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Monday, 18 September 2017

Preserves

Zucchini, peppers, onions, cauliflower, chop, chop, chop, chop.


Peppers, onions, tomatoes, chop, chop, chop.


Those vegetables don't include the chopping for the spaghetti, pizza and marinara sauces.  I am a chopping machine these days. Preserves fly out of the kitchen as I label bottles of zucchini mustard pickles, salsa and the rest to store for the coming year. 





I love this time of year and this activity. It harkens back to my youth, when Nan and Mom and all the women of the neighbourhood made preserves. It started in August as berries ripened and berry picking expeditions headed out to areas known for various kinds of berries. I always loved berry picking and when I was old enough, I worked at the preserving as well. 


Wild raspberry, blueberry, strawberry and partridgeberry, also know as lingonberry, patches yielded buckets of delicious fruit, made into pies, puddings, cakes and jams. Much of a woman’s work this time of year was preparing for the winter and preserves were a key component of that preparation.


Pickles were a common preserve as well. Mom always made green tomato pickles or pickled beets. We usually had enough until the next preserving season. 


These days, my husband and I are not jam lovers, so my focus is on pickles, plus salsa, pizza and other sauces, made from my garden tomatoes. Marinara sauce is next!


P.S. While I was chopping tomatoes for a recent recipe, my husband asked, "What are you making this time?"


"Salsa," I replied. 


Seconds later, salsa music filled the air. Chopping to the music made the time fly. Too bad I threw out my back.





Sunday, 17 September 2017

Friday, 15 September 2017

Favourites from the trails

The names are Witch’s Way, Canopy, Sawmill and Prince’s Loop. They conjure up images of their own but the Bonshaw Hills Trails are a delight in more than names. These are our favourite images from a recent exploration of these trails: 




was a giant woodpecker at work here?




Is this a scene from a science fiction movie, the tendrils of an alien hand creeping over the earth? 




Old man's beard covered several trees in one area. 




Dog berries are plentiful but are they a harbinger of a bad winter? 




The hobbit wasn't home on this day.




Mini maples or Canada trees, as our four year old granddaughter calls them, have taken over this forest floor. 




Goldenrod was more than two meters tall in places. 




A rock you say? A rarity on this island!




Remnants of an old sawmill cause us to pause and consider how the forest has grown around the remains. 




Artifacts from an old homestead are exhibited on one trail.




Colour, light and texture are key elements on these trails.




The golden grand-dog insists on waiting if I fall too far behind. She barks, "Are you finished with that camera yet?" Georgie is accustomed to the wait.















Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Gratitude

We've driven past it several times as we've explored the island. Last week, we decided finally to stop and see the International Children’s Memorial Park in central Prince Edward Island. It is a place of serenity and beauty where families who have lost children commemorate them.





“This place could bring you down,” my husband says as we leave the car. Neither of us speak as we walk along by the Ever Living Forest. 





Trees have been planted in memory of loved ones with each tree dedicated to a specific person. Some contain photos of the child or young person on a plaque as well.


It is overwhelming to see the number of lost children, represented by the trees.




The photo shows a newer section of the forest. We don't look at the plaques or photos. How do families cope with such loss?


Our thoughts went back over thirty years when we almost lost our daughter at six weeks of age and years later, our eldest granddaughter was a reluctant newborn. Those were moments of terror in our lives and we imagined their names in this place. Then we noticed the trail.


It runs along the banks of Scales Pond through a mixed forest.




One’s eyes are drawn upward and on this day, the tall trees sway in the warm late summer breeze. 




Birds sing in the trees and out on the river, cormorants float, occasionally driving for fish. 




There is a boat launch area for non-motorized boats.





Benches located along the trail provide a place to sit and reflect. We listen and absorb the tranquility of the scene and the song of the wind in the trees. We are the only people there. 




The last section of trail is an open area along the shore between the pond and the trees, an untamed area more open to the pond.




Here, the plants bordering the trail are waist high and hundreds of white butterflies 

flit through the vegetation and all around us. 




The tiny white beauties and their free spirits are perfect in this setting, appropriate symbols for this place.


Sadness is not the sentiment as we head back to the car, but rather peace that comes with comfort and gratitude.














Monday, 11 September 2017

Daylilies

The colours, sizes and shapes are varied but each is perfect in its own way. My friend Lucy has a beautiful garden in the countryside of Prince Edward Island and the many bushes and blooms are a feast for the eyes. Among my favourites are the day lilies.


There are yellows galore,






even tall yellow ones with spots. My favourite.




Others are pretty in pink, from the hint of pink with a ruffled center,




to the deeper colour with a yellow-green center,




Some have crimpled petals,




while other petals are long and slender.




Some of the most unusual are bi-colour, or tri-colour.






There is an orange lily 




and plum coloured ones, to name a few. 




Don't get me started on the variety of sedums.






Sunday, 10 September 2017

Friday, 8 September 2017

Arrival

School started yesterday on Prince Edward island so we took our granddaughters for an outing before the eldest started back to school. Sylvie and Caitlin were excited. As we drove, both girls queried, “Are we there yet?” Their grandfather and I smiled at each other when they said it. In her youth, their mother always said the same before we made it out of town, at the beginning of a five hour drive. This drive was much shorter.


Our picnic lunch was under the birches at Green Park, Prince Edward Island.




Over peanut butter sandwiches, the girls chatted about recent happenings in their lives and what was in store for them today. The conversation was easy and pleasant.


The playground was great fun. My husband and I are always amazed at the physical progress they make from one playground visit to the next. These girls love physical activity 




and are always striving to do more or go faster.




The beach at Green Park is part of Malpeque Bay which extends inland so as to resemble a river. 


There are mussel beds off-shore in the channel. 




The beach was full of shells from mussels, oysters and clams. They were sharp under foot and we had to wear flip flops. The eel grass and seaweeds prevented the girls from swimming but they loved running through the water and talking, 




always talking, which my husband and I enjoyed most of all.


We finished the day with a visit to a dairy bar and another playground which has a zip line. Both girls were eager to play there as well. 




Their excitement and enthusiasm are infectious.


They asked, "Are we there yet?"


The answer to that age old question is, “Yes we are.” The simple things, giggles and a chat, a peanut butter sandwich at a picnic table, exploring a beach or a trail, bring us happiness especially when shared with our grandchildren. We have arrived!