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Sunday 26 November 2023

A carefree day

We spent a day with our grandchildren this past week and saw them several other days as well when we drove them from school or activities. It was a busy week but a great one which we thoroughly enjoyed.

My husband and I, as former teachers, always plan for days with the kids though we are never stuck for things to do when they visit. Over time, we have come to realize what the children really want is our time and attention, for us to engage with them. The medium doesn’t really matter. A cuddle on the couch, a game of hide and seek or art/crafts work equally well as long as we are involved too. 

That day, when they arrived at our house, we generated a list of toiletries people need and shopped for the list of items which we donated locally.

A walk along the boardwalk with peanuts always attracts the animals which the kids thoroughly enjoy. The chickadees love to eat from one’s hand when shelled peanuts are offered. 

Squirrels love peanuts in shells and will take those with uncracked shells back to their dreys.

That day, we had Daisy with us too, their three month old Golden Retriever which is the latest addition to the family. 

Daisy loves to interact with other dogs which causes others to stop and interact with us too. 

Walking a dog is a wonderful way to meet people. The children were pleased to speak with people.

At home with their mother and step father, the kids have a daily limit of time on devices. While they complained at first, they have days now when they don’t use that time at all.

After lunch, we had quiet time for a half hour and while the seniors rested, the children could use I-Pads. The girls asked every five minutes if the time was up. They were anxious to do the craft project we were doing for the Christmas table. We will celebrate Christmas early this year since they will be away for Christmas. Meanwhile less time on devices is always a good thing!

Later, before they left, we all watched part of the Grinch movie which we quite enjoyed. We didn’t get any baking done, although their grandfather and I had prepared to do several recipes with them. Consequently the list of projects for next Saturday with the children is growing.

It was a busy day but a great one for making memories. Besides, the troubles of the world are forgotten when one spends time with children. I wish people everywhere could enjoy such a carefree day. The world needs more of those.

Sunday 19 November 2023

Around here

With the miserable weather around here the last several weeks, my husband and I have kept our walking close to home. Most of the time we encounter rain without the benefit of an umbrella because the wind is too high. As long as we’re warm, we manage.

Dramatic skies are often present as weather fronts move into the area. With some of the autumn berries along the shoreline, a view of the lighthouse almost looks festive.

By this time in the autumn, the trees are bare, even in sheltered areas. 

Some mornings, snow lingers along the trail as overnight temperatures are too low for rain.

For the next few weeks, juniper, also known as tamarack or larch trees will lose their yellow needles which are quite lovely now.

The ducks which call Prince Edward Island home for a few months every winter have taken to the waterways around the island. Surf Scoters are on the bay in Summerside and are a nice addition to the avian population.

Meanwhile, the usual residents are busy too, like this Bald Eagle which we’ve seen numerous days hunting from sand bars at low tide. We always enjoy these birds.

Recently after our walk, we drove to the head of the bay to see the geese which frequent that area. American Wigeons and Common Goldeneyes floated around, many with their heads nestled under their wings while the Canada Geese were quite unconcerned. 

We have seen several rainbows this autumn, but I haven’t always had the camera to take a photo. This is the best photo I’ve been able to manage of the elusive arcs.

Finally today, meet BB and his pal. 

They are among our crow friends who visit us every day. BB has a broken beak, hence the initials. That bird has adapted to the broken beak and learned how to pick up food in spite of the partly missing appendage. BB requires longer to feed and will drive the other crows away when he is eating and they’ve already finished their portion. We hope BB will be able to survive the winter! 


Sunday 12 November 2023

Two blue sky days

We have had two weeks of rain, temperatures in the low single digits and high winds. Sometimes the rain becomes sloppy, wet snow. We haven’t been able to have any picnics and we’ve confined our walks closer to home. Most days, we walk between the raindrops. 

The skies are occasionally dramatic with heavy cloud cover and this recent deep blue with the clouds looked foreboding though beautiful. It was the bluest cloudy sky we’ve ever seen.

On the last beautiful blue sky day prior to the change in the weather, we drove to a beach which is new to us at Tracadie, on the central northeast coast of the island. Tracadie Harbour sits among sand dunes, an area constructed by the sea itself, without the fortification of sandstone cliffs.

In the harbour, the sea is surrounded by flats of sand exposed at low tide and dunes which are farther inland as time and the sea add more sand. The red sandstone cliffs elsewhere on the island are noticeably absent.

Cormorants stood along the shoreline in the harbour, enjoying the October sun, probably anticipating the long flight south.

We walked towards the beach which borders the Gulf of St. Lawrence and a Bald Eagle caught my eye in the distance. It sat surveying the area from atop a dune along the Gulf coast.

Along that coastline, the pristine beach stretches out to the west and appears to go on forever. 

This coastline is not developed although an occasional house/cottage dots the shoreline. To the east, the entrance to the harbour is marked with two buoys. 

The remnants of an old wharf stretch diagonally across part of the beach, some of it submerged at high tide. 

Besides the eagle, 

three other people were on the beach that day but a restaurant near the parking lot was attracting people for lunch. We enjoyed our picnic lunch nearby. 

Tracadie is a place of rare beauty which is peaceful and natural in a modern world. We will be back.

Monday 6 November 2023

Just beachy

One of our last picnic outings for this fall was to the beach at Brander’s Pond on the central north shore of Prince Edward Island. It was a rare day, not a breeze in the autumn air though the sky was overcast. The area is home to cottages which are mostly empty this time of year, closed after more than two seasons of beach living for those lucky enough to have a cottage there.

Brander’s Pond flows into the Gulf of St Lawrence 

but part of its attraction for me is the sea stack on the eastern side of the beach. 

This beach, maintained by the cottagers, is pristine. As usual, various species of gulls hang out at the mouth of the stream. As my husband and I approached the stream, the gulls took flight briefly and moved farther away,

though not without expressing their displeasure.

We walked the beach slowly, taking in as much of the day and the setting as possible. The rhythm of the sea is comforting and as I walked I wondered how many other such days were left this season. However, those thoughts soon disappeared to the joy of this present.

In the water, Red-throated Loons enjoyed a day on the water.

Nearby, a flock of Red-breasted Mergansers dived for brunch. 

 By the turn-around, I watched a young Herring Gull catch and slowly eat a crab.

At this point, the sun broke through after previous attempts had failed.

On the way back, I watched a small flock on Sanderlings which are among the last shorebirds to stop by the island on their migration south. The little birds fed along the shoreline and stopped to stand on one leg periodically. 

By the time we were back down the beach, the moody sky was replaced by blue and the late October sun provided some warmth. It was a perfect beach day!