Thursday, 9 October 2014

Road trip: Part 3 - Lake of the Woods

On the lake. (Photo: Michael)
 Days 4-7: Lake of the Woods
As I mentioned in the previous road trip post, my Canadian relatives have a lovely cottage, in a lovely part of the world, and they really enjoy spending time there. And we really enjoyed spending time with them as they shared their home-away-from-home with us. Thanks for having us!!

The Lake of the Woods is the sort of place where you want to be outside: the air is clear and crisp on the lake and misty and earthy in the woods; there is no light pollution, so at night the Northern stars shine bright; did I mention the fresh air? It's just lovely! It's the opposite of city living, but the cottage has all the comforts of flushing toilets, central heating, and wifi.

My cousins talked about going out on the ice in Winter, while Aunty P. talked about having trouble getting her children to come inside before they became too cold. So, I'm guessing they really like being at their cottage regardless of the time of year. I would too.

Cousin J. with Aunty M (aka Granny).
The builders, who built the cottage, built this for Cousin Am. (she was much younger at the time).
Enjoying being outside. Even if the air was on the crisp side.
Aunty P. found this truck, and another, for Jimmy before we left Winnipeg. He really enjoyed playing with them!

Now, I know I just said "this is the sort of place where you want to be outside", but I forgot to mention that this is only if it's not raining. When we arrived on Saturday it was lovely and clear and by Sunday it was raining. Good thing we had a short list of things to do in Kenora, that weren't possible to leave until Monday (Labor Day) and couldn't wait until Tuesday.

Ye Olde Chip Truck.
Granny preparing to try poutine. 
One of the things that couldn't wait was poutine: Cousin Am. really, really wanted to get some poutine from Ye Olde Chip Truck which probably wouldn't be open on Monday, and she was heading back to Winnipeg before we would get another chance. And we had laundry that needed doing, so we had to head to Kenora to find a laundromat because the washing machine at the cottage was out of action (these things happen).

Poutine... We described it to Granny and even though she didn't like the sound of chips in (turkey) gravy, with cheese curds, she went ahead and had some for lunch. While she didn't go hungry, she didn't finish her serve. Those of us who ordered bison burgers - yum, yum, yum - managed to help Granny finish her poutine.

Dadee and Jimmy enjoying a bison burger.
Bison is actually rather lean, especially compared to the beef mince Michael and I have been buying in Manhattan, KS, so we were happy to fill the "fat gap" with poutine. And as it was a little cool, and a little rainy, we were happy to fill our bellies with the warm, starchy, cheesy poutine. Given how cold it can get in Canada, I'm not surprised that a dish like poutine is so popular - instant warmth, plus fuel to keep warm later that day. But as a boy used to warmer climates, Jimmy preferred the bison patty.

My bison burger. It was pretty darn good. 
Pop used my camera to take photos of this deer. Isn't she pretty?
The weather was kind to us and the skies eased up enough for us to enjoy marshmallows under the lightly covered stars that night, after salmon for dinner - Uncle C. made a lovely dinner. Actually, Uncle C. seemed to be enjoying his time off and took charge of the kitchen, which included waffles one morning, with maple syrup, wild blueberries, and Canadian bacon (it's thick cut, unlike the really thin slivers in the USA). We ate very well.

By Monday morning the rain was a memory and we went for a long ride around the Lake, taking in coves and bays, going past so many islands, many of them with cottages perched on the rocks.

Jimmy smiling at his Dadee, who was taking lots of pictures.
Cousins A. and Am. enjoying their last jetski ride for the summer. (Photo: Michael)
Jimmy deciding that I didn't need the wild flowers. (Photo: Michael)
"No Mum, I was serious the first time! You don't need the flowers." (Photo: Michael)
 After some time back at the cottage, and just before dinner, we went out on the Lake again, this time to look at Loons. Yes. Loons. And we were in luck!

Oh it was lovely out! (Photo: Michael)
The Canadian Loon. (Photo: Michael)
Uncle C., Granny, and Pop. (Photo: Michael)
Not only were we treated a good look at some Loons, but there was a lovely sunset too. The night was so clear that we did some star gazing too. Cousin J. and I saw a shooting star with the longest tail I have ever seen! Jimmy was snug as a bug in a rug and sound asleep in my arms, so he was there, but he didn't see a thing.

"Do I really have to get on the boat again Dadee?" (Photo: Michael)
Michael took this just before our last trip out on the Lake before everything was taken out of the water for the year. Can you see the mark on Jimmy's nose? He was playing with Dadee and fell, face first, onto the wood floor, completely missing the rug. Poor boys - Dadee was pretty upset about it, possibly more so than Jimmy.

"Grrrrr, see I'm made of tough stuff Dadee." (Photo: Michael)
While Uncle C. and Cousin J. were preparing for winter and Michael and Granny were out Geocaching for a walk, Pop, Jimmy, and I stayed back and relaxed. To help make up for the coming day of car travel, we took Jimmy outside so he could stretch his little legs - plus it was still nice out.

But lo! While looking at a pot plant, on a step, Jimmy missed the step and took a tumble... but he remember the fall from earlier and put his hands out AND turned his head to the side! I was still upset that he was hurt and upset, but I was also impressed with the way he respond to his loss of balance. Oh but he was upset! Two tumbles on the same day! And then I remembered reading this, and remembered the bit about using ice cubes to distract an upset child. So, we gave Jimmy an ice cube and it did the trick! We give them to him in Manhattan, KS, every now and then and he plays with them on the kitchen floor, so it was a familiar treat, that's not exactly a treat.

Sharing banana with Pop.
Canadian Geese!
 I can't remember when the geese arrived, but somewhere that afternoon they showed up. First on the water and later on the grass around the cottage. Jimmy pointed them out on the grass and we got a little excited and ended up scaring them off, much to my uncle's gratitude - he doesn't want them settling in around the cottage, they get enough of them around the house in Winnipeg.

The rest of the afternoon was spent packing the car with everything we wouldn't need that night, so that we could get away early the next morning, after seeing Uncle C. off. And while we didn't want the time at the cottage, and the Lake of the Woods, to end, we somehow managed to go to bed at a reasonable hour because we would be getting up around 5 am the next morning...

There are so many photos from our time at the cottage, but hardly any of Jimmy hanging out with our cousins - it was so cool seeing Jimmy warm to them, and it especially sweet when he was a little upset when Cousin A. and Cousin Am. left, and even more so when Cousin J. left the next day. There are also no photos of Jimmy and Sedona, their dog. Perhaps this is because we were all a little nervous about a bouncy dog and an inquisitive bub toddler being unsupervised enough to take photos - although by the time Sedona went back to Winnipeg, she and Jimmy had a good relationship and respect for each other, which left Jimmy obsessed with dogs for the next week.

To be continued!

Apologies to anyone who was looking for the ice cube related link - I've put it in now. Sorry!

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