Saturday, July 26, 2014

The Lawn from Hell

This is how my living room looked after unloading Dougie. It was so much fun getting things out of the back of the truck and then hauling them through the long grass. (not) I think I was being "tested"!! I think I failed the "language" part of the test $@4%^#)!;o**!!

The first few days being at Crofters Lane were LONG LONG days (and nights) as I unpacked and tried to find room for way too much stuff and no storage or closets to put things in.
My first morning - I started an amazingly good book, ate my oatmeal like a good scotswoman and watched the ripples in my coffee as the wind blew and blew strong!!
However, the FIELDS had to be faced. Thankfully I didn't have to face them alone!
My helpful lawn guy, Ian, came over with with his tractor and cutting attachment. We harvested many bales of hay I'm sure. I'll have to take a picture of the "hay mow"! I raked an average of 6 hours a day for 3 days running. Wearing gloves really does prevent blisters but there was nothing I could do for my back other than get right back at it each day.
My hay fields were doing a whole lot better than the clover field to the south of me which had many barren patches. Not so my fields. Also shown in this picture is my wonderful heirloom rocking chair made by my uncle Richard. Very rustic, very sturdy, very comfortable!
 Too bad I didn't have a herd of something, like 20 cows, who could have enjoyed this harvest.
 In addition to "baling hay" I also got busy with the gas push mower - yes - I figured out how to start it myself - and did hours and hours of mowing around trees and bushes and re-mowing areas that had been missed by Ian's tractor and then his riding lawn mower. I felt ready to give up a time or ten but stuck with it. I think all the physical exercise was both challenging but needed to help me over the hurdle of being there on my own.
Sigh...it's a good thing I'm not allergic to grass!! Or hard work! It took a good two weeks of mowing and raking before it was all under control. Not exactly the way I had planned to spend the first 2 weeks of July. And wouldn't you know that the lawn turned yellow after 2 weeks without rain??  Thankfully though we had an all day downpour a couple of days ago and all is green once again.

AND GROWING!!

Friday, July 25, 2014

On to PEI - The Next Leg of the Journey!

 Staying with my friends in New Brunswick, Michelle and Gary, was a welcome respite from a long day of driving (16 hours).  It would have only taken me 15 hours if Michelle hadn't texted me every few minutes to find out where I was lol!!

I arrived around 10pm or so, hot, weary and very sweaty shiny! I got to stay in a lovely guest bedroom and slept like the dead! Michelle and Gary treat their guests really well - they want us to come back!!   (I will!)
 Look at that Thai salad-it was absolutely scrumptious!! Gary is quite a cook and knows that I sure love me a great salad!
 I got to visit and play with my other good friends - Jango...
.....and Colby who is blind.  Jango takes good care of Colby - he's such a sweet and loveable dog :) They both are!
 We had a nice long stroll along the boardwalk and man was it a HOT day!!
 It was also Canada Day and lots of people were enjoying the beaches!
 I miss you my friends, and you too Colby and Jango! I love coming to see you all and Michelle I am making good use out of the clothes you gave me :)
It's a beautiful property, well looked after and lots and lots of trees ;)
This one is my favorite!
It was a quick visit but I'll see you again before summer is over! I need to get to Crofters Lane and see how the place has held up over that extremely long and extremely ferocious winter! So back on the road I go!
 Approaching Confederation Bridge!
 Heading towards the highest section of Confederation Bridge - I don't find it scary anymore crossing the 13km long bridge.
There's the island! I have about another hour of driving to go, but first I'm going into Summerside to buy lots of groceries at the Atlantic Superstore.  All year long I use my President's Choice mastercard for any and all purchases which earns me at least $300 worth of free groceries!!  I love FREE!
 The sun is starting to set by the time I get to Crofters Lane but it's light enough still to see that the grass has gotten out of hand!! YIKES!! I find a note in my door from my lawn guy saying I need to get about 20 cows! Due to the delay in getting the gate unlocked at the bottom of my laneway by the de-winterizing plumber dude Ian couldn't get in to cut the lawn. Needless to say I'll be making extra keys to the gate so Ian can have one of his own.

See the metal pole sticking out of the ground in the middle of the picture? That is where the firepit is but the grass is up past my knees - the darn daisies are starting to grow! 20 cows would just about do it!
 You can see Ian attempted to cut a bit of the "field" in front of the house so I'd have somewhere to put the truck.  Good thing I have all-terrain tires on ol' Dougie! I still had to wade through long grass to unload the truck and I got everything in to the living room through the front door. By then it was beginning to get really dark and I needed to get the groceries put away and my bed made. I was up pretty late the first night trying to get my belongings in some sort of order.
But first I took a picture of the view, fields and all, from my front porch. At least IT'S still the same :)

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Happiness is...


