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Sunday 30 June 2019

Canadian moment

It’s a long weekend in Canada because today, July 1, is Canada Day, a federal holiday. The country was formed in 1867 with four provinces. Today, there are ten provinces and three territories, the second largest country in the world.

I had a Canadian moment this past week. With a few minutes to buy groceries for this weekend, I was in a rush, pushing one of the large carts around a local grocery store. I turned into one of the vegetable aisles and not really watching, hit an abandoned cart, to which, without thinking, I uttered, ”Sorry.” The cart didn’t respond. How rude! I guess there are worse things a people can be known for other than politeness.

My husband and I will celebrate Canada today with our daughter and the grandkids. A barbecue, a fire with s’mores and the community fireworks are on the agenda. Everything depends on the weather of course, which is so Canadian too. The fireworks may be postponed but not the love and pride we have for this country. While Canada is not perfect, she is like an organism, growing and evolving over time to reflect the stories, heritage and traditions of her people on this amazing land.

Happy Canada Day.

Wednesday 26 June 2019

A walk in the sand at Cousins Shore

We hadn’t been to a beach recently and decided it was past time for a walk in the sand. We opted for Cousins Shore on the north central coast, about a half hour from home. It was a sunny day with a pleasant breeze keeping the mosquitos at bay, perfect for a walk. The sky had enough cloud to be moody.

Cousins Pond empties into the Gulf of St. Lawrence along this shore 

and a stream from the pond bisects the beach. 

We kept Georgie, the golden grand-dog on lead since several other dogs were off lead and Georgie is always anxious to run and make new friends. She was interested in the lone seagull which periodically waded in the stream. 

By late summer, small shorebirds love this place.

There is a sign warning of a strong undertow along this beach, so it’s not a place for swimming. The stream makes it a great area for kids to play however. Today the sea is rough with the advancing tide and its sound fills the air and the soul.

It looks wild and untamed as it crashes to the gentle shoreline.

The beach has small pieces of weathered driftwood and brown seaweed known as Fucus.

Huge sand dunes line this beach with Marram grass at their base and top.

The red sand beach stretches from deeper red sandstone cliffs east and west.

A few people walk the stretch of sand but this is not a beach frequented by many tourists. 

Soon the cottagers will be here for the summer though and more people will walk here, but not today. For now, the setting, sights, sounds and company make a perfect location for a walk and a picnic. 

Answers to question from a recent post: 

Elephant’s Child at asked if it was normal for the basin area where the geese collect to dry up so quickly. The same thing happens every year in this basin. After spring run-off, it holds water. Before long it dries up or is absorbed into the earth below. This year, water lasted longer in the basin due to the amount of rain we’ve had. After a few sunny days though, the area is dry again.

Tuesday 25 June 2019

A few gaggles

It was such a welcome surprise. We’d had a walk on the Millman Road and headed to Cavendish Grove for a picnic lunch. Our intention was to walk to the Lake of Shining Waters after lunch to look for goslings among the geese who frequent the lake. The geese and goslings who had been in the grove this spring, hadn’t been there the last time we’d visited.

They were this time. In fact, ten adults and numerous goslings were in and around the basin, 

more adults than we had seen this spring. While we ate in the sunny cool breeze, we watched the gaggle move from bank to water and disperse among the grasses. 

The goslings stayed close to the adults who were wary of any movement we made. 

The adults are molting and there are feathers over the grass around the basin. 

For the next month or more, the adults and goslings will be vulnerable and security in numbers is a coping strategy.

It was good to see our old friends in the grove again.


Nine days later we visited the Grove. There was a huge change this time as the basin had almost dried out. 

There was a small amount of water in one side without any geese. I walked to the upper pond and saw geese immediately, two groups among the plants at riverside. 

One group had four adults and eight goslings. The other group had two adults and two goslings. I suspect the other geese we had seen previously were among the grasses further up the pond.

The goslings are growing feathers now to replace the down.

Their heads are turning black with the white Canada goose chinstrap and their necks are dark to black.

Another few weeks and they’ll be flying.

Monday 24 June 2019

Along the West River

The Bonshaw Hills provide some of our favourite hiking trails. On our second visit this year, we took the trail which lies between the West River and an equestrian park. The golden grand-dog, Georgie, was with us and we kept her on lead. Experience has taught us the water is too much of a temptation for her and she dives in any chance she gets.

This is a trail bed with many roots 

and occasional rocks, so we kept our eyes on the trail and stopped periodically to take in the scene. There are several hills on this trail which were less of a challenge for my husband and I than earlier this season.

From the trail, we could see equestrian jumps

through the trees on the left and the river on the right. 

The trail is often in the shade as the canopy is thick. Sometimes sunlight finds an opening and casts dancing shadows on the trail.

There are many maple and birch trees along the way. One tree trunk caught our attention because it looked to have been damaged by a fungus.

The tree above was unharmed.

Metal pieces from an unknown past were displayed at one location, sparking speculation as to their purpose. 

Woodpeckers were busy here as well as squirrels, 

who had little fear of Georgie. 

We returned the way we came and met a couple with two Biewer terriers, Pepperjack and Pepperjoy.

Pepperjoy is deaf since birth and understands sign language for traditional words used with dogs. Both terriers were unafraid of Georgie and not aggressive as some small dogs are around bigger dogs, so the meeting was friendly.

We had our picnic in the park under the gazebo where we cooled off and relaxed before heading home.

Answer to a question from a recent post:

John at asked if the Millman Road was close enough to home so we could walk there every day. The sad reality is that the road is about a twenty-five minute drive from our home so we don’t walk there regularly. My husband and I will go back there in the fall.

