Stony, Sandy

I really like this photo Amy got of me and Ezra walking along MacCormacks Beach on a cold, moodily lit afternoon in Eastern Passage.

McCormacks Beach, Eastern Passage, NS

The beach is much more stony on the southeast side facing the Atlantic, where ceaseless crashing waves have scoured away the sand.

McCormacks Beach, Eastern Passage, NS

Contrast with the much sandier lee side of the beach facing inwards and northwest towards Halifax Harbour.

McCormacks Beach, Eastern Passage, NS

More photos from around Eastern Passage.

Autumnal Again

More autumn sunrises.

Autumnal Sunrise
Some leaves left

Maple leaves turn orange and red and brown, and fall to the ground.

Autumn Leaves Autumn Leaves

We rake leaves into piles for the kid to jump into.

Leafy Guy

And suddenly, the trees are bare and the season turns to winter once again.

Bare Trees
Bare Trees

Another autumn.

Carrier and Cruise Ship

Aircraft Carrier and other ships in Halifax Harbour

Four notable vessels in this photo I took of Halifax Harbour from Woodside in Dartmouth yesterday, from left to right: aircraft carrier USS Gerald Ford (CVN 78), a Halifax Transit ferry, the destroyer USS Ramage (DDG 61), and the NCL cruise ship Norwegian Breakaway

USS Gerald R Ford

As with most ships, it’s still customary to refer to an aircraft carrier as a “she,” even if it’s named for Gerald Ford.

NCL Norwegian Breakaway

On the side of the Norwegian Breakaway you can see a bit of her distinctive Peter Max hull art, partially obscured by Georges Island.

More photos from Saltwire and Halifax Shipping News.


Ezra put a bowl in front of me at the table and said “I made you a salad.”

“I made you a salad, dad”

Thanks, kid. Ooh it’s got 2 scoops of ice cream and a cinnamon roll. Previously.

Apple Picking at Noggins

Summer was for strawberries, Fall was for apples.

Returned to the Annapolis Valley to go apple picking with church friends at Noggins Corner, first time I’ve ever gone apple picking. There were huge orchards with rows and rows of different varieties of apple trees, thousands of apples overhead and underfoot.

Apple Picking at Noggins Corner

I learned that I like Cox Orange Pippin apples, and do not like Kestrel apples. Ezra’s trying a Gala:

Apple Picking at Noggins Corner

There was also a pumpkin picking field, an expansive playground of hay bales and farm equipment, and a giant corn maze, which changes every year. This year’s theme was “dinosaurs.”

Noggins Corner Corn Maze

We didn’t actually navigate the entire maze but instead wandered the “mini-maze” tucked into a corner, which gives you an immersive corn maze experience without being an all-day adventure.

Noggins Corner Corn Maze

Came home with a nice big bag of assorted apples to last for weeks after.

Bag of Apples Picked from Noggins Corner

Video of our apple picking day, and more pictures in the Flickr photo album.

Goodbye, Martha Cat

Grief and sadness: our cat Martha has passed away due to sudden and severe renal neoplasia leading to multiple organ failure. She had just turned ten years old (Oct 2012 to Oct 2022) — far too early.

I didn’t know it at the time but this was her last healthy photo outdoors:

Martha #cat on the deck

We adopted Martha Jones along with her sister Amelia Pond in 2013 (a couple months after the death of Pandora) through Lost Dog Rescue, from a litter called the “Companion Kittens” by their foster — all named for Doctor Who companions.

Martha Kitten - Closeup

Through the years and multiple moves, she was an affectionate and precocious kitty who loved chin rubs and nose bumps and being held in arms and resting on bent elbows as we went to sleep.

Martha #cat

Martha had been in a state of slow decline for the last couple of years, but I hadn’t recognized the warning signs quickly enough: weight loss, hissy ill temper towards her sister Amelia, and frequent vomiting. (Previous vets had checked the vomiting and found no issue other than that she was eating too fast and getting active right after, but it got much worse later, which, with the weight loss, I should have recognized as a sign of kidney failure.)

She crashed hard in early October, showing signs of pain: curling up in corners, growling when we came near. I finally found a nearby still-covid-cautious vet and took her in, where they diagnosed her with kidney disease and referred her to the local emergency vet clinic for IV fluids and confinement for observation.

