Fall is in the air, the geese are flying south and it is potato harvest time in PEI.
Early every morning I wake up to the sound of huge pieces of equipment traveling in front of Victoria Homestay to travel to fields in the neighbourhood to dig potatoes. Farmers are now anxious to harvest the beautiful potatoes they have been growing all summer.
Did you know that growing potatoes has been a way of life since the late 1700’s. Farmers have been passing down valuable knowledge from one generation to the next for many years. That explains why PEI potatoes are perfect.
PEI’s red, iron-rich soil is perfect for growing potatoes. It keeps the right amount of moisture in the soil, and warm summers and cold winters provide the right balance of heat, light and water!
Islanders love to eat potatoes in many different ways – mashed, boiled, fried – and even in potato fudge. One of my favourite recipes is Potato pie. I have included the recipe. And the next time you come to PEI we can make it at Victoria Homestay PEI .
Please stay safe and healthy and we look forward to welcoming you to Victoria Homestay in 2022 when we start welcoming guests again!
Anne of Green Gables sings “where did the summer go to” in the Musical when she is returning to school after a glorious summer playing. I also repeat these words and find myself humming it in my head this month. I didn’t make time this summer to write a blog post – life just seemed to never slow down. Please click on the link below – it has the song “Where did the summer go to” . It is a lovely song – hope you enjoy it.
The leaves are starting to change, the days are getting shorter, and it is getting cooler. I wanted to share with you an amazing local newspaper that is published monthly in PEI. It is called the Buzz Arts and Entertainment. It is a free paper that is a guide to what is going on in local arts and entertainment. If interested, please read some of these stories at this link: The Buzz: Your Guide to What’s going on (buzzpei.com).
On a personal note, Neal and I are “empty nesters”. This is a term we use when parents live at home and their children have left the house. Our family travelled to Ontario the end of August to move our youngest daughter Erin to University of Ottawa. The first week of September we moved Catherine back to Universite of Monction. We continue to be happy, healthy, and busy in our “piece of heaven” in Victoria by the Sea. Neal and I are keeping our fingers crossed that we will be able to welcome Japanese friends and guests back at Victoria Homestay, PEI in 2022.
There is excitement in the air as “setting day” 2021 opens on May 1st. You may be thinking what is “setting day”. It is the day that Lobster fisherman leave the harbour after months of preparation to put their lobster traps in the ocean.
The lobster boats are very heavily weighed down with the lobster traps, and both the lobster fisherman and their friends and family wish for a beautiful day with very little winds.
The fisherman usually leave while the sun is rising and it is one of my favourite memories to commemorate the beginning of Spring and the return to life on the water!
The fishermen spend most of April repairing traps, fixing holes in the nets, tagging buoys, and maintenance of their boats.
1. How many lobster fishing seasons are there on Prince Edward Island? There are two lobster fishing seasons each year, one in the spring and one in the fall. 2. At one time, lobster was considered very common and not at all the delicacy of today. How did farmers use lobsters? Farmers often spread lobsters on their field as fertilizer. 3. Lobsters are fished using traps. What is the section of the trap where the bait is attached? The bait is attached in the “kitchen.” The lobster enters the kitchen through a mesh tunnel that closes behind them. 4. How do you tell the difference between a male and female lobster? The body of a female lobster will have a red material or “roe” which is excellent for eating. 5. Most lobsters are greenish-brown in color, though occasionally ones will turn up in shades of blue, partly white or bright red. It’s rare but it happens! Why? These lobsters – those blue, partly white or bright red – have genetic defects in the pigment of their shell.
Longer days and sunshine are the mark that it is time the sap starts moving from the roots of maple trees to the branches. Most Canadians know the term “sugaring off” for this procedure.
The “sugaring off” season usually begins mid March and can last into late April during a late spring. The average season lasts three to four weeks. It is very important that it is cold at night and warm in the day.
Did you know it takes 50 litres of sap to make 1 litre of maple syrup. 95% of the maple syrup in the world is produced in Canada and most of that is made in the Province of Quebec.
I grew up in the Province of Quebec and it was always an important tradition to go to a “sugaring off” party. A “sugaring off” party involved a meal where everything is cooked or flavoured with maple syrup. The meals I remember are ham, baked beans, scrambled eggs. Dessert would include maple pie, and maple syrup poured on snow to make taffy.
Woodlands Maple Syrup Farm is the only place in PEI that you can visit to see how maple syrup is made. Woodlands Maple Syrup Farm uses a traditional method of production: Maple sap is collected in buckets, gathered by hand from over 450 Sugar Maple Trees and boiled on a wood fired evaporator.
