our days   24 comments

Sabrina and Sage in the front yard with the new “dog fence” in the background

A month has passed since our arrival here at the house in Round Hill, Nova Scotia. The weather hasn’t always been pleasant, but I’ve worked away at the place, mainly trying to get the yard in order, and assessing which projects to tackle this season. The goals that I set have to be realistic. I’m one person working alone. If I push myself too hard, I’ll risk injury and it just wouldn’t be as pleasant here. This is a wonderful area and it’s good to remind myself of that from time to time so that I’ll make time to get out and about occasionally.

Sage and Sabrina have begun to settle in. There was one bad scare after Sabrina wandered off the second morning here. I found her walking along the far side of the highway just a minute after turning my back to move something from the van into the house. Sage was standing by the van with a rather shocked and “oh no!” look on her face. My spider senses told me Sabrina must have gone to the road so I ran straight there to look for her. Sure enough, she was ambling along as though she knew where she was going. I felt sick at the thought of how she could have been hit by a car. Sabrina used to be great about staying around the house, but over the past couple of years, she’s developed an odd tendency toward going off exploring on her own. I’m not sure if it’s an old dog thing, or if it’s that we’ve traveled so much that she feels all the world is her oyster and its calling her name. Whatever, it’s become a problem. That afternoon, I paid my first of many visits to the local lumber yard to buy materials for construction of a “dog fence”. It’s a work in progress, but the main section is up now – and visible in the above photo. Also visible are some perennial flowers which I bought from a woman who was reducing the size of her cut flower operation. I suppose that digging up new garden beds for flowers is about the last thing I needed to be doing over the past couple of weeks, but the work will seem worth it once the flowers begin to bloom later this spring.

Outdoors, I’ve been cutting back tree branches and brush that was pressing on one side of the house, making a couple of trails through the wilder parts of the property to allow river access, and generally just keeping the yard tidy.

work progresses on scraping, re-nailing, repairing, and priming the shiplap siding on the house

As for the house – what can I say? There is a ton of work to be done. So many things calling to be taken care of, that it’s difficult to know where to begin. My priority for this season is to get the outside of the house closed in — and by that I mean, to repair and paint all of the siding and wood trim so that things won’t deteriorate any farther than they already have. On sunny days, I can be found scraping, repairing, renailing and painting the old shiplap siding. The house will be painted with something more colorful, but for now, it’s gradually acquiring an expanding layer of white primer. I’m beginning with all that I can reach from the ground and will set up some scaffolding when it’s time to work on the higher sections.

I’ll be the first to admit that there have been some “SHRIEK” moments as I’ve uncovered or opened certain things around the house. The outside basement stairwell is probably about the scariest thing so far. They are a crumbling mess of boulders and cement. I’m sure that most people would be cursing at some of the things I’ve seen over the past four weeks of getting to know this place, but most of the time I just laugh. In fact, last week, I told my nearest neighbour that if he hears me laughing, it’s probably because I’ve discovered some new disaster. I suppose the strange part is that I really don’t mind these small catastrophes. After all of the things I’ve been through in recent years, it takes so much to faze me that it’s pretty hard to take any of this too seriously. I will deal with each thing in time – when I have the time, inclination, and energy. That’s the only way I know how to operate anymore.

small artifacts found while cleaning the yard and digging up a new garden — but the sundial is new – a present from my brother, Randy

Of course, a place as old as this (c. 1867) has plenty of small surprises lying in wait. I’ve set up a couple of “museum” areas in the yard – atop old stumps – where I display the most recent treasures unearthed while digging up perennial beds or clearing the yard of old chunks of wood and other detritus. There’s so much of this stuff all over the place on the hillsides that it’s sure to be almost like an archaeological dig as I gradually work my way over the whole property. So far, no treasure chests have been found – but plenty of square-headed nails and odd bits of hand-forged iron. I’ll try to remember to post more photos sometime soon. The shell was a bit of a surprise, but I found other fragments of shells around the same area of the yard and can only surmise that someone had collected shells and they were then tossed out onto the hillside.

work begins on the Room of the Scary Athletic Wallpaper

Over the past week or so, I’ve spent rainy days running errands, or working on the Room of the Scary Athletic Wallpaper. There’s something about it that reminds me of those rooms at Pompeii, or the Etruscan tombs, which are named after some motif found on the walls. With hammer, chisel, scrapers, and crowbar, I’ve been gradually removing the old chunks of plaster from the lath. Of course, that process has revealed other horrors – no insulation in the walls (no great surprise in a house of this age), and being able to see the grass growing outside through some of the cracks in the shiplap siding. Needless to say, my decision to prioritize fixing the siding and getting the house properly weatherproof has already been vindicated.

