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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.

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Sunset adventure

I didn’t want to be encumbered with a bag so my license and phone were in my pockets, camera on the seat. I was ready! Shades of approaching sunset filled the sky. As I drove towards the bay, cormorants in their v formations were headed away from the water for points inland. Night was falling!

There were people on the boardwalk and I felt safe though I was on my own tonight. I headed to the gazebo, a favourite location for bird observation, though I didn’t expect to see any this time of day. It is a great vantage point for views out the bay as well.

Looking out on the water, a spotlight from the last rays of sun was focussed on Indian Head Lighthouse. “Capture that for sure,” I said aloud. Camera on and up...uh-oh, No Card Present screamed at me through the viewfinder. The SD card was home on the mantle. After thoughts best left unspoken, I drove home. 

Sunset had passed but light lingered in the western sky. Determination made me take photos of the pink and orange sky from the balcony. 

I like the results.

Monday, 14 August 2017

Fields in August

On a recent drive through the countryside on Prince Edward Island, my husband and I stopped to observe the colour and appearance of crops on both sides of the roads. 

Rural Prince Edward Island is farmland, rolling hills or flat land and along the coast, the sea is the backdrop. 

Haying has been underway for some time now

and potato fields are in bloom, 

as are the canola plants.

 Or is it canola? It is hard to tell these days, as farmers are also planting mustard which looks like yellow blooming canola to the untrained eye. 

Mustard plants are a natural fumigant to pests such as wire worm which damage potato crops. Farmers grow the brown mustard plants, then plow them under. During decomposition, the plants release the bio-fumigant into the soil which controls and kills insect pests. Such natural pest control is great for consumers.

We recently saw another unusual plant in the fields as well. This one is buckwheat, 

which has the same effect as the mustard plants. Both buckwheat and mustard plant blossoms are attractive to bees. Honey production is increased in areas where these plants grow. 

Meanwhile, wheat is a dusty straw colour 

and so is barley. 

I find it impossible to identify them from a distance.

Clover, a cover crop used in crop rotation to help restore nutrients to the soil, is in bloom as well. The purple fields line roads and shoreline.

The most curious discovery was a field of peas, a new crop for the island, to supply a new processing plant in western PEI.

These are a fraction of the crops grown on the island. However, the expansion of the industry to include peas and the bio-fumigant properties of and bee preference for mustard and buckwheat plants are all great news. Now if we only had some rain!

Friday, 11 August 2017

Fog and snow in the forecast

We are watching for fog in the mornings this month. One of the meteorologists in the Maritimes reported recently about weather lore for August which her grandmother always repeated. As her family lore has it, every foggy morning in August means a storm the following winter.

On a beautiful morning earlier this month, we headed to the boardwalk by the bay for a walk with the golden grand-dog. As we drove down to the harbour, we saw the fog bank. It had crept in from the Northumberland Strait and was beginning to creep over the shoreline.

“That’s one,” my husband said. We both laughed. Will we be laughing this winter is the question?

Does the ferocity of the storm have anything to do the length of time it is foggy? On this particular morning, the fog dissipated quickly. 

We’ll have to ask Grandma.

Wednesday, 9 August 2017


Do you make plans for next month, next year? My father-in-law often said, after he turned eighty, “I’m so old now, I don’t buy green bananas any more.” 

My mother, like my grandmother, never liked to talk of plans for the future. If she did, she stated what she would do and added, “Please, God.” The possibility she wouldn't make it to the event was always on Mom's mind and she prayed God would help her fulfill any plan she did make. I am not accustomed to older people in my life openly discussing their plans without thoughts of death lurking nearby.

At this time in our lives, as my husband and I settle into our senior years, we would like to have a realistic, though positive outlook for the future. We’d like to live in the present and enjoy every experience and continue to make realistic plans for our future.

We have friends who are eighty this year and who make plans. Hiltrud and Carlo

just recently completed their second road trip in less than a year across Canada, driving from the Maritimes to British Columbia. They have plans to visit their birthplace in Germany again next year. They adapt to life and keep going.

