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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.

Monday 19 August 2019

Going home

One of my favourite settings in the world is a beach. This feeling about beaches developed during my childhood by the sea. At that time, it was the North Atlantic and a beach with smoothed beach rocks rather than sand. For me, the sound of the sea is like music, the smell of the sea takes me back in time and the sight of its gentle lap or waves of various heights comfort me. It is one of the reasons I love Prince Edward Island so much. Though it is part of my psyche, the sea is also physically near wherever I am on this island. 

A recent wander brought my husband and I to Thunder Cove, on the central north coast. The beach there feels like it goes on forever.

From the red cliffs near the parking area, the shoreline becomes sand dunes covered in Marram grass behind which are several areas with cottages, though few are visible from the beach. This beach is pristine, beautiful red sand with little seaweed at the high tide mark.

It wasn’t crowded. The further we walked, the more likely the beach goers were cottagers accessing the beach via an occasional trail through the dunes or stairs.

We kept the golden grand-dog on lead because Semipalmated plovers darted along the sand as the waves lapped the beach. 

At the east end of the beach, more sandstone cliffs separate Thunder Cove from the next beach, a shorter though equally beautiful one. 

The sandstone here is well weathered and doesn’t look stable. It is not an area for climbing though one might be tempted to do so. Above in the earth over the sandstone, a hole indicates a bird might be home, probably a bank swallow.

Two men prepared to launch a catamaran into the on-shore breeze as the tide receded. We watched as they hoisted the sails but didn’t see them leave.

This beach is nothing like the beach of my youth, however, the essentials are the same. The sound, smell and sight take me back to another time and place but one just as beautiful. The truth is when the sea is in your blood, you are never far from home.

Friday 16 August 2019

The setting sun

We sat on the beach and watched during the mere minutes it took the sinking sun to disappear below the western horizon. 

The kids, sat on the laps of the three adults, 

were silent. The only sound was the water lapping on the shoreline. 

The silence was appropriate in front of the natural spectacle.

“Ahhh...,” erupted as the sun finally disappeared.

Then the search began for the first star for each of us to make a wish.

Some moments are unforgettable for several reasons.

Wednesday 14 August 2019

Through the wildflowers

Looking out to the harbour at Summerside from the boardwalk, one must look through the wildflowers in a number of areas this month. It makes for a rare view of the harbour, filtered through the wild colours and beauty of nature. 

Queen Anne’s lace, whether in a meadow-like setting

or a few clumps here and there, 

always catch the eye. Spent blooms close into basket shapes as the seeds form. The baskets have their own intricacy. Could a human hand create such beauty?

Goldenrod adds some of the yellow of its August glory to the scenes 

as it pops up amid various coloured companions, including the purples of thistle.

Various grasses are tall and wave in the breeze, 

reaching over the heads of most of the passers-by. Their height and uniformity make me stop and look.

Insects love the various wild blooms too and occasionally I capture them with the lens. 

Meanwhile, the harbour has diamonds on its surface, the sun offering her best reflections as background.

Every time my husband and I visit the boardwalk, I photograph the same scenes. This month will bring much change to the area as the flowers set their seed. I am interested to see them.