The Adventures of Sunsette -- Nova Scotia again, May 6
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“Aw, Mum! WTF! It’s cold and wet and Octobery. This sucks! Can we go back?!”
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Welcome to wint... to a blustery exciting autumn! Maybe there's an "Indian Summer" right around the corner!
They're not dolls, they're action figures!
"We still haven't got all our Texas photos posted... AHEM, MUM!!!
"But here are a few from our NB housesit.  It's not very exciting or exotic; we're just an hour from the ferry.  Scarlett and I are staying away from the cats, because these are the two that attacked her when we stayed with them in their previous house for a weekend in June.  But we did get to go on a couple of outings to some nice places."

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"There seem to be several trails marked "Bald Mountain".  This one is kind of hidden in a ridiculous patch of logging and dirt roads."

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"A very steep track up to an outcrop with cool rocks and lichens..."

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"And an amazing view!"

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"Wow!  You can see for miles!  And NO PEOPLE!!!  Mum said that was perfect."

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"Wheee!  Look where we are!"

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"Then we went to Welsford Falls, in the same area.  It's a beautiful stretch of multiple waterfalls and rapids.  We should have gone MUCH earlier but it was a very late start because one of the cats kept Mum awake till 5 a.m. and she had to go back to bed after getting their breakfast!"

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"A really bad snapshot because the light was almost gone.  Maybe we'll come back another time."

"Thanks for reading!
"Love, Sunsette  Heart 2"
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Well... an adventure in every respect: mountains, coursing waterfalls, rugged trails, remote backroads... and fearsome wildlife!

The pictures are fun, and inspiring; they're making me want to get outside and do something. Something interesting and fun and scenic, that is, not fixing stuff and similar drudgery.

Looks like the weather mostly cooperated! Not bad for mid-winter!
They're not dolls, they're action figures!
Ooh that's so pretty.

Canada has such lovely scenery!
"Hi again!  We're back with a few more photos from our Christmas housesit. 
"First of all, Mum forgot to upload one from Bald Mountain.  There was all kinds of cool lichen everywhere, so here's Scarlett checking it out on our way down."

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"On our last day, we made a quick visit to the riverbank.  This 'riverfront property' comes with approximately 32 feet of its very own shoreline (LOL).  So for these pictures we were on a bit of someone else's.  There are a couple of summer houses below the one we stayed in.  Unfortunately, the weather didn't really cooperate.  So we didn't get any nice photos down there, because we went on hikes on the only 2 good-weather days."

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"Scarlett with a funky tree stump.  No one was home."

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"Yikes Mum!  Are there wolves down here??"

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"Ya, OK, the riverbank is nice and all, but it's snowing and getting dark and we're wet.  Can we go in now?"

"But guess what guess what??  Guess who we met on our trip?"

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"We met Santa Claus!!"

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"Scarlett's telling secrets."

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"Mum clued in that we could shoot in a better location.  Santa agreed to pose with us."

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"Dear Santa... Mum has a very special wish for next Christmas...."

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"And this is Mocha, who loves laps and pets, even though she looks mad a lot of the time.  Mum says it's because her head is all ears and eyeballs.  Abyssinian cats are really cool and elegant."

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"Happy New Year, and we wish you Excitement, Adventure and Really Wild Things in 2024.

"Thanks for reading!
"Love, Sunsette  Heart 2"
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Is that snow on the ground in the wolf-print pic?

Oh... the next photo answers the snow question.

I thought at initial glance that the first picture was snow, but it is an odd, lacy lichen! I've never seen lichen of that type.

The Hobbit Hole looks suitably fairy-tale-ish. Perhaps the hobbits or gnomes head to a warmer, drier climate during the winter months.

The Santa scenes are sweet. Old St. Nick was just the right size to listen to whispered secrets from the little ones! I hope he is able to assist them with their wants and wishes this coming year!
They're not dolls, they're action figures!
"We're back, with some more pix from our Texas trip.  A few here were dispatches from the field, but here's our whole travelogue.  Long story short, in October Mum made this crazy last-minute decision to try to go and see the annular solar eclipse.  She found a house-sit within the eclipse path, applied Saturday night, interviewed Sunday afternoon and got invited, and had 3 days to throw together an international trip -- flights, car, insurance, camera and eclipse-watching gear... and US!  This was Scarlett's and my second trip to see a solar eclipse -- we went to Nashville in 2017."

