WET LEAVES

23 Oct

When I was last at the cottage, I spent a few hours walking the property bent over, scanning the ground for mushrooms.  I began to see wonderful colors and patterns and textures in the wet leaves coating the forest floor.  I took a bunch of snaps, here are some of them.  I would have done dry leaves too…if it had ever stopped raining.

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The 2010-2011 Annual Report

22 Oct

I am making this annual report/update mid-year for 2 reasons;

1. I have been remiss in not preparing a 2010 report (sorry guys…)

2. I have changed the cottage bank account from a savings to a checking account, so I want to start fresh.

WHAT WAS DONE THIS YEAR (AND A HALF)?

New couch/bed and pillows on the porch – thanks to Sue for picking the bed up and putting it together!  New drapes for the porch.

BEFORE

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AFTER

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Fixed the dock barrels – thanks a bunch to Henry!

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  • De-squirreling of the eaves and roof (yikes, that was ugly!!!),
  • Finally got the clothesline up and running (not perfect, but better),
  • Significant mowing and hacking back of brush to make more clear area to play. 
  • Lots and lots  of poison ivy clean-up (an on-going pursuit).
  • Had exterminator in to get rid of flying ant infestation.

Matt wasn’t a great find, handyman-wise. A lot of what he did wasn’t exactly perfect and some had to be fixed up later. I am feeling pretty good about Bob’s reliability and capabilities. Here’s some more of Matt/Bob’s work:

  • Installed (Matt), then fixed (Bob) main cottage eavestroughs
  • Cleared dead junipers from the hill above the deck on the way to the lake
  • Replaced the stairs and railings leading to and from the first deck on the way to the lake, built (Matt), then improved (Bob) a railing from the bottom of the stairs to the lake.

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New rugs to cozy things up a bit, replaced a LOT of scary bed pillows, new mattress in the middle bedroom. Changed a few things around…

BEFORE                                                    AFTER

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New shelving in the shed made from the wood from Mum’s old deck. I asked Bob to build the shelving large enough to hold big blue plastic bins – so each family can have a mouse-proof place to store the items they want to leave at the cottage all year. There should be room enough for 2 bins per family, including Mum and Tim of course.

BEFORE

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AFTER

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  • new keypad entry deadbolt lock (see previous post for instructions)

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  • new kettle and large and medium frying pans
  • new vacuum filter (I’ll try to remember to get a few spares), a few new tools, nature library update
  • Book case clean-up (got rid of baby books)

MANAGED FOREST PLAN

The plan was completed, the property was reviewed by a Forest Plan approver (Frank), the plan has been submitted to the Ministry of Natural Resources for final approval, work has begun (by me) on tree selection and clearing, families have expressed interest on path adoption and clearing, spring fertilizer has been purchased…

We are well on our way.  I will contact you when I get word from the government on our plan approval and on the tax reduction.  I will provide more detail on the plan itself in some upcoming posts .

FINANCIAL STUFF

I won’t put our finances up here, I will send you all an email later with the financial summary.

Just a note, so you don’t think I am a spendthrift with the cottage account.  The new lock, the rugs, pillows, the books and numerous other smaller items that have recently been added have not cost the cottage fund a single penny.  They have been donations from me personally.  And with regard to some  items I’ve recently purchased for the cottage, I am always looking for deals – I bought  the new kettle and frying pans for 75% off. 

Next year, a big-ass deck?  look for an up-coming post on that…

THE BLEWIT

21 Oct

I love this mushroom, everything about it is special.  The color is not ostentatious but it is startling all the same – you don’t often see to much purple in nature. 

BLEWIT - LEPISTA NUDA 3When the blewit is young and fresh it has this lovely purple/mauve color, soon turning to a light tan or flesh tone as it ages.  I like the size too – the blewit is s nice substantial mushroom, easy to spot. 

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“The ubiquitous blewit is the quintessential embodiment of spunk and persistence – cut one down and two will grow back!  Decapitated stems will often continue to grow as if nothing had happened – a new cap will not form, and a grotesque (but edible) cancerous looking pale purple growth will take its place.”

~David Arora from “Mushrooms Demystified”

The blewit is supposed to be quite tasty.  I think I’ll try the next one I see that looks new and fresh… do I dare?  Eating a purple mushroom might be an experience…

Squeaky clean

10 Oct

There is nothing I would love more than to have a nice shower when I’m up at the cottage, and an outdoor shower would be super in the summer!  Here are some issues to consider:

ENOUGH WATER?

