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Urban Leaving to Country Living

Five Things I Miss about City Living


Last week I took part in Top Ten Tuesday and extolled the virtues of country living. I also promised that this week I would balance the scales a little by listing a few things I miss about living in the city.

I could come up with only five. I’m clearly a country girl at heart.

theatre masks photo theatre_zpsiuy3scuo.jpg1. Live Theatre — Although there is a small amateur group here in Tatamagouche, they present only twice a year. In the city, I had season’s tickets to every theatre group going, professional and amateur. From September to June, I was out an average of twice a month going to theatre productions.

2. Ethnic Food — Sometimes there will be one restaurant run by new citizens who will provide the cuisine of their home country, but usually it’s pizza, “Chinese”, or, here in Nova Scotia, donairs. Sometimes I long for good Indian food.
 photo pizza_zpsxhhz5oyc.jpg
3. Pizza Delivery
— There are some nights when it’s a toss-up as to which I feel less like doing: cooking or driving into the village to pick-up the pizza.

4. Sidewalks — In the spring, especially. Even when the snow is still piled up, if the walk has been cleared and the sun has been shining, there might be no need of boots in the city. In the country, we all have “mud boots” (for March through May) as well as warm winter boots.

deer in headlights photo deer_zpsf6apszzb.jpg5. Short distances to Your Friends’ Houses — It’s not the getting there, it’s the driving home after dark, keeping careful watch for all the critters who (rightfully) think the road is a part of their woods.

How about it, city dwellers? What are the advantages of urban living?

TOP TEN TUESDAY: Reasons I Love Country Living


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly linkup of book bloggers hosted by The Broke and The Bookish!

Top Ten Tuesday photo toptentuesday_zps1les7hiy.jpg

I want to make this a quick list that won’t require extra photos, nor a lot of your time to read.

Privacy (in a physical sense). Folks will want to know who your grandfather was, where you’re from, why you’re here and lots, lots more. But most of them “don’t mean nothin’ by it”. It’s just the country way of knowing people. And they leave you be to go out on the deck in your robe (or less!)

2. Quiet – You’re usually far enough away from your neighbours that the noises you hear are the spring peepers, summer crickets, autumn leaves, and winter wind. Much nicer than someone else’s stereo on full blast, sirens and horns, and squealing tires.

3. Friendliness — It might take you a while to be accepted in the country but while you’re waiting you can pretty much know that everybody on Main Street will smile and say hello. It helps to try do things their way instead of showing off your city learnin’.

4. Traffic — There isn’t any. Except during haying season when the farmers drive their tractors down the highway. Three cars behind one is a traffic jam. (The school buses here pull over and let you by.)

5. Clean Air — No traffic carbon monoxide, no factory particulates or smells. Country air smells green; here it sometimes also smells like the ocean.

6. Clotheslines — outlawed in lots of cities, but pretty much de rigeur in the country.

7. No Water or Sewer Bill — not that we waste water; it is a limited earth resource after all. And every few years we have to pay to get the septic tank pumped. But it still beats having that monthly bill.

8. Wildlife
— Okay, the bear getting into the green bin was a little much, but I never tire of seeing deer in the yard, or catching a glimpse of a fox or a ferret crossing the road and disappearing into the woods. There’s red squirrels, chipmunks, porcupines, muskrats and lots, lots more.

9. The View from My Window

10. House Accounts
— at the pharmacy and the hardware store. Enough said.

To be fair, there are a few things that I miss about living in the city. I’ll share them with you next Tuesday.

The View from My Office Window – 02Jun16


In April I decided to post a view from my office window on the last Friday afternoon of each month.

I was half-way across the continent last Friday afternoon (the last one in May) so I’m posting a photo from today. I didn’t want you to miss seeing the “May Effect”.

View 16Jun02 photo IMG_3649 450_zpstjgpjlzr.jpg

Nova Scotia came alive over the past month!

It’s still too cold for the beach (9C/48F now, at 10am, and the forecasted high for today is 15C/59C) but it’s gorgeous for yard work (like pruning that pear tree). And the lilacs are just beginning to open!

