Sunday, September 26, 2010

Week 3, Day 1: First Visitors

The distance between our condo and Twin Ponds from driveway to driveway is about 180 kms. The trip typically takes approximately two and a half hours. So far every trip has been with anticipation as to what experiences that day will bring.

Week 3 was particularly remarkable because it was the first day we invited guests to Twin Ponds to share with them the beauty of the environment there.

And then there was light
Luke drove up with us and Jasmine. It was a bright shiny morning as we arrived in the clearing before the cabin and it was obvious immediately after getting out of the car how much Luke liked the place.

Of course the first thing we did was open the front door - we had already expected the place to be clean, but the question was "how clean?" We were not disappointed. In fact, the removal of Peter's belongings had been done so thoroughly that we experienced an unexpected sense of elation. We first checked out each space in the cabin, then went outside and scanned the area around it, and then opened the metal and wood sheds. Everything was gone and we were delighted. Moreover, there was electricity! We had light in the living room and power in the outside outlet. It almost felt like day one - the first day we would be able to make some real progress. We wanted to waste no time doing so, but first we gave Luke a tour of the estate. Then we discussed the need for a few supplies from town, including a shovel and a rake.

This posed a bit of a problem since we were expecting Julie and we did not want her to arrive with no one home. Sim agreed to remain, so Spencer and Luke popped into town and procured what they needed. By the time they got back Sim had already had a bit of a freaky incident (she heard manic laughing emanating from the forest behind the cabin) and Julie hadn't arrived yet.

Building bridges
So we got to work. The small area to the left of the cabin was encompassed with overgrowth and had to be cleared, but it wasn't anyone's specific task to do it. At one point Sim was making preparations for sanding the adirondack chairs and Spencer was doing something else and when they turned to look to their surprise they saw that Luke had cleared the overgrowth. There was a nice little area next to the cabin that could be used for a variety of things (we are thinking of laying stone there and using it as a barbecue pad or something). To give the little area some definition Luke and Spencer pulled some large rocks out of the surrounding ground and lined them up neatly giving it a nice little boundary.

Over the next little while you could find us either relaxing on the deck or taking turns with the sander. After a bit we heard a car coming along the lane towards the cabin and Julie arrived. As we'd done with Luke, we showed her the highlights of the property and then just hung out for a while. After a while Luke and Spencer took the chainsaw to the trail beyond the river to build a couple of makeshift "bridges" over particularly boggy parts of the path. Meanwhile Julie and Sim worked on sanding the adirondack chairs.

After the hot and sweaty work of cutting down (already dead) trees and building bridges Luke decided to brave the frigid waters of the river. He stripped down and jumped into the water with much exclamation!

A little elbow grease
The chairs were of special interest because despite their apparently rundown condition they worth worth salvaging. To replace them would be expensive (and unnecessary, if some time and energy were invested in them). Thanks to Luke and particularly Julie (who relentlessly endured the vagaries of the dust), we managed to sand and stain three of the six over the course of the weekend. Not too shabby at all.

By early evening we were getting hungry and Julie had to leave. So by car we all headed out and when we reached the main highway Julie headed south towards Toronto and we headed north towards town. We ended up having supper at Tim Horton's, which we note from all our trips there seems to consistently be the most popular spot in town.

Unfortunately Sim wasn't feeling well, so when we got back to the cabin she rested for a while. It is appropriate to mention at this juncture that this was the first weekend we were spending overnight. The cabin hadn't yet been fully cleaned, so the plan was for Luke to sleep in the bedroom and for us to spend the night in sleeping bags inside our new tent (which Julie and Luke had graciously helped erect earlier that day). Thus, Sim went to the tent, snuggled into one of the sleeping bags, and tried to get some rest.

On duty
As dusk fell Luke and Spencer busied themselves with this and that and then sat on the deck and chatted about possible plans for the cabin and the property. Meanwhile Jasmine was meandering about as she is wont to do. Then Luke and Spencer heard a sound in the forest which seemed to come from just a few yards past the tent. It was as if a hush suddenly blanketed Twin Ponds. Jasmine stopped in her tracks and stared intently, ears up, in the direction of the sound. Something was there and it was not just a bird. We heard the sound of movement again. From Jasmine's unflinching attention it was sure that mere meters away there was some kind of animal which we could not see.

Jasmine then started circling around the tent where Sim was sleeping. Every few feet she would stop and mark the spot thereby fashioning a sort of territorial, protective boundary around the tent. It was very remarkable to see such a domesticated creature return to her animalistic instincts. It was also incredibly touching to see that kind of loyalty in a pet. There is no doubt that if whatever was in the woods had emerged as a threat, Jasmine would have defended us with her life. We never did find out what it was. Probably better that way.

First moon
About an hour later Luke and Spencer decided to prepare what would be the first campfire and after Sim had arisen from her recuperative nap we ceremoniously lit that puppy up. It should be noted that we aren't predisposed to building campfires boy scout style. What's the point of starting with little kindling and nurturing a fire into a blazing conflagration over the course of say, 45 minutes to an hour, when all you really need is some relatively dry pieces of wood of varying sizes, a lighter, and a container of gasoline. Need we say more?

That first campfire was a tremendous success. We had a fresh bag of marshmallows, the night was clear and beautiful, and the moon shone brightly over Pond Superior. As the hour became late and the fire died we ultimately retired to our respective sleeping arrangements and enjoyed falling asleep to the sounds of nature and the cool, crisp air.


  1. First of all, when have I ever laughed manically??....Ok, fair enough.

    That was a nice day. Luke is a machine.

  2. Well played, Julie. Well played.

  3. Um, manic laughter in the woods? Scary! This is why the wilderness will never truly be for me! Glad you had Jazzle there to keep you safe!