So, that’s how things have been going for the past month. I may be biased, but I’d say that things are already looking a little nicer around here. If I don’t lose too much momentum over the summer, the place should be at least half-way respectable looking by autumn. As for me, I’m doing okay. It’s difficult being here alone, wishing that Don were here too. This is the future that we had worked toward. Last week, I drove over the central highland area of Nova Scotia on my way over to Bridgewater. There are lakes and rivers scattered all along that route – most with a nice access point for canoes and kayaks. If Don were here, I know that by now, we would have put down our tools and loaded up the canoe to go out tripping around at least once or twice already. However, I’m here alone and the canoe is back in Ottawa. At some point this summer, I’ll make a trip back to Ottawa to pick it up. It would be nice to get out on the water at least a time or two this season.

Written by bev on May 22nd, 2010

24 Responses to 'our days'

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  1. Hi Bev,

    I continue to enjoy your blog, and think about you every once in a while, as I go about my days. My dad had only a grade nine education but was one of the smartest people I knew. He took over his dad’s blacksmith shop, and that became a garage, just as cars were becoming more popular than horses. He bought an old Presbyterian church (Howick, Quebec) when he was well past middle age, drew up a blueprint design, and spent most of the rest of his life turning it into a home for us (when he wasn’t at work as assistant to my mom, the town postmistress, or working on his many old cars). Each time I read about your projects, I think of him, and wonder at your adaptability and skills. (I am my own sort of independent person, riding my bike across two bridges to work (Vancouver), teaching high school band and choir , and learning a bit more each day about the world around me. But, no mechanical or building skills whatsoever!)

    Oh, almost forgot. I taught in Bridgewater for three years (1988-91) and lived for the first year along the LeHave River. I remember taking a little ferry across the river. It used to be free and took only a couple of minutes to make the crossing. Then I moved to Hubbards, renting a huge, old house on the property of the Shatford lobster pound.

    Thanks for these wonderful posts.

    Carol Carson

    22 May 10 at 11:54 am

  2. Bev, seeing the Room of the Scary Athletic Wallpaper made me realize just what a task you have undertaken! I think you’re approaching it the right way, doing it on your own schedule and giving yourself time. Burning oneself out is definitely not the way to go! I wish I could zip off and visit so I could see, first hand, al the work you’re doing…but then I would probably convince myself I should do the same thing as you and I’d be in a fine fix!

    I’m anxious to read what colors you’ll use on the house after the white priming is done. I’m betting on seeing red someplace!


    22 May 10 at 2:31 pm

  3. Hi Carol – Thanks for the very interesting comment about your father. He actually sounds so much like my dad. Just yesterday, my youngest brother and I were talking about how different people were in my dad’s time – that most people seem to possess quite a few practical skills and put them to use working on their own houses and vehicles. I was particularly surprised when you mentioned Howick, Quebec, as Don and I had a good friend who lived there for many years, keeping a large herd of dairy goats and operating an on-farm cheese plant. He eventually sold it and moved to Ontario – maybe about fifteen years ago. Anyhow, I don’t hear the town mentioned too often, so that caught my attention!
    I really like it around Bridgewater. When Don and I were looking at Nova Scotia property, we included that area as a potential place to retire. There are so many nice beaches along that shore – Crescent, Risser’s and others.. and then not all that far down to Cape Sable Island and The Hawk. I seem to recall that the ferry does still operate on the LeHave, or at least it did about three years ago. I’ve traveled quite a bit around Hubbards too. It’s another favourite area, but in truth, what part of Nova Scotia is not one of my favourite areas! Thanks again for leaving this nice comment!

