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Thursday 25 February 2021

Winter visit

Every winter we like to visit some of the wharfs in Prince Edward Island in the quiet of winter. Recently we visited French River which is the subject of the header of this blog. 

The area is quiet this time of year. The inlet is frozen finally due to the colder temperatures in the last few weeks.

I take the photos of the wharf from the lookout above the area.

Beginning in April every year, boats are tied up at the wharf. Now some are high and dry behind the fishing shacks.

The slipway is frozen and the lift is tied in place, each waiting for the time when the fishers return with their boats for another season.

The fishing shacks are larger than many we see around the coast here. 

Despite the large shacks, stacks of lobster pots line the wharf.

In another month or so, the wharf will be a hub of activity again as the fishers prepare their gear and return their boats to the water when the ice is gone. 

It can’t happen soon enough.

Monday 22 February 2021

Artistry of the sea

During our recent visit to the north shore of Prince Edward Island, we noticed a marked difference in the shape of the sea arch at Mackenzies Brook over the last three months. The shoreline in the area, fortified with rock armour revetments last summer due to the amount of erosion in the area, hasn’t any nullifying effect on the erosion by the arch. 

                                                                      Sea arch October 2020

Consequently, the open water in January, due to the lack of ice in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, had widened the arch forming nearby.

                                                             Sea arch in January 2021

The sea is a sculptor of the earth. The arches and sea stacks which temporarily line the shore last for years and are testament to the artist’s ability to carve the sandstone with her enveloping hands. The softness of the medium and the continuous work of the sculptor create an evolving work of art, unequaled by human hands. What was called the Elephant Rock at North Cape 

in the 1990s has evolved to the piece we see today.

Meanwhile, we walk in this gallery every year to take in the strong picturesque beauty,

the blocky and earthy design,

and the commonplace turned monumental, such as this naturalistic tea cup.

This sculptor works along the coastline all over the earth. She is such a prolific artist and is increasing production at an astonishing rate. While I appreciate the aesthetics, as time goes on, I fear it too.


Thursday 18 February 2021


It was quiet when we arrived. Not a breath of wind on a -6 C sunny winter day meant perfect conditions for snowshoeing. We were alone in the area on Islander Day, a winter holiday. We had scouted this old Heritage Road the previous day, wanting a place to snowshoe without the noise and traffic of snow machines. Luckily, snowmobilers don’t ride on the Millman Road. 

My husband and I put on our snowshoes quickly and headed out. 

Most noticeable was the absence of bird sounds and sightings. Our usual trails on the island have many species and numbers of birds, some year round. The Millman Road, which we frequent during the other seasons has always had the same. Not today. The woods were silent, accentuating the stark beauty around us.

The only sound was the crunch of snow with every step. The loose snow sparkled which I was unable to capture with the camera. Periodically we stopped to listen for the silence again, such an unusual experience. The sound of one’s breathing filled the air, a strange sensation indeed in this space. 

We weren’t alone however. Impressions in the snow left by other creatures gave us pause.

What could have made such a track? We speculated with each mysterious set. Hares, mice, skunks, foxes? Where are they now? The thought made the surrounding woodland feel alive in spite of the quiet.

Forty-five minutes later we stopped, having enjoyed every minute. We didn’t over extend ourselves since we wanted to be able to move the next day. The poles added extra effort, more than our usual walking. We will go further the next time we venture out on snowshoes.

A thermos of tea waited back at the car. The tea couldn’t have been better as we sat in our camp chairs in the silence. We absorbed it all, the tea which warmed us to the core and the stark beauty of this winter day.

                                                               View across a nearby field

Monday 1 February 2021

Enjoying winter

While the title could be an oxymoron on occasion, it wasn’t this past weekend. Yesterday, my husband and I finally used the snowshoes we received for Christmas. We accompanied our daughter and the kids to a Prince Edward Island resort where cross country skiing, snowshoeing, tubing and skating are offered, with equipment rental possible. 

There were few people there and brief visits inside used Covid precautions but outside was safe and without masks.

Our daughter and the children rented snowshoes but my husband and I tried ours. Snowshoes have come a long way since the old wooden ones we used years ago. Our new ones are light weight aluminum and came with poles as well, a great bonus for two seniors. However poles go with snowshoes these days unlike years ago. 

These new snowshoes have metal spikes on the bottom, making it easy to walk over icy surfaces. It was common to find oneself sliding down an incline with the old wooden ones.

The children enjoyed snowshoeing. The girls had tried them at school, where class sets are used by the various classes in turn. The youngest, a boy of three, tried them for the first time and enjoyed the experience. He took great pleasure in arriving back at the starting point before Nanny and Poppy, who were taking up the rear.

Next came skating. Neither my husband nor I are skaters but our daughter and the girls are. Their brother had a pair of pink skates handed down from his sisters. Remember the days when the colour of clothes and such for boys never would have been pink? Thankfully those days are gone, at least until he starts school.

Learning to skate now is facilitated by a skate aid made of PVC which the child holds and pushes forward, supporting himself as he takes the first tentative strides. Our grandson loved the experience, helped by his mother and me at different times. He laughed with every fall and giggled his way over the ice.

The girls were tentative initially with this first skate of the season. By the time we left, they were reacquainted the the thin blades and glided over the ice with confidence. There are a number of outdoor rinks around Summerside which are maintained by the city this winter. The children will take advantage of them.

We brought a snack of granola bars, hot chocolate and marshmallows for the kids and a thermos of tea for the adults. Everyone enjoyed the warm beverage during an afternoon outdoors.

On our way to the resort, we passed an area where people were scraping the snow off a pond, preparing for a family skate. We recently saw a man and two children at Rollings Pond near North Rustico. A number of others were preparing to join them.

We had a great time with our family. While it was -8 C, it wasn’t windy and we dressed warmly. It was good to be out in nature, enjoying some physical activity. There is more snowshoeing in our future.