Finally! a post about R.E.D. Not about RED by the Sea. Not about beaches, pretty scenery or gardens or guests. Just R.E.D. This is after all a blog called sailingred.com isn’t it?
Yes our lives have changed considerably since moving to the east coast. Our past life basically revolved around boating during spring/summer and part of fall with the rest of the year holed up in our little condo planning our next adventure and dreaming about being back on the boat the following year. Even our social life was primarily boat-centred.
Here, living in the country, our lives have become much more diversified. Yes, there is yard work needed but we have inherited lovely three-season perennial gardens which are pretty much self-sustaining from the previous owner. We enjoy a thriving social life thanks to wonderful neighbours.
…but hey! I said this post is all about R.E.D. didn’t I?
We’ve created the perfect place for her during the winter months with space for Francois’ Crow’s Nest and extra parking for guests (you can read all about that heavy machinery and stuff by clicking here)
After a very quick ‘putting to bed’ last fall she really needed a good cleaning inside and out but that’s all done now with her usual two coats of wax and belly painted with a new layer of anti-fouling.
Hubbards Cove. Photo cred. Marinas.com
Her new home during boating season is a well protected cove just six minutes from RED by the Sea and quick access to St Margaret’s Bay and beyond (more about how we almost didn’t launch this year here).
The ramp access at the marina makes it super easy to launch with more than enough water depth even at low tide.
Most of the rigging was done at home first so that once we arrived we just needed to fix the lines and step the mast.
Back ‘Yard’ View
Our finger is located on the inside with port docking (yay! my favourite orientation) with an awesome view off the bow of another little ten-boat marina across the cove.
The Boat Yard
The yard is small but well maintained by a volunteer base and at the top of the road is the best little cafe serving fresh pastries and breakfast paninnis.
As I mentioned above, our boating lives have changed and it feels really good. No longer do we have to drive forever in nasty traffic to spend time with her. Six minutes and we’re there. It feels like our lives are in better balance. Time at home. Time with friends. Time to enjoy visitors. Time to explore. Time on the water whenever we choose. There are still at least two big adventures in the planning and this year we’ll be venturing out beyond St. Margaret’s Bay with new charts in hand and can’t wait to sail along the coast this fall (Nova Scotia’s very best season) to catch all the changing colours.
It feels so good to be back on the water. To feel the movement of the sea under R.E.D.’s belly. To move our bodies in ways that have been dormant for the past few months. To watch as all the boat bruises appear after a day of frisky sailing. To breath in the salt air and smell the sea. There’s nothing quite like it in the whole wide world.
Good to be Back
Almost two full months since we’ve been in touch. I was trying to think what had happened to make the time fly by so fast but I guess when we’re busy time soars here at R.E.D. by the Sea.
We are really excited to have a place to splash R.E.D. this season. Yacht clubs in the Halifax area have been holding races since well over a month. I’ve been checking, almost on a daily basis if our docks are in yet. Early launch? That would be a ‘no’ for us and I now understand why…I think. In the South Shore area where we live it is still lobster season until the end of May and I guess boaters don’t like dodging the multitude of laid traps. Some say it’s still too cold. Cold! Are you kidding me? Compared to our time in the Gaspe in mid-summer, bathing in 6 ° water, this is a heat wave.
R.E.D.’s hull has been cleaned though and had her first coat of wax but we still need the anti-fouling touch ups and her interior needs a really good scrubbing.
Some delicious lobster dinners has helped to ease the pain though of having to wait.
In the meantime we’ve been tending to our long list of spring to do’s. Our three little garden beds are now planted. Fingers crossed things will grow but so far all looks good.
The perennial gardens we inherited from the previous owner are blossoming like crazy, everything so lush and green.
…as are some particularly invasive weeds. Meet goatweed and knotweed. On a positive note I’ve discovered both are edible so when we aren’t mowing them down, I’m foraging.
I’ve put a moritorium on weeding for now because I suspect there are some green plants that may actually be a part of the perennial network.
Being landowners has also meant we’ve become acquirers of more stuff. Got rid of all that crap to downsize and now we are accumulating again. Garden things in particular…a fine new lawn mower….a lovely weed trimmer and various hoes and rakes and shovels.
Which brings me to an exciting project for Francois….our Crow’s Nest.
A place to store things…an outdoor man cave…a potting shed…all in one neat package. Today the landscaper arrived to prepare the area for Francois’ Nest and R.E.D.’s winter resting place.
Plans are coming along nicely but when we will begin is uncertain with boating season barking at our heals and upcoming visits from afar. But our patio facing the sea is as ready as it’s going to be for the first round of guests.
The weather has been super with just enough rain to keep things green and refresh Duck Pond. Our neighbour gave us permission to divert water from her stream to ours which will help during more dry periods. Herald and Maude are still here. We haven’t seen any signs of nesting….mating, yes,…. so far no nesting but we remain hopeful. Francois said it would be like winning the lottery to have ducklings born right here at R.E.D. by the Sea. Will be shouting it from the roof tops should it happen.
Everyone, without exception, that we’ve met has been super nice. To think we as CFA’s (Come from Away’s) could be included in social groups this quickly is surprising and heart-warming. But as one neighbour said: ‘’we’re all from somewhere and everyone has a story to tell’.
