Due to the 150th anniversary of the Charlottetown conference (which preceded confederation), there are a series of numbers around town this summer. Today, on the boys' penultimate day here on the island, we decided to finally climb and pose like all the other tourists!
After our usual Sunday-after-church ritual of Taters-Cows-Internet-at-Beanz, we snapped a few more numbers photos, then headed over to the CARI with Tats for a swim.
Despite the rain, we decided to make one final stop at the lighthouse beach before heading home to bed.
After several re-schedulings due to weather, the annual Cable Head Fly-In finally took place on Saturday, August 16 at Jimbo's.
While the grown-ups were very serious eating burgers and folding charts in the fight for the title of master chart-folder (speed is everything; though some noted that Tom gave all the smaller charts to his friends!!!), Alex and Simon enjoyed setting up our new beach chairs in the shade. (Er, we won't mention the other "chair incident", which happened early on, and which some cruel pilot/photographers caught on film, lol!)
After the chart folding and paper-airplane flying competitions, it was time to separate the wheat from the chafe: below left, Tom and his crew give detailed instructions on the message drop exercise. Bottom right, Neil (my soon-to-be-co-pilot), listens intently.
After taxiing out onto the runway, I manage to take a few nice shots from on high before Neil comes in for a low and over, and I drop our message ball out the window with the intent of taking first place in this competition. (The ideas is for ones ball to get on or as close to a painted line on the runway as possible.)
At the end of the afternoon, Tom and Jimbo hand out the prizes (Neil and I win first for the ball drop - yay!), and a very special prize (recognize it, Vinx and Brian???!!!), accompanied by a long-winded and almost-believable story, is handed out to a poor, unsuspecting pilot visiting from away!
Another successful fly-in event at Cable Head!!!
One of our new favourite activities on PEI is berry picking: Last week the boys and I picked enough raspberries for them to take a batch to share with friends at summer camp and still have plenty left for snacking at home. This week, we headed back to the Berry Patch on Hwy 2 to see about blueberries.
It was the first time any of us had picked blueberries before, and I wasn't quite sure what to expect.
Turns out blueberries are right down on the ground, making them an ideal fruit to be "raked", which most outfits do, and then put them through a fanning machine, which separates the leaves and stray stems from the berries. For us amateurs, though, it was half an hour of handpicking. With all four of us eati--, er, I mean picking, we managed to accumulate two small baskets at the end of our hard labour.
I have a new-found appreciation for blueberry pickers, and a better understanding for why the prices for farmers' market or store-bought wild blueberries tends to be rather high!
A little family time down time today... the boys were eager to spend their $ at the New Glasgow Toy Factory, and I was eager to get some new jams at the jam factory across the road.
On the way, we drove through the National Park and stopped in Stanhope -- a cold, windy day, but still a great beach adventure...
There were also several geocaches nearby, so we did a little of that, too (and even ran into some other geocachers on the road!) Tats finally figured out how to use the stamp I had given her a few years ago, so we inaugurated that, too.
Since we had a little time to spare today, we finally decided to stop and check out the Great Canadian Soap Company, too. Such fun! I highly recommend this delightful stop for anyone in the Rustico area!
As we had a little time to kill before the Ceilidh we were planning to attend later that evening, we stopped at Brackley Beach mid afternoon for some more wind-swept sand and sea. Thank goodness we had some leftover treats from our morning visit to the Old Village Bakery in North Rustico to tie us over!
Like many others on their way into town the other day, we, too, were visually assaulted with a series of enormous, graphic posters lining the main street along the University. The posters featured intentionally shocking images of aborted fetuses at various stages of development.
It seems that not everyone is as socially advanced in their thinking as those who organized the women's reproductive conference happening this week at UPEI. "Abortion: The Unfinished Revolution", the first international reproductive justice conference, has brought together researchers from around the world to share ideas and information about the impact of women's right to choose whether and when to have children, and how to access the resources to parent those children effectively. Charlottetown was chosen deliberately; the location is the capital city of Canada's only province that still puts up barriers for women who choose not to continue an unwanted pregnancy. This lack of access to safe abortion care results in many women suffering failed abortions not unlike the self-mutilations performed with coat hangers in the 1960's and 70's.
Lack of safe abortion care can have greater societal impacts as well; in communities where women find themselves in unwanted pregnancy situations with lack of access to adequate resources, an increase in child hunger and poverty in general is often the result. Compelling evidence also exists to suggest a correlation between abortion and reduced crime rates. While few would argue that terminating a pregnancy is a preferred birth control method, and most agree that abortion is a difficult and gut wrenching choice regardless of the situation, it's clear that it is a necessary choice for some.
Not everyone agrees that this conference is a good thing, however... "Show the Truth", an anti-choice group from Canada and the US, brought members to line the streets and hand out graphic brochures to children and others in the community in an attempt to "shock-educate". It's been causing quite a stir, even among the more traditional, "pro life" Islanders, who are somewhat less than thrilled with their 8-year-olds being handed a flyer depicting an allegedly 10-week-old aborted fetus, and the local paper has been abuzz with stories about both sides.