    John – Yes, I was thinking that the Room of the Scary Athletic Wallpaper might help everyone to visualize what this house is *really* like. Parts of the interior don’t look too bad, while others are hilariously bad. Of course, just how bad depends on how you look at things. I like crazy bad stuff that I can really sink my teeth into and see a major improvement after some hard work. That’s why I didn’t want a place that just needed some fairly minor cosmetic work. I went actively scouting for something pretty scary that was in need of more than a little TLC. I probably scared off more than a couple of real estate agents when I sent my first contact email saying I was looking for a nice piece of land with a house that could be in pretty bad shape so long as the roof hadn’t caved in (yes, I actually *did* write that to several agents). I think the trick to this place is to just have a bunch of projects going on and work on whichever one appeals to me at a particular moment. One thing I’ve had a lot of trouble with since Don died, is to be able to remain focused on one task or pursuit for any more than a brief period of time. What I’m feeling seems very similar to how ADHD is often described. However, now that I’ve been here a month and am feeling fairly settled in, when I’m working on the house, I become much more relaxed and focused and can work away for hours on something — like repairing shiplap siding, or tearing down plaster – without feeling rushed or as though I need to hurry and get done so I can start something else. I felt some of this last spring while getting the farm ready to sell, but had to rush a lot in order to get the place on the market. Now that I’m here working, I’m feeling some relief that the meditative aspect of working on this place is “happening” for me. Whew! Thank goodness! (-:


    22 May 10 at 3:45 pm

  4. Hi bev, first let me say that I love the athletic wallpaper. It looks like the type of paper found of the walls of my youth. So nostalgic! I’m so glad you found Sabrina in time. You don’t need anymore loss. With all your travels, it would be great if you wrote a travel log from Sage and Sabrina’s perspective. I wonder how these see all this. I’m sure for Sabrina it might feel strange to suddenly be settled.

    How are you feeling about being settled? I can tell that the home projects are keeping your days quite busy. I wonder how the place feels when you settle in for the evening.

    I also love your collection of found wares. It will be interesting to see all that you uncover through this process. I’m sure that these found objects will begin to tell a story of those that passed through there along the way. As you uncover these small treasures, maybe you should place something of your own into the earth for someone else’s later find.

    Your’e an amazing woman. Keep up the spirits, and the good work.



    22 May 10 at 7:40 pm

  5. Your new fence looks fine and will keep Sabrina safe from harm. What a relief that you have those spider senses!

    Old houses are fascinating. When I was first in Bellingham, we lived in a house that had been built around 1900. When I took wallpaper off the walls on the stairway, I found old newspapers under the wallpaper. In the woods behind the house I found all sorts of rusty things including tools for logging, and even a cultivator.

    I do know what you mean about the difficulty focusing for very long phase. My new/old job is challenging enough to keep me stimulated and focused. I, too, have been finding myself laughing at things that used to dismay me.

    Richard was an excellent restoration and finish carpenter. He would have been impressed with the work you have taken on in restoring your new/old house. I know that he found tremendous satisfaction in working on houses.

    Is the sky in Round Hill good for star viewing at night? That just occurred to me.

    My grandfather on my mother’s side was born in 1870, the era when your house was built. He lived in Massachusetts. Now I’m wondering if he ever traveled to Nova Scotia!

