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Thursday, 2 April 2020

Copying


The harbour ice was beginning to break up though the ice was still on-shore.





Then the wind changed direction overnight and much of the ice moved off-shore. However, along the shoreline in the outer part of the harbour, huge pans of ice were stranded because of the low tide. 




It made me think of my Newfoundland home.


During the spring years ago in the coves and bays, any chance they had, youngsters were copying, jumping from pan to pan of floating ice, following a leader as they went. Imagine the ice as thicker and far less even as it floated around with the tide. A combination of broad jump and balance beam skills were required as each child in turn crossed a cove pan by pan. A false step could be deadly as falling or slipping into the cold Atlantic was a real threat. Over the years some young people lost their lives.


Many a parent threatened their children with serious bodily injury if they were caught copying. Meanwhile youngsters looked for opportunities when their parents were occupied so they could play on the ice. 


Here in Summerside, the ice is too thin and isn’t floating so it wouldn’t be much of a challenge though it looks like someone checked it out.


The next day the ice was gone into the Northumberland Strait where 7 degrees Celsius quickly melted it. 





However, I enjoyed the memories of home.



Sunday, 29 March 2020

Ducky

The ice is finally gone on the stream and the ducks came back right away, as if they were watching nearby when the water started flowing. There were three American Black Ducks on the stream, 





two swimming around above the bridge and another preening itself 





on ice at the edge of the stream.





The preening one gave quite a show 





as it contorted its neck while we watched.





The large duck looked quite pleased with itself as it finished 





and strutted along the ice.





Ducks are such interesting creatures and are a pleasure to watch. Two of my favourite photos from last year were of a single American Black Duck in a salt water marsh further along the boardwalk.





The bird looks so thrilled with itself and life in general.





Pretty bird! 



Friday, 27 March 2020

Spring around here

These days, my husband and I are on the boardwalk any day the weather permits. Since we are not seeing our grandchildren, family or friends, except via technology, the outdoors and exercise are more important than ever.


Since pandemic isolation keeps us physically away from others, keeping up with fellow bloggers is important too. The signs of spring in your blogs are spectacular as bulbs erupt and bloom and trees blossom. Even the autumn looks of Australia and New Zealand are filled with colour. As we walk here, we look for signs of spring around us, though they don’t involve colour. Here, disappearing ice and snow signal spring. These photos were taken just over a week in time. They show the melting ice, shifting and thinning sea ice and melting snow. 


From the bridge, looking out to the harbour, 





the snow covered ice gave way to clear ice 





which then melted.





When it’s windy, the sea ice moves around. The Northumberland Strait 





which was full of ice a few days ago is now open, with ice predominantly along the shoreline of the island.





Along the walkway, 





the snow is disappearing as well.





While there aren’t any blossoms or blooms, our time in the spring air as the temperature rises gives us hope for the colour to come and the end of the pandemic.




Sunday, 22 March 2020

Meanwhile

People across the planet are faced with the reality of the Covid 19 pandemic. Canada, with the rest of the world, is grappling with how to control the rate of infection so as not to overburden the health care system. Here on Prince Edward Island, returning March break vacationers have been urged to self isolate. The three infected people here returned from vacations.


Meanwhile, along the boardwalk, the animals are going about their business as usual. The blue jays are watching every move as walkers often leave peanuts for them. They provide colour among the trees.





A huge murder of crows enjoyed the boardwalk this past winter. Only a few were visible this day but this one was quite loud. It sounded like it was scolding us.





The red squirrels were active. This acrobatic one managed to retrieve seeds from the hanging feeder.





We’d had snow which clung to some of the trees and as the day progressed, water ran down the tree trunks. We watched several minutes as this squirrel licked the water from the trees.





Now that much of human activity has ground to a halt, pollution levels over large cities have decreased tremendously. Is this virus showing us the path forward for the health of the planet? Pandemic for humans means the earth gets a breather.

Friday, 20 March 2020

An anti-viral tale

Time at home has never been a problem for me or my husband. Since we retired, there have been times in the winter when I haven’t gone outside for more than two weeks. I hate the cold biting winds and staying inside is an option when the treadmill provides exercise. My husband is the same. Our introverted selves are happy at home.


Every winter, I only buy groceries every two weeks or more. By the time I go for groceries, every fruit and veg in the house has been used. We waste little. I bought groceries early last Saturday morning when there were few people in the store. To avoid the flu every year, I have learned not to touch my face so I don’t find it difficult any more. Much hand washing followed though and I washed anything I touched when I came in the house. We have groceries for a few weeks at least.


A parcel arrived and I washed down the box and its contents. Mail gets the same going over and is left to air dry.


There are two confirmed cases of Covid 19 on Prince Edward Island, a person returned from a cruise and another from a trip to the U.K. Their contacts have been isolated and over two hundred people tested. We have had contact with our daughter and the kids and will continue to do so into the foreseeable future.


