At the end of September I gathered up the cats and dogs after spending several weeks packing sorting and - I thought - editing. Loading them in the car at 6 p.m. or so, we drove through the sunset and into night heading south and east. Around 10:30, we finally we pulled into a driveway marked kindly by my sons with one of those solar lights. I was so tired I'm sure I would have missed it.
In the above photo, the dogs are quite exhausted from a long and unexpected run in the fields to the east of the house. This was once a farmer's very prosperous and old home. At least 150 years old I believe, if the stories are to be believed of the dug well. Apparently it's lined carefully for 22 feet down, with stones fitted into one another in total artistry, not something one would see today. And looking at the basement walls and what was once a dirt floor there, I think I'm right.
Originally this home was four rooms... two up and two down. You can see if you look at the original bones of the house. Now it has a kitchen, little pantry off the kitchen, bathroom and bedroom added over the kitchen.
One hundred and fifty years ago was about the time my great-grandfather came to this area from Germany, maybe a bit earlier. He was a logger, eventually moving up to Penetang and starting his own logging company, taking white pine from the shores of Georgian Bay for ships' masts. But originally he helped local companies and individuals, clear their lands for farms such as the one I'm living at now. Interesting that over the past years both of my brothers and I have been draw to this area.
The fields where the dogs and I walked, up behind the house would have protected the farm house and huge barn from the cold east winter winds and blowing snow storms. The land rises up to a wonderful lookout spot for sitting and watching sunsets over Rice Lake. On the other side of the fence that the dogs climbed, is the remains of an old orchard, now a grazing field for cattle as many unused orchards are these days.
The reason the dogs tongues are hanging out is their long run up and down the hill trying to find a way back over the fence they'd climbed. Yes literally climbed - to thick to make it over in a leap. It was an old page wire/split rail combo covered in grape vine. It was quite the adventure, ending up with me tripping over Ontario Hydro workers' slash created when they swamped under the lines to maintain the wires. No opening as I'd thought originally. No easy way into the orchard. So I then found and crawled through a hole in the page wire fence only to look up and see I'd just missed grabbing an electric fence. Then I saw the cow pies as the dogs came running gratefully towards me.
Okay we're outta here I thought as I noticed one was quite fresh - the cow pie, not the dogs who were far from fresh by this time. At seven they're senior citizens, and lately long walks have not been a priority for me, so their conditioning is not the best.
They nobly refused to go through the hole in the fence before me, even though I did all I could to tell them it was okay. So once again, ends of leashes tightly in hand, down on my hands and knees and through the hole in the fence. Then I had to really encourage them to step through what must have looked pretty small to them.
Finally out and back down the hill, and into the car to go across the Invisible Fence line to the yard, the dogs either stood and panted or lay and panted for at least half an hour beside the car.
Hydro has been back after the rain, cutting and trimming, making a mess of underbrush, trees, bushes, grapevines and anything under the wires. We have not returned.
Yet - we will before long. Hope you have a glorious day without the kinds of crawling around I had to do that day!