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Wednesday 31 January 2018

Baby joy

It was a surprise to have a grandson. Two granddaughters were such a joy and for some reason, I expected another. Hope for a boy was never part of the expectation. The day he was born was a wonderful surprise. My husband and I looked forward to the journey with him.

Owen is a happy, healthy baby. He is exploring the world now, reaching for items and people, doing high fives, raising his hands above his head to entertain his family, playing with toys. He loves repetition and makes a toy repeat the same sound numerous times. Crawling is a knee lift away. Owen rarely cries, smiles and laughs all the time. He is a natural wonder.

What changes that little bundle you carry home from the hospital into a dynamic little being after eight months?  The physical process can be described medically of course. However, the miracle and wonder of that new life as it unfolds and begins to explore the world are beyond all description. We who are lucky enough to experience this miracle in our lives are blessed indeed.

Monday 29 January 2018

After the surge

From this angle and distance it looks small.

This day it is the only familiar thing on this strand of beach which was ravaged by a recent storm surge. The gray sky and the muted January light of early afternoon add drama to the scene. A walk on the beach was not possible.

I have never been to this beach in winter. My husband and I usually visit spring to autumn.

However, the January thaw invited me outdoors after what has felt like months avoiding the bitter cold. It was good to be there in spite of my inability to walk along the strand.

An ice wall lines the shoreline now and salt water is trapped inside that wall. 

The combination of the water/ice and the pieces of ice from the bay thrown ashore by the storm, make walking treacherous. I wouldn’t walk on the Marram grass further in shore as it destroys the grass which helps prevent erosion.

This inlet is usually busy with fishing boats making their way to the fish plant and back to port. 

Boats are all ashore now as the bays, inlets and harbours are frozen. 

I will be eager to see the condition of the beach after the remainder of the winter. Meanwhile, the old lighthouse stands her ground, nestled behind the sand dunes. It is a comfort to see her in pristine condition, standing guard as usual.

Friday 26 January 2018

Snow fog

Recently we had snow which fell vertically, a gentle floating flutter of flakes. That may not be remarkable to many but it is for us. I watched the relaxing scene for a long time through the window of the darkened house. Here, with the wind we normally have, usually the snow flies horizontally in a frenetic search for ground.

By the next morning, 17 centimeters, or over 6 inches of fresh flakes had accumulated. Branches, limbs, twigs 

and fence posts were piled high with the fluff. However by the time breakfast was over, it was foggy, which is an unusual occurrence here as well, especially with a fresh snowfall.

The fog was thick, lowering visibility in the neighbourhood, even in the back yard.

A nearby garage was almost imperceptible. 

Within an hour, the fog dissipated and before long the sun came out. 

The fluffy flakes were wet snow now and the wind blew clumps off the trees.  But this winter weather was a nice change from the gale force winds and the bitter cold we’ve endured.

Wednesday 24 January 2018


Our daughter left to collect some family members at the Charlottetown airport, about a fifty minute drive from home. My husband and I stayed with the baby. The flight was scheduled for 11:55 p.m.

It was snowing that night, drifting in open areas too. In places, the road and the shoulder were indistinguishable, just a blanket of white and slippy in places, as islanders say. It was an hour and twenty minutes drive that night.

She arrived in time, but the flight was delayed, then delayed again. The plane circled the airport a number of times and eventually diverted elsewhere, rescheduled to land in Charlottetown at 3:40 a.m.

What was she to do? Charlottetown is a small airport, with minimum facilities and seating areas for people. It was not an option to return home; she was not prepared to stay in a hotel and too cold to stay in the car.

Some women who were waiting as well, overhead her conversation with the Air Canada agent. They asked the agent for a blanket and pillow for her but none of the airline bedding was available.

Our daughter was on the phone with us when two of those women approached her with two pillows and a blanket from their cars. One woman offered for our daughter to go to her home nearby to have a rest until arrival time. She chose to stay and rest in relative comfort on a bench in the airport.

Later, after the plane arrived and she was paying for parking at the automatic kiosk, a security guard approached her and waived the parking fee. 

