Summer has arrived early in the south…

 

It is actually hot at 84, and the rest of the week is forecast the same. I am also pleased that the temperature has warmed up to early spring temps at home, as well. Hopefully, it is getting rid of some snow.

It must be getting close to my turn-around trip home. I had a nightmare about airports and being lost, etc. For whatever reason, my experiences with flights and airports is always an adventure.

Last year, it took me four days (and a bundle of cash) to get home from Belize – normally, an 8-hour flight.

We surely do need some rain, though. It hasn’t rained for over two weeks, and things are beginning to show it. The little shrubs that were just beginning to recover from being massacred by the landscaper are struggling, and their new leaves are starting to shrivel. Albeit, there is no rain in the forecast before Friday.

I see there is a three-room, beach-front cottage (with loft) for sale in Bermuda for only $1,400,000. However, it’s a choice between buying it, paying my hydro bill, or the billion-or-so that ‘Twinkle Toes’ Trudeau has tacked onto our income tax for child care benefits (i.e. votes.)

More next time.

Available in paperback from Amazon and Barnes and Noble, and in Kindle from Amazon.

 

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Thoughts of spring…

 

I see by the weather channel that a touch of spring has come to the northland (52 on Monday), even if it is mixed with snow and freezing rain.

A stretch of warm weather is ahead for us, as well (80s into next week.)

It seems our little corner of the world has been blessed again. The deep south has been hammered with killer electrical storms (golf-ball-sized hail, etc., that killed one person north of Atlanta), but we saw none of it.

We could use some rain, though, for conditions are very dry.

We have a landscape company looking after the grounds here at the hotel, and apart from stretching the job into a full time career, I think they have a ‘thing’ against shrubs. Every time I see them they are lopping the tops off of them.

One shrub that I liked awfully well for the aroma (something like orange blossoms) got so severely scalped that there is just a few twigs sticking above the ground. It is putting out buds, but it could really use some rain.

Things are very quiet – the way I like it. There are only a few guests, and they are all as quiet as church mice.

I saw some workers running electrical connections out to the pool area, so I pray they didn’t hook up the speakers out there. I’m right opposite it, and all I would need is to have some numbskull cranking up Shania Twit, or other ‘shrieker,’ to make my life a living hell.

The writing is going well, and I only have a handful of pages to go before it is finished (first draft). I’m getting anxious to start the new book The Brit, Kid Cupid, and Petunia.

I need a change of pace.

More next time.

Available in paperback from Amazon and Barnes and Noble, and in Kindle from Amazon.

Happy Spring!

It’s spring,
The grass has riz,
I wonder where the birdies is.

 

I hope it’s spring-like whee you are, too.

Spring is mostly here. The temperature this afternoon is focast to be 82F. However, Thursday is forecast to be 63F, so winter (as such) is hanging on.

Oh, I wish I could stay here – especially to get away for “Bavmorda” Wynne, and “Twinkle Toes” Trudeau! About the only thing that is holding me back is the loss of my health benefits and the law that says I can only be hhere 183 days.

The time is certainly salipping away. I haven’t started my countdown yet, but Ihave been thinking ahead just the same. I have to get out to Walmart to get a haircut, for one thing, but I think I will order a pair of new runners online. Hopefully, I won’t have the same difficulty as I had in Belize, where a pair of $35-dollar shoes ended up costing me $165!

Speaking of Belize, I see another Canadian was mudered there. That makes three since I started to take notice.

My beloved Two Irish Lads did me proud, once again,  in the St. Patrick’s Day market. I won’t see the final tally until the end of the quarter, but sales are over 500 copies.

I will now start to flog Coming of Age. I’m not certain how it is doing because Amazon has not set up a sales page for it. While I’m waiting, however, the writing of Part Two is progressing. I’m presently at page 102/115, so it is in good shape.

More nest time.

 

Available in paperback and Kindle formats.

 

Maple Sugaring Time…

“Maple Sugaring Time ” and the hint of spring

 

Maple sugaring time is, to this very day, a cherished memory for me. Each stage comes back as special, and each one is as vivid as the day it happened nearly eighty years ago.

My father and my favourite Uncle Fred shared a ‘sugar bush’ together, and each spring, when the sap started to flow, they would emerge from their long winter doldrums to start ‘spiling’ the trees. This involved going from tree to tree (nearly 200 of them) with a hand auger and a pail of spiles to ‘tap’ the trees – sometimes three to a tree.

