New Library, New Museum?

Great news today that Charlottetown will follow Summerside’s lead and get a new library. The scuttlebutt was that capital city folks were annoyed that Summerside had gotten ahead of them with the Inspire Learning Centre, so good for them for making it happen in Charlottetown.

I hope the next announcement from the provincial government will be to finally establish a central provincial museum in the Confederation Centre library space. Ian Scott has documented the past few half-hearted stabs at a provincial museum on his blog, and talk of such a facility goes back well over 100 years. The PEI Museum and Heritage Foundation has a couple of storage facilities filled to the brim with artefacts that should be seen. I know some collectors who would like to donate items to the PEIMHF, but don’t want the objects to end up hidden away forever.

I believe the Confed Centre library space was originally intended to be a museum, so it would make sense to finally make it so. Sense and government don’t always go together, so I won’t hold my breath, but maybe if the folks in Summerside would announce they are building a provincial museum…


My mother and I delivered eight dozen sugar cookies that she baked and decorated herself to the vacation bible school group in Tyne Valley today, her 97th birthday. She said it’s not a big deal, but I think it’s kind of a big deal at her age, or any age, really! She wishes she could do as much as she once did, but she still does what she can, and that’s a great lesson for us all.

Everyone needs to feel needed, no matter what age or ability. When my caring responsibilities start to feel heavy, I remember times when I was alone and had no one who needed me, and I know that was much worse. Love and be loved, and make cookies.

Show Your Stripes

The header image on my homepage comes from and represents the annual average temperatures for Canada from 1901-2018 using data from Berkeley Earth. Similar images can be generated for other regions or the whole planet. From their FAQ page:

These ‘warming stripe’ graphics are visual representations of the change in temperature as measured in each country over the past 100+ years. Each stripe represents the temperature in that country averaged over a year. For most countries, the stripes start in the year 1901 and finish in 2018. For the UK, USA, Switzerland & Germany, the data starts in the late 19th century.

Canada warming stripes 1901-2018 from

The one for the entire globe using data from 1850-2018 is even more striking. Will I be around long enough to see the cooler shades return?

Globe 1850-2018
Annual average temperatures for GLOBE from 1850-2018 using data from UK Met Office.

Clean Screen

What happens when you drop your iPod Touch in a bucket of water for two seconds while you are washing your floors?

Clean Screen
Still podding!

Nothing! Didn’t skip a beat.

Yes, I still have an iPod Touch (6th generation) and am deluded enough to think my letter to Tim Cook asking him to retain and update the Touch led to Apple releasing the 7th generation earlier this year. Touch+wi-fi+Samsung flip phone = smartish phone!

Three For Four

All four of our hens are laying eggs now. The two new red pullets, Clemmie and Prue, took a while to get going, and their eggs are still small, but things are usually running like clockwork.

One day last week, Clemmie took off when Steven opened the run in the morning and ran to the house. I later only found three eggs in the two nesting boxes in the coop. I had seen Clemmie and Prue checking out the spirea next to our deck the day before, so I had a look there and found a beautiful little brown egg in a sweet little hole Clemmie had made in the soil.

This dash-and-drop went on for a few mornings, so yesterday I threw together a rustic/junky/steampunky outdoor nesting box. The wood came from our old shop floor, which the builders said I should burn but which I have recycled into many garden and chicken projects so far. The roof is the drain pan that used to sit under our ancient water pump for our cottage. The drain pipe had rusted out and left a little hole, so I dug into our bag of recycling and found the snazzy lid from a can of ADL/Dairy Isle evaporated milk (what my 96-year-old mother uses to make fudge, which she did for the Tyne Valley Oyster Festival canteen last week!). Nails and roofing screws were picked up by me from when our house was being built in 2002 and reroofed in 2015. Caulking leftover from repairing our shop siding.

Total cost = $0. And this morning, there was no 5:30 buck-buck-bucking from Clemmie, and she instead left her brown egg in her new box. The chicken books all say “One nesting box is enough for every four hens,” but Clemmie hasn’t gotten to that chapter in her handbook. Or she read the version with the footnote “*except when it isn’t.”

Blue food for blue birds

One of the most beautiful things about the rewilding experiment I am conducting on our property is the abundance of wild blueberries growing just steps from our house, which feed so many animals: wild birds, raccoons, chickens, us!

I’m sitting here on a gorgeous Sunday afternoon watching bird families coming through for a snack. First the blue jays, with their noisy, begging teenagers that demand to be fed every ten seconds. The parents drop down, pick a few berries, feed the young ones, move along. Now there are four flickers yelling at one of our cats who is strolling by.

We used to cut the grass under the trees, rake all the leaves spring and fall, keep everything nice and neat. Now it is much less work, incredibly lush, and full of natural shrubs and flowers. It’s a bit wooly looking, but we live in a forest by a tidal river and this is the way it should look.

Imagine what the world would look like if every human made decisions based on understanding that we are just one of many species and not the top of the heap.

What did you know and when did you know it?

30 year ago this month, Margaret Atwood wrote the preface to a book by The Pollution Probe Foundation called The Canadian Green Consumer Guide.

I was on a pretty limited income at this time, but I bought the book, read it, and moved it with me to Montreal, back to PEI, on to Toronto, and now here it is back on PEI. I ditched a lot of books along the way, but this one survived.

In July 1989, I was a fully-fledged adult, newly graduated from Mount Allison University and on my way to the National Theatre School of Canada in Montreal. I was a heavy consumer of news via radio and newspapers, and always a bleeding heart leftie. I went on peace marches. I was vegetarian for a couple of years. I knew about the hole in the ozone layer and acid rain. I cared.

Now I reread what Atwood wrote and it is like I had never read it before. “The danger we’re in is enormous: if we don’t do something about it, its results could be as devastating as those of a world-wide nuclear catastrophe.” What did I think when I read this? Why didn’t it shake me into action back then?

It actually took Greta Thunberg’s TED talk last fall to wake me up from my 30-year nap. She is right to wonder why we didn’t tackle climate change decades ago when we were told about it. When you know better, you do better, but I knew and I didn’t, and I can’t really explain why.

Now I’m looking at everything differently and trying to make up for lost time. I hope you’ll join me.


I went back to the nest at the end of our lane a couple of times after my first post. The three eggs hatched July 9, and I saw the babies a few hours after they emerged. Both mother and father robin were very clear that I should get lost, and the babies never woke when I moved the branch over the nest.

A few hours old.

Six days later, there was just one little baby. Birds grow so quickly!


The nest was empty a week later, and no parents were around to scold me or to tell me if the baby fledged. I think it would have been too soon, but I’ll ever know. I’ve been hearing the robins close to our house singing in the morning like they do when they first return each spring. I believe they can nest a couple of times in a summer, so perhaps they are trying again.

What will be will be

I struck up a conversation with a man in my dentist’s waiting room a couple of weeks ago. He said he had moved to PEI from Vietnam in September 2018. I asked him how he found his first winter on PEI, it having been a long one, even for here.

He said, “The weather will be what the weather will be. I had never seen snow before, and it was very cold, but I just accepted it.”

As a weather-obsessed PE Islander, I really didn’t know what to say next…so I asked him about the general weather in Vietnam! He said it ranged from hot and humid to hot and not-quite-so humid. He will be loving today’s 30C high.

I try to greet each day with open arms, which is admittedly easier to do on a bright July morning than a dark January one. It was a good reminder to let the weather look after itself and to focus on things I can control, like my reactions to things I can’t control!