Back in the woods

We're back. Back in the woods. The place I have dreamed of through many a winter's day when temperatures were below minus 20C. When you think of life at the cottage you think of hot summers but of course you have to get through the sometimes chilly spring first. We're having a good one - plenty of sunny days - today was gorgeous with a high of 20C - but the nights can be cold. So cold in fact that when you first get up you dash outside to sit in the sunshine and warm yourself. Yes it is warmer outside and in the morning you open your windows to let the warmth in.

There is work to be done - planting up the garden, digging the vegetable patch, which only a few weeks ago was buried in snow. I marvel at the reappearance of my rhubarb every Spring. If it can survive five months of winter every year - so can I. Now I have only to decide whether to make a crumble or chutney with my crop. There are lawns to be mowed, wood to be chopped and herbs to be planted near the kitchen door (my tarragon and possibly the sage survived). 

Don't even think about it
It's not long since the completely frozen lake melted and yet we are attempting to swim most days. Despite an early 20 second swim a couple of weeks ago, while swearing fiercely at the cold, I have not managed to submerge myself in these frigid waters since. We go down most days and try. My husband manages a full body dip but I usually stand by shivering with water lapping around my knees. Then it's home for tea. I reckon another week or so before I can actually swim without needing hospital treatment. 

We enjoy evenings on the porch, watching for wildlife, and were rewarded last night with a pair of raccoons ambling over the lawn into the woods. Such pretty faces for vermin. We've also seen deer on the path and a fox running across the property. The chipmunk on my in-laws' deck is back early this year. I hope it means we see more of them (the chipmunks not the in-laws) as there seemed to be a shortage of these cute critters last year. Er I should just say I love my in-laws.

Central heating
Evening fires are essential and that means gathering kindling. Of course our most successful wildlife sighting are the bugs - blackflies and mosquitos although I don't feel they are biting to their full potential yet. Also if you have cool days interspersed with hot then it gives your bites a chance to calm down a bit. So I'm not complaining too much about them yet (which is weird because I'm a Brit).

Spring flowers everywhere
I love the spring flowers here. Some I'm unfamiliar with like these Soldiers and Sailors above. No idea about the little white ones above either. Masses of Forget-me-Nots everywhere and the Lily-of-the-Valley are just coming into flower. Not a lot of trillium around for some reason. In Montreal the air is heavy with the scent of the lilacs but here in the Laurentians it will be weeks before our lilacs flower. It is like two different seasons between city and country.

Our favourite boathouse, from the kayak
It is so quiet here at this time of year - in just a month of so it will be so much busier - with summer visitors who only see the place in July and August. Who can blame them - it's so beautiful in full summer. But I like to experience a bit of pain - the chill of the lake water, the coldness of the morning air - because with that comes the pleasure of having all this to yourself and feeling like you are part of nature.

A warm(ish) evening having dinner on the porch.
Read A Moose called Dandelion


  1. Oh for a country cottage beside a lake. Try this rhubarb and custard cake:

  2. Thanks dogwuff. Looks amazing. Didn't know dogs ate cakes.


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