At the age of five, Ezra can now write his own name, count to a hundred, has lost his first baby tooth (yeah, a bit earlier than most kids), and finished his first year of school.

Ezra's Fifth Birthday

He is really into Super Mario now, is able to finish World 1-1 of Super Mario Bros by himself, and enjoys watching us play through Super Mario 64, Sunshine, and Galaxy on the Nintendo Switch. Through the course of lockdown he’s been using combinations of toys to build his own Super Mario levels, in 2D and 3D, so we got him a LEGO Super Mario set.

Lego Super Mario

We’re still in the same pandemic we were in last year but at least we’ve settled into the new house.


Mamma mia.

Storm Clouds

While picking up some pizza I saw these lovely shelf clouds advancing ahead of a rain storm over Halifax.

Storm Clouds Storm Clouds Storm Clouds

(Managed to get these photos, get back in the car, and head home before big splattery rain drops started falling, and only got a little wet running the pizzas from car to house when I got home.)

Solar Eclipse of June 2021

The June 10, 2021 solar eclipse was annular elsewhere, but just partial for us in Halifax, with about 70% of the sun covered at maximum eclipse.

Partial Solar Eclipse, 10 June 2021

I set up in the backyard just after sunrise with my NEX3N and SEL55210 telephoto lens plus black polymer solar filter taped over a lens hood (same as I used for the total solar eclipse of 2017), taking shots intermittently over a couple of hours as the moon glided in front of the rising sun. Then I cropped and sun-aligned the best shots, and arranged them in a nice linear sequence:

Partial Eclipse 2021 Linear Sequence

Also in animated GIF format, which really showed the motion of the moon across the sun’s face (though I fiddled too much with aperture and shutter speed through the course of the morning, and didn’t take captures at regular intervals, hence the variable speed and brightness).

Solar eclipse animation showing a cool dark orb crossing in front of a bright warm orb

More in my Eclipse 2021 photo album, and of course I’ll always remember the 2017 total solar eclipse.

Crew Dragon Tours

NASA astronauts work aboard the SpaceX Crew Dragon

NASA astronauts aboard SpaceX’s Crew Dragon captured the flag left by the last space shuttle crew on the ISS, finally filling the gap in US human spaceflight. Three missions in, I got interested in tours of the spacecraft by the NASA crews who have flown so far:

For comparison, an older tour of Space Shuttle Endeavour (STS-134). Definitely different interiors; Crew Dragon is much more airliner-like, with more off-white moulded plastic and much less of the mess of instruments and stowage lining the Shuttle’s cabin walls.

Related: inflight cabin views aboard Boeing Starliner, from the abortive demo mission which was unable to reach Station due to software issues. And from 2010: a much older SpaceX Crew Dragon concept animation.

Some Ocean Ambience

Went down to Rainbow Haven for our first beach day of the year; still light sweater weather out at 10°C or so but sunny enough to play in the sand and even fly a kite.

I tried setting my phone on some rocks with the camera pointed out to sea to catch some gentle, soothing ocean ambience:

(Fortunately the mic did not pick up the pair of jetskiers revving in the distance.)

More of the Old Lawrencetown Road Trail

“Maybe in 2021 we’ll get to the ends of some of these trails, too,” I said last December, and hey, sure enough, we managed to reach the other end of the Old Lawrencetown Road Trail, just a couple kilometers, but not an insignificant feat with a 4 year old kid along.

Old Lawrencetown Road Trail

Some ~180° panoramas of the river from the bridge:

Panorama: Old Lawrencetown Road Trail Panorama: Old Lawrencetown Road Trail

Rock hopping with the kid near a fallen tree, plus nearby mossy rocks lit by golden sun:

Old Lawrencetown Road Trail Old Lawrencetown Road Trail

Mushroom, mushroom:

Mushrooms on fallen birch tree

And spotted near the end of the trail, hey, free car:

Old Lawrencetown Road Trail

I continue to collect photos from local trails in this photo album.

Atlantic View

On a short hike along the Atlantic View Trail, we found Lawrencetown Beach Hill:

Atlantic View Trail

Took a bit of a climb hauling a wagon with a kid but we were rewarded with a decent view of Lawrencetown Beach, the Atlantic Ocean, and the Nova Scotia landscape:

Lawrencetown Beach Hill
Lawrencetown Beach Hill

Next time I want to try getting to the end of this hill path and see the view from those cliffs. (Had to turn around because Ezra was getting tired and wanted to go to the beach.)

Lawrencetown Beach

More shots of short hikes and trails from around our part of Nova Scotia.

Easter 2021

A year later, another Easter in lockdown, but also our third Easter in Canada and our first in our new house. Ezra went on an Easter egg hunt:

Outside, it rained ice, while inside, we dyed eggs. Cat got in the spirit.

Easter 2021 Weather: Icy Dyed Easter Eggs 2021
Easter 2021

Easter dinner was ham, potatoes, beans, and KD.

Easter 2021 Dinner: Ham

Happy Easter, and please continue to take measures that limit viral spread. First Baptist Halifax Easter service online.

MacKay Bridge View

Been a while since I last went over Halifax Harbour; work keeps me in Dartmouth and pandemic safety generally keeps us out of the city; but a car service appointment necessitated a couple trips over MacKay Bridge. I got this view of the harbour from the passenger seat coming back over:

View from the MacKay Bridge, Halifax

At right is Halifax Shipyard and at left is Tufts Cove Generating Station. Off in the distance, the MacDonald Bridge and the skyline of Downtown Halifax.

Equinox Thaw

The difference a day can make over the weekend of the Spring Equinox: snow and sledding on Saturday followed by a nice warm thaw on Sunday.

The sledding hill, Cole Harbour Common Cole Harbour Common: equinox thaw

Warm enough for the cat to hang out on the deck, even. (She’s spent all winter meowing at the door to go out and then running away from the cold when we open it. Not today.)

Martha on the deck