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Tuesday 30 July 2019

Blue sky

It’s not the traditional blue sky you think of when you hear the phrase. However, it was just as beautiful in its own way.

On our recent beach vacation, we had one rainy day which required indoor activities for the grandkids. The night before at low tide,

we were on the beach a few hours before sunset.

It was partly cloudy when we arrived 

but as the darker clouds moved in, the colours around us changed.

It was one of those times when you just sit and watch the spectacle.   

Sunday 28 July 2019

Beach dog

The golden grand-dog accompanied us on vacation at the beach house recently and we had the opportunity to have her off lead on the secluded beach.

It was a pleasure to watch her joy in the freedom to choose where she sniffed or ventured, including into the water.

Georgie took great joy in running into and out of the water, then rolling in the red sand. 

Shaking off, she sent a spray of sand everywhere, covering you too if you were close enough. I wasn’t fast enough to get away one time and I was covered, even in my hair. 

At low tide Georgie liked to roll in the seaweed. I don’t know of anything she likes better than being wet and smelly. 

This Golden retriever is not known for retrieving. When you throw a stick she normally runs to it and chews it. This past week, she retrieved the same stick thrown into the water three times. Then she looked at my husband as if to say, “You’re not serious! I brought it back to you three times already.”

After that week when Georgie had freedom on the beach, I’ve come to feel sad for her in her regular life. It is a quiet life usually, with our daughter and the kids or my husband and I. She is a loyal, loving dog and is great with the kids. However, she loved the freedom to explore on her own near her family. I wish she could explore like that every day.

Thursday 25 July 2019

At the beach house in southeast King’s

The beach house is on the southeast shore of Prince Edward Island in King’s county. We rented the house, about an hour and a half from home, for a week recently with our daughter and the grandkids.

The house is down a long, narrow, tree-lined, red dirt road to the sea. It sits at the end of farmed fields, which grow soy beans this year. Decks on the house overlook the sea and a screened area with a hot tube makes for relaxation and comfort away from insects.

We only saw four other people walking the beach the entire week. It is pristine, the red sand lapped by the waters of the Northumberland Strait. The gentle breeze cools the body enough to be comfortable in the summer heat.

The shoreline shows evidence of erosion along its length. The soft red sandstone which breaks apart if you drop a piece is easily washed away. In places, the ocean can take a meter of shoreline every year.

Walks on the beach fill the morning with the golden grand-dog enjoying every minute off lead, sniffing every nook and cranny. She, my husband and I walk further than the kids who prefer to play in the sand. Off in the distance, the Point Prim Lighthouse stands watch as it has for more than a century.

Sea life abounds, as rock pools appear at low tide, revealing moon snails, crabs, hermit crabs, clam and mussel shells, whelks and limpets.

Suppers are later than usual and fires on the beach fill the evenings as the kids roast marshmallows. 

The rhythm of life slows down as the rhythm of the sea takes over for a few days every summer. 

Tuesday 23 July 2019

Berries and jam

After a cold spring which put the growing season back by two weeks, strawberries are finally ripe. I’ve spent some time with our daughter and the kids at the u-pick. The berries are delicious, so fresh and juicy. The kids have eaten pounds of them over a few days.

It was fun to watch them learn the art of strawberry picking, such as checking the berries are fully ripe before you pick. They soon learned the deep red ones are the juiciest and to avoid any which are overripe. 

Owen, at two, learned to pick the berries and how to take off the green leaves before he ate them. We should have weighed him going in and coming out of the patch.

My husband and I ate some fresh and then I made jam. Three bottles were a lot of work on a hot summer day but I didn’t have room to freeze them and I couldn’t stop myself from picking so many.

I also picked the rhubarb in our back yard. Again I made jam, just three bottles. One granddaughter likes strawberry jam, the other rhubarb. I invited them over to make tea biscuits with me and we sampled the jam. 

The oldest, Sylvie, said as she finished her fourth biscuit, slathered in rhubarb jam, “I’ll have to take a bottle of that home with me.”

To which Caitlin replied, “And I want strawberry.”

It will be a busy few days around here making jam. We’ll try a combination of strawberry rhubarb this time.

Sunday 21 July 2019


Camping is not something I’ve done much in my lifetime. I stayed in a tent for a few nights when I was in university in the early 1970s, but that was it. My husband says, “Roughing it means no mints on the pillow.” Our married lives haven’t involved time in a tent in the great outdoors. There are mosquitoes and black flies and that is the deal breaker for me. Except for one day last week.

Our grandkids wanted to go camping and our daughter was on holidays. She has two tents, a large two room one and a small one, a three person tent according to the description.

To begin with, the fight against the insect population has taken big strides since the 1970s. However, the spays and creams have an odour or feel greasy. There are candles which purport to keep mosquitoes and black flies away and we found those helpful. However, the mosquitoes were huge and the bites were particularly itchy, for days.

But, enough of the negative.

The time with the family was busy and fun. After setting up at the campsite, we spent the afternoon at the beach. The kids loved in the water with their mother. My husband and I walked the golden grand-dog on the beach. After supper around the campfire and the requisite s’mores, we sang campfire songs and played games.

Tired children settled into the beds just after sunset, followed soon after by the adults. The women anyway. Mr. Mints on the Pillow went home to sleep.

The tent was hard to enter and leave for someone with hip and knee issues but I managed, not with record speed mind you. I could sit on the air mattress but that was it. However, the mattress was comfortable and without insects in the tent, it made for a good night’s sleep.

The campsite was surrounded with conifers, mainly spruce trees. The wind came up after sunset and it played with the trees. The sound was reminiscent of summer nights as a child, windows open, the breeze through the trees the ambient sound. In the tent, it was comforting and peaceful, not humid or windy enough to make the tent flap in the breeze.