Everyone arrived home safely! Though the weather was miserable and the circumstances were not ideal, the kindness of strangers made a bad situation bearable. It renewed our family’s faith in humanity. Somehow, we will pay it forward.

Monday 22 January 2018


This month marks the fifty-fourth anniversary of a tragic event and I have never forgotten the victim. My mother's notation on an old class picture reminded me of the date.

I can't tell you what she liked to play or how many siblings she had.  I don't know her favourite food or what she watched on television. My childhood memory of her isn't specific now, having been dimmed by time, but losing her suddenly out of our class made an impression on me. I remember her blond hair and how we played outside school and sang in the school choir together. She was in my class pictures in the early grades and I have never forgotten her sweet face. 

Her name was Annie Merner and she was ten years old. 

In January of 1964, Annie was walking along Topsail Road, Newfoundland where she lived and was killed by a hit and run driver. To my knowledge, the case was never solved. 

Over the years, I have thought of her often. Annie missed so many wonderful events, opportunities and experiences. She missed out on her life!

Somewhere out there is a person who hit a ten year old child and left her to die on the side of the road. Maybe that person is long gone now too.

However I keep Annie in my heart.

Friday 19 January 2018

The freeze

It happened quickly as it does every year. One day, we drove by the harbour at Summerside and hundreds of black ducks were on the beach at low tide or dabbling nearby in the open water. Two days later, it was a different sight.

My husband and I saw the cargo ship in port and wondered if it would venture into the icy harbour. 

This new ice couldn’t have been too thick for the vessel already? Or was any ice too much? 

A week later our questions were answered as the Canadian Coast Guard Ship, Sir William Alexander, 

cut her way through the harbour, opening a channel for the cargo vessel. The Alexander, a light icebreaker, is stationed in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia and works in the Canadian Maritimes.

It was the first time we had seen an icebreaker at work though we have always lived on islands affected by winter ice conditions. We stopped and watched as she worked her way into the harbour. 

Iphone photos had to suffice. 

Soon the smelt shacks will appear on the frozen harbour while vessel traffic has ceased for a few months. Such is the rhythm of life on Prince Edward Island.

Wednesday 17 January 2018


We stopped at the local coffee shop recently to have lunch. My husband and I like to try their seasonal offerings of flavoured lattes. This is a locally owned business, not that famous franchise which many Canadians frequent.

The building was built in 1895 for a local newspaper. It is red brick and has a rounded corner which allows a view in three directions. 

There is a table with two cozy chairs in front of the corner window, the prime location if you are ever lucky enough to find them empty.

The building also had a brief stint as a bank. The old vault is still there and can be reserved for small groups in the private setting. 

The atmosphere is friendly and relaxed, a great place to visit with family and friends. A nogger latte made the experience perfect. Next time we’ll try the rum butter. 

Do you have a favourite tea/coffee shop?

Monday 15 January 2018


The mild January day was welcome as I made my way down the old Millman Road.

Light was muted by the gray cloud cover and the sun’s position this time of year.

Others have travelled this snow covered road as prints of four small feet and human company are evident in the wet snow.

The open fields are red and white, as the January thaw with rain has taken some of the snow cover. 

On the old road, the red banks are exposed in areas

but the snow makes the gray of the tree trunks prominent.

The trees stand silently together, not a murmur today as the wind is light. 

There is strength in numbers for these gray giants during our seasonal storms.

The colour here is small in scope but worth the search as tiny bits of lichen cling to pieces of storm-broken branches on the road.

A patch of moss adds a touch of green

as do some young firs.

The air is fresh and cool though not uncomfortable, unlike the frigid conditions recently.

The cares of the world often weigh heavy on my shoulders, 

But not today.

Friday 12 January 2018


Sat in the waiting room of the dentist’s office, comments about the weather were inevitable. The wind and cold have been remarkable for the last month. The seniors gathered this morning for dental work only venture out when absolutely necessary. This can make for long hours in the house from self confinement.

