Happy Saturday morning all:

A new insight from deep within the shadows of the foothills of the La Cloche mountains:

“Most people never run far enough on their first wind to find out they’ve got a second” ~ our north woods everyman we’ll call Claire

We’ve started packing, however, it’s happening while still on our first wind. This coming week we’ll definitely have to tap into our second. Now, grab my coffee. First it’s for the enjoyment of it, secondly to mull the whole cabin closing strategy. Our list to close and winterize Northern Comfort is thirty items long—so a little mulling is not a bad thing. Don’t you agree?

Play – So, it really isn’t all packing and organizing at Northern Comfort, there is play.100_1571 Earlier this week Marcia climbed into her sleek kayak and I followed in our yellow one (it’s more suited to the extra load I bring along). Anyway, we had a great paddle throughout the cove. Our plan was to cut across the top of the lake for a mile or so. The air becoming somewhat heavier prevented that run, so we settled on the cove. Delightful!

Weather dependent we have plans to take a luncheon pontoon ride with Marlene and Donn before I have to ‘shroud’ it for its winter hibernation; too bad that my old Boom Box died in the eighties. But, a little lunch and a thermos of coffee sounds pretty good, doesn’t it? Also, Donn and I have our sights set on one final ATV quad ride. If we can get it in it should be a fun one considering the rains which have come every other day.

However, immediately after this posting we’ll set out on the local arts tour. The full tour will be 100 Km long, with a dozen or so stops. Our plan is to take in possibly half of that – Donn and Marlene in their Mini and Marcia and I in our little Deux Chevaux. A bonus is that on the run there happens to be a farm/estate auction that we may be able to tap into. Then there is the color – it’s almost at its peak and gorgeous.

Garden

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Mistress Marcia, Quite contrary,
How does your garden grow?
With Silver Bells, And Cockle Shells,
And so the garden grows

The picture shows two equally tasty Zucchinis. One came from Marcia’s veggie garden. The other came from our friendly local Amish farmer. Question; which one was grown by whom?

Cremation

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There are strange things done in the midnight sun
By the folk who’s play is bold;
The north wood trails have their secret tales
That would make your blood run cold;
The Northern Lights have seen queer sights,
But the queerest they ever did see
Was that night when on the edge of Cumming Lake
We cremated our Muskoka chair complete.
(based on a poem written by Robert W. Service – The Cremation of Sam McGee)

Don’t get me wrong, we loved our old Muskoka chair; it has been a part of Northern Comfort since inception. However, a creeping case of dry rot, much gluing, and insertion of replacement pieces finally proved the unending reworking of our chair untenable. Hence?…..yup.

Animal planet – Animal smarts: Bear season in the north woods is now mid-season (Aug 15 – Oct. 31) which means that except for the “popping” of an occasional long-gun somewhere in the distance, we hear nothing. But in the woods? Well, that is a completely different story. During the wee hours the woods are filled with ‘camo’ gear and neon-orange highlights as hunters sit around trying to keep their fingers and tootsies warm.

The problem therefore is; “where is Mr. Bear?” And I have the answer. I can hear you ask; “Dirk, how can you have an answer to such a question?” Actually it’s simple deduction. See, the bears are staying warm by resting on sun-warmed pavement, well away from the hunters in the woods. The reason I know this is that Tuesday morning, foggy and cold and a couple of hundred yards from our driveway, I was taking my morning walk. Looking about me I came close to stepping on a large, and very fresh, pile of bear scat, only inches off the highway’s white fog line. Very, very clever Mr. Bear.

Monday evening Marcia saw a large fur-ball walking by the kitchen window. It was a portly Raccoon; the first we’d seen this season. Not wanting our place to show up as a “star” on any raccoon tour map I chased him off – with the perfunctory noisemaking (much yelling and hollering). The critter ran behind the wood-pile and shot up a tall tree.

