First Visit

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Last night, when Attila arrived home late from work, after having worked overtime, we had a quick supper, loaded the car with bug spray, loppers, and cleaning supplies, and headed towards the camp.

Upon arrival I geared up, with rubber boots, layers of long sleeved shirts, head net over hat with brim, and bug spray on all exposed areas of skin. Attila, accustomed to working in a biting-bug atmosphere, simply applied bug spray and was ready to go.

We parked at my Grandparents house and walked down the road to the camp. It doesn’t have a driveway yet, the ditch is deep and wide, the road shoulder is narrow.

What struck me immediately as I stepped foot on the lot was the wonderful breeze. It swept across the distant fields to find us, blowing the mosquitoes out of its way as it danced through the trees to the steep incline at the back of the camp lot.

We arrived at the camp with several hours of daylight left, we set to work. Attila used the loppers to cut the saplings and trees up to 20 feet high, and I gathered them and piled them at the periphery of the camp lot. Attila lasted much longer than I did, I am unused to hard work now and tire easily. So I took myself over to my Grandparents house and began to clean the outhouse. It needs work. I had only rags and water with me, so it was the seat that got cleaned. On our next trip I will bring an old broom and really go at it. We also plan on bringing a supply of sawdust, for sprinkling after each use, to keep the smell reasonable.

Then I checked the rhubarb patch, which my Mom planted many years ago, I think when she was living there. It was thriving! So I picked a few stalks to take home with me. As Harriet says, it is the best tasting rhubarb ever.

After checking around the building to see if anything had been disturbed, all seemed well. So I took myself down the road to check on Attila.

He had worked his way about 100 feet into the bush. I watched from a distance, standing at the side of the road, as the canopy brightened after each sapling was felled.

After watching him work for some time, occasionally turning to enjoy the view, I called to him that it was time. He could have gone on until dark, but we needed to get up and go to work the next day, today, Saturday, so it was time to head home.

And so went the our first evening on our very own camp lot.

Terra and Lares are spending their weekend installing new siding on the other two sides of their house. Bright and early, before I left for work she sent me a photo of Lares on the ladder, removing the old siding, doing the prep work for the install. It is going to look amazing!

Monday, June 2, 2014

The weather was sunny and warm when we set off for the camp yesterday morning, Sunday, having carefully packed the car with all the gear needed for the day’s activities.

When we arrived, parking at Granny and Grandpa’s house, because there is no driveway at the camp, I set about getting our chairs and cooler onto the porch. On Saturday we purchased two inexpensive plastic chairs to leave at the camp.

My big task for the visit was to clean “the facilities”. Essential to comfort, the facilities at Granny and Grandpa’s house, down the road from the camp, will be used until we have made provisions at the camp. It is not a “fun” job, but needed doing, and done it is.

Attila’s big task for the visit was to clear the area on the lot where the driveway will come in. This was a huge task, requiring a chain saw and lots of physical labour. I helped for all of thirty minutes and was exhausted. Attila kept at it for eight hours, with two breaks for sandwiches and cold drinks. By the time evening fell, the lot had been transformed. There is still much to do with the chainsaw, but that can be accomplished after the driveway is put in.

My day was, quite honestly, heavenly. When not working on “the facilities”, I sat on Granny and Grandpa’s porch and just was. I didn’t really think about anything. I didn’t read a book. I didn’t use the computer, although it was close by in the car. I didn’t talk on the phone, text, or use any communication device. No, I just sat there, relaxed to the very core of my being. Attila put it so well, as we sat on the porch at the end of the day’s work, as the light mellowed and evening approached, “heaven,” he said.


During the day the gentleman who will install the driveway stopped by to have a look at where it will be put in. The driveway is all ready to go in the next few weeks, just the paperwork and permit fees to be paid before work begins, to the tune of $750 to the township. The cost of the actual driveway is more than we expected, we will be paying a good dollar for it. But we know the contractor, and we know that the work that he will do will be of the highest quality, which means that we are paying a fair price, and in return will receive the best possible results.

We have to go back this week of an evening. There is one task that Attila could not accomplish on our Sunday visit, because he forgot his wire cutters. There is an old wire fence across the front of the property, which must be cut away and removed before the machinery arrives to put the driveway in.

Attila worked through the day in the bush, in a t-shirt, having generously sprayed himself with bug spray. I am not that brave. I wore layers of work shirts, which the mosquitoes could not bite through, long loose trousers, rubber boots, and a hat with a brim covered with a bug net. It is difficult to look glamorous in such apparel, but fortunately I pay little, well no, attention to appearance when I am working in the bush.

