Settling In

_L7A0873We went for our first walk along this trail yesterday. Unfortunately, I am not a morning person so I don’t get out to take pictures at the optimal time of the day. I am more the type of person who goes for a walk to enjoy the activity and will bring the camera along “in case”.  There are times when I will venture out with the express purpose of taking pictures, but I haven’t done that in ages.  I’ll do it again I’m sure. It’s just that to get really good at photography, one must practice their craft and be “focused” on the activity.  At this point, I am concentrating more on the relocation and getting our house set up.  So to take this walk, was for us, a relaxation.  Life is too short to be working all the time. 🙂  Oh yes – on the way home, we saw a lovely doe enjoying the beach grasses. Unusual sighting in midday and in such an open unprotected area.  It was easy to see her, that’s for sure. Unfortunately, the roadside area where we spotted her was very twisty with no shoulder to safely pullover. (That translates to ‘no picture to post’).

_L7A0895This image was taken from our dock about two hours after the walk. Negative Ned noticed the very cool cloud formation to the north east and I grabbed the camera. The clouds didn’t last long. I thought they were beautiful and reminded me of wings.

Wrap Up
We had a wonderful week. Celebrating our sons 31st Birthday with a backyard barbeque and family. Only one drawback to coastal living is that the winds can sometimes cool things down to the point that it’s more comfortable indoors.  Still, I would rather that than be sweltering and uncomfortable.  Our granddaughter had a wild time playing with her cousin whom she hadn’t seen in a few months. Our beautiful niece, Gracie had her end of year performance with the Atlantic Cirque. That was fun to watch!  Those young girls are fearless and nubile. Wow!
My cousin Marlene, whom I hadn’t really met as adults, lives in the area. She stopped in to provide us with some delicious mini carrot loaves, invited us to meet her husband over a delicious rib supper and then had me back again for a pizza lunch to meet with her sister, Barb, and Barb’s 3 beautiful granddaughters.  Having all of this family time is why we moved back to Nova Scotia.  Life is grand!

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On Macros and Technique

First let me say this, if you are expecting a lot of technical information regarding photography, this is not the post for you!

Reminds me of a miniature bridal bouquet.

Reminds me of a miniature bridal bouquet.

So let’s get started.  This image was taken with a 100mm macro lens using a DSLR.  As I age, my camera gets exponentially heavier. This is important when you consider photography subjects that are close to the ground and you have no tripod handy.  Anyone who got a B grade or higher in high school physics can see where I am going with this.

So, as a hobby photographer, I am like a kid in a candy store. I can’t decide what I want to take pictures of, much like a kid flitting from display case to display case. So, In an effort to try to get my aging mind to “focus” (get it?), I am going on expeditions with a single lens. On this particular day, it was the 100mm macro. Why? Well, because I was too lazy to carry my tripod and the macro has a lovely f2.8 which means I can shoot in lower light without having to hold my weeble steady.  (Man i hope that someone gets that reference.)

Back to the picture …. why does Mother Nature insist on making all of her flowers so low to the ground? It’s because she’s twisted, that’s why!   Alright then – the technique part of this post.  The ground is wet and as it is early spring, there’s not a whole lot of grass growing yet.  We are out visiting and I am not really dressed to get down and dirty with muddy knees and hands. So, I approach this gorgeous little bloom of two minds. One is, I must take a picture of this, and two is, how am I going to do it… and retain my dignity. (Aha! Finally we come to the technique pointers.)
I try the standard novice stand up straight and shoot down. Nope.
Hmm. Maybe a slight bend at the waist?  Still too high.
Next is the dreaded crouch position. I hope I don’t split my pants.  I go for it and the seams hold!  Drat! Still too high and I can’t get that cascade portion in the viewfinder.
This calls for the big guns! A major bend at the waist and twist to the side! Remember when I mentioned that the camera gets heavier as I get older? Now, add to that, that I have just come from a full crouch position and I am now bent over double and twisted with weight squarely positioned over one leg and not two….  I am frankly amazed that I was able to get any picture at all let alone welcomed inside for a lovely meal.  Thank goodness I didn’t damage the flower bed – just my pride. And the dirt washes right off.

Do NOT try that technique in public. It is strictly one to try at home.

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Getting it Done.

Wow! Time sure flies!  It’s been almost 2 weeks since my last post. For those who have been following my journey, I apologize.  I’m still recovering from this stupid bug.  Whatever the heck you call it, it’s a doozy! But, I have a million and one things to look after with the closing of this house, clearing mom and dad’s and finalizing all the projects that I’ve been involved in.

