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.

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.

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.

More office art changes

Over the past few years, I’ve been enjoying and adding new art to my office walls. If you’ve been around my blog for a while you’ve likely seen a few posts about it. There is the Automattic Creed, a frame of Automattic logos, Happiness patches, my Son of Krypton print, and most recently my big old map of New Orleans.

When I added the big map it meant I had to take down my WordPress wall as that was really the only wall in my office which would fit it. This caused me to rethink the other walls. The map sits on the wall directly behind me when I’m sitting at my desk, on the wall right behind my desk I’ve had a print of a photo I’d taken of the look off area of the Annapolis Valley where I live for the longest time. I’ve not been happy with it for a while though as the color in the print never really turned out right. It’s also a spliced together panorama from three individual pictures and I didn’t notice until after three copies were printed, framed, and two given out as gifts, that in the splicing there was a little bush in the foreground that was duplicated.

With that picture in the middle, there were a couple of small plaques with pictures of Apple Blossoms I had received years ago from being a Sponsor of our local Apple Blossom Festival on one side, and my diploma from University on the other. During the reorganization, I tossed the plaques, but I’m certainly keeping the diploma up on a different wall though, it’s the most expensive piece of paper I own.

Here’s what the wall above my desk looks like now.

It has my three previous frames from my WordPress wall up in the middle with two smaller items on either side. The far one is a print I picked up at the French Market in New Orleans. The artist is Tesfaye Nequsse and I really liked his work. It sat on my desk for a while but with the adjustment, I bought a frame for it and put it up.

The print closest I’ve had for a while. It was a gift from my mother to Noah, but it has ended up in my office for a while now. It is a print of a painting by Liz Lemon Swindle. It was in a different frame but it didn’t really match the other black frames on the wall so I bought a matching frame to the print above. I should have measured first though as it didn’t fit the new frame. Luckily my sister came to my rescue and made me a new mat for the frame and now it looks great.

I’m pretty pleased with how it all turned out in the end even though it meant a bit of work moving it all around. I’m running out of wall space now though so I might have to start choosing what stays and what goes as I add more in the future.

Here’s a gallery showing most of the items on my wall now including some better images of the prints themselves.

Getting Out and Being Social

This is something I struggle with. Working from home I am always interacting with co-workers and other people, but it is all online. As a family we go and do lots with other families and this is wonderful. Our group of friends are a great group and I always have a lot of fun with them and talking to them. Having these in person relationships and conversations are essential for me to stay a sane person.

Tonight I went out to a meeting with a group I haven’t been to in way to long, Refresh Annapolis Valley. There were three presenters tonight and they were all unique. Ren√©e Downs is one of the organizers of the upcoming conference BlogJam in Halifax. She spoke about being a reluctant blogger and her story how she got started. Cheri Killam spoke about her year long project she’s undertaken called 5 Down. I’ve been following along and it’s an extremely interesting project, I encourage you call to take a look. The last speaker was Laura Churchill-Duke talking about her site and blog Valley Family Fun.

Equally beneficial to hearing the speakers is just the social interaction with other people. There were new people who I met for the first time and there were friends who I hadn’t seen or talked to for some time. Just tonight I’ve been invited to speak at a future Refresh event about WordPress. Tonight I also got talking with a professor who asked me to come be a guest lecture about WordPress to one of her business classes.

After getting a little taste I’m now even more looking forward to going to BlogJam and hearing and talking to more Bloggers in real life and to the upcoming first meeting for the Halifax WordPress Meetup.