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Thursday, 12 September 2019

Through the dunes

Before school started last week, my husband and I visited Cavendish beach with the kids for the last time this year. The children love this beach with its pink coloured sand.

From the walkway, on our way to the beach, we could see through gaps in the dunes that the water was rough from the storm the previous day.

We set up our chairs and blanket in the swimming area and our daughter and the kids headed into the water immediately. Within the hour, the lifeguards warned swimmers about the rip current which was strong and most people left the water.

The kids enjoyed playing in the sand while my husband and I walked the beach. A small flock of Sanderlings landed nearby long enough for a photo.

Later we walked with our oldest granddaughter to the other side of the beach, where low tide exposed the sandstone cliffs. We walked among the sandstone Inukshuks left by visitors. Our granddaughter enjoyed making one too.

I mentioned how dangerous it was to stand under the sandstone cliffs. She had lots of questions about the rock, its formation and qualities. Our eldest grandchild has an interest in science.

Later the beach opened for swimming again and we enjoyed more time in the water. It was another great day on the island.

Tuesday, 10 September 2019

Reconnaissance dog

Our first visit to the Bonshaw Hills for this fall season included the company of the golden grand-dog. Georgie enjoys these hikes with my husband and me when she has the opportunity to be off lead. With so few people among the many kilometres of trails that day, Georgie enjoyed that freedom.

Georgie is a scouting dog. She loves to run ahead of the lead hiker and explore a bit, then run back. 

If my husband and I are separated on the trail, she will run to the second of us to check in as well. 

She spends the first half of the hike running reconnaissance. By the second half, Georgie is tired and sticks close beside us.

In the parking lot, while my husband gave Georgie a drink, I began to explore the fishing trail by the West River. Georgie pulled away from my husband and ran to me, then into the river.

Coaxing finally got her out of the water where she shook herself off, soaking us too. 

To top off the day, Georgie had a scoop of vanilla ice cream. She watches eagerly as my husband waits for service at the wicket. It was a perfect Georgie day

Monday, 9 September 2019

A Dorian experience

This past weekend, eastern Canada experienced hurricane Dorian as she tore her way across the Atlantic provinces. Saturday into Sunday was a scary time for many on Prince Edward Island as the rain and winds lashed the island for hours before they began to subside on Sunday morning. It was our worst weather experience ever.

If one can prepare for such an event, we were prepared. My husband had braced the patio deck and acquired gas for the generator which had been tested. We had taken in the patio furniture or tied it to the deck. The garbage and compost bins were inside too. Food was well stocked without a special trip to the store as was water. We were ready.

I imagine the Bahamians thought they were ready too.

The rain and wind started by 11 a.m., several hours earlier than forecast. They only intensified as the day progressed. By the time our daughter was driving home from work at 7:30 p.m., trees were across the roads, requiring a change of route.

The power was out by the time she arrived home and we lost power shortly after. We used the generator. She doesn’t have one.

Homes in PEI have a sump pump system to pump out water from basements. The high water table on the island makes such a system necessary. With a loss of power, the sump pump doesn’t work of course. It is the main reason we have a generator, to continue to pump out water when necessary. After we completed the basement remodel, we didn’t want to worry about water damage from a loss of power.

Our daughter spent several hours dipping water out of the sump drain to ensure her basement didn’t flood. She’d have to continue all night except her power came back on and stayed on, an unexpected relief.

There were times overnight when I thought the roof was going to lift off the house. However we survived the night without any major damage. The new metal roof prevented shingle loss on our house though shingles are strewn around the neighbourhood from houses nearby. Some houses look like a zipper opened to remove siding.

Trees are down over lawns, cars and houses, houses are damaged, as are fences, patio decks and much more. It will take days for power to be restored everywhere and things to get back to normal across the island. However, we are lucky.

The images of the total destruction in parts of the Bahamas from the same storm at Category 5 are unbelievable. I can only imagine the terror of those poor people as they tried to survive the incredible wind and water from rain and storm surge. All we can do is financially support relief efforts to help those who remain. 


P.S. Power in our neighbourhood was out 22 hours. It will be longer for other parts of our city.

