Monday, September 18, 2023

Westward Ho!


Throughout our travels I've enjoyed the various styles of houses I've seen. Lunenburg, Nova Scotia has some very pretty brightly coloured homes with contrasting doors. I'm trying to talk Tim into painting our front door a bright colour! 

We did visit Green Gables, but left Prince Edward Island a few days earlier than planned due to the incoming storm. We had hoped to visit the Gaspé Peninsula, but decided to skip that, also due to stormy conditions. We are slowly heading westward - we're one time zone closer to home now, in Rivière-du-Loup, Québec. Such a pretty little town. Tim is out on a bike ride and I am sipping tea, cozy and warm in the trailer. 

We will be with friends later this week, and family early next week. The leaves are changing and there is a crispness in the air. Enjoy autumn, or spring, wherever you may be. 

Tuesday, September 12, 2023

Moving Along


There are so many wonderful sights in this grand country of ours. We are seeing but a fraction, and our hearts and minds are full. I’ve been keeping a daily journal of our travels and it’s becoming difficult to absorb all of our little adventures. 

Above is a sea stack at Hopewell Rocks on the Bay of Fundy where the highest tides in the world occur. It was fun to wander around them at low tide. 

It seems we have a few sunny days followed by a stretch of cloudy and/or rainy ones. Today is one of the latter. We hiked in the rain and then came into our cozy warm home on wheels for hot tea and some chocolate. Outside just now I hear thunder. 

Tropical storm Lee is headed our way and we can expect more rain and wind. We are keeping an eye on the weather forecast and can leave in a hurry if things look more serious. 

Tomorrow we are headed to Prince Edward Island for a couple of days. Maybe some biking (depends on the rain) and hopefully a visit to Green Gables. 

Have a beautiful day. 

Monday, September 04, 2023

Into the Past


Our ferry crossing from Newfoundland was smooth as glass - such a relief! 

We spent the day at Fort Louisbourg, another of Canada’s National Historic Sites. Parks Canada does a wonderful job of interpreting the past with knowledgeable guides and costumed interpreters who took us back to 1744 when the French controlled this part of Canada. 

Stories galore. 

Friday, September 01, 2023

All Sorts of Days


Rainy days, cloudy days, and a few sunny days that we appreciate all the more for their rarity. Unless rain pours down for hours, we manage some sort of walk or hike everyday. Under moody skies Trout River sat like a haven of peace when seen from the trail above the hamlet.

Today, in contrast, is sunny and warm with a cool breeze that hints of the season in waiting. We will be leaving Newfoundland on the Sunday night ferry and then exploring more of the Maritimes for a couple of weeks before heading home. 

I’m sitting outside the laundromat waiting for clothes to finish their cycles. Goldenrod waves in the wind. Bits of milkweed fluff sail through the air. It’s lovely.  

Thursday, August 24, 2023

L’Anse aux Meadows


L’Anse aux Meadows lies at the northern tip of Newfoundland. I have been captivated by this place for many years, since high school when I first learned about the Norse people who came here around the year 1000 AD. Parks Canada has done a stellar job of interpreting the site. Beyond the history, I am enchanted by the landscape, low green hills that flatten into the sea with long reefs where white waves curl. 

This is the furthest point on our trip and tomorrow we begin the trek homeward. There is still much to explore in the Maritimes, and we will be taking our time. 

I was shocked when we drove into the little town of St. Anthony to buy some groceries. The skyline was dominated by a familiar and most unexpected sight - a cruise ship! The first day we went to L’Anse aux Meadows, a bus full of cruise ship passengers arrived just as we did. Sadly, many made a beeline to the gift shop and spent no time at all learning about the history of this place. 

With so many people visiting the park, the park hosts altered their usual routines and did not offer guided tours but were instead stationed at various points to answer questions. So we decided to return the next day and had a wonderful tour by an excellent guide who grew up playing on the mounds before excavation began in 1961. 

Saturday, August 19, 2023



Hello from Twillingate, Newfoundland. So many interesting names dot the maps and signposts here. Twillingate, I learned, is an anglicized form of Toulinguet - so named by the French fishermen who travelled here centuries ago to fish for cod because the landscape reminded them of a similar shoreline in Their homeland. 

I confess that the less than summery weather is a bit of a trial and when the occasional warm sunny day appears, we take full advantage of it to hike a beautiful trail. 

