Monthly Archives: July 2019

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!

Call Of The Forest

The excellent documentary about the work of Diana Beresford-Kroeger, Call of the Forest, is available to watch this weekend (July 13-15, 2019) on the website I was an Indiegogo backer and am so pleased with the film and its message. I hope you will watch it.

Beresford-Kroeger should be a household name in Canada, but isn’t quite yet. She has a unique way of combining science and traditional teachings that is captivating. The Global Forest and The Sweetness of a Simple Life are two of my all-time favourite books. I’m excited about her newest book, To Speak for the Trees, which will be released this fall.

Please plant trees. Worship them. Encourage those trees in urban areas who struggle to survive the air pollution while standing in compacted soil encased in concrete and asphalt. Touch a tree on a windy day and feel how it moves and bends. Pat one and say hello. Listen to the call of the forest, because that is our home.

Here Kitty Kitty Kitty Club

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in the House today to acknowledge the great work of some beautiful girls in the eastern end of this province. Cavendish has the wholesome and heartwarming Anne, and she has had an excellent play on at the potato warehouse next door here for the past couple of years. The wife has seen it, but I’ve been too busy with some other dancers down on King Street to make it up the hill, right boys?

Young women play a vital role in our economy. Waitresses, secretaries, school teachers, and I hear there is even a woman doctor up in Tyne Valley, so that’s something different. And we even now have the honourable member from 1st Queens, Mrs. Parker Canfield, who is sitting here with the rest of us as a woman. Times are changing fast, and often not for the better, but who am I to say.

My wife loves cats, so once we get the cousins from Ontario back on the Abby, we’ll be gassing up the Olds 88 and heading down to Brudenell to do a bit of golfing and soak up some of the family-friendly wholesome culture that the Minster of Tourism spoke about with such feeling yesterday. I’ve been known to chase a ball around here and there, but this is certainly a time I hope to get a hole in one. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, but sometimes a kitten is [inaudible due to banging of desks, hooting, and meowing]. And I sure do love to stroke a kitten! Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The Kitten Culbs of Canada - Ashtray
A government-owned golf course ran a bunny club in Cardigan. Oh yes, they did! Click through to read the donor’s story of this piece of PEI history.


In researching the spelling of the Miꞌkmaq word for Prince Edward Island (Epekwitk), I noticed on the Miꞌkmaq Wikipedia page that the punctuation mark between the “i” and “k” in Miꞌkmaq was longer and more vertical than an apostrophe.

Wikipedia says this is a saltillo, and if I understand correctly, it is a letter and not a punctuation mark, a glottal stop. It isn’t widely used:

The lowercase saltillo letter is used in Miꞌkmaq of Canada, Izere of Nigeria and in at least one Southeast Asian language, Central Sinama of the Philippines and Malaysia.

So, kꞌwe to the small letter saltillo.