The rites of spring

Opening up the cottage is like a cross between Halloween (the trick part, not the treat part) and April Fool’s day (the that’s a joke right? part). Even though we do our best to batten down the hatches and wrap a swath of protective cover over everything in sight, the ravages of winter and random acts of time that take place behind our backs always have the last laugh. Herewith the known chronicle of opening weekend 2016 (there will, of course, be ample room for the unknown chronicle to make its presence known in the weeks to come).

1. Although this fact was well known on closing weekend 2015, when the barge was at least considerate enough to limp into the dock rather than give up the ghost in mid-lake limbo, we have four boats with nary a working motor between them. Kind of an issue when living on an island.

2. Even though there are no visible ways they can possibly be getting in, at least one mouse breached the walls last year. We know this because one of the cats deigned to interrupt his nap to fulfill his job description, and not because we witnessed this heroic feat but because a month or two after the fact the carcass made its presence known. So just in case, before closing up I placed mouse poison in attractive locations. And sure enough, at least one mouse had an all-inclusive winter vacation spent dining on Warfarin, sleeping in freshly made beds, and lounging on the couch (which was also apparently a tasty thing to eat).

3. The kitchen faucet decided to call it quits. Probably because some errant drops of water froze in the mechanism that runs the spray nozzle. So the question is whether to spring for a new faucet or just remove the bits that don’t work and do without a spray function. The answer, as anyone with a cottage knows, is the latter, because you don’t mess with anything that works at least within a tolerable range of acceptability because it will never end well.

4. One of the crowning achievements of 2015 was the final completion of the dock and its associated shoreline deck. I will not go into the details surrounding the 15 year journey to realizing this key infrastructure component because that would just add insult to injury, the injury in question being ice damage. Fortunately most of the dock remains functional. Unfortunately, some effort will be required to rehabilitate other parts. And we all know the only truly limited resource is time.

5. On a more positive note, it looks like the garlic I planted last fall is coming up, as have the early spring flowers. I have never planted garlic before and learned after the fact that you are supposed to separate the cloves, not just put the whole head in the ground, which kind of makes sense but was less obvious than the purveyors of garden garlic seem to think it should be. So anyhow, the garlic is coming up and I will consult Mr. Google to find out what you do with the green bits above the ground and figure out when I’m allowed to uncover what’s below the ground. Be afraid, very afraid.

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