Sunday, June 29, 2014


View of the shoreline.

DAY ONE – arrival early evening

I switched things up this year since I was physically in no shape to camp after my little misstep on the weekend. So I went to a friend’s cottage. I had less than two hours to clean the birds and double feed and water them, throw some essentials in a bag, pack all the animal food, give Bob the contact numbers for hay help, shower, pull together a few groceries, find the bird’s travelling cage and get to the barn to meet my guide. This was after a full day at the barn. Marie graciously offered to help me with chores today so I could get away for a few days of R&R. She mucked all the stalls for me and helped me with feed and turnouts. We finished by 4 pm.

On the road I followed my tour guide along the 115 highway. Taboo was riding shotgun in the passenger’s seat while D and Zoey Pearl guarded the back seat. I probably got some strange looks as Taboo rode the whole way hanging upside down in his cage, blurting out the occasional ‘hello’ to passerby’s. No screaming, just soft “hello” as the pavement disappeared beneath our tires.

Toot rolled along through each small town before we finally arrived at the turnoff point. The narrow road would have been impassable if we met another vehicle. Trees stubbornly guarded the brush on each side. For a few brief moments it was a squeeze but I made it through slowly and cautiously not touching any tree trunks or branches with the wide west coast mirrors on my massive medium duty truck stretching out so far. Toot sneaked into the open parking lot. We had arrived.

After a brief tour I was shown to my cabin where the dogs and I would sleep. 

My Little Bunkie

Taboo was only temporarily in the room seated on his perch and T stand. He had fresh water and pellets to munch on so that would help settled him down from his feet hanging travel exhibition in the truck. Tomorrow he can explore the grounds a little outside from the safety of his perch. For tonight, he is in his crate locked inside Toot. He’s guarding my purse there. I locked the truck just in case. Can you imagine if someone tried to steal Toot. The frigging bird would give them heart failure if they managed to open the door and try to hot wire the truck. I can just see Taboo welcoming them with his famous ‘HELLO!!!” followed by a party laugh that would wake any residents on the entire lake. His belly laughs would bounce off the calmness of the water and carry for miles like a hyena calling into an eerie night of black.

After a dinner of spaghetti with hamburger mix with diced tomatoes, fresh mushrooms, peas, onion and other assortments of veggies we retired to the living room for a nice glass of wine. The ache in my hamstring and hip was subsiding.( Probably the red wine talking.) The drive wasn’t that long just 1.5 hours, but long enough for my back to protest and numb up my legs. Still I made it and walked it off as best I could to get some normalcy back into my gait. The secret to healing is to NOT take too many pain pills but let your body tell you when to stop and rest, keep moving moderately but pushing your limit oh so slightly each time. That is going to be my plan of action.
Ready to read a chapter of my Anne Rule thriller before clicking off the bedside light and slipping into the effects of my sleep disorder meds. My half hour is just about up so I should be feeling that heavy eye droop shortly. Dogs are down for the count. Zoey Pearl is in on her own bed I brought from home while King D has his own private couch to sleep on. 
DAY TWO -  a writer’s paradise

It was mostly a peaceful night until the rain came but only for a brief interlude. I had forgotten to take D’s collar and bells off so every so often I would be stirred from slumber by the jingle jangle of his collar. Zoey Pearl had a good night but was eager to go for her morning constitution at 7 am. My body protested as I tried to swing my stiff and cranky leg out of bed. Out the door went Zoey and I crawled back into bed. About 20 minutes later I heard her foot steps on the wood blanks outside the door.
View from my Bunkie
 By nine a.m. I decided it should start my day of ‘doing not much.’ The sun was up and smiling on the woods and lake just outside my window.  After a quick morning wash, I proceeded to feed the dogs and grab a little breakfast for myself. My friend joined me with her cup of tea before heading back home. She showed me how things worked and where to find what I needed

‘THE COTTAGE’ is a sprawling mini estate of little out buildings and bunkies including one large lodge type home. It even has several basements and a workshop. There are so many spacious rooms with all sorts of nooks and crannies inviting you to explore. The original cabin nestled beside it just a few feet away, dates back to the 1900’s. I have yet to be exposed to the museum of treasures it must hold. That will come later.

The Big House

The massive stone retaining wall.

Another Bunkie

The Big House

Garden Flowers

A quick history describes this property as quite derelict and in rough condition just four years ago. Verandas have been built, fireplaces unblocked and lit after 30 years of vacancy, and on and on. This is a vacation home that has a steady flow of family and close friends from early spring to fall. It is not the hospital white and germ free environment -type of cottage. It is a carefree, kick off your sandals; sit in wet bathing suits type of holiday home. So a little beach sand tracks in; it’s not the end of the world.

