Hello all! I’m back from my laptop- and phone-free (or at least laptop-free and dead-phone) weekend! We headed up Thursday night to The Boy’s parents’ place out on the lake, and proceeded to enjoy a fantastic weekend full of beach sand, glorious blue skies, sunshine, a little reading, a little knitting (for me) and a lot of sitting around doing nothing. Fantastic. Our drive up was an auspicious start: despite a detour around a police-closed section of highway, the trip was smooth sailing.
We arrived to find an unruly crew in shorts and sandals running amok. (Well, the adult ones. The nephews didn’t appear until later, as they’d been hanging out with the other kids around the lake.) My mother-in-law’s two shih tzus were also clearly up to no good:
The lake was gorgeous and peaceful — with little bits of grass poking up out of it in some places by the shore. (I totally thought about strewing some rice in for fun — how awesome would it be to have your own mini rice paddy?) During the day, the wind (and kids!) whipped up the waves a bunch, but in the early mornings, it was possible to capture some tranquility.
Of course, it didn’t stay that way for long: there were, after all, 6 dogs staying in the house — and that’s not to mention all the neighbour dogs from other houses on the beach! Given that the sun set around 10pm, the weekend was full of long days for the puppies.
After the puppies tired themselves out and the lake had flattened out a little, a family of ducks would go touring by. They actually came out every night we were there! They’d float by, a quietly quacking flotilla, past our house, onto the house next door, then they’d turn around and go back again. So cute! (I love ducks.)
Canada Day evening we built a fire and I had planned on a long night of watching fireworks and gorging myself on perfectly toasted marshmallows. Alas, there were no fireworks (people seemed to choose the Saturday night for them instead) and the mosquitos drove us in long before I’d originally figured on. (I’d say we survived about 20 minutes after the sun set. Maybe 30. And I’m still itchy all over from the attempt.) Prior to our retreat, however, The Boy had whittled me a proper Roasting Stick.
During the days, there were boat rides and splashing around in the warm (by Northern Ontario standards) water. Although we never got around to going fishing, we found some other fauna in the sand.
I also tried building a sand castle, found it more difficult than I’d remembered, downgraded it to a “sand ruins”, and eventually gave up on that too. It was probably for the best. Between their splashy lake bouts, the puppies kept sniffing (helpfully, ahem) at my turrets and deranging my artful crenelations with their noses. Well, most of them did. The Smelly spent as much time as he could muster with the love of his life, Gracie.
We’re not really sure why he loves her so, but he does, with all of the fervour of his furry little heart. It’s very cute to watch.
We took one afternoon to head out to a beach across the lake. Although it took a little getting used to (namely to stop trying to climb out of it while we moving) our puppy learned to like the boat rides. Maxime, my nephew-in-law (?) was also a fan. (He even napped on me on the way back!)
On the beach, we let the dogs run about a bit while we went exploring. There were all kinds of neat things to look at: moss and lichen sharing rocks on the beach, crazy sun-bleached driftwood (even one that looked like an antler’d skull) and dredged-up pieces of the old saw mill that used to be where the lake is now. There were claim stakes from… who knows how long ago, seashells and pebbles. All the sorts of stuff you’d expect to find on a beachside, I guess.
Northern Ontario to me is beautiful in a way no other part of the country is. It’s a weird landscape with all conifer forests, shot through with the occasional birch tree. Driving up in fall and spring, it looks pretty bleak, even with all the dark green from the pines; I find myself looking for that lighter, brighter green from deciduous foliage.
In the summer, though, things are totally different. You drive up roads with the ditches on either side exploding with colour: white anemone and daisies, purple hyssop and cow vetch, yellow buttercups and baby snapdragons, red and yellow painted cups everywhere. There were also red-tinged grass gone to seed, and dandelion-style fluffy globe seeds, but bigger and softer than a dandelion.
I picked a bunch of daisies on a walk with The Boy, and he commented that while his mom would likely appreciate the gesture… why was I picking her a bunch of weeds? He went on to explain that in his old house, there were whole fields of daisies nearby; he didn’t really consider them a flower. Weed it may be, but it’s a good-looking weed, symbolizing optimism and cheerful innocence. It’s funny to me that he doesn’t realize that his “field of weeds” is exactly the kind of thing city folk (like me!) dream of. It’s why movies always show scenes of picnics in fields of wildflowers and homey bouquets of all the plants that just grow by the road up there. They are weeds; common, boring weeds. It’s just that in the city we don’t even have that. Just grass.
On the drive home, we had more clear skies (the Blue Sky Country slogan really lived up to its name for us!), and we hit a (somewhat nerdy) milestone. The Boy was so excited about this that he figured out the math for the trip counter on the way up, so that we could capture this:
He was a little upset that we didn’t catch it at 789.0, but luckily our puppy was there to cheer him up and remind him not to take things too seriously — especially an odometer reading on a roadtrip. I am not exaggerating when I say that about a quarter of our trip back there was a fluffy head between us, hanging over his hammock. If we turned a little in our seats, we’d see… this:
Hope you all had equally relaxing weekends!