This is where the camp adventure starts. This is my Granny and Grandpa’s house. They passed away in the 70s and 80s, I miss them as much today as I did when they passed on. I cannot describe in words, the feelings that I experienced, when my Grandbabies, Tink and Imp in the background, Elf in the foreground, visited their Great Great Grandparent’s home, last summer. I loved my grandparents, and I love my Grandbabies, and there they are. It was like bringing the Grandbabies home for my Grandpa and Granny to know, the fifth generation coming home. Generations that I love, spanning more than a century of love, from the 1890s to now… (The porch where we sat yesterday is on the right in the photograph.)
The barn, across the road from the camp. When I was a little girl, the neighbour across the street from Granny and Grandpa’s kept milk cows in this barn, and pastured them down “the tracks”. I remember going down “the tracks” with him in the evening, to fetch the cows home for the night. The barn is no longer used, the current owner, born in the area, lives down the road a bit.
CampJune1 2014 6
Attila, heading down the road to the camp at the end of the day, with our plastic chairs.
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The camp, taken from across the road. To the left and right of the clearing you can see how dense the forest was, how much Attila had cleared in a day’s work, as he carved out a clearing for the driveway. Unseen is the ditch between the road and the camp, which is about eight feet deep, and very wide. The driveway will have to span that ditch!
This photo was taken from inside the camp lot, looking towards the road. The brush in the foreground is that of the trees removed for the driveway, which Attila piled about forty feet back into the lot, out of the way for the time being.
CampJune1 2014 3
Moving towards the front of the lot, you can see Attila working on brush removal. He is in the middle, just to the left of the very tall stump of a dead tree. Can you see him?
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Moving even closer to the front of the lot, there is Attila once again moving brush, from the felled trees.
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Worldly Distractions


Date: 8:00 AM EDT Saturday 31 May 2014
Condition: Sunny
Pressure: 102.7 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: 14.5°C
Dewpoint: 7.0°C
Humidity: 61%
Wind: NE 5 km/h


“Sincerity is the way of Heaven.”
371 BC – 289 BC

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What brave spirits you both are!


Oh the memories it brings back! The old farmhouse with the grandparents … the wooded lot getting cleared … the quiet porch … yes, all scenes from my own past. Thanks for the trip down my own Memory Lane!


As I live in a rather sparse desert area, I marvel at all those beautiful green trees! May you enjoy many happy times there.


This is so exciting, I feel you are the REAL Pioneer Woman and not that one on TV who has about $2 billion to play with out on her ranch… it’s you two! The Northern Pioneers! The Real Ones..

And I’ve been craving pictures of the camp and here they are…. a big THANK YOU!


Tom McCubbin

What troopers! Thanks for the photos!


Steve-Paul, I think there may be a very fine line between bravery and foolishness, fingers crossed we reside on the correct side of that line!


Aren’t we fortunate Kate, to have such memories! They are a priceless gift.


Thanks for the good wishes Joan. We love the trees, and with the camp we have the best of both worlds, surrounded by trees with a vista of the open fields.


Bex, actually, my GGG Grandparents were amongst that small group of first white settlers that came to the area, I visit their graves occasionally, with wildflowers. Which leads me to contemplate that my GG Grandfather, on whose knee I sat as a baby, knew these ancestors well, those who felled the first trees with the intention to farm the land, and whose graves I visit.

It is a sad sight, watching wealthy people pretending to replicate real life, which cannot be done from the outside in. Real life begins from inside out, and cannot be replicated or mimicked, because it develops organically, in situ, over time, and incorporates chaos, which is all around us, all the time.

I admit to a level of contemptuous despair when I observe the extremely affluent attempting to give their empty lives meaning, by imitating people living with true integrity. If the mimickers had true integrity, which is what the healthy communities they mimic are built on, I very much doubt they would be extremely affluent.


We just don’t seem to know any better Tom, but to get ourselves going on these adventures, LOL!


I remember my great aunt and uncle having a camp like yours. I only had a chance to visit it a few times but, as a child, it was a magical place – and that was just the wooded areas. With that wonderful house to explore, I’d be in heaven! Oh, the places and lives Imagination could take you to!


Maggie, I only now got back to your comments from your May 1st post that I commented on. So glad you like the Ross Chapin cottages. I love how compact and yet functional they are.

With Gananoque being on the Canadian Shield, that type of rocky area would be like going home for me. I come from the Pacific Northwest, so rocks and water are my forte. 😉

Hmmmm… so maybe that would be the perfect combination for DH and I. We definitely love the area around Boldt Castle, which is on Heart Island in the middle of the St. Lawrence Seaway.


The camp is magical to us; on our initial viewing of the site it was covered with wild flowers, mostly hepaticas and mayflowers also a few trilliums… we fell in love. Attila spent an entire work day on the lot, I have yet to do so. Until he has finished with the chain saw I will be spending my time at Granny’s house down the road. When felling trees it is best not to have other humans on site.

TopsyTurvy, the area around and north of Gananoque is beautiful. I love the Canadian shield. The Ross Chapin cottages are lovely, I agree, comfort first, and beautiful.