    Kind wishes,


    22 May 10 at 10:23 pm

  6. Dan – Ha! That athletic wallpaper is definitely nostalgic and very much of a time. What seems odd to me is that there is such a strong repeating pattern to it, that it has an odd quality – such as looking at an Escher print. The wallpaper seems to flicker back and forth between being figurative images of athletes, and abstract geometric shapes. It was more apparent when it was on all of the walls as it’s a relatively small room (9×12). It was a bit like being in a fun house or something!
    As I’ve traveled around, I’ve often wondered what Sage and Sabrina think – but more particularly, what Sabrina thought last year when we first went on the road. We would stop at some new spot and she’d stand in the open side door of the van, put her head out and sniff the air, turning her head slowly from side to side as she surveyed the landscape. Gradually, after more and more weeks on the road, she seemed like an old hand at settling in to a new location — she’d wander around checking out the scene, and then come back to lie on the mat I would unroll by my camp chair. She’s always been inquisitive and likes to sniff plants, earth, rocks, so I’m sure these travels have been interesting for her. We always called her “Botany Dog” and I still think of her as being a bit of a Tradescant. I can’t tell you how many butterflies, snakes and frogs she has “found” for me to photograph over the years!
    You asked how I’m feeling about being settled, and how do I feel in the evenings. I find this property to be so peaceful and “safe” that it’s relaxing being here. The physical layout of this place is so unusual and also sort of “protected”. When I close the new front gates, it almost seems as though I’m in my own world here – an interesting one with a lovely path that we can wander down to sit by the river. The dogs and I seem to be moving into a “space” where we just live at our own speed – I work while they stretch out on the grass and sleep during the afternoon. We go for walks together. Have our meals whenever we feel like it. Go to bed early if we’re tired. I’ve always enjoyed the company of my dogs — friends have told me that the three of us together seem more like a tribe. Here at this place, we can be more “tribal selves” and move to our own beat. Nights are actually good – it’s incredibly peaceful here as there is almost no road traffic after about dinnertime. Also, the topography puts this house far above the road with a sort of bluff separating it from the road level below. I tend to feel sort of safe and comfortable here. Very peace-inducing. I do still wake up during the night quite a bit, but turn on the computer for awhile to do a bit of reading. That seems to just be a part of the larger picture of doing things at my own speed – working, sleeping, eating, reading, resting, going for walks – when it seems best. All in all, I can say this “experiment” seems to be working for me.
    Good idea about leaving a few artifacts around the place as I discover older bits and pieces. After uncovering quite a number of objects, I do feel that there is a story being told – an old red plastic clothespin, a huge splay-headed iron drawbar pin, the rusted spoon and discarded seashells, ink bottles, and all sorts of other things. My next post will probably be about the history of this place and area, so perhaps that will help to fill in some blanks on what I could expect to find here.
    Thanks for you comment – it encouraged me to write about the way that I (or we) interact with and respond to this place.


    23 May 10 at 4:52 am

  7. Am – You’re so right about older places being fascinating. This place has passed through an unusual number of owners over the past 150 years. I’m going to write a post with more about this sometime soon. Anyhow, I can sort of see how it’s change of owners and uses has caused it to be a certain way, and for the land to have certain things built and then torn down upon it – old stone foundations, parts of roofs, piles of rubble and old objects. This area was first settling in the 1600s, and was also home to the Mi’kmaq peoples before that. There is definitely a sense of history and the past here — more than any place I’ve ever lived before, other than during my travels when I’ve camped in a place in the presence of ruins. It seems to have an effect on how I feel about restoring this house. In just a few weeks, my plans have changed as I think about how I would rather preserve and live with certain things.
    I’m glad that your new/old work is allowing you to focus. It’s been quite frustrating to me, to have the inability to focus the way I normally would have before Don died. I have always been the kind of person who could turn my attention onto some task – almost like shining a searchlight onto something – and work at it efficiently until I was done. Not anymore. It’s like ten little flashlights shining in all different directions and me racing from one to another, doing a bit here or a bit there and not feeling like I’m making any progress while also becoming frustrated. I don’t know what brought this on – perhaps the stress of caring for Don and trying to be too many things to too many people during that time. All I know is that I can’t carry on that way as it’s very tiring.
    I can quite understand the enjoyment and satisfaction that Richard got from working on old houses. I keep thinking how they are more like living objects — like ancient trees. We cannot erase their age – so we have to find ways to work with them. If we do something too radical, we can cause them more harm than good. At some point, fairly early on, you have to decide whether you are restoring an old house in a sort of “conservation preservation” way, or whether you are using the old structure as a framework for something new that you want to create. I sort of think that I came here intending to do the latter (maybe), but as I’ve gotten to know the place better, I’m now feeling that I want to conserve as much as possible of whatever can be saved in this house — well, except the plaster and wallpaper falling off the walls!
    Nights are sometimes fantastic here — the night skies can be very dark with countless glittering stars. The air contains more moisture than the air at the place where I winter in the arid southeast corner of Arizona, so the sky is not quite so clear. The neat thing is that, as in Arizona, I’m up on a hill and have a good view of a large part of the night sky without much interference from manmade light. As well, the night sounds are fantastic – an often deafening chorus of frogs, loons calling from the marsh behind my place, nesting geese occasionally sounding a warning honk or two. I will soon begin doing some mothing in the evening. Really, I could not ask for a better location given my interest in nature. Sure, the house is extremely rough and living conditions pretty spartan at the moment, but that doesn’t really matter too much to me. I have a feeling that this place and I will get along just fine.
    Your grandfather might well have come up here to Nova Scotia. There was a great deal of back-and-forth travel between Nova Scotia and all of the New England states. This town (Round Hill) had many residents who came here from New York and other places along the U.S. coast. I’ll try to include more about that in my next post.