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"We were sooooo excited to be on a plane again after over 3 years with the world being messed up.  ...I mean, how could you not love this view!!"

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"Our own seat!"

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   "Here we are in Toronto, our first stop.  One thing wrong with where we live is how hard it is to get anywhere else."

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   "Here we are approaching San Antonio, … Or was this Houston…?… Houston was a disastrously un-signage'd airport and Mum nearly had a coronary trying to make the ridiculous connection.  They had to run down the corridor and yell at the aircrew to re-open the door because boarding was closed (there were NO announcements about boarding and at what gate either!)
   "Mum's suitcase did NOT make the connection.  Fortunately we were not in it."

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   "This is our eclipse-watching spot, at Fischer Park in New Braunfels, just about 15 minutes from the house.  We got there reeeeeealllly early to be sure of parking.  No one else was there yet!"

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   "This is the view from our spot.  Early clouds had Mum wondering if she should try to make a run for somewhere out there, which was clear.  We stayed put and >whew< it cleared."

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"Here we are with our gear.  The camera and binoculars are solar-filtered."

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"The projector comes from a shop in the UK called Astromedia: .  It has lots of cardboard scientific models you can build yourself.  This one has been assembled/disassembled/reassembled for both our trips."

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   "We love seeing the clockwork motion of the cosmos.  This was an annular eclipse, which means the moon was a bit farther from Earth, so at maximum eclipse a ring of the sun showed all around it.  If you zoom in on this one you can see a sunspot."

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   "Trees act like pinhole cameras and project images of eclipses through their leaves.  Wow eh?"

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   "This is the last picture Mum took before annularity, when she just put the camera on video and laid back with the binoculars to watch.  We were near the edge of the path so the ring lasted just a heartbeat of a moment."

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"During the four hours or so of the eclipse, I found a me-sized flower."

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   "Afterward we ex.plored the park.  This is the butterfly garden.  They were ex.pecting Monarchs within a week or so.  It was fun to think we were at the other end of their migration route.
"Mum wants this bench.  (Mum wants a place that has a garden that could suit this bench.)"

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   "At our house-sit (in a very posh house) the cats were kinda standoffish so we didn't get photos with them.  They bring bugs into the house, but this cicada had been under the couch for some time.  We wish Mum had taken time to make sure she got an in-focus photo of us!"

   "The next day, we went to the San Antonio Botanical Garden.  Mum took a million pictures."

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   "We just loved the fern grotto, which was full of orchids and had a waterfall and cool tree ferns."

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   "This floral dragon is 25 feet high, has 14,916 plants, and weighs 27,552 pounds.  (We wonder, is that when the soil is wet or dry??!)  There were several others including a peacock, a mermaid, Rip Van Winkle and Pegasus."

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   "Pegasus is 10 feet tall, has 2282 plants, and weighs 5442 pounds."

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   "There was a spectabulous palm house, in which we saw one of the world's biggest cultivated ponytail palms, 27 feet around at the base of its multiple trunks.  Its age was not stated.  It's got to be ancient.  We have one at home.  It's about 35 years old and is only about 6 1/2 feet tall."

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   "There were funky little houses.  Not quite we-sized."

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   "Halloween being near, there were lots of pumpkins around, and this witch crashed into a bush."

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   "A chocolate plant?  Mum, we neeeed one!!"

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   "It was so very cool to see such different plants everywhere from what we're used to.  And it was soooo very cool that it was so.... hot!  Mum was thrilled to be running around in shorts and t-shirt in October."

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   "The light was going by now, but, this fountain wall was really pretty."

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"Near the entrance were a couple of giant-storybook floral sculptures."

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   "We need to find out what these are.  We think these should be our official flower.  What do you think??"