How’s the weather where you are?

Friday Afternoon: The View from My Window 29Apr16


A few years ago, I ran a series of pictures with the view from my office window every Friday afternoon. I stopped because I thought there wasn’t enough change week to week to bear recording.

What I’ve decided to do now is to post a picture from the last Friday afternoon of each month. view from my window Friday 29Apr16 photo 2016-4-29 450_zpsuc993unr.jpg
We’ve had a milder winter than a lot of places but April has been cold and spring is still slow to come. I maintain that it’s only the first three weeks of May that are spring in Nova Scotia, anyway.

I’ll be in Ontario for a couple of weeks in May, so I’ll miss a lot of it. Buy–hey!–it’ll be summer when I come home!

And what a difference a day makes: this was yesterday.
view from my window Thursday photo 2016-4-28 450_zpsai9chbgi.jpg

How’s the weather where you are?

Thursday Afternoon: View from My Window 25Apr13


A year or so ago, I ran a series of pictures with the view from my office window every Friday afternoon. I stopped because I thought there wasn’t enough change week to week to bear recording.

What I’ve decided to do now is to post a picture from the last Friday afternoon of each month. Since tomorrow I have a Giveaway Hop post scheduled, I decided to start for April with this Thursday view.

It’s April in Nova Scotia. We’ve had a milder winter than a lot of places but spring is still slow to come. The tree in the right foreground is a pear. No buds. The trees at the end of the driveway are tamaracks. No buds. There’s a birch tree across the driveway. No buds.

But just you wait. May is coming – and May’s the month that summer comes to Nova Scotia. Be sure to check in for the May 31st photo!

POSTCARD Friendship Friday: Look Alikes


I love mail! Cards & letters – and POSTCARDS!

Beth over at The Best Hearts are Crunchy (I just love that name – Beth explains on her blog how she chose it) collects vintage postcards, most from the 1880s on into the 1950s.

Postcard Friendship Friday logo photo Postcardfriday_zpse4301f93.jpg

Every Friday she shares one in Postcard Friendship Friday. Anyone can join in and link to her post. Each Friday has a theme – but you don’t have to follow it. And “Friday” lasts all week, so you can link-up any time until next Thursday.

This week’s theme is look-alikes since April 20th is Look Alike Day.

These girls might be twins but, if not, they certainly look very much alike.

 photo postcardsistersB_zpsd42b98b4.jpg

I found my card in the Send Out Cards catalogue. Want to send one to your sister? Go ahead, no matter where you are in the world – do it on me.

P.S. Search the card catalogue using the term “sisters”.

April 19th is (Inter)national HANGING OUT DAY


The forecast isn’t for sunny today, but it’s (way!!) above zero – 15C, 60F – so I’m hanging out at least one load of laundry on the line.

Today is National Hanging Out Day, an initiative of Project Laundry List to promote cheap, low-tech, and easy to install solar clothes dryers – that is, hanging out laundry to dry.

 photo urbanlin_zpse8fdceda.jpg

As I’ve discussed on this blog before, in urban & suburban areas, clotheslines can be considered eyesores and are often banned.

In many rural areas, though, hanging clothes is regarded as an art form of sorts. At the very least, it’s just the way things are done: it saves energy (and therefore money) and the clothes smell terrific and last longer.

Clotheslines are definitely part of country living. Whether you participate or not, chances are you’ll be looking at your neighbours’ lines.

Postscript: According to Project Laundry List, the average American uses more energy running a clothes dryer than the average African uses in a year for all her energy needs. Is this fair to the planet?! Yikes, don’t get me started on The Story of Stuff.

Snapshot Saturday


Lobster fishing season opens Tuesday!

fishing boats

Last week the boats in Toney River, Nova Scotia were lined up ready to take on their traps (seen piled on the wharf in the background).

The meme Snapshot Saturday is hosted by Alyce of At Home With Books. Visit her blog to see more great photos or add your own.

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What Better Way to Celebrate National Library Week?


