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Saturday 30 September 2023

Autumn on the island

As autumn settles in, the vegetable patch has done its job for another season. Swiss chard and the indestructible kale are still in production while the tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and green beans are finished. Our tomato yield was low this year but we hope to make improvements for next year.

Our grandchildren had a school free day this past week so my husband and I accompanied our daughter and the kids to a new park. The kids enjoyed the playground, especially the zip line. 

We had a picnic in the beautiful September sun, then visited an apple orchard in the area. We picked several apple varieties for cooking and eating. Afterwards, the kids had great fun in the playground which wasn’t busy as it would be on the weekends.

It was a wonderful day!

We have Song Sparrows which nest in our hedge and serenade us every summer morning. We suspect they are the source of the errant sunflower which appeared at the end of one of our flower beds near their nest. I photograph the sunflower every day, admiring its sunny disposition which is a constant in any weather.

I always notice rose hips, their size and colours. Some we’ve seen this month are the size of crabapples. They are an autumn staple and probably would make great rose hip jelly.

This past week we walked the Bubbling Springs Trail in the national park on Prince Edward Island which is one of my husband’s favourite trails. The Mountain Ash trees were full of their autumn-coloured berries which stood out against the clear blue sky.

At the head of the trail, we had a picnic with the sun at our backs and the gentle breeze rustling the leaves around us. Chickadees were flitting through the trees and chirping as they do. We enjoyed homemade turkey soup in our thermoses and a cup of tea. It was peaceful and lovely!

We finished our day at the park with a walk on the nearby beach at Dalvay which is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful beaches on the island. The gulls looked to be enjoying the day too! 

On the way home we stopped briefly at Covehead where the lighthouse was getting a touch-up. It is a popular attraction on the island and is well maintained. 

This coming week is looking like another week for picnics and trail/beach walking. Yay!

Sunday 24 September 2023

The north shore

We have walked between the raindrops for most of this summer. Now as autumn falls around us, we hope for some dryer days to have more picnics before rain becomes snow. Our visit to the north central shore of the island last week was a nice break from our boardwalk routine.

The beach at North Rustico was busy with walkers some of whom were tourists enjoying the warm September day. Just below the parking lot is a stream which crosses the beach 

and Bonaparte’s Gulls were enjoying the water. The little gulls, the smallest of the species, always make me smile. You can see them on this short video here.

We continued along the coast to Rustico which we hadn’t visited for years. Possibly the oldest dwelling on the island, Doucet house, is there. 

The main beams of the house date to 1768. It was moved from its original site and restored in this beautiful location by the Rustico Bay. 

Our picnic by the old fence meant we could watch the oyster fishers 

busy at the oyster farm nearby. 

We could imagine the days when bread was baked in the garden oven and slathered in homemade butter thanks to the family cow.

After lunch, we stopped at New Glasgow to shop at the Island Preserve Company where I bought some lingonberry jam, known as partridgeberry jam by Newfoundlanders. We usually buy some in the fall and it is always a treat to visit the garden at Island Preserve.

The garden is a beauty 

but workers were there doing some fall clean-up so I was limited in the photos I could take. This worker did accommodate all photographers however.

It was a lovely day and a great picnic by Doucet house. This coming week may be a dry one, so we will be out and about again, enjoying a picnic and a walk on Prince Edward Island.

Sunday 17 September 2023

After the storm

Over this past weekend, post tropical storm Lee slowly moved over the Maritime provinces in eastern Canada. Prince Edward Island wasn’t greatly affected by this storm. Other parts of the Maritimes were more seriously affected with trees down and power outages for thousands. In our area, during the storm on Saturday afternoon, the sun broke through on occasion. We did have high winds gusting to 70 kph and torrential rain occasionally but the power stayed on in our area.

As we waited out the storm, I was thinking about a woman we met in Morocco ten years ago when we did a tour there. She was a Berber woman, of the indigenous people of North Africa. Her name was Lala and she invited tours groups into her home for a tea ceremony. 

                                                                       Lala ready for the tea ceremony

Lala’s home was in the Ourika Valley at the base of the Atlas Mountains, near the center of the recent earthquake. I have been thinking of the Berber people since the earthquake, having seen photos of the area. 

The home was made of mud and straw and was hundreds of years old. 

                                                                      Kitchen in Lala’s home

Chances are it wouldn’t survive a strong earthquake. I hope Lala and her family did. Her children were married and lived in the area too and her husband was a farmer. By hosting the tea parties, Lala worked to support the family as well. They were hardworking people with rich traditions and culture.

In addition, the tragedy in Libya, where a dam broke and killed thousands of innocent people, has been on my mind too. I saw an interview with a man from the area who was crying because the authorities had been warned about the instability of the dam. It was a needless tragedy. 

