Spring is “sugaring off” time

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.

Woodlland Maple Syrup farm tapped tree

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.

Tapping the tree
Woodland Maple Syrup Boiling sap

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.

Woodland Maple Syrup Fire
Making 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.

Woodland Maple Syrup
Maple syrup candy

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!

Visit Prince Edward Island on a shoestring budget!

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.

View of Confederation Bridge
Red cliffs of PEI
Peaceful vistas
White sands

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.

Cape Tryon
Sunset at Covehead lighthouse
West Point Lighthourse
Victoria by the Sea

We hope you can visit soon and enjoy the wonders and nature of our beautiful Island!

Helen, Neal and the girls!


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!


Greenhouse deep in snow!


The temperature outside was Minus 5, inside it was 28 C – I did some weeding and planted some peas. They will be ready the beginning of May. I will post a picture when they have sprouted.


Showing carrots grown in the Greenhouse
I planted these carrots in September and we were able to eat them in January. I love the taste and the smell of them.

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.


My apologies for not writing for a month – I will write again soon.


We would love to know how you are doing. Please take care of yourself and your family.


#春 #グリーンハウス #春休み #コロナウイルス #プリンスエドワード島 #ビクトリアホームステイ

The PEI Connection!

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.

Yuko and Sophie (friend from France) in front of the Birthplace of LM Montgomery

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”

Our Christmas wreath- “Let’s shellebrate”. We won first prize.

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!!


Sunday dinner at Victoria Homestay

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.



February 16th dinner

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.



This was a farewell dinner with one of our guests!

The food

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/


プリンスエドワード島はカナダでも知られる食通の島となってきました。島の肥えた土は野菜、フルーツ、家畜を育てるのに適しており、乳製品等も作られています。次のリンクから島内で育てられた素晴らしい食材の写真を見ることができます。https://www.tourismpei.com/culinary-pei 私たちの夕食を一つ例に挙げると、チキンは我が家から4キロ先の有機農家で飼育され、ジャガイモとカボチャは我が家の菜園で採れたもの。(秋に収穫し保存) 冷凍のグリーンピースだけがスーパーマーケットで買ったものです。地元の産物を食べられるのはとても幸せなことです。ニールと共にこのプリンスエドワード島を我が地とし、ここで子供たちを育てていくと決心して本当に良かったと思っています。 http://victoriahomestaypei.ca/エリア/プリンスエドワード島/

Yummy Roast Chicken Dinner

#地元産 #夕食 #ビクトリアホームステイ #プリンスエドワード島 #VictoriaHomesty

Will you be my valentine?

As a child in school I often remember the excitement: cards, hearts, cupids, chocolates etc.
It is often associated with “romantic” love between couples, girl friend/boy friend in North America. I really think we should look at a bigger picture and make this a day to remember with cards and kind words all the people that have touched our lives in the past week, month, year or lifetime.
Recently I have been thankful of the wonderful people from Japan that have touched my life in so many ways as well as the wonderful team of Educators that work at Merry Pop-Ins Childcare Centre. The picture shows the cards we will give them.
Today I challenge you to make a cup of tea, sit in a quiet place with a pen and paper, draw a big heart and write down the name of 20 people you are thankful for.


*Will you be my Valentine?とは日本語で私の(僕の)バレンタインになってくれる?と訳されるのですが、バレンタインは「愛」以外に「大切な人」「特別な人」という意味があります。間柄の深さに関係なくバレンタインデーではとてもよく使われている言葉です。

#バレンタイン #愛 #ラブレター #ハート #ビクトリアホームステイ #プリンスエドワード島

The wonderful world of Prince Edward Island through the eyes of a camera




15:00 ギャラリートーク
16:00 奥山眞佐子さんによる朗読会
17:00 オープニングパーティー

#プリンスエドワード島 #赤毛のアン #写真展 #東京銀座 #旅人 #世界旅行 #カナダ #traveler #traveling #exhibition #ビクトリアホームステイ

A winter’s day at Victoria Homestay in Prince Edward Island

It is minus 18 when I wake up at 6 am. I like to get up early, so I am the one that puts wood in the woodstove. The normal routine of breakfast, packing lunches for the girls and they are off to school. The girls go to an all French school as we feel it is important, they are bilingual. https://francoisbuote.wordpress.com
Daily I try to go for a walk to get some fresh air and exercise. Today I walked about 4 kms to Victoria by the Sea – the countryside was beautiful
Neal is working in Charlottetown for the day http://victoriahomestaypei.ca/area/charlottetown/ and I am working at home. Today I am studying online how to write more interesting blogs 😊
One of the traditions I learned from my parents is to force bulbs. In the Fall I plant hyacinth bulbs pots and put them in the basement. I bring them into the light and warmth, and they turn into beautiful flowers. They are great to have in our kitchen especially when I can not go outside and garden.
#dailylife, #victoriahomestay, #princeedwardisland


毎日エクササイズと新鮮な空気を吸うために散歩を心がけています。今日は4キロ先のVictoria By the Seaまできれいな田舎の景色の中を歩いてきました。ニールは一日中シャーロットタウンで仕事をし、私は家で仕事をしながら、人に興味を持ってもらえるブログの書き方の勉強をしました。😊私が両親から学んだ家族の伝統の一つに球根の育て方があります。秋にヒヤシンスの球根が入った鉢を家の地下に置いておいた後で、暖かく明るい陽射しの中に持ってくるととてもきれいな花が咲き、外に出られないこの季節、キッチンの窓辺に置かれたこのヒヤシンスの花が心を和ませてくれています。

#日常生活 #victoriahomestay #ビクトリアホームステイ #プリンスエドワード島

Early morning on my walk!!
Hyacinthes in bloom on our dining room table.

What does it mean to be as snug as a bug?

We are snug as a bug today – the winds are over 100 kms an hour, the snow is blowing, we cannot see out our windows – however we are warm and comfortable inside with lots of wood for the fireplace. – so we are as snug as a bug.


Looking out our windows!