The image above is the view from our campsite just now. Two humpback whales passed by yesterday, gulls soar with white wings flashing against the dark sea, and there is a delicious air of contentment. 

It’s been just over one month since left home and I will admit to homesickness. We speak with our children but it’s not the same as seeing them, and I think about my garden and miss my flowers. I am making an effort to fully enjoy all the moments of this trip for I know it’s a once in a lifetime experience. 

I also think about the terrible fires in our home province, not near to us, but dreadful nonetheless. Here we have too much rain, there not nearly enough. I pray for rain where it’s needed and for safety for all those in the face of the fires. 

We are perfectly comfortable in our little home on wheels. Today, after hiking, I indulged in a couple of hours of domesticity - making a pot of soup from vegetables bought at the local farmer’s market, baking date muffins, and concocting a pan of marshmallow squares for a special treat. 

Now as the sun sets and all the chores are finished, we will take a short walk and then settle in to read or perhaps watch a downloaded program on our computer.  

Thank you for reading  I look forward to catching up with all of your blogs when we get home - and there’s no definite date for that. Meanwhile, I wish you moments of loveliness to cherish. 

Tuesday, August 15, 2023

Cape Spear

The old lighthouse, a round stone tower with a wooden structure around the tower. 

Standing on the edge of land beside the Atlantic Ocean at Cape Spear, one is as east as possible in North America. A lighthouse stands here, still flashing its beacon after many decades, although the original buildings have been replaced. 

What was shocking to me after seeing a signpost elsewhere was that the tip of England, Poldhu, Cornwall, is much closer to us now than our home in the west of Canada. It made me realize how vast this country is, and how many kilometres we have driven. 

The edge of the continent

Sunday, August 13, 2023

Birds Galore!


Cape St. Mary’s lies on one of the long peninsulas of Newfoundland. We stopped there after a very rocky ferry trip. The mists swirled up and around us.  Here an ecological reserve has a trail high on the cliffs above the roiling sea where we walked. We could hear the birds far sooner than we could see them. Gannets with their young, common murres, and black-legged kittiwakes covered the rock faces where they nested. 

A beautiful wild place of wonder. 

Wednesday, August 09, 2023

Biking between the raindrops


Cape Breton Island is filled with history, music, wonderful people, and gorgeous scenery. We went for a short bicycle ride along the southwest coast - a lovely trail with ocean views and shaded forests. Our appetites were ready for a bowl of delicious seafood chowder, one of the best I’ve tasted, accompanied by Celtic music. It was interesting to see that many of the road signs in this corner of the island were written in both English and Gaelic. 

Our last couple of days have been relaxing. This morning the view from our campsite was obscured by steady rain. As I write we are in the line waiting to board the ferry to Newfoundland. Although boarding will be on schedule, winds might delay our departure. It’s a 16 hour overnight trip and I’m a wee bit nervous about the ups and downs in the waves. Tim bought Gravol but that just puts me to sleep so I’m trying some pressure wrist bands. They are on now and will stay until we drive off the ferry tomorrow mid-morning. 

Tuesday, August 08, 2023

A quick note


Hello there!  Are you a history buff? I am. I love visiting sites where history comes alive and often imagine characters and events that might have taken place. 

The Isle aux Coudres in the Saint Laurence River is a place where stories lie around every corner. Settled by the French, there are charming homes, curving bays, and intriguing paths everywhere. We had hoped to cycle the 23 km perimeter of the island, but rain prevented that. Instead we visited an old mill, still grinding local flour today after more than 250 years, wandered a beach trail when the rain eased, and drove around the perimeter. Still so lovely. 

I’m finding internet and wifi connections rather difficult and have decided to create little postcard style posts like this one. 

The stories and other photos will happily wait until we return home. On Wednesday we take the ferry (16 hours) to Newfoundland. Exciting! We’ve almost reached the easternmost point of our trip. 

Thanks for coming along. 



Monday, July 31, 2023

Visiting Old Quebec City


In 1608 Samuel de Champlain, a French explorer, established a tiny settlement on the banks of the Saint Laurence River in what is now Canada.  Today was a step back in time as we wandered winding cobblestone streets lined with stone buildings decorated with shutters of all colours. Above the old town rises the Chateau Frontenac, a luxury hotel built by the Canadian Pacific Railway company in 1893.