   "To be continued...!  Thanks for reading!
   "Love, Sunsette Heart 2"
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This trip was amazing on a number of levels, foremost that you managed to make it happen at all, and a close second that the weather cooperated!

I posted a longer, more detailed comment over at The Dal House forum.

You amaze me with the things you manage to accomplish.
They're not dolls, they're action figures!
"We always seem so much braver than we ever are...."

"Here are some more of our Texas travels.  Apologies for some re-runs from the field dispatches in October, but we're just gonna paste what we wrote on Dal House here, cos there's like two of us left anyway  sad  So here are those photos with some longer context.  Maybe someday there will be some more dolly friends here to read it.  We can hope."

"So, Mum had four things on her want-to-see list that she compiled in a big hurry and we got to see all of them.  Next up was Natural Bridge Caverns, a fabulous limestone wonderland with tours down to 180 feet below ground.  The caves go on beyond that to 230 feet.
"I am annoyed to say Scarlett and I never got out of the camera bag.  There were too many people on the first tour and just not time on the second one.  This is what it looked like.  I guess.  Because we didn't get to see it."

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"This is what we got to see:  the entrance..."

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"...and the limestone bridge that the place is named for."

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"Next up was the Alamo, which we didn't get many pictures of us at, again."

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"It was really crowded in front because everyone wants to take selfies here."

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"Everyone says how small it looks in the middle of the city."

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"The inside of the church, and at the end you can see where the wall at the top was broken down during the battle."

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"In the museum, this was St. Joseph.  His arms are articulated but I guess he doesn't quite count as a doll..."

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"We didn't know anything about the story, so we got a history lesson.  Apparently Phil Collins donated a lot of stuff in the museum, and he narrates the story around this diorama.  It's a little bit small for us -- we don't usually find things that are smaller than we-size -- but we couldn't pose here anyway cos it's all under glass."

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"After we got kicked out at closing time.  They are really zealous about getting people out of there, and start shoo-ing about 20 minutes before."

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"Mum was pretty tired and footsore at this point from schlepping the heavy camera bag around, so we had an abbreviated look at the very famous San Antonio Riverwalk."

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"Don't these colourful critters look fun?  This was a district of artisan shops but by this time everything was closed and it was deserted."

"Next up: we went back to the Natural Bridge area because the same people own a wildlife ranch -- basically a drive-through safari.  Before you get to the safari part though, there is a collection of..."

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"...dragons.  Yup, really a lot of them.  We think this part might still be in development, cos they're all just kinda sitting there and the boxes with the electronics are all ex-posed as are the bases.  It's a pretty dry area so maybe it's difficult to get plants established around them.  All the dragons have motion sensors and they move and roar at you when you pass."

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"Also, there are dinosaurs.  They were pretty cool."

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"Close to life-size?"

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"Triceratops is Mum's favourite dinosaur."

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"Yes, we did eventually drive through the wildlife part, and we saw tons of animals, like these oryx.  Some people reviewing the place complained that they didn't see much, but late in the afternoon everybody was active.  Many came right up to the car and we got a lot of reproachful stares because we didn't buy any food for them.
"We were the last car through and were all by ourselves for most of it, but we felt kinda rushed at the end by the guy on the ute following us and closing gates.  So Mum didn't get to sit and take pictures for long in each area, but it was well before closing time yet so we made dude wait while we got some!"

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"Including -- squee -- this baby zebra!"

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"These giraffes looked really, really bored.  We felt sorry for them.  We hope they get to rotate out to the meadow with the other giraffes."

"We told the story of the ring on the counter at the housesit..."

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"Yeah.... it's funny NOW."

"To be continued!
"Thanks for reading.
"Love, Sunsette  Heart 2 "
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How wonderful.

I didn't know Texas had a natural bridge.
This is gonna be such a fun post to settle in with for a long comment session! Which'll happen soon. But not yet!
They're not dolls, they're action figures!
"Here's the last chapter of our Texas travels.  Shall we dig back into previous trips for more photos??"

"As it turned out, the housesit people were really lovely, and they took us sightseeing on the last day (and Mum did not have to leave early)."

