Different type of book tour

Back in November I read a great book written by a local friend Laura Churchill Duke called Two Crows Sorrow. It’s a creative nonfiction about a murder which took place in a local community in 1904.

Before reading the book I had not heard of the story, but am glad I do now. The story hits home for me for a number of reasons and I recommend it even if you aren’t local and have some of the connections I do.

Though it took place long ago the stories of domestic abuse and unequal rights are still very relevant today.

Some scenes in the book take place in a home that is still standing today, though expanded and upgraded in many ways. This is the home I lived in when I first moved to the Annapolis Valley.

This morning Laura, the Author, took a group of us to hike to the main setting of the book, to the old farm stead and place of the murder. The path is through a now abandoned road, and the farm land is overgrown, but you can still see the rock foundation of the home and other remnants from the time.

The research Laura put in to write this book is impressive and getting to hear more about things along the way and in the place it took place was a really neat aspect and addition to the book.

It was also a beautiful day and a nice hike through the woods. The group of people we were with were really nice as well. I met a neighbour who lives just around the corner who I hadn’t met yet, even though they’ve lived here longer than us and we’ve been here for over 8 years now. Was able to make a new puppy friend, Little Anne, who is a very good dog.

Runner’s World Run Streak – AKA Senff’s Bootcamp

Runner’s World has a holiday run streak challenge that it does. This is heavily US based so it runs from their Memorial Day May 25th until July 4th. That’s 41 days where you commit to running at least 1 mile each day.

One of my co-workers, Senff, recruited a few of us to join him in this and he ran a tight ship. I wasn’t sure I’d really be able to do it, as I usually require some rest days and I planned on doing some other fairly heavy exercising as well. In the end 1 mile works out to be only about 1.6 km, so I decided I would do at least 2 km each day and joined in.

There were a few days where I found it really tough to go out, but being with friends kept me going. I didn’t always live up to Senff’s expectations, but I did at least 2 km every day. Total I ran 178 km over the 41 days for an average of 4.3 km a day.

This was a great way to build the habit of running again. It took a bit of planning, especially around days when doing a big bike ride or something like that. I had to plan out a few days of only 2 km runs and time them so I’d be good to do the rest of what I had planned.

In the past couple weeks Noah has started coming with me as well about 5 times a week. So far he’s running anywhere from 2 – 4 km with me. It’s fun to have him with me. On days he’s running he gets up and gets dressed for running right away, and as soon as I’m ready to go, so is he.

There was one weird aspect of this challenge that I allowed to get to me. Because I knew I had to run each day, I didn’t really push myself to run further, or faster. I did some, but never pushed it as far as I could. I was scared I’d hurt myself, or it would ruin the next days run, and never ran more than 7.5k.

During the whole challenge I never ran a 5k run in under 30 minutes. As today as the last day and I don’t feel the absolute need to run tomorrow, though I probably will, I pushed it. I managed to run a full 10k in under 1 hour.

Though a few times it felt like a real chore, I’m glad I was pushed to keep going and was able to complete this streak and fell good about running again.

Biking the Harvest Moon Trail

Biking the Harvest Moon Trail

Since I started trying to get back into biking a few years back I had thought it would be cool to bike the whole Harvest Moon trail. Its an old railbed that’s been converted to a trail going between Grand Pre and Annapolis Royal here in the Annapolis Valley of Nova Scotia. It’s 110 km long and you can see the whole trail on this Google Map.

I’ve biked, ran, and walked much of the trail between Grand Pre and gone as far as Waterville, never all at once, and wanted to see it all.

This year so far I’ve been pushing myself on my bike and feeling like I was in pretty good shape. I’ve only ever gone as far as about 30 km on a ride though but during those went over some pretty good hills which made them difficult rides for me. The Harvest Moon Trails is pretty level and easy riding so I was hoping those shorter rides with lots of climbs would have me ready.

Jen dropped me off in Grand Pre a little after 9:00 am yesterday morning and I headed out. I was hoping to be able to keep a pace of about 20 km an hour which including stops so I arranged for her to meet me in Annapolis Royal in 6 hours. They planned a family trip to the Historic Gardens there.

I made it as far as Kingston without stopping for a break which is about 50 km in. There is a convenience store and Tim Hortons right off the trail so I was able to go grab some more water and then sat under a tree on the trail to eat my lunch I had brought. My legs were already feeling it at this point, but I figured I could make it.

We really live in a beautiful area and this trail is a great way to see it. Even if you don’t do it all in one trip, you could do segments and that would make it nice because then you could take the time to venture into the towns and villages along the way and get to see them. I didn’t have any time for that so I had to push almost straight through. There are lots of gorgeous views along the way.

In the end it took me about 6 and a half hours not including breaks and my pace was about 17 km per hour in the end, so a little slower than I wanted. Not sure I was really ready for this ride either because I was heavily exhausted at the end and my legs were extremely sore. I was worried about today, but so far they are back to a reasonable level of soreness.

While I’m really glad I was able to do this, I’m not sure I will do it again all at once. I was pretty fatigued during the last 30 km or so and didn’t really get to enjoy things. I will have to go and start down near Annapolis Royal sometime so I can better enjoy that end of the trail more as well.

I tried to take lots of photos and little video clips along the way which you can see below.

Hidden Valley

Hidden Valley

This is a trail we’ve done before, but it’s been a few years, so we went out again today with my Sister and her family. It’s right by their house as well.

The walk starts by going under the highway which is neat and then some easy trail for most of the walk. It isn’t until you get closer to the little falls that it gets a little trickier, but if you stay on the path it isn’t bad.

