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Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Green Gables

The house is a literary landmark in Canada. This is Green Gables, made famous in the novels of Lucy Maud Montgomery, 1874-1942, who was a child of the island of Prince Edward.

Green Gables was owned by the MacNeil family, Lucy Maud’s cousins. The author set her novels about the orphan, Ann Shirley, in this home at Green Gables and the surrounding countryside of Cavendish. Thousands visit this area, including this home, every year.

Outside the house, the carriage lies waiting for the horse to take Anne Shirley, Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert to church. However, now Anne’s hat has red pig tails attached.

In the garden, trees are in bloom

on this summer day and the old tree in the flower bed is a natural sculpture.

This house itself is decorated in the Victorian style with its wallpaper, flooring, lace curtains and doilies. It offers a step back in time. 

Anne’s room is the most intriguing to me, with her clothes laid out and her book bag on the chair. She is expected home from Diana’s house any minute.

The guides tell stories from the books about the characters and various items around the house. For example, accidentally, Anne gave her friend Diana wine instead of raspberry cordial because the wine was in the wrong place on the shelves.

If ever a place was designed to complement a work of fiction, this is it. 

Fans of the Anne novels and the various tv series love this place. Every day, hundreds pass through the doors of Green Gables, into Anne’s world, as Lucy Maud described it. The character and the setting have a life of their own now, as a red headed guide, dressed in Anne attire, greets all visitors. 

The novel Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery is available free


Monday, 17 July 2017

Then we had tea

A July 6/17 article by a fellow blogger, Anvilcloudcaused me to reflect on some of the items I have from my mother. Anvilcloud mentioned, “Nobody wants your stuff,” in the blogpost. While I realized the same years ago after Mom died, AC gave me reason to pause.

My mother was never one to acquire anything fancy. She used what she had, then disposed of the remains. However, she valued bone China tea cups and had many which she left to me. I use them often and think of Mom every time. Similarly, I use my own China and crystal regularly and enjoy it. 

Anything I have would be passed on to our daughter and grandchildren. However, they will not want that stuff. The question became how to use Mom’s cups with the children today?

The solution presented itself recently when Caitlin and Sylvie, ages four and six, visited for the weekend. They always play tea party, using a play tea set and plastic sweets. But this time, we made muffins, as we often do and had a tea party using Mom’s China cups. 

Each girl picked out the cup she wanted and we drank juice-tea from the fancy cups which came from their great grandmother. We talked about the etiquette of a fancy tea and ate muffins but giggled a great deal. We practised how to avoid slurping or dinging the cup with the spoon, as we gently stirred our tea. What better use could those cups ever have? Fancy tea parties will be a regular occurrence now. 

Mom would have been thrilled!

Thanks, AC.

Friday, 14 July 2017

Bank swallows

They are tiny and fast, as they do acrobatics in the air. Bank swallows have fascinated my husband and me this spring and summer along the coastline of Prince Edward Island. However, photos have been difficult to acquire.

The small birds eat insects which they pluck from the air. We have only seen a few land on the ground during our several encounters with them. They are always in erratic motion. 

You can check out the sound of bank swallows here.

Our most recent encounter was at Red Point Provincial Park on the east coast of the island. During our picnic lunch, we watched the antics of the birds and pondered how to photograph them.

After lunch, we headed for a walk on the beach where a bank of five meters high explained why these swallows were present. A colony was established in the bank, groupings or single holes covered the top meter along one section of bank.

As I stood there and observed the holes, dozens of the tiny birds returned and swirled overhead, then headed into the holes. Imagine the sounds of so many of these swallows as you stand there watching! They disappeared into their nests and after a minute or so, exited again.

I continued to watch, wondering if there were any stragglers. After ten minutes, they were back again to repeat the scene. Again they left and returned.

Finally, success! I focussed on one hole and there she was, peering out. 

Later, another clung to the exterior of a hole and stayed long enough for me to photograph. 

The final photo was a motion shot which froze two of the little beauties in flight. 

Curiosity, observation and patience are important qualities when it comes to bird photography. The results can be special. However, had I not taken any photos, the experience of standing under the noisy, swirling bank swallows, was a once in a lifetime experience.

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

The lighthouse at St. Peter's Harbour

It looks battered and worn as you approach the shore.

This lighthouse at St. Peter’s Harbour was deactivated in 2008. Until recently, the old building was hidden behind the sand dunes which had grown in size since 1881 when the structure was built.

However, it wasn’t the end of the old lighthouse because a local group, The St. Peter’s Lighthouse Society, has acquired the old structure and is restoring it to its former glory. Initial work is well underway and the whole structure has been lifted four feet.

Now it stands above the dunes and out of the sand again. Work to repair the old building will continue.

