Some of my garlic that made it through the winter of 2015.

Some of the garlic that made it through PEI’s winter of 2015.

The winter of 2015 was particularly hard here on Prince Edward Island. We had 5.2 meters of snow. (That’s 17 feet.) Thankfully, 70% of the garlic I planted last fall in my allotment at Legacy survived.

Yum.

Happy to see this bee in my garden.

Happy to see this bee in my garden.

To make a prairie it takes a clover and one bee, —

One clover, and a bee,

And revery.

The revery alone will do

If bees are few.

~ Emily Dickinson (1830-1886)

Sadly, a dangerous class of pesticides known as neonicotinoids, or neonics, has been implicated in the decline of bees, butterflies, birds and other organisms. ( See Save the Bees, published by the Wilderness Committee, for more information.) That’s why I’m so pleased to see this bee, though solitary, in my garden. There is hope.

Here's the bee again, in its bright yellow jacket.

Here’s the bee again, in its bright yellow jacket.

Parks Canada's Alanna MacKinnon and Barbara MacDonald at their information table about American Eels.

Parks Canada’s Alanna MacKinnon and Barbara MacDonald at their information table about American Eels.

Out behind my place, in the back forty where the River Clyde runs, there are American Eels. The eel is one of the most amazing connections (for me) between Bermuda and Eastern Canada, and they’re right outside my back door!

I first heard the story of the American Eel last month when I was in Bermuda. Then, last week, I attended Aboriginal Day celebrations at Lennox Island Mi’kmaq First Nation here on Prince Edward Island. Parks Canada was present with an educational display about . . . guess what . . . the American Eel.

Aboriginal spear used for fishing eels.

Aboriginal spear used for fishing eels.

Serendipity had, once again, played her hand.

Eels begin their lives in the Sargasso Sea. That’s the sea that lies largely to the east of Bermuda, and is bounded, not by land, but by ocean currents. Mature eels, with silvery colouration, return to the Sargasso Sea from freshwater rivers, ponds, lakes and estuaries in North America, where they spawn in a mystery location. As larvae, eels float in the protective Sargasso Sea, but, eventually, they find their way to coastal North America.

When they reach the coast, they are called glass eels because they are transparent. As juveniles, they take on pigmentation and are then called elvers. Later, they take on a golden colour and are called yellow eels.

It can be up to twenty-five years before American Eels turn silver and make the long journey back to the Sargasso Sea to spawn. Their silver colouring camouflages them, giving protection from ocean predators. Their eyes enlarge so that they are better able to see in the ocean, and the shape of their fins changes to give them better swimming ability.

I’m originally from British Columbia where we root for salmon to pass through the gauntlet of human fishers, bears, wolves and steep, rocky waterfalls to their gravelly upstream spawning beds, where they will reproduce. Maybe that’s why I’m now a big fan of the American Eel. I’m rooting for them to successfully navigate the over-1500-kilometer swim from the River Clyde, out back of my place, to the Sargasso Sea.

Sadly, the American Eel, as with so many other creatures, may be in jeopardy. It is disappearing from areas of its former range. Habitat loss, dams and overfishing are given as probable causes.

Margot Maddison-MacFadyen:

I am a proud member of Empire, Trees and Climate! Our May research trip to Bermuda was wonderfully successful, revealed future research pathways and opened doors to future collaborations.

Originally posted on empire trees climate:

Kirsten Greer

The SSHRC Insight Development project, Empire Trees and Climate in the North Atlantic: Towards Critical Dendroprovenancing, began as a conversation between two colleagues – a historical geographer and a dendrochronologist – who wanted to combine their approaches to examine the flow of British North American timbers to Bermuda. During the early nineteenth-century, Britain established the Royal Naval Dockyard to secure British imperial interests in the Atlantic world: Bermuda served as the winter headquarters while Halifax functioned as the summer site of the Royal Navy’s North America and West Indies Station. Colonial timbers were central to empire. Timbers sustained imperial defence, shipbuilding, and trade, which tied British North America to Britain, Bermuda, and the Caribbean.

Fig 1

Figure 1: SSHRC Co-Investigators and Nipissing University colleagues, Kirsten Greer (historical geographer) & Adam Csank (dendrochronologist), at Admiralty House, Bermuda. Admiralty House was the official residence of the highest ranking Royal Navy officer…

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Mary Princess

Originally posted on empire trees climate:

Histories of Enslavement in the Maritime Atlantic: Slave Labour; the Halifax Royal Naval Dockyard; the Naval Depot at St. George’s, Bermuda; and Shipbuilding in Bermuda and Grand Turk Island

Last week, team member Margot Maddison-MacFadyen visited the Nova Scotia Public Archives and uncovered connections between slavery, the Royal Dockyard at Halifax, and pine masts from the St. John River, New Brunswick. She also considers slavery and the naval depot at St. George’s, Bermuda; and Woodville, a “mansion” situated on Grand Turk Island, British West Indies, that demonstrates the use of recycled ships’ parts, including ships’ masts, in its construction.

Why I am Interested in this Project

I’m a PhD candidate in Interdisciplinary Studies at the Memorial University of Newfoundland. My dissertation is titled Reclaiming Histories of Enslavement in the Maritime Atlantic: The History of Mary Prince. It’s a mixed bag, including four subject areas: Education, English, Gender Studies and History…

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I hope the foxes that make Fox Hollow their home are snug in their dens. We’ve just come through a blizzard with 120-kilometre wind gusts here on Prince Edward Island, and it’s still nasty outside.

The blizzard begins Sunday February 15th. The red fox wind vane indicates a nor-easter.

The blizzard begins Sunday February 15th, and the red fox wind vane indicates a nor’-easter.

Last night the wind punched and the house shuddered. At 2 a.m. something large crashed on the roof. I anticipated a wrecked chimney this morning, and finding bricks strewn about the yard come spring, but the chimney is fine. My neighbours’ siding is partially ripped off, however, so possibly this, or some other flying debris, hit the house. Glad it didn’t hit a window.

A metre-high snowdrift cuts the driveway off from the road.

A metre-high snowdrift cuts the driveway off from the road.

Island road crews are on top of the situation. Plows keep the roads clear for emergency vehicles. Gratitude for their excellent service, and also to those who respond to emergencies in spite of terrible inclement weather that keeps most of us indoors.

Maybe it is higher than a metre? The snowdrift wraps two sides of the house.

Maybe it is higher than a metre? More like two metres at the far corner. The snowdrift wraps two sides of the house.

Eventually, I’ll be dug out. My neighbour will be by with his tractor that is outfitted with a large snow blower, and the driveway will be cleared. When the wind settles, I’ll shovel snowdrifts off the decks. Tomorrow the sun will shine. In thirty-three days it will be spring.

Anticipation: violas and sweet peas growing robustly in a back deck window box. These are from Spring, 2014.

Anticipation: violas and sweet peas grow robustly in a back deck window box. These are from last year–Spring, 2014.

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