05/11/2012, Shelburne NS
I am watching the global economic situation with some growing alarm. Yes, I have my military pension and that is better than nothing but it is a small one and we have been counting on my personal pension and Barb's investments to bring us to a comfortable lifestyle, but these are all dependent upon money market funds and they are in jeopardy when the international markets are stressed. Perhaps we Canadians have been a little too smug and complacent as we sit here behind out perceived bulwarks of the controlled banking system and the various federal government checks and balances. We have been watching Europe implode and the US struggling under the ramifications of free reign capitalism and its outcomes, thinking that we were lucky and relatively untouchable. Well, I am beginning to realize that the operative word there is relatively. We retired early based on an assumption of a certain level of income which we may have to re-evaluate. Our combined private pension plans used to bring in about $1200/month which we made an informed decision to cut in half by buying the house here in Shelburne which covered the reduction in income by eliminating the cost of storage of our furniture while we were on the boat. It was approximately a financial wash while we have a capital investment and a home to come home to when our cruising days were finished. But now I am waiting to see if the remaining pension will still be enough. It probably will be. We will definitely have to curtail the amount of marina stops and restaurant meals we indulge ourselves in. With herself new knees it should be easier to get on and off the dink so that should be do-able. It's just that it wasn't something that we weren't anticipating.
I really am bewildered by the situation in Europe. Just what do the Greeks, French, Spanish etc. expect will happen if they don't have austerity programs. Oh I realize that there is the matter that the rest of the world has a vested interest in keeping those economies afloat since the big banks and other financial institutions have so much money invested in them, but I think that everyone is coming to realize that keeping them solvent is like treating an alcoholic by giving him more booze. At least in the US the capitalist system basically says that if a business or economy can't survive, it perishes and something else takes its place. Unfortunately some European countries seem to want a western quality of life - car, owned home, colour TV etc. - but still want the social parachute. In Canada that seems to have worked but we have far less of a population to have to support with it. The media is the message and at this point it is that the Global Village seems to be crumbling.
On a happier note, the MoHo is ready to complete the trip to Halifax so we will be on our way tonight. Saturday, Sunday and Monday are looking good for weather so those three days should be sufficient to get Nelleke ready for a launch next Friday and return to Shelburne over the long weekend. Hurrah! Our pal Mike is interested in making the trip back with me so I won't be by myself which will be very handy as there will be a few first trip issues that we will have to shake out, I'm sure. For example, I am anticipating anything from the anchor windlass to the radar needing work along the way, but at least we will be back to the water.
|Hiatus on the Hard 2011-?||
05/09/2012, Shelburne NS
We have changed our minds about going to the boat this week. We need the MoHo to stay in and it won't be until this weekend that we can get the new propane tank certified and filled and with this weather it appears that it would be raining all the time anyway. Depending upon when the MoHo is ready, we might head off for the weekend and the first couple of days next week. Barb has to be back for her physio on Tuesday but I rather think that would be all that we need. He weekend looks like good weather and Monday too. Keep your fingers crossed for us. Late breaking news! Looks like the truly viable option is this weekend and Monday, Tuesday, as after that it will rain again. Plus, if we don't get 'er launched by the 15th we will start to pay additional storage fees which I would like to avoid.
The docks are all in at the club in Shelburne and we got a rather pleasant surprise. Apparently the wait list for a dock wasn't as long as we expected, what with folks electing to keep their boats near to their homes or selling it or moving away, so now we have a spot on a dock at an extremely reasonable price. This is especially great with Barb's new knee as it will make things a whole lot easier for her to get on and off and do the necessaries to get Nelleke ready for immediate short term cruising.
Speaking of cruising, a couple of years ago our friend Bob from Ombre Rose pointed us at Active Captain but I'm afraid that, other than creating a profile and registering for their regular e-mails, we haven't really made much use of it. Now, being dirt bound, I have revisited the site and what a neat tool! I guess in the intervening years a number of other folk far more forward leaning that I was have been madly adding their posts to the site and there are a whole bunch of anchorages listed and comments added. This is sort of an on line Skipper Bob only more so. I have been doing my belated bit by adding some sites up here in Nova Scotia and will be adding more once we start exploring again, but in the meanwhile it is loads of fun following our routes and seeing what others thought about the spots that we had poked into. Apparently they send you free goodies after you have made certain levels of contributions to their site so I am looking forward to that too.
Once again allow me to toot the Shelburne trumpet. It has the third best natural harbour in the world, although I'm not totally sure how anyone comes up with that, and we are open for business. We would welcome any and all cruising yachts to come here to visit. It's a great and comfortable place to clear customs when you are entering Canada from the US or the Caribbean and the and yacht club is not only welcoming but it also is in reasonable walking distance from most of the things that you would need: Napa Auto Supply, d'Eon Fishing Supply, Drug Store, Grocery Store and Liquor Store to name just a few, plus there are a couple of really excellent restaurants quite close by and as well a couple of pubs besides the one in the club itself. If you are theatrically inclined there is the Osprey Arts Centre just to the back of the yacht club as well.
|Hiatus on the Hard 2011-?||
05/07/2012, Shelburne NS
Oh it's a fun filled weekend indeed.
Early Saturday morning we were off for a Pot Party. No, not the brain addled kind. Rather the ones where you take multiple plants, split them up and pop them into pots. The Garden Club, which seems to be spearheaded by the Millers, a nice couple originally from Ontario but who now live here, breeding lilies, each year, has a fund raiser whereat they sell off potted plants that are donated by the members. The pot party is the prelude to that where all the little shoots get dunked into their new temporary homes. I sure hope that folks like hostas because I think that we spit up and potted over 60 of them.
Back on the home front we have more or less finished the raised garden beds. All we are looking for now is the garden soil which I will have trucked in as soon as we get our next paycheque. In the meantime we have planted the six day lilies that we got from the Millers and marked out the spots where we will be planting the peach trees. Yep. Peach trees! Apparently the climate here is suitable to raise peach trees. But there's no such thing as Global Warming.
We also are on the prowl for some wine grape vines. I want to replace the decorative vines along one of our borders with wine grapes and I am planning two different ways to do it. First, we will plant the root, but secondly I plan to cu way back the existing vine and use its root structure to graft the new vine onto. Then in, oh, five to six years, we will be harvesting grapes to make wine. Grapes, too, grow well here, but our biggest challenge will be to keep the birds and racoons off them once they are approaching ripeness, and if we want enough to use ourselves we have to punt them off.
Our friend Ian has stirred the curiosity pot about property boundaries and we were out with the tape measure, measuring off from the available survey points. The thing about old towns like this one is that houses built 100 to 250 years ago were built before they hammered in the steel markers so we have some of them overhanging the town streets, some of them were built a little skewed, and, indeed, some of the survey markers were not where they were supposed to be according to the deeds. Makes for interesting discussions with the neighbours. In our case it turns out that the fence down one side of our yard is positioned too far into the neighbours and on the other side it is too much into ours. What fun! Fortunately we are on good terms with both and we really don't care, but our friend Ian has found that one of the back parkers is off by as much as five feet, so he wasn't too happy. There is an old saying that good fences make good neighbours, so I guess a corollary would be that bad fences cause confusion.
|Hiatus on the Hard 2011-?||