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  • Rae

Part 15: Pandemic Projects

Updated: Jul 20, 2023

It's hard to believe that its been 4 months since I last wrote an update! So much has happened and we're living in troubled times... but first, what we've been up to since the beginning of December.

In early December there was another festival taking place in neighbouring Mahone Bay. What a quaint pretty town for the Father Christmas festival! Once again, most of the shops got onboard to decorate and create elaborate displays. It was a lovely blue sky day and everyone was getting in the Christmas spirit.

In fact, it was such a nice weekend that I took some time to go over to Blue Rocks and take some photos as the sun was going down. The light here is so golden and you are almost guaranteed some great shots on a clear day.

Alan was in Vancouver for his mom's Celebration of Life, so I had the weekend to myself and headed over to Lunenburg for the 'lighting of the vessels' - another first! I've been loving how these small tourist towns take on the holidays. Lunenburg was decorated like a movie set. It was quite a cold night, but this Christmas Tree display at the town bandstand warmed my heart.

To complete the studio, and just in time for the holidays, our wood stove was installed! Thanks Safeguard Chimney Sweep & Stoves! So cozy!

We now live in the Christmas Tree Capital of North America, so from now on, you guessed - a REAL tree!

It was so fun to get out all our ornaments... my sister Sharla works with NGO's in the most dangerous places in the world which also allows her to travel a lot, and she has sent me the most beautiful ornaments from Africa, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Thailand... all over the world and I really treasure them, especially since they were in storage all last year.

With the tree up, we were so excited to have the crew over for a thank you party. We really can't say enough about the amazing job that Rissers did – the crew and all the trades were fantastic; the entire project took exactly 5 months – on time, on budget and attention to every detail. They didn't just build this beautiful addition, they made our dream come true. And we wanted them to know that.

It was December 16 and the very first event in the studio. We played a slide show of the project right from ground-breaking and they all couldn't stop watching it... I don't think they get to look back on the entire job like that very often.

In true maritime fashion, Barrett brought us a couple live lobsters! LOL I had never cooked them before, but I had seen the Kilted Chef demo, so I knew what to do and they turned out perfectly! So very delicious.

It was our first winter and we didn't know what to expect. We love weather, so the first snowfall was lovely.

I had fun finding 'East Coast' gifts for our little nieces and nephew.

The holiday season was very quiet for us... we don't really know anyone that well here yet. After all the activity of the build, we enjoyed the peace and quiet, and looking out at the cove...

I had heard about the 'lobster trap trees' that are very popular here and I really wanted to see one. Alan was busy on a project, so off I went to Barrington... and it was worth the drive.

I was so fortunate to be the only person there and I walked around and around this magnificent monument... covered with buoys to commemorate loved ones lost at sea; hand-written messages of love that just bring you to tears... It was really sad and beautiful at the same time.

We had a sweet little Christmas day, hanging out in the studio, opening a few presents by the tree... a fire was crackling and we enjoyed Baileys and coffee into the afternoon. Happiness.

On December 29, we had another party! We invited a couple people we have met here and all the neighbours! It was so fun when we discovered that some neighbours invited other neighbours... we're not used to that and we were so happy that they felt comfortable enough to do so. There is a real community on Burn's Cove and it felt so good to be part of it.

And then it was 2020 – what a great number, so much promise, so positive... little did we know what was coming. Early in January we had a beautiful big snowfall. It was pretty fun to be able to snowshoe on our own property!

We settled into the new year with great plans for renovations and projects and really loving the studio space; playing our instruments, looking out over the ever changing, freezing and thawing, tide in, tide out rhythm of the cove... sometimes a big bald eagle flying low... peaceful.

We found a great supplier online to order the blinds Select Blinds Canada. They had a terrific January sale on and the blinds were delivered @ 3 weeks later. They were exactly what we wanted and fit perfectly.

The next task was to improve the sound... and I set upon making velvet curtains for above the closet. Not only does it help stop sound from travelling down the stairwell but it creates a great storage area up there.