Speaking of which, I had a lovely surprise last week. The Town of Dalhousie presented me with a certificate of Appreciation and a bouquet of flowers at their last Council Meeting. I say last because we are heading into a Municipal Election.  Anyway, the certificate reads:

On behalf of myself, Council and the citizens of the Town of Dalhousie, it gives me great pleasure to express our appreciation for your leadership, service and contribution. Thank you for being an exceptional citizen, for your commitment and dedication. Your presence will be missed. Enjoy this special moment in your life!    Signed: Clement Tremblay, Mayor

A very nice gesture, I thought.  Made my week even if there wasn’t anyone there to see it except the Mayor, Council and the lone reporter covering the meeting. That’s what the governing body of this Town has had to contend with for years. People complain, but they don’t show up when it matters to question the people who can make the difference.

Ok, so back to my activity.

We finally managed to sell our Side by Side, a 2012 Can-Am Commander.  We had LOTS of adventures with that ATV including this one:

You can just make out my hand on the grab bar. I’m leaning as far right as I can go just to help the vehicle not flip onto its side in that mud hole.  And is this my sort of thing? Nope. It was scary stuff and I’m not into scary at all.  But it was something I will never forget.  My favourite part of the ATV world was going places with it that you couldn’t get to by car or truck. The views from mountain tops.. breathtaking! Pictures? Unfortunately, we were usually in those places at the wrong time of the day.

I digress ..again!

We’ve been clearing out the contents of mom and dad’s house and the workshop.
All I can say is OMG!  If you are the type to save every piece of paper forever…. please, for the love of your executor, stop! And there is no reason to have 3 sets of pots and pans, no reason to own 50 files and rasps, 10 mallets, 18 hammers and I have lost count of axes and ax heads.  Really.  If you haven’t used it in 6 months or a year at the most, then find a new home for it. Someone will use it.  One of the things that this has brought home to me, is purge is necessary. I’ve taken to going through my own cupboards and placing unused items in a box for yard sale or donation.  We’ve spent weeks going through the house and the workshop and are only now feeling like we’ve made progress.  Thanks goodness that we’re retired and have time to do this.  Of course, we live in a community that doesn’t have estate services like auctioneers or appraisers, so that has slowed things considerably.  We’ve probably undervalued their collections, but for convenience sake, we’ve let it go.

That has been a hard lesson for me.  I figured that because mom and dad placed value on it, it must be valuable.  I had to accept that it held value to them because they liked it and that was it. Now if only I can remember that!

So, that part is getting there. Now if only we can find a buyer for the house. That would be another huge burden lifted and we could just look forward to the coming move. I admit, the thought of waking everyday and enjoying a morning tea on the back deck or the dock, watching the sun come up over the water keeps me going.  And I’m anxious to get the free time to pursue my hobby again.  It will happen soon enough. Patience grasshopper.

It hasn’t been all work. We’ve finally order HBO and caught up on Game of Thrones in time to catch the latest Season.  “Survivor” is nothing compared to the Game of Thrones cast. Holy heck! But I can’t stop watching either program. LOL  I’ve also been following The Catch, Big Bang Theory (of course!), Elementary, Blindspot (although that’s starting to wear thin), and Madame Secretary (yes!).  Oh and Lucifer! Awesome program. I see that next week, the final season of Persons of Interest is airing. I’ll definitely be watching that.

In addition, I’ve been knitting up a storm and finished a lap blanket for my granddaughter, two lace scarves/cowls, a shawl, a hat and … am in the second part of working my poncho. If only I could convince myself to start an exercise program too, I would be set.  I think that’s something I’ll aim for when everything here is done.

I think that catches me up on action for the last two weeks.  Thanks for following along.


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Another Day Closer

I’ve been down with a cold / flu for the last 8 days. Today was the first day that I felt human.  Of course, I couldn’t just take it easy for another day, since work is piling up and we’re 2 months to the day when the movers will be here to load the truck. I have stuff to set aside in this house for a yard sale, and mom and dad’s house next door to finish clearing for that sale.  So, this afternoon, after a quick nap, I grabbed the camera, tripod and my phone, and trudged next door.

It still feels strange walking into mom and dad’s place unannounced, and then to go through all their stuff – I really feel like I’m snooping and invading their privacy.  Silly isn’t it? Mom has been gone for almost 3 years and Dad will be gone a year next month.  But I still open that door and the smell that was “them” rushes to greet me.  I didn’t grow up in this house. It was a camp that we held our graduation from high school party – complete with underage drinking for some.  That was back in the days when parents allowed it because they knew where their kids were and that they were not going to be driving.  All in all, we were a pretty tame group. I digress.  What I was getting at is that this place doesn’t hold the same memories for me as our family home. My parents moved into this place in 1999.  But the furniture that is there is stuff that i remember using as a child. Some of it heralds from the days of my grandparents! So, going through the house today, I notified hubby which pieces were coming with us.  The ladies dressing table from the alcove in mom and dad’s bedroom.  It belonged to my memere. I remember it being in her bedroom and I was always playing there pretending to be a princess.  Just pieces of furniture – but linked inextricably in my memories. And I’m not willing to let those go.

