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Monday, 24 October 2016


A sand dune is a wonder of nature. 


The interaction of the physical and plant worlds evolved over time to a system which prevents erosion of a beach. 


Left undisturbed, with all factors as they developed, erosion of a beach would be minimal. 

The marram grass, sea oates and other beach plants, help to keep the soil in place in a delicate balance with the physical world.


Then there are the catastrophic storms, the high seas and winds that destroy the dunes and allow the sea to move further inland. In the past year, students of the environmental program at the island university worked to restore dunes to the Cavendish Beach area of Prince Edward Island which had seen such destruction. 

For dunes to develop, they require something which acts as a barrier to block beach sand which blows around in high winds. In nature, seaweed can be such a barrier. 



When people help the process, they make use of old trees to aid the accumulation of sand. In addition, plugs of cultivated marram grass can be transplanted to areas where it has been destroyed by human activity as well.

The natural beauty of the dunes is something to behold. 


The wind blowing over the grass creates a green wave which often has various shades of green due to the different plants. 


Its gentle sound blends with that of the ocean to create beach music, especially if the wind is not too high. The dunes, as much as the sand, the water and the breeze, make this setting my favourite place on earth.

Sunday, 23 October 2016

Spectator Sport

Two weeks makes a huge difference in the life of deciduous trees this time of year.


Walking the streets, trails and boardwalks is a spectator sport!


Friday, 21 October 2016

Heritage Road

The trees behind the parking area on Millman Road are a surprise. 


We are here to see the autumn reds and yellows, but the grays of the tree trunks,


darkened by last night's rain, are vivid in this light. I stand in the undergrowth and look up.


The artistry of nature!


The lane is lined with maple, birch, and apple trees.


There are rolling fields on either side and ferns add a bushy yellow at ground level.


It is windy and the trees rustle, shaking loose some leaves which have a tentative hold on the branches. The air around us is still as the leaves above us sing with the breeze.


Up and down we stroll, breathing in the fresh air, listening to the wind, birds and squirrels. 


In several places, the grays of the trunks predominate. 


In another area, coniferous trees stand back from the lane, while Queen Ann's lace, long gone to seed, stands guard.


The lane is inviting, drawing us onward to see more. 


Where the ground is covered with fallen apples, their scent is in the air. My husband squishes apples under foot. "It speeds up decomposition," he says as his inner child takes great pleasure in the squishing. 


We don't speak too much more, taking in the glory of the setting. 


We gasp audibly a few times, so taken with the scene, we stand together silently.


The scent of apple fills the car on the drive home.

Note:  Millman Road is a designated Heritage Road in Prince Edward Island. It is a red dirt lane, with native trees providing a canopy for a vegetative tunnel.

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Greenwich, Prince Edward Island

On a recent visit to St. Peter's Bay, Prince Edward Island, on the northeast coast, we visited the National Park at Greenwich. By this time of year, the park is accessible but without park personnel, although maintenance people worked in the area.

This park provides hiking trails and a beach along the Gulf of St. Lawrence. The area feels unspoiled, peaceful, pristine. On the glorious autumn day, the squirrels were busy collecting material for their nests and eating apples.


 The park has numerous apple trees, providing lots of food for the local wildlife.


Mushrooms were abundant along the trails, including these shaggy mane mushrooms near our picnic area.


These pin cherries, over ripe at this time of year, 


lined the trails, as did rose bushes. There must be a scent of roses on the breeze earlier in the year. Even now, the leaves and rose hips are a red 


which is only matched by the maples.


The fireweed, gone to seed, demands a look, 


while raspberry bushes behind a rustic fence, still hold some berries. 


Layers of beauty surround an old tree which reaches its bare weathered branches into the deep blue sky. A natural sculpture!


One side of the park borders on St. Peter's Bay, an area of early settlement by the French. Today, mussel farming and fishing are a part of life in the bay. 


One trail follows along the shoreline, parallel to the movement of the boats. We sat and watched for a time, enjoying the sun, the activity on the water and the peace around us.


Monday, 17 October 2016

Continuing adventures with crows

A grape plant grows well at the base of our patio on Prince Edward Island.  Every year the yield increases and this year was no exception.


However, the neighbourhood crows and grackles discovered the tasty morsels too and I waged war with them in an effort to save some grapes for ourselves.

The birds made friends with two scarecrows which stood watch around the plant. 


It looked like the crows nodded in greeting as they proceeded to decimate the vine. They'd land on the patio railing and stare down at the grapes to figure out how to get some of the more inaccessible purple orbs. I took to scaring the crows away myself but they became more brazen over time and didn't move until I was almost close enough to touch them. They taunted and mocked me with that special caw crows make when they are irritated.


This past week, everything changed. I picked the grapes and the crows watched the proceedings. While I worked, two of them watched from the yard next door. 

They talked to each other and signaled their friends about my work around their grapes. The thieves also bade farewell to the inept scarecrows. I trimmed the plant after I picked the fruit and this really puzzled them. The birds landed on the patio railing, as they always did, looking down for the vines and their sweet juicy treats. Nothing. They moved their heads around as if puzzled by what they didn't see. The crows haven't been back...until next year. Meanwhile, I've put my accessories away until the end of this month.


Sunday, 16 October 2016

Autumn Aster

The countryside is splashed with shades of red and yellow these days. However, the garden has a beautiful purple.


This aster plant is at the front of the house, enjoying its time in the spotlight.


One bloom even has a friend enjoying the autumn sunshine as well.


These asters below are wild flowers, now gone to seed in the fields and forests of the island.


I like both types of asters. How about you?

Friday, 14 October 2016


Along the beaches in Prince Edward Island, seaweed washes ashore in abundance.


In our city of Summerside, workers remove accumulated seaweed from the beach on a regular basis. Seaweed is a part of life along the coast of this province.

Kelp, one type of seaweed, has a holdfast, a root-like structure, at the end of the stalk which anchors it to a substrate such as a rock. Sometimes, the holdfast is visible when the kelp is on the beach. 


More rarely, rough seas issue forth the kelp attached to a rock. In our travels around the beaches of the island this past summer, we have only see one such rock which looked as if the kelp grew out of the it.


Holdfast is such an interesting word. For me, it provides an analogy for life where the seas are often calm, and holding on is easy. However, when storms stir up the water, it is hard to hold on and you can be shaken to the core. Like the seaweed, you are dislodged. Such times are the true test. 

Seeing the holdfasts on the beach, reminded me of our family friend, Reuben. He lost his eyesight due to undiagnosed diabetes. Reuben was the sole breadwinner in his family. He and his wife, Florrie, lived in rural Newfoundland over fifty years ago where, if you couldn't fish, there was no way to support yourself except by government assistance. He and his wife always grew vegetables but after Reuben lost his sight, Florrie grew the garden herself.

Learning to be mobile again, feed himself and do all the other daily activities we take for granted, were a challenge for Reuben in a place without professional support. He had a choice however. With the support of his wife and community, Reuben embraced life as it presented itself in a black world. He kept his sense of humour and his love of life throughout the remainder of his days. Reuben was an example of how to live in the face of adversity, when blackness surrounds you.

Unlike the seaweed, we have a choice in how we deal with rough seas. Everyone needs time to process life's challenges. Then, we can choose to adapt and move forward or give in to the blackness. I pray to holdfast.