You can't always believe the weather forecast. Today's prediction was 40% showers, but that turned into about 90% between 9 and 4, the hours we wandered around Quebec City. We had a wonderful time in spite of the rain. 

The old houses drew me in with their overflowing flower planters, steep roofs, stone walls and colourful doors and shutters. Some houses have been converted to businesses, others remain private residences. A man carrying a large musical instrument case came out of a blue door, turned to lock it, then went on his way, likely a busker going to work for the afternoon. 

The city is located on steep terrain, good for a defensive position when enemies came by boat from the river. The streets wind up and up and from the upper levels looking down on homes is like seeing a world in miniature. 

I think about the people who have lived in these homes with their dreams and their griefs. The circumstances may be different than ours, just as my experiences are different from you, my reader. But down through the decades and the centuries, home has been seen as a place of refuge and comfort, of restoration and love. Not all homes reflect those characteristics, but the idea of home is one that we all yearn for. 

Wednesday, July 26, 2023

Beside Lake Huron


We sped across the western provinces, intent on reaching Ontario. It was a bit of a surprise to me to cross the longitudinal meridian of Canada when we were in Manitoba. Halfway across Canada in four days was a bit of a marathon. 

In school geography class one thing every Canadian student learns is to draw the Canadian Shield, a wide band of rock around Hudson Bay. The TransCanada highway winds across and through rocks and lakes and trees that mark the landscape. 

We stopped at Kakebeka Falls for a night of camping and a couple of hours of hiking. Viewing platforms allow close access to the falls. A short trail led to another, smaller, but equally beautiful waterfall. 

We camped at Neys Provincial Park for one night and walked on the sand by Lake Superior. Unfortunately, hundreds of grasshoppers had the same idea. Every step a few of them hopped up as we passed. Leaving the beach we brushed them off of our pant legs. A wee bit unnerving. 

I’m writing this post by the shores of Lake Huron on a warm muggy afternoon made bearable by the cool breeze coming off the lake. We set out our chairs and are reading, a cool drink to hand. It’s lovely to just sit and relax after driving for so many days (6!).

Tomorrow we will be visiting friends in Toronto for a few days. 

I wasn't able to post until now, several days after our lovely time by Lake Huron. The above photo was our morning view of the lake, the water soft, the air misty, and the humidity high!

We're enjoying visiting with friends, connecting with a cousin, and seeing a bit of the countryside north of Toronto. We won't be going to the big city this trip. 

Tuesday, July 18, 2023

An Adventure Begins


In the very bottom left of the map above you will see a pink island with a small dot labelled Victoria. That's where we live. For a number of years the two of us have dreamed about driving across Canada, all the way to the green island on the right with the small dot labelled St. John's. 

Our home for the next three months will be our 21 foot Escape travel trailer, or caravan. I think caravan is a much nicer word, don't you? We've made lists and checked them twice. Clothes, food, books, tools, hiking boots, raingear, and sunhats have been tucked away into every nook and cranny. 

For a few days prior to our trip I wondered why on earth we would leave our comfortable home and garden to drive thousands of kilometres across our country. Part of me is excited to be setting out on this adventure. We'll see things we've only heard or read about. We'll meet new friends, and a few old ones.

As we go along, I'm certain there will be times when I say, like Bilbo Baggins, "I wish I were at home in my nice hole by the fire, with the kettle just beginning to sing." Those times will be rare, I think, as we travel east and then back again over the next three months. It seems like a long time now, but I know the days will pass quickly. 

I hope to blog as we go. Posts might be sporadic as the internet may be spotty. We'll see what happens. 

We were on the road for 12 hours today and are cozy in a lovely treed campground not too far from Banff. A yummy dinner of pulled pork and coleslaw. After a long walk I’m looking forward to a cup of tea  

Saturday, July 15, 2023

Finding a Bit of Narnia


We spent last week camping with the family. Lots of visiting, lots of delicious food, lots of energetic children who played in the forest, explored the creek, swam in the pool, and did all sorts of creative things. 

One morning we set out on a short hike. The trail was easy and best of all, according to the littlest ones, there were huckleberries to pick and eat along the way. The warmth of the sun brought out all the wonderful woodsy smells of greenery, cedar trees, and pine cones. 