We’ve enjoyed our first of the season picnic at Gramma Beach, a five minute stroll down the shore road, promising many more to come.
As Francois was finishing mowing the lawn yesterday, a neighbour stopped by and said she’ll check back with us in three years to ask if it’s still a such a pleasure. Who knows and who cares I say. The ‘now’ is what it’s all about and our ‘now’ is pretty darned sweet. We wake to the rising sun, a view of the ocean, birds chirping and fall into a deep deep sleep everynight, same view, listening to waves lapping the shore, loons calling and the chorus of night peepers.
The ‘now’ is what it’s all about!…
My goodness gracious this month went fast! Time for a little update from the crew because aside from some fun things that have happened this month, we have some very good news to share with you (inserting my happy dance here)
First off, we had family from Quebec visit for a few days and are very proud to say we managed well hosting five extra people without any fatalities. Not to say this will be a common occurance. It was tight but cozy. We gave up our rather large bedroom (sleeping bags and blow up mattresses installed) to take over our guest room (tiny tiny). The biggest revelation was that when we expanded the single day bed to make room for the two of us we realized it actually converts to a kingly sized bed. Yay! for any extra-tall guests.
Day trips were a fun way to play tourist. Walks to Gramma Beach, Peggy’s Cove for a romp on the rocks and a ferry ride from Dartmouth across Halifax Harbour for some touring of our big home village.
This month has been wicked for storms. Three nor’easters blew through within a five day period. Predictable power outage for sure but just once for a few hours for us and it was back on in time for our morning coffee.
We’re thinking that if this wind direction keeps up much longer we may loose our big (about 40 feet we figure) evergreen. With every storm she leans more and more to the south-west. Luckily when she goes there is no danger of harming anything and with the loss, our view of the sea will improve.
The last nor’easter brought snow and a decent pile of it too. First real dump of the white stuff since December. Beware the Ides of March indeed! It slightly eroded our faith in Shubenacadie Sam and Lucy the Lobster who predicted an early spring but this couldn’t last long. Could it?
It’s what we lovingly called our nor’Easter. Our planned Easter egg hunt may be a bit tricky but you know what they say? If you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes.
Halifax Burger Week
We’ve been taking in some of the local activites too. The Saltbox Brewery’s Irish St. Patrick’s Day brunch was delicious and it gave us a chance to try out a couple of pints of their Jeezus Murphy Irish Red. The second gathering of South Shore Naturalists hosted the program coordinator from Canada Bird Studies who spoke about the endangered Piping Plover. And of course why wouldn’t we support Feed Nova Scotia with a meal from one of the 125 participating restaurants for Halifax Burger Week….especially after filing our first Nova Scotia tax returns, we felt like a little celebrating was in order.
Every week or so there are small improvements here and there. Francois continues his outdoor garden purge of unwanted plants. We’ve started to see new growth pushing through the sun-warmed earth….that was until the latest storm which brought a healthy snow covering. Poor things. I’m playing permaculturalist to draft a rough plan for this year’s vegetable garden. Three more birdfeeders have been hung. Our favourite duck couple, Harold and Maude have started to come back to Duck Pond more consistently to dine and hopefully nest.
Inside, undercounter lights make cooking up deliciousness in my galley much more enjoyable. Sunshades for all of our main floor windows have been ordered. Privacy is not an issue but when the sun shines…especially through our south-facing windows…it can be quite blinding. We also took advantage of the provincial government’s power-saving initiative and ordered installation of a heat pump.
So here’s the big news that has put a little extra ‘spring’ in our step these days. No, not because of the general fine weather. No, not because of a very generous tax return from jumping provinces. And not because we are still very much in love with our life by the sea….although all of the above is true.
Remember the last time you checked in with us and we told you we had decided not to splash R.E.D. this year? When you have an extra minute you can read about it here.
Well!!!! Let me tell you about our latest brush with Eastern hospitality, generosity and all ‘round niceness. We saw a sign down the road advertising landscaping and earth moving services.
Our New Best Friend
We called the guy, Johnny was his name, to ask for a quote on making a few changes so we could reposition the boat, fill in a few low spots and add some gravel to the driveway. He promised to drop by after work, around supper time he said to see what we needed. And he did. And it happened to be my birthday. Super nice guy. Told us what was needed. Gave us a responable price for the work. And then he casually asked…wait for it… if we needed a place for the boat this summer. Let me repeat that..do we need a place for the boat this summer? It seems he owns a dock finger at the village marina just down the road (six kilometres to be precise). We had checked out that place last summer but were told all spaces were privately owned and the only way we could use the place was if someone wanted to either sell or rent to us and that was unlikely. Well it so happens that Johnny sold his boat. He told us it could be ours for the summer if we wanted. Happy happy HAPPY birthday to me!
So many ideas for the summer now spinning around in our heads. Thinking…cycling to the Hubbard’s Farmers’ Market next to the marina (when it opens for the season of course). Picking up a few weekend supplies, then continuing on down the road to spend some quality time on our little water chalet. And since it’s that much closer to the mouth of St. Margaret’s Bay we will be that much closer to new sailing grounds yet to be discovered.
See what I mean?