It houses a huge country kitchen with a stocked pantry that matches the enormous size of the room and the many people it feeds on weekends. Double everything here: fridges, dishwashers, laundry etc. etc. 
Partial View of the Bonanza Kitchen

D at home in the Kitchen.
I spent the day reviewing my first draft run of my fictional novel to get back in the flow of writing it again. I decided to punctuate the rest of the day with reading and watching a classic B&W movie on the satellite TV. The dogs mostly slept including Taboo. He stayed on his perch in the big house viewing the lake. No bugs from inside. He is enjoying the quiet time and change of scenery. A few branches will entertain him as he chews and scratches his feathers with it.

Taboo in the Great Room

Working Fireplace after decades of being boarded up.

One of Two Spiral Staircases Leading to Upper Level

Master Bedroom with Sitting Area and Lakeside View

Pensive Picture looking out onto the Deck
Animals Enjoying the Great Room
Zoey Pearl seems to be suffering from a form of dementia. She appears really lost here and is constantly walking, pacing the house and outdoors. It’s not the sort of novelty thing a new place brings that invites you to explore. She just seems confused and uncertain in her travels. She will repeat the same route over and over. Finally she gets so tired she just lies down. She is not eating like she normally does with the starvation grip on food. D on the other hand thinks he’s died and gone to heaven. That big comfy couch that dogs are allowed up on is just his cup of tea. As for Taboo, he too is one happy bird.
D making himself right at home.

Zoey Pearl a little out of sorts but finally settled.
DAY THREE – invaders from the burbs

I rose to a lot of leg pain, the type of gnawing ache that makes one feel queasy in their tummy.  After eating some breakfast and pills washed down with a cup of coffee, the pain started to lift. It is still there but less invasive.  The deep ghoulish bruising from my injured hamstring is just rising to the surface. I don’t dare where shorts or I’ll have all sorts of stares and comments coming my way. It is quite the show of purple and black. Reminds me of what happened in Africa when the bruising on my hip surfaced a week later. I can tell you the pain is less but it is still a reminder and very sore.
This morning I worked on my fiction novel some more. I need to do some research before I can continue to write the next chapter. It’s coming along as I believe I have developed all of my characters now. I’m so new at this fiction writing I hope I can pull it off. 

Well soon my company will arrive so I’ll take a break from writing and maybe walk out this leg some more.  The solitary mood of the cottage will soon revert to a lively party like atmosphere.
The guests converged on the cottage like deer flies on moose. Each car rolled in with copious amounts of food. The refrigerator was packed to the freezer. The laughter soon began while the beer and wine flowed. Taboo of course thought this was the biggest party ever. Apparently he is a very sedate bird compared to the other feathers that normally resides here during the summer. I was told so often that he was such a delightful well behaved bird and not to worry or ‘shush’ him if he squawks a bit loud.

Soon we were overrun with dogs. Four more dogs joined Zoey and D. The much younger canines just couldn’t get D to play with them or Zoey for that matter. The water was a swimming 80 degrees. D as usual didn’t want anything to do with paddling in the lake. He’s a land lover like me betraying his Labrador side of the family. That’s OK D. You can drown in water so you don’t have to tackle the lake if you don’t want to. However, Zoey did retrieve a ball in the water a few times. The one Husky/Shepherd dog was quite jealous of Zoey’s fetching abilities. Everyone seemed to have a grand time.   
Zoey Pearl struggling in the water but still enjoying the fetch.

By evening the dogs had quieted down and were hanging on the edges of the table cloth hoping for droppings of that drool tempting steak being served up. It was a scrumptious meal of baked potato, salad and rib eye steak from the Barbie. I have never been offered so many glasses of wine. The fellow we will name “Cupcake” seemed to be a wine merchant. That was his favourite choice of red wine.

Soon the curtains will close on the day. Tomorrow morning I will pack up Toot and head out for the final trip home with Taboo riding shotgun on the passenger seat and D and Zoey Pearl riding in the rear as backup.  Haying calls! *I want to take this opportunity to graciously thank my hosts for opening up their summer home to me for a couple of days of tranquility and reflection.

Original Cabin dating back to the early 1920s

Another Garden Pic

*POSTSCRIPT: no names or location were revealed in this post. Otherwise I would have to kill you.