National Library WeekSince the old library in the village closed on March 17th, we have been without library services, eagerly anticipating the opening of our new branch. What better way to celebrate National Library Week (April 8 – 14th) than with its official opening on Wednesday?

I was blown away. From one cramped room with barely room to walk, we have a two story light & airy open space complete with kids area, teens area, a community activity room, a half-dozen big screen computers with Wi-Fi, washrooms, staff offices, and two beautiful reading areas. One of those is in the second floor loft and looks out over Tatamagouche Bay and the Northumberland Strait.

Ocean View

I know that ultimately taxpayers funded this project, but I’m ever so grateful to the powers-that-be who allocated monies to this project. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

new Tatamagouche library

How are you celebrating your community library?

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Oh, Happy Day: Snow in April


Our late winter storm: I don’t think there’s quite the 15 cm (6 in) they forecast, but there’s sure the ice pellets mixed with it, as they warned.

late winter storm 08Apr12

The bright side is, it’s been too cold (expected of this season) for many buds to have appeared so nothing’s been ruined by last night’s weather activity.

Let me guess: warm & sunny where you are?

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Moving a Library – Village Style!


Some of you may remember my post last year about the building of the new library in Tatamagouche.

I thought I’d show you a little bit behind the scenes of moving a village library to its new premises.


That old branch closed for good on March 17th.

The new premises are now complete and the official grand opening is next Wednesday. (April 11th). I can hardly wait to see inside!

Tata library - moving crew

No moving vans or professional crews – or even U-Hauls for us.

These are all volunteers.

For more photos of the move, click here.

I wasn’t able to help, but I love that community volunteers made this possible. It’s part of what makes rural living so great.

What do you think of our moving methods?

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Saturday Snapshot: Let It Snow


This is my first time participating in the Saturday Snapshot meme, hosted by Alyce of At Home With Books. Visit her blog to see more great photos or add your own.

snow on the treehouse 18Feb12

We woke up this morning to a winter wonderland. The whole world seemed silent and clean. The tree house isn’t quite finished (and not quite in a tree anymore since a storm took it down).

What’s it like where you are?

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Six Word Saturday 11Feb12



Want to join the 6WS club? Describe what is going on in your life in 6 words and then link up with Cate at

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The Catching of Mice


Here’s the thing: country living in an old farmhouse = mice in the house.

We’ve seen several mice hiding in the basement woodpile this winter so my husband set traps. (Country living tip: rodent traps are more effective set perpendicular to the walls along which the mice run.)

My three-year-old grandson has a toy snake that he threw down the basement several times without explaining why (and people brought up each time they fed the furnace). Crying, he explained, “I keep throwing my snake down and somebody keeps bringing it up. It needs to be down to catch the mice.” We couldn’t argue with the logic, so left the snake on the basement floor.

After my husband checked his trap-line this morning, here’s what Steven found.

snake and mouse

He could not believe his eyes (after all, he knows it’s a toy snake), but once he took things in, he was delighted! Ah, the joys of grandparenthood (in the country).

Friday Afternoon: The View from My Window 23Dec11


Pretty, isn’t it?

Friday afternoon 23Dec11

It’s been snowing lightly since before dawn – and it’s slippery out there!

Friday Afternoon: the View from My Window 16Dec11


Look how gray the sky is!

Friday afternoon 16Dec11

But for a few glorious minutes just before noon, the sun burst out from the clouds at the back of the house and made everything glow. You can see the shadow of the roof peak in the bottom right.

I’m so glad I captured this moment – have a wonderful weekend!

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The View from My Window: Friday 11Nov11


I know I’m a day late but I do have an explanation.

View from my window 11Nov11

Heavy rain started here in Nova Scotia about midnight Thursday and continued on until supper time Friday. In all, about 56 mm (just over 2 inches) came down in that time period. I took this photo Friday morning from my office window, thinking that the rain was benefiting the view: making the sere colours of November deepen and glow.