As my husband and I moved through the trail 

lined with bayberry and other bushes,

sparrows competed with the ocean sounds. Dozens of them sang and flitted through the shrubs, meters from the beach on the far side of the dunes.

This beach

is on the western shore of the entrance to St. Peter’s Bay while the National Park at Greenwich is visible on the eastern shore. 

The beach is similar to Greenwich, though with less people.

There was a wharf on this shore at one time, at the entrance to St Peter’s Bay. All that remains now are the weathered supports 

which are battered during every storm and some of which disappear in high tide.

The old wood, bleached from the sea and sun, shows character and history.

Here, at the area where the water of St. Peter’s Bay meets the Gulf of St Lawrence you can see the turbulence on the surface of the water. However, the water is warm at this low tide.

As we roam the beach, we notice holes in the sand. 

These are made by razor clams, which people dig, gather and cook. We have never eaten these but an excursion to dig for them would be a great adventure.

Meanwhile, in the tops of the sand dunes, bank swallows have made their nests, though they are not circling overhead today.

This beach at St. Peter's Harbour has a unique character though it is a pristine beach like so many others on the island.

Monday, 10 July 2017

Floating in Greenwich

The air is full of birdsong everywhere you go. We saw some yellow warblers

as my husband and I headed to the floating boardwalk, the real reason for our visit to the Greenwich portion of the National Park on Prince Edward Island. 

The work is new but not the idea. There has been a boardwalk over Bowley Pond since the 1990s but this one is new. And a grand one it is!

The trail to the sand dunes at Greenwich leads through the woods and over the pond via a floating boardwalk. It stretches out before you as you leave the forest path. 

It is hard to believe this water almost dries up in the summer when you look out over the water today. 

There is motion under foot as you traverse the walkway. The motion is more pronounced if a group of people is with you, though not frightening. There are several places where you can pause to take in the setting, 

to look out at the dunes on shore 

and the grasses and cattails in the water, 

or the boardwalk itself.

Like so much of life, it is all about the journey.

Friday, 7 July 2017


Mussel fishing boats are a common sight in the waters around Prince Edward Island. On a recent visit to Stanley Bridge, my husband and I stopped to look at the boats in the marina and many were mussel boats.



Some of the boats have names associated with the industry, such as  Mussel Madness 


or Pure Mussel.


We had a good look at the hoists on the decks. Unlike some fisheries which have a short season, mussel harvesting is a year round business, making the investment more cost effective.


A short video about the industry is here:

Buoys, which are left over after the mussels are harvested, were on their way to storage. 


On the beach near New London lighthouse a week later, I recognized one of the mussel boats from Stanley Bridge as it returned from its day of harvesting. The A and R is a fast one!


We haven't had mussels in some time! Our favourite recipes involve curry, such as the recipe on this site.

There are mussels on the menu next week!

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

The middle

Our recent visit to Belmont Park, Prince Edward Island, was a day spent with our granddaughter, Caitlin, who is four years old. 

Caitlin is now the middle child in her family, after the birth of her brother Owen. This was her day with her grandfather and I, accompanied by the family dog, Georgie.

Belmont is a day-use park which is never crowded. It has a lovely beach,  


playground, picnic facilities, washrooms and is well maintained. That day, there was a breeze which helped keep the mosquitos at bay, while swallows danced overhead.

It was low tide when we arrived so we could explore the beach. Numerous jellyfish were stranded. 


We walked along and Caitlin led the conversation, which usually came back to,”What’s this?” as she explored the beach.

Before we had lunch, a group of young people, dressed in waders, approached the beach, walked into the water with a net, catching something in its mesh. Thinking this was a new fishery I was unfamiliar with, I approached them and queried their purpose. 


They were part of the CAMP program run by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans in Canada. It is an on-going project which is tasked with sampling the flora and fauna of the shores and estuaries around Prince Edward Island, parts of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. Such monitoring is vital to the continued health of our marine environment.

Meanwhile I took a few minutes to walk along the forested part of the shoreline while Caitlin played in the sand. Many trees are precariously perched, 


as if attempting to grow horizontally along the bank. 


Stormy seas or wind will one day topple these beauties as it has other trees.


After lunch, as the tide is returning, Caitlin and I walked along that same shoreline, though not under the dangling trees. We looked for a talking rock, a rock big enough for us to sit on, where we could chat and watch the scene before us.


She liked the idea of the rock as a talking place and found several where we could sit and chat as we moved along the shoreline. 

One of Caitlin’s favourite games that day was Ready, Steady, Jump. She tried to leap higher with each successive jump. After each attempt, she said, “Again,” as I repeated the three words. Poppy took lots of photos and Caitlin has looked at them numerous times since then. 


Simple pleasures make wonderful memories.

Caitlin may be the middle child now but she is as treasured as she's always been.