Most Popular Post

Friday 31 December 2021

A ducky New Year

They looked around the frozen stream

And called out loud and clear,

A ducky greeting to one and all

For a great new year.

Along the way the trees were full

Of the soft new snow,

Making such a wonderland…

As if a special glow

Was shining on this New Year’s Eve,

There for all to see.

The birds and squirrels saw it too. 

They stared like you and me.

The nuthatch thought he’d have his fill

While he waited, and lo…

The gulls were busy on the bay

Crabbing as they go.

And all around the sliver sheen 

Of reluctant sun

Broke through the dark grey cloud

Of a year all done.

We walked along familiar paths

Looking forward without fear

For a host of better days

In a brand new year.

Wishing one and all the best in 2022!

Marie Smith

Tuesday 28 December 2021

The freeze-up

The weather this month has been unusual and has kept us inside for the most part. We’ve had bouts of snow, when the weather has been cold and miserable. These bouts have been interspersed with rain, and regardless of the precipitation, the wind was always high, too high to be able to walk the boardwalk or anywhere else.

As I do every year, I was on bay watch for the time when the temperature is low enough for long enough so ice forms on the water. On December 21, it was mild and unlike several previous years, ice hadn’t formed on the bay yet. 

Five American black ducks were out enjoying the last few days in their marshy home. They disappear to an area of open water at the head of the bay when their home ices over.

Then the wind storm started. By Christmas Eve the temperature went to -8C with a windchill in the mid -20s. We stayed home but on Christmas Day, when the wind decreased a bit, we walked by the frozen bay around 4 pm. 

Newly formed ice was a dark mirror on the salt water marsh, turned pond this time of year. There was no sign of the ducks on this day! Looking out towards the Indian Head Lighthouse, the frozen bay made the old safety beacon stand out against the landscape.

As the sun set on Christmas Day, we watched until the cold started to seep into our bones. 

Later, at home by the fire and the glow of the tree lights, we enjoyed a glass of wine. It was a quiet but lovely Christmas Day. 

Saturday 25 December 2021


From this island in the Gulf of St. Lawrence to wherever you are in the world, I wish you health, peace and happiness, today and always.


This is a file photo. It is a green Christmas here!

Sunday 19 December 2021

At the feeder and an update

The weather has kept us in the house more than usual in the last month or more. Time on the treadmill and the stationary bike have had to suffice for exercise. Meanwhile the bird feeder on the patio has provided some entertainment. When we don’t go to see our feathered friends, they come to us.

The European starlings love suet in the feeder. 

They ignore sunflower seeds and peanuts preferring suet. Does their anatomy prevent them from cracking the shells? Once a starling finds suet you can bet his friends will show up too. Suet cakes don’t last long.

Blue Jays and starlings co-exist nicely when it comes to the feeder.

The jays go for the sunflower seeds though they prefer peanuts in the shell. The starlings and jays stay at opposite sides of the feeder as the starling eats the suet. 

                                                                The Jay’s tongue is visible.

The jay takes a seed to the rail

and with the seed between its feet, cracks and consumes the morsel inside. 

The crows don’t bother with the suet or the sunflower seeds. However, within an hour of having peanuts in the feeder, they drop by. They look to be afraid of their reflection in the glass partition in the feeder. 

They approach tentatively as they watch the reflection. The birds eventually approach the feeder and grab a peanut or two and take off to store or enjoy them elsewhere.

The crows line up for the peanuts and each bird in turn does the same routine with respect to the reflection in the glass.

One day, one of the neighbourhood Common flickers came to the feeder but we didn’t get a photo. It didn’t stay long but we were delighted to see it. 

A feeder can be a messy addition to a patio deck but the enjoyment we get from the birds it attracts far outweighs the work involved.

P. S. 

Prince Edward Island currently has the highest number of daily cases of Covid it’s had since the pandemic began. Yesterday, I double masked when I went to the store. My husband and I have yet to receive our booster shots since we aren’t six months past our second shots. We will be able to have our boosters in early January. Our oldest grandchildren get their first shots tomorrow.

We’ve had two days with our daughter and her family. She is working over Christmas so we had an early Christmas dinner one day and celebrated two family birthdays the next. We suspect Covid will affect our plans for New Year’s Eve and Day. In addition, parents have been advised that kids may be home schooled starting in January.

This pandemic is far from over.

Sunday 12 December 2021

Family time

It’s early Sunday morning and it looks like the sky might clear. A spreading band of clear sky is approaching from the west, propelled by the high wind. The dense grey-blue cloud cover may blow away for a few hours. Our weather has been terrible.

Precipitation has covered our activity and everything around us for weeks now. If it’s not raining, it’s snowing and windy, always! However, when we look at the west coast of Canada with the flooding of recent weeks and this morning, parts of the Midwest and southern United States with the tornadoes, how can we complain? We clothe ourselves for what’s out there and carry on, enjoying what we can. 

