This year with Covid we kept the cottage open as long as we could just to give us a break from being locked up in the city. We watched as the signs came to tell us it was time to close up.
The birds were the first to leave. Their missing chirping in the morning was the first clue of Winter to come. Next the boats were taken out of the water and placed in dry dock. This took away the sounds of the engines roaring on the lake and the laughter off the water.
We heard the call of the Canadian Geese as they started to gather along the shoreline getting ready to leave for the Sunny South. Then one by one our neighbors closed up saying “We’ll see you in the Spring.”
As the cold air blew off the lake bringing in the first snow flakes, we had to admit it was time to start closing up the Love Shack and so the process began as the sounds of Summer left and the sounds of Winter moved in.
Each year there is more to do than the year before. As the Love Shack becomes more completed and gets closer to being a second home, we seem to acquire more belongings and it takes longer to put everything away.
The closing process now take two weekend instead of one. It starts with starting to bring home the items that can’t stay in the cottage over the Winter because the cottage is not heated and they will freeze.
That first weekend, we get the propane tank filled to make sure there is fuel to keep the pilot light on the gas stove over the Winter. Then the holding tank has to be emptied and the cistern gets filled. This gets everything ready for the next years opening.
On the second weekend, the satellite is turned off. The water-lines have to be blown out and the cupboards and frig have to be emptied.
Next the beds get stripped and the floors are swept, and the lawn furniture gets put in storage making it official. There is one more thing to do before Cottage Season is over and it’s time to leave, that is setting the mouse trap for the one dam mouse we seem to get each year.
Besides our monthly checks on our Lady, it was time to say goodbye and thank her for the season.
I am always the one to close and lock the door. Before I leave, I have this silly tradition, I take the time to thank her for the pleasure she brings to our lives and I blow her a kiss before I close door.
As we drive away for the last weekend of the year, there are very few neighbors to wave goodbye to and the last of the geese are sitting along the cold shoreline. I’m never sure when they actually leave as when we come back in a month to check on our Lady, they will have disappeared but will be back before we open the doors in the Spring.
The drive home is always a quiet one filled with thoughts and memories. Each year the cottage becomes more and more to us. Each year we make more friends and we get more involved with our cottage community. Each year more friends become Warriors and Our Lady becomes more of a part of their lives. And the Warriors become more of each other lives.
This is now the end of our fifth season. The time has went by so fast. When I look back to five years ago and the first day the Warriors went up to the Love Shack to help demo her and get her ready for what she is now become, I would have never believed if someone had told me that a little cottage with no water, no hydro and no heat could become what she has become.
I’m not talking about her design. I mean in the hearts of so many. She has become a place to share, a place to live, a place to laugh and she has become a safe place to just be.
The count down will now start to the months before we open her again. We will look forward to seeing our co-cottagers again. We will make plans for next years projects. And we will make plans for the new community gardens to go in.
Next year brings our friends from Minnesota to their new second home. We are excited to introduce them to the people who will become their second family and introduce them to the cottage community.
In the mean time, Winter is knocking on the door and I miss our Lady already. Cottage Season is official over.