Last year they moved from Prince Edward Island to Nova Scotia. They downsized, moved into an apartment, and started over in a new city. They are socially active, engaged citizens with active lifestyles. On their recent visit to Prince Edward Island, we met on the boardwalk as they did their morning bike ride. They have the energy and enthusiasm of much younger people. They see a future for themselves, rather than the end of a journey and they keep planning.

Carlo recently celebrated his birthday and Hiltrud will this fall. Happy birthday to two great role models. We aspire to be as active as you for as long as you, to live every day and to continue to make plans.

And since I am my mother’s daughter, there is a tiny voice which echos in my brain, "Please God.”

Monday, 7 August 2017

A matter of months

When we visited Cabot Beach this past April, we were shocked to see the destruction of the sand dunes over the previous winter. 

We planned to visit again in August to see if the dunes recovered.

Four months later, the dunes appear to be doing well. 

The Marram grass has grown again, and there is no discernible path over the dunes this year. People are giving the grass an opportunity to establish.

Three months ago, my husband and I were on this beach for setting day, at the start of the spring fishery. The early morning fog was lifting as the boats passed the shore on their way to set their traps. The pillar buoy, just off shore, looked eerily suspended above the fog.

On this August day, that same buoy sturdily stands vigil over the narrow channel through the sand bars which parallel the beach.

On setting day, lobster boats were motoring through the channel as family and friends watched from shore.

This August day, mussel fishing boats are returning to port with their day’s harvest, while beach goers watch nearby.

On setting day, one dog accompanied his family to the beach. 

During our August visit, we understand the meaning of the dog days of summer.

Friday, 4 August 2017

Early morning along the boardwalk

The golden grand-dog is visiting again this summer and midday heat has necessitated early morning walks. Georgie loves the boardwalk with its smells known only to canines. She eagerly sniffs her way along as my husband and I take photos. This location works well for all of us.

One morning, as Georgie sniffed around, we encountered a number of animals, though not those we normally see, such as chipmunks, squirrels and blue jays. This day, there were goldfinches among the thistles, singing their hearts out.

In the stream, a muskrat was busy collecting grass to bring to its push-up or nest. While I did manage a photo, it is less that ideal.

On the boardwalk itself, this red-legged grasshopper posed as we walked by. These creatures can cause a great deal of damage to crops this time of year. We hear them in the field near our home every day now. 

Bonaparte’s gulls, an unusual sight, floated in the harbour. The flock of small, black headed gulls, was just off-shore. Like so many birds, the closer I went, the farther away they moved.

Starlings are common around the city but I have not seen them along the boardwalk until recently. They perched in the trees, as if to have a look at these unusual gull visitors.

Osprey, in a platform nest near the boardwalk, were busy. The parents watched as two fledglings tentatively tried out their wings. One of the birds stood atop the nest,  the northerly wind ruffling her feathers. We called her Einstein.

My favourite photo from this walk was of a Greater Yellowlegs in the stream where it empties into the harbour. Five of the birds hunted for breakfast in the shallow water.

The boardwalk is always an interesting place! 


Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Fox encounter

He sat on the pavement, near a bend in the road. 


We hoped he would move quickly as vehicles approached. He did. Off he went into the grass on the side of the road. 


My husband tapped on the side of the car and he approached. He expected food. Foxy was wary at first but I stayed by the car door as he approached. 


It took seconds for him to realize no food was forthcoming, just the clicking of the camera. 


Then he crossed the road. 


The red fox was multi-coloured, blond, orange, red, black and gray. The colours blended into each other except on his legs where he wore black tights. Foxy was thin but the fluffy fur hid his size depending on the view you had of him. His face was a study in symmetry, down to the individual hairs, such as the whiskers. This encounter was the closest we had ever been to a fox.


We watched as he checked us out several times before he finally walked away.