It’s been a busy few weeks. Christmas shopping is done and wrapping, one of my least favourite activities, is underway, a bit each day. I don’t have a lot to do but I dislike the task so much I don’t want to stay at it too long any one day. A bit of Christmas music helps. At least the cards and parcels are dispatched already.

Last week, we watched our granddaughters’ dance classes. The girls do seven classes between them, some over an hour each. Both girls work so hard it’s no wonder they are hungry and tired when I pick them up after class. These classes are quite a commitment for an eight and a ten year old but so far, they are both interested in modern, tap and ballet. Our eldest wants to do point classes when her instructor deems her ready for the task.

Cookie day with the grandkids last week was fun. We host the day, knowing it will be messy, with flour, among other things, spread around. We made sugar cookies which the kids enjoyed decorating and snowballs with the dreaded cocoanut spread about. It was a great day however and we made lots of memories. 

This week the kids are decorating our tree. A nice meal afterwards, with dessert by the fire and the glow of the tree lights will make the day special. We are fortunate to live near family on this little island.


Monday 22 November 2021

Notes from the island

It has turned cold between a few mild days with 10 degrees. The temperatures are more in the low single digits now and the overnights often are below freezing. A week of rain is in the forecast with high winds early in the week. We can’t complain though when we compare our weather to the west coast of Canada. With the fires of the past season and now the rain, the west coast is suffering. People here can empathize with the farmers and their losses and the devastation on so many levels.

Christmas shopping is going well and I hope to finish next week. I am shopping locally as much as possible though it doesn’t help when a clerk comments, “No, we don’t carry that item. Have you tried on-line?”

Our daughter, a nurse, is working this Christmas. Therefore our Christmas celebration will be later that week, just before New Year’s. My husband and I will have a quiet Christmas Day.

Lately we’ve been walking between the raindrops in our warmest winter clothes. It takes time to acclimatize to the winter weather again. We haven’t given up on another picnic using our stove but it won’t be this week. I’ll be walking on the treadmill at home. We really miss our walks in nature though.   

I am having cataract surgery on the second eye tomorrow. This requires three days of a drop regimen in that eye. However on one occasion, I dosed the good eye with the drops. Six weeks of drops in that now good eye made it hard to remember to dose the other one. At least I caught the mistake.

I won’t be blogging for a few weeks though I will follow your posts. Take care everyone. To my American blogging friends, Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday 19 November 2021

A walk along the Bubbling Springs Trail

The trail around the Bubbling Springs on the north shore of Prince Edward Island is an interesting one. While I have already written about the springs, the trail itself deserves some attention.

Near the start of the trail is an old pioneer cemetery where many of the headstones disappeared long ago. The cemetery is behind a long pile of stones which nature is doing her best to overtake. This cemetery is the resting place of some of the victims of the Yankee Gale of 1851, a storm which lasted over two days, destroying 74 vessels of a New England fishing fleet and killing 150 crew.

The crew members were buried along the coast of the island, far from their American homes. However they are not forgotten by islanders. We weren’t on the island long before we knew of the Yankee Gale and saw several cemeteries where crew were buried. 

As we continued along the trail, we came to a shady forest of White Spruce which filled in the farmland of this area. The shallow roots of the spruce trees cause the trees to blow down easily, exposing the root system. This starfish found its way from the beach somehow.

A number of trees had woodpecker holes but this one was unusual. The markings in the wood resemble teeth marks. What animal could have caused such marks? 

The only deciduous trees with leaves in this area were the oak trees. Many oaks keep the colourful leaves all winter. 

Orange-red berries were plentiful. One tree had enough food for many birds this winter.

In one section of the trail, many of the trees have burrs, a reaction to a stressor during their growth. This huge one at the base of a tree looks like it has closed eyes and a nose. What could have caused this growth?

A lookout over Long Pond was a nice addition to the trail 

as was the wharf and hut further along the way. 

An observation deck from the road through the park is visible across the pond. The beach is on the opposite side of the road which makes Long Pond a barachois, a lagoon cut off from the ocean by a sand bar.

We enjoyed this trail which had something to see around every bend. 

Wednesday 17 November 2021

November day on the pond

It started out with some sun and clouded over as the day progressed. However, that is enough to get us out of the house these days and onto a trail and a picnic. We headed for an area east of Summerside near a popular fishing pond known as Scales.

My husband and I brought hot soup in a thermos to have after the walk. The soup, a sandwich and hot tea would warm us against the 5 Celsius temperature. However the best thing about the day was that there wasn’t any wind.

November light when it clouds over reminds me of dusk in the warmer seasons. We proceeded to picnic in a sheltered area overlooking the water. 

Meanwhile, our daughter and her Significant Other both love to fly fish on Scales Pond. They were fishing that day and and we spotted them in the distance as we walked along the pond.

The shadows of the trees on the water this day were as perfect as the trees themselves. 