    23 May 10 at 5:15 am

  8. sounds like home! Chunks of drywall screwed into the studs and smoothed over with durabond is how we deal with plaster that’s fallen of the lath behind wallpaper. You’re lucky to have the time to work on these things.


    23 May 10 at 6:16 am

  9. fred – I noticed that the hardware store in town keeps a pretty good stock of plaster washers on hand. No doubt there’s a good reason for that! Yes, it’s good to be able to use my time to work on some level of restoration of this place. I may not be able to take it to the level that some might do with enough money and time, but at least the work may extend the life of this old place by a couple of decades – perhaps more. At least it’s probably safe for as long as I own it.


    23 May 10 at 7:45 am

  10. I like what the house says about you, what you know about yourself, and how strong and persevering you are, bev. This project is a work of the heart. You are fashioning a home from such beautiful old bones. Each coat of primer and paint is applied to a canvas, and like a wise artist and aesthetic shaman, you will coax some magic here.

    I like the fence. A good beginning, defining the edges, and keeping Sabrina safe.

    robin andrea

    23 May 10 at 9:59 am

  11. robin – Thanks! My feelings about the house are constantly evolving. I’ll be the first to say that it has some serious problems, but there’s just something about this place. It deserves to be treated well. This summer should prove interesting.


    23 May 10 at 3:13 pm

  12. Bev, I’ve been reading this post and the comments off and on for a couple days. I’ve read parts of it aloud to my husband.

    Wish I could polish up a word rather than amazing. But, really. The skills, the grit, the poignant reflection that you bring to your home in Round Hill – amazing.

    The reply you made in response to Dan’s query about settling in and night times – beautiful in the light that you throw across the heart’s journey through loss and the little ways we heal and move forward.

    It’s beautiful, inspirational and always moving to hear another ‘s well-told story about our shared and unique human experiences.

    Give those pups a hug for me. You three are my favorite tribe 🙂

    Big hug,

    Cathy Wilson

    26 May 10 at 5:56 am

  13. Hi Bev,

    What an amazing spot! The property and the stream look gorgeous. Makes me nostalgic for my old place on the Eastern Shore.

    I’m surprised at how much headway you’ve made with the house so far.

    i would save a chunk of that strange sports wall paper for posterity!

    Take care,


    26 May 10 at 1:16 pm

  14. Wow. Beautiful place! And I’m just in awe of what you’ve taken on here…


    26 May 10 at 7:05 pm

  15. Cathy – Thanks! glad you have been enjoying the posts and finding something of substance in them. It’s nice to be able to share how it feels to be here at the house. It really is a special property and seems well-suited to our needs. My mom has been reading the comments too and found them interesting. She wondered a bit about what I meant when I said I felt “safe” here when the gates were closed and we were here in our own world. That’s a very important aspect of this place — that I feel like we are in our own little world here and don’t have to deal with anything beyond the gates for long periods of time. One thing that I find few people understand is that it takes a great deal of energy to deal with the outside world when you are tired of coping with an important loss. Being here gives me time to be myself and not have to try to be what the rest of the world expects from me. Let me tell you – that is major.

    Ed – Yes, the property is very beautiful – not in the same way as a shoreline place like your house on the Eastern Shore. This is more serene than spectacular. I like the feeling of privacy here. That’s harder to get on the ocean where there is beach frontage. I may save some of the wallpaper, laminated in plastic – for posterity!

    Lira – Hi! Glad you found your way over here for a visit. Yes, sometimes even I’m a little in awe of this project! However, 18 months of wandering has helped me to see that I needed some kind of home base for us, but also a “project” to work on while I recover from sadness. Sometimes we have to do things for our soul even if they don’t make a lot of sense to everyone else.


