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Cattails in the WInd

Cattails in the WInd

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My Dad starting building our cottage in 1964. Prior to that we had gone to Cape Cod for a few years. We had a wonderful Shasta trailer and stayed in a park in Providence. I loved it there! The salty ocean, the sand dunes, digging for clams and the warm, warm winds. Oh and the salt water taffy! All over now. Dad had decided to sell the Shasta and build a cottage on a lot he had bought just after the war. This summer would be spent in a campsite in Muskoka,the last for our trailer. I was devastated!

This camp was about an hour away from where the new "cottage" was being built. This way my Dad could travel back and forth to the cottage construction site without needing to travel from Oakville where we lived, a 3 hour drive. My Mom, my brother and myself stayed there for the summer and Dad, well we saw him some times! He was a busy man. Working at home. working at the cottage!

The park we stayed in was no Cape Cod but it did have its attractions and our holiday there was quite unique comparatively. The gentleman who owned the campsite, a wonderful man, loved children. He ensured we were not bored. There was a petting zoo there. A swimming pool and a great playground. Sometimes he would let us ride on his tractor with him which was a great treat and instant prestige among the young crowd. This was all new to me. I had never been "Up North" before this, only "Down south".This was a land of "Pine forests" not "White beaches. This was Mosquitoes not Sand fleas. I was starting, grudgingly, to like it. Not to mention I found my first crush there. Well two actually, Mark and Brian. Well, I am a Gemini and I was only 10!

It took Dad most of the summer to build the cottage. There is no road to the land so everything had to brought over by boat and barge. He had to get a bulldozer there to level an area for the cottage and give a bit of yard space. It was a rather steep climb from the waters edge to the level area and all the materials had to be carried up there. This was a major undertaking. Finally, in late August, the cottage was ready to be unveiled. No more camp grounds, we had a cottage!

I remember our first few nights there. Dad had yet to put up the paneling on all the walls so there was only wall studs up between the bedrooms. Mom put sheets in between to give us some privacy. It was already getting a little cool at night and Dad had installed a propane heater that had an open face. At night I would watch the flames dance in the dark. It would lull me right to sleep.

One night I heard raised voices in my parents bedroom. Mom was laughing and I could hear her saying "We are being watched!". The next thing I see is my Dad, in his pajamas, chasing after some small dark thing with a broom. Curious, I got up to find my Dad was trying to catch a mouse with a broom.The mouse was obviously faster as it got away. My brother and I were laughing uproariously at the site of our Dad chasing down a mouse.I remember saying"Dad don't kill it!" We both know he wouldn't kill it. Later we learned he put down some friendly mouse traps and then took the mice by boat over to a nearby island and let them go.

Dad soon had the paneling up and the cottage finished. It was a winterized cottage so we were going to be able to go there most times during the year. We spent Thanksgiving there. We bought Skidoos and went up for our Christmas/New Years break. The next summer, right after school was out my Mom, brother and I went up to the cottage which was to be the first summer of many "up north, at the cottage". The saga of cottage life had begun.

Kawagama Lake

Posted by Lorac Monday, 27 April 2009 0 comments

Our cottage is right on lake. A beautiful lake called Kawagama Lake. I spent so many summers there as a child. I am very familiar with the lake and strangely enough have never looked for information on the lake itself. I was reading a cottage magazine and found out some interesting facts about the lake.

Kawagama Lake is the largest lake in the Haliburton Highlands. The northern part of the lake is the Algonquin Highlands. Kawagama Lake is land locked. It is fed by several smaller lakes many of which flow out of near by Algonquin Provincial Park. Kawagama then feeds in to several other lakes, most notably Lake of Bays via the Hollow river. The town of Dorset is the close by and is a beautiful little place to visit.


Kawagama Lake Facts

Water Surface: 32 sq Km Depth 73.2m (240 ft) Approx. Elevation 355 m (1166 ft.) Perimeter 115 km (71 mi) Other Names For Lake. Hollow Lake, Rel's Lake.

