Tag Archives: nature

Between the Bustling and the Ambling

Around the equinox, both the daytime and nighttime are of the same length and, depending upon where you are, darkness starts to happen earlier and earlier and the temperature begins to drop.

One of the first things I like doing to mark the seasonal transition is to replace the wreath on the front of our house.  My autumn bird feeder wreath was created as an expression of my appreciation for the harvest, for our family and home life, for all the good things around us.  I like it to be natural and organic and to offer a bit of sustenance to the songbirds.  Since taking these photographs, I added in some seeded ivy, cabbage, and kale.  I plump it up twice in the season as bits begin to wilt, fade, and get eaten.

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Almost Home


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The Straw Island lighthouse in the background is a sure sign of nearly being home.

Dolphins swimming in the wake behind the ferry as it motored into Kilronan Harbour were an unexpected surprise for everyone travelling to the island last evening. Though not an unprecedented sight, it’s far from a common one, and even if it were, how could it not inspire the marvelous feelings of wonder and delight?

For a split second I had the thought to jump overboard and join the dolphins. I am not insane, so therefore I didn’t, but swimming in the sea surrounding the island brings me much comfort. I’ve said over and over, no matter what time of year or how cold it is, I’ve never regretted getting in for a swim. And I always take time to just float, amazed how I’m completely and effortlessly supported by the ocean while conscious of my relaxed muscles, relieved tensions, and a silence that imaginably could only be duplicated through deafness.

I hope everyone has a sense of what that’s like– being utterly unable to be anywhere except for the moment one is in.  That feeling came over me and caused me to pause while taking these photographs. I put down the camera and just stared at the actual visual reality.

I’m certain that this magical encounter was just the beginning of a memory making island adventure for most who were watching. That said, for me it was a reminder of home sweet home. I hardly needed another prompt– returning home after being away often feels like the highlight of the trip, back to my husband and children, animals and garden, work and friends, routine and familiarity.

My photography isn’t good enough to express the adjectives I was feeling and these pictures don’t speak a thousand words or even a small fraction of that, but still, I couldn’t resist sharing them and, in the process, reliving the moment for myself.

Happy weekend everyone!

Melissa Xx

In the Merry Month of May


As the end of May approaches it’s time to share what’s been going on around here.  The weather has been simply amazing, much too wonderful to stay indoors.

Johnny and Adrien made new window boxes, designed to fit perfectly inside the window ledge.  There’s more space for soil which should retain moisture much better.  They dry out quickly, often needing watering twice a day so I’ll also add some recycled plastic bottles for a water drip system to each box.

Another item off the Amazon wish list!  A weather vane is now adorning the roof of our chicken coop.  Nuala and Tadhg worked very well together assembling it for me.

Despite the very young man at the home and garden store telling me tires couldn’t be painted and thinking I was a bit of an eccentric, I purchased six colours of outdoor paint to transform the tire planters and I’ve been chipping away at the 42 tires over the last two days.  The students will be planting out their pumpkins in a few weeks, one plant per tire.  Cornflower, borage, and nasturtium are growing in the soil between the tires and the stone walls.  Sorry, no photo of finished tires, yet!  A work in progress…

We’re collecting pallets that will become a fence around the pumpkin area that will double as vertical flower planters and a much-needed wind block shelter for the plants.

Some lovely things around the flower gardens and farm.  Can you see the slug’s pneumostome/breathing hole?   I loved the photo of Nuala drawing her world, then saw it on the video at the end…life through a child’s eye!

I’ll leave you with a few shots from inside the tunnel.  I swear most of these plants have grown significantly in the three to seven days since the pictures were taken.  The apple tree was potted up since and the lettuce has really shot up in size.

Enjoy the last days of the merry month of May, Melissa Xx

A Fresh & Frosty Morning

We had frost earlier this week on the island and I couldn’t resist the urge to go out and see it up close.  It’s rare here and it made me a bit homesick.  I didn’t pay it nearly as much notice when living back in Maine where it’s a normal part of winter.

Why does frost make the air feel fresher?  Does it kill off lingering germs from a cough and flu like I imagine?  Are carrot fly and slug larvae defeated before the warmer seasons incubate them?  It definitely improves the flavour of some vegetables still in the garden.  These random thoughts went through my mind while on an early morning dog walk, happy for the sunshine, but also racing to beat it to the frosty foliage…


Our Jolly Holly Christmas Tree

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I believe we all know the feeling of when something is not quite right.  The feeling grows and grows until you decide assertively (sometimes in a matter of seconds) that “No, this just won’t do.”   Continue reading

A Sharp Haiku

walking in fresh air

the mind sharpened by nature

and thoughts of Haiku

Come Out Of Your Shell


Johnny and I had the last week of September planned for some time now, anticipating the spring tides that were going to be both exceptionally high and low because of the alignment of the earth, the sun, and the moon.

For us, this meant three days of foraging for clams, just in time for winter storage.


spring tide, the time for

gathering the fleshy clams

to eat through winter

Though the spring tide comes monthly, it’s not always low enough to make a trip to the shore worthwhile and the weather and timing are not always ideal either.  It was great this week though and we even went out on Monday evening from half 11 until nearly 1 in the morning.  After two days of fun, we decided to keep the children home from school so they could join us.  No regrets as we had a great morning together picking blackberries and then we were at the beach from noon on.

The tide chart that our week was planned around. 

…spring tides, a common historical term that has nothing to do with the season of spring. Rather, the term is derived from the concept of the tide “springing forth.” Spring tides occur twice each lunar month all year long, without regard to the season.”

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The otter clams have to be dug out of the sand but the razor clams are acquired by a different method which I wrote about last February here.

Today’s Autumn Harvest from the Garden


Really appreciate having a bit of corn to harvest after this summers weather. We weren’t sure they got pollinated, many didn’t.  



Me and the bees working side by side in the garden today.



Beetroot just harvested for fermented salsa, the greens to blanch and freeze, and the bucket of waste is a treat for the chickens.


Next stage sunflowers–to be dried for feeding birds in the winter.


Purple cabbage alongside yellow, green, and purple tomatillos–all to become fermented salsa.


Tomatoes for sauce and semi-drying in the basket, blackberries on the face.

The final onion harvest. No more in the ground, but plenty lying around enjoying today’s sunshine.

The final onion harvest. No more in the ground, but plenty lying around enjoying today’s sunshine.

Blooming Bells


shy blooms locked up tight,

the extroverted bells flaunt

and gab ‘look at me!’

The name for Canterbury bells comes from the word campanula which means “little bells”.  Though not so little at around 3″ long each, the description otherwise is a good one since the flowers are bell-shaped.  They’re an annual , therefore need to be sown each year.  Being big, bright, and long lasting with blooms varying in colours of pink, lavender, blue, and white, they’re well worth the little bit of effort they require to keep happy.  They’re showiness is not easily ignored.

Thanks Ronovan for choosing two wonderful words for this week’s Haiku Challenge, ‘lock & gab’. Especially challenging when a word has only one meaning to work with.

Thank you Jamie for choosing ‘bloom’ at such a fitting time of year for your 52 Weeks of Photography Challenge.

And thank you to the star of the show, the Canterbury bells, for providing my inspiration.

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