Good morning all:

Weekly wisdom from deep within the north woods:

“I tell touristers to go ahead and laugh at my plaid flannel shirts and my red long-johns. Every generation laughs at past fashions, but these same folk will blindly follow anything new.” ~ from our north woods everyman we’ll call Claire

This morning – fog on the lake, and a sun trying desperately to peek through clouds and over the horizon – it is supposedly 6° C. I am eagerly waiting for Mr. Coffee to complete its perk cycle – my mug awaiteth.

Maybe it’s just a cycle – but there is a distinct changeover in the weather of these parts. Why, I’ve even noted that some select Birches have begun to turn color. Since the ATV&V gang is scheduled to arrive in less than a week I am hoping it’s just a hiccup in the weather pattern.

Thursday Marcia and I made an all-day excursion into Sault Ste. Marie Canada and Michigan. All amidst what could be described as a “gully-washer”.

Yesterday I was back to bailing our little Sea Nymph. Based on the size of my bailing bucket and the number of loads I threw overboard I feel pretty certain that there were between 25 and 30 gallons of water aboard. Since the 5-gallon fuel tank was actually floating it lend some credence to that number. Actually, we really needed some major rain – and we got it.

Service Canada – Aside from serious shopping (mostly groceries) we made a stop at Service Ontario, the governmental branch that handles, yes you guessed right:”services”. I wanted to organize my boat licenses—thinking it an easy way to avoid getting ticketed.

Service Ontario advised me that the boat licensing was now being handled by the federal government, Service Canada, four blocks away. Beating the advancing rain clouds I ‘hoofed’ the four blocks and was immediately greeted oh-so cordially. I stated my request and was advised that recently branch offices are no longer handling any boat licensing, but that I could get the boat’s trailer licensed at Service Ontario, four blocks away.

Seems the new licensing process is via mail to some vague address in Fredericton, New Brunswick to a place called “Centre de traitement des permis d’embarcation de plaisance” (aka, Pleasure Craft Licensing Centre)—a small detail not yet found in printed boat licensing materials. I got back to the car just as the rains hit.

Since the car was parked next to the Service Ontario building I told Marcia I was going back in and check on the history of our cabin—Northern Comfort. Dodging much rain, back into the building I ran, and once again I made a short visit to the ticket dispenser for a serving number; now number 807.

Again, “Welcome to Service Ontario” came a cheery voice, and moments later I was waiting for a stereo-typical librarian type to finish up with someone else. In short order she dug up a couple of microfiche reels and began printing a few pages – four to be exact.

Turns out our property was first sold to an area dentist for $33.36 back in 1958; prior to that it was Crown Land. Subsequently, about every ten years, the property was sold. By pricing it’s easy to spot when structures were built and improvements made.

Careful reading of all the legalese on the printed pages clearly states that Marcia and I have full rights to view the lake and the cove, remove any dead tree, and must allow hordes of native population “free access to the shores…..for all vessels, boats and persons”, meaning, we cannot put up a toll booth for those passing our shore—swimmers included.

The new forty-five – Gerrit, with two ladies in tow (including Dia’s mother), was visiting at the other end of the lake. Gerrit is Dutch and so was not just visiting at the lake, but also visiting from Holland.

It was a wonderful opportunity to speak a little Dutch, and since Gerrit has been a lifelong Kayaker setting up an afternoon’s paddle became a natural. We both are in a “0” year; one of us a 7-oh and the other 8-oh – I’ll let you guess who is what.

Since the incident with Tevita, the kayak, and the MNR of one year ago, an incident with a price tag of $375, I have learned the importance of safety. Hence an orange colored safety kit was placed aboard each Kayak and safety vests donned. Our travel was open water across the top of the lake, past the island (the 1-mile mark) and into the long cut-through which eventually goes into the adjacent Pickerel Lake. We had to get past a series of Beaver dams, including a large one which required getting out and pulling the boats across. I should point out that this was my first serious trip of the season in the large, two-person, vintage Folbot folding Kayak – known affectionately as “the grocery bag.”

Outbound was great, especially since the darkening and more threatening clouds were building unseen up behind us. In the cut-through there is seldom any wind due to being totally protected, hence we stayed oblivious to the changing weather. So, it was not until we turned in Pickerel Lake that we realized it would only be a matter of time before we’d experience some different weather. With just a very few rain drops and a bit of head wind we made it home nicely. Total travel we guestimated at 6.5 km. What a great time was had!

Now really, you have to agree that for today’s seniors, those in the 7-oh and 8-oh range, we’re really just entering the new mid-forties.

Animal Planet – This week we were the true animals – several campfires filled with talk and lubricated with adult beverage. Last evening we went all out and by eleven o’clock someone had opened their car doors and was loudly playing their choice Dean Martin recording— with such standards as, “Oh Solo Mio and Barb’s favorite; “Everybody Loves Somebody”. The whole gathering joined in.

Meanwhile the discussion turned to New Year’s 2000 when the same partiers (minus yours truly) burned an old shed as the key ingredient for a bonfire held on the ice in the cove. A fire big enough to have the MNR stop by the next day after spotting a massive black burn mark from the air. See, this week’s archive posting from nine years ago does make sense.

Make it a great week everyone.

Cheers,

Dirk

Archives – Saturday, August 23, 2003
The “Woke up this morning…” line might make you think that I am in a Blues mood for that is how most Blues songs do start. Wrong. See, for the Blues you need something nasty or have no choice. Something like “You stuck in a ditch, you stuck in a ditch…ain’t no way out.”. But since I am off to run errands I can’t have the Blues, and it’s impossible to have the Blues in a shopping center. The lighting is all wrong. I’d have to go outside and sit by the garbage dumpster or something. So it’s off for some exercise then to pick up laundry, get a haircut, heck, I might even start rummaging for a pair of zip-leg pants with lots of pockets. Actually all this is preparation for tonight’s very loud neighborhood party. Marcia and I got an invite. We got our heads together and discussed at length and concluded that it had to be a potentially very loud event, it’s a very old trick; invite all the old fogies then they won’t complain about the noise and; party on! Me tonight: “Yes Officer, I live right over there and was only here for a minute or two. Actually I only stopped over to kindly ask my very good neighbors to keep it a little less noisy. I am leaving right now Officer. Yes, thank you so much Officer, yes Sir, thank you.”

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