Goodbye to Summer

Summer is done. Summer 2012. But before I say goodbye, I wanted to share with you my favourite images from my favourite time this past summer - my favourite time every summer - the cottage.

Two hours out of Toronto on an island in a lake. Rustic. Indoor plumbing but an outdoor shower. 

I love the simplicity of cottage life. Get up and throw on a bathing suit. No clocks. No to-do's. No deadlines. Eat when you are hungry. Swim. Waterski. Wakeboard. Read. Explore. Nap. Swim some more.

cottage kawarthas

Of course you must have s'mores! 

cottage kawarthas

And a nap or two in the Muskoka room (screened porch).

cottage kawarthas

cottage kawarthas

cottage kawarthas

The girl may love rustic and the outdoors but you still need a bit of glitter.

cottage kawarthas

cottage kawarthas

And more of that seasonal eating.

cottage kawarthas

cottage kawarthas

Cottaging is great with kids, especially city kids. The girl goes free range. And since we were on an island, she had the run of the place. In her words, she would often go "adventuring". cottage kawarthas

We may have sold our old cottage but we kept our boat. Smooches to you for all the fun waterskiing and wakeboarding.

cottage kawarthas

And huge kudos to the girl who learned how to waterski. She was pretty thrilled. But although she wants to keep up with me, she MIGHT wanna wait another year or two before trying to slalom ski. Just thinkin'...

cottage kawarthas

Do you get away in the summer? Where do you go and how do you do it? What was your favourite memory from this past summer?

August Break - 3 Billy Goats Gruff

When you are at the cottage you make your own entertainment. For us it's a puppet show version of the Three Billy Goats Gruff. Not Tony Award winning material but what we lose in production values we make up for in enthusiasm. And for new readers, a sneaky summer way to work on reading and writing while creating the script.

Get out your camera and join in on Susannah Conway's August Break. Keep a hand in the blog while recharging a bit. Let's return in September raring to go, okay?

PS I am off to ALTNYC tomorrow morning! I even had an ALTNYC dream - I was there at Martha's head office and lost my shoes. Had no money either. Ended up stealing someone else's shoes. Don't tell Martha, okay?

August Break - Lake Cottage

Stoney Lake Ontario cottage

A peek at the cottage that we stayed at for two.entire.weeks this month. Take one.deep.breath in. Now let it out, slowly...

An island. In a large lake in the Canadian Shield. Living in our bathings suits. Waterskiing and wakeboarding. Books. S'mores. Outdoor shower. The sound of the loons.

We'll be back next year. I can NOT have a summer without a cottage. I'd live in a box and eat peanut butter sandwiches before I'd give up cottaging.

[My old cottage. And cottaging in general.]

Want to take part in the August Break? Read about it over here.

August Break

I'm back. In town. Home from the cottage where we spent two GLORIOUS weeks where the day's schedule consisted of wake up, breakfast, sunblock, waterski/wakeboard, swim, hang out, lunch, hang out, supper, bed. Love the simple life. Outdoor shower. Living in flipflops and bathing suits. Lots of fresh fruit and veg and bbq-ing too. No clocks, no deadlines, no to do's but have fun.

We were on an island in the middle of a huge lake about two hours north of Toronto. I'll tell you more about it later but what I DID want to tell you is that I'm NOT ready for summer to be over. I have friends to see, the girl and the man to hang out with (we are going through serious withdrawal after three weeks together non-stop!). Lots of yoga and swimming and hiking and reading and biking too.

So I'm taking part in Susannah Conway's August Break.

It's MORE summer break - just post a photo or two or three. Whenever you want. No pressure. Nothing more til after the September long weekend.

There's a flickr group. And a blog roll too. 

Join in - and let's come back all refreshed and energized and inspired. 


Summer Fun - Cottage Style

You know how you pitch in and help out your friends? That's what we're like around here. While Melanie's away on holiday, a bunch of us are guest posting at her place. I'm over there today talking about summer. Come on over and take a look!

An ode to the cottage life


When we first moved out east ten years ago I didn't understand the cottage life at all. Or cottaging as it is sometimes called. Out west we called them cabins. And some people had a cabin somewhere on a lake but not many. What I didn't understand about cottages when I moved east to Toronto was that it was its own culture, its own lifestyle, its own way of life.

But once I got a taste of it, I was hooked. I wanted a cottage.

It had to be within two hours of Toronto so that we would use it regularly. Anything over three hours and you won't be driving up every weekend, especially with kids.

It had to be "cottage-y" too. I didn't want a suburban house on a lake. I wanted something rustic, something that looked like a cottage. Someplace different than anything I would find in a city.

After two years of looking, we found it. And it only took a few days before I knew that I would always love cottaging. Always love the weekend getaways and the weeks in the summer of swimming and boating and kayaking and relaxing. With no television and no computers. Board games and crafts and books for rainy days. Making paths in the forest and building fairy trails. 

The girl learned how to swim at the cottage - it's amazing what swimming 2-3 times a day will do. And for us, waterskiing and wakeboarding daily as well.

I miss taking the kayak out in the early morning when the mist is still on the lake. I'd pack a few snacks and take the girl. She'd lean back against me and off we'd go for an hour. And then later in the morning we'd be back out again but this time in the power boat, towing the girl in a tube, and the man and I taking turns pulling each other on water skis and wakeboards. Of course we'd have to make a stop at the marina to see the owner Richard and his family and buy a popsicle.

Anchoring in the middle of the lake for a swim. Jumping off the dock and swimming to the small island in the bay and back. Picking blueberries on Blueberry Island. Boating to dam, climbing up and jumping off. Heaven...

The living room. Of course I had to make it my own nest! The wall unit, coffee table and lamps came with the cottage. I added the new couch, the cotton striped rug, the alphabet art from Bookhou (also the source of the house-shaped bookends). The "L A" is an inside joke between the man and I, not the city.

And here's the girl the first summer we had the cottage. The main cottage is out of view to the left and the small tiny building is the art studio that the previous owner built. The lake is out of view to the right. Cottage life with kids is what I call a free range life - especially for a city kid. 

And here she is last summer on the other side of the cottage outside of the Muskoka room (screened porch). The man and I would sit there by candlelight after she had gone to bed and discuss the day while planning the next one. We'd hear the crickets and the guitars from the neighbours sitting around their campfire across the bay.

It's funny being on the other side of cottage life, having lived it and loved it and adored it - I can't imagine not doing it. I can't believe that I actually had to think about it. It's part of us now. It's what we do as a family. And now out here on the west coast, we are again looking for a cottage. 

Do you cottage?