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Tuesday 26 May 2020


Recently I was near the International Children’s Memorial Park in central Prince Edward Island and since I hadn’t visited for a few years, I decided to stop by.

The park commemorates children who have died and in the two years since my last visit, many trees have been planted in the memorial forest. As I looked across the area, it was obvious many parents have experienced sorrow and pain in those two years, pain no parent should ever have to know, the death of a child.

There is a pond in the park where islanders fish in season. A trail runs beside the pond. The last time I walked the trail at Scales Pond, hundreds of butterflies lifted off the plants lining the trail. 

It was a spirit lifting experience after walking beside the memorial forest.

The experience this year was similar although not with butterflies. Tree Swallows darted about high above the water, drawing the eyes upward in wonder at the sight of them. Try as I might, I couldn’t manage a good photo of them. However, numerous unseen European Starlings rested in the tall grass ahead of me and as I approached, they lifted skyward, taking my spirits with them.

I managed this photo after watching many starlings take flight.

The location of this park has a way to take you out of yourself to look beyond. It is a wonderful memorial to our children.

Sunday 24 May 2020

Here fishy fishy

Like her paternal grandfather before her, our daughter enjoys recreational fishing. Every year she takes the kids fishing and my husband and I tag along at least once, though we are not fishers. The kids look forward to the adventure and the three year old had received a new fishing rod for his birthday. It was their first trip for the year.

The older two, girls nine and seven, have caught fish before so the anticipation of the capture this year was foremost in their minds. The three year old wasn’t sure what to except since he couldn’t remember anything from last year when he’d just turned two. However he was caught up in the excitement like his sisters.

The path to the area was lined with dandelion which the girls noticed because of the bees they attracted. There are lots of bees around early this year.

We arrived before noon and the kids, readied by their mother and maintained by the three adults, fished for an hour before they wanted lunch. 

We’d brought a picnic of course and the sunny day was perfect for a blanket on the grass while the seniors sat in their camp chairs.

The area is a Red-winged Blackbird paradise and we saw more males than females. This one is showing off his coloured epaulet. 

Song Sparrows also love the area and they, with the blackbirds and grackles, kept us entertained as we ate. This sparrow looks like it needs a feather trim like many of us need haircuts these days. 

I also spotted this Yellow Warbler, a first for me, 

flitting amongst the trees.

On our way back to the vehicle, one area of the pond was extremely noisy. We stopped and listened to what we believe are American Toads singing their courtship song. You can hear birds as well. The video is 30 seconds.

Small creatures can leave a big impression!

The kids didn’t catch any trout but the time by the pond was fun for everyone. There’s always next time!


During the next fishing trip, each of the kids caught a fish. They declared the day the best ever!

Thursday 21 May 2020

The beach at Brander’s Pond

The beach at Brander’s Pond is one of our favourites and every year we visit at least once. This year few of the cottagers have returned to the area and we were the only people on the beach. Non resident cottagers haven’t been granted entry to the island yet due to the Corona virus.

The pond empties into the Gulf of St Lawrence and the water is crystal clear. 

Nearby ducks played in the pond though I couldn’t get a good photo.

The sea stack along the shoreline is one of the attractions of this area.

Our visit in August of last year resulted in one of my favourite photos of the year. 

The white atop the sea stack is guano of the Double-crested Cormorants who enjoy sunning themselves there. They haven’t returned to the stack yet this year though there were plenty flying along the coastline while we had lunch and watched the fishing boats.


The sea stack has eroded over the last three years though not as much as I expected. The shoreline has taken a bigger hit you can see.


The beach is pristine, with the exception of some fishing gear which washes ashore every year. The red sand and sandstone cliffs are in sharp contrast to the sea. Looking closely at the cliffs, 

one can see the layers of sand deposited and hardened over time which are easily eroded.

The view up the beach draws us onward.

The reality of the pandemic is light years away for a few hours.

Tuesday 19 May 2020

The land

Last week on the way to the beach where we saw fishers off shore setting their lobster traps for the season, we passed numerous fields where farmers were turning or had turned the soil for this season.

I was surprised to see the dust from this field. We have had so much rain recently and lots of snow this winter which has only melted in the last month. It is an indication of how much water is needed to keep the soil hydrated.

Of course we are never far from the sea on Prince Edward Island. You can see Malpeque Bay in the background at the right of the photo.

This field was on a hill above Brander’s Pond.

