A few weeks ago I was walking toward the car and stopped to listen when I heard my favorite sound, the birds chirping. The Robin Red Breasts had returned to Southern Ontario.
It’s always a good day when they arrive and strangely enough, they seem to appear on or around the same date. Also interestingly, the Cardinals seem to arrive at about the same time. Soon followed by the Sparrows, yes all within days of each other.
As I sit here at my computer I’m watching through the French Doors of my office, the squirrels are running along the back fence. They’re carrying building materials for the nest they are building in the large Maple Trees. The Cardinals are also building nests in the trellis and the Robins are building in the other trees. They seem to have a preference for Pine Trees and Oat Trees.
Here in Ontario when the birds re-appear and start building their nest, Spring is officially here. This is a good thing, but, we don’t get that excited when it first happens because as we suspect, the birds like the humans know, this is also the start of the unknown weather.
At the end of March and early weeks of Aprils weather kind of goes like this, some rain and some snow. And some more rain and then some sun, and then the rain, snow, and sun on the same days. And this pattern lasts for a few weeks. Or like last year a few days and then we were barbequing in short sleeves on the deck at the cottage. Or like in 1983 there was a blizzard at the end of April which I remember well because the Doctor wouldn’t release me from the hospital after having my first child because they didn’t want us to drive in the storm. As I said, unpredictable.
For us at the Love Shack, this crazy unpredictable weather means it’s time to get the cottage ready for opening.
Getting ready to open starts with taking to the cottage the gifts we have received over the Winter and bringing up the purchases that were made. We’ll also bring up the drawings that have been prepared to match the lists for this year’s honey to-do list.
When we arrive with the planned list and the drawings, an additional list comes with us. This one is the hope to-do list. After spending time with both lists the final decision will be made on what can get done. Then the measurements are taken and the list of supplies gets ready to be ordered.
New to our preparation plans this year is what’s going to be planted in the vegetable garden. After last year’s monster-size garden, I’m planting less of something and more of others and trying a few new things.
The process of planting has begun with the tiny tomato seeds being first to be put in the grow pods which were followed by the peppers and then the zucchini. Over the next two weeks, the rest of the seeds will be planted in their little pods.
Some things we learned from last year like, herbs and beans grow best by the seeds being planted straight in the garden will save us from trying to plant them from seed at home. Along with that, we do need to add a couple of herb boxes to plant the herbs separately as some grow into bushes. And of course, we can’t forget the trip to the winery which brought about why we can’t forget the trellis has to be built to accommodate those grapevines the Warriors want.
This weekend we will be turning the water back on in both houses and taking the measurements from the Warriors Cottage also, as there will be a few upgrades to be done before they return.
While I’m there I’ll collect the birdhouses and bring them back for their yearly cleaning and repairs. Next weekend when we go for the official opening and the Spring Cleaning, we’ll hang them along with the new ones in anticipation of the return of the Purple Martins coming back from South America.
We were gifted a larger birdhouse that I’m sure Robins will enjoy. This one will have to go up this weekend as I mentioned, the Robins are back and are busy building their nest now. The challenge with the larger one is that it can’t go in the front where our Birdhouse Village is as we can’t mix the larger birds with the Purple Martins housing.
This year’s new houses include our first Bat House. At this point, I’m not sure where it’s going. It may get its own pole as I’m still learning what is best for my darker friends. Unlike me, not everyone gets happy to see Bats so there is the concern of screaming and ducking friends when they come out to eat at night if they’re too close to the deck. And I think for their safety, I would like to see them up in the air where they are out of reach of both humans and animals. Their population is very low and they need to be protected for a healthy come back. Last year we only saw one pair.
Who knew when I started this birdhouse collection that not only would I have so much to learn about the birds but I would also have to become a builder and housing development manager for them. I have also had lessons on migration patterns, endangered species, and planting for wildlife. You bird watchers, make sense to me now and I am confessing to now owning one heck of a set of binoculars that I can attach a camera to.
Spring is in the air and it’s time for the people who work in cottage country to get ready for the busy season. Our phone calls to them have been made. The satellite has been turned back on. The propane has been filled. The Cast-Iron Stove got its new battery and had its check-up.
The water holding tank has been filled. And this year due to the spike in housing costs in Canada, the house insurance has been increased to match the market ( this is one people always forget to do). And last but not least, Spider-Man has been booked to come to do the spraying of the outside of both houses. No, I still have not accepted spiders as my friends.
Stocking and shopping along with the Spring Cleaning and stripping and doing all the bedding awaits me. With that being said the first trip is always an exciting one. I look forward to seeing my lady, seeing my cottage friends, and enjoying the quiet away from city life. There is always the energy of the first opening and plans for the year. And then there are my gardens.
The hardest thing to not do is clean the gardens. We never clear the garden until the tempers get above 50 degrees Freiheit as under those leaves are the pollinators nesting and staying warm till the air is right for them to come out. In the meantime, the Spring Bulbs will be showing soon and the front garden will be filled with Crocus and Daffodils. I look forward to seeing the colors and the wonderful smells.
The first month open will still be Twig Season and only tiny buds will be on the trees. Soon we will have leaves and flowers and birds and warm sunny days and evenings filled with friends, campfires, and conversation.
I should soon start getting the list of the Warriors weekends off and I will sit down with the calendar and fill up the weekends and know who is up each weekend. The projects will get planned and the important dates will get booked.
To some, this sounds like so much work and to us, it’s the beginning of everything. I left one of the best things for last, and that’s watching Romeo and Juliette when they see the trailer filled and the cars packed. And they realize it’s cottage time.