  • a smart and funny child who makes me smile (she calls me "lady")
  • my newish blog title :) (thank you my friends!)
  • planting new trees on the old homestead (1 maple and 2 beech)
  • discovering that previously planted trees are still alive!! (4 out of 5 maples, a red oak, an eastern pine, many many spruce seedlings)
  • having a sister email me several times a day with positive advice and encouragement
  • having a good friend spend 3 weeks with me to get me over a tough spell
  • marigolds
  • gathering enough dead wood for several more campfires
  • a cold beer (or two) after mowing lawn around my forest during 30+ humid weather...ahhhhh!
  • wandering around Victoria by the Sea with no time restraints; walking out onto the ocean floor when the tide is out!
  • RAW FOOD - tonight's dinner is zucchini spaghetti with alfredo sauce made from cashews :)
  • buying my very own adjustable wrench!!
  • planting kale and lettuce seeds in July - why not?
  • time for reading novels (not exactly classic literature if you know what I mean)
  • icecream (toffee almond twist - a flavour I can only get on the island - I made it THREE WEEKS before I caved!!
  • YOU and YOU and YOU and YOU!! My blogging friends - the best friends in the world!!
  • loving myself, believing that I am worthy
  • meeting relatives for the first time!! My second cousin Dawn and cousin-in-law Cindy
  • travelling to Halifax for the first time - what an amazing city! I love your galleries and museums and especially your thrift/vintage clothing stores!!
  • siblings who care
  • crows for their entertainment value
  • a strong wind that helps keep me cool in this scorching weather AND prevents mosquitoes and flies from landing on me :) :)  now THAT'S happiness!!
  • high speed internet which I DON'T have, but wish I did; it took about 15 minutes to upload the following 5 photos - good thing I didn't try for more! 
                                     The tide is out!
                                    I want a turquoise house (in Victoria by the Sea!!)
                                Chocolate should be on the list - it makes me really really really happy!
                                  PEI scenery - the layers and layers in a landscape.
                              Trees, especially the largest tree in PEI!!!     Julie is a tree-hugger but this one was                                                        way too big for her though she tried!  

                                  Ain't she a beaut!?!          

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

So anyways...

Hurrah! I now have what they call here "high speed internet"!! I beg to differ but it's better than what I had before which was just my cell phone. (Can't wait to see my next cell phone bill - NOT!!) Tonight it took a while before I was able to get online but eventually I did, so I should just stop being a whiner!

I've been wondering where to go next with my blog - that's the dilemma I'm currently facing. Now that I AM retired what's next? Things didn't exactly turn out the way I thought they were going to and I still don't know the answer to the Clash song's big question: "should I stay or should I go now?" I really don't know. Honest to God I change my mind about 10,000 times a day. I have had some really rough days here at Crofters Lane - I'm even wondering about changing its name to something else, but if I don't move here then why bother? I'm really overthinking things so am going to let it go for now and try not to think about it. The answers will come.

So, what I'm thinking about now is changing up my blog format, changing my direction to something like:

"Living Alone: Smash the Fear" (Sam - you were the inspiration for that one - at least your fridge is;)!!)

"The Single Life: Pros and Cons"

"The Joys and Sorrows of Life Alone"

"Finding Jane"

"After Retirement - What's Next?"

"Life after Teaching"

"Finding my Way Back"

And on it goes...I am open to suggestions...please! All that "alone" stuff isn't meant to just be morose but to explore the various challenges a woman, aged 58, retired, faces as she goes about her daily life. For instance, I am finding new ways of doing things since I don't have a strong man around. I have to be way more creative. Is that interesting? Do you have an opinion of what direction I should take? Please weigh in with your opinions - I find what you have to say immensely valuable!

In the meantime I'll be sharing photos from the last couple of weeks, and I have TONS! Hopefully you don't mind going back in time a wee bit while I catch up. I haven't done a proper post since I left Ontario 3 weeks ago.

Here's a start; I left London on June 29th, stopping in Barrie for a little jam session...
 Tammy - bass player extraordinaire!
Her talented partner Jay...
Steve and Nancy, the hosts of the evening...
And then entered a saxophone player...
and a tinkler of the ivories...
pretty magical! (Look ma, no hands!!)
Jan, belting one out!
Oh yes, I also play guitar...
On the road again...drove as far as I could that night and then slept in the back seat of my truck at a service centre - yes, indeedy!

There's so much to love about New Brunswick...the hills..
the streams...
the view around every curve...
the lupines were at their peak...
Dougie the Dodge handled beautifully - I was so proud!
I pushed myself and drove from 6am to 10pm...the sunset was brilliant...

and then I arrived at my destination - a sweet little house in rural New Brunswick - good friends, good food, awesome fur babies and a comfy bed. Sigh..... :)

To be continued...


