Monday, July 11, 2016

Knitting all the way north

The cottage is officially open for the summer!  And I have to say, I was so glad to have the drive up there to do it.  I mean, what's not to love about knitting in the car for three hours?

That's Bluey, looking a little worse for wear but still fascinated by knit stitches.  (I know, I know, I have a ridiculous number of stuffed animals, especially in the rabbit department.  Remind me to introduce you to Squidee some time because there was no way I'd pass up on a stuffed squid if some toy company is going to go to the trouble to make one.  He is hilarious and has great tentacles, and even gills! plus a place to go inky because: priorities.)

This is our fifth summer owning my uncle's cottage and while I'm still a bit undecided on the wisdom of the whole cottage thing it is fair to say that we very much enjoy the routine we've settled in to with it, since we gave up trying to experience it as my aunt and uncle did.

For example, even after they stopped being able to spend the whole summer there they would go up for a week or two at a time and drive along the most direct route with a car full of groceries from the city, then cook elaborate meals for the duration, dining out on the deck and, when it was hot, sitting in armchairs set right into the lake.  My uncle did a lot of gardening and reading and my aunt visited with guests and neighbours - their neighbours were and still are friends from the city - and they had a wonderful time.

The pretty outdoors at the cottage, with a path branching off to Diane's place

We on the other hand only go for weekends, plus a couple of slightly longer stints if we can.  We've found that it's much easier to pick up our groceries along the way, starting with a bakery at the halfway point and moving on to a grocery store that takes you about 30 minutes out of the way but sells organic prewashed spinach, and stands about five minutes drive from a shop that stocks the best chocolate milk On. The. Planet.  Then we finish up at Trudy's, the nearest 'corner' store (it stands at the corner of a highway and a crossroad for cottage developments on either side of it) for home-made butter tarts and raspberry pie.  And when we get to the cottage, we cook as little as possible, bob around in the lake with our life jackets on as much as the weather permits, and pass much of the rest of the time playing cards and listening to my uncle's LP record collection.  We never, ever eat on the deck, let alone do any gardening or reading in the hammock.  The bugs are just too terrible.

Wakeup call for Mary: the cottage is IN A FOREST.

I know it's boring to moan about the bugs because after all, it's forested northern Ontario and this is where bugs live, and we need to get over the idea that we are anything more than just a blood source in that landscape.  But I will mention the issue again because another neighbour tipped me off this time about Off! Lanterns, which she said allowed them to sit out on their deck unmolested even in May, which is the worst of the worst bug period.  I am totally stocking up on these things before we go back up next weekend.

Another piece of bug progress: I put our huge floor fan onto the coffee table (which I'd moved directly in front of the screen door) and turned it on full, just to see what would happen.  And what happened was that the cluster of mosquitoes that had been crawling all over the screen trying to reach our delicious limbs were mostly blown away, except for a few that clung on for dear life to the mesh, actively vibrating in the breeze.  It was very entertaining and, after I'd flicked at the diehard bugs to knock them off balance completely, it let me get out long enough to do quick things on the deck.

(Later, when the fan had gone back to its usual home, I spotted a biting fly on the outside of the screen.  It was about the size of the end section of my pinky finger and its biting instrument thingy was the size of a small nail.  OW.  Thank you, screen door.)

I have to admit, I did zero knitting at the cottage this time.  We were opening and we were distracted by a lot of cleaning and unpacking and regret over forgetting to pack the blanket for our bed, after which I was tired and just wanted to nap, swim, and play cards while eating pie.  I didn't even want to look at my computer, so I didn't.  But I did take pictures of my knitting.  This is the cutest one:

Now that I'm making real progress on this hat I am appreciating the colour genius that is Emily more than ever.  I have never met a Viola yarn I didn't like but I am looooving this particular combination of charcoal and golden browns and brick and stone colours.

Also I am getting more and more fearful of how this sort of improvised hat is going to come out, because I really don't want to have to reknit a hat's worth of sock yarn.

We have several favourite records to play at the cottage, most of them ones we are revisiting after several previous summer runs, but Pete tried something new this time.

I was in the other room and heard what seemed to be tap dancing and - yep.  There's tap dancing on this percussion album!  I'm sure I've heard Dick Schory's new percussion ensemble before (this album is from 1960 after all) but on a rainy Saturday at a cottage that is basically a time capsule for 1972? pretty wild.  Here's a YouTube link to the group's recording of Fascinating Rhythm:

I seem to have written a long post today and I still have more stories, so maybe I will save them for another day and let you go value the fact that there are no bugs were you live, or perhaps set up a fan at your door, or maybe even send me a note with your best bug-avoidance tip.

(seriously, if you have one, I could use it.)

Hope you had a great weekend!

ps I have no idea why some of the pictures in this post are left-aligned.  I am trying not to be personally offended by the lack of symmetry but it's REALLY DIFFICULT.

pps I didn't get to hang out the stinky sheets this weekend.  It rained all day Saturday and it took till late afternoon on Sunday to find our clothesline again.  I'll keep you posted because I know you're all as much on the edge of your seat about this one as I am, ha


Su said...

You should definitely have hung out your stinky sheet in the rain. I have been giving this problem more thought than probably I should! If the problem is with a waxy coating fron fabric conditioner, then what about trying washing it in washing soda? Washing soda is a degreaser, can be safely used in a washing machine and I have used it to remove the build up from the whitening agents in washing powder. In any case, it's very cheap and easily available, here anyway. Just don't put your hands into a solution of it, it will dry them out so much.

Mary Keenan said...

Yes! washing soda. I have read about this (as opposed to Borax or baking soda) and I am pretty sure they sell it in the grocery store on the main floor of our building so I will check that if it still needs help after the air treatment. I would totally have not minded the rain on the sheet but the rain brings bugs, and even the next day when it was sunny they were so fierce I couldn't face the time it would take to rig up the line and peg out the sheet. We go again Saturday though and will stay a bit longer... and we're bringing insect repellent... so I will make it happen. Right now it's sitting in a sealed garbage bag on my spinning chair, waiting, bwa ha ha ha

Laurinda said...

Kill them. Trap & kill them all! The box fan catcher would be a way for you to sit out on your deck while killing them. One of my daughters is particularly attractive to mosquitoes, & only has good luck with the Avon brand of bug repellant.
Here is a link to a bunch of traps:

Here is the repellant (which is on sale!):

Mary Keenan said...

Omigosh Laurinda, LOVE that box fan catcher! I want one for inside, actually. But definitely on the deck, we have an outlet there and wouldn't even have to run a generator or extension cord. More supplies to pick up on the way up this time :^) And yes re Skin So Soft, I hear great things about that!