The road to the beach runs alongside the field. This equipment was more modern than the previous tractor. I remember my grandfather with a horse and plough which he manoeuvred holding two handles as he walked behind. A part of history now!

These fields off the Confederation Trail 

and beside Scales Pond appear to be ready for planting this year.

Land and sea are woven into a rich tapestry which make this little island so special.

Sunday 17 May 2020

Setting day

Friday past was Setting Day on Prince Edward Island, the day when the lobster traps are set for the first part of the lobster season. In the island tradition, family and friends gather at day break around the wharf and along the shoreline to see the fishers off this first day. This year was different. People were encouraged to stay home because of Covid precautions.

The last several years, my husband and I have gone to the shoreline early in the morning at Cabot Beach and watched as the boats left Malpeque Harbour. 

                                                                  Setting Day 2019

The boats were low in the water, filled with as many traps as they could carry while families waved them on.

                                        Boats loaded with lobster traps, Setting Day 2019

Boats returned to port to load up again to finish the job.

Setting Day this year was a beautiful sunny day with a slight breeze so my husband and I, mid morning instead of day break, went to the beach on the north shore near Brander’s Pond. A walk on the beach was in order.

Fortunately, fishers in one fishing boat were busy setting their traps just off shore and we watched other boats in the distance. 

We walked, had a leisurely picnic and watched the fishers hard at work.

Later, we visited New London and watched the boats move up the channel back to port. 

We saw one headed out again with the last of its traps. 

While we didn’t see the loaded boats leaving port encouraged by the crowd, we did enjoy Setting Day nonetheless. Lobster will be on the menu this week for sure.

Friday 15 May 2020

Trails at Bonshaw

The provincial and national parks are closed in Prince Edward Island because of the Covid pandemic but the trails of Bonshaw are open to hikers. Bonshaw and the adjoining trails at Strathgartney are two of our favourite hiking areas so my husband and I headed out this week.

The parking lot was almost full. Steady movement of people through the lot showed how eager people were to be out and about in these times. It was sunny, windy and cold, but among the trees it was comfortable.

The earth is beginning to yield new growth now as plants push their way through the humus. The trees have buds which are growing, giving the promise of the new green of spring in a few weeks.

The coniferous trees are becoming a vibrant green again as the hours of sunlight increase. Ferns will soon appear on the forest floor.

There are mountain bikers this day, sharing the pathways with walkers without any problems. There is plenty of room to move aside for walkers and riders. However, hikers and bikers spread out over the kilometres of trails are hardly noticeable.

While I love a walk on a beach, it is equal in comparison to the sense of well being I feel in such a woodland setting as the trails of Bonshaw.


The height of the trees alone is enough to take me out of myself and feel a part of something greater. The light through the trees casts shadows which dance over the ground with the sway of the trees in the wind. Light plays hide and seek with visitors. The air is fresh and clean and reaches deep inside as your breathing slows while you take in the setting.

Though one must be careful of the roots along the trails as they can be dangerous under foot, they make me smile. They are so important to the forest and I always tread lightly around them. The roots remind me of the unseen part of the forest so essential to its well being and ours.

While the picnic area was closed, we had a table and chairs with us and set up on the grass near the car. It was good to be back at Bonshaw for another year. 

Even this early in the season, the benefit of our time in the forest is obvious!


Tuesday 12 May 2020

Island spring

One of the many things I love about Prince Edward Island is how the land and the sea are entwined in the lives of the people. While the sea separates us from others, it is a focus of life here as it provides food and a source of income as islanders harvest the sea in a sustainable way. The sea also lures us to its shores to play on the beaches and in the waters which lap the shore.

On this island, farmers’ fields drop into the sea as the rich red soil supports agriculture. 

Animals are part of that life too including cattle, dairy cows, horses, sheep, pigs, chicken and others. The land has supported farming for centuries as the original settlers cleared the land and planted vegetables and raised animals. Today, potatoes are the largest crop.

This connection of land and sea was evident last week when my husband and I stopped at Seacow Pond on the north coast of the island. The lobster fishery which normally begins at the end of April has been postponed until May 15th. There is concern for the safety of crews and their ability to social distance. Also, the markets are gone since restaurants aren’t open though that will change over the next few months.

Fishers are preparing for the start of the fishery and traps are ready to be loaded aboard the boats, the colourful marker buoys ready for their sentinel duty with the lobster traps.