Monday, July 14, 2014

Grrrrrrrrrrrrr

Such fun I am having with the internet.  Bell is coming July 21st. Please keep me in your prayers as they attempt to connect me!  Meanwhile I will keep busy by driving to Halifax and causing mayhem with my friend Jules.  We'll be back on the "gentle island" on Friday.

This past weekend I went to see my sister and enjoy some time at Montague's Summer Days. We also had some family visiting from the States and we had a great time beach combing, eating and gabbing.  I have the distinction of being the first guest in my sister's farmhouse which is still under construction. Thanks to my brother-in- law for hanging a curtain across my bedroom door for privacy:)

I only got a few black fly bites:/

Unfortunately all my photos are on my phone so prepare for some photo heavy posts once I am connected. This post is brought to you by my iPad and the Albert and Crown pub in lovely downtown Alberton. I enjoyed some excellent chowder, a tea biscuit, carrot cake and a glass of wine.

Now back to Crofters Lane to pack for Halifax.  Talk to you soon!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Internet Woes

Thank you my dear friends for your most supportive and helpful comments on my "reaching out" post from the other day. Staying connected is of vital importance I am finding. I have already implemented some of your suggestions but as I am using my iPad and have none of my photos on it I'll be posting about those things in another post hopefully in the not too distant future.

I really really really want things to get back to normal internet wise. But this is PEI!!  Normal in P E I is when the internet company shows up and "tests the site"!  Ok, admittedly I didn't really understand what that meant, now I do.  This particular company uses towers to transmit the internet signal (please forgive my lack of technical jargon) and proceeded to go up to my roof line in a cherry picker.  No signal.

It seems that my forest was blocking the signal! In this day and age they can't work around the trees? Nope, cut 'em down! Cut them all down! Actually their solution was to hire some guys to install a 35-40' tower at the edge of my property that might then allow a signal to reach little ol' me. Ummmmm no thanks.

So then on my cell phone I chat with an agent of Bell only to find out that wifi and "regular" internet are two different things and I can't afford wifi! The lovely agent said to try Bell Aliant and see if they provide service in the boonies.  To make a long story shorter I discover there is a Bell Aliant dealer in my local Home Hardware store so off I go. Well, I purchased a one year monthly contract (nothing seasonal available from Bell) but do not yet have an appt with them to come and hook things up. Sigh.....I'll call  THEM on Monday and see if I can get things moving, however I'll be away Tues. to Friday so things don't look too hopeful.

By the time I get things hooked up it'll be time to go back to London and I'll be providing free internet to the spiders and chipmunks over the winter months. Sheesh!

Sooooooo, today's post is brought to you courtesy of the only Starbucks on the island in Charlottetown. I'm headed to my sisters place so came early and had a spree at Indigo books as I had $120 left in gift cards. First thing I nabbed was The Globe and Mail newspaper-finally, news of the outside world! I also bought 5 bargain books (already on sale but if you buy five you get an additional 50% off!) I know how to work the system and get the most for my money. I also got a huge wicker basket for my overflow of books (50% off), a couple of books not on sale....GASP!, a blue glass pitcher with matching glasses, a passport holder, a monogrammed  keychain ($2.00), and I forget what else. One of the bargain books was the latest Reader's Digest of home repairs! Stay tuned for some DIY projects:)

So now I must head off into the wild blue yonder. I've been more positive the last couple of days thanks largely to you good folks. Oh, and exciting news! I met another blogger-"I am Sam!!  Many of you know her from her blog. She's wonderful and I'm so glad we finally met. One of these days I'll be coming to visit all of you! That road trip ideas is still in the back of my mind:)


Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Greetings from PEI

Hi everybody- I've missed you!  Keep your fingers crossed that I am successful in getting wifi hooked up this Friday. I am really in need of some communication with you good folks. Retirement is hard, way harder than I imagined. It's not just that but also I am being steeped in memories at Crofters Lane and I'm finding that hard to deal with too.  Everywhere I turn I see Michael's handiwork and it is almost unbearable. The fire pit, the path through the forest, etc etc. I took one walk through the forest and felt so overwhelmingly sad. This was our place, not my place and I'm not sure at this point if I can do it alone. 
I just wanted to touch base as I know your were probably wondering how things were going. Well, there have been lots of tears and lots of emergency texts to Kazi and my friends. This isn't the way I wanted things to be and I'm having a hard time adapting to life alone. I put on a brave face but really I am feeling like a fish out of water. Friends were "our" friends so I am feeling lonely and isolated. Happily a friend is visiting tomorrow and then my friend Julie arrives next Tuesday, that will help. 

Bye for now.