My sister decided to take us a different way to avoid some wet areas and it didn’t work out so great haha. We made our own path through the woods and up and then back down a pretty steep embankment without any easy way up and down. We all made it though.

There is a bit of a waterfall but it depends on the time of year and weather as to how much water there is. Today it was pretty tame with just a bit coming through.

Crystal Falls

Crystal Falls

One of the things I’m really enjoying from my Sabbatical is getting to visit places close to home that I have never been to, or haven’t really explore.

Last week we went on a hike to Crystal Falls which is only about 30 minutes from us but we’ve never been. The hike was pretty easy right up until you go down a ravine to the bottom of the falls, but not too bad and worth it.

We’ll certainly be going back again

Baxters Harbour

Baxters Harbour

We went to check out Baxters Harbour today. It has been a long time since I’d been there and most of the family hadn’t been there before.

It’s beautiful and really cool with the waterfall and the rock formations. Things can change quite a bit depending on the tide but being here at low tide where we could go climb and explore the rocks was a lot of fun.

Boxwood Project

Boxwood Project

One of the projects that I had on my todo list for my sabbatical was to fix up the line of boxwoods we added at the back of our property line. We started some aspects of it earlier this spring, but I was able to complete it today.

Shortly after we moved in my Mother gave us 14 boxwoods that she no longer wanted. We planted 12 of them along the back of our property to have a bit of a divider and something that would stay green year round. The thought was that maybe they’d grow big enough that we could form them into a hedge. The other two we put one on each side of our front doorstep.

After a couple years, during a bad winter, two boxwoods didn’t fair out to well. A large tree that has now fallen down dropped a big load of snow directly on top of them and some branches as well. They were still alive, but very small, and a lot of dead parts on them which had to be cut away.

I’ve been meaning to move the two from by the front step and replace the two which were in rough shape in the back. This early spring I finally did that. I combined the two nearly dead ones together and planted them at the far left of the properly line where they are much smaller than the others, but still living and hopefully will grow up again. Jen and Ella also gave them a good pruning and did some weeding.

My main project was to make this all look nicer and to be easier to manage. I started yesterday and dug out the grass and weeks from all around boxwoods along the whole property making a large bed. Thanks to fine friends I was able to put down some fabric to keep weeds from coming up, and got a trailer full of mulch to put down on top.

Although I’m pretty sore, things look much better back there now and will be much easier to keep looking nice with less weeds and much easier to mow.

Before the tree fell. You can see the two directly below the tree not looking so great.

Cape Split

Cape Split

Today was the first day of my Sabbatical from work. Three months were a all my typical excuses are no longer valid. I have the time and ability to do a bunch of things I’ve been putting off.

I started today with one thing I’ve been putting off for a long time. Not really intentionally, just never prioritized it and fit it in. We live near Cape Split which is a great Provincial Park on the Bay of Fundy. When I was about 12, long before I moved to the Annapolis Valley I went on a hike there. It was a cold rainy day and I didn’t have fun at all. We never made it to the top either. Even though I’ve lived here for almost 20 years and we’ve gone on lots of hikes and trails, I’ve never been back to do Cape Split. This morning I biked to the top.

It is a little more than 6km each way and meant more for hiking then biking, but most of the trail is pretty good. There are a number of spots I needed to walk over some big roots that I didn’t think I’d make it over though. It was worth the trip and I’ll be going back and hiking it for sure.

This is just the start. I have a list of things around the house I’ve been putting off, but will now get done, and I’m going to continue building the good habits to get myself into shape. I’ve been doing well for a few months now in the last 80 days I’ve had 56 I’ve considered a success by getting enough exercise and eating healthy. There have only been 6 days that I consider a failure in that time. I still have work to do though and and will be putting in the effort.

Upcoming Sabbatical

One of the amazing perks that is offered by Automattic is after 5 years of work you can take a three month paid sabbatical from work. This still blows my mind really. It also blows my mind that I’ve been working here for 5 years already. This is the longest I’ve ever worked anywhere in my life.

My 5 year anniversary was back in December but I scheduled my Sabbatical to be during the summer when the kids would be off school. We had pretty big plans to fly the family across the country for a month to go visit my family. With the pandemic it has made us have to revisit that and adjust my plans for this time. This is pretty disappointing of course, but really it is minor in the scheme of things that have changed and the impact the pandemic has had on others lives.

I’ve been a little apprehensive about being away from work for so long. I started working pretty early except for a brief period as a teenager I’ve always worked or gone to school, many times both at the same time. As I’m getting ever closer though I feel nothing but excitement. I still love my job but having this time is going to do wonders.

There is a list of things around the house that I plan to get done. Nothing really major, but they will take time and will be a learning experience. There are other things I want to take the time to learn for myself as well. I figure there is still going to be lots of down time though especially now that we will be staying home.

After today though I can’t wait to be able to sprinkle more days like it into my life during the sabbatical. I had today off work and it was a really great day.

I work up late, a little before 7:00 am, but I stayed in bed and was able to read a couple chapters. My intention was to get up then, but then instead I relaxed some more and watched an episode of The Last Dance. After some breakfast and hanging out for a while with the family I headed out on a solo bike ride. Touring around for an hour and a half taking in the beautiful weather and views while listening to an audio book is my favourite way to get in some exercise.

After some lunch I hung around with the family some more, and played some video games with Noah. We then headed out for a bike ride just the two of us and were out for about another hour and a half. This was a bit of an easier ride, but with some great company.

After supper we went out and did a bit of work in the yard. Getting some gardens ready. We dug up a new little garden around a tree in the front yard and planted a couple of hostas and are ready for more planting as well. We’re now sitting down to watch a movie as a family.

With a little more than two weeks to go, I’m counting down until I can end up having many more days like today.