my forest primeval, revised

from my deck. Tons of shade. Thank God we gave over the job of raking leaves to our handy dandy lawn care and snow blowing troops. I have thought I should pay extra attention to my favourite, everyday spots. My family bought this property in 1969. It was an untouched waterfront, forested drainage lot. My parents chose to cut all the trees growing in the centre of the property. We kept the perimeter trees for the most part. We planted three small trees across the lakefront edge. Two maples flank an oak. I think of them sometimes as honourary siblings. They are now mature and very tall. I helped my mother rake to level and shape the drainage contour of the fill added to the lot. Contour to avoid pooling water from rain. My back and hands recall the painful effort of our annual raking blitz. Painful because I am an old office worker ot a steady outdoor worker. Blitz because we had to wait for the last leaves fall and try to work around the rainstorms of autumn. Tricky work and to make it trickier to fit it into weekends. I know this property. It knows me and has felt my touch.


Plumbing past and present

Recently the man who is our plumber up here in cottage country, called Tim, came to do a small job today. We got to talking about the place and its peculiarities. This place, a cottage, originally with three bedrooms was built in 1969-70…and Tim remembers coming down here with his uncle the plumber when he was a boy of 6…. and being enlisted to don oversized hip waders to drag out the old water system water intake hose and feed on skids that was submerged in Georgian Bay for non-drinking water supply in the Spring when the bay was cold and of course taken in around this time of year. We had the local obligatory conversation about Georgian Bay water levels.  High water at the last time was 1986.  The shore has retreated about 80 feet. In other places around here it has drawn back five hundred feet.

Tim also remarked as we discussed renovating the kitchen about my late father talking about digging paths in the crawlspace under the cottage. Tim had brought along his son Jeremy, who is a mature man and is probably transitioning to take over all of the plumbing business….I laughed and spoke up to tell Tim that I did the digging under the cottage to lower the ground level for scrambling around under there. “I was 17 and it felt like I was in The Great Escape, digging and scraping and filling buckets with the waste ground and dragging it over to a small access window in the foundation wall and passing it out to my Dad.” Tim laughed. “Your Dad said he dug it out, anyway it is a good space to work in, not hard to get around at all.” A lot of places have crawl spaces that make plumbing difficult.  Tim and his son are both over 6 feet tall.

So we will look at some re-insulation down there in the Spring and some moves in the kitchen next year as well.

my lair in the warmer weather times past and future

It has been a mildish winter up here on the southern shore of Georgian Bay.  Good for me, nervewracking for ice-fishing aficionadoes, and a few more snowmobilers have gone through the ice.  Thankfully the last two to get dunked that I heard about on the news got out safely.  The photo shows the road facing side of the cottage and the deck.  I plan to spend a lot of time on the deck once the warmer weather arrives.  I did this last year and I will repeat that this year.  We tried something a little different this past year and it worked out well.  I dragged the large glass top lawn table around from the water side of the cottage to this side and up the stairs.  I added a couple of our grey metal lawn chairs and their cushions.  Instant comfort in a easily assembled outdoor living room. Add a cold drink and a radio. Then with the “dog-gate” sheet of plywood in place blocking off the steps, and Grace, the dog, in place on the deck, and with the shade of the surrounding trees, I spent a lot of time on the deck reading and computing.  We had quite a few meals on the deck as well.  Somehow the glass table made a large difference and so we will resume deck life soon.