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"This is Guadalupe River State Park.  Apparently crowded in the summer, it was wonderfully quiet and un-peopley."

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"We never saw an armadillo up close before."

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"Scarlett took a chance posing with these hungry ducks.  More reproachful stares because again, we had no food."

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"Look at this.  In October.  We're definitely not in New Brunswick anymore.  And we don't want to go back."

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"The house-sit people came out in their bathrobes to see us off at about 4:30 a.m.  Here we are trying to get awake as the sun comes up in San Antonio."

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"And in Houston.  Less confusing this time but it's still our winner for the Airport We Hate The Most, Ever."

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">sigh<  Bye bye, Texas."

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"Talk to me, Goose."

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"Another misadventure, and another long story.  But after the hotel people asked Mum if she had a preference 'where' in the hotel and she said definitely a quiet part, they put her next door to an idiot who was still thumping music at midnight after two complaints.  They claimed the hotel was full when Mum asked to move, but it wasn't, and when she pulled a gotcha with another phone they had to let us move.
"It being well after midnight at this point, we did not use the hot tub."

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"And after far too little sleep and a far too early start again, here we are back in dreary cold Toronto.  Our travels end with crummy weather and shivers."

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"Aw, Mum, WTF!  What is this??!!  Can we go back???"

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"Thanks for sharing the adventure with us.
"Love, Sunsette  Heart 2  "
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I have yet to see a live armadillo! I’ve seen… remains… along the roadside in Florida.

The trip back sounds miserable. If’n I had my druthers, I’d never fly again. Prolly won’t be that lucky.

Will you and the gang be in Texas again in April for the next solar eclipse? You can tell everyone you’re going to Paris to see the eclipse!
They're not dolls, they're action figures!
"Hi again!

"We had a little ex!pedition on Wednesday.  Mum had a meeting on the mainland and decided to ex!plore up the Bay of Fundy coast a bit too.  This qualifies as another of our BFE Backroads Tours, thanks to the horrendous chipseal on the road back inland in the dark.  At least it was paved (sorta).  In Nova Scotia it would be gravel."

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Mum drove past "Duck Pond Road" and then on a whim decided to turn back and go see where that went.  We found this beach, and met a lovely senior lady, and she and Mum yakked like they'd known each other for ages.  Scarlett and I met her too, and she seemed to think it was cool that we had adventures."

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"New Brunswick has a bunch of old covered bridges.  This one at Tynemouth Creek was built in 1927 and is 94 feet long."

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Here we are at St. Martins, which has a lot of tourists in the summer.  All the touristy things were closed.  This bridge is NB's first two-lane one and was opened in 2022 replacing the old one."

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"We found BOATS!  Yay!!  As you can see, the tide range here leaves them high and dry."

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"The St. Martins sea caves draw tons of summer tourists.  On a February day, it was almost deserted.  There was just one person at the end with an annoying dog that curtailed our picture-taking."

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"There was a constant pitter-patter -- and occasional crash! -- of falling rocks, so we stayed away from the overhangs and did not go in the cave."

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"Yeah, it's a bad photo.  I was looking for falling rocks, okay?"

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"This is the cave.  Where you can see the last icicles in the shadow is pretty much the back of it.   Would've been fun to go in, but -- did I mention falling rocks?
"The ice chunks are broken off by high tides from shallower shorelines that freeze, then carried elsewhere and left. The Bay of Fundy itself is too cold to freeze in the winter *cough* wink "

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"Behind me you can see the highest tide line (where the icicles cut off) and the most recent tide line (the thin white line).  The tide range here is an average of 25 feet between high and low water, which leaves many of these beaches and shallow harbours with wide stretches ex-posed."

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"We didn't get a lot of pictures because the little camera battery wasn't happy in the cold (Mum said she should have brought the big camera), and by this point she couldn't feel her fingers anymore.  Despite this warm light, it was minus-minus with wind chill!  Maybe we'll go back sometime on a warmer day."

"Thanks for reading!"

"Love, Sunsette  Heart 2 "
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