As we looked over boats at Seacow Pond, just over our shoulders two horses walked around a pasture which will soon turn green. 

In the distance fields will be ploughed for another crop in rotation.

Island life embraces spring in spite of the pandemic.

Monday 11 May 2020

Lucy’s garden

The grey of early spring has yet to turn to the new green of late spring, one of my favourite times of year. However, my friend Lucy’s garden has erupted with spring colour as the bulbs have pushed through the iron rich soil even though snow still lingers in the shade of the trees.

A riot of colours is close to the ground as the plants are miniature, selected for their early appearance after the snow is gone. They are interspersed among the flowers beds which bloom in three seasons. The colours lift the spirit and make me smile as I walk around the yard.

Miniature red Tulips push up through the grasses 

and spread their petals in a showy display which the insects love. The blooms are full of bees which are enjoying the early pollen and nectar from an otherwise bland countryside. 

The Irises are miniature versions of those we enjoy later in the year. The blue and purple are such an interesting contrast and the pattern of yellow black and white on the petals is striking.

The Puschkinia with their six white petals and blue veins is a favourite.

The delicate centre has a hint of yellow. This is a small plant and it draws you down to its level For observation. Its beauty is in the details.

Purples, yellows and even the white against the red soil and catch the eye.

Meanwhile at the front of the house, the bird feeders attract American Goldfinches, especially males though one female dropped by as well.

Later in the afternoon, a flock of noisy Common Grackles picked up seed from below the feeders and entertained us in their glossy-iridescence.

The sculptures at the back of the property illustrate how materials can be reused. 

I love how nature continues to act on them. 

The old farm equipment is a reminder of how the land was farmed in the shadow of industrial farming today.

Her garden is a place of peace and beauty. It reflects the hours of devotion and hard work Lucy has given it. 


Restrictions due to the Covid Pandemic eased again last Friday and we could see our daughter and grandkids for Mother’s Day. It was a great reunion and celebration!

Thursday 7 May 2020

North Cape

On our recent visit to Tignish Shore, we continued several kilometres northwest to North Cape, the north western tip of Prince Edward Island where we haven’t been for a few years. A trail there runs along the coastline with vegetation which survives the icy salt sea spray. Since we had already walked the beach, we decided to have our picnic near the trail to enjoy the setting. We’ll visit again to walk the trail.

There is a wind farm at North Cape and we could hear the turbines as we set up for our first picnic for the year. The wind was cold however so we used the car as a windbreak. We enjoyed a leisurely lunch and a cup of tea has never tasted so good for flavour and warmth.

I like to live in the moment but having lived in freedom our entire lives, it was easy to take for granted our ability to experience those moments when and where we wish. The immense pleasure of a picnic in a place of our choosing has a whole new level of appreciation. This and so much more can be taken away by an invisible enemy with just one breath. 

Tuesday 5 May 2020

Adventures with Georgie

When our daughter is working night shifts, we take the golden grand-dog, Georgie, for a few days. She loves any walk but especially those on the boardwalk where there are lots of dogs and other animals. 

Every morning after breakfast she begins her “Let’s go for a walk,” behaviour. The silent stand and stare at my husband and I are the hardest to ignore. We would feel guilty if we didn’t take her. When we say, “Let’s go for a walk,” the dog does a little dance with her front paws. 

Georgie especially enjoys the squirrels and chipmunks. She stands firmly to watch them with a look of intense interest, head lowered. It is not easy to take her away from them.

During a recent squirrel encounter, the little rodent teased Georgie. It was high in a tree but came down to the base of the tree and approached her.

                           Can you see the squirrel coming down the tree?

When Georgie pulled on the lead to move towards it,

the squirrel scurried up the tree and sat on a twig to look down at the dog again. It repeated the behaviour a second time. 

The squirrel appeared to understand the dog could not reach it and didn’t mind approaching. You could almost hear the furry little critter saying, “Na-na, na, na-na. You can’t catch me,” as it looked down from on high.

The world would be a sadder, lonelier place without animals.

Question and answer:

Boud at and 

Perth Daily Photo at

asked about the red sandy beach in the last post titled Relief.

The soil and sandstone on Prince Edward Island are rich in iron. Exposure to air results in oxidation, creating the red coloured iron oxide or rust.

There are some beaches on the island where the iron oxide is washed away by the wave action in that area. One such example is the beach at Greenwich, Prince Edward Island, part of the National Park.