Maple spiles as they were in my time.

My job was to hammer the spiles into place when father bored the holes. Nonetheless, it was a father-son collaboration that is hardly known today. In my mind, we were ‘men’ working together, and whether or not it was cold and damp, I persevered as men did in those days.

The next stage was the gathering of the sap. this was done in two wooden barrels affixed to a ‘stone boat’ (a skid with two log runners) that was pulled by “Dolly and “Molly” – our two Clydesdale horses.

A similar evaporating furnace and pans

It was then poured into four ‘evaporating pans’ that were placed atop a brick fireplace. As the raw sap ‘boiled off’ in the first plan it was transferred to the next until the last pan held the pure elixir – golden and sweet, and as pretty to look at as it was to taste.

But here is where the real memories take shape. Most of the boiling off took place at night, and so, on weekends, my sister Beverley and myself were allowed to join father and Uncle Fred until the day’s batch was finished – around 10:30 or 11:00 PM.

Included in these memories are the crackling of the fire echoing throughout the forest, and the mouth-watering aroma of maple syrup as it nears perfection – not to mention the taste of ‘maple snow’ in a cup – which we just happened to bring along.

Then, with a cream can full of syrup (about two or three gallons), we would start for home under the light of a full or crescent moon. Nonetheless, the stillness of the forest seemed to accompany us with only the jingling of harness and the plop-plopping of the horses’ hooves to break the frosty silence of a March night.

Therefore, there is not an early spring goes by that I don’t think of these tumes and the people – long gone – that accompany them.

More next time.

Getting ready for St. Patrick’s Day

 

Time to catch up…

Getting ready for St. Patrick’s Day

It’s that time of year again, when everyone is Irish for a day. I come by my Irish honestly – on both sides – so I can claim a bit of the ‘Old Sod’ as my own.

Otherwise. I’m working on Coming of Age, both writing Part Two and trying to put out brush fires with Part One. It is the novel that just doesn’t want to be published.

I’ve had nothing but problems with it from the writing to the publishing. It took me six years to write and re-write the manuscript, and after that it was late getting on the market for Christmas (the big market season.)

Then Amazon screwed up on the Kindle version – just when the advertising was starting to kick in – so there was no product to sell.

And if this weren’t enough to try one’s patience, I now find that the Kindle version won’t download!! Erghhh.

On a positive note, spring is beginning to sprung. The temperature are in the high 70s and 80s (it’s 81F today), the trees are coming back to life, and the flowers are starting to bloom. It is the way spring should be.

Nevertheless, right in the middle of this, I get my plane ticket in the email, reminding me that I have to give all this up in May. If it weren’t for Canadian and American laws I’d gladly bid “Bavmorda” Wynne, and “Twinkle-Toes” Trudeau goodbye and good riddance. I’d take my chances with Trump rather than that unholy duo.

The Canadian dollar continues to plummet. It has now fallen three cents in as many weeks, and since the TSX is going nowhere as well, I’m not making any money either.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Dow is doing very well indeed.

To end on a cheery note, I have certainly got my money’s worth from the weather – and the setting generally. It has been one of the warmest winters on record.

More next time.

Odds and ends…

Taska Racing trailer.
Taska Racing trailer.

 

One of the interesting thing about living in a hotel is the variety of people who come and go – with the exception of loud-mouthed drunks.

I don’t follow the auto racing circuit, so I don’t know who Bob Taska is, but some of you might.

Likewise, when I was here in 2015 (this same month) two tractor-trailers pulled in and exchanged these two beauties. I don’t know what they are, but it was all very mysterious, and they look quite exotic.

2015/03/14
2015/03/14
2015/03/14
2015/03/14

Quite a change in the weather. Yesterday, it was 86 and even hot in the room, and today is only 66. In fact, we are in for a few days in the 60s before it gets back into the 70s.

I see the temperatures are bouncing around in the home territory, too, from 48 into the teens. Unhealthy conditions.

Spring is beginning to blossom, here. Some of the trees lose their leaves over winter, and they are starting to come back to life. The azaleas and other early flowering shrubs are coming into bloom as well. However, it’s a bad time for pollen with it literally piled up in places.

More next time.

 

announcement-arrival-coa

Coming of Age is now available in Kindle format.