Stacked against the wall are the acoustic panels... next to be installed. We were busy in January but still made time to go for our beach walks...

I heard about a Ukelele jam that was happening at the local pub, Firkinsteins, and I thought, oh that might be fun, maybe a few people will show up and we can all sing and play... 30 people showed up! So fun!

More projects and Alan is loving his workshop! Do you know how hard it is to build a workbench without a workbench?

January rolled into February and I dealt with a very difficult situation with a long-time client... well, it happens in business. We dealt with it together, talking a lot and going for long walks. The boardwalk at Risser's Beach was particularly nice on an overcast stormy day. We actually love the ocean on stormy days almost as much as on sunny days. It's beautiful. And quite frankly, it was reflecting my mood.

Oh... and a little tequila helped too! If you are looking for a nice smooth tequila, try this one: George Clooney's Casamigos. Our favourite.

February is Lobster Month here on the South Shore. What a truly fantastic way to enjoy February. I still maintain that River Pub in Bridgewater makes the best lobster roll I've tasted yet! (sorry the photo isn't that great... I must have been shaking with anticipation LOL)

At the end of February, I realized that I needed to take a little break from reality. The business situation we were dealing with had really upset me – I knew that it was ultimately a really great thing to happen, but it was still emotional. So Alan insisted I take a little break. I booked myself into a spa and hotel in Halifax and had a nice 2-day get-away. It did a world of good.

On the way home, I stopped at Peggy's Cove. There was hardly anyone there and a fog was settled over the land. It was stunning. I spent a long while walking on the rocks, watching the waves crash and just feeling so grateful for being able to enjoy this kind of beauty.

By the time I got home, I felt recharged. I know Alan was really relieved to see me smile and be my joyful self again.

It was time to really dig in and start working on the house. We had guests booked over the summer and we decided to renovate the upstairs of our house to have a place for them to stay. It's a partial renovation that makes sense right now... we will eventually get to the downstairs reno of the kitchen and main living area, but we realize it's going to be a long process because we work full time and our first priority is our business.

So, while Alan has been focused on the workshop, I started renovating the upstairs. This is what it looks like to start... gotta love the kitchen cabinets! LOL

The first task was to strip the old windows. They are original to the house and have a dark green paint on them. First I used liquid stripper - pretty messy ...

Then, Alan ordered me a heat gun. That was better; still a lot of hard work but neater.

Steel wool and remover next and then sanding...

It's a big job but I'm getting there. A real labour of love as we make this house pretty again!

I've also been removing cabinet doors in the kitchen and bath and ripping out the old medicine cabinet... we're going to make new cupboard doors and everything needs to be painted.

It was early March and we were hearing more and more about the spread of the Corona Virus. It was getting scary as each day passed... and we were feeling the weight of the world, fearful where this was going. We were still able to go to the beach to walk and talk about it and made this video:

We didn't realize at the time that it would be the last time we'd be able to go to the beach. Our daily routine now is to stop for lunch and watch the Prime Minister's report. We're fearful but doing our very best to stay positive and think creatively.

Like everyone, we've never experienced anything like this. March was the longest month ever, as things became more serious and all non-essential business stopped. Our daily work life hasn't changed much since we already work at home and we surprisingly had a great March! But now as we start April, things are super quiet. We are using zoom to connect with Alan's dad – that's been nice.

So, today it is April 3. Exactly one year ago today, we arrived here at our house after travelling across Canada. Imagine if we had tried to do that this year – it would have been impossible. I started this blog shortly after we arrived and that seems so long ago... it's been quite a year for us. Lots of change, a hurricane, a beautiful addition to our home and now a pandemic to live through. We are hopeful to come through this and be able to continue with our plans and getting the driveway done to accommodate parking for events. But right now, most things are on hold.

We are so fortunate, at this time in particular to have a piece of land and woods that we can walk and breath fresh air, a beautiful cove to look on and watch the ducks, loons, eagles and sometimes a seal!

Stay safe everyone. Let's all do our part to get through this. We would really love to have friends and family visit this summer, and for everyone to get back on their feet as soon as possible.

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