Through the woods to a suspension bridge high over a narrow creek strewn with huge boulders. Then down a very steep trail to a small rocky beach formed by a bend in the creek. It was a magical place, quiet and private, lined by enormous rocks and towering trees. Crystalline water made green by the surrounding foliage. Sunlight filtering through the forest canopy.

This hidden place was discovered by our son and his family last summer. They knew we would enjoy it. The deep pool was shockingly cold to my system, and exhilarating. What a wonderful time we had swimming, exploring, eating our lunch on the beach. I could have stayed all day.

It's become a bit of a tradition that Nana brings along her deep fryer and makes donuts one morning. It doesn't take long and I have lots of help. Raspberry glazed, maple glazed with bacon, Boston Cream filled donuts, and plain glazed donut holes. They all disappeared. 

Back at the campsite, swallowtail butterflies flitted about the planted flowers. 

So much to enjoy about this little vacation together with some of the dearest people in my life. 

Sunday, July 09, 2023

On a Smaller Island with a Surprise


My home is on Vancouver Island, which is the largest island on the west coast of the Americas, and about three times larger than the island of Hawaii. Surrounding our island are many many more smaller islands jutting up out of the ocean. It's a boater's paradise as many of the islands are parks. 

Portland Island is one of these. Used by the First Nations peoples, it was then settled by Hawaiian workers brought to the United States. When their contracts were finished, they were unable to purchase land in the USA, so came north to Canada. They planted orchards and farms to provide produce for the residents of surrounding islands. Remnants of the orchards continue to produce apples and pears. 

A smiling rock

In 1958 Princess Margaret visited British Columbia and the island was given to her. She gave it back a few years later. There was a scheme to build a luxury hotel on the island, but in the end, it became a national park. 

Access to the island is by private boat only, no ferry service offered. We, along with two friends, spent a wonderful day hiking on the island's many trails. The scent of the sun-warmed forest floor filled me with delight. We clambered on rocky beaches and peered into tide pools. We looked up, way up through the forest canopy to the blue sky. 

Arbutus (arbutus mensiesii), native to the Pacific Northwest

In places the water looked inviting and tropical, but a hand put into the water soon discouraged any thought of a swim. The water temperature is about 9.5 degrees Celsius. Too cold for me!

After our hike we ate lunch on the boat, cold sliced chicken, French potato salad, Greek salad, and Peach Upside Down Cake for dessert. All very delicious with a spectacular view of water, islands, and sky. 

The mist is the whale exhaling.

Late afternoon we began our way back. What fun to see a pair of Orca whales surface just in front of our boat. We cut the throttle, as required by law when so close to these creatures, and watched as they surfaced, blew, and sank again. 

Whales with the town of Sydney in the background.

When they disappeared, we began our way again, only to have the whales appear in front of us again. They were going the same way as we were, and we enjoyed watching them for about 30 minutes. Such a treat, especially for our friends who rarely get out on the water. 

Sunday, July 02, 2023

Into July


Every couple of days I pick raspberries. It's a bumper crop and there are more to come. We eat them with yogurt for breakfast, with ice cream for dessert, and I've frozen eight containers for the winter. This week I made a Raspberry Shrub, a concentrate of berries, sugar, and apple cider vinegar. It's sweet and tart and very refreshing mixed with water or club soda. 

Every time I pick berries I am reminded of several summers in my teenage years. My grandfather had a raspberry farm and my sister and I would come from our home in the interior to pick berries and earn a little money. One year my sister and I, maybe 15 and 14 years of age, picked berries for another farmer. We lived in a small abandoned house and took care of ourselves - cooking simple meals and spending the evenings reading or talking. On the weekends we went to our grandparents' home. 

It was important to pick the bushes clean, not leaving any ripe berries behind. We picked the outside berries, then spread the canes apart and stepped into the rows to find all the hidden juicy berries. The scent of sun-warmed berries in my own canes takes me right back to those days. 

For Canada Day on Saturday, we enjoyed dinner with friends. I brought the dessert, seen above, and I have to say, it was delicious. It's a combination of several recipes, and I plan to write down what I did so that I can reproduce it. 

Two little summer nighties were stitched up this week. The little girls took a bath and put them on before going to their own home for the night. Cora's favourite colour is orange (subject to change at any moment), and I found this bright orange print for her nightgown. Iris was thrilled with the puffed sleeves. Her delight reminded me of Anne of Green Gables delight with the puffed sleeve dress Matthew gave to her. It's the little things!

