You know summer is over when…

You know the summer is over when your favourite french fry stop closes down for the season.  Ours is Fitz’s in Lanark, Ontario on the way to our cottage on Palmerston Lake…

 

Fitz’s has an extensive take-out menu, but our order is always the same; sweet potato fries for me, and regular fries for hubby…hot (greasy) and crispy. Yum!

 

 Today was Fitz’s last day of the season, a sign that summer is over and winter is on its way.

Rooms with a view

As renovations continue at our family cottage, our front door and bedroom window have now been replaced with patio doors, creating rooms with a view of the lake.

 

 

We are fortunate to have helpers we can call on to help with our renovations. We enlisted the help of two sons and a friend to remove the old door and window, create the necessary rough-ins and install the new patio doors.

 

 

The process of finding, ordering and getting patio doors delivered to the cottage was a frustrating experience.  That was probably the hardest part of this project, definitely the most time-consuming.  In this age of online shopping, it was next to impossible to see the doors in real life before ordering.  With extreme weather conditions at the cottage, we wanted something more durable than base models available at local DIY stores like Home Depot or Lowes.  Stores that specialized in patio doors could not show us any doors and were very confusing on the details of what we were trying to order.

Thanks to Jason Lessard, the manager of the Lookout Home Hardware Building Center in Plevna we were able to order doors specific to our needs and even get them delivered to the cottage.  Call me old-fashioned, but brick and mortar stores do have their advantages. Friendly, helpful and knowledgeable store personnel help immensely too.  I won’t waste valuable time with materials and advice we require for future renovations.

 

 

Now that this project is complete, we plan to create more rooms with a view.  To do this we have to replace the window to the left of the patio doors and add windows to the side of the cottage.  We also plan to upgrade the entrance door at the side and replace the window at the back with patio doors.

When the exterior is complete, including new siding, the interior renovations will begin. That is if we have any energy and money left.  These renovations are a drain on both.  Stay tuned for further developments!

 

Cottage wildflower garden

A large space on our cottage property currently acts as a buffer between the road and the cottage.  Since the road is a major highway in these parts, a buffer is necessary.  A wildflower garden for a buffer is in the making.

A 2-foot strip of vegetation along the road is cut by the township each year.   Adjacent to that there is a flat strip, then the land begins to slope downward before it levels off.   The slope is approximately 10 feet wide.  A row of cedar hedges was planted approximately 40 feet from the road many years ago, but the area between the bottom of the slope and the cedars is left to grow wild.

Last season we planted several evergreen trees (pine and spruce) at the bottom of the slope.  This season we planted more, spaced throughout the flat area to create (eventually) a forest of evergreen trees as a visual and noise barrier between the road and the cottage.

I have always felt this whole area was wasted space,  What does a gardener do with wasted space? She turns it into a garden of course, in this case, a wildflower garden.  This season I whipper snipped the flat area around the evergreens.  I had to be careful to avoid all of the frogs as there were lots. I then sprinkled the seeds randomly along the slope and flat strip close to the road. Pink and white coneflowers, Queen Anne’s lace, black-eyed Susans, pink and red beebalm to name a few. These plants are not exactly wildflowers but hardy and tall perennials instead.  I mixed all the seeds in one large bag as I was collecting them to achieve the random look of a wildflower garden.

I can’t wait to see what it looks like next season!

 

Sweet potato slices make a great alternative to bread

Did you know that sweet potato slices make a great alternative to bread for those of you on a gluten-free diet?  Even if you are not eating gluten-free, slices of sweet potato make a much healthier and lighter alternative than bread.

Simply slice a sweet potato lengthwise as thin as you can slice it, pop the slices in the toaster. Keep the slices long enough so you do not lose them in the toaster.  Toast them until they soften and start to turn brown at the edges and voila!  You could also roast them on a BBQ rack or mat.  I brush them with olive oil and crushed garlic before BBQing them. Of course, I omit this step if using a regular toaster to prevent a fire in my toaster!

I made a hamburger last weekend:

sweet potato
sweet potato burger

As the meat part of the hamburgers were cooking on the BBQ, I made my sweet potato “bun”   I cut the meat patty in half to accommodate the shape of the potato slices. The results were delicious!

I also tried some toasted sweet potato slices topped with peanut butter and jam for breakfast recently.  I was so eager to eat my concoction, I forgot to take a picture!

I am addicted now and can’t wait to make:

  • toasted tomato sandwiches
  • pizzas
  • wraps and any other kind of sandwich
  • eggs benedict
  • egg mcmuffins

 

I would love to hear any other ideas; please share your suggestions!

 

Row housing for the birds

Our new deck at the cottage currently has row housing (for birds) along the beam under the overhang…

row housing for the birds
row housing for the birds
row housing for the birds
row housing for the birds
row housing for the birds
row housing for the birds
row housing for the birds
row housing for the birds

 

Eleven nests all in a row, protected (somewhat) from the rain by the overhang, in varying degrees of completion.  We have yet to see a bird using any of the nests, so not sure if they were all constructed by one slightly confused bird (all the locations do look similar) or a group of birds.

It does look like a new suburban housing development, many very similar houses all in a row!

Welcome to April

Well, although our April here in Ottawa is (typically) not quite as colorful as this picture, it does bring signs of spring.

 

April

 

 

We drove up to our cottage this past weekend to check things out and still could not get in the driveway as it is covered in snow, but things are starting to thaw out:

 

 

Spring is here….finally!

Out with the old and in with the new

Last weekend it was out with the old, dead trees and in with the new seedlings on our cottage lot.  This past summer we noticed that one of our huge maple trees had died, presumably due to the drought conditions we experienced this year, as it looked fine in the spring.  Several smaller trees around it were looking like they were on their way out too, so all needed to be removed before they toppled over during a storm onto the nearby hydro lines.

 

The dead trees were in an area between our cottage and the road providing a natural privacy screen for many years. You can tell by the size of the trunk remaining that the maple was very old.  We replaced the old trees with new evergreen seedlings that had sprouted up elsewhere on our property.  They appear to be fast growing, so hopefully the bare looking area will fill in quickly.