Sunday, June 28, 2020

Postcards from the Lake: The Quackles, the Internet, A Neurotic Cat and a Drop Dead Sky

Life at the lake is never without its surprises, its frustrations or its beauties.

I thought I might have critter withdrawal once I got here, but meet the Quackles -- a family of seven (I think) that finds the beach rather nice.

On this day, they were bobbing around in unusually windy conditions, sitting atop the water and rolling with the waves. Waves
like this aren't the norm.

Of course, some had to come to shore to see what they could find. They're still relatively small, smaller than my ditch family, the Duckles.

Lizzie is not interested. Being the neurotic girl she is, no matter how warm, we find her here. Trust me -- I know how to make a bed better than this! She burrowed straight to the center! (Every now and then I check to make sure she is still alive.)

I'm making progress on my puzzle called Gotham Bookstore Cats. The theatre books and orange cats drew me in. I've read a lot of those!

The beach is terribly weedy. This is an annual occurrence, I think created in large part by those who use chemicals on their lake lawns. There should be a law. It's discouraged but that holds no weight. Cousin David I said we don't remember it being that bad when we were young. There were weeds but it was more sand than green. Not anymore. My good neighbor got a rototiller and worked the weeds loose.

It looks so much better. I will be able to rake or easily pull them up now. Still, even this is a miracle by comparison.

We're still enjoying some beautiful sunsets. 

It seems as though every evening offers something different. Sometimes I think the sky is kind of "flat" and when the sun goes down, I'll be disappointed.

I haven't been yet.

Friday, June 26, 2020

Postcards from the Lake: Home Alone, Sort of.

So, Rick had a lot of work to do at home before he could justify being up here for a couple of weeks, so I popped up almost on my own. Ms. Lizzie is here with me, and she's always good for conversation!

The weather, lovely. So far, at least. The sunsets? Spectacular.

Oh, when the oranges turn to the pinks, my heart just melts!

I got gas on the way up. The last time I bought gas was February 11 (the last day I had my hair done, too.) It was $2.69 a gallon. I bought it on June 24 for $1.97. I've saved a fortune on fuel with Covid.

In fact, I saved enough to commit to having internet installed at the lake. I have been using my nice neighbor's but thought I should get my own. The tech came today to install it and checked it on his phone and left. I didn't think to check my computer to make sure it was working on that. So, later when I did -- nope. After way too long on hold, I tried the online chat with the neighbor's signal. And then that pooped out on me. I gave up. I'll try again tomorrow.

The highlight of my day was a visit by my cousin's son Jeff and his lovely love of life, Lauren. I'd not met Lauren and oh, she's such a gem. I'm glad, because Jeff deserves only the best!

I've been plugging along on my jigsaw puzzle. All the books in the photo are theatre books and I thought it would be fun. It is. But harder than it looks. And the table's not quite the right height so I can't obsess on it! If I do, I won't be able to walk for a week!

Cats and theatre books -- I will love this puzzle! Speaking of cats....

...time to dine. Again.

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Hawks, Berries, Birds, Blooms and Deer!

Last post was a Postcard from the Lake; today, a Ditch walk! And sometimes, the back yard!

Actually, this nest is in Rick's back yard. About a week or so ago I posted a photo of a magnificent hawk. This is her nest. It's way up in the tree; hard to focus the zoom well enough! But quite impressive.

A few ditch sightings that made my recent walk a happy one, like this pretty deer.

What a sweet face!

Cardinals are one of my favorites.

This one actually hung around long enough to pose for a few photos!

This mama duck was preening herself on the banks of the pond...

...while her ducklings clustered close beside her.

The ducklings are turning into ducks -- their feathers have formed!

I'm not sure who this is -- I think a grackle! But it looks awfully fat!

Should you think it's all about the animals, here are a few blooms that make this walk so pleasant, starting with the glorious honeysuckle on my route.

I'm not sure what these are... I don't really care. They're pretty.

And what's not to love about pure white?

I leave you with a little pink. 

Enjoy all your walks, flora and fauna!

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Postcards from the Lake: Opening Up

Oh, the beautiful simplicity of sun streaming through the kitchen curtains at the cottage on a lovely summer morning. How I've missed it!

That first visit to the lake after the cottage has been closed up for months is always a little nerve-wracking. What if a critter got in the house (it has happened before -- what a mess!)? What if a tree fell on the garage, or worse, the house itself? What weird new thing will the next door neighbor to the south have done to his yard? (You can be sure it's not landscaping -- he basically back-topped the whole thing after cutting all the trees down). But you drive in, see our little house and all's well!

This year's open found no problems -- just a bit of pretty darned nippy weather! After a week at home that included 90 and high 80s temps and a rain and windstorm that took down barns in neighboring rural areas, the temps dropped across the state. For us that meant we arrived to a house that was pretty chilly. But a hearty fire not only took off the chill but warmed the house.

And waking up it was pretty darned cold! Most of our first day we stayed in. I'm reading a fascinating book called "Les Parisiennes," which is about the women of France (for the most part, Paris) during the occupation. Finally it warmed up enough to take a walk. The swamp is high this year.

But I certainly had some good walks and saw some lovely things. Like these butterflies.

They were so happy skipping around in the woods!

We brought our food so we wouldn't have to go out or to the store. I'm still working off my pasta sauce made from last summer's farm market tomato bushel and that was a warm and hearty welcoming meal for our first night. For the second, pork tenderloin on the grill. Good chicken on the third.

There's always much to do on that first visit -- turning on the water, raking the pine needles that have fallen all winter, setting up the porch, making up the beds, cleaning and dusting surfaces left untended for months. There were still one or two blooms left on the red dogwood. We always miss them as they are early bloomers, so that was like a little present.

After a bit of a hunger strike, Lizzie was happy to be out and about.

So was Rick.

 Of course there was time for fun...

...and for games! (I had a good night; the next night, it was Rick's turn to win!)

And lots of time to relax!

Some of us really know how to relax!

On our final night we were treated to a group of Canada Geese. There were so many that they covered the beach near the water covering three cottages! I counted at least 36 and I know there were some that were blocked by tall grasses and other things.

Many were goslings, getting big.

I have to say that I love seeing these beautiful birds on the water. Pooping on the beach? Not quite so much!

Soon I'll be able to practice my hermit existence up here -- the ultimate social distancing.

If we can only get the grocery thing right next time!

Friday, June 19, 2020

Meet the Duckles

Another day at the Ditch. And look what we found!

The Duckle family. There may be two Duckle families. I suppose it's like Smith and Jones. Lots of them in the city directory. When I first encountered this family, they were having breakfast.

Then a swimming lesson. Mom's a good teach and she keeps her eye on them.

But all that swimming can wear a duck out! So, time to chill.

I love how these babies bunch close together, even though the weather was in the 80s during this visit.

It's quite the flock and helps make up for the goslings who have since departed to grassier areas (aka the golf course, which I'm sure is a big hit with the golfers.

A first they were several feet from Mama Duck, content to be in their clump.

But a loud noise sent them scurrying closer to mom. All was well.

We'll be seeing this family again.

So till then, keep cool!

Please check out my post at Summer Love Notes where I am sharing some stories of those Halcyon Days of summer, back when responsibilities were few, fun was under ever rock and days were spent with cousins on the water -- without social media! You can find that essay HERE!

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