NOTE: IN ORDER TO BETTER SEE PHOTOS IN THEIR FULL 1600 PX. RESOLUTION, VIEW THEM IN THE ALBUM FORMAT BY CLICKING ON THE LEAD PHOTO OR ANY PHOTO IN THE POST. This is especially true for landscape shots. Thanks to Mark for the idea of adding this alert so the photos can be seen at their best!

Friday, October 11, 2019

Knee High to a Duck

I've been spending a lot of time with small fries lately, and knee high to a duck or not they sure are a large amount of fun!

I'm an only child and my two children have not produced any I've been enjoying other people's grandchildren instead.  You never know what they will request to help out with.  I would never have thought they would ask to put napkin rings on napkins when I opened up the package from Wayfair when Cole and Ava stopped by for a visit one day.

Cole and Ava ready to let their owls fly

Then they asked me to help them make owls out of my craft supplies.  Afterward when they wanted to "fly" them from the upstairs landing I said have at it!

The next time I saw them was at their Nanny and Poppy's house where a tour of the garden took a detour into the woods.

Well you know that quickly turned into a berry hunting adventure, right?

Nanny wanted some portraits taken, so our adventure ended up being very photogenic for a walk in the woods.

Now every time I see Ava she wants to go for a walk and pick berries! Today her little cousin Nik tagged along and brought his Mickey Mouse bubble maker.

I don't know who was more delighted by the bubbles, the little ones or me!  And of course we had to stop and eat a few crackerberries (bunchberries).  Hopefully the plants didn't mind the bubble bath they got while the picking was going on.

I say yes more than I say no to their requests.  I highly recommend it next time you're with a youngster, it will make you feel knee high to a duck yourself.

Monday, October 7, 2019

Champney's West Aquarium

On that overnight trip to Elliston with my cousin this summer we made a stop at the Champney's West Aquarium on our way back home.

 It's a small one, but with a really nice touch tank!

Live sand dollar
The volunteers were knowledgeable and enthusiastic.  We learned a lot about sea stars, including that they could have up to 15 arms through most of course have 5.  See the one on the right?  With its many legs it is known as the sun star or sunflower star.

We were very fascinated by the sea peach in the center of the above photo.  See the two siphons on the sea peach?  One is for taking in food and water, and the other is for expelling waste. 

There was quite the variety of crabs, one of Cory's favorites, so I just may have to bring him back there someday.

Champney's West Aquarium is located in Port Rexton five minutes off Route 230 which is the main road going out to Bonavista. The drive may have been short, but the views were stunning.  AND the trailhead for the Fox Island Hiking Trail is right there also.  You know I'm checking that out next time I'm in the area, it's only 5.5 km so should be easy to knock out before or after lunch!

If you're looking for something a little more adult there is a new craft brewery called Port Rexton Brewing that Katrina wants to check out on a future visit. I'll drop her and Charlie off there while I go hiking maybe? They don't have to drive then and can try all the beer they want!

Like a good corny kid joke?  Here's another: Why did the octopus cross the road?
 To get to the other tide!

Sunday, October 6, 2019

The Sea Unites Us - Elliston's New Mural

My cousin, her daughter and I took an overnight trip out to Bonavista and Elliston this summer.  Of course we saw the puffins and all the fabulous scenery you could ever want.

But my sharp eyes picked out a mural in progress in the small town of Elliston as well.

I haven't seen any whales or sea turtles since we moved here, but Wayne has seen both while out fishing in his boat.

And I've seen bald eagles often, especially when I'm in Argentia.  I did see a few puffins out in our boat, but it's always more fun to see them in large numbers on a visit to Ellison.

Of course I'll get to that story another day.  For now just the mural - linking up to Monday Mural for the first time in quite a while!

Saturday, October 5, 2019

Red Island Instead

Captain Wayne and Brother Jim at work while the cousins goof off

When my cousin came for a visit last month his big wish was to take a ride out to St. Kyran's.  Unfortunately the water in Placentia was still a little rough after the affects of Hurricane Dorian. Don't worry, the Avalon Peninsula just had a tolerably windy few days, but I think the western side of Newfoundland got hit a bit harder.

The water was even rougher than that, I wasn't able to hold the camera in the roughest, not to mention the wettest parts of our attempt.  Not wanting to be miserable or to take twice as long to get there, we settled for a trip to Red Island instead since we were already halfway there.

Red Island harbor, we entered from the right
Cemetery up behind old church on upper left

Chris' friend Devon joined us on our excursion, and sent me this older photo of Red Island before resettlement.  Wayne's brother Jim's wife Donnie is originally from Red Island, and other people we know from the Placentia area have summer homes and cabins out there.

Being so close to Placentia it is easier to get to, so folks have kept things up around there. St. Kyran's  crosses the rough open bay and is a much farther distance to travel so visitors are less frequent.

Wayne and Jim on the wharf after tying up The Nomad -
after going to cemetery we circled harbor to see homes on other side

Not all of the cabins are up to date, some have been left to the whims of time and weather in recent years.

Being big history buffs Chris, Devon and I headed straight up the hill past the foundation of the old church for the cemetery...

Harbor entrance view - "beach" to the right of the harbor,  strip of reddish rocks just visible

...and to get some great views of Red Island and Placentia Bay!

A lot of it was overgrown, the dead were unknown to us, and Chris fell down in the thorns so we didn't linger there long.  But on the way back down down I found a great spot for one of my painted rocks that wouldn't get lost in the weeds...I hope.

Red Island "rocked" by PJ! Hiking fox a great image for this area

Wayne and Jim knew everyone currently "in residence" and stopped for chats.  The electric street lamps work off a generator when the owner is out there, how cool is that?

