but has not gone out yet (touch wood).
We now have a date for the move of our cottage / studio building: Friday. Weather permitting, of course. It will be nice to wrap up that project.
One other project that will wrap up on Friday is Wendy's work. Yes, this is the last week before she retires! Hooray!
I would show you pictures of the fall colours, but most of the leaves have blown off in the last week. Instead here is a "file photo" of Owen and Liesl.
Well, there has been major stuff happening this week. The house movers showed up on Friday. The process took a bit longer than expected; in fact, it is not yet completed.
On Friday, they got the cottage jacked up off the old foundation and built an undercarriage for it, consisting of some great big beams and a pair of wheel assemblies. On Saturday, they towed it off the old foundation and across the yard to the new location. They had planned to finish the job on Saturday, but one of the wheel assemblies got a flat tire. The building is three-quarters of the way onto the new foundation, where it is resting for now.
Two trees had to be converted to firewood in order to give the truck room to move, but they were just alders, so new ones will grow back in a couple of years.
Today, the crew didn't work, but I got a phone call this evening that they will be here bright and early (well, they run on Denman Time, so bright, anyway) with a new wheel and will align and deposit the building on the new foundation.
While all that was happening, I kept busy. Recently, I had noticed the water pressure fluctuating every few seconds, meaning that the pump was cycling on and off too quickly. The pressure tank is supposed to provide several gallons of water per pump cycle, but we were only getting a few cups worth. Thinking about how a pressure tank works, I diagnosed not enough air in the tank. Not a problem: I'll just hook up a tire pump and pump some more air into it.
However, when I attached the air hose to the fill valve, I got a jet of water out of it. Now you have to picture that the fill valve is on top of the tank. For water to shoot out of it, there has to be almost no air at all in the tank. No wonder it was short-cycling! The worst part, though, is that, even with no air, the water is supposed to be separated from the air by a rubber membrane. For water to come out the air valve, the membrane had to be leaking. I was able to pump enough air into the tank for it to work reasonably well for a few days, but obviously I needed to install a new tank.
None of the work is rocket science, but getting the old tank out turned out to be a bit trickier than I though. Since you can't spin the tank around to unscrew it from the pipe it is attached to, I had to cut the pipe. I figured I would replace it with a pipe containing a "union joint", which would allow me to get the new tank back in place without spinning it around. The only problem was that the remains of the cut pipe would not unscrew from the manifold it was attached to. And, with the pipe cut, I was committed and had to get everything back together by supper time.
I ended up having to cut out the entire manifold and rebuild it from scratch. Thank goodness we have a well-stocked hardware store on the island, as it took several trips there to get all the various bits and pieces. I still have some non-essential connections to make, but the main house line is back together, and the new pressure tank works perfectly.
My next project will be to attach the cottage (a.k.a. studio) to its foundation and to brick up the end walls of the foundation, which were left open for the truck to drive through.
In other news, the Wildlife Committee has just received a report that there is another cougar on Denman Island.
And, in more important news, Wendy is enjoying her retirement. The folks in her office took her out for breakfast on both Thursday and Friday, and presented her with an official retirement certificate signed by the Prime Minister. She says she might cover up that part. They also presented her with a card indicating that a donation had been made to the S.P.C.A. in her name by her co-workers. I presented her with the flowers.
Copyright © 2013 Keith Walker
Last modified: 20-May-2013