Pumpkins, ghosts and witches

Pumpkins, ghosts and witches start appearing by October 1st. Halloween is a very old tradition (two thousand years ago) when people lit bonfires and wore costumes to scare off ghosts.  The symbols of ghosts, witches and bonfires continue, however I don’t think they carry the same symbolism. Many people enjoy decorating their homes!

Inflatables!!

At Victoria Homestay we have several Halloween traditions. We decorate inside and outside. Our daughters have always enjoyed carving pumpkins, baking sugar cookies and dressing up for Halloween. Every year they go to a second-hand clothes store to buy costumes. On Halloween night people of all ages go house to house in costume singing trick or treat. They usually come home with a big bag of candy.

The first steps in carving pumpkins – taking out the seeds!

We wish each of you a Happy Halloween!!

Our creative jack o lanterns!

October in Prince Edward Island!

October in Prince Edward Island is a beautiful time of year! I love it because of the breathtaking colours, the bounty of vegetables and fruits and spectacular sunsets.

Sunset at Victoria Homestay.

October is also a wonderful time to pick pumpkins and apples. We usually make it a family activity and pick many apples for the winter season and pumpkins to make pumpkin pie.

A popular Fall activity !
Fall colours at Victoria Homestay!

I have many things to be thankful for – a healthy family, a beautiful place to live, the ability to grow many of my own vegetables and many friends around the world. Please take a moment and think of all the things you are thankful for. Happy Canadian Thanksgiving!

Enjoying a campfire at Victoria Homestay!

Back to school this year was an emotional experience!

Back to school this year was an emotional experience. Our oldest daughter was accepted at a French University in the province of New Brunswick. She was making lists all summer. She packed her personal belongings, as well as everything needed to make her own meals.

It was a momentous day when we packed the car with all her belongings and drove across the Confederation Bridge to Universite de Moncton. We helped her move in and then went shopping for food and all the little things she had forgotten.

Neal and I spent one night at an AirBnB in Moncton and returned to her dormitory on Sunday and cooked brunch together. We spent a few hours exploring the city of Moncton with Catherine and left her on her own. It was a hard day for us both – we didn’t realize how difficult it would be to say goodbye.

Eating Brunch with Catherine in her dorm room!

Our youngest daughter Erin Marie started her last grade of high school. She is very independent this year – she bought herself a car and drives to school rather then taking the bus. She is the president of the school council and the editor of the school year book. She hopes to join the Volleyball team later in the season.

Even though school life for both the girls has changed with COVID they continue to be optimistic and excited to continue their journey of learning.

Erin on the first day of school

To the bridge and beyond!

To the the bridge and beyond: Erin and I bicycled 38.5 km yesterday to the Confederation Bridge and back to Victoria Homestay. It was a beautiful day- sunny, 30c and a light wind.

A stop at the Iceboat park.

We enjoyed relaxing by the water and talking together. We visited a few shops but it was very quiet. There are very few visitors because of COVID.

At Borden Carleton
Sunshine, warm weather and Erin!!

We visited Cows shop and enjoyed a picnic lunch before returning to Victoria Homestay! It is always fun to go on adventures with Erin.

Enjoying lunch!
Picnic at Gateway Village

Teacup Rock

Teacup Rock is a beautiful place to visit in PEI. Neal, Neal’s sister, Erin and I decided to play tourist for the afternoon.

Teacup Rock is a piece of land that has broken away from the Island by the strong waves and wind we sometimes experience in the winter.
When we visited it was a warm and calm sunny day, lots of Island families enjoying the beach and the ocean.

Teacup Rock
Cliffs at Teacup Rock
Erin hanging out on the cliffs at Teacup Rock.

Teacup Rock is a very enjoyable place to visit – I highly recommend visiting. I hope Neal and I can take our Victoria Homestay guests there next year.

Strawberry picking!

Strawberry picking has started!! My sister and I went to the U pick strawberry fields this week. I picked 35 kilograms of fresh strawberries!!

FreshLy picked Strawberries

We felt very lucky to find a new U Pick 2 kms from Victoria Homestay!! Strawberries cost $5.00/kg. The owners of the strawberry fields work very hard to prepare the fields for us!!

After the strawberries are picked we wash and hull them. I freeze a lot of them to use in the winter in our Breakfast smoothies. We also make a lot of strawberry jam.

