I’ve been at the cottage a month today. 

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I’ve been at the cottage a month today.

Alone without TV, or the internet.

Time has passed quickly. I’m never bored or lonely. There is always something to do. Cycle. Shop. Cook. Eat. Read. Cut the grass. Vacuum the floors. Write. Text the kids.

I have accomplished a lot. I found necessary services easily. A gym nearby that I never knew existed. A hair cutter that does a better job than the one at home. A group of like minded cyclists who do a weekly group ride. A contractor to install double-paned windows. A local shop where I could purchase a light touring kayak I have wanted for years. An arborist to trim back a 50 foot blue spruce. A contractor to install a gas fireplace. And, a seamstress to make curtains for the bedroom windows.

I’ve read 5 books. eBooks that I could find, and pay for easily. Books from a summer reading list provided by a gym colleague I respect. Books that have given me insight into South African apartheid, the Haiti earthquake, cycling around the world on a “safety”, West Coast indigenous culture, and a “who-done-it” set in northern Ontario cottage country. And, I listen to CBC Radio One throughout the day. It’s commercial-free, informative, and an entertaining glimpse into Canadian culture.

I cycle everyday. Well, everyday it doesn’t rain. There is always wind. A north westerly wind ranging from 10-30 kph. A hurting wind that tests my metal. No matter which direction I head out, I always find the wind. If not on the way out, on the way back. I ride on-the-drops most of the time. There may not be hills, but there is wind.

I eat well. Homemade energy gels for cycling made with dates, raisins, lemon and lime juice, peanut butter, and a pinch of salt. Homemade post-ride smoothies made with berries, banana, more peanut butter, and almond milk. Frittata. Quinoa salads. Cold pasta and vegetable salads. Imaginative stir fry with rice. Wraps with tofu, rice, vegetables, and baby spinach. And, veggie burgers when I want a quick, easy meal.

This is the first year I have been here in the spring to witness the area awaken. The leaves form and blossom on the trees. The Canada Geese parading by with their young in tow. Mosquitos. Lots of them. This has been an unusually wet spring, perfect breeding ground for the little pests. Higher than usual water levels, the result of unusual rainfall. Farmers ploughing and sowing their fields. Weekenders arriving to open up their cottages, and launch their boats for the season. And birds. Geese, Osprey. Herons. Loons. Owls. Robins, And, a plethora of wetland birds I’m unable to name. All harmonizing to the tune that is spring.

I’ve frequently seen the hot, humid summer days. And, the cooler, more colourful fall ones. But I have seldom witness spring here.

It’s the change of seasons that I miss on the West Coast.

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“On the road again … “ ☺️

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We are on the roads again.

Lou and I have been cycling the quiet, rural roads that surround the cottage. There are no stop lights, the occasional stop sign, and very little traffic. A few cars. The cottagers. A few pick up trucks. The locals. And, the occasional tractor heading to the next field.

These roads are different than cycling in the city. I use the bikeways and bike paths at home. The traffic on them is more relaxed but there are still a lot of cars, commercial trucks, and pedestrians to circumvent all times of the day. And, there is a lot of stopping, and starting.

Cycling here is safer, faster, and more enjoyable. Today, Lou and I did a 40 km loop, west to the big lake and back. I do this ride frequently. Sometimes clockwise. Other times anti-clockwise. It depends on the wind. There is always wind here. No big hills. But wind. A lot of wind. I usually head into the wind on the way out so that I have its help on the leg home. Sometimes, I never figure it out. Sometimes it feels as if it is hurting no matter what direction I’m heading. Those rides are the most taxing. Two hours of fighting a 15-20 kph headwind is exhausting, and at the same time, exhilarating.

I am here at the cottage for 6 weeks on my own. I love it. I think of my visits here as training camps. A time to build my base, lose some weight, get stronger, and faster. My solo time here is focused on cycling. I do a lot of other things. Clean. Shop. Renovate. Repair. Swim. Fish. But my days are centred around my bike rides. I train in the mornings, and if I have energy left, I’ll take on the household chores. I keep the place spotless. It’s easy. It’s just me to clean up after. I cook. A lot of fresh fruit and vegetables. Salads. Wraps. Sandwiches. Pasta. Frittatas. Veggie burgers. No sweets. No alcohol. By the end of my visits here, I’m an expert in the kitchen, more confident on the bike, and lighter.

I am usually here in the summer and fall months. This is the first time I can remember being here during the spring. It’s fascinating watching the place awaken. Leaves beginning to form on the tree branches. Geese teaching their infants to swim. And, the weather is different. Colder and wetter. On the wet days, I weight train, or take a rest day. On the cold days, the fire is on.

This is a different experience. Spring also means more pot holes. The winter months plays havoc with these rural roads. I cycle with my head down just in case. Because there is so little traffic, the pot holes are easy to avoid. Thank goodness.

Warmer, drier weather is on the way within the week. Then, I will cycle more, and take on the outdoor projects. A canoe than needs repair and fresh paint. A floating dock that needs to be repositioned. Unusually high water has moved it away from the connecting dock by several feet. An out building that needs a coat of stain. Eaves that need to be cleaned. There is no end to them.

These projects take longer than normal to complete. There isn’t much time left following our rides. 😉