The kids are out of school for March break and schools are closed for an additional two weeks. Our daughter keeps a schedule of school work, chores, time outdoors, puzzles and games with them. For now, they are excited about their confinement. Who knows how long that will last? Teachers will have academic information for parents on-line next week as well.


I was out yesterday to help a friend in Emergency at the hospital for an issue unrelated to Covid. There was a hand wash station inside the doors as well as masks at the entrance to the area. A nurse in protective garb questioned me before I was allowed any further. To say I was nervous there is an understatement. We owe a huge debt to the men and women who go to work and risk their own health and that of their families every day during this crisis.


We will walk along the boardwalk for some fresh air. It is possible to stay away from fellow walkers there since the area is never crowded. The time in nature is better than a walk in the neighbourhood. However for me, either is better than the treadmill.


How are social distancing and isolation going for you? 











Monday, 16 March 2020

Change of plans

Travel is a thing of the past for my husband and I. Once avid world travellers, it has been six years since we took out the passports to go abroad. That changed last week as we packed the old suitcases and with renewed passports, planned to travel with our daughter and the grandkids. Friday was the departure date. That was until Thursday night when closures and travel advisories changed our plans. The Covid 19 virus hit the travel industry.

Our flight and reservations were booked early last October. This virus wasn’t on anyone’s radar at that time. Our daughter decided she wouldn’t tell the kids about the trip until the morning we left. It would be a huge surprise. Suitcases were readied without their knowledge. I had prepared a scavenger hunt for them for Friday morning, with clues as to where we were going. Our daughter had everything in place Thursday night, ready for the kids. It was not to be.

It was fortunate they didn’t know about the trip because I wouldn’t want them to be one half as devastated as our daughter was. However, at the same time, my husband and I, both in our sixties, had the viral news foremost in our minds all along. It is hard to describe the mixed feelings we had about the prospect of travel at this time. Things worked out for the best obviously.

We managed to recoup the total cost of the trip. The hotel was not an issue. Air Canada gave us a refund instead of another flight because of a mistake they made with our booking. We were very fortunate. How could we plan another trip when it is impossible to know how long this virus will be a threat? 

We hope to survive the onslaught of the virus and travel with our family at a future date.



 

Thursday, 5 March 2020

Out of the ice

My usual poetry is rhyming verse for the grandkids. They love scavenger hunts and I write the rhyming clues which result in giggles and scurrying. Inspired by the Confederation Bridge, I wrote this poem about my winter experience of the bridge. No rhymes involved.



It rises out of the ice and snow


Which blankets the Northumberland Strait...


Thirteen kilometres of defiance.





Ingenuity and design determined


How to span the distance


And withstand nature’s icy breath.





We stand and watch as vehicles


Traverse the distance on this winter day...


Concrete defying winter’s embrace.



Arches are reminiscent of Roman aqueducts,

 

But traffic flows here above the water


As sons and daughters come home to visit.





Economics keeps traffic moving too 


Though nature can stop everything


When the weather dictates.





Soon ships will travel through the arches.


Then tourists will join the regular traffic


As those who watch continue to marvel at its beauty.





Tuesday, 3 March 2020

Around the countryside

With my husband at the wheel, I was able to take in the countryside during our recent drive west of our home. Several items caught my eye along the way and the mid morning country roads in winter made it easy to stop, easier than it often is anyway.


This sign on a pole high above a scrap yard was an anomaly. 





This island province of Prince Edward doesn’t have moose unlike our home province, Newfoundland, where introduced moose thrived. In Newfoundland, moose and vehicular accidents are common and the reason we rarely drove on the highway at night. No such worry here so this sign reminds us of home. 


The owl statue on top of the pole is a deterrent to other birds but only works for a limited time. I didn’t notice the owl until I looked at the photo at home.


Overlooking a scrap yard, a tow truck has a jeep in tow. 





Both have seen better days and will spend the last of them here. A crow is along for this last ride.


I have never seen a two story gazebo. The view of the ocean must be spectacular from the top deck.




Most of us don’t keep one of these by the shed.





This old barn has seen better days. Farm equipment, animals, hay all may have had their time here. I wonder what is in there now?




The sound of the running water was a peaceful end to a winter drive.











Sunday, 1 March 2020

Foxy

It looked as if there was a Golden Retriever on the road ahead, similar to Georgie, the golden grand-dog in the back seat. However, it is unusual to see dogs on the roads in Prince Edward Island. We slowed down on this country road about fifteen minutes from home and as we drew near, we realized it was a fox. Since it was green bin day and the temperature was mild, the compost bins probably enticed this beauty to the road for a sniff and a look around.





The small Red Fox ran down over the embankment when Georgie started to bark. Then it stopped and watched as I put down the window and took some photos. 





