Bear River’s Snowfall in 2015

This winter has been balmy and I see my lilies poking out of the ground. But 3 years ago we had the winter with the heaviest snowfall….which led to a gorgeous show of lush, spring flowers.  But let’s look at some photos from 2015 as a comparison.

Continue reading

Sandwiched between a Snowstorm and a Nor’easter in Bear River

I have to laugh.

The studio awaits.
The studio awaits.

7 years ago our workmates in Toronto warned us about moving to Nova Scotia. We heard tales about terrific snowstorms and subzero temperatures. “You really should visit there in winter first to see if you can handle it”.

Pathway from car to house.
Pathway from car to house.

But like many people before us and after us who were considering the move, we were not dissuaded and obsessively checked daily Bear River weather reports. I looked at the webcam in nearby Annapolis Royal every single day. We looked up snow, temperature and rainfall stats from Environment Canada. It was an important part of shifting our point-of-view and imagining living here.

Drying spots for the oil paintings.
Drying spots for the oil paintings.

And the looking told us that the Bear River winter weather was milder than most of the rest of the country, except, of course, for Canada’s la-la land Vancouver and Victoria.

But this winter has been snowmageddon with most people saying they haven’t seen storms and snow depths like this in years..or ever.

The drifts have been awesome.
The drifts have been awesome.

If Mother Nature gives you lemons…..make lemonade. And making the most of this weather means getting out the snowshoes and tramping out pathways to the compost and to the bird feeders. It means filling the bathtub with water for when the power goes out and we can’t pull water from the well, It means having candles and flashlights at the ready. It means having friends like Gerry Chute who can come by in his nice shiny orange plow and clear the snow.

This weekend we are expecting a Nor’easter along with another 25cm dump. The snow-shovels are ready. We’ll all have well-developed biceps by the end of it all. (I was going to say ‘March’, but I don’t want to press my luck).

Shovels for all occasions.
Shovels for all occasions.

Meanwhile, there’s nowhere to go except the studio to paint.

©Flora Doehler, 2015 oil painting
©Flora Doehler, 2015
oil painting

And there’s nothing to do except to take part in the Annual Winter Carnival in Bear River where you can cross-country ski across 7 lakes for free. Myself, I think I’ll snowshoe over to the free yoga class.

path in the snow
Snowshoe path to the compost (or more correctly to the crow feeder).

But for tonight, before the next storm, we are going to join kindred spirits and hear our favorite local singer, David Chamberland.


See you on the other side of snow.

I opened the door to this 3 times last week. I guess it will be happening again this weekend!
I opened the door to this 3 times last week. I guess it will be happening again this weekend!

Living in Winter’s Postcard

Larry and I walked through the beauty outside our door today. “Larry, I have to take your picture RIGHT NOW. Do you realize that we are walking through a postcard? ”

Larry's postcard
Larry in his postcard

Seven winters living in rural Nova Scotia and the new snow is still a surprising miracle.

The Studio
The Studio

winter6 winter4

I want to paint this!
I want to paint this!
The Bear River Baptist Church
The Bear River Baptist Church
The weak winter sun
The weak winter sun

Tempting the Pond Spirits

It was a glorious day today. The temperature climbed to 15 celsius and a lot more of the snow melted.

The birds are outside all day singing their hearts out.

Larry and I made ourselves mugs of Sissiboo Coffee and went for a stroll around the yard and over to the pond. I’m impatient with how slow the thick sheet of ice is and I started poking at it….first with my foot….which made my boot wet.


Then I threw a big rock at it, but it wouldn’t pierce the ice.


Then I whacked it with a stick, but the stick broke.


Larry suggested that the pond was sending me a message to back off and that just maybe I should give it up.

But I felt very determined and stubborn and intrigued with the idea of pushing that huge sheet of ice. So I did. With my broken stick.

But with my final shove, I slipped forward, and skidded on the wet bank, fell forward and was suddenly soaked up to my waist in chilly pond water. It happened so quickly that the cold water wasn’t even shocking. Larry and I laughed and I agreed with him that the pond was more stubborn than I was.


So today I learned that I shouldn’t tempt the pond spirits; especially without a wet suit.

Just a few days ago, I filmed this scene of a flock of robins around the pond. You can see how much has melted in that short time. You can hear them and the mourning doves in the background.


The Year Ends at the Bay of Fundy

Bear River snow.
Detail from a painting by Wayne Boucher

We had all the ingredients for a Merry Christmas this year. Food, Swiss chocolate, art, a fragrant tree, friends, our daughter Emily, and beautiful snow. Only our son Jesse was missing from the mix, which was too bad, but we did spend lots of time on the phone catching up with his city life.

Our sweet local Christmas tree. You can see we used up some Green Willow tissue paper.

It’s wonderful to have our daughter home….this time from London.  She’s been helping us get back into finishing up house tasks like painting the last few walls, hanging towel racks and putting up coat hooks; little details that we stopped working on 2 years ago. She’s very determined to have us organized before she departs on her next adventure. It’s amazing how you stop seeing the unfinished trim around the windowsill or the temporary  curtain on the bathroom window after the main renovations are over.

Fresh, fragrant boughs.

I doubt we would have even bothered with the tree and decorations if neither of the ‘kids’ had come home, but I really liked the effect and I’m so glad we were encouraged to do so. Thanks Emily!
The fresh tree came  from a neighbour who delivered in on the day he cut it. All for $15 and the fabulous fragrance was free.

The land was green up until early Christmas Eve when snow started falling and falling and falling.  It was so very pretty that I took a break from cooking and walked around the block to admire Nature’s beauty.

Our pond is starting to ice up. The dark spot is where a continuous mini-waterfall flows.
Tall and Short.

There was very little traffic and in the ditches I could hear water trickling in its eternal journey down, down, down the hills to the river.

Walking on Pleasant Street.

The snow was fluffy and light.

The Baptist Church steeple in the distance.

I wonder what story this building is telling. Who lived here? Where did the back porch go to?

An old story.

I stopped in to visit a neighbour and when I emerged to continue my walk home, it was dark. The only sound to break the silence was the wind in the tall bare branches – a sound I’ve always found very soothing. I stopped and stared up and thought about how nice it would be to see my departed parents and grandparents again. I thought about Robert Frost’s poem.

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.
My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.
He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound’s the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.
The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.


Meanwhile over the last week, soup and other food was made and shared at a few gatherings and of course, way too many sweets were eaten.


So just to ground us again and ease us back into thinking about creativity, we went with friends to visit Wayne Boucher, Nova Scotia’s celebrated painter. He treated us to a tour of his new paintings in his retrofitted studio that overlooks the Bay of Fundy.

Visiting Wayne Boucher’s studio.
On the wharf at Parker’s Cove.

By December 28th, the Christmas snows were gone and the weather was balmy.

Standing on the Wharf looking out across the Bay of Fundy was, as always, a visual treat. What inspiring shapes and blues in that water and sky. Wow! What a gift for us all.

Bay of Fundy at Parker’s Cove.

Wayne Boucher’s palette:

I think Wayne’s palette repeats the colours in the Bay of Fundy.