We had a dinner reservation with some friends in Halifax (about a two hour drive) and were amazed to see the water on the way: ditches running white water rapids, streams flowing through fields and down hillsides where there had been no streams a day earlier, standing water making hay fields resemble rice paddies, but the roads were fine even through Truro which sits on a flood plain at the end of the Bay of Fundy (highest tides in the world!)

Truro is located at the far right end of the water in this diagram (just off the map) – past where it says tides are 49 feet (15 m).

bay of fundy tides

Ah – but supper time was low tide. By the time we traveled home at 10 that evening, matters were different. We saw a car abandoned in the Sobey’s parking lot, water up to the middle of its doors. And we found all the access roads through & around Truro closed because of flooding, necessitating some quick thinking and back roads to get home.

None of my photos turned out because it was too dark – but trust me: what looks so benign in my front yard was anything but at high tide in Truro.

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What Makes a 3-Year-Old Cry?


Our three-year-old grandson has a pretty happy disposition and not much gets him down, but he was in tears this morning. We’re having a bit of a blow here on the east coast – a nor-easter with lots of rain and winds that are gusting to 100 km/hr (60mph). The ‘breezes’ caught the tree that held the start of the tree-house that Grampa is building for Steven – and took it out by the roots. Tire swing’s gone, too.

treehouse down

The silver lining? As Steven, who never cries for long, says: “I can fill up that hole with water and jump in the B-I-G puddle!”

Friday Afternoon – A View from My Window 16Sep11


Summer is fast drawing to a close & I realize that I’ve not shown you a full summer view from my window. (Oh, I wish I had a new camera!)

Mountain ash berries

Despite the warmish weather of the last couple of weeks, the grasses and trees are losing their vibrant summer green, so I thought I’d concentrate on the mountain ash tree in the front garden. It volunteered itself there about four years ago and this year, for the first time, displayed the glossy orange berries that characterize it. (And, yes, the sky is really is that blue.)

What a difference a day makes!

We spent yesterday afternoon at the beach but it rained all night and today it’s 13C/55F with a NW wind blowing at 60km/35mph that makes it feel much colder. But the sun is shining – which it’s supposed to do all weekend. Have a good one, wherever you are. I’ll be back with book-related posts next week.

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Raindrops Keep Falling on My ….Beans?


I first posted about the great Community Supported Agriculture project in Tatamagouche in June, when we received our first box of vegetables. Since then, there doesn’t seem to have been a lot of change in what we get each week, although the last few weeks we’ve seen such diverse food as broccoli, kohlrabi, fennel, and kale.

Rain in the countryThe problem is the wet weather we’re experiencing here in Nova Scotia this year. It seems like the rain started in early May and hasn’t stopped since. For instance, last week we received 4 inches (100 mm) of precipitation. Then, after a couple of sunny days on the weekend, it started raining at seven o’clock Monday morning and continued steadily all day, giving us another 2 inches this week. And there’s still no sun in sight.

Most of the rest of Canada is having an extremely dry summer and although rain threatens, there hasn’t been enough. When we were in southern Ontario in late July, we saw lawns and gardens, ditches and roadsides burned brown by the sun. Although I’d rather be here with too much rain (at least it’s not enough so far to cause serious flooding), it’s getting to be too much of a good thing – and it’s having a drastic effect on the vegetable crops.

Cammie, who runs the local CSA, advised us in late July that she had lost about 70% of her early crops in the wet and muddy spring (peas, beans, cabbage, broccoli, spring turnips, beets, salad mix, pac choi, Chinese cabbage, & radishes). But the summer really hasn’t been much better weather wise. This is the first week we’ve received beans in our harvest and there have been no peas at all.

But that’s the risk of a CSA program: farmers and members share in the risk of a bad year, as well as the bounty of a good one.

This week we received carrots, ruby-stemmed chard, a lettuce head, cilantro, broccoli, green & yellow beans, and fresh garlic.

CSA Week 9 2011

Even though the weather and the resulting harvest have been a little disappointing thus far this year, I’m still keen on the CSA program and will join again next year (providing we have the cash in March). And I’m looking forward to many more weeks of superbly fresh and interesting vegetables this harvest season.

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