                                                                  

Above: Hollow River

Left: Dorset

Below: Kawagama Lake

               

                                                


                                                               

                                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

HOW TO MAKE SPIDER DOGS!

Posted by Lorac Sunday, 26 April 2009 2 comments

You will need:

1) Hotdogs

2) Knife

3) Roasting stick (3' long)

4) Open fire pit

Cut the ends of the hotdogs from the tops into 4 quarters moving length ways about an inch and a half long. Flip around and do the same with the other end.

Carefully put the hot dog on the sharpened end of the stick until firmly in place. Let an adult do this.

Hold the hot dog on the stick over an open fire until it resembles a spider (8 legs).

Have bowls of mustard or ketchup out for dipping!



Not this Spider Dog!


Thoughts.Actions. Musings.

Posted by Lorac Saturday, 25 April 2009 0 comments

I really can't wait!  So... I decided to write so I can at least think about it! The first weekend trip to the cottage after a cold bleak winter. "WE" as in the family, have to wait for the ice to go out on the lake as the only way to the cottage is by the lake. In fact the first trip is by water taxi from the marina as our boat is on shore at the cottage. The first trip will be to put on the water (shut off for the winter), put in the boats, clean up all the leaves and sticks from the winter and likely cut the grass, dust the cottage and.. What?

Ok, so now you are thinking "What is she raving about?"It sounds like a lot of work. It is... but it is work I actually enjoy. As I listen to loons call for rain, as the sweet smelling wind blows around my head with last years leaves as I rake. The outdoor fire pit  has a small fire going to burn the twigs and leaves, the temperature is just right for working outdoors. I don't even mind if it is raining a little.

I will stay outside because it clears my mind. Not just being outside but the whole cottage experience. It makes me feel so relaxed, so at ease, so at home. I sleep like the proverbial log here ( as my kids will tell you by the snoring they swear I do!) Food tastes better, even making meals is more fun. 

Our cottage is nothing fancy, we have the basic amenities. The cottage does not have life clutter. By that I mean it is a simpler existence. None of the usual things that  clutter the mind at home. We have a phone but only family and the closest of friends have the number. It rarely rings. We have electricity but can live without between the fireplace, the Barbeque and the outside fire pit. To go to the store you have to take a boat and then a car ride so you only go if absolutely necessary, in most cases it is for fun on a Saturday afternoon.

There are bonfires every weekend night, with marshmallows for the grandkids and something a little stronger for the adults. We watch for shooting stars as there are so many stars to see in the night sky up north! I know exactly when you can see the satellites go by and will point them out to anyone still left by the fire. ( they are rather late at night) The doggies like to lay by their owners and get some warmth from the fire too and there is always the hope that an errant spider dog (Split up hot dog) might fall on the ground to be edible to only the dogs now. 

My Father, who passed away a few years ago, is  in the bank of dirt leading up to the cottage or at least his ashes are. So I never fail to say "Hi Dad" when I first arrive and "Bye Dad "when I leave. Makes me feel close to him still. He loved the cottage. I think he watches over us.

There are actually two cottages at this site but two different parcels of land. My Dad bought the first parcel right after the war and built the original cottage in 1964 for his family of four. A few years later he bought the parcel next door and later built a smaller cottage on this for himself and my Mom. My Mom still comes up to the cottage at 84 yeasrs of age. Since there are two cottages she gets a break from the kids, grandkids and great grandkids.

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Lorac
Georgetown, Ontario, Canada
I have lived in Georgetown for 31 years but have traveled around a great deal. I own my own business which takes a lot of my time but try to blog as much as possible! I love to take pictures, no training, just a love of photography. Enjoy the pics but please do not copy them.
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Copyright ~~All content and photos are original to Carol Merten, Ahhh...The Cottage Life! and are copyrighted. Please do not copy, or download any content without express written consent. All content and photos remain the sole property of Carol Merten.

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