One retiree present was a former Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer, born and raised on a farm on Prince Edward Island. He returned to the island on retirement and reminisced about his childhood on the farm outside Summerside. 

“The snow was deep then and the cold was the same, but we forget that. We didn’t stay in the house though and weren’t dressed as well as the kids are today,” he said. “We spent time building forts with bales of hay in the hay loft or flooding a rink and skating all day.”

“One day, I told Dad I was bored,” he said. 

His father told him, “Go to the first stall and clean it out. It hasn’t been done.” That stall held young calves.

The retired officer said, “I’ve never been bored since.” His father fixed that!

Our daughter has a rule in her home. “Bored is a word so we don’t say in this house,” she tells the kids.

The kids have learned to find something to fill their time. Believe me, a shortage of toys is not a problem. Playing outside is always an option too, at least when it’s not bitterly cold.

I cannot say I am ever bored. There is always something to do and boredom was never in my vocabulary as a child either. Books have filled endless hours. These days, I also enjoy photography and writing/blogging. Nature walks and hikes, during at least three seasons, are favourites as well.

Do you ever feel bored? How do you avoid boredom?

Wednesday 10 January 2018

Three sixty

One of these photos has appeared on this blog before but this arrangement of driftwood has stayed with me for the last few months. Last fall, when my husband and I saw these driftwood pieces on Cavendish Beach, I took a series of photos around the wood. The pieces were battered by the elements though away from regular wave action. If you don’t walk around them, you miss a great deal.

Some qualities of the wood are the same from all angles, its smooth and rough elements, with projections, lines, holes, colours and marks.

However, as you circle it, the background changes as does the light and they highlight different pieces and areas.

Your position affects how and what you see.

And so it is with life sometimes. 

This year, I will remember the driftwood!

Monday 8 January 2018

A bomb cyclone

They called it a bomb cyclone. We were as ready as we could be, food, water, generator and outside items stored away. The winds were forecast to gust to 140 kilometers an hour. At the least, we expected to lose shingles.

Forecasters use the term cyclone when warm and cold air masses collide and produce a rotating pattern with a subsequent drop in barometric pressure. When the pressure drops 24 millibars in 24 hours, it is known as a weather bomb. We kept a close eye on our barometer prior to this storm. We had never seen it this low. 

It started with a heavy snowfall. Then the winds picked up. After several hours, the snow turned to ice pellets, then rain, as the temperature climbed. The winds increased, gusts hitting the house, shaking the balcony, windows and roof. It was impossible to sleep upstairs.

The family room downstairs was our best choice. My husband and I settled in for the night but even on the lower level, where we rarely hear wind or rain, we could hear the gusts slam into the house.

We keep an afghan made by my husband’s grandmother, Classie, in our family room. 

The multi-coloured crocheted wool cover, sized for a double bed, is at least thirty years old. That night it was a comfort, huge and warm, a hug from Classie which helped us sleep in spite of the raging storm.

We lost shingles but not power. The next day, the temperature dropped and we’ve been in a deep freeze with high winds and temperatures equivalent to the -30s C. Winter in eastern Canada can be quite an adventure.

Friday 5 January 2018

Island life 2017

Our Prince Edward Island home provides my husband and I with many places to explore. The past year we enjoyed picnics, walks and hikes as we explored the beaches, trails and hills. These photos represent our experience of our island home last year.

The Confederation Bridge is the world’s longest bridge over frozen water, a true engineering marvel.

The land and sea become one around much of the island this time of year.

Wharves become busy places as the lobster fishery approaches in the spring.

This mussel boat headed out into the Gulf of St. Lawrence early in the morning.

The many lighthouses stand their silent vigil year round.

 Beaches are rarely crowded and great for exploring.

Along the waterline, fog rises from the beach around the red sandstone sea stack and cliffs.

There are such interesting finds and colours on the beaches.

The trees are giants in places

And the woodlands have interesting finds too.

The red dirt roads through the countryside are always inviting,

While the fields provide a rich harvest.

The layers of colour in autumn mesmerize 

And then night falls on the gentle island.