    27 May 10 at 5:05 am

  16. I’m galloping reading all this. It’s 5 am here and I’m up and about because we’re due in Saint David’s later today for the opening concert of the Music Festival and the speeches to kick start the season. I’ll need to come back to read again in a more leisurely way. Your plaster and lath is the same construction as Ty Isaf, though of course the exterior of this old house is masonry, so to date when we get a glimpse through the lath, we don’t also get to see the garden outside. (Who knows though. THAT could change in an instant given some of the cracks in the building!!!) Be sure to preserve some of the scarily athletic wall paper. Put a little of it under glass in a frame to hang somewhere, as part of the history of the house.

    Wise of you to bear your health and well-being in mind when working on the house. All too easy to have accidents… I’ve had a few here… and you don’t want to be compromising yourself with injuries. Do watch your step when up ladders! The space around you looks most enticing. It’ll be interesting to hear how you envisage that developing as you spend time there and get the feel of it. Interesting too for you to gradually work out what the lay-out of the grounds/garden may once have been. For instance, where the produce garden would have situated in relation to the house. Hard to imagine that there wasn’t some provision for vegetables there. Do you have rabbits?

    And now I must go. If you don’t hear from me for a little while it’s just that there’s lots going on here. I’ll be back. Go safely Bev. I’m enthralled by this story and by your life journey. All most inspiring. But then all the most interesting people I’ve ever met have clambered over obstacles courses as they’ve progressed through their rewarding lives. It may be tough, but nothing great nor anything worth achieving ever came out the easy path or a life un-troubled by the big questions. It’s the difficulties that define our characters and sprits, not the easy stuff!

  17. C live – Take your time and come back whenever things are quieter. I know how rushed and busy you’ve been with the exhibits! I hope you’ll have some time to enjoy your wonderful gardens over the summer months!
    I will, indeed, save some of the athletic wall paper, along with some of the “big trucks” wall paper which I haven’t begun to remove. I would not be removing the plaster from the lath but for some pretty bad water damage. However, isn’t the lath beautiful on its own? I’ve been wondering it if might be fun to fine a way to insulate the wall behind, put in some kind of vapour barrier, then plaster between the lath and then be able to see it just as it is – perhaps just on one wall. Well, it’s something to ponder over.
    I will be careful on the ladders. I’m not much for heights, so try to take extra precautions, especially as I’m working alone. This “being alone” part is definitely something that is of concern when you’re working on a place. There’s always that worry that you’ll get hurt and then what would you do? Who would take care of Sage and Sabrina if I injured myself. I try to keep that at the front of my thoughts, especially when working above the ground.
    There was a produce garden here at one time – it was on a sort of terraced area between the house and the river. It’s now quite shaded as the trees are so tall, and thick grasses have grown in to claim the spot. I was thinking that must have been a logical place to grow vegetables, and then this was confirmed by my neighbour who grew up in the house next door and remembers how the garden was about seventy years ago. Nice to have neighbours who know so much of the history of your place! We do have rabbits here – wild ones – and also deer, porcupine and raccoon that regularly wander through the back yard. The raccoon likes to get into the compost bin that I’ve set up! The bird activity around here is quite wonderful. It’s very much a good place for a naturalist such as myself.
    Thanks for your kind words about how we must make our way in spite of obstacles. The hardships of the past couple of years have changed me in many ways. I believe it has probably made me stronger and more able to handle the more difficult stuff – but has also changed how I look at things – and helped me to know what is important and where to direct my energy. Surely that’s worth something in the larger scheme of things!


    28 May 10 at 6:39 am

  18. Bev, it is wonderful to see you and Sabrina and Sage settling into your new home and beginning to explore. The countryside around your new home is gorgeous. To have a tower like yours and live by the water too – those are fine things indeed.

    Sabrina’s wandering may indeed be an “old dog” thing. For the last year or three of Cassie’s life she was inclined to wander, and she gave us a few scares – I was terrified that she would get hit by a car on one of the country roads in Lanark. There is really nothing one can do except keep an eye on an elderly critter and make sure that property gates are securely closed. Cassie was also quite an escape artist and she managed to unlatch several gates before we started building gates higher and putting the latches out of her reach. I still really miss my girl very much indeed.


