Newfoundland, 2018

We are in Newfoundland again, this time on the West coast, in Norris Point, where we were the first time we came here in 2016. It is just as beautiful now as it was then.

Friday, August 24

Coming in to Deer Lake on the plane, you can see the place is essentially a big rock with lots of water on it:

Saturday, August 25

Bonne Bay from Norris Point

Neddie’s Harbor, where our cabin was

Graveyard in Norris Point. Anglican. There are Catholic graveyards as well. There were tensions between the Anglicans and Catholics early on in Newfoundland.


Sunday, August 26

We drove up to Lloyd’s house, where Lloyd came out of his house and greeted Dennis with a whoop and holler, like a long-lost brother. Something about these two that fits.

Dennis sharpening knives for Lloyd Major

Bog and Long Range mountains

Full moon

Monday, August 27

Lloyd took us out on his boat Monday evening. Lloyd does a lot of fishing for cod and halibut, both of which have strict limits on numbers allowed to Newfoundland fishermen and residents. Because of some old treaty, the Quebecois are allowed a much more generous quota, the source of much grousing on the island. Lloyd’s been fishing and working oil rigs and other tough work his whole life. He was born here, as were his parents and their parents before them. He and all his sibs were born in a house up the hill where the midwife came to help women through labor. By the looks of it, the young people leave the island; not many people in their 20s and 30s around here. But some do come back. Some folks say they could never leave.

This cod would be dinner on Wednesday night. 

Neddie’s HarborDennis finds a feline friend, the cat-about-town.

Tuesday, August 28

Today we went with Lloyd and Joyce to Deer Lake and Corner Brook to accompany Lloyd for a medical test and to pick up groceries.

Wednesday- Today my packing of long-sleeved shirts and sweaters was finally vindicated, as it was cold and rainy. It had been so warm and sunny that it was nearing time to find a laundromat to wash the few warm-weather clothes that I brought. Rain, Lobster Cove Lighthouse, Fished off wharf, walked Burnt Hill. Dinner at Lloyd and Joyce’s.

Thursday- Cold and rainy today as well. Glad we brought rain gear. Lobster Cove Lighthouse- history of Lomond, walked Berry Head Pond- pitcher plants, bot, sphagnum moss, Rain

Friday, August 31, 2018

We stayed up late to watch the Cardinals win another game against the Pirates last night on my computer. Those boys!

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Not quite 50 degrees here in Norris Point this morning. We got up early, as always, but this morning Dennis went down to the dock, which I can see from our cabin, to meet up with Lloyd and Gerald for some fishing. I watched from the window as they put the boat in and headed out, Lloyd in his orange rubber suit from oil rig days (he was a medic on the Ocean Ranger rig off Newfoundland that sank in 1982, was not on the rig the day it sank; everyone on board died), Dennis in his blue rain jacket, Gerald nondescript in jeans and jacket. Lloyd is hoping for a halibut.

Tonight will be our last here in Norris Point. Tomorrow we spend the night in Deer Lake before catching a 5 AM flight on Monday back to St. Louis via Toronto. This is a beautiful place to visit, but I can see why young folks leave. There isn’t much room to grow here. The old ways are baked into the folks who live here, even as the times change around them. And times are changing- tourism is becoming a dominant industry, replacing the fishing and logging that sustained the settlers and generations that followed. It is easy to romanticize a place like this from afar, but I imagine growing up here would be difficult, especially if one didn’t adhere to cultural norms.




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July 4 wildflowers

Last week 2 caterpillars that will become tiger swallowtail butterflies helped themselves to our dill. They have not slowed down Dennis’ dill pickle-making, however. He has already made dozens of quarts from a very active cucumber vine this year.