In our family we love to use Maple Syrup on pancakes and French toast. I also like to use it in my granola in the mornings. There are lots of yummy desserts where you can add maple syrup. One of my favourite recipes is Maple Pecan Tarts from the Prince Edward Island Preserve Company.
We hope everyone is well and you can come to visit us soon to enjoy brunch with lots of food cooked in maple syrup. Happy Spring!
There are many things to do when visiting Prince Edward Island even if you are on a shoestring budget. If you have a car, a map, a sense of adventure and a picnic and you can spend many days exploring PEI without spending a lot of money.
If you like to enjoy the outdoors Prince Edward Island has a fabulous network of Provincial Parks which offer an opportunity to enjoy spectacular beaches, scenery, nature trails and lots of outdoor recreation programs. The Day use Parks are open from Mid June to Mid September, seven days a week from 8 to 5. All the services in the park are free of charge. One of my favourite Provincial Parks is Chelton Beach: one of PEI’s best kept secrets – it is always empty! it has a beautiful beach and a spectacular view of the Confederation Bridge.
Prince Edward Island also has many lighthouses. The first kind of transportation for Islanders was by sea and lighthouses were important to guide ships into harbour safely. Today many of the lighthouses are great places to visit and or stay overnight.
The West Point Lighthouse is a museum, country inn, restaurant and gift shop. It is a fantastic experience to wake up in the morning and lookout towards the Northumberland Strait.
One of my favourite light houses is Cape Tryon – it is a bit of a challenge every year to find it and a hike to get in but I am always impressed when I get there. The view is breathtaking, and you can usually sees flocks of seagulls and gannets.
We hope you can visit soon and enjoy the wonders and nature of our beautiful Island!
It is officially Spring in PEI even though there is a lot of snow on the ground. The sun is getting stronger, and the days are longer. It does not get dark until 8 pm. Yesterday I was very excited to work in our unheated greenhouse!
Our family had planned a vacation to Mexico during the March break at school. In PEI schools usually close for one week in March every year. Many Canadians travel to a country which is warm. I think it gives everyone a rest from the cold and snow. We enjoyed a week on the beach; swimming in the ocean and pools, long walks, beach volleyball and time as a family. Lots of great memories.
I know everybody is talking about the Corona Virus and it is also affecting us. The government of PEI required all families that had travelled internationally to “self isolate” for 14 days. What does that mean ? We have to stay in our home without seeing anyone. My sister picked up my groceries for two weeks. Another sister is living with my mum and helping her with cooking. The girls are studying online and Neal is making plans to do some projects in the house. We are all ok – however I miss meeting people and going for long country walks.
We were very happy to welcome two very wonderful ladies to Victoria Homestay this year. Yuko spent a week with us in August and experienced the beauty of full summer. I was always impressed with Yuko as she would get up early and go for a walk before breakfast.
Nagisa arrived in November and jumped into the full preparations for Christmas. She was never hesitant to go outside even when it was cold. We had a lot of fun introducing her to everything “Christmas”
A meeting in Japan
I e- introduced Yuko and Nagisa to each other- I knew that they lived close to each other and I was pretty sure they would enjoy each other’s company. I was very happy to learn they met and had a great time. They each shared with each other their different experiences at Victoria Homestay!! Thank you so much for sharing with me today. You both made my heart sing today!!
We always try to eat a big meal together on Sunday evenings – this is a tradition that I carry on from when I was growing up. Sometimes Erin and Catherine’s grandmother (my mum) joins us, our neighbour, or my sister and her husband. I always make more than we need as I never know when we have to add another plate at the table. No problem if we don’t eat it all – the girls will use the leftovers for their school lunch.
Neal, and our two daughters Erin and Catherine arrived in from the ski hill, at the same time Catherine’s friend arrived, my sister and her husband and our neighbour – so we were 8 people sitting down for supper. It was a meal full of good food, and lots of laughter and stories.
PEI is becoming more well known as Canada’s Foodie Island. We have rich soil for growing delicious vegetables, fruits, meat and dairy products. This link has some wonderful pictures of the foods grown in PEI. https://www.tourismpei.com/culinary-pei Our Sunday dinner is an example of local foods: the chicken was raised at an organic farm 4 kms from our house, the potatoes and roasted squash from our garden. The frozen peas were the only food from the supermarket. I loved it when we eat locally. I am so happy that Neal and I chose Prince Edward Island as our home to raise our children. http://victoriahomestaypei.ca/エリア/プリンスエドワード島/