We had our first human visitor – Katie (Liam’s sister) – and longest stay so far, at 4 days. Most of the time was spent moving ahead on existing projects, cleaning up, and shopping for new tools and supplies. The cabin is actually livable now and the furniture is more or less arranged in its final state (till we find better stuff). We played our first board game and watched our first movie. Nina finished putting up all the board and batten under the loft. It looks much much better! Liam started the foundation of the outdoor shower, after finding $1 ceramic-coated cinder blocks that will make a perfect floor. Daily duck baths are getting tedious. For now, the shower will be quite lame and connected right to the regular plumbing system. In the future, we hope to use a gravity and rain-fed shower. But with a one-storey cabin, it’s hard to imagine getting much pressure. Liam has some learning to do!
We took a few long boat trips and got to some of the further corners of the lake. We discovered some far-away pastures that looked abandoned. Some inexplicable black plastic planters were all over the place. The best guess would be that they were planting marijuana, but who knows. The rowboat is very slow and noisy. Any wildlife we see from it is deaf and blind.
Katie got sick mid-way through her visit, but helped a ton and did the jobs that we didn’t want to, like cleaning. She woke us up at 5AM this morning because there was a “huge” mouse climbing up the outside of the screen. Fortunately, Katie found a screen repair kit in the form of a duct tape-like roll and had used it liberally earlier in the trip. Katie drove Liam back to Toronto in time for her convocation from Ryerson (Midwifery) and Liam’s conference next week.
This was the trip of wildlife! We saw all sorts of new creatures: snapping turtles, painted turtles, mice – in the cabin and out, fish, orioles, a deer, lots of beavers, a garder snake that had just feasted (on a chick, we think), and probably others I can’t think of. The snapping turtle was laying eggs in the middle of the road in the gravel. When we went by the eggs were all exposed (she was still laying). I do not have high hopes for those eggs – especially because the road grader went by the next day. Surprisingly, we hadn’t seen beavers before. But this time, Nina rowed us around our islands around dusk and they were all over the place. There was one out of the water right by our rowboat that jumped in at the sight of us and slapped his tail a bunch, as if to say “get lost”.
We heard lots more interesting gossip and tales from neighbour Ernie. Among other things, he confirmed that we correctly googled and identified the previous owner of the property, two generations ago. Apparently he was an avid beekeeper and set up an elaborate electric fence around the hives to keep the bears out. Ernie confirmed that we’re in bear country. He shot a 432lb bear. But he’s a conservationist; he
turns off the TV when he’s not watching unplugs the TV and computer when not in use. Verbatim. Apparently the deer like to hang out near our cabin because they know the wolves won’t come near people. That’s somewhat reassuring.
Liam’s potatoes and onions are thriving despite a long drought. The secret must be the dead grass mulch. Incidentally, the weather was anything but dry for the past four days.
Although the ticks seem to have been scared or killed off by the hot and dry spell, their babies are doing just fine. Nina found two poppy seed-size ticks in various crevices on Liam. Hopefully at that age, they don’t have Lyme Disease. Anyway, this was good practice using the tick key (see below).
It’s going to be another 2-3 weeks till we visit again. Till then, lots of DIY Youtube and Pinterest browsing!