The frost is glistening on the lawn in the early morning light. The roofs around us are coated with white as the leaves tumble to the ground, propelled by the strong winds. Fall has arrived and it is almost time for these “snowbirds” to unfurl their wings and fly south. Our time here now is counted in weeks, not months.
The end of this summer went quickly as usual. One bright sunny afternoon, we headed to the marina for a sail. The water in the slip was extremely low and the boat was a long jump down from the dock. That didn’t stop us but I was already planning how to get back on the dock on our return. We untied and backed out of the slip. Murray prepared the sails as I piloted Fandango out into the lake. Just beyond the barrels marking the entrance to the marina, I ran aground, not once but twice. Murray took the helm, turned around and managed somehow to find a passage between the weeds out into deeper water. The weeds still lurked just below the surface, ready to grab the keel again. Once the sails were set and we were flying down the lake, I suggested that perhaps returning to the marina would be not be a good idea. So we set sail for Booth’s Harbour and tied there for the night. The next day, arrangements were made to haul the boat out on their travel-lift. Using the gin-pole, Murray and I took down the mast. Due to the shallow water, he couldn’t get off of the boat so I had to run the gin-pole on shore. Some other boaters ( Steve and Shirley ) came along to add their strength to the job and she turned out to be someone that I had worked with years before in the lab at STEGH. Small world. The job got done in record time and the boat, as well as a full compliment of weeds, was hauled shortly thereafter. The haul-out only cost twice the cost for W4 and she is twice as large. Thus, we paid four times the Florida rate to haul here in Ontario. Yikes! I am not sure that we can afford these prices.
Our friends, Linda and Kuyler, arrived home from a short vacation to discover a major flood in the house. A part failing on their upstairs toilet caused water to spill onto carpeting, down the walls onto hardwood flooring, onto furniture and just generally caused a huge mess. We have been hosting them as much as possible so that they can get a break from the noise of the machines and workmen doing the repairs. It is the least we can do for these two great people. But, this is also a reminder to all of us, to check our toilets, especially newer ones, and replace the hose from the toilet to the valve near the floor if it is not CSA approved. The made-in-China parts have been failing frequently and they do not have the CSA approval.
The bean harvest is progressing in spurts and stops as Murray again helps his brother, George, by running a combine. Just when things are going well, some rain falls and holds things up again for several days until the desired dryness is achieved. But the weather man is promising sun for the next few days and perhaps the beans can be taken off with no further delays.
During the Thanksgiving weekend, we did have sunny days and thus Murray was off farming some of the time. Jeremy and Cynthia, Matthew and Samantha drove down from Ottawa to stay with Steve and Katherine in St Thomas. I went to Orillia and brought my mom back down to Tillsonburg and the whole bunch of us got together daily. One day we went apple picking, another day we went to the pumpkin patch and on Sunday, everyone came to our house for turkey dinner. It was a wonderful, busy, noisy time with 13 ( counting James who didn’t have turkey ) for dinner. But there were lots of leftovers, to make soup, sandwiches etc.
This week, we finished blowing out the lawn irrigation systems of our neighbours, so those items can be crossed off the list. Now the flowers need to be pulled, the pots dumped, cleaned and stored for the winter. One more cutting of the grass and then we start on the other lists. What foods come with us, what needs to be given away and what can safely be left behind. Those decisions are mine to make as I sort through the cupboards and frig. As paranoid boaters, we leave the house as if it was a boat or cottage to be winterized. The water is turned off, the toilets drained and RV antifreeze added to each trap. All plugs are pulled to lower our electric consumption and prevent damage by lightning etc. Of course, the phone, TV and internet are turned off at the source. I sort through the clothing to figure out what needs to go and what should stay. Then it is just a matter of finding space to pack it all into the car. Luckily Murray is a master of loading ( that is also why he gets much more in the dishwasher than I do ).
The boat will be moved to the workyard on Nov 2nd and then the work will start in earnest. Our new refrigeration system should be there awaiting us and will need installation. Another huge order of things from West Marine should be there as well ie new EPIRB and head plus lines to replace halyards etc. The EPIRB ( Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon ) is to replace the one currently aboard which we purchased used in 1997. The head ( toilet ) ….. well it is a very important item and it is almost cheaper to replace it frequently than it is to purchase the repair kits. The halyards were damaged during previous two hurricanes which passed Green Cove Springs and we are replacing them with low-stretch line. So those things all need to be installed as well as the usual jobs of sanding, painting and polishing. It may take us quite a while this time before we are ready to head off, down the waterway.
Those are our immediate and long-range plans. Hopefully we managed to connect with most of our friends this summer. If we missed you, drop us a line or make a phone call and we will try to get together with you before this ship sails!
Hugs to all,
Heather & Murray