Wednesday 19 June 2019

The spirit of a dancer

She was a reluctant newborn, our granddaughter Sylvie. We weren’t sure she’d survive or if she did, if she’d have disabilities. Oxygen deprivation was a concern but Sylvie is our miracle who dances.

She has the spirit of a dancer, showing expression in every movement. This past year, she attended classes in tap, modern and ballet, did exams in modern and tap and did well in them. Sylvie shows “talent and musicality” according to the examiners. Also, she was invited to attend a dance camp this summer though she is younger than the required age for the camp.

At the end of the final show, Sylvie always cries because dance is over for another year. Her teacher sees her ability, enthusiasm and passion for dance and awarded her a trophy as the Junior Dancer of the Year. 

She also won a bursary in honour of a former dancer of the school who died tragically this past year. That young woman, Emma Gillis, had a passion for dance as well.

Sylvie is eight years old and her interest in dance may not survive the teenage years. However for now, her family supports her in her love of dance.

We’ll see where it takes her in the next few years.

Tuesday 18 June 2019

Millman Road in Irishtown

Heritage roads on Prince Edward Island are a link to the past. These old red dirt roads etched into the countryside were the thoroughfare for horse and cart in days gone by and never endured the modern day indignity of pavement. Without development, trees have stretched over the roads, providing seasonal beauty to all who walk their lengths. My husband and I have walked a number of these roads and Millman Road is our favourite thus far.

The leaves have unfurled for another year and their new green is brilliant.

Looking down Millman Road, one is enticed forward into the verdure.

There are places where the canopy is so thick that the road beneath is dark. 

The birds are invisible among the leaves but their theme music fits the setting. Ahead the sunlight brightens the road, urging us onward.

The road is cut deep into the red soil after more than a century. 

This leaves some of the forest floor at eye level where we can see tiny spring blooms. Star flower, 

Wild lily of the valley 

and Blue-bead lily 

are often overlooked but not today.

Apple blossoms line the canopy

and petals line the road. 

Animals love the sweet bounty every autumn.

Farmland lines both sides of the gently rolling countryside. At the crest of one of the hills, a view to Southwest River and beyond 

gives a sense of the island and its beauty.

The fields have been planted in neat rows and the crop has erupted from the soil.

Last summer was a dry one. This spring has been wet. What will this summer bring?

We finish our walk with Georgie, the golden grand-dog, who smiles every time she is off lead. 

The road is paradise for her and us.

Answers to questions from recent posts:

Barbara at asked how long it takes to get to Cavendish Grove. The Grove is about thirty minutes from our house. From end to end of this island is a three hour drive. For us, nothing is ever more than two hours away though most of our excursions are less than an hour from home. The boardwalk we visit regularly is five minutes away. In the summer, we rent a beach house on the eastern side of the island and explore that area. It is over an hour away.

Debra at asked about the Lake of Shining Waters. This lake is behind the sand dunes at Cavendish Beach. It is known as MacNeil’s Pond as well. On the park maps it is called Lake of Shining Waters in keeping with the Anne of Green Gables theme.

John at asked about the fence in the Cavendish Beach photo. The fence is to keep beach goers away from areas where Piping plovers are nesting. The endangered bird is returning to the area and park personnel are keeping them as safe as they can. These plovers nest on the beaches above the high water mark.

Sunday 16 June 2019

The nave

Their reaction was the same as mine. Our granddaughters were with us at Cavendish Grove and had their bikes. I mentioned the path through a stand of trees and the girls were eager to ride there. When we entered the path, they both uttered, “Whoa.” 

Whoa indeed. The trees are over 30 meters tall and the leaves rustle in the breeze. The trunks draw the eyes up, up, to those leaves where rays of sunlight peak through intermittent gaps in the branches.

This is a natural nave behind Cavendish Grove, in a stand of huge red, sugar 

and striped maples, birch and beech trees. A path through the trees resembles the center aisle in a church but that is only the beginning.

The trunks of the trees are the columns, the green leaf in the canopy is the ceiling

and the gaps in the leaves make the clerestory. 

The architect is a master of her craft with a design which defies time. Thousands of generations will recognize all of the materials in foundation to roof and the lines and colours which define this nave. One can sense the consideration and craftsmanship which went into every aspect of this masterpiece. 

Like the early Christian churches, there is no seating here. One walks through, breathing slowly to absorb the essence of creation , as the avian choir sings from an unseen loft. The sound carries beautifully in this hallowed space.

It, like the planet where it resides is a sacred place, to be revered and cherished.

Thursday 13 June 2019

A gaggle revisited

A return visit to Cavendish Grove to visit a gaggle of geese did not disappoint though we didn’t see them until we were ready to leave. When we arrived, we checked the basin and the pond where a goose had nested, then the upper pond where we had seen the geese during our last visit. No geese. 

My husband’s mother was visiting from Newfoundland and we brought a picnic lunch with us which we enjoyed in the burgeoning green of the grove. 

Afterwards, we walked to Cavendish Beach. It was a lovely sunny day with a bit of a cool breeze, perfect for a walk.

On our return to the car, the four geese and eight goslings were in the pond where the nesting island is located. 

We were delighted to see them and quietly stood at a distance to take some photos. The geese were wary of our presence nonetheless. They left that pond and crossed the path to the basin. 

The goslings are growing wings now and their colour is darker with each day. They ate the reeds they pulled up from the water and swam around with the adults.

We will return to look for them again.


We visited twice since then. The first time there was a gaggle of geese, two adults and nine geese, not the group we had seen before.

The second time, there weren’t any geese.

The Lake of Shining Waters is within walking distance of these small ponds. Could the adults, who would be molting now, have led the goslings to the large gaggle which always congregates there?

We plan to visit the lake to look for goslings.