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Sunday 28 January 2024

A pup in winter

My husband and I had our daughter’s puppy last week while she and her husband were on vacation. We’ve never raised a puppy ourselves, so the week provided varied experiences with the five month old pup, Daisy and we won’t soon forget.

One of the things we’ve learned you’d think we already knew. Daisy is a Golden Retriever. However, our daughter’s previous Golden, though a purebred, had no concept of the retriever part of her breed. That dog, Georgie would bring a ball back to you once and that was it. If you threw it again, she’d look at you as if to say, “What?” Now with Daisy, you can throw something until your arm falls off and Daisy will return it. She has the retriever part of her genetics down pat and will play for hours.

Being a puppy, she chews everything, including the end of my favourite wool blanket. Anything is fair game for a chew if it is within reach. We have to be on guard all the time; no dual naps while Daisy is around. 

Daisy accompanied us to the boardwalk this past week for our daily walk and she made friends with everyone she met. 

As I’ve written before, the view along the boardwalk is new every day. This was the bay one day last week, 

a sunny day with the rafted ice on-shore, a reflection of the sky in the ice along the shoreline, snow on the ice farther out and slushy ice beyond to the horizon.

Yesterday, on a wind-free day after a snowfall, the land merged with the sea. 

Winter can be a challenge but its beauty makes up for it.

Sunday 21 January 2024

Winter wonder

My husband and I haven’t missed many of our daily walks along the boardwalk in Summerside this month despite the wind and cold. We don’t feel right if we haven’t walked by the sea and visited the chickadees and squirrels. That time in nature makes the troubles of the world disappear for a few minutes every day. Besides, the cloud cover makes a difference to the look of the day and it is always interesting to see what the wind has done to the ice the previous night.

This was the scene yesterday as we headed to the gazebo which is always our starting point. Fresh snow covered the setting and the heavy cloud cover hinted at blue sky above. 

From the bridge, where you can see a bit of the gazebo on the left, the heavy blue clouds freeze the scene in time. Without the wind to disturb the setting, it is peaceful there.

Compare the same scene to a somewhat foggy day last week when the setting had less colour and the sun’s rays provided a spotlight. Without the fresh snow, it looks stark.

Ten days ago, the sun and clouds gave the ice a sheen in places and it looked blue in other areas.

Another day, the ice rafted due to the on-shore wind the night before and piled up on the shore and shoreline. The texture distinguished it from sky. 

The winds this year have rafted ice all over the harbour. Along Water Street, the beach has piles of ice which may be there until spring. You can see the island’s red sand in the ice.

When we arrive home, we often have soup, our favourite winter meal. We’ve had a number of varieties, including mushroom, turkey, ham and split pea, French onion, and cream soups, such as potato and butternut squash. The last of the turkey soup will fill bowls and bellies today. Yum!

As always though, we wonder what nature has to offer today.


This morning, January 23/24, it was a beautiful sunny winter day!

Monday 15 January 2024

Cars then and now

We had taken the car for a test drive and knew the basics needed to drive it. Now, after settling the account, we were taking it home. We sat in the car as the salesman answered some questions. While I listened, my mind wondered as it often does when I have to deal with technology. This was technology at a whole new level for us, enough to challenge our old brains for years.

The vehicle is a plug-in hybrid, with a screen across the dash which requires input. I have an aversion to technology I will have to get over. As the salesman answered some questions however, my mind drifted back to 1971.

My husband had spent a year working in Labrador City working on a surveying crew which planned the way for a rail line to move iron ore to market. He made enough to buy a new Volkswagen Beetle. In September, he drove from his home in Corner Brook to university in St. John’s where we started dating. The rest is our history and the Volkswagen was an early part of that history. 

Winter in Newfoundland is an experience and when the little car faced that winter, it made life interesting. The Beetle, commonly called a bug, was air cooled, not water cooled, with the result that the heat from the engine at the back of the car was blown into the foot of the passenger compartment at the front. This system was inefficient, and one had to continually scape the interior windshield of the heavy frost. That car was cold, icy even. One was glad when temperatures warmed up. My husband, then boyfriend, was pleased with his car in spite of the heater.

Back to the reality of this new vehicle…we’ve driven it for a week around town in the electric mode, recharging it periodically on a schedule meant to extend the life of the electric battery. We can turn on the heater and the radio but we can’t change stations yet. Over time, with the manual and both of us in the car, we hope to figure out how to change stations among the myriad of other things we don’t know how to do yet with that vehicle. Oh for the days of the Beetle!

Somehow I cannot see a world of electric vehicles. The infrastructure certainly isn’t available yet and will require a great deal of work to be available. The car’s batteries last 5-8 years and are expensive to replace. Much has to be solved to replace gas/diesel engines.

Meanwhile, 2023 was the hottest year on record. High winds are challenging our homes. How much more will the wind speeds increase? And what about the fires, floods, heat waves and the freezing?

There are more questions than answers.

And between the storms which include the high winds, we walk the boardwalk and watch the drama of the sky in the January light. With the ice in the bay and the sky, there is always a reason to stop and take in a scene. Being in the moment keeps us going!

Sunday 7 January 2024

Life in winter

January cold has set in and each day brings a challenge of wind and precipitation. We haven’t had any major storms yet and our snow is a result of on-shore squalls. As my husband and I walk the boardwalk daily, we are dressed for the windchill, recently in the minus teens Celsius.

The harbour is in the early days of freezing this season and milder weather later this week will probably have an effect on it. Sunday morning, the scene looked frigid and icy. 

Even the squirrels attempted to warm their paws. 

In the distance, atop a tree along the shoreline, a young Bald Eagle kept watch for anything moving in the area.

Eagles hunt along the shoreline by the boardwalk and in the bay, especially at low tide. Two weeks ago, on Christmas and Boxing Days, we saw an adult Bald Eagle atop trees along the boardwalk.

One day, a squirrel was climbing the same tree the eagle was in. We suspect the squirrel was after spruce cones in the tree top and unaware of the eagle watching the landscape.

We watched the scene play out, as the squirrel climbed and suddenly noticed the eagle. The squirrel turned tail and headed down the tree, 

at one point stopping to look at the eagle.

The bird kept an eye on the squirrel but didn’t bother with it. 

Lucky squirrel!

Closer to home, BB, the crow with the broken beak which we were feeding, has probably died. We haven’t seen it for three weeks and the last day we saw it, in spite of the chicken we had for it, it ate little. We feared it wouldn’t survive.

Meanwhile our son-in-law made a skating rink in the backyard for the kids to skate and play hockey this year. A fire pit is great for hot chocolate and s’mores too. The family enjoys winter outdoor activity. 

When we embrace winter, the season goes quickly.