When we have a bath or a shower, we’re using the water from our drilled well …water which may or may not be in limited supply.  When we have 5 or 6  people who are all having a shower every couple of days… we could run our well dry.  This could be remedied by pumping the shower water up from the lake – but this would  incur additional expense and maintenance.

HOT WATER?

My personal issue is that I go to the cottage in the spring and fall when the chill air is nice…unless you are standing naked ,outside, under a shower of cold water…Yikes! So I want warm water.   We don’t have a hot water tank large enough to accommodate a shower or a place to put  a larger tank if we did get one.

On the cheap and easy end of the cottage shower scale, we could do as Mum has done at the bunkhouse and tell everyone to limit their shower time.

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On the luxury end of the scale you can check out Cottage Life’s article on how to build a deluxe outdoor shower.   Click here.  The article includes a couple of videos and a great PDF of the plans with step by step instructions and a materials list.  This shower is a bit over the top – but something between Mum’s outdoor shower and this luxury model might be worth considering.

Here is another idea – have a shower in the bathroom.  A new faucet, some shower curtains… it could happen…

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Just some things to consider…

The hen of the woods

8 Oct

This is a first for me.  I’ve never seen one at the cottage but I wasn’t looking, was I?  Edible.  Would I chance having a taste?  NOPE! 

To properly identify some look-alike mushrooms it is recommended that you taste them… (ahem)… to see if they are the edible or poisonous variety.   I DON’T THINK SO.   I will find one or two that I can be sure of my identification of and try those … one day.  I am sure of my identification of this hen of the woods – but it doesn’t look that tasty.

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Grifola frondosa is a polypore mushroom that grows in clusters at the base of trees, particularly oaks. The mushroom is commonly known as Hen-of-the-Woods. In the United States’ supplement market, as well as in Asian grocery stores, the mushroom is known by its Japanese name "Maitake", which means "dancing mushroom". Throughout Italian American communities in the northeastern United States, is is commonly known as the Signorina mushroom. G. frondosa should not be confused with Laetiporus sulphureus, another edible bracket fungus that is commonly called chicken of the woods or "sulphur shelf". The fungus becomes inedible like all polypores when they are older, because it is too tough to eat.

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”In 2009, a phase I/II human trial, conducted by Memorial Sloan–Kettering Cancer Center, showed Maitake could stimulate the immune systems of breast cancer patients. Small experiments with human cancer patients, have shown Maitake can stimulate immune system cells. An in vivo experiment showed that Maitake could stimulate both the innate immune system and adaptive immune system.”
This mushroom is supposed to be quite good to eat and, from the medical trials above, could be good for you. This specimen was found in Memorial Park, Windsor in September of 2011.

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What do we need?

28 Sep

I will be going up to the cottage one last time in October to close up and hopefully, to check on the work done in adding the support beams to the main cottage.  I’m making a list of thing I need to bring with me.  Take a look at what I have so far and feel free to add to it.  What did you think we were missing the last time you were there?

A new kettle.  Looks like this one has had the biscuit.

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Metal rings for blinds.  We continue to have problems with the blinds because the plastic rings holding the strings to the blinds rot in the sun and break apart.  I’m going to the hardware store to see if I can’t get a bunch or metal washers the right size to replace the plastic.

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A new vacuum filter (or two).  Phew!  the old one is waaayyyy past its prime and quite stinky!

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A mattress  topper to replace the one rotting in middle bedroom.  If I can find them cheap, I’ll also pick up a couple of twin size mattress covers.

A can of wood filler to fill the holes in floor.

Some good plastic wine glasses (thanks for that suggestion, Henry)

Propane for the BBQ – perhaps that should wait till spring.

A hand sickle/sythe for path clearing – if I can find one…

Does anyone mind if I clear out all the books for kids under 13?  The take a lot of room up on the shelves and I don’t think anyone reads them any more…

P.S. – I have given the go-ahead to the contractor to add the beams to the cottage.  I don’t have a date yet.  I’m really hoping it will be done when I get there.

Fungiilicious

27 Sep

I went on a big walk to Ojibway Nature Reserve Park this morning and couldn’t help snapping of almost 100 more photos of fine fall fungi.  Still way behind on identification but I thought I’d post a few more pictures, just to show off some of the variety and beauty of this often overlooked bit of biota.

Can you identify any of these?  The earthstar (my first one) should be easy enough… how about the others?

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