Tuesday, May 30, 2023

If you go into the woods today ...

 If you went into the woods today, it would have been OK as long as you left those self same woods before 4 pm.   

You all know how much I like walking in the woods with Sooki and Dexter, but it might be a while before we're back in the woods I love.

This hot, dry Spring has created ideal conditions for forest fires.  And sadly as you may have heard, those fires have happened and two of them are currently out of control here in Nova Scotia.

The fires have spread quickly and are over-whelming the fire fighters.  The fire in Shelburne county in Southern Nova Scotia now involves 19,000 hectares (1 hectare = 2.47 acres). 

The fire in Tantallon, a community near Halifax is also out of control and has forced the evacuation of 17,000 residents and destroyed at least 150 homes.

Our trailer park (circled in purple) is currently just outside the evacuation area.

The Tantallon fire was first spotted at 3:30 Sunday afternoon and within an hour it had grown exponentially.  The winds were high, spreading the flames and pushing the smoke far and wide.

On Sunday this is what we saw from our house.  Later that evening things looked far more dramatic; n
ot flames, but sky glow from the fires beyond the hill.

Monday the winds changed direction blowing the flames and smoke back in the other direction.

Today (Tuesday) the smoke returned.  

Shrill cell phone alerts add to the anxious situation.  We are on tenter hooks waiting for an alert telling US to evacuate the park.  

It is important to be ready to leave at short notice, that means having the supplies (a "go kit") you need for at least 72 hours; things like medications, important papers, pets, pet food, toiletries, laptops, chargers and supplies etc.  In our case that would include two cat carriers, a litter box, two dogs, two humans and all the necessary supplies in a Honda Fit.

The next thing you need is a place to go.

We are very lucky in that we had several generous offers from friends to accommodate our motley crew into their home.

In putting together our "go kit" I looked at all the things I'd be leaving behind; my family photos, paintings, small items I treasure that belonged to mum and dad.  I had no room for them, and that weighed on my mind.

The friends who are taking us in, should we need to evacuate, pressed me to let them help with preserving those valuables.  They drove for over an hour to come and pack our valuables into their car for safe keeping, thus taking a huge load off my mind.

