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Monday 30 September 2019

Bits and bobs 4

Three weeks after Dorian, the clean up around the island is ongoing. An enormous number of trees fell and familiar scenes now look strangely bare. Flooded basements, damaged roofs, fences, and siding are all in need of repair as well. Consequently, many people are working at the clean-up and repair and lots of firewood is available for this winter. You know what they say about an ill wind...

In some areas of the island, two meters, or over six feet, of coastline washed away during the storm. The rising seas and increasing storm strength will accelerate coastal erosion. Much more of our tiny sandstone island will disappear into the sea as erosion accelerates. It is a scary thought!

Oyster harvest has begun but the catch is less than half of last year. This follows a spring when ice damaged the oyster beds. One has to wonder about the future of all types of fishing because of the changing climate.

There is a graffiti artist at work around the city. This one marks light posts along the boardwalk and buildings around the city. One such artist was arrested in the last year but another has taken up the challenge. The city does a good job of cleaning up and provided a skate park for such artistry but pristine light posts, signs and walls provide a tempting canvas for this latest vandal. In time this person too will be caught.  Each new mark along the boardwalk makes me want that to be soon.

The grandkids are back at dance again this fall. My husband and I help our daughter with the pick up from school and delivery to class and home afterwards. When classes start in September, it feels like the next ten months will be endless but one month is gone already. With classes starting an hour after school, the playground, the ice cream or donut shops are the kids’ favourite places to pass the time. Their grandfather likes the food locations best!

Samaritan’s Purse has been active in Summerside since Dorian visited three weeks ago. It is an evangelical Christian aid group which provides physical assistance to people as part of their missionary work. This past weekend, they repaired our neighbour’s fence. Her brain injured daughter loves to run in the yard and the fence keeps her safe. My husband and I repaired the fence previously but the storm caused more damage than we could fix. Two people from Samaritan’s Purse, one of whom travelled from Nova Scotia, repaired the fence, cost free. Now the young woman is safe again and her mother doesn’t have to worry every time she goes outside. 

There are good people in this world!


Friday 27 September 2019

A boy and his dog

The boy is two years old. He has two older sisters and wants to do everything they do. He learns from them and stretches the limits of what he can do as he mimics their actions. He is thrilled every time he does a “big kid” thing. Doing the same as his parents pleases him too, though not as much.

The golden retriever is almost ten. The average life span for the breed is ten to twelve years. She loves walking with the family or running off lead. She also enjoys a dip in a stream, pond or the ocean. The water doesn’t have to be clean either, much to the chagrin of her family. 

This day, the dog was off lead on the trail and ran hard and fast. She was tired on the way home. The boy wasn’t. He’d been in the stroller most of the way. On the way back to the house, he wanted to walk. The old dog walked beside him. The boy was thrilled.

They made a perfect pair.

Wednesday 25 September 2019

The horse farm

The kids had horses on the list of animals to see on Open Farm Day recently. One farm we visited had twenty horses and a variety of other animals, including rabbits, cats, dogs, turkeys, goats, and pigs. The kids loved it.

One turkey looked to be ready for Thanksgiving in a few weeks and not in a good way.

The goats were oblivious to the visitors 

as was the pig.

The Great Dane was taller than many of the children.

The horses were the highlight of the visit however.

Riding lessons are the bread and butter of this farm and that day, children had rides around the barn. Great fun for the kids!

The horses enjoyed the hay offered in the two paddocks.

Three miniature horses had their own enclosure but put their heads through the fence to be fed grass which was beyond their reach. The grass was longer on the other side of the fence. 

My favourite photo is of our six year old granddaughter feeding the horse which had its head through the fence. She was unafraid of the animals, even this toothy one.

Monday 23 September 2019

The pig farm

We call it the pig farm but this farm has free range chickens 

and dairy cows as well.

Ranald sells pork at the local farmer’s market and his product is delicious. This year, on Open Farm Day, the farm received an award for milk quality. 

The pigs were the attraction for the children. They have visited this farm for the last number of years and always look forward to the pigs and their antics. Before our eldest granddaughter could talk she could sign some words. As we walked around the farm that year, she signed, “More pigs,” as we went around every turn at the farm.

Again this year, a sow was in a stall with her babies. 

Outside, in a penned area, 

young pigs of various sizes played and ate as visitors watched. Nearby two pens of older pigs stood together or dug into the cool earth. 

Our two year old grandson who enjoys the Peppa Pig cartoons, watched the pigs intently but couldn’t find Peppa anywhere. 

Maybe next year.

Thursday 19 September 2019


Every September, some Prince Edward Island farms participate in Open Farm Day and again this year, my husband and I accompanied our daughter and the kids to some of the farms in the west of the island.  One farm breeds and raises alpacas for fibre.

The farm had three baby alpacas this year. The little ones were in an enclosure with their mothers and a few others. One approached its mother to nurse and was rebuffed. The little animal was persistent however and eventually the mother relented.   

It was shy afterwards and looked out over its mother’s back at the crowd. 

Another little one was tired and lay down in the yard and fell asleep. The others ignored it and it slept in spite of the admirers looking on.

There are several colours of alpacas in the flock of thirty-six animals and shearing had been completed by Farm Day. 

Their legs aren’t sheared so they look fluffy. They have pretty faces, at least to this observer and their eyelashes would make anyone who enjoys mascara application drool.

The farm has a store on the premises which sells alpaca yarn and knit products such as socks and sweaters.

Griswald, the llama, is also on the premises.

So much bigger than the alpacas, llamas are usually domesticated as pack animals or for meat in the Andes. Griswald allowed visitors, including one of our granddaughters, to feed him pieces of apple supplied by his owner. 

A young teenager was friendly and answered any questions people had. He was an excellent ambassador for the farm. We will visit again.

Saturday 14 September 2019

Forest vignettes

Prior to Dorian’s visit to Prince Edward Island, my husband and I went with the golden grand-dog to the Bonshaw Hills for a hike. The forest was in its late summer glory. 

The ferns were thick in the undergrowth as the fullness of summer has brought them to their peak condition.

One tree trunk was missing its hobbit door.

Hundreds of what look like bracket mushrooms clung to a trunk, taking over one side.

At various locations along the trails, apple trees shed their fruit over the ground, making it hard to avoid squishing them under foot. The scent of apples filled the air.

In a stand of evergreens, needles cover the ground, a huge difference from the fern filled undergrowth.

One of my favourite scenes of the day is a tree trunk black from the shade and an aura of green around it.

Out with the old and in with the new as one stump is consumed by nature and other trees take hold.

Every now and then the forest gives us proof it is the nerve centre of the earth. These roots resembling a nerve cell illustrate the importance of the earth’s forests.

And though I love summer, who could help but look forward to next month?

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.