Signs Fall Has Arrived At The Cottage

Well it’s pretty clear that the summer has fallen behind overtaken by the fast action of autumn as the cooler weather and changing, disappearing daylight hours becomes the norm once again. Not that it is cold, because, knock on wood, so far it’s been pretty mild temperature wise. In fact, some days have been downright balmy, although recently quite wet. But as I look out on the lake today while I am writing this, it is apparent Fall has arrived at the cottage.

If you are still not sure, here are some things I have noticed:

1) The boat traffic on the lake has all but dropped off to next to nothing. Especially through the week. What was a busy lake a few weeks ago is now quiet most of the time save for the occasional boat on the way to a boat access camp up the lake or someone taking a few final turns around the lake before pulling the boat out of the water for the winter.

2) I just saw a friend towing his floating wharf down the lake. He stores it in a quiet cove protected from the wind and wilder elements of winter. Once it’s put away for the season you know the end is upon us.

3) The leaves on the hardwood trees are all either red, yellow or gone completely, carpeting the ground instead of the sky. Our maples are all producing some lovely red leaves that are very pretty if it wasn’t for fact that the red color is fleeting as the colder weather approaches.

4) The water level is high. Yes, the lake water level can come up high at any time of the year depending on the rain we receive, but it almost always comes high as autumn arrives. This year is no exception. It’s high water and still rising even as I am writing this.

5) You see more four wheelers on the back of trucks and in trailers instead of boats. As the summer recedes, the boats get put away and in their place, everyone digs out their ATV and heads off to ride the trails. Weekends now are spent in the woods rather than on the lake.

6) Folks are walking around in overalls with pipe wrenches and plastic water hose in their hands. Yup, the water is coming off. People are starting to drain their cottage water systems in preparation for freezing temperatures. It’s not unusual to see a neighbor crawling out from under his camp at this time of year. Not because he is hiding under there, but because he or she is crawling around draining the water.

7) The “come from aways” have all gone away. Most of the seasonal folks who come for the summer, many of them from another province or country, are gone back to where ever it is they come from. There places are closed up, waiting now for their return in the Spring.

8) Except for a little activity on the weekends, the place has gone strangely quiet throughout the week. Some afternoons the quiet is only punctuated by the school bus heading up the road to drop off the two kids whose families still live here year round.

9) Orange hats and coats are seen more often as the hunters start their annual pilgrimages to the woods in search of game. It’s quite common to see a pickup truck, four wheeler in the back, and two or three guys in orange hats, rubber boots and vests heading into the grocery store or the local restaurant that is still open.

10) The general store has gone to it’s Fall and Winter hours. No longer open 9-9 seven days a week. They’re closing a little earlier in the evenings now, as the Spring and Summer tourist and cottage business drops off.

11) The black ducks that were quite tame all summer hanging around for a handout of birdseed or bread are now quite wild. Still open to a handout, but you have to get back quite far before they will come in to feed. I suppose many of them have had an eye-opener now that the duck season has opened.

12) As the leaves fall, our camp and others around us become more visible through the trees. Places that you could barely see across the lake are now quite obvious without the tree leaves and bushes to hide behind.

13) I am gathering the stuff I need to close in the screen veranda for the winter. A roll of plastic, some strips of wood, small shingle nails, some wood screws and some 1X3 wood strapping. Soon we will be looking at the lake through a plastic veil.

14) Slowly but surely we are taking stuff home for the winter. Perisables, food stuff, valuables are all making their way back to the city with each trip home. Soon there will be more stuff home than here.

15) The loons that were here all summer, especially the big one that came into the cove each afternoon about 4 seems to have moved on. Loons don’t go south, but they do move to the coast for the winter. Their plumage turns from black and white to predominately brown and they spend the winter around the salt water of the coastline.

What about you? Are you starting to see signs of Fall and Winter approaching around your camp?

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