Posted in cottage life, loreeebee.ca, nature

Cottage Season is Coming

Cottage season is coming, fast. With increased COVID numbers and resulting restrictions, it cannot come too soon. Isolating at the lake is something we were grateful for last summer, although spending time there is always a relaxing, “unplugged” experience, regardless of what is happening around the world.

Ice on the Lake

A few weeks ago we visited Palmerston Lake to check on our cottage. We took our four year old uber-adventurous grandson with us to show him what the place looks like in winter. He was thrilled to walk on the ice and climb on the frozen pile of leaves. He was disappointed however, that the snakes and frogs were still sleeping…

This Easter weekend, less than three weeks later, we visited again to begin the annual spring cleanup. The grandson stayed home to enjoy Easter festivities, but I couldn’t help reflecting on how much he would love to see the ice breaking up.

It always amazes me how quickly the ice leaves the lake every spring. The property is now snow-free even though we had to park on the road and wade through the snow last visit. By next week the ice will be totally gone!

Cottage Season is Coming

Spring Cottage Chores

Even though we rake up most leaves in the fall at the end of each season, there are always some that are still clinging to the trees as we are closing up. That means there are still lots to rake up in the spring too.

That’s the downside of a heavily treed lot. The advantage of course, is the natural beauty and shade these trees provide in the summer months.

We use plastic bags saved from new mattresses to collect and transport the leaves to the huge leaf pile. These bags make the chore much easier, and fold up for storage between uses. Over the season the leaves break down, providing soil amendment for garden areas.

lots of leaves

Unfortunately, a cold north wind was blowing off the lake during this visit, much to the annoyance of my arthritic hips. I paid for that in pain on return to the city. Once the cold gets in my bones, the ache is hard to dispel.

Gypsy Moth Damage

Last year I told you about the infestation of gypsy moths at the lake. Apparently it was a record year for them in Eastern Ontario, affecting not only deciduous trees but evergreens too.

We have been praying that our trees will survive this onslaught. While the deciduous trees don’t appear to suffer long term, (their leaves return each year) the growth of the evergreens (spruce and pines) is much slower. The needles take much longer to regrow, if they do at all.

I hesitate to cut the damaged tops off these pines and spruce as that would alter the natural shape of the trees, making them bushier and rounder at the bottom. Instead we will wait to see how much regrowth they put out this season.

COVID Affecting Cottage and Campsite Rentals

Last summer Canadians stayed close to home, visiting local cottages and campgrounds more than ever before. We were no exception. With the heat wave we experienced it was a no brainer to isolate at our family cottage. While visitors outside our immediate family were not invited, we managed to get our sons’ families to join us, albeit separately.

Conclusion

This season promises to be even busier for cottage and campsite rentals as we head into a (possible) second summer of isolation restrictions. I’ve heard that campsites are booking up fast as families know to expect availability shortages this summer. If you haven’t already, you might want to get on it soon!

As spring weather warms us up, we relish the fact that cottage season is coming!

Cottage Season is Coming
Posted in cottage life, DIY, lorieb.wordpress.com

Lumber Shortage Slows Summer DIY Project

Anyone trying to complete a DIY project involving wood this summer knows what I mean about a lumber shortage. I’m not sure just how wide spread the shortage was, but we sure felt it here in the Ottawa area. Of course the shortage is COVID related, isn’t everything bad related to the dreaded virus these days?

Last fall, when we dug up most of our cottage property to install a new water pipe, we decided to replace and widen the ancient steps and base to our dock. We figured we could get them replaced before cottage season began in earnest.

Enter the pandemic, throwing everything and everyone into chaos, even the best laid plans.

Luckily hubby had some pressure treated lumber stashed away, remnants from our deck project several summers ago. I won’t be living down this (only) advantage of his “discard nothing” personality anytime soon!

We were able to get started using this leftover lumber, but had to wait (what seemed like) forever for the floor boards. I was finally able to locate some 12 footers we needed to finish the project this past week. Thankfully, our son has a large truck and could transport the boards from Ottawa to the cottage for us.

