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Monday, 15 October 2018

At the orchard

The apple orchard at Arlington Prince Edward Island is one of our favourite places for a family outing. Nothing beats the taste of fresh picked apples or the fun picking them with our grandchildren.

We have visited the orchard since before our first grandchild was born. However the real fun began with the birth of our granddaughter Sylvie, and continued with Caitlin and now Owen.

Simple pleasures have made great memories.










Apple picking makes a great growth chart.

Friday, 12 October 2018

The old wharf

These pilings are well weathered though I don’t know their age. They are the remnants of a wharf long abandoned to the sea. This old wharf is one of the reasons my husband and I love St. Peter’s Harbour.

From a distance, the pilings don’t look like much. 

However, up close, the weathering of the posts make them unlike anything we’ve ever seen. 

These look nothing like firewood or trees rotting in the forest. The sea makes a huge difference to this wood. 

Individual pilings remain solid in the sand. 

The bleached wood shows the remnants of the limbs which once spread out from the trunk, holding leaves which kept the tree alive. Now the trunk is like a sculpture in the sand.

These are not nails from recent history. They go back decades. The salt clinging to the rusty metal indicates the sea spray or water which has covered this nail, though not today at low tide.

The wood which is high and dry today is covered in salt as well.

The texture of the wood is visible and the knots break up the linear nature of the piece. The light gray and rusty brown colouration are curious too.

Even at low tide, the sea is relentless in its crafting of the pilings. 

One can imagine what it’s like on a stormy day at high tide or when the ice has settled in for the coldest months of the year, encasing the wood in its cold blanket. The fact this wharf has lasted so long is a wonder of nature.

Wednesday, 10 October 2018

Acadian forest

We are always looking for new trails and we found one close to home this past week. The John Hogg Trail is off the Confederation Trail in a neighbouring community of Kelvin Grove, just twenty minutes away. My husband and I looked forward to exploring this trail and it did not disappoint.

The small section of Acadian forest is located in the midst of farmland. 

It is a mature forest with hardwood trees at the start of their fall colour and beginning to shed their leaves. It was a perfect time to visit.

The trek into the forest winds its way through a field which is slowly progressing into forest.

Georgie, the golden grand-dog enjoyed rolling in the scent of some previous visitor to the area.

The height of the trees was impressive.

In some areas of the forest, the canopy darkened the forest floor. 

The colours overhead varied from green,

to a mix of greens, reds and yellows. 

In other areas, light shone through to abundant undergrowth. 

Ferns were in various stages of colour 

and young seedlings added touches of red and yellow to the forest floor.

Ground hemlock is a healthy undergrowth in this forest too with patches of it spread throughout the area. There is a clearly defined patch of the hemlock in one area.

                                 The patch of ground hemlock is dark green.

Some tree trunks look old. 

Some have curious growths.

One trunk grew around barbed wire.

Various birds calls, such as those of chickadees, bluejays and others we didn’t recognize, filled the air. We didn’t see any of the birds in the high canopy however.

This trail is not frequently used, judging from the condition of the pathway. It provided us with an hour of natural enjoyment, breathing in the fresh air, absorbing the sights and sounds of an unspoiled area close to home

We walked back the Confederation Trail and had our lunch at one of the many picnic areas along the trail. We looked over the countryside as we had our tea and sandwiches and Georgie munched on her snack. Another perfect day!

Monday, 8 October 2018

Wild beauty

The wildflowers along the boardwalk have yet to be too adversely affected by the cold and dark of autumn. 

Though the greens are not as brilliant now and many plants have gone to seed, the plants make a pleasing border. 

They are tall, having achieved their height in the long, hot summer days. The border catches the eye.

The city has planted and maintains wild rose bushes along the path. The rose, pink and white blooms are gone now, except for an occasional straggler. Numerous rose hips replace them, some quite large, others more numerous on a bush but tiny.

One group of rose bushes is almost devoid of rose hips. 

There are open hips exposing some seeds on rocks across from these bushes. 

Were the fruit-eating birds such as waxwings, blackbirds and thrushes eating at this table?

Bulrushes present in wet areas are dried out now, having had their brief few green weeks in the sun. The blackbirds enjoy their company either way.

In the harbour, hundreds of geese are gathered in the sand at low tide. They have muted conversations until one talks of leaving and then a loud discussion ensues prior to take-off, as others decide to join the exodus. Similarly, landing geese are noisy as they glide in on the breeze, staking a claim on a landing spot.

Gulls young and old strut their stuff on the exposed sea bed as they forage for food.

In the stream, the neighbourhood yellow legs is swimming around which is an unusual sight for that wader.

The leaves are changing colour now, a huge difference from last week. The breeze shakes a few more from the branches as we walk by.

In our little city, natural beauty is easy to find.

Friday, 5 October 2018

The lighthouse at St. Peter’s Harbour

The last time we were there, about eighteen months ago, the old lighthouse at St. Peter’s Harbour was in bad shape. At one time, the structure had been further out on the beach but it was moved in-shore to avoid being washed away. Its new location, behind the dunes, should keep it safe for some time. The building wasn’t tall enough to rise above the dunes, so it had been elevated by the time we saw it.

The lighthouse, over 130 years old, is described in Parks Canada literature as a  “square, tapered, wooden tower, with a superimposed gallery,” 

and an “atypical hexagonal lantern.” This 19th century design has withstood time, weather and a move.

The volunteer group which has worked on the old lighthouse, has made progress over the last number of months.

Today, the red and white structure stands proudly in her new paint and it looks like work is progressing inside.

From the beach, the restored gallery and light stand above the dunes, 

peaking over the sand to watch the ocean spectacle as it unfolds along the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

Thank you to all who are restoring the old treasure!

Wednesday, 3 October 2018

The Goat

It’s called the Goat Trail, on the eastern side of the Bonshaw Hills in Prince Edward Island. For my husband and I, accustomed to walks on this relatively flat island, this trail requires the skills of a mountain goat. The trail provides challenges but much to see. We were happy to accept the challenge with the golden grand-dog off-lead on the deserted trail.

One of the challenges is the grade of the trail. It descends to the West River from the Bonshaw Hills and travels up the hills again. While part of the trail is at river level, another part is above the river, a trail which clings to the edge of a slope. 

The trail has rocks along part of its length too 

and many tree roots. 

These make it necessary to keep your eyes on the trail at all times to prevent injury. We considered how we would describe where we were to rescuers and how anyone could take us out if we were injured. Therefore, we kept our eyes glued to the trail, measured every step and occasionally stopped to look around. It was so worth the effort.

The pines were tall and stately, huge trunks erupted through the needle and cone-covered earth, 

with green needles in the top canopy. 

As we trekked downhill and the river came within reach, Georgie, the golden grand-dog, ran down the slope into the water and rolled around in the red mud on the shore. We called her back and were sprayed with water and mud as she shook the mess over us. 

All we could do was laugh.

One trunk was split at ground level upward,

another had a burr,

while another had a hole through the roots at ground level.

The colourful signs of autumn at ground level were missing but overhead, an occasional deciduous tree showed its autumn glory. 

As we neared the end of the Goat, a tangle of roots on the path was pure tree artistry which humans rarely see.

Goat trail is a difficult one but we will go back.