Wednesday, September 23, 2009

By the Shore

I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore…
I hear it in the deep heart's core.

W. B. Yeats

Earlier this month, when we planned for a few days up at the cottage, Environment Canada was being a big party pooper. Their long-range forecast warned of cool, rainy weather for the full time we hoped to be there, beginning with the three-hour drive up on the Tuesday. Thoughts of rainy fishing days and wet, empty hammocks prevailed. Gone was the hope of a campfire each evening and long walks devoid of pesky mosquitoes. We packed for all kinds of weather and card games, and went anyway.

Upon arrival, we were greeted with only stray gray wisps of cloud in an otherwise blue sky. Also greeting us were Frank's sister, her husband and their brother in law. We spent the afternoon sitting and chatting on the dock where the grand total of four raindrops touched my skin. The rest of our visit was met with mostly sunny skies, warm days and comfortable nights. I love it when meteorologists are wrong like that.

Theresa's usual menagerie accompanied her. Her kittens (found abandoned within a day or two after their birth - umbilical cords still attached) Luca and Sambuca are now a few months old and are at that incredibly cute stage where they have to play with everything - all night long. The critters, having been separated from their mother at such an early age, still have a strong sucking and kneading urge.

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When Luca is tired, he climbs up onto his blanket, then kneads and sucks it until he falls asleep. Similarly, Sambuca settles in and grabs his own tail to suck on. They're incredibly cute.

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Her big, beautiful sheep dog, Duncan was there. And so were 6 baby squirrels which Theresa is raising to maturity. Add Benny to that mix and we had quite the activity level at times.

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Of course Sugar and Spike were around in the evenings too.

By the following afternoon, Frank, Benny and I were alone at the cottage. Being the incurable romantic that Frank is, it wasn't long before he had that irresistible gleam in his eye. He sidled closer to me, cupped my chin in his hand and looked deeply into my eyes so that there was no mistaking what he wanted me to do next. "Sweetie, the worms are on the lower shelf of the back room fridge. Grab them for me, willya?" Yeah, he's hot when he's got fishin' on his mind.

Between the two of us, we grabbed the worms, rods, tackle boxes, vests, PFDs, hats, sunglasses, sunscreen, the cooler should we get lucky (by now you'll have figured out that means "if we should catch something") and various other paraphernalia which might come in handy at some point. We grabbed Benny and put him in the cottage and then headed out for a couple of hours of fishing.

The eagles' nest was empty more often than not, that week, but we did see them flying around at various times of the day.

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One drive-by with the boat proved worthwhile when we saw one of the adults perched proudly atop its nest.

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Another time we noticed him on a branch which topped a tree within clear, but distant view of the cottage.

Our fishing luck was pretty much in keeping with the rest of the summer - poor. About mid-week, one of our trips out in the boat resulted in two catches.

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This bass was one of them. It was released back into the lake immediately after the photo was taken.

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That same day, I also caught this walleye which became our lunch the next afternoon. Yum!

Some afternoons were too clear and breeze-free for fishing, so we each got some reading done out on that dock.

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Benny was happy to just lounge around nearby, but kept a watchful eye to to be sure we didn't make moves to get into the boat.

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Occasionally, he'd wander over to the edge of the dock to check out that twin JRT in the water. And yes, he fell in once or twice while going after it.

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Nearby, colourful clothespins on the line caught my eye.

Nighttime comes sooner at this time of year, and shortly after securing the boat and returning worms to the fridge, Frank would build a fire.

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He's been referred to as the Fish Whisperer, Dog Whisperer, Tree Whisperer and probably more, but after three or four nights of perfect campfires, he is also most definitely the Flame Whisperer.

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Just look at that baby burn!

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A last glance or two out on the water just before all colour disappeared from the sky. Weakening ripples gently lapped the shore.

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The night sky descends to kiss the last shades of the sun goodnight.

The small photo at the top, is of the cottage as seen from the boat on the way back from an afternoon of fishing. Please click on it to enlarge.


Frank Baron said...

Pretty sure I added a "please" to that worm-fetching request. ;)

Some very fine shots (as usual) but I particularly like the 2nd fire shot. Looks like the upper flames have escaped and are heading skyward. The last shot, with its flash-illuminated foreground is great too. :)

ellen abbott said...

The picture of the boat is pretty fabulous. Well, all your pictures are pretty fabulous but I really like this one.

Maggie May said...

Oh my! You got me going with that gleam in the eye that turned out to be a yearning for fishing! LOL!

Lovely to catch up with the animals.
All your photos are beautiful as ever but the one that caught my eye this time for colour and unusualness (if there is such a word) was the one of the clothes pegs!

