Good morning all:

Weekly Wisdom from the Canadian North Woods:

”You Americans and your constant war on terriers; just get a good hunting dog and be done with it, eh?” — a local everyman we’ll name Claire

Mornings seldom get more magnificent than a blazing sunrise on a quiet lake, cool air, warm water, and massive curls of almost iridescent fog roiling by in the light air. It’s absolutely stunning—as is my morning mug of steaming hot coffee. This morning the sun is not blazing, but the steaming coffee did not miss a beat.

Have I mentioned how spectacularly perfect the weather has been for the past three weeks? In fact, for the whole time we’ve been at the cabin. But, what’s great for us is problematic for others. Our nearest (40Km away) town has a watering ban due to the resultant drought—no sprinkling or car washing allowed. Farmers are complaining about their crops, and the whole region has an “Extreme Fire Hazard” condition. Having any outdoor fire will set you back $175.00 for a first offense. Weatherwise, yesterday all changed and the rains finally came. Instantly everything got a shade greener. Fish started jumping into the air, the Loons couldn’t stop preening as they bobbered about, and shorebirds held racing contests flying between the trees. We went indoors.

Muskoka Lounge – A while back I mentioned about all of the social plusses of life at the dump. Catching up on the latest gossip, greeting people, and taking a furtive peek into the “free” section is all part of cottage life. Last Wednesday Marcia made the trek. One bag of garbage (stuffed) and some recyclables were loaded. Returning, I was asked to assist with unloading the truck. Turns out that Marcia did more than “furtively peek” at the free section—she stopped and brought home a Muskoka chaise lounge. Actually it was a great find requiring only some bolt tightening and adding two new ones. A little sanding and a couple of liberal coats of Teak oil (thanks Dia) and it became totally presentable sit-able. It’s a wonderful complement to our outdoor seating.

Today, from noon till 4:00, the dump is open. Good as Marcia’s find was, I think I’ll do the duties and stick to just doing delivery.

Poop – Paul retrieved the chip from his trail camera. It turns out that two hours after he had set it up a Black Bear wandered by the trail and “Smile you’re on Candid Camera.” That picture was sent to family. In Florida, 4-year old Kellen was not impressed with the photo. He’d seen what real bears look like many a time at Disney World and he demanded proof that this was a real bear. “Where’s the poop?” he asked. I talked with Kirstin and promised that I would head for the old logging road on the ATV and try to capture an appropriate “poop” picture.

Mentioning this during one of our Happy Hours it turns out that nearly everyone has a collection of bear scat photos – each posed in a different and artistic fashion. Needless to say, Kellen should be amply satisfied with the resultant answer to the age old question, that; “yes Kellen, bears do s**t in the woods.”

Movie Night – Next week will be our last week in the North Woods prior to heading home for a few days. It seems that bills have to be paid and attention given to the more mundane things in life. Additionally, Vinnie-the-cat is probably ready for another great travel experience.

As a result the Ladies-of-the-Lake got their collective heads together and organized a Movie Night for this evening. Before I could even ask whether or not we’d have popcorn I was already warned that during the movie I was NOT going to prattle on and on with my inane commentary. Tonight’s feature attraction, shown amidst the serving of “heavy” hors d’oeuveres, will be Avitar. Duly warned I will stay quiet and only munch—unless spoken to. Go ahead guys, ask anything you want.
Animal Planet (formerly the “Spotted” section) – Loon observations are continuing daily. Since they all look alike with only slight size variations I have the ladies at the other end of the lake logging any sightings. By noting date and time I am hoping to get a fix on the number of breeding pairs (I think our Lake has two pairs plus an awkward teenager) of these very territorial birds. This is part of the Bird Studies Canada Loon survey.

Momma Bass did her job and should be proud for her perseverance—even after facing such major trials and tribulations as those named Marcia and Dirk. Monday Marcia spotted several hundreds 1cm long Bass fry clustered near our dock post. These hatchlings will hang about until they grow a bit and then disperse where scores will become a tasty dinner for other denizens of the lake. Eventually many of the then remaining will end up similarly for the Herons, Gulls, and the Loons. A few of the last remaining will then make catching them a challenge for us—it’s called the ‘food chain’ my friends, and currently these cute little guys are at the bottom.

This week’s sightings included Ravens, large Blue Herons, Luna moths, a Red Fox, yellow and black Tiger Swallowtail butterflies, and a roly-poly Raccoon. Around dinner time the Raccoon ambled along the front of our cabin. Marcia had just sanded and put the oil finish on the Muskoka chaise lounge she found. “Rocky” must have smelled the oil.

Almost every day this week saw large “V” formations of Canadian Geese flying over on their way to their northern summer breeding grounds. The sound of their honking can be heard for miles and when they fly over it’s a spectacular sight. Mid week we got one better. It was turning dusk when a flock of about a hundred birds flew over. Just after they crossed the tree line across the cove the left side of the “V” peeled away and turned back to our cove. Honking like crazy they started to ‘corkscrew’ down and right in front of our little cabin landed. Fifty or so of these Boeing-747s of the bird world plopped into the water. I was impressed.

Immediately after landing they grouped into two clusters and got totally quiet. One group got a leader who led them to the other pod. The whole group then paddled to the far shore. About 8:30 the next morning, amidst much honking, they took off and again headed north. From over the tree line, at a nearby lake, we could hear more honking from other departing geese. Migration is an amazing spectacle—I say that every year as we climb into the car and head north.

Make it a great week everyone.



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