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Wednesday 30 August 2017


Meet Abigail and Anna.

They are Buff Orpington chickens which my friend, Lucy, has rented for the summer. 

They arrive with their own pen which has a coop upstairs. The pen is equipped with feeder and water shutes and can be moved around the yard.

You must allow the birds free in the yard every day to forage for themselves.

You can tell the birds apart because Anna has lighter feathers on her derriere. Besides looking slightly different, the birds have different personalities. Anna is less social than Abigail, who will peck your hand in greeting. Anna wants nothing to do with humans.

Both chickens love their time out of the pen because they like to scratch in the flower beds. They are great weeders, as they scratch the soil, exposing the rich dark earth underneath. The birds enjoy the worms they find.

The chickens are very attuned to predators in their environment and will run into their pen if they sense any danger. While I was there, Lucy fed them some apple, their favourite treat,

but they sensed something, stopped, ran around and eventually headed into their pen.

The hens each lay a brown egg per day. Their eggs are jumbo size compared to the white extra-large eggs I usually buy. 

In October, the chickens will return to their owner and an unknown fate. Lucy plans to rent chickens again next year. 


Monday 28 August 2017

Along the way

Sometimes the path is easy going. 

But when an obstacle appears, you may have to go around.

There are times you have to watch your step,

though moments of brilliance happen on occasion.

Little things may give you pause, 

or the work of others who have gone before can be helpful.

When everything is gray

those special ones are there to accompany you.

And through it all, the beauty of the next moment keeps you going.

Sunday 27 August 2017

The stand off

Georgie, the golden grand-dog and this red squirrel stood watching each other for the longest time, neither flinching a whisker.

Friday 25 August 2017

Sunset on the beach

We arrived a half hour before sunset. The western sky had some clouds but my husband and I settled in anyway. We were the only people on the beach and though it wasn’t cold, it was cool enough for jackets. The lighthouse at New London was dark compared to the western sky.

A boat came into the channel headed home for the night. 

Others were on the move too, as overhead, jets carried passengers to parts unknown. 

As the boat moved farther up the channel, the mechanical sounds left room for the  waves and the birds. A sand bar on the opposite side of the channel was filling up with its tenants, hundreds of gulls.

As the sun set, light flashed in the old tower as the sky behind it changed with the cloud cover.

Within minutes, another boat was visible in the distance and before long, it was in the channel.

As the darkness deepened, the details of the lighthouse began to disappear. The light became the beacon and in the deepening darkness, glowed. 

Meanwhile far in the distance, lights of another boat were visible. The rhythm of the waves was the same as in the days when the light was the only hope for mariners needing safe passage along the coast. 

Darkness on the beach was complete, the birds quiet, the waves constant, their sound comforting in the still and dark. 

We became one with the setting as overhead, stars were visible through openings in the clouds. 

Some time later, it appeared. The orange moon rose out of the blackness and reflected off the water. Each of the elements had done its part, as night settled over the island at the end of another day . 

Wednesday 23 August 2017

Breakfast with the birds

It’s early morning at the stream which empties into the harbour

and the sandpipers are busy feeding. 

These birds are tall, with yellow legs, which gives them their name. The flock of starlings is busy nearby and some drop into the islands in the stream. Four of them are busy digging for grubs in the mud.

Then she appears out of the bulrushes, a female green-winged teal. 

She’s the only one of her kind here, but she swims around, up-ending into the water to feed, unconcerned about the others sharing the stream. At one point, she too is on an island with the starlings, as she checks through the mud. Her green spot breaks the camouflage.

In one of the old trees overlooking the scene, an immature yellow bellied sapsucker is busy drilling into the old trunk. By the look of the trunk, this is one of his favourite trees. He makes his way around the trunk, drilling as he goes. He is driven!

Then another bird crosses the stream and lands on a dead branch near the woodpecker. From the profile I can tell it is a kingfisher. The bird, with the unruly topknot, stands on the branch motionless, watching the stream. I couldn't see it at the time but the photo shows the female has a white cross in front of her eye.

Meanwhile the sapsucker drilled for its breakfast behind her.

In the stream below, everyone is busy getting breakfast. The starlings are on the islands digging, the yellowlegs walks on an island, dipping its long beak in the water and the duck is dabbling.

They each have a place in the environment and co-exist peacefully, a testament to the wonder of natural selection.

This time watching the birds is one of my favourite experiences along the boardwalk. 

Monday 21 August 2017

A walk along the river

The Strathgartney trail from the Bonshaw Provincial Park in Prince Edward Island  goes under the Trans Canada Highway and follows the West River to the Northumberland Strait.

This area is popular for water sports such as paddle boarding, kayaking and canoeing.

My husband and I walked the first part of the trail, which goes along at river level initially. 

Then the bank rises from the river and you can look down through the trees to the water. We walked in silence, taking in the setting. Periodically, we heard kayakers on the water, their voices carrying through the river valley. Sometimes, we could see them through the trees.

This forest had less undergrowth than the Parkside Trail due to the density of the trees, but there were interesting things to see. 

Yellow bellied sapsuckers had a good time on this trunk.

The shelf fungus was enjoying the tree stump!

A riding park in Strathgartney has trails and a jumping circuit parallel to the hiking trail.

One tree trunk in particular caught our attention. What caused this unusual growth?

There were numerous holes in the earth for creatures to inhabit.

One old trunk was split down its length and showed the rot which takes it back to the earth.

Many tree trunks appeared to split at ground level into multiple trees. In the photo below, the trunk appeared to grow along the ground to the right, and another tree grew upward, seen here in the shade.

We had already walked another trail so we turned back when this trail divided. To misquote Yogi Berra, When you come to a fork in the road, don’t take it.

Friday 18 August 2017

Bathed in green

Georgie’s nose led the way as we walked the Parkside Trail at Bonshaw Provincial Park. She sniffed her way, 

always anxious to move forward as my husband and I stopped to take photos. Georgie wasn’t interested in the greenery like we were.

And it was green, the understory as verdant as the canopy.

The trees were huge, in diameter and height and their various shades of green were backlit by the sun.

The light through the trees cast shadows like silhouettes on the trail.

Where the light had a larger path to the forest floor, young trees bathed in its glory.

The forest floor had ferns in abundance,

but small plants and shrubs were everywhere as well. Young trees waited for their chance to bolt into the canopy when the older trees relinquished the overhead space.

Looking up, the sun through the leaves created a green glow. 

We paused and took in the scene until a chattering squirrel broke the reverie. There was a stand-off between Georgie and the red rodent.

Later, Georgie spotted a toad which crossed the trail ahead of us. The toad stopped, camouflaged amid the dead leaves.

It remained motionless as we took photos and restrained the dog.

Back at the park, we had lunch under a huge spruce tree, on a table and benches cut from trees. 

Georgie made a new friend,

while we basked in the sense of well being which always accompanies those moments bathed in green.