It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas…

To celebrate the holiday season, we’re doing different activities every day as part of our advent calendar (which is more of a treasure box with ornaments to put on a mini-tree). Some days are stay-at-home things like putting up the wreaths on the doors or watching a Christmas movie. Other days we head outside to take part in local events. On Friday night, we watched Santa arrive in Salem:

Waiting by the fire truck was cool! Flashing lights and firemen that waved hi!

Waiting by the fire truck was cool! Flashing lights and firemen that waved hi!

Oooh! I see Santa on the roof! (Santa arrives on the roof of the Hawthorne Hotel)

Oooh! I see Santa on the roof! (Santa arrives on the roof of the Hawthorne Hotel)

Santa then climbs down the looooooong fire truck ladder to the crowd of very excited children below.

Santa then climbs down the looooooong fire truck ladder to the crowd of very excited children below.

Then today, we went to Ye Olde Pepper Companie to watch them make candy canes:

First they cut the candy with giant scissors

First they cut the candy with giant scissors

Then they stretch and roll it - it's really really stretchy!

Then they stretch and roll it - it's really really stretchy!

Then they cut it again...

Then they cut it again...

And shape the pieces into canes!

And shape the pieces into canes!

As a special treat – they gave each kid a candy cane in the shape of their first initial. They even fancied up the J for Justin (instead of just an upside down regular candy cane…)

Justin enjoying a piece of his candy cane!

Justin enjoying a piece of his candy cane!

A big storm, a fun visit & some other stuff

If you’ve been wondering what happened to all the updates this last while – it’s been a busy and eventful week and a bit! We started it all off with a great big storm (hurricane force gusts! whee!), we got power back just in time for Alex and Emma to visit for a bit (yay to both!), then Justin had his allergist appointment, I got sick and Chad’s computer died (boo to all three).

I’ll start at the end and say that Justin is still allergic to the things he was allergic to before, Chad’s new battery is on it’s way, and I’m feeling better already! Prior to that, we had a fantastic time showing Alex and Emma around Salem and Boston. And before all that, there was the storm…

The storm was pretty crazy – our house felt like it was sitting on a water bed at times! Gusts were up over 90 miles per hour and we woke up to tree and roof debris all over the yard, but we were spared serious damage with only a small fence crushed by a tree branch (the roof bits weren’t ours). Our power was out for just short of 48 hours, though, so we spent a night in a hotel and had to restock our refrigerator. Luckily, our little gas fireplace kept the living room, well, livable, and we were able to stay in the house during the daytime. Here are some photos:

Storm (photo by Justin)

Storm, afternoon of Day 2 with no power (photo by Justin)

Tree damage

Tree damage

Fence damage

Fence damage

Tree branch

Tree branch

Fall in Salem

The fall colours have been fantastic this past week, although high winds have brought most of the leaves down now. Luckily I took a bunch of photos before they all came down! Here are a few of my favourites:

Reflections

Reflections

Low branches

Low branches

Turtles

Turtles

Salem Farmers’ Market

Farmers' Market

Justin and I love to walk into town every week and get fresh veggies, fruit and eggs from our local farmers’ market. This past week was the 375th anniversary of the original market’s opening day, and there was lots of entertainment: costumed vendors and musicians, speeches from important people and, of course, lots of great food. We loved every minute!

Daily Justin: June 24 (with birds…)

We took advantage of a brief break in the rain today to do a tour around the cemetery pond. The ducks came out to greet us, while a great egret (I think) kept an eye on us from a safe distance:

Ducks

Justin was pretty interested in the ducks until they started to get close. The closer the ducks, the more uncomfortable Justin was with the whole thing:

Watching

Luckily for Justin, once it became apparent that we had no food, the ducks quickly lost interest… We saw a lot of birds today, including two new ones:

The first was all black, maybe a Western Reef Heron?

Black

The second was mostly grey and white. A Black-Crowned Night Heron, I think:

Grey

If this second one is a Black-Crowned Night Heron, it may (or may not be) a second viewing of Emily’s mystery bird… or that might have been a Green Heron, or something else altogether.

The pond

Here’s a photo of the pond that we walk to quite frequently.

The pond

I’m sure it has a name, but I only know it as “the pond at the cemetery” – it’s really quite beautiful and positively teems with wildlife. There are many kinds of birds (ducks, geese, herons, kingfishers, hawks, and several we can’t identify with any kind of accuracy), and we’ve spotted a fisher cat and heard about a family of foxes, but what Justin and I really like to do is to keep tabs on the turtles:

Turtle

We like to call them “Emily’s turtles” (hi Emily!) 🙂