Georgie couldn’t see it from her position and stopped barking. The fox stayed there for a few minutes before it headed into the woods.





There are foxes in our area and they hunt in the neighbourhood at night. We’ve caught them on the doorbell camera a few times crossing the front walkway. When Georgie visits, she always follows the tracks around the house, sniffing as she goes. Sometimes she wakes in the middle of the night and wants to go fox hunting but we’ve banned it in our yard. Georgie, like us, admires them from afar but is much louder about it.









Friday, 28 February 2020

Roadside

This bird blends into the countryside, even in the snow. As we drove along the north shore of the island, my husband caught sight of the movement along the side of the road. We stopped and as I exited the car I could see the long tail feathers.





Ring-Necked Pheasants were introduced to Prince Edward Island as game birds. They have settled into life on the island as we all do and they too are doing well. This is the second male pheasant we’ve seen in different areas.





You can see how well this one blends in among the trees. As I crept forward, it walked away but was not in any rush. I had the opportunity to see the furled feathers of various colours which make the long body. The red face alone is a wonder.





My father-in-law tied flies for salmon fishing on the rivers of Newfoundland and pheasant feathers were in demand. Pheasant under glass, a recipe for the breast of the bird, is a gastronomic treat. I prefer pheasant with their feathers in their natural environment.


Tuesday, 25 February 2020

Seven weeks of winter

On the second day of 2020, I drove to Seven Mile Bay and took some photos of the Confederation Bridge. It was a day with cloudy periods and the sun was within an hour of setting. The sunlight played on the bridge when it periodically broke through the clouds.





The Northumberland Strait was not frozen at that point, as it wouldn’t be for a few more weeks. 





However, there was ice along the shoreline and the countryside was beginning to accumulate snow in places.


Now in the last week in February, the scene looks different.  The convergence of land and sea is complete and the frozen, snow covered land appears to continue around the bridge and beyond. 





One might be tempted to walk out there but the ice in the strait is choppy because of the wave action. This is not a place for an ice highway.


Milder weather this week will melt some of this ice and make it less stable than it already is. However, with so much ice along the south coast, it is cold along the coastline even on a day with the temperature above zero.


It is easy to complain about these conditions but they are part of the history and culture of this place. Those of us who have come to call this island home, have come to understand its significance and enjoy it while it lasts. 







Saturday, 22 February 2020

Convergence

The land and sea converge here at the edge of the city. People walk to the end of the boardwalk and then to the edge of the shore to look out over the vast white plain which covers the Northumberland Strait. The overcast day emphasizes the scene as the winter blue along the horizon accentuates the cold.





Many will find this scene bleak. However the small tree and the remnants of the vegetation visible through the snow withstand harsh conditions. They resist and persist. 





So do the people who come to this place to take in the setting and the atmosphere despite the cold. They are a testament to the human spirit and are an inspiration.





Freezing temperatures, snow and ice are the great equalizers here although what lies beneath is different. Nature creates these conditions and nature will restore the land and sea to their warmer selves.


The footprints visible in the snow will disappear and those who walk here will linger longer as the temperature rises. Soon land and sea will be distinct again. However, for a few weeks every year, they converge and become as one in a spectacle of nature.


Thursday, 20 February 2020

Winter at Cavendish Beach

It was one of those days when winter invites you outside. Without a breeze and 2 degrees Celsius, my husband and I headed to the beach at Cavendish for a walk. Georgie, the golden grand-dog accompanied us. She enjoys the area too but to be honest, she enjoys everywhere.


The boardwalk to the beach at Cavendish was empty as we approached. This was one of the rare times this has ever happened since locals visit the beach in the off season. The wood against the backdrop of the snow and sky gave us pause. 





The boardwalk disappeared behind a sand dune giving the sense of a walk into the unknown. Georgie was anxious to go while I wanted to take in the scene for a few minutes. She won!


Along the way we could see through the dunes that the sea along the north shore was not frozen this year as is usually the case.





The stream across the marshland and behind the dunes hadn’t frozen either.





From the top of the boardwalk overlooking the beach, the dunes were frozen and snow covered while the beach was frozen past the low water mark. 





It was possible to walk along its length.





Dogs are allowed on the beach in the winter and without a soul in the area, we let Georgie off lead to run between us as she always does. 





I heard a buzzing which sounded as if it came from the sand dunes. Above, a drone flew over the dunes as we watched. 



                                          A drone looks like an insect above the dunes

A few minutes later, what I think was a juvenile bald eagle flew over, scanning the beach for lunch. The feathered flier was my favourite.





Off shore, pans of ice were visible in the distance. Unless we have consistently cold days for an extended period, the north shore will not ice up this year. So far this winter, we have a few cold days, then the temperature rises to hover near zero for a day or two. We have had a significant fall of ice pellets this year too which was unusual. Winter, as ever, is hard to predict.