A friend is anticipating the birth of her first grandchild and I made a stuffed elephant as a gift, along with some fun board books. The pattern is from Tilda. I so enjoy spending time in my sewing room, creating this and that. 

On Sunday afternoon we went downtown and walked along the Inner Harbour. It's definitely tourist season as the path was quite busy, as were the restaurants. We enjoyed fish tacos at Fisherman's Wharf, deliciously prepared by a Mexican family. The water shimmered, the sun shone, and we watched the comings and goings on water and on shore. A lovely way to be a tourist in our home town. 

Saturday, June 24, 2023

Summer, Summer, Summer


It's hard to choose a favourite season, but summer is right up there in the top four! Maybe the top two - with summer and autumn teetering for the most favoured. I love the flowers, the fresh produce, the warmer temperatures (rarely too warm here), and all the lovely light. 

Last evening the light poured through the kitchen window onto the vase of double peony poppies, lady's mantle, and wine red poppies on the counter. How rich it looked. 

On Midsummer's Eve we took a later-than-usual drive down to the breakwater and watched the light slowly fade in the west. A cruise ship passed by, festive with lights, and I imagined the passengers lingering over their after-dinner tea, or leaning on the railing watching the glowing city on their starboard side. 

From my kitchen window on a rainy day I watched a Rufous Hummingbird (I think) preening in the shelter of the lilac tree. She sat for the longest time, combing her tail with her long beak, fluffing herself, then smoothing everything down. 

The raspberries are ripening and the bushes are loaded. I've frozen several containers for winter eating, and we're enjoying the fresh berries in smoothies, with granola and yogurt, and with a bit of cream. Last night we had family over and dessert was bowls of vanilla ice cream with a few late strawberries, lots of raspberries, and a few early blueberries, topped with a caramel sauce and chocolate sprinkles for those who wanted. 
Nothing easier!

I pick a fresh posy of sweet peas every few days. Happily I can smell them faintly now. This particular posy is for Connie Lou in Florida, a reader who emailed me to say that they are her favourite flower. I wish there was a scratch and sniff option in blogger. 

School ended on Friday and I finished report cards. Three weeks of teaching was plenty and I'll happily enjoy retirement once more. My daughter is doing very well in her recovery from surgery, and I thank you for your prayers and kind thoughts. 

Summer days, how I love them!

Friday, June 16, 2023

Poppies among the Potatoes


Fluffy double poppies self-seed freely in my garden. I move them around or let them be, as I choose. There are a number in my small potato patch of 10 plants and they all chose to bloom at the same time. How pretty those pops of pink are among the greenery. 

Sweet peas just began blooming, along with Bachelor Buttons grown from seed. A little posy of them grace my new kitchen windowsill. 

The roses continue to delight me. Above is Lichfield Angel, my newest rose. I love how it lights the dark foliage of phlox behind it. 

It's been a busy week with dinner guests on Tuesday followed by house guests Wednesday through Friday morning. I made a Rhubarb Cream Cheese Pie, something I enjoy making every year when rhubarb stalks shoot up and out. This year I had quite a few strawberries ripe at the same time, so I added a cupful of them to the rhubarb mixture. Delicious! I'm a bit weary with all the company and getting students to finish up their work for the end of the year. Tonight (Friday) there are plenty of leftovers in the fridge, so we'll be having Refrigerator Review for dinner. 

The kitchen is finished. Tim did the ceramic tile backsplash this week, and the hanging light fixtures arrived. They were backordered since February. I'm so pleased with it. The footprint is the same as before, a U-shape in front of the window, but we extended the peninsula three feet into the adjacent open space where we have our breakfast table and a small sofa. I want to put a piece of art on the blank wall above the peninsula and I'm on the hunt for just the right piece. 

The oak flooring will continue throughout the main floor, along with other renovations, but we're taking a break from tearing up the house for awhile, and just enjoying what's been done. 

There are so many decisions to make when renovating or building, and one never really knows what it will look like until everything is installed. I'm pleased as punch that I like all of the elements we've chosen. What a relief!

This weekend will be fairly quiet although all the children and grandchildren will be over for a barbecue on Sunday afternoon. What plans do you have for the weekend? Or the week?

Westward Ho!

  Throughout our travels I've enjoyed the various styles of houses I've seen. Lunenburg, Nova Scotia has some very pretty brightly c...