We finally completed the project, a few months later than planned. This base will look awesome next summer when the cedars are trimmed and a few of my specialties, planters full of colorful flowers, are added.

Next!

Posted in cottage life, food, lorieb.wordpress.com

Giant Puffballs, AKA Calvatia Gigantea

Recently we discovered a few giant puffballs on our cottage property. This is not the first time, but it has been a few years since the last (and first) time.

Over the years we have discovered lots of other mushroom varieties here at our cottage, but have been leery on consuming most of them. My cousin assured us the morels we found were indeed deliciously edible, not to mention well sought after.

I vaguely recall treks as s small child with my father to forage for the unique and tasty puffballs. I’m sure my older siblings have clearer memories, will have to remember to ask them.

The largest puffball this season was the size of a soccer ball, in fact we made sure to clarify the difference to our two-and-a-half year old granddaughter. Otherwise she would give it a good boot!

Remembering how fast they turn from spongy firmness to soft and punky, we decided to harvest the largest one. By the way, the cut surfaces of edible puffballs are white and smooth with no gills visible.

Hubby chopped a portion up, sauteing it in butter and garlic. I had fancier ideas, adding three slices to the barbecue grill with our dinner steaks.

Brushed with olive oil (to prevent them from sticking to the grill) and garlic, they toasted up nicely. Topped with salsa and cheese, they evolved into delicious appetizers..

Yummy!!

We have a few more to come. Soon. Does anyone have any other recipes or ideas to share?

Posted in cottage life, lorieb.wordpress.com, nature

The Simple Things in Life

Have you noticed that it’s the simple things in this crazy, (hopefully) unique, pandemic- gripped world we are living in that are providing the greatest comfort and pleasure?

I sure hope you’ve noticed! Six months in now, we (most of us) have been forced to slow down and reevaluate our lifestyles. Extra-curricular activities, travel and general running around has been curtailed, if not completely shut down. People are taking up cooking, baking, gardening, and DIY projects like never before.

These are a few of the simple things I have been enjoying. I guess I always have enjoyed them, am just appreciating them more these days…

  • Spending as much time with my family as possible. I am fortunate to have three grown sons, two daughter-in-laws, and five grandchildren that I adore. My husband says I glow when the kids are around, I guess that says it all!

  • Sitting on the shore of, (watching the wildlife), swimming in or flying across the surface of a beautiful, crystal clear lake. Cottage life itself is simple (for us) as our 3 bedroom, 1 bath and small kitchen are rustic, taking just an hour to clean. Add a fire pit and a propane BBQ and what more do you need, really?
Read mor
Posted in cottage life, lorieb.wordpress.com, nature

Gypsy Moths Defoliating Eastern Ontario Forests

Gypsy moths, at least the caterpillars that morph into the moths, have defoliated many deciduous trees in Eastern Ontario

The trees at our cottage on Palmerston Lake in Ompah, Ontario have not been spared.

First we noticed lots (more than usual) of these brown moths flying around our property…

Curious, I googled them to see if they could be responsible for the defoliation of our trees.

Sure enough, the brown moths pictured above are the male gypsy moths.

The males fly around looking for the white, non-flying female versions to inpregnate. The females crawl on the ground, attracting the males with a sex hormone, after which the females crawl onto a tree trunk or any other vertical surface (including our garage wall) to lay their eggs.

The eggs are enclosed in a oval-shaped, soft sac. Once the eggs hatch, the caterpillars crawl further up the trees to continue the destructive cycle.

Gypsy moth egg sac (opened)

Once we discovered what they were, my hubby went around the property scraping (the ones he could reach) the egg sacs off, letting the eggs fall to the ground for the birds and other insects to enjoy.

Perhaps we are tampering with nature, but the damage these caterpillars inflict on.our trees is incredible.

Here’s hoping the trees will recover!

Posted in cottage life, lorieb.wordpress.com, nature

Because I’m the Mommy, That’s Why!

Over the summer months we have been watching several families of ducks travel back and forth across our waterfront at the cottage.  We are situated on a small bay, so offer a safe route for their travels.  If all is quiet next door, the ducks will stop for a rest on the neighbour’s floating raft. Their routine never fails to amaze me..