I especially like the photos with more grasses in the foreground.

Eventually, we too floated on the river with our daughter and her SO. The tiny motor on the boat wasn’t powerful enough to break the peace of the setting. We floated along, marvelling in the day, the setting and the company.

Along the shoreline, the grasses looked like straw, a reminder of the season.

The water reflected the shoreline as well as the pattern in the clouds.

In one area, the local beavers have been busy and worn a path to the water’s edge.

We really appreciated such a calm day in November on Scales Pond. We were dressed for winter but felt chilled at home later in the evening. Heating pads soon warmed us however. Despite the cold, it was a great day.  

Sunday 14 November 2021


Our local theatre is open again and this past month my husband and I have attended three performances. These are the first shows we’ve seen since the pandemic began. Tickets for one of the shows were purchased almost two years ago. It felt so good to be part of an audience again, to share a love of music, to sing and laugh with others. We’ve missed it!

To attend a performance, one must show a vaccine pass, a picture identification and wear a mask in the theatre. For me, it is far easier to be a mask wearer now that I don’t wear glasses.

We enjoyed the musical stylings of Lunch at Allen’s, four Canadian musicians, singer/songwriters, who’ve been around individually from our teenage years. It was a walk down memory lane, with the audience singing along to the most popular hits. What a thrill it must be to go all over the country, even the world and have people know your music well enough to sing along! 

Murray McLauchlan, Marc Jordan, Cindy Church and Ian Thomas combined humour and stories plus beautiful harmonies. They provided a great welcome back to shared cultural experience during this pandemic.

Alan Doyle and his Beautiful Band raised the roof with the sold out crowd.  He was the frontman for Great Big Sea, a Celtic/sea shanty group from Newfoundland which achieved international success. Now as a solo performer, he and his back-up band continue that success with a variety of musical stylings.

Doyle is a proud son of Petty Harbour, Newfoundland, a place which is dear to my heart too. He is an actor and author as well, telling yarns which capture an audience. It was impossible not to stand, clap and sing along during the show.

Our third theatre experience was the hilarious Ron James. The comedian is from nearby Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, the son of transplanted Newfoundland parents. We thoroughly enjoyed his Canadian, especially east coast, humour. His encounter with a few Qanon followers protesting at the cenotaph in Charlottetown the previous day showed his heart through the comical exterior. He received a standing ovation for his two hour, fast paced performance.

These performances and the shared experience with the audience, gave us a glimpse of pre-pandemic life again. I see the song Ordinary Day, by Great Big Sea, as an anthem for what we’ve been through in this pandemic and how it feels to be emerging from it. Maybe. You can see the video here.

More of ordinary please!   

Friday 12 November 2021

Bubbling Springs

It doesn’t look like anything special when you first come upon it, a wetland area on a trail in the National Park at Brackley on Prince Edward Island. Yet a storyboard nearby refers to water bubbling up from sandstone bedrock.

My husband and I stood looking over the water for several minutes and spotted fish, not bubbles. I read the sign again and scanned the bottom. On second look, we saw them, bubble-like eruptions, spread over a number of locations! 

There is groundwater among the sandstone bedrock on the island. If pressure is sufficient, the water will bubble to the surface through fractures in the sandstone. The result is a natural spring. This spring must have been a wonderful find for the people who originally farmed this land. It looks like the spring was walled at one time.

My husband took a short video of the bubbling. You can see it here. Did you see the fish too?

We sat for a time and enjoyed the rare 13 degree Celsius day.

The remnants of a tree standing on the edge of the spring became the focus, with its stubs of cut branches. 

How old was it and how much longer could it last here on the edge?

Later we had a picnic lunch near the entrance to the Bubbling Springs Trail. This time, we’d brought our stove to cook lean bacon and heat homemade baked beans. 

It was a delicious lunch on a lovely fall day. We will take the stove again and have hot food on colder days to extend our picnic season this year. 

As for the Bubbling Springs, we will be back!

Wednesday 10 November 2021

The light in the glade

On our last visit to Cavendish Grove, we had a mug of hot soup for our picnic. Following lunch walked to Cavendish Beach as we usually do. Along the way, we stopped in the glade which is always a treat, but particularly so on a beautiful autumn day, when the light through the trees provided an additional element of wonder to the space.

At lunchtime in the glade during the summer, the sun is overhead and while the leaves are plentiful, some sun gets through to the forest floor directly below.

By late October, the golden foliage filters light from the angular sun across the forest floor. Outside the glade, that sun highlights the trees which glow in their autumn finery.

The path through the glade was leaf covered and we shuffled through, the only sound in this open space. 

The smell of autumn leaves is captured in this clearing and is a familiar and welcome memory of childhood days playing in the woods. 

Before long, we were back on the trail to the beach, 

passing through a tunnel of gold or open air lined with familiar wildflowers gone to seed and autumn glory. 

Even the trees love it there.