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Tuesday, 21 January 2020

Lunch with friends

My friend Lucy invited me to lunch at her home in the central part of Prince Edward Island. The rural setting amid rolling hills is one of the rare areas on the island which isn’t flat. 





The snow-covered fields insulate the rich red soil from winter’s grip and brighten the landscape.




Lucy’s home has huge windows on the main floor which give a spectacular view of the surrounding countryside. Outside her windows Lucy has several bird feeders, so we sat and enjoyed her delicious sour dough bread and seafood chowder as the birds enjoyed their lunch too.





There were blue jays, chickadees, mourning doves 





and goldfinch flitting around the feeders. I wasn’t quick enough to get photos of the first two but the goldfinch in particular were co-operative. The markings formed when the feathers furl are a natural beauty.





I don’t see any goldfinch along the boardwalk this time of year. It was a real treat to experience them at all and from the comfort of Lucy’s home was a double treat.


Her feeders attract many birds and work well for the little birds.





I will replace the one we have with some of these feeders which are more friendly to the smaller species. Our feeder attracts the neighbourhood crows now. I know crows have to eat too but they keep away the smaller birds. 


P.S.


A few weeks later I dropped Lucy home and as we drove up the driveway, a bald eagle flew overhead. Juncos were feeding from the seeds at the base of the feeders that day. 





The goldfinch 





were around of course as were the bluejays and chickadees. I fear I’d never get anything done if I lived at Lucy’s house.




Sunday, 19 January 2020

Range lights

It looks like a small lighthouse but it is actually a range light. Two range lights together aid vessels with navigation. This one is a front range light. It works with a rear range light at higher elevation a few hundred meters behind it.



                                               Front range light in the setting sun

Prince Edward Island has shifting sandbars along its shoreline. The channel through Summerside harbour requires careful navigation due to the red sand which fills the bay. The range lights help vessels navigate the harbour.


At night, the lights align one on top of the other if the vessel is on the right bearing. During the day, the lights are less visible, so the red stripes align one on top of the other. 



                                                     Rear range light


Do we need the range lights and their bigger sister, the lighthouses today with the Global Positioning Systems readily available to every mariner? Many would argue against their maintenance. However, if technology should fail, we would need these traditional structures, the old reliables which stand their ground in all weather and under all new forms of attack.



                                         Shoreside view of the front range light

Besides who would want to lose these beauties from the coastline around the world?








Friday, 17 January 2020

Wild things

They stand up to the wind with a strength which is admirable because this time of year only skeletons remain. These remnants of wildflowers which grace the boardwalk in warmer weather, stand tall as the snow accumulates around them.





Buried beneath the fluffy blanket, the seeds for another bloom wait for the earth to warm after the snow melts. Now the stems and a few basket-like tops of St. Anne’s lace are all that remain of last summer’s wild beauty.





Goldenrod is not so pretty now but its stoicism is admirable. Along the shoreline, it survives the worst of the elements as it is battered by the salty spray from the icy water until the harbour freezes. They will welcome the ice when it finally covers the harbour this year. 





It is easy to overlook the brown wild things along the shoreline since the  elements require your full attention much of the time. 





The details of the environment are not usually the focus of attention. However, if you pause and look, you may be inspired by their skyward reach, defying the odds, holding on in a harsh world. Besides, who of us keeps the beauty of our prime?




Tuesday, 14 January 2020

After the snowfall

You couldn’t call it a storm. We’d had 10-15 centimetres of snow but without significant wind. Many of the conifers were snow laden. 





When I arrived at the boardwalk, the parking lot was empty. I felt safe in the area although I was alone so I grabbed the camera and headed to the trail for the hour during my granddaughter’s dance class. It was a great opportunity to get some fresh air after a day indoors.


It was cold but I was dressed for it. I started at the gazebo as I often did. The view out the harbour was always a great place to begin, looking out to sea in the Northumberland Strait. The sea was frozen in places but the stream and the saltwater marsh were completely frozen. An animal, possible a fox, had crossed the snow covered ice. 





As I headed out from the gazebo, I heard a woodpecker. I followed the sound to a feeder which was new to the area and the woodpecker was busy pecking at the feeder. Then he found the suet. 




A plow clears the bike trail alongside the boardwalk in the winter and early going, among the trees, was perfect. Further along, in an open area, the snow had drifted so the walk was more of a challenge.





Among the trees again, the path was perfect but the bench at the end of the trail didn’t have many guests.





As I walked back, the trail plow/salter made its way towards the drifted areas. The trail was cleared for the evening.





On my way to collect my granddaughter, I stopped along Water Street to take in the setting sun. It was a perfect outing.







Sunday, 12 January 2020

Fences and benches

A fence is another way to say

“Why don’t you just go away?





You surely are not welcome here,

You just have to stay out there.” 





On the farm the fences keep

In or out the cows and sheep.





Old and rustic, wire or new





A fence can be a pretty view. 





A bench, it has a different look





An invite to sit and read a book,





Or chat with one who sits beside,

Or if alone then one can bide.





Time on a bench is time well shared

With one you love or one who cared.

Next time you see one, stop and sit, 

A bench can be the perfect fit.

                                                MS







Thursday, 9 January 2020

At the wharf

On a weekend in the middle of December when the wind was particularly high, the dredge boat, tow boat and barge which had been working in the harbour at Summerside, were tied up at the wharf. They left the next week, their work completed.





It was difficult to take photos of the vessels since they were in a secure area but I took a few photos from the shore. The tow boat, Atlantic Tamarack, was small compared to the barge and the dredger.





This area is home to the marina as well, which sits between a popular tourist area known as Spinnaker’s Landing and a breakwater. 





The colourful shops of Spinnaker’s Landing are always busy in the summer. 





The marina is empty, the boats all ashore for the winter. 





However, every summer, the area is alive with marine activity when the recreational boaters tie up there. 


Ice was forming in the marina in December, though into the second week of January, the harbour has yet to freeze. 








Tuesday, 7 January 2020

In the harbour

The harbour at Summerside hasn’t been dredged for a number of years and the process began this past November. There isn’t much boat traffic before the harbour freezes every year, so the dredge boat was an unusual sight. The dredger worked at different locations and when my husband and I photographed it one day, it was positioned near the Indian Head Lighthouse.





We took the first photos in the harbour looking out towards the lighthouse. The sun on the structure highlighted the repair work done over this past summer. 


From the inner harbour, you could see the dredge work on the channel wasn’t far from the lighthouse. 





Zooming in on the activity off-shore in the Northumberland Strait revealed what I thought to be a tug boat with a barge.





One of my favourite images of the two has a crow or raven in the shot as well.





I learned later a barge is pushed into place by a tow boat not a tug. The bow of the tow boat is constructed to allow it to make contact with the barge to manoeuvre it. Below you can see the tow boat pushing the barge.





The barge works in tandem with the dredger. Once the barge is manoeuvred in place, the crane on the dredge boat lifts the soil into the barge. Later it is towed off shore to be dumped.





The harbour will be able to accommodate small cruise ships following this work.