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Friday, 19 April 2019

The maple

Corner Brook, my husband’s birth place, was built around hills. Every day, with his friends from the upper valley, he walked to school in the lower valley. As they made the leisurely trek to school, he passed his grandparents’ house in the neighbourhood he knew so well. The familiar houses of the Mercers, Lawrences, Newhooks, and Georges were near the little maple tree which the children loved.

It stood on a slope outside a fenced lawn and was just big enough to support the young children who lined up by her every day as they walked along. Each in turn jumped to grab the young sapling and drop to earth as the tree gave way under the child’s weight. As the child let go, the tree would spring back, as if eager to accommodate another child. The ritual happened every day for years.

And they all grew up. Many of the children moved away as young people do, seeking lives and adventures elsewhere but the tree was rooted. Today, more than sixty years later, a gray haired man finds the tree on a Street View of Google Maps. It is still standing proudly, its trunk, an artifact to those from the upper valley who shared their journey with her.

Wednesday, 17 April 2019

Ice island

It was visible from the boardwalk by the harbour, a mass of ice in the Northumberland Strait between the Summerside Harbour and the Confederation Bridge. 

We observed it for days as we walked the boardwalk in Summerside. My husband and I decided to try and locate the area to have a better look.

We decided our best vantage point was from Seacow Head. From there we’d see how far to go east or west along the coast for a better view. Seacow Head was accessible on foot which gave us a nice walk on the sunny but cold day.

We were both surprised to see the ice island just off shore, though greatly diminished,

probably caught on a sand bar. Just three weeks ago the scene would have looked different. 

Now, pieces of the ice which had broken from the island, floated with the tide. 

The next day, the island looked to be floating closer to Summerside. 

The temperature increased too so in a few days the ice will be melted. Just a curiosity of spring, it will be gone for another year.

Monday, 15 April 2019

The first for 2019

The temperature hovered near zero with some wind. After several mornings of snow recently and the long winter confinement, my husband and I were anxious to go for a drive, a walk and a picnic. We headed to Ferndale to take some photos and find a sheltered place to have our first picnic for 2019.

The old dirt road to the lighthouse at Seacow Head in Fernwood was soft and muddy so we walked rather than drove past the summer cottages to the lighthouse.

There is an unobstructed view of the Confederation Bridge from this area 

and the red sandstone cliffs stand above the rolling sea.

This area is exposed and required our best winter gear to protect us against the wind and cold. 

We walked around the Head and took some photos. Walking into the wind on the way back to the car was invigorating.

We drove out of Fernwood and into Chelton where we looked for a sheltered spot to have lunch. In cottage country, we found a lane to nowhere and parked. We set up our table and two camp chairs as the sun warmed our faces and the trees protected us from the wind. 

Our simple fare of crusty bread, eggs, cheese and olives was perfect with black tea. We savoured every bite and relished the start of another picnic season. If good health continues, the next six months will bring many such occasions. 

My kind of perfect!

Friday, 12 April 2019

Morning perspective

People from many locations in the Northern Hemisphere are writing about buds, blossoms, blooms, garden work, planting vegetables and flowers. Those spring events are almost two months away for us in eastern Canada. In the mornings this week on the island of Prince Edward, we have been greeted with snow, not a lot, but enough to cover lawns, trees and roadsides. 

It disappears during the day but its presence can be disheartening.

My husband and I are taking our usual walks along the boardwalk since our favourite hiking trails are still covered with ice and snow. After snow the previous night, 

the wind was missing on Wednesday as the snow began to fall gently around us. The birds were singing in the trees and the red-winged blackbirds were not as shy around walkers as they had been in previous weeks.

Although we are a long way from the traditional signs of spring, Wednesday morning in the snow was perfect.

Wednesday, 10 April 2019

The chore

Once again, the time to file an income tax return has forced its way into my life. I have always done my own returns from the time I had my first summer job. My parents had done theirs and taught me. It wasn’t too complicated and I often received a refund. Now it’s a chore.

My husband and I have been filing electronically for years now but the on-line information rather than book in hand is frustrating to me. Any information we cannot decipher requires a phone call. Good luck navigating the answering system of “if this...then press...” Whose memory of the list is that good at this age? Besides wait times are quite long this time of year.

The weeping, gnashing of teeth and hair loss it takes to navigate the system requires two of us. Our returns aren’t even as complicated as they were one time. This year however, I entered the data four times before we were finally able to complete the returns. They might be finished. One last check is all that’s required.


Monday, 8 April 2019


Ice disappeared from the harbour last night. A strong northeasterly wind blew the ice offshore where it can be seen in the distance. It may return with a strong wind from the opposite direction.

In a few hours, this

becomes this.

It is unusual to see the open water in the Summerside Harbour after all winter. Before long though, the fishing boats and leisure craft will be on the water again. Lobster season is on the horizon.

Friday, 5 April 2019


A storm was due that morning but my husband and I went for a walk before it started. Snow, rain and high winds could keep us in for days. I always take my camera. The usual subjects, squirrels, mallards, woodpeckers, blue jays, sparrows, and chickadees, are often present but there could be something different too. One good photo from every walk is a bonus.

We walked quickly, fearing rain or ice pellets would begin any minute. Peanuts and black sunflower seeds lined our pockets since we planned to feed any of the regulars we saw along the way. They would have to forage for themselves for a few days due to the storm.

The birds were talking in the trees but none were near the traditional feeding place when we headed up the boardwalk. However on the way back, we stopped to see the mallard couple by the bridge. Within minutes the usual birds and squirrels appeared. We enjoyed their company until my husband noticed a fox to the left of the bridge. It stared at us for several minutes, without moving. 

It was a large, multi-coloured, red fox with black ears, legs and tail with a white tip. The back haunches were white as was most of the front. There was a black patch under the face and a hint of black through the long white fur. The face had some of the red blond colour on the cheeks, around the eyes and the upper anterior body. The symmetry was perfect.

I was afraid to move for fear of scaring it but it looked to be waiting for something. Maybe it was accustomed to being fed by humans. We have never fed foxes and we’ve only seen one other fox in this area although we have heard them calling at dusk from their den. This one watched us for a time, then moved off. 

I hope squirrel wasn’t served for lunch.