Meanwhile, here in eastern Canada, we clean up from the weather event. While some of us will struggle, we have it easier than the Moroccans and Libyans. We have more resources of all kinds available to us compared to much of the world. 

We can’t do much to help but we will support the Red Cross/Red Crescent in their efforts in Morocco and Libya for the Lalas and their families.

Monday 11 September 2023

Out and about

We have been out and about this past week, to Bedeque and the Borden Carleton area with Chelton in between. In addition, we have continued along the boardwalk. Out and about has been lovely!

We walked Chelton Beach in the late morning on a day when it was hot and humid. The beach wasn’t crowded as it usually is mid summer.

I had the opportunity to try out the 125X optical zoom on my camera. 

The strip of land at the end of the peninsula in the photo is Seacow Head and there, a lighthouse shines brightly over the Northumberland Strait. Zooming in, I was pleased with this photo.

We continued along the coast towards the Confederation Bridge at Borden Carleton and stopped nearby at Noonan’s Shore. The highlight of this area was the number of butterflies along the shoreline, Cabbage Whites and Sulphurs. We were never able to photograph a Sulphur to identify the species.

Walking the shoreline, hundreds of butterflies flitted around us. The 19 second video will give you an idea of the number there. You can hear the sea lapping the shore and see the autumn look of the vegetation as well.

My husband took the best photo of the Cabbage Whites

and it shows the club-like structure at the end of the antennae and its compound eye on the side of the head.

We continued on to Borden Carleton where we stopped at the Rail and Marine Park, beside the Confederation Bridge, a park we haven’t visited in some time. A caboose in the park provides a perfect backdrop for a lobster boat as it heads to the fishing grounds.

Looking westward from under the bridge, the end of the peninsula is barely visible and the Seacow Head lighthouse certainly isn’t. 

A photo required the digital zoom on the camera. You can see a white SUV and three people at Seacow Head. When my granddaughter saw my new camera, she commented I’d be able to photograph a bird on the moon. She may be right.

Of course I captured birds that day, Semi-palmated Plovers and Sandpipers, Solitary Sandpipers, Sanderlings and Gulls. My favourite shot was this Great Yellowlegs, a beauty well hidden in the salt marsh.

In other news:

We are watching the progress of hurricane Lee as it churns its way slowly northward in the Atlantic. To say Prince Edward Islanders are suffering from PTSD from tropical storm Fiona last September, is an understatement. Clean-up from that storm is still ongoing. Our daughter is still waiting to have her roof reshingled. The island lost over 30% of its trees and over 10 meters or almost 100 feet of shoreline in some areas. This island is returning to the sea at an alarming rate.

What does Lee have in store for us? Even the thought is frightening!

Sunday 3 September 2023

The last few days

It has finally stopped raining and my husband and I have begun our picnic excursions again with the fine weather and diminishing number of tourists around the island. We had two weeks of high temperatures and humidity this summer. Then we had rain every second or third day. It has been a wet summer.

I’ve had camera problems and finally purchased another camera though I was reluctant to buy one  which was heavier than my Nikon P900. I bought a Nikon P1000 and I am enjoying it immensely. Today I am sharing photos I’ve taken with the new camera the last several days when the weather has been lovely.

We’ve continued to walk the Summerside boardwalk daily and I took this shot of the lighthouse at low tide. 

The shorebirds continue to stop along the bay as they journey south for the winter. The Solitary Sandpiper hung out near the Lesser Yellowlegs in the salt marsh.

This young squirrel was eating seeds at the base of a feeder. 

The wall of wildflowers looked particularly lovely against the blue sea.

We took a picnic lunch one day which meant we could take our time along the French shore where we stopped at the church of Notre Dame du Mont Carmel, built in 1898. The church was open so we went inside. 

The marble pillars were particularly beautiful, standing the test of time. You could almost hear the prayers rising upward with them.

We continued along the shore to the beach nearby where some Ruddy Turnstones were feeding along the shoreline. 

Nearby, Ring-billed Gulls stood into the breeze. 

In the distance, you can see the Cape Egmont sea stack. We walked the beach and enjoyed the sun and the breeze.

There is a Lost and Found stand in the parking lot by the beach.

This was a unique find… so to speak!

Cape Egmont was the busiest we’d ever seen it with tourists from the United States and around Canada. However, the sea arch looks to have weakened to near collapse.

The Cormorants are oblivious and enjoy their perch high above their feeding grounds. 

Notre Dame du Mont Carmel stands out in the distance.

We had lunch at a nearby park and enjoyed a stroll around the area. Cabbage Whites are numerous and everywhere this year. 

They flit around the wildflowers, and stop briefly on a bloom.

I am enjoying the new camera and it is good to be having picnics around the island again.