What wonderful people !  How lucky I am to have such marvellous friends.

~~~~ ~~~~~

This is such a stressful time.  Not knowing what will happen.  Friends  in the park keep in touch on FB and share the mixed emotions we are feeling at this difficult time.

Tomorrow the winds will be higher and the temperature rising.

Which brings us to today at 4 pm when a province-wide ban on entering the woods -- ANY woods at all was put in place.  Our fire crews are already over-worked.  The last thing they need is someone to drop a cigarette butt in the woods.

The dogs and I haven't been for a walk in two days due to the air quality.  And now, ALL the parks are closed.  ALL of them.   

And the stress continues.

I've never spent so much time just staring at the horizon and feeling anxious.

We are all hoping that the predicted rain on Friday actually arrives.

Friday, May 5, 2023

Rooting around ...

 Hiking various trails, my eyes are usually glued to the ground; not just because I'm looking for something in particular but rather because I don't want to break my pretty little neck tripping on a rock or a root !

Now if I happen to see something interesting while looking down, that's an added bonus and I stop to marvel.  

Just roots; but what a wonderful confusing mish mash of roots !   But I think that trees that have  likely to get blown over in high winds.their roots close to the surface are more

These trees were blown over during tropical storm Fiona.  You can see they were growing on top of rocks and their roots were shallow.  But afterward, little pools of water may form below the roots or the toppled tree provides shelter for small critters, and poof ! new habitats are created. It's never a zero sum game.

This tree looks like it's decided to go for a walk, rather like the Ents in "Lord of the Rings".  Something must have been there that is not there now; like a heap of soil, or a rotted log.

But what's wrong with just imagining that they're trees, walking V E R Y   S L O W L Y ?

I look at these locked tree roots and imagine that they're really good friends, supporting each other; in spite of, or even because of their differences. 

Could it be that some roots are keeping rogue rocks from sneaking away in the night ?

Some roots are quite literally hanging on for dear life.

I wonder why some roots choose to flare out across the surface,

while others dive down deep ?

Let's leave what is going on HERE for another day ! 

There's magic in them thar roots !  Feel free to make up your own stories about what you see below your feet. 

Tuesday, April 25, 2023

Things are looking up

 On my woodland walks I like to look up into the crowns of the trees.

We  don't look up a lot.  Me, I worry about tripping on endless ropes of roots, or rolly polly ankle twisting rocks, and so my eyes are often fixed on the ground.

Nevertheless, I try to remind myself on each walk, to look up at least once.  And I'm rarely disappointed.

I've had to learn from experience that when I do look up, I need to lean against a nearby tree or I'll topple backwards !


It's wonderful to watch the changing colours of the seasons in the tree canopy.  From the budding lime greens of Spring,

to the deep rich greens of Summer.

In Nova Scotia, Autumns are long and mild and colourful.

Sometimes when I look up I see something unexpected.

Of course, some trees are green all year round.

While others are stark and bare.

Next time you're in the woods don't forget to look up.

Maybe next time I'll show you what I see when I look down.

BTW thanks for your comments on my last post.  Blogger seems to be letting folk leave comments but they show as "Anonymous".  So friends, if you leave a comment, include your name in the comment.

I'm happy to be back blogging.  Thanks for coming along with me.

Saturday, April 22, 2023

Back by popular demand ... well ... sorta.

How are you doing my friends ?  

I present to you the "Cole's Notes" version of my life.

Life has been a series of woodland rambles,  gardening fun and explorations of this beautiful province.  In other words, not much has changed since I paused Blogging.

As you may know by now, Winter is my fourth favourite season.  

But now it's almost May and Winter is well behind us.  

Dexter and Sooki are wonderful companions. Sooki is on several medications to help lessen the pain from her leg surgeries.  As she is now well over 13 years old, I suspected that winter would put an end to her; but happily it did not.  She still looks forward to going for walks.  Now the warmer weather is coming, she enjoys lying in the sun on the back deck.

In November my daughter Kaitlyn, went to England to spend three months with a friend there.  Well, that three months turned into six; and though she is coming back in May, her heart remains in London.  As a result, I am experiencing "empty nest syndrome" at age 73 !

My dog walks are also another way to get out and observe nature.  The photos I take I then post to iNaturalist.

I tell you more about my explorations.  Next time ...

I'm hoping to keep in touch via this Blog.  However I gather that Blogger.com doesn't send out notices of new posts.  I send notices of new posts out to an email list of friends and I'll share too to FaceBook.  I don't know if commenting is still functioning either.  Guess we'll all find out together  I would like to hear from you either by a comment or email.

So ... what have you been up to ?

Friday, September 10, 2021

August adventures

 I've lived in Nova Scotia 12 years and as of a few weeks ago I had never visited Yarmouth.  I had travelled to the tip top of the province at Meat Cove, but had never ventured to the "bottom".

Happily that has now been rectified.


Just below Yarmouth, poking into the open Atlantic, warning ships at sea, is Cape Forchou; a well-known tourist destination.  These are some photos from along the spit of land leading to the lighthouse. Loads of photo op spots.

My travelling companion is always up to pose for a photo.

In spite of Covid, or perhaps because of it, the lighthouse is a popular destination.

The door was propped open revealing the narrowness of the unique "apple core"  lighthouse design.  

There is a pretty scenic walking trail around the cape.

Another goal on my adventure was to visit Shag Harbour.  You know about Shag Harbour ?


It was reported as a downed plane.  Many local fisher folk rushed out in their boats to look for survivors.  All they found was foam on the water and very briefly, lights under the water.  It is the World's best goverment documented UFO sighting and yet few are aware of it.


One of the amazing things about Nova Scotia is the unexpected places you were NOT planning on visiting; but simply stumbled across.  Case in point: Cape Sable Island.

Dexter and I had many different beaches all to ourselves.  Keep in mind that this is a warm day in August !

It's hard not to stop as I drive down Nova Scotia backroads, having glimpsed a tucked away beach.  And once we stop, at the very least a wander is in order.

That teeny lighthouse in the distance is Cape Forchou!

Turns out Dexter is a marvellous travelling companion and we can't wait for our next adventure.