~JarieLyn~ said...

What a great story and wow, you had me really laughing at Frank's romantic advances.

I have a friend who has a dog that falls asleep suckling pillow cases and the like.

The baby squirrels are so cute. I love them.

You have some amazing photos. I like the second fire photo and the boat and the clothes pins and last but not least, any photo with Benny in it is fabulous. He is the best subject ever.

Tabor said...

I am just getting back and settled in and your blog appeared at the top of the rotating reading lucky is that? Wonderful, wonderful photos. You inspire me to do more!

NJ said...

Hilary, you make me want to hang out with you and Frank. And about Frank who can so no to a sexy request like that.

Hayley's dear friend Ash is also a fishing fanatic. I think I posted in the summer that she was trying to win another contest from the World Fishing Network. As we speak she's enjoying the trip to Topago she won this summer. Shows when you really set your mind to something you can do it.

Angie Ledbetter said...

Wow! Once again, I feel as if I've been on a mini-vacation. Magnificent shots!

Dianne said...

I love Benny looking at Benny in the water ;)
Mia does that in the bedroom mirror and then shakes her head as if to say, no cat could be that old and shaky
I tell her it's the cat next door LOL

I love all the shots of course, I always do
The eagle is amazing

and that whispering man sure does have a way with wormy romance

blunoz said...

Absolutely beautiful photos. I particularly like the campfire and the boat tied up to the dock at the end of your post. The bald eagles are pretty spectacular, too. Thanks for sharing!

Cloudia said...

one picture better than the last!
Benny so cute!
I could smell the lake!
Fire - how did you capture it SO well, Hillary?

You rock!

Comfort Spiral

Bubblewench said...

What a beautiful place! Love 'romantic' Frank. I think the fire shots and the dusk shot of the boat are amazing!

Zuzana said...

Beautiful images with a beautiful story.,)
It seems that the weather forecasts are wrong here too, quiet often.;)
I love the pictures of the open fire, they are so cosy and tranquil. And of course, who can resist the cute animals?
Have a wonderful end of the week Hilary.;)

Leah J. Utas said...

I sighed with relaxation all through your post, Hilary.
NB that shot of Benny on the dock looking backward made him look both watchful and like he was planning something. Love it.

Unknown said...

Wonderful photos, especialy the clothes pens; very artistic!

Mental P Mama said...

I don't think I would ever want to go back home...and that Frank is such a sweet talker;)

Daryl said...

I agree with Frank, the second shot of the fire is excellent and I am loving the clothespins ..

Suldog said...

Wow. An amazing assortment of animals on hand! Very cool, and great shots as usual.

Cheffie-Mom said...

How relaxing and peaceful. I think I need to come for a visit. Wink. Wink.

Reb said...

Such wonderful shots. Looks like you had a great time.

SandyCarlson said...

I want a Benny in my world to calmly look over the incredible wildlife and natural beauty of my world! I love what you see. So much that is just magnificent. I feel spoiled every time I visit you blog.

Hilary said...

• Frank you might have.. you probably said "thanks" too. ;) I'm glad you liked those photos.. thanks! :)

• Thanks kindly, Ellen. I really appreciate that. :)

• Maggie, he gets me with that gleam every time. ;) Thanks very much for your kind words. I'm glad you enjoyed the photos. :)

• JarieLyn, romantic advances shouldn't be laugh-inducing, eh? ;) Thank you for all the kind words. I'm so glad you enjoy the animal pics. They're such fun subjects. :)

• Welcome back, Tabor. Such kind words.. thank you for that. I'm looking forward to your upcoming posts. :)

• Thanks, NJ. Yeah, Frank is a real sweet-talker! That's very cool about your daughter's friend. Sounds like the trip of a lifetime. Congrats to her! :)

• Thanks kindly, Angie. I've missed seeing you around here lately. Thanks for the visit and for the kind words. :)

• Dianne, your MIa story cracked me up. The cat next door! :) Thanks for the kind words and for noticing that I have such a romantic in my life! ;)

• Thanks so much, Kevin. I'm glad you enjoyed the shots. I appreciate your always-kind words. :)

• Thank you, Cloudia. I think I lucked out with that fire photo. The sunset in the background helped, I think. Thanks very much for your always kind comments. :)

• Thanks so much, Bubblewench. I'm glad you enjoyed the post.. especially the romance. ;)

• Thanks kindly, Protege. I'm glad you like the photos and post. I'm not surprised that you like the fire shots best. I would expect it. ;)

• Thank you, Leah. I'm pleased that the photos relaxed you this way. