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Wednesday 31 October 2018

Hallowe’en ‘18

The grandkids and our daughter visited last weekend and we had some Hallowe’en fun. The three kids will miss Hallowe’en here this year so we had our own Hallowe’en celebration.

The girls, Sylvie and Caitlin and I made cookies. They love to help with the baking and I enjoy the experience with them in spite of the extra mess.

After lunch, we carved pumpkins and even 17 month Owen participated in the fun, scooping out his little pumpkin.

He was thrilled to sit at the table with his sisters and do as they did. When his pumpkin was scooped out, Owen took the top off the pumpkin numerous times as he put the pumpkin stuffing back inside. 

The girls were experts at pumpkins since they have worked at them for years now.

The three adults enjoyed the experience as much as the kids.

The girls designed the faces of their pumpkins and worked with their mother to cut them out.

Owen cried when it came time to carve his pumpkin but he enjoyed the finished product. He, his mother and sisters squeezed into our windowless bathroom to view the finished products with the tea lights in them.

We roasted the seeds, some with evo and salt, others in a mixture of sugar and cinnamon. We had them as snacks with cookies and hot chocolate. The sweet and salty mixture was yummy.

Then the kids dressed in their Hallowe’en costumes while I hid treats around the house.

The girls enjoyed searching for the treats and played for an hour hiding them for each other afterwards.

We also played board and card games which the girls love to do and we read to Owen, the touch and feel storybooks which he enjoys.

Tired children went home with their mother. Sylvie and Caitlin each sent a message later saying, “It was the best day ever.” It was pretty special for their grandparents too.

Happy Hallowe’en everyone.

Monday 29 October 2018

Golden moment

The car park overlooks the hills with the river in the distance. 

The trail below draws us in as my husband and I take Georgie, the golden grand-dog along on another hiking adventure.

The trails at Strathgartney and Bonshaw are busy on the weekends, so Georgie doesn’t have much time off lead when we hike then. On this weekday, she is pulling on the lead, in a rush to enter the trail and have a run. If we walk five kilometers, the dog does ten. We judge a hike by how tired Georgie is on the ride home.

No matter where we walk or hike, Georgie wants to be with the person in front. 

If you are the leader, she loves to explore ahead, run back to you and walk beside you for a time. If you are at the back, she visits periodically. I am always in the rear taking photos and Georgie comes back to check on me.

She runs up to me, I touch her head and talk to her, then off she goes again! Such is the ritual with every hike. Georgie runs as if her life depends on it and my husband and I walk along taking in the sights. 

During one of her check-ins, she heard something in the area and stopped to listen and sniff the air. It was a golden moment.

On the way home, Georgie dozed on the back seat. Another great hike!

Friday 26 October 2018

Two short trails

On our last hike, my husband and I left the main trail at Strathgartney and trekked two short trails, Hemlock and Rock and Roll. The terrain was similar to the main trail but these areas were memorable for a number of reasons.

A bird’s nest in a fir tree was clearly visible from the trail. It was in a small tree less than two meters off the ground. We had never seen a nest in such an obvious place.

Two pieces of flat sandstone in two different locations, were perched against some trees. One had the name Ruben 1921-. 

The remainder was illegible. The second had marks but nothing legible.

Two broken tree trunks were covered in mushrooms, 

though of different types.

A burr on a trunk looked like a bear wrapped around the tree from one side 

and an alien blob from another angle.

One tree had an interesting root structure above ground but the moss covering some roots 

would soon encompass all.

And all around, the glory of autumn filled the spirit with wonder.


Wednesday 24 October 2018

October shadows

It is after 11:00 a.m. and there are long shadows across the boardwalk. 

Soon, time will fall back an hour and the dark will close in earlier every day until it is dark at 5:00 p.m. Before long, the harbour will freeze as December’s cold overcomes the sea. For now though, geese still chat to each other and float around at high tide.

Today, the shadows distract from the colour overhead, though some of the trees are bare now. However, stripped of their colour,  the intricacy of limb and twig is filigree against the blue sky.

A side path to the harbour draws us in as the shadows show limbs 

and leaves. 

In the undergrowth, a play of light on fern 

and rose bush creates glowing colours.

Along the main path, a person in the distance is about to emerge into the light.

The bench, in partial shade, provides enough sun to be comfortable to sit for a time and listen to the birds.

They are particularly busy today.

A small flock of cedar waxwings is busy munching berries by the stream.

They are new to the area.  

In the stream, a yellowlegs is busy in the shallow water along the shoreline. 

American black ducks sit on a log in the shadow of the bulrushes. 

The lengthening shadows are changing the flora and fauna along the boardwalk again as Autumn marches to meet her sister, Winter.

Monday 22 October 2018


On a recent visit to the beach on the north shore of Prince Edward Island, we decided to have lunch at Dalvay-by the Sea instead of our usual picnic. Dalvay draws us once a year into its late 19th century charm. It conjures up images of Downtown Abby-like characters walking down the stairs, fans in hand, hats on, ready to take tea in the garden.

Dalvay is in the National Park along the central north shore of Prince Edward Island. It was built in 1895 by a Scottish American industrialist, Alexander McDonald. 

He named it Dalvay-by-the-Sea after his Scottish home and brought his family there every summer. 

Eventually it passed out of the family’s hands when their fortunes changed. After a number of owners, it was sold to the federal government around 1940 as part of the National Park. The hotel is beautifully maintained on the shores of Dalvay Lake, across the road from a spectacular beach.

The dining room, which attracts us, has great food. It is famous for its sticky date pudding, which we tried the last time we visited. This year, my husband tried the chocolate mousse which he enjoyed just as much. 

The semi-circular shaped restaurant has great views of Dalvay Lake and the gardens.

The lake is frequented by Canada geese. The spacious lawn has lots of seating and the geese conversations are the only sound breaking the quiet. 

Across the road, a beach invites footprints. 

One can walk for kilometers and depending on the time of year, not meet another soul.

This same beach belonged to the McDonalds a century ago. Today it is available to everyone.  

Friday 19 October 2018

Hallowed space

Trails at Strathgartney were decked out in their autumn glory. Leaves covered the ground 

but many remained on the trees despite the high winds the previous day. 

A week of miserable weather had kept us inside and my husband and I were glad to be hiking again. The golden grand-dog was as delighted as we were.

Our pilgrimage to the Creekside trail descended the Bonshaw Hills through the gold-leafed birches. 

At the beginning of the trail, young maple trees in their yellow finery filled the spaces at ground level. 

Though it lacks colour, a path through dense coniferous trees is always a favourite.

Red adds to the foliage along the trail 

while the predominant yellow creates a glow in places. 

Late last month, the creek was dry but after a week of rain, it now had a gentle stream. The sound of the water filled the space.

The area around the creek looked like a naturally open space topped with deciduous trees high above.

It has the feel of a cathedral’s nave, the ceiling of which was crafted by the Master’s hand. 

The openness of the area, the colours and sound of the water could only be imagined or dreamt.

A hallowed space indeed!

We continued on out of the valley and along the creek to the Rock and Roll and Hemlock Trails, buoyed by a sense of well being which nature at her best provides!