Martha's Last Days

Martha perked up for a day after coming back home but still had difficulty moving due to muscle atrophy. I got her a cage as a convalescent habitat, and set it up with food, water, and a small litterbox so she wouldn’t need to move too far for basic life necessities, figuring this would help with a lengthy, difficult recovery period.

There was no recovery.

She crashed again and I called the emergency vet, who recommended I bring her back in. At 4AM I got the call: her heart was failing. I drove alone through dark, foggy, empty roads to the veterinary ER clinic in Burnside. They led me to a pet euthanasia room and brought Martha to me, still alive, curled up on an cushion which smelled of isopropyl alcohol. I held her for a few minutes to say goodbye; she still purred but was limp in my arms and would sometimes twitch in pain.

Martha’s Last Days: Final Moments

I laid Martha down on the cushion, and as the vet injected the euthanizing drugs into the IV catheter in her leg, she rested her head on my hand one last time and went to sleep. “She’s gone,” the vet said. It was 5:03 AM of October 17th, 2022. I was allowed a few minutes to mourn alone with her remains. “I’m sorry, Martha,” I whispered to the air, before the vet came back to pack her away. I couldn’t seem to cry.

I’ll never forget how foggy it was that night as I waited for the box with her remains.

Foggy Burnside

I brought her home first so Amy and Ezra could say goodbye, petting the cold fur one last time. (There was an ice pack placed in the box to keep the remains preserved till cremation). Amelia sniffed at the box. I don’t know if she comprehended.

Martha’s Last Days: Amelia sniffs a goodbye

We had her remains cremated at Metro Pet Crematory in Upper Sackville, with the ashes returned to us in a box for later scattering.

I’m okay. We’re okay. This is the third cat I’ve ever put to sleep, but of course it doesn’t and shouldn’t get any easier. She was an affectionate and cuddly and mischievously playful cat who died far too soon, and I’ll miss her like I miss Pandora.

Martha leaves us with over over 500 cat photos. Please enjoy these of her going O_O through the years:

Martha Cat Martha #cat under the bed
Martha #cat watching birds in sunlight Martha #cat smells bacon

She is of course also survived by her sister Amelia, who is still strong, healthy, and has gotten rather large.

Martha, This is Fine Dog, Amelia

More photos of Martha’s last days. (Warning: this album does contain potentially traumatic photos of her immediately before and after euthanasia.)

And a video I took of her as a kitten:

Goodbye, Martha.

Update, December: We scattered Martha’s ashes here, on a cold leaf-covered slope overlooking the waters of Cole Harbour:

Cole Harbour Heritage Park

This was not far from the old Poor Farm cemetery. I like to imagine the ghosts of those lonely outcasts perking up one night as a spectral black cat approaches them from the nearby trees, to jump into their arms, all cuddly with purrs and nose bumps. Just sometimes, in my imagination.

Thanksgiving 2022

Thanksgiving dinner spread for 2022: Boxed boneless turkey (whole turkey is too much for just the three of us), bread stuffing, cast iron pan fried string beans, baked potatoes, cranberry sauce, buttery rolls, corn, peas, and a nice fizzy bottle of No Boats on Sunday hard cider.

Thanksgiving Dinner

Happy [Canadian] Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving sign at Cole Harbour Heritage Park

Sun Dogs

Figured it was worth risking some phone camera CCDs to get this shot of faint sun dogs flanking the sun in late September over Halifax:

Faint sun dogs over Halifax

Nothing quite so spectacular as sun dogs in Sweden or Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, but still a sign of colder days coming as the sky fills with refractive ice crystals.

Hurricane Fiona

Hurricane Fiona went a bit east of us, hitting eastern mainland NS, Cape Breton, PEI, and SW NL especially hard. Strong wind and rain all night Friday and Saturday. We lost power and mobile data near midnight Friday, but got lucky and had our power restored Saturday afternoon. Branches fell off neighbours’ trees but no damage to the house:

Hurricane Fiona Hurricane Fiona

View from inside Hurricane Fiona by a robotic saildrone.

From CBC: Fiona’s trajectory, power and precipitation, illustrated in graphics; plus photos of the aftermath in Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland.

And in my Flickr albums, some scant imagery from Hurricanes Dorian and Fiona.