Walked at the arboretum on July 4. Saw:

Fire pink


Hoary puccoon


Butterfly weed




Solomom’s seal


And in Forest Park this morning:

Bull thistle and lilies





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Wren update

Yesterday the last fledgling of our wren family flew, or rather, was chased off by mom and dad. This last one was slower to fly than the other nestling, who flew a week or so ago, and the parents had been encouraging this one ever since. We suspect that the upset of the owl incident, loss of one nestling, plus perhaps a more robust nest mate, slowed this one down. At any rate, he/she has flown off, and this morning Mr. and Mrs. Wren are courting and singing and taking in fresh nesting materials for a THIRD clutch! Hard work, this wren business.





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Barred owl

Yesterday a barred owl got tangled in the line we put in the sycamore tree to hold the wren house. Our neighbor called Dennis when she saw the owl and Dennis came home to free him. He very carefully lowered the line and the wren house with it until the house and the owl both rested on the ground in the rain garden. We know that the wrens are feeding a second clutch already because we see them taking in food and hear the peepings of the hungry young so he was very careful, and saw Mr. and Mrs. Wren watching from a nearby shrub. He had on welding gloves in case the owl tried to bite or scratch him. He just sat on the ground with the owl for a few minutes, then untangled the line from around his leg. The owl flew off, the wren house went back up, and the parents were feeding the babies again within minutes. I suspect the owl was working in the early morning, saw a wren sitting on top of the house and came swooping down claws first to catch a bedtime snack but instead got all tangled up. We heard the barred owls chuckling this morning so all is well there. The pictures below Dennis took during the process. The young wren that is halfway out of the house was dead, a result of having been shaken out when the owl moved around, but we know that there are more young in the house because of the parent activity and the peeping. I found some soft owl feathers in the garden this morning.



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Fledging of the wrens

 An exciting morning here in the back yard. After we greeted our neighbor Bruce and his dog, Marcel, I noticed a ruckus over by the sycamore tree. Mr. Wren was dive-bombing a young squirrel who happened to venture into the territory near the wren house (squirrels will eat wren babies, or any other avian young they can reach). Although the way we have situated the wren house is practically inaccessible to anyone but the wrens,  Mr. Wren was taking no chances. He had that young squirrel terrorized, a quarter-ounce of fury pecking at his head and tail, up and down and around the tree trunk. Finally the squirrel gathered enough of what wits he has to leave the territory, chased all the way by Mr. Wren. And yes, though we flatter ourselves that the wren house is inaccessible, we have seen Kitten Britches studying the house from the adjacent fencepost, protractor and abacus at hand to figure angles and distance. So this morning she is confined to the house because we see that Mr. and Mrs. Wren are encouraging their young to come out and try flight. Instead of flying in and out of the house delivering food, Mr. Wren goes to the opening and sings at the young inside, then perches nearby.

This went on all morning. This afternoon about 2:00 we noticed 3 wrens out flying around- one of the young had fledged! Now, 5 PM, we think all of them have fledged but haven’t been able to get a count. Kitten Britches is yelling at us because we won’t let her out.

Our shade garden is coming along


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Owl pellet

This morning as I left the house I found an owl pellet on the front steps, with ants carrying off whatever wasn’t hair. Then, on the walk next to my car, the pelt of a rabbit that had been stripped from the body, with hundreds of maggots underneath it. Owl brother or sister must’ve caught poor old rabbit in the front yard last night and peeled and eaten him while on the limb hanging over the yard and porch. And yesterday morning on my way to the gym I saw a doe deer cross the street and jump the stone fence into a school yard- I hope she manages to stay safe in the city where I don’t even feel safe on a bicycle. May nature remain after we have stripped ourselves from this planet- I hope she is resilient in the face of our greed.

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Praying mantids and turtles

Last evening we saw a half-dozen tiny praying mantids on our deck, so small the camera would not capture them. They must have just hatched out of the egg casing, which I could not find but it must be nearby. I am glad to see them so plentiful. Also this morning a big turtle was crossing an intersection in Forest Park, heading, I hope, back to the water after hauling out to lay her eggs on higher ground, because I put her back near the water in the direction she was headed.

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