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Monday 30 October 2017

St. George's Bay

The rocks and hills of Nova Scotia are a welcome sight to this transplanted Newfoundlander living in Prince Edward Island. While I love our little island home, it is flat and made of red soil and sandstone, so unlike Newfoundland. 

Long Point Lighthouse, Twillingate, Newfoundland 

I didn’t realize I missed the granite cliffs of home until our recent visit to Nova Scotia.

While there, with our friends, Carlo and Hiltrud, my husband and I followed the Sunrise Trail from Antigonish north along St. George’s Bay to Cape George. It was over a winding road through the forested countryside, rocky outcrops of granite and hills dressed in their autumn splendor. Beaches were rocky like many in Newfoundland, instead of sandy like PEI. 

Such a strange world to us now, but familiar to our bones.  

The area isn’t all farmland, like Prince Edward Island. Fishing is an important industry in this area as well. In Lakevale, dredging was underway in the channel from the lake to the bay.

while ducks swam nearby.

Further along the shoreline, Ballantyne’s Cove was a boat basin for pleasure craft and fishing boats. We walked the wharf 

and observed the area from a nearby hill. 

Finally we reached the Cape George lighthouse 

and the clear, sunny day enabled us to see Cape Breton across the bay. 

It is the island part of Nova Scotia attached to the mainland of the province by the Canso Causeway.

Nova Scotia feels and looks like Newfoundland more than Prince Edward Island does. Even though we have come to love our red island home, a visit to the land of our birth is overdue. Nova Scotia was a good teaser.

Friday 27 October 2017

The Landing and beyond

The estuary looks different from above. 

The water looks cold as the gray sky creates a mood which sunshine makes unfamiliar. The straw coloured grasses and bulrushes signify the season. Where there is enough soil for trees, they are changing slowly with the diminishing light.

We had walked The Landing, a dirt road which runs along the estuary and were headed back to our friends’ home in Antigonish, Nova Scotia. 

This is their daily walk in their new hometown. While it is challenging near the end, with the climb up from the lowlands, it is easy for Carlo and Hiltrud after their months of practice.

We need jackets this day as the northerly wind is cool. The trail along the water is well used by residents and we meet a number of them along the way. There are lots of dogs to make friends with. We take our time, rest on occasion, 

and take photographs. The grasses and bulrushes along the road provide a good border from the water which flows to and from St.George’s Bay.

Trees line the fields nearby and autumn colours abound.

Carlo points out an eagle’s nest, partly hidden by the trees. 

Just beneath it, a bald eagle we name Sam, sits and surveys his domain. The detail in his feathers is impressive.

Along the way, we pass gardens where the autumn colour causes us to pause and take in the scenes. 

The next day, a deer was enjoying the plants in those gardens. Deer are an unusual sight for us as there are none in our native Newfoundland or on Prince Edward Island. My husband and I were excited to see her.

Autumn looks good in Antigonish

Wednesday 25 October 2017


It was her birthday. Carlo looked at Hiltrud lovingly and said, “She still has that sparkle in her eyes.”

Indeed she does. Hiltrud has a zest for life which her eighty years have not diminished. If anything, she is more determined than ever to stay healthy and active, to eat properly, exercise daily and get the most out of every minute. Eighty is the new fifty.

Antigonish was a good move for our friends who relocated from Summerside last autumn. This university town is a vibrant place, with the injection of young people every year. Along with a top notch university, St. Francis Xavier, or St. FX, as it is more commonly known, comes the programs and services for students. Many of these are open to the community for participation.

One such program, at the Coady Institute, educates leaders in development from around the world. The students at the Institute are paired with people in the community, such as Carlo and Hiltrud. They are paired with a young man from Uganda. 

However, over and above the art, music and cultural activities, our friends live in a community of seniors who are friendly and helpful to each other. Their rental unit with two bedrooms and attached garage is spacious and comfortable and in a triplex. At the end of their street, a new senior’s home will offer various levels of care to its residents.

One never knows what a move will bring. Our friends relocated to Canada from Berlin, carrying a suitcase in each hand and accompanied by their two young sons almost fifty years ago. Now they are in a new province, building their lives at eighty years young and enjoying every minute. That’s sparkle!

Monday 23 October 2017


The name could be a title for a science fiction novel. Not this time however. It is an area in the national park on Prince Edward Island and while it isn’t a science fiction setting, it has an interesting geography.

This area includes the sand dunes of Cavendish Beach in the center of the island. 

Here, a pond, like so many on the island, was an inlet of the Gulf of St Lawrence which was cut off from the sea by the accumulation of beach sand.