A new jam: strawberry pineapple rhubarb jam

We use jam throughout the year to eat with toast, or on yogurt. We also like to give jam to our neighbours and friends for Christmas or birthdays. Strawberry picking is one of my favourite pastimes. We hope you can come in the future to experience this great activity!

Graduation at Victoria Homestay, PEI

Graduation at Victoria Homestay, PEI has kept us very busy the last few weeks! Our oldest daughter Catherine attended a French school for the last 12 years and is a 2020 graduate.

Grad at Victoria Homestay
Catherine’s formal graduation picture

There are many celebrations linked to graduation in Prince Edward Island. We have been learning about all the traditions. Graduation includes a prom organised by the graduating class, a formal graduation ceremony organised by the school, individual and class graduation pictures and a family graduation party. All of these activities were more challenging this year because of COVID 19.

The prom involves dressing up and looking your best. It usually includes a dinner, dance and party. Catherine started looking for her dress early in the New Year! The day of the prom included a trip to the hair dressers, her sister doing her nails, photos with family and flowers. Some of the students go with a date, others go together with their best friend. Catherine invited her best friend. Due to COVID the prom was only with the students and teachers. They had a beautiful meal and speeches at a wedding venue called Clinton Hills. After the formal party an after prom party/bonfire took place at our home. We welcomed 50 guests to Victoria Homestay for the party.

Catherine – informal picture lying in the flowers!

The formal graduation is at the school. The students will wear a formal grad costume and receive their Grade 12 diploma from the principal of the school. They listen to an “inspiring speech” from the Valedictorian and prizes are given to students who are outstanding in sports, music and academics.

Due to COVID 19 the school team planned a surprise visit to each graduate at their home. Catherine was completely surprised – 14 teachers came to our home and gave Catherine her gown, a gift and presented her with a banner to stick in the ground in front of the house. She was completely surprised.

Catherine’s Youth Group visit at our home!

This weekend we will have an informal bbq at Victoria Homestay with Catherine’s aunts, uncles and cousins. It will be the conclusion of 2020 Graduation celebrations at Victoria Homestay until next year when we will enjoy 2021 Graduation for Erin Viger.

We continue to do well despite COVID 19 and hope that each and everyone of you is well. Please keep in touch.

Green/Viger Family
Helen, Erin, Catherine and Neal at Victoria Homestay!

Gardening at Victoria Homestay

Gardening at Victoria Homestay is my passion. I often get up early in the morning, make a cup of tea and enjoy looking at what has grown in the flower beds. This is me in my happy place

I have to thank my mother and father for my passion for gardening. As a child growing up my parents had big gardens. Early Spring my parents would start seedlings – tomatoes, onions, sweet peppers etc in the house. My father was in charge of the vegetable garden and my mother was in charge of the flower gardens.

Gardening at Victoria Homestay starts early in the year!
Packages full of hope.

Throughout the years they would read books on gardening, talk about gardening and garden – it was a year round passion. My mum is still alive at 87 years old and still talks gardening and plants seedling.

Mum planting seedlings!
Mum transplanting tomato seedlings

June is such an exciting month – on my morning walk yesterday I saw the heads of the lupins. In about a week there will be hundreds of pink and purple flowers everywhere. I do not have the words to describe the beauty of hundreds and hundreds of pink and purple flowers against the blue sky.

Pink and Blue Lupins everywhere.
Lupins everywhere!

I have to tell you that Gardening at Victoria Homestay is great exercise and good for the soul. I love to walk around our property, I often wonder how many steps I walk daily when I am in the garden.

It is also soothing for the soul – I enjoy the early sunlit days, the wind in the trees and the sound of many birds in the trees. It really is “heaven on earth”.

I think that my passion for gardening at Victoria Homestay is contagious – Neal and Catherine are both starting to enjoy it. Neal helps me with the weeding and watering and loves all the fresh vegetables we eat. Catherine is interested in the Environment – she has worked for the last two years for a Watershed. They plant trees and clean streams and parks.

Weeding in the greenhouse
Neal and Catherine weeding in the greenhouse!

Update on Covid – we continue to flourish on our beautiful Island and pray that each and everyone of you stay healthy. I hope these pictures bring you some joy. This is a beautiful saying Neal gave to me several year ago. I guess he knows me. 🙂

Beautiful saying
This picture is on my kitchen counter and I read it most days!