We all made our way around the harbor, enjoying the sun while it lasted.

Jim was going to be in big trouble with his wife for going out to Red Island without her... I hope she wasn't too hard on him!


Wayne and Jim spent time checking out the wharf contruction techniques of each resident, making plans for St. Kyran's next year.

It was disappointing to not be where we had planned, but when the weather is the boss you learn to live with what you can do and not what you can't do.

After enjoying listening to Jigs and Reels floating out through an open window and accepting a bottle of water from a newly made friend, we carried on past the homes in the harbor toward the rock beach.

Red Island's red rocks and a young dolphin skeleton 

Not all residents are buried in the cemetery, we also passed this lovely site for a final resting place just behind the beach.

It would have been nice to stay longer, but we knew we had a rough ride ahead of us so we had to move on after our short time in Red Island.  I'm sure we'll be back next summer, Donnie will be in the boat next time we go to St. Kyran's and insist on a stop at Red Island I'm thinking!

Friday, October 4, 2019

Don't Be Afraid to be Obsessed

Don't be afraid to be said Annie Liebovitz in her photography course ad, and I absolutely agree with her.

Besides blueberry picking, my latest obsession is painting rocks.  As with anything in life a little obsession is a good thing, but too much of anything is destructive.  Moderation is the eventual goal, but I know that when I latch onto something new I can get a bit crazy for a spell.

When I decided to dive in, I went at it pretty hard for a few days.  I even painted a bunch of Pokemon rocks and had a rock hunting event for my cousin's kids.

Over the last month I've painted 80 rocks. Obsessed?  Wayne seems to think so.

I'm getting a little better with brush control, and gleaning tips from NL RockArt's Facebook page.  Some folks use tracing paper and other means to get the image they want, but so far I have just taken a screenshot of an image and freehanded it.

If my hand shakes, no problem! I either wipe off the paint quickly with a damp rag, or go back over it later with the adjoining color to fix it. I even painted some rocks for the Fluvarium in St. John's for a Halloween hide event.

And then painted some Halloween rocks for local rock hunters to find here in Placentia.

Before long I had to get in to St. John's to get some more paint and some finer brushes...obsessions are never free!  I ordered some acrylic paint markers for outlining and dotting and that's speeding up the process a bit also.

See my "PJ" signature?  Keep an eye out for one of mine!

Notice all the animals wearing glasses?  I'm holding those aside for now, I may end up giving them away to new accounts once I get back on the road for work! Other planned "series" include some more retro campers, moose, puffins, Harry Potter, more Pokemon and Snoopy and the Gang. 

Some rocks are quick and easy, but now I'm doing a few that require layering and extra time.  It's good to have an indoor hobby with winter approaching, I'll just need to get down to the beach and get more rocks before the weather turns!

After - The flowers were gifted to my Great-niece (what!?) for her garden in Spaniard's Bay

I get my inspiration from a variety of places, the 3 above images were actually paintings I saw on Wayfair.  I like the puffin so much that I plan on making 2 more before I decide which one to hide! It's a bit of a watercolor and splatter combination, I love the free flowing feel and the pops of color.


The Sanderson Sisters from Hocus Pocus were the most fun to paint so far.  I thought Katrina might want to take it, but it's going to end up hidden in my sister-in-law Alverna's yard on Saturday instead! This hobby pairs well with hiking and traveling, so my rocks will end up across the island as I move around.  And in my suitcases when I fly...

Faces aren't my forte, but who knows what skills I might acquire with time?

The rocks on the NL Facebook page have ended up across the globe, and my amateurish attempts are nothing compared to some of the incredible works of art that get hidden.  If you see a rock that says NL Rockart on Facebook on the back check for my PJ signature and post a pic on the group to let me know where you found it!

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Labor of Love

Being "retired" means you can do whatever you want, so when someone mentioned to me last month that the stairway to Annie Healy's Lookout in Argentia was impassable due to tree overgrowth I took it upon myself to see if it was a project I could tackle in an afternoon.

Entire boardwalk choked closed

The lookout is my favorite spot in Argentia, but I came at it from the water side this year on my two previous visits so I didn't notice the stairway condition.  I was a bit shocked to see that some mild intrusion of bushes from last summer had turned into a jungle of Alder this year.

Not trusting myself with a chainsaw, I borrowed Wayne's hand trimmers that we had bought to take with us out to St. Kyran's and sat down to get to the root of the problem.

Let's do the limbo?

The views are spectacular, and while I was working the sun even made an appearace to light up the hills and make moose spotting easier.  There could have been one pass by, I was a bit busy looking down mostly to notice.

Perfect hunting blind?

If you'd like to see the views from last summer, not to mention the moose we spotted, here is the link to that post.  There is a great shot of all of us on the boardwalk showing that it was definitely passable last year.

Look out below! Branches overboard!

The overgrowth was so thick that I even uncovered pieces of handrail that had fallen off into the trees.  Maybe next time I visit I will bring a hammer and nails?

About halfway up I took a short break to pick some early blueberries at the top and to scope out how bad it was up ahead.

Around the first turn

The top was not only choked with alder, a spruce had decided to grow right at the edge and was spreading across as well.  Luckily its trunk was soft and narrow enough that I was able to get through it with three passes of the cutters.

Coming down from the lookout - where is the stairway opening again?

It took me about 3 hours with blueberry picking breaks, but when I was done it was worth it.

I had cut down as close to the ground as I could when possible so hopefully it stays clear a few years.  Come on out and watch a sunset, Friends and Neighbors!

As for retirement and working for free...that might be coming to an end soon.  But we all know that just means adventures outside of Placentia Bay, right?