Chapter 8: Spring in Prince Edward Island

“April Showers Bring May Flowers.”

Beautiful beyond description.                                            Photo: E.D.Stanley

Witnesses to this scene in a field of Queen Anne’s lace will be tempted to overlook the wildflowers, overshadowed by this youthful beauty!

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The calendar tells us it is spring. But anyone in PEI has only to look out the window to refute this fact. Mounds of snow still linger, residuals of numerous snowstorms throughout what some say was one of the longest winters they can remember. With the official spring here I would be remiss if I didn’t blog about spring in PEI of the not so distant past. After moving here, spring was one season I had forgotten about. So over time I made notes about this wonderful season. A season of awakening and new beginnings.

A Typical Spring in PEI

The last remnants of winter snow and ice has melted away. Winter boots and skis are stored away once again, and finally, spring arrives on P.E.I. After ice and snow storms ravaged P.E.I. for four months, spring is joyfully welcomed. April’s heavy rains, and rare days of sunshine bring the first vestiges of green, and new life forms appear.

bald eagle Paul Arsenault photo

Bald Eagle                                                          Photo: Paul Arsenault Photography PEI

raccoon Paul A photo

Raccoons are plentiful in PEI.                       Photo: Paul Arsenault Photography PEI

The month of May arrives with small animals appearing in droves. Skunks and raccoons return, as if by magic, to steal young daffodil bulbs, or to hide in compost bins to await their next feast. Bald eagles hover overhead, ready to dive into the shallow waters to feed on fish now visible since the ice has left.

Young red fox cubs are often seen scampering across the fields hunting mice and moles that have come out of hibernation. Food is plentiful now. Mounted on windows throughout the countryside, hummingbird feeders stand replenished, awaiting their first visitors. Islanders love their wildlife! Finch birds that seemingly hibernated in some areas are back singing their spring songs on top of the feeders. They mimic our joy of seeing sunshine and some green grass.

fox 2 paul arsenault photo

A young fox cub ready for play.                  Photo: Paul Arsenault Photography PEI

squirrel

Squirrels and bluejays often compete for the same food.                         Photo: ELR

Canada Geese dot the cornfields and hay fields feasting in preparation for their young. Ganders stand at attention making their arrivals known with incessant honking. Squirrels and Blue jays fight over nuts and sunflower seeds heaped in feeders.

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A Blue heron swoops in for a landing on the shores of the Montague River where fish are plentiful. A welcome sight, they signal the official arrival of spring in P.E.I.

blue heron

A Blue Heron is almost invisible in these surroundings.                                         Photo; ELR

Fiddleheads (young fern not yet unfurled); now abundant near damp and mossy low lying areas are a delicacy for those who relish the earthy flavor of this natural wild growing plant. Fiddleheads are rich with nutritional value and if I was to liken them to anything, I would say they taste like spring!

fiddleheads

Fiddleheads about to unfurl!

In the woodlands of Naufrage, near streams rich with damp soil, other delightful signs of spring are sprouting. You might mistake this wildflower with its large bright conspicuous leaves for buttercups, but a closer inspection of this five-petal flower reveals leaflets similar to a strawberry plant. The “Silverwood” wildflower is related, as they are both of the rose family. This plant provides seeds for small birds and mice and is named for this silvery underside of the leaves. The leaves were believed to relieve the pain of sore feet, if stuffed into the soles of your shoes.

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Silverwood flower commonly found near streams.                                             Photo: ELR

The spring brings the clothes out to the clothesline to capture that ‘fresh air’ aroma that cannot be mimicked no matter how hard they try. The earth is still very damp and the moist clay is ready for planting. We have very fertile soil here in PEI and of course the potato (which should almost be our provincial emblem) will be sprouting everywhere in the countless farmer’s fields from East Point to West Point.

rubber boots

Rubber boots – a ‘must have’ in the spring. Photo; ELR

The four seasons are very distinct here. One does not blend into the other as I often experienced in another province whereby one day we were wearing boots and the next day, open toed shoes. We wear clothing appropriate for all four seasons and it is prudent that a resident of PEI be the owner of a pair of rubber boots!

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Soon I will back on the shore, enjoying our spectacular sunsets, beach combing and well…just sitting.

just sit paul arsenault photo

“Just Sit”                                                                        Photo; Paul Arsenault Photography PEI

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