(Interestingly, there were no signs or brochures showing pictures of women bleeding out after a failed abortion among the large posters lining the highway into town. Children living in poverty were also not shown. And images of domestic abuse were missing, too. Funny, that.)
Right to Life PEI's spokesperson -- while supportive of Show the Truth's right to share their views -- was quick to point out that RTL had not invited them to the island, and was not made aware that they would be distributing the disturbing images to children (according to an article in the local paper here on Thursday, STT protesters had been going door-to-door handing out their pamphlets, and asking kids to "give them to your mom"!)
The anti-choice argument goes something like this: "By supporting a woman's 'right to choose', we are supporting murder."
Not only are these folks completely ignoring co-relevant statistics, but it's as though these people think that women choosing to terminate a pregnancy by default simultaneously want to "kill" their unborn children (assuming one defines an embryo or fetus as "child" or as being "alive".) Yet even my 10-year-old son can articulate that the necessity of one choice does not automatically imply that the other outcome or inevitable "side effect" is desired. In the overwhelming majority of cases, it's not!
"Neither side is good, Mom", noted Alex (my son), and went on to lament that there was currently no way to have simultaneous choice for women and ability for baby (he defines the cluster of growing cells inside a uterus to be a "baby" as soon as it is known about) to live.
"I wish there was a way that the baby could survive by living in an incubator until it could be adopted", he said to me in the car on the way home yesterday, agreeing that not all women who find themselves in an unwanted pregnancy situation have jobs or life circumstances that allow them the luxury of carrying that unwanted pregnancy to term until the baby can be adopted out.
Ironically, while the conference's protesters are carting graphic posters of aborted fetuses about the province, thousands of volunteers and paid employees toil daily at women's shelters, food banks and with other social service agencies across our fine country, attempting to mitigate the mess that transpires when children are born to women who lack the power or the resources to adequately care for them.
In an ideal world, where women and men are valued equally, and where individual members of society come together to raise up our children in a meaningful, practical, hands-on, cooperative manner, there wouldn't be a need for a woman to make such an awful choice, ever.
But we don't live in such a world. We live in the REAL world, where rather than helping fight injustice for those already living in this often miserable world, protesters instead wave giant, one-sided, graphic images in the faces of those passing by, and intimidating already-traumatized women trying to make the best choice they can in an already-horrific personal situation.
In such a world, you're darned right women should have ready access to safe abortion and non-judgmental reproductive care.
And the choice of whether or not to avail herself of such services belongs solely to the woman. Case closed.
Finally managed to swing by the berry patch we drive past each day on our way to Ch'town but have not yet stopped at. Raspberries were in season, and at about $2.50 a box, offered a temptation we couldn't pass up.
Within minutes, the boys and I were in the berry field, and half an hour later, we had about 300 fresh raspberries and at least as many mosquito bites!
We also picked up a sac of potatoes and a bag of green beans from the same farm, then headed home to eat our fresh produce for dinner.
Yet another reason to love PEI!
We're plugged in, that's for sure!
For a variety of reasons (not the least of which being the sheer incompetence of Ma Bell), we made the decision a few years ago to no longer have wifi at the house in PEI. This means that instead of screen sucking for many hours of the day during our precious time off each summer, we're instead forced to read, spend time at the beach, play board games and just hang out in the great outdoors.
It's fabulous, mostly, but I will confess that we get a bit antsy after several days offline. To feed our addictions, we spend a few hours every now and again at Beanz, a most excellent fair-trade cafe in downtown Charlottetown, which also offers free wifi.
In addition to enjoying the most scrumptious home-made squares and reasonably healthy lunch choices while there, we spend time updating our apps, watching professional videos for school, surfing the net, blogging, and skyping with Alex and Simon's Dad. This week while the boys were at an Arts camp in town, I even got to spend several days in succession online, attending a week-long math series for teachers.
Overall, I'd say I'm pretty satisfied with my internet-free summer home situation. But only because of the free internet that is available -- along with the Island's tastiest peanut butter and chocolate squares -- nearby!
After writing for several teacher and multiple birth publications, including ETFO's Voice Magazine, Multiple Moments, and the Bulletwin, Vera now focuses most of her written attention to prolific blogging, including BiB, "Learn to Fly with Vera!" and, more recently, SMARTbansho and Homeschooling 4. Contact Vera by clicking the photo above.
The views expressed on this blog are the views of the author, and do not necessarily represent the perspectives of her family members or the position of her employer on the the issues she blogs about. These posts are intended to share resources, document family life, and encourage critical thought on a variety of subjects. They are not intended to cause harm to any individual or member of any group. By reading this blog and viewing this site, you agree to not hold Vera liable for any harm done by views expressed in this blog.