Friday, 6 September 2019

The run and the pond

The lobster boats approached the port from the various fishing grounds. 

They slowed as they approached the run which led into the boat pond, a sheltered area. Boats lined up in the run waiting their turn with the buyer in the refrigerator truck who was ready to weigh the lobster and take it to market. 

Along the run, people watched as the fishers waited their turn with the buyer. Feathered spectators included huge seagulls who looked like they benefitted from the catch as well. 

They eyed the activity with practised patience, knowing that eventually some fishers would drop offal overboard for them. 

Between arrivals, my husband and I walked along the run and around the boat pond. This workplace is busy as the sign indicates.

Nets from the crab fishery are stored while lobster is pursued. 

We walked over the trail to the beach which stretches along both sides of the pond beyond the dunes. Few people were there this morning. The focus is on the work and it will be for the remainder of the season.

Tuesday, 3 September 2019

Cedar Dunes

This lighthouse with its black horizontal stripes is the tallest lighthouse on Prince Edward Island. 

Today it is run by a non-profit community group which operates it as an inn, museum and craft store. The lighthouse is located in the Cedar Dunes Provincial Park at West Point and my husband and I have visited there a number of times although I have never posted photos of it. 

We had a picnic in that park recently with the golden grand-dog and listened as a male cicada sang in the tree above us. 

Later as Georgie and I walked the beach, my husband saw a cicada on the ground and took a photo. 

It is a huge insect, with transparent wings, huge eyes and markings on its upper body. From its size alone, it could be the stuff of nightmares.

Meanwhile the second lobster season is well underway, this time for fishers along this southwest portion of the island. Offshore, boats were on their way back to the harbour at nearby West Point.

It is time for another meal of lobster.

Sunday, 1 September 2019

The girl in the glade

It’s difficult to see her but there’s a young child and her bike in the glade. She looks so small, dwarfed by the trees, vulnerable and alone among the giants and the open space.

The little one has lost a treasure and is off her bike to search in the glade. She retraces the path she took without much success. Frustrated, she is ready to give up. 

However, a friend nearby helps her and together they locate the lost treasure. The child is relieved but reluctant to proceed as before.

The friend offers words of encouragement and a helping hand so she ventures forth again.

And so it goes.

Friday, 30 August 2019

After the storm

Tropical depression

It was sunny yesterday morning with the promise of rain and wind from a tropical depression by 2 p.m. My husband and I headed out early for our usual walk along the boardwalk in Summerside. In the southern sky, the cloud was beginning to move in. 

Over the hour we were there,

the clouds grew darker and the wind came up. The birds and squirrels were frantic in their activity. 

The most dramatic sight was the sky. 

It had as much character 

as the many seniors who were walking ahead of the storm.

We had high winds and torrential rain which appear to have stopped this morning though the sky is dark. We will watch the weather and head out to the boardwalk again to see our old friends, human and animal.

Wednesday, 28 August 2019

The Shore

The golden grand-dog loves Tignish Shore. The area has a beautiful beach which is almost deserted on weekdays. Georgie ran in and out of the surf as much as she wanted, 

in an place shared with terns, gulls and Northern gannets a distance offshore. The warm late summer day in this place was perfect for a walk.

Gannets were visible offshore when we pulled into the parking lot. The huge birds don’t nest on Prince Edward Island but sometimes, like this day, can be seen offshore diving for fish. They dive from various heights into the water with a splash, later to resurface. We watched for a long time and I took photos which stretched the limits of my camera. 

The path to this pristine beach is lined with wildflowers. 

Further along, pieces of green and white seaweed, flowers of the sea, are spread around the beach. 

I met a local woman and mentioned the cleanliness of the beaches on the island. She said the beach walkers in this area clean the beach every spring. The most common items they find are fishers’ gloves which wash overboard and come ashore on this beach. 

Seagulls and terns occupied the far side of the beach past the stream which flows from an inland pond. Georgie didn’t harass the birds but they didn’t like us getting within a certain distance. They were quite a sight when they lifted and floated on the breeze as their voices filled the air as well.