    28 May 10 at 6:43 pm

  19. Cate – It’s a beautiful spot and just becomes more wonderful with each passing day. The trees, the insects, the birds, and the raccoons, deer, and porcupine wandering through.
    I believe you’re quite right about Sabrina’s wandering thing. Fortunately, unlike Cassie, Sabrina doesn’t make any attempt to push her way through doors or gates, so keeping her on the property is fairly easy. Since being here a little over a month, and now that there is a rough fence and gates at the front — which are actually an artificial “front” as the property goes on quite a bit further – she and Sage are becoming a lot better about staying where I want them to be – just in our garden and the woods out back. That said, I’m continuing on with work on the fence in my spare time when I feel like directing some energy on that project. So many projects!
    I know you must miss Cassie very much. I still miss many of my old dogs, but particularly my old tricolor collie, Maggie, who died in 2004. She and I were very close and spent many hours out in my canoe exploring eastern Ontario. Some dogs are so special – Sabrina has become that way too and I hate to see her growing old now. We have been through so much together these last couple of years.


    29 May 10 at 5:29 am

  20. I couldn’t help but read your blog. I was looking up old houses of Round Hill. I have been researching the history of Round Hill for 6 years and plan to turn it into a book . I have lived here all my life. It is great to hear other people’s comments. I have a passion for the old houses, buildings and items here. I also have some info on your house including previous owners and their dates and occupations. I admire your ambition.

    Nancy Cress

    1 Jun 10 at 1:37 pm

  21. Hi Nancy – Thanks for stopping by at my blog and leaving a comment. It’s always great to hear of someone working on a local history as so much information is at risk of becoming lost if no one takes on the task.
    I may have the same info on my house that you have seen. I have a copy of a sort of architectural audit that was done on this house in the late 1990s. It lists all past owners and dates that they owned the house, etc.. I also have some info about John Healy, the owner-builder, from “About Round Hill” written for the Women’s Institute, by Merle Gibson (1967). No doubt, you’ve got a copy of that. I’ll be putting together a post with some of what I know about the house so far in the near future – perhaps my next post.


    1 Jun 10 at 1:57 pm

  22. I just happened across your blog, and am enjoying reading about your adventures. I LOVE Nova Scotia. We have visited many times, and if not for kids and grandchildren, we would relocate today!

    I will, I know, enjoy watching the transformation of your home. What you have accomplished thus far, is quite impressive!

    Thanks for sharing!


    4 Jun 10 at 12:19 pm

  23. Bev, I have just been catching up with your blog. It is great to see that you have finally come home.
    Your energy and enthusiasm for hard work are just awe-inspiring. Even though I love the feeling of tired muscles at the end of a good day’s work outside, just the thought of your future workload makes me feel exhausted!
    I am really looking forward to seeing your progress with the house.
    J xxx
    PS Planting flowers isn’t a luxury. They are a necessity in my book – they refresh the soul and lighten the spirit.


    7 Jun 10 at 6:25 am

  24. Wendy – Thanks for leaving a comment! Glad you found your way to my blog. Yes, Nova Scotia is really special. When I’m in town, I so frequently hear people say that they have retired here from someplace else – for the weather, the slower pace of life, the people, the landscape and the open spaces. Surprising to me is that so many seem to have moved here from England and Europe.

    J-in-Wales – It’s good to “see” you have been by for a visit! I often think of you working away at your own place in Wales. You’re so very right – flowers aren’t a luxury, but a necessity. I’m very fortunate that previous inhabitants of this property seemed to have felt the same way as there are huge stands of lilacs, rugosa roses, and all sorts of other beautiful flowering plants and bushes. The smaller plants are mostly gone, but it’s that large stuff that takes years to establish that I’m so happy to see here. Sometimes the prospects of the work ahead makes me feel a little exhausted too, but I seem to do okay if I just move from job to job when one thing starts to seem too tedious or overwhelming. My biggest challenge is to avoid pushing myself too hard. I have been pushing myself forward for so long – trying to keep myself going – that I have to try to ease off a little now and tell myself that it’s “okay” if everything doesn’t get done this season. I could be working 24 hours a day and that would never happen as there’s so much to do, so I have to remind myself to just take things a little easier and enjoy the transformation as it happens. (-:


    7 Jun 10 at 8:34 am

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