Sunday, October 14, 2012

Deepening Silence

It's the end of our cabin season now. We're packing everything up. The canoe is stowed safely away. All liquids are boxed and ready to go. We turned the potted geraniums and impatiens out in the woods, setting them upright in their own soil, hoping they'll last a few more weeks on their own.

While working outside, we notice the silence more this time of year. On cloudy days the chickadees are silent, and the migrating warblers give only the smallest, highest calls. The brown creepers are quiet too, hopping up the tree trunks looking for bugs. How different this silence is compared to when we arrive in spring, when birdsong fills the air. We catch a few loon calls, the kingfisher chatters on sunny days, and at night the barred owl calls out in the woods.

Most of the cabin owners have left, so there are no motorboats, and no conversations float across the lake. And once the snow falls, which can begin any day now, there will be weeks of deeper silence until the deer hunting starts. Then the snow mobilers and ice fishermen arrive.

But these sounds we will not hear. As we return to the city for the long winter, we'll keep the treasured silence in our hearts.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Roaring winds

After torrential rains last night, a cold front raced in from the northwest. All day the forest roared, wind ripping through the tall trees that swayed in the gusts. Whitecaps raced down the lake. Fortunately our little cabin faces east into a cove and is somewhat sheltered from the northwest gales.

All day the animals were nowhere to be seen. They can't smell or hear danger when the wind is high so they can't sense predators. Only the red squirrels chattered from their safe nests, as the trees rocked back and forth in the wind. At one point I stepped onto the porch and a lone robin hopped out from under our porch. He or she was hunkered down waiting for calm. The cat stayed in all day, only now near sunset did the wind die so he snuck out for one quick run. No doubt we'll be after him with the flashlight soon.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Taking the dock out - ballooning over the stream

The season-end ritual of taking the dock out of the water is always daunting. Whether you are taking a multi-stage fixed dock out of the water in sections, or horsing a floating dock up onto the beach, it's a big job. Some years we've had a team of friends to help, temperatures in the 40's, everyone inside directly afterward for hot coffee. Some years it's been just us two, trying not to put our backs out, not exactly enjoying the process.

This year, however it went much more smoothly. We finally realized that we've been making it much harder on ourselves by putting the 'connector section' on top of the floating part before winching it up tight on the beach near the rocks. The connector section weighs over a hundred pounds! So this time we did it without the connector weighing down the floating dock. Piece of cake. Where in past years we struggled for an hour, inching the dock up with the come-along and rusty chain round the big pine, this year we pulled the dock up tight in about fifteen minutes  Done. Here is a photo of the dock all put away for winter.

It was a beautiful day - sunny and in the 70's with a very light breeze. As I was putting waders on at the dock, I noticed spider webs flying up into the air, seemingly out of nowhere. Then I traced one of the strands to the top of the dock post, where a medium-sized spider was standing - a long strand flying above him in the light breeze. Suddenly he jumped up, and the wind carried him right out over the stream, as he held onto his long web/balloon. I hope he knew where he was going because it's about 300 feet to the opposite shore. I've read about this, but have never seen a spider 'ballooning' before. Just like the end of CHARLOTTE'S WEB.

Here we huge mammals were struggling over moving a dock a few feet, and this little creature fashioned himself a balloon and flew away.

Follow this link to a great blog entry about a family in Minnesota who hired the local highschool football team to take their dock out!  The link is here