It was surprising how many needles fell from the spruce trees through the night. They rolled down the roof and fell off. I listened for a few minutes and was lulled asleep by the surroundings.

It rained through the night and I awoke but not for long. The space was dry and comfortable. The rain just added to the natural beauty of the setting.

I didn’t have a watch, radio, iPad or phone. It was time unplugged and I enjoyed every minute. The cares of the world were unimportant for a few short hours. 

The giggles from across the campsite when the kids woke were priceless as they all settled in for a few minutes of tickling and cuddles with their mother. 

Mr. MP was back with the golden grand-dog in time for breakfast. I played with the kids as he and our daughter took down the tents. 

Showers at home relieved everyone of the odour of smoke and fly spray but the memories are indelible. 

Questions and answers:

Jenn at asked when Setting Day is each year. The spring lobster season begins the first of May, so the end of April, the fishers set their traps. This past season, the weather was bad, so Setting Day was delayed for two days until the weather improved. 

Thursday 18 July 2019

Mallard mothers

A week after our first sighting of Mallard ducklings at Cavendish Grove, we went back to see them. This time, we found two Mallard mothers with ducklings. One had five ducklings in the lower pond

and the other, ten ducklings in the upper pond. 

I believe these latter ducks to be the ones my husband and I had seen the week before.

We had walked between the ponds in search of the ducklings, hoping the five we spotted in the lower pond weren’t all that was left of the ten we’d seen previously. However, the ten and their mother had made the short trek to the upper pond as we had and were enjoying their time there.

The ducklings were playful, 

rambunctious even, as they dived into the water one after the other, sending the water high into the air. Their mother dabbled quietly, dipping and surfacing. She held her head high as she swam around the ducklings. It looked like the young were in competition for the highest splash, the way all youngsters compete.

In the previous post about the ducklings, I mentioned the molting male Mallard I had seen. A few days later, I saw a pair of molting mallards on the stream in Summerside. 

The male, usually such a pretty bird, was quite bedraggled. I guess anyone can have a bad hair, I mean feather, day.

Wednesday 17 July 2019

Along the boardwalk

It amazes me every year how the vegetation along the boardwalk goes from winter browns and greys to lush green in a matter of a few weeks. Along the boardwalk now, the July wildflowers fill every centimetre of space on both sides of the trail.

St. John’s Wort,



to name just a few, are at their peak now, soon to make room for the August wild ones.

Where wildflowers are not present, tall grasses, some two meters high, dwarf the average walker with their impressive size.

Along the stream, is just a few weeks, the bulrushes have grown rapidly, filling the banks of the stream and the salt water marsh.

Molting ducks hide among the growth as the blackbirds continue to fend off the ravens from their young.

Nature, which was asleep for so long, has a few months to grow for this year and is taking full advantage of the heat, every raindrop and ray of sunlight. We who are her witnesses are in awe of her.  

Friday 12 July 2019

A day at the beach

Cabot Beach Provincial Park has one of our favourite beaches in the province.  We visit this area every spring to watch the lobster fishers leave for Setting Day, the first day of the lobster fishery. This past spring the channel from the harbour was being dredged at that time, so my husband and I watched the dredging too.

Now lobster season on the north coast of Prince Edward Island is over so it is quiet on the water today but the channel through the waterway is marked along the margins of the sand bars. 

Last summer, the moving sand bars defied the markers and one boat capsized on its way into port, fortunately without injury. 

As the tide recedes during the hours we are there, the sand bars become obvious as swimmers venture further from shore in ankle deep water. Seaweed is exposed with the lower tide. 

The Marram grass has grown rapidly since April, recovered now from the duress of winter. The grass is on the beach above the high water mark and over the sand dunes. 

A walk further down the beach shows how the sand dunes are disappearing along the shoreline of the channel with each storm. 

I wonder how long it will be before the small stand of trees disappears into the sea.

At the other end of the beach, one sees the erosion of the cliffs and the beginning of a sea stack or arch. The beach is a study in erosion of a coastline.

Seagulls are busy on a sand bar just off shore. Their seagull chorus is reminiscent of other beaches in other places and times. Many gulls carry seaweed around, possibly for a nest though it is late in the season.

There are not many people on the beach as we take turns walking its length with the golden grand-dog. 

She makes friends easily and many ask to pet her which Georgie loves. I swear she smiles at everyone.

The kids play in the sand and dabble in the water as the tide recedes. It is a gorgeous day of island summer life.

Questions and answers:

Ruth at  asked if I had ever dried peonies as she had. While I have dried flowers in the past, I have never dried peonies. It would be a great project however.

Thursday 11 July 2019

Fleeting blooms

Peony blooming time is here and the plants in the front garden are at their prime. These few days every summer have my favourite blooms of the year.

Over the years, I have added new varieties to the mix and some are beginning to produce blooms now, 

though they are small this year.

One of the new plants produces a bloom which is white between rows of pale pink petals.

The bloom is beautiful when it first opens but over a few days it stretches open to reveal three distinct layers of beauty.

Other blooms are from the first plants we purchased eight years ago and are well established now. My favourite is the white peonies with the touch of rose.

The individual blooms are the size of dinner plates and last the longest of all the blooms.

Despite my efforts to cage and tie them up, some blooms insist on falling over into other plants but I like that effect too. For me, peonies can do no wrong.

Ants are enjoying the buds again.

They show up every year like clock work, just in time for the nectar produced by the peony buds. They must write it on the calendar from year to year.

It’s time now too for the high winds which are detrimental to the soft blooms of the peonies. Every year they blow the petals from the flowers. Until that time, you know where I will be with my camera.