Over the ages, the salt water in the pond was neutralized by rain and fresh water flowing into it. Now Macneill’s Pond is a home to fish and a resting/feeding place for Canada geese.

The dunes are covered in Maram grass and other vegetation. 

They are a great habitat for a variety of plants and animals, including foxes which have dens in the dunes. We saw a fox just west of Dunelands, making his rounds in a parking lot.

A rustic fence keeps park goers from walking on the dunes.

A boardwalk traverses the pond and provides a great view of the geese and fish in the water.

The area is in the flight path of the geese 

and we were pleased with the photos we took of the geese overhead.

Dunelands isn’t a large area but it is a natural wonder.

Friday 20 October 2017

Under the red maple

Time is of the essence. The temperatures are often seasonal now and before long the snow will fly. In November last year, when we had snow, it stayed. Now my husband and I are hiking as often as we can and enjoying our last picnics for the year.

Our most recent excursion was to a demonstration woodlot which has an interpretative trail west of our home. The noon day sun created its autumn shadows across the trail. Georgie, the golden grand-dog was off lead again as we were the only people in the area. 

The trail has natural wooded areas and mature plantations. The height of autumn colour was a perfect time to visit. We admired the golds, reds and yellows which surrounded us but some scenes were particularly striking.

The red oak leaves demanded attention whether on a single tree 

or in a group of trees along the trail.

A huge tree stump had the question, “How old,” on a sign beside it. 

As we attempted to estimate the age of the tree, Georgie, not to be ignored, stood on the stump.

We looked at each other and laughed, “Seven.”

Farther along, a stand of Norway spruce had an area with lots of cones on the forest floor. We had noticed seedless cones in some stands of Norway spruce but these were huge cones filled with seeds. While we examined them, another fell from the tree tops. Georgie was intrigued by this and checked out the cone. Meanwhile another fell near the last one; Georgie checked that one too. And on it went.

Squirrels, heard above but unseen in the tall spruce, were chewing through the stalks of the cones which fell to the forest floor. Seedless cones are visible in the lower right of the photo below too. 

With the size of this stand of Norway spruce, the squirrels in this area will be well fed this winter. 

In a huge stand of Eastern cedar, the forest floor was covered in rusty coloured bits of cedar from the lower branches as the trees grow upwards. 

No light made it through the canopy and the rusty forest floor was unique in appearance, colour and texture.

We had lunch under a red maple near an inlet of Malpeque Bay. 

A red maple and a wild apple tree provided some shade for the picnic table.

As we ate lunch, enjoying every morsel of our sandwiches and black tea, a flock of red breasted nuthatches landed in the trees around us. They didn’t stay long but I managed to take one photo.

I have admired striped maples this fall and the leaves on these trees along the trail were huge, evenly coloured and resembled patterned velvet.

Finally, as we finished on the trail there was another picnic area with a guest book. There, we finally saw a raccoon, though not a typical one. Hope he doesn't do too much damage with that axe.

Wednesday 18 October 2017

The stand

The sight of the potato stand brings a smile. It harkens back to a more innocent time, when you knew everyone in your community, relied on and trusted them. Now, traffic goes by with people from all over Prince Edward Island and beyond, from outside the neighbourhood and those one would know.

Traffic is so busy here, it is treacherous to stop and take a photo from the car. Yet, this potato stand appears every year when the harvest begins. The stand is opposite a farm on a two lane highway without much of a shoulder.

Such stands are an island tradition! Along the roadways or at the end of driveways,  farmers place their produce in stands, often as seen here, a wooden box with shelves. People stop, take a bag of potatoes and put money in the metal box. It is an honour system. The farmer is saying, "I have implicit faith you will leave money if you take the potatoes I have worked for months to grow.” 

And it works. 

On the rare occasion when it doesn’t, we hear about it on the evening news. Over this past summer, someone stole money and honey from a stand in Canoe Cove. No honour there. Still the practice continues and for the most part, without incident.

The world today is unsafe for many due to natural and man made disasters and tragedies. No wonder the stands make us smile.

Monday 16 October 2017

Fern Hills

These are not power walks. On hikes through the Bonshaw Hills this month, my husband and I look up and stop often to take photos. However, the undergrowth deserves notice as well, particularly the ferns.

Sometimes, they are lush and green in spite of the date on the calendar.

In other areas, the yellow ferns are striking against the background of fallen leaves.

White ferns are rarer but they stand out on the forest floor.

Ferns which are finished teasing us with their colour, turn rusty in the end.

And if we are really lucky, we find a stand of ferns in various stages of autumn glory.

But once in a while, we have to just stop and catch our breath.