Cottage life in COVID-19

It is Victoria Day and I am writing my column from the sunroom of our cabin. My wife and I arrived Thursday afternoon with a full load of supplies to restock the shelves and replace everything that we brought home when the cabin was closed last fall. I suppose everyone who is returning to their cabins this long weekend is restocking shelves, too.
It has been a beautiful weekend and the lake is warming wonderfully. Our sons, when they were young, would have been in the water swimming even though the temperature of the water has barely climbed above 10 C. Our neighbors are mostly US residents and the silence from their cottages tells the tale of the Covid virus. Boat traffic is nonexistent. Being alone on the island social distancing is easy to navigate. For the first time in over 50 years, wood ticks have been discovered climbing on us after hiking our trails. We’ve never had the critters on the island before.
Surprises unfold every year at cabin opening. My mother was always suspicious that mice had found their way into the cabin and went through all the shelves and cupboards looking for droppings. Forty years ago our wood stove had a hot water reservoir that heated our water. A kettle was constantly on the wood stove heating to wash dishes. Our running water was ‘run down to the dock and fill the galvanized pail.’ Later my father installed a pump that pushed the water to the cabin. Often, we fought with the water system to get water up to the cabin even though it was only cold lake water in the cabin.
For several years, our water system has sprung to life with just a minimum of priming. For two day we fought the system and finally found several holes in the pipe coming up from the lake to the pump. Almost 20 feet of pipe had to be cut off. Once the pipe was reconnected, the pump started magically. The cheer was short lived!
A leak leading to the filtration system was our next challenge. Over time we have built an inventory of extra spare parts. They were used and we had filtered water. A cheer went up.
One more split pipe was discovered and it will have to wait repair until a run is made to the plumbing store for parts.
Part of opening the cabin on the May long weekend is fishing. My wife and I did go fishing. I’ll be kidded for a long time for failing to take the clear plastic tubing from her spinner bait hook. She fished all Friday morning and every fish that took the lure released near the boat. She wondered if she had forgotten how to set the hook. Only when she was stowing the rod to return to the cabin did she discover the plastic covering the hook. It explained everything. Later today we will go out again fishing and maybe her fortune will change.
A jet is flying from Calgary to Toronto and through the sunset and is leaving a reddish orange trail in the sky. Looking across the water to the islands and watching the sun set in the evening makes cabin life perfect.

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