That is when I got a brilliant idea. I grabbed our little, novelty, air horn. Pump activated it has the shrillest, “echoey”, ear piercing noise possible. I ran underneath the tree and set it off two or three times. Enough to see the top of the tree begin to shake. This morning the Raccoon was gone. Please tell Vai that this time Opa did not whack the Raccoon on his backside; I don’t want her to get the wrong idea. Neither critter ever came back.

Fall is definitely here. The Hummingbirds have left. A few early formations of Canadian Geese have crossed the lake while heading south—do they ever stop their honking?

Fini – Another year and another anniversary – happy anniversary Marcia, number 43. How time flies, and not like some sort of old bi-plane, this has been an ahead-of-the –speed-of-sound SST ride. I am happy that both of us think grey~white hair a cool thing. Love ya!

Make it a great week everyone.
Cheers.
Dirk

From the Archives
Saturday, September 06, 2008

Morning all:

Quote Of The Week:
“Anyone who uses the phrase ‘easy as taking candy from a baby’ has never tried taking candy from a baby.” — Unknown

Our last full day in the north woods as we close up the cabin in preparation of the not too distant winter storms, snows, and cold. A final opportunity to enjoy a steaming mug of Tim Horton’s coffee while keying this post; watching the early morning mist curl over the water, hearing a distant loon, all the while listening to the rhythmic sound of the lake lapping away at the shore. I will miss all this. I better start on the coffee now!

I just know that any minute my serenity will be broken as Marcia pulls her head out from under the thick comforter to ask if I am crazy sitting here with the sliding door open: “Dirk, get a life and close that door, it’s barely 50 out!”

Since the hummingbirds are long gone and the flocks of geese have been seen heading south it’s time for us to pack it in. Over the past few weeks Marcia has transformed a pretty rough ‘fishing camp’ into a delightful summer cottage. Knowing where the cabin was located we bought the place earlier this summer, sight unseen, believing it to be a ‘diamond in the rough’. We were absolutely correct.

Yesterday the boat was pulled out of the water and placed into storage. It’s sorta like canoeing in that this exercise also tests and then creates the patina that forms on a lasting marriage.

We survived. Although, there were a couple of moments.

Brother-in-law Donn and his son-in-law Daniel were kind enough to use their quad-runners to help pull our two dock sections onto shore. This task is impossible to do by yourself and oh-so easy to do with a quad.

Next season a quad-runner will be a mandatory north woods fixture.

Our new grand-baby, Vaioleti, at a smidgen over a pound and a few ounces is a tenacious little fighter. Coming out of the gate running, she quickly weaned herself from the respirator, started breathing air with normal oxygen content, and is taking mom’s milk.

Still, bumps in the road are to be expected. This week my brother from southern California, Art, made a point to swing through town on a business trip. He visited Vai and sent this beautifully written note:
“………When Adrianne and I arrived @ the hospital, 4 nurses were attending to Vai and we were informed that Vai had one of what the staff calls a “one step back day” which is not unusual as she has made two steps forward. She stopped breathing twice during my short visit. Adrianne and I watched as she had her endotracial tube reinserted again to assist her breathing. At one point I counted 7 staff members calmly working together getting Vai back to where they wanted all her vital signs. The resident physician on duty said she just spent 20 minutes at her desk calculating and recalculating the micro dosage for Vai’s antibiotics. Again they emphasized nothing was out of the ordinary just another stage of getting her up to weight and age.

I’m sharing this with you to reinforce that Adrianne & Tevita, as a family, are on a physical & emotional roller coaster and will be for the coming months. They still need all the thoughts, prayers, and good wishes we can send them.”

Thanks Art for your eloquence, allowing all of us to see a miracle in progress just a little more clearly.

Thanks to the amazingly dedicated and competent hospital staff.

Thanks to everyone for prayers, concern, and the shared hope that we are watching a small life blossom.

Make it a great week. Life is precious, maximize your opportunities, and live it fully.

Cheers,

Dirk

9/06/2008 08:24:00 AM

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