 

As soon as mom senses danger (hears any noise at all) she heads to the corner of the raft furthest from the perceived danger, wakes them up, then jumps into the water with them all following suit.

It reminds me of the phrase I used to tell my young boys…Because I’m the mommy, that’s why!

Watch this video of one such process. The ducks were resting in clusters on the raft when a boat went by, although quite a ways out from shore. Mom jumped in and the others followed, until they were swimming in a row. They swam under our dock, then settled in a tiny sheltered alcove for a longer rest out of my camera range.

I used to have a magnet on my fridge with the same cute saying on it, but don’t know where it disappeared to over the years. Perhaps one of my ducklings didn’t like it as much as I do!

Apparently this saying is quite common, you can order lots of items imprinted with it from Zazzle

 

 

 

Posted in cottage life, lorieb.wordpress.com

Drone Photography at the Lake

My nephew Jack is currently enrolled in videography at Durham College. His talent for video production and photography has been obvious for years to those of us that know him well. His latest passion involves capturing breathtaking footage and pictures with his new drone.

If you have a business that could use his talent and skills, contact Jack through the email address listed in the photo credits below. He currently lives in Ingleside, Ontario area but will travel to the Ottawa area and cottage country.

On a recent visit to our family cottage, he took some amazing pictures of our property and the lake. Click on the pictures to enlarge them. That is Jack, my son and a friend in the boat on the lake. I plan to enlarge and frame one of these for my hubby’s upcoming birthday…

They are all so gorgeous, my dilemma now is choosing just one to enlarge and frame. Which one do you like best?

Posted in cottage life, food, nature, ontario, weather

Morel mushrooms, our consolation prize

One good thing about our cool, wet spring weather is the bumper crop of morel mushrooms we have been harvesting at our cottage. This is the first year we have seen them, in fact I was not sure what kind of mushrooms they were and whether or not they are edible. So, I sent an SOS (and picture) to the “all things nature related” expert, my cousin John in Missouri. Whatever would we do without our handy cell phones?

morel mushroom
edible or poisonous?
morel mushrooms
delicious or poisonous?

He sent me this link so I could read up on these delicious discoveries before we sauteed them up in butter for dinner. We did wait until we were in the (relative) safety of our home to try them as the cottage is a bit far from any hospital. I am happy (and alive) to report cousin John was right, morel mushrooms are quite yummy. Lots of work though, to clean them up, as their brain-like crevices hold lots of dirt.

morel mushrooms
first harvest of morel mushrooms

As the (miserable) cool, wet weather continued into June, we are taking some consolation in the fact we have had three weekly harvests of these morel mushrooms now, each collection larger than the last. At first they were hard to find; now we know what to look for and where to find these beauties. And also to check that their stems are hollow, an important characteristic that distinguishes them from their more sinister cousins.

morel mushrooms
third harvest

This week has been much warmer, finally some summer weather, so that may be the end of our mushroom harvesting for this year.

Posted in Canada, cottage life, lorieb.com, weather

Cottage visitors

During the winter months we drive up to the cottage to check on it and the property at least once a month.  The deep snow allows us to keep track (pun intended) of all visitors.

We have the two legged variety (us)

 

and the four legged visitors…

 

I wonder if the four legged variety are longing for spring as much as we two legged creatures are.  Regardless, spring still looks like a long way off!

 

 

Please be sure to visit my other blogs:
Laugh out loud (LOL) with me at Your Daily Chuckle
and
Be inspired and motivated by famous words of wisdom at WoW
My gardening website can be viewed at gardens4u

Posted in business, cottage life, food, lorieb.com

You know summer is over when…

You know the summer is over when your favourite french fry stop closes down for the season.  Ours is Fitz’s in Lanark, Ontario on the way to our cottage on Palmerston Lake…

 

Fitz’s has an extensive take-out menu, but our order is always the same; sweet potato fries for me, and regular fries for hubby…hot (greasy) and crispy….Yum!

 

 Today was Fitz’s last day of the season, a sign that summer is over and winter is on its way.