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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.