We will return to this beach with Georgie to enjoy the surf and the solitude before it gets too cold.

Question and answer:

Ginnie at commented, “Thanks so much for including us in your wanderings with your husband. Is he a photographer too?”

My husband was always interested in photography. For years, he was the one documenting the family history in photographs. Now he has a camera with various lenses but he often uses a tiny point and shoot during our outings. He enjoys time with the grand-dog more than photography so he takes care of her while I take photos.

Monday, 26 August 2019

A natural pleasure

This time of year my husband and I love to walk the beaches of Prince Edward Island. We visit all of our old favourites, like the beach at Brander’s Pond where a stream flows from the pond into the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

The pond meanders its way across the beach making it an area where young children love to play. The beach is pristine, bordered by sandstone cliffs except in the area of the stream. Cottages are visible from the beach though a few are not typical.

It’s too bad this one is so small.

A sea stack on the eastern side of the beach shows evidence of its cormorant residents. They are gone fishing this morning.

The sandstone cliffs show the erosion at sea level, undermining the overhanging cliff side. One can see how the sandstone from above has collapsed to the beach. I would not be brave enough to place a shade tent under that cliff.

The sea stack is a highlight of this beach. From near or far, the stack highlights the shoreline of the province. Up close, 

or seen by the adjacent coastline, it stands out. However, my favourite photos show the fields in the background 

or the headland in the distance.

Semipalmated plovers dart around the waves which lap the shore. An unusual sight is the chickadee-sized Least sandpiper which walks along the stream as we leave the beach.

Summer at the beach at Brander’s Pond is a natural pleasure.

Question and answer:

Linda at asked,”Have you and your man always been into nature or is this something you picked up after retirement?”

My husband and I were walkers before we retired. After retirement, before we moved to Prince Edward Island, we often went on hikes in various parts of central Newfoundland where we lived. During one of our most memorable hikes, we had a picnic as the snow fell gently around us.

After we moved to PEI, we continued in that tradition and have come to consider the outings an important part of our lives. 

Friday, 23 August 2019

From the heights

On a recent outing, my husband and I went to Strathgartney Provincial Park. This is a day use park which is well maintained, sitting among the Bonshaw Hills. It offers a beautiful view of the surrounding countryside.

Prince Edward Island is like a sandbar in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and doesn’t have mountain vistas. The highest point on the island is a mere 140 meters or 459 feet. The view from the hill in Strathgartney is a rare treat.

We had a picnic in the park and walked its perimeter. 

The park sits alongside the trails of the south side of the Bonshaw Hills so we took the golden grand-dog, Georgie for a walk on one of the trails we had yet to explore.

The Woods Road trail was wider than most of the trails in this area but grown in over the years. 

The trail heads up hill initially, then down to the point where it is joins another trail along the West River. We walked downhill along the other trail, then returned the way we came. 

The trek back to the Woods Road was quite steep and challenging but we managed it without too much problem. Georgie loved it but she wasn’t as spry going back as she had been initially.

We will return to this park in the autumn to view the surrounding countryside in its autumn glory.

Wednesday, 21 August 2019

Country life

A drive along the Argyle Shore on the central south coast of Prince Edward Island highlights various types of farm life in a small area, within view of the sea in many places.

There are many cattle farms in the area with the animals grazing in the August sun.

One farm raises alpacas which had recently been sheared.

Another farm grows honey bees and sells the honey in the roadside stand at the end of the driveway.

We bought some wildflower honey there, leaving the money in a tin inside the stand. The honour system still thrives on the island.

A old Catholic Church along the shore, St. Martin of Tours, is over 150 years old.

I stopped in to have a look. It is small, with only two rows of twelve seats, simple but beautiful. 

It is a peaceful setting in the summer heat and the busy tourist season.

Crops are growing well in this area. The rolling hills slope down to the sea with potatoes, corn, barley, soy and others, all needing more rain this summer. 

Harvesting of hay for feed or straw for bedding is well underway. Farm machinery is the source of an occasional slow-down in traffic.

Such is country life on PEI and the Argyle Shores is a great example.