Another silly thing – I love photography. But I don’t have many pictures of family strewn about my home.  I have a collage of pictures of my granddaughter and niece held to the side of the fridge with magnets.  I have some small pictures of my son and daughter-in-law tucked into the decor, and a beautiful family photo that they gave me for Christmas a couple of years ago hanging on the wall in the hall – but that’s it.  Am I strange?  I go to other places and people have all kinds of photos of friends and family everywhere.  And I think maybe I should do that too. But the thought is gone before I get home.  Hmm, maybe I’ll do that in the new house.

Anyway, back to the investigation of mom and dad’s…  One of the things that comes about when one has to do this sort of thing, is that we learn a bit more about who they were as people, and not just as mom as dad. For instance, dad was once an avid photographer. I come by it honestly I guess.  He didn’t identify anyone in his pictures though so I have no idea who or where they were taken.  That made me realize that I should start properly documenting the people and places in the photos of my portfolio, so that when I pass and someone is going though my stuff they will know who is who and what is what.  I discovered that mom was a worry wart.  She had an amazingly morbid imagination and would come to the worst possible outcome in any scenario and then go into a spin and start shaking.  She and dad had some pretty harrowing adventures and I can just imagine the state she would be in.  But other than that, mom didn’t appear to have any passions.  She was not an easy woman to know. Very private.  I read her journal entries from the years that she and dad went to their camp in the woods. Invariable, she would report on the weather, animal sightings, food and health. Very little that was of a personal nature.  I wish that I had known her better.  Ah well, we can’t change the past. We can only learn from it and hopefully, try to be better going forward.

Anywho – that was pretty much my first day of feeling better after the cold from hell.  I hope that I didn’t do too much and that tomorrow I will better still.  And because words are sometimes not enough, here’s a photo of one of the things that mom loved – her antiques.


She would watch every Antiques show on TV, and she had stacks of books and magazines on the subject.  But, they didn’t have a lot of them.  I’m not sure where they went or if they even had that many to start.  Still, I’m happy to know that she had a hobby that kept her happy. And that makes me happy.

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Moving Along

Right then.  So life goes on, and after a year of living in a vacuum, (by the way, there is still dust inside the vacuum.  Actually, I think that there’s a LOT more dust.) it is time to decide what to do.  So, we’ve sold our house here, have listed mom and dad’s, and have purchased a home by the water in Porters Lake Nova Scotia.  As much as we loved our home and property here in picturesque Dalhousie New Brunswick, it always lacked that water view.  It’s been a long time dream to have waterfront – and well, life has shown us that it’s precious and to make the most of it. So, we’re biting the bullet and getting a mortgage again.  YIKES!

Excited? Yes! Scared? You bet!  It feels good to feel again. 🙂

I’ve been neglecting my photography. Oh every now and then I would take the camera out, but I just didn’t have the patience to properly “see” creatively.  Now, I’m looking at things again and am starting to be anxious for the snow to melt enough that I can get out again.

The Valley of home

The Valley of home

We did get out walking some trails this winter. This one is in the valley across the road from our house in Dalhousie. The walk begins with skirting the edge of a small dam by clinging precariously to a rope strung tautly between trees. One slip and you fall straight down into the muddy and icy water of the dam.  Not a good idea at any time of the year.  The rest of the hike follows the stream on a gently climbing slope up to Cigar Falls.  On this particular day, I was accompanied by my hubby and our trusty dog, Annie.  She certainly keeps things interesting.  I have no idea what she finds so exciting about those walks along the familiar trails, but she would suddenly leap boisterously 3 feet off the trail into the soft and previously unmarked snow, sink 2 feet and then laboriously circle around until she met up with us on the firmly packed path again, push past us and run around the next bend until the urge took her to jump off again.  I was exhausted just watching her, but her antics were a ray of sunshine.

Frozen Falls

Frozen Falls

So this is the winter view of Cigar Falls. Some people have lived in the area all their lives and have never seen this beautiful cascade in any season.  In spring, it’s a torrent of water spraying down the cliff face … (ok. Torrent is relative – saying that it’s a larger amount than usual lacks a certain finesse.) .. in summer it’s a refreshing constant and in a particularly dry fall, a mere trickle. One thing for sure, regardless of the season, it’s a very pretty and relaxing scene, more precious by the process and effort of reaching it.  I will miss our daily walks to this little haven, but know that the trails and hidden jewels of Nova Scotia await our arrival. We;ll find new treasures and favourites. I can hardly wait.



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