The Lord loves His children to be open to His will. Ian and I were more than open after the closure of our Smiths Cove store in the fall. We knew we were too young to retire. But what to do with our time, talent and resources? We had bits and pieces of ideas for our business to come, but no clear game plan. I felt like a blank dry erase board waiting for the Lord to write His marching orders on. Our options were limited due to the need to provide full-time caregiving support to my elderly mother, who did not want to live with “old people”. To try to honor this request, whatever business we ended up creating would need to be carried out close to home.
We both wished that we were younger; we saw Nova Scotia as a land of untapped opportunities, especially in the agriculture end of things. The winter months of January-March, turning out to be a throwback to those “old” Canadian winters, gave us plenty of opportunity to reflect.
One of the draws of Nova Scotia for Canadians living west of the province is its relatively mild winters. I saw some awe-inspiring winter storms when I lived in New York and Connecticut, but they paled compared to a few of the white mammoths we fought our way through in Ontario. Ian enjoyed sharing some of his harrowing snow-related childhood experiences in Ontario. One storm in the mid-1990s was so merciless only police traveling on snowmobiles were able to reach a stranded mother delivering her baby in a car stuck on the main thoroughfare, the 401. And cold. Whooey — it was not all that uncommon to endure -35 degree Celsius nights during the height of an Ontario winter, so cold the gear shift of my standard car would be stiff enough to feel like trying to budge a steel girder first thing in the morning.
Nova Scotia promised a return to saner weather, especially during the winter. The wonderful Atlantic ocean waters moderate the temperatures for the province, which is close to being 100 percent surrounded by water. This is what helps give Nova Scotia its claim to being Canada’s overall warmest province.
The winter of 2014-2015 started off well. A green Christmas. A green New Year. There was green grass right up until mid-January. Ian was able to cut wood and clear trails on our new property weeks after snow would generally put a halt, or at least a severe slowdown, to the progression of all things outdoors.Then it started to snow. Then it snowed some more. Big storms, not small ones. 35 centimetres and more storms. The only region that sounded as if it was worse off than us was Boston. We kept hearing reports about how they had nowhere to pile all their snow. Tell us about it!
While I kept busy looking after Mom (housebound, unable to navigate the snow and ice with her walker, making winsome references to a much warmer Florida climate) and further developing my freelance writing and editing career, Ian built up a reputation in Deep Brook for being able to operate a pretty mean Kubota tractor with blade and loader. He ended up with a clientele in a hurry. The monumental snowfall of 2015 was too much for even the most dynamic trucks with blades. Ian’s only regret was that he did not have a snowblower for his tractor.
The three dogs didn’t seem to mind being snowbound in the house for the most part, but our seven cats began to show signs of stress. Especially our three young newcomers from Smiths Cove — kits Munchkin, Lucas and Nancy. They provided the three humans in the house with plenty of chuckles during the awesomely long weeks of winter.