Most Popular Post

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.

Monday 8 November 2021

Just three weeks

My intention was to photograph Millman Road over a period of weeks in October to have a photographic documentary of the change in the leaves this autumn. Unforeseen circumstances intervened and it was over three weeks before we returned to the Millman Road again for a short walk. In that time, the autumnal change along the road was massive.

In the early days of October, the canopy was green. In a few areas shots of red were a highlight. 

The road had much the same look as it does mid summer.

Just over three weeks later, a golden tunnel stretched over the red road which was leaf covered in places. 

It is easy to find a scientific explanation involving naturally occurring chemicals as to why leaves change colour.

However, the dreamer in me imagines nature’s awareness of the decreasing light and heat and in a desire to protect herself, she eliminates surface area to huddle against the cold. First though, she gives us a final present, one we will remember until the light and heat return next year and she stirs again.

So we walked amid the leaves, shuffling our feet for the maximum enjoyment of nature’s gift of this season. The old road, cut deep into the rich red soil has experienced many generations do the same, as passersby enjoyed the scenes around them. My husband and I walked in silence with only the rustle of the leaves beneath our feet and cameras clicking.

Words were unnecessary.

Friday 5 November 2021

Moody sky day at the beach

There is something to be said for a moody sky day at the beach. And it was such a day recently when my husband and I headed to Cousin’s Shore for a walk. Overcast with sunny breaks, the wind made it cold enough for gloves for the first time this autumn. The moody sky created some drama as thunder clouds were interspersed with patches of blue, nature unsure of how she felt that fall day.

Cousin’s Pond lies behind the dunes along the north central coast of Prince Edward Island mere metres from the sea. 

A stream from the pond wends its way through the sand into the Gulf of St. Lawrence. 

I walked along the meandering stream to the beach and listened for several minutes to the power of the moving water, the constancy of the stream and the rhythm of the sea. The sounds of the water filled the senses. You can see a short video here.

The grey blue cloud over the reflected grey of the sea looked ominous at times. 

However, periodically breaks in the clouds gave a blue sky reflection on the wet red sand. 

We walked the beach which is lined with cottages and summer homes behind the dunes. One, partially hidden by the dunes, resembles a lighthouse.

A dune restoration project of the cottagers and the Island Nature Trust is underway in the area. Several strategies are in use, one involving dead conifers placed horizontally in exposed areas. 

Some driftwood along the beach has characters within depending on which way you look at it. From one angle, a gull appears in the wood. 

From a few feet west, a rodent’s head rests on top..

On the way back to the car, the plants on top of the sand dunes are reminders of warmer days when Goldenrod bloomed against a late summer sky. However, winter is on the horizon!

Wednesday 3 November 2021

Soup days

It is getting colder as daylight hours shorten and November days settle in for another year. We’ll have our first snowfall any day now. This is the time of year when the Smith family’s thoughts turn to comfort food and hot soup rises to the top of the menu again. 

Salads have been our menu staple for months but as the temperature cools, our taste for salad wanes. The cooling effect of a fresh salad just doesn’t sit right when coziness is on your mind.

Many mornings now are busy chopping the many vegetables for the soups. Carrot, butternut squash, cream of potato and mushroom are some of the soups we have enjoyed the last few weeks. It is great to be able to buy vegetable stock rather than have to make it. However I make chicken stock often and use it as well.

On Saturday past, with a temperature of 12 Celsius and sunny, my husband and I took a thermos of mushroom soup to Cavendish Grove and enjoyed the late October sun in one of our favourite places. With barely a breeze, we sat in the Grove and watched squirrels scurry around in the fallen leaves. 

The air was just cold enough to make the mug of hot soup satisfying. With tea and a sandwich, it was a gourmet lunch in a glorious place.

Sitting there, chatting with my husband as the leaves fell around us, the pain of the last several weeks became insignificant as the setting filled the senses. Nature makes it easy to live in the moment.

Monday 1 November 2021

The mushroom hunt

A beautiful autumn day in early October, before my accident, my friend and I headed to the Rotary Friendship Trail. It was the day she had immunotherapy treatment for cancer and between appointments at the hospital, we decided to walk the trail.

This therapy has helped my friend a great deal. She has her energy back and is involved in life again, with a spring in her step and renewed enthusiasm for life. We enjoy the treatment day excursions and the Rotary Trial didn’t disappoint us.

My friend has developed a recent interest in mushrooms and despite some colour in the canopy, 

we looked down as we walked the trail. The forest floor on either side of the path had much to see 

and we walked carefully through the undergrowth to photograph the fungi. 

Neither of us could identify the mushrooms 

nor say which were edible. 

We didn’t want to eat them anyway, just admire and photograph them and there were lots to see. 

Many were spread out in the detritus 

though most of this years leaves had yet to fall by early October. 

Some were attached to fallen trees decomposing on the forest floor.

These small plants with black berries were spread around the forest floor as well. 

They stood out with the red centres around the black berries.

Before long we headed back to the hospital for the therapy and later I drove my friend home. 

We look forward to another excursion tomorrow.