On Kitchen Parties, Running, and a Changing Climate

The last time I wrote was in early May this year when the peepers had just come out. It’s one of my favorite sounds in the world. The peepers sing until June. Then the crickets come out in August and go until the early fall. Since I last wrote, we’ve had a close call with a wildfire, and during that time we also had to put our 17-year-old cat down. My mother-in-law was visiting then, I was running again, and later we traveled to Indiana to visit everyone, and it was so much fun. We rented a house out in the boonies and spent a few days there. The house was on a creek, so in the mornings we would go out with the young kids and hold their hands and wade in the creek. We got home just in time for my father-in-law and his partner visiting. During that time, I planted my garden and we also went for the first time to the Bay of Fundy and walked its beaches for hours. On the way home, we visited the many farmers markets of the Annapolis valley. This brief paragraph in no way reflects all we experienced, including my husband and I shedding tears about our sweet cat we watched die, the same cat we bought when we got married.

And then came the floods.

We got up to 300 mm (nearly 11 inches) of rain in a 24-hour period, which killed four people who got swept away in cars. We were okay. Part of our long gravel driveway got washed out, and we could not go to the nearest town due to flooded roads, but our power did not go out and we were lucky not to have damage to our basement. We’ve been prepared, however, due to a minor flood in our basement when we first moved in. Since then we have gotten a new sump pump with a 12-hour battery backup, a generator, and a good dehumidifier. We were also able to clean up the damage, and I even repainted some stained baseboards this spring. Now we are bracing for hurricane season.

So, once the fires and floods happened, I stopped running regularly, but just started again, hoping to train for the 10k this time. Morgan has also started again. Inspired by the few cèilidhs we’ve been to, both in Cape Breton and Prince Edward Island, I’m also giving a shot at learning to step-dance. We went to a kitchen party the other night at the Neptune Theater, and while a kitchen party is the same as a cèilidh (one seems to be Atlantic Coast Canada and the other a Scottish/Irish name), both are similar in that in the old days, people would gather in a kitchen or a public house (pub) and play music, step-dance, and sing, sometimes all night. It seems very Appalachian to me as well, as the fiddle and guitar music is similar and, of course, a lot of the Appalachian traditions came straight from Scottish and Irish people settling there, just like they did on Canada’s eastern coast. So the kitchen party was a lot of fun. We knew a lot of the songs. Morgan knows just about every sea shanty by heart, and he’s also a big fan of Stan Rogers. They even played some Great Big Sea, “Ordinary Day,” which I know by heart so sang it out loudly. It’s on my running playlist and has been since the Vancouver days.

The reason we got tickets to that particular show is because earlier in the year, I read that Merry and Pippin from LotR (Dominic Monaghan and Billy Boyd) are going to be in a stage production of Rosencrantz  & Guildenstern Are Dead (a hilarious play and movie based on two minor characters from Hamlet), at the Neptune this February, and the best way to get tickets back then was to order a package of three shows, and the kitchen party was one of them.

Well, we’re having another rain event today, but it’s not as bad as some recent ones, particularly the one that flooded everything. I have eight pounds of beans drying around the house for the famous shucky beans, and, speaking of kitchens, my dining room off the kitchen is wild with jasmine plants, drying beans, and some geraniums. I spent part of my morning trimming one of the jasmine plants that is really robust. Enjoy some pics from our summer.

Jasmine plants in the dining area
Bay of Fundy
Annapolis valley
We got a screen for our bonfire after wildfires swept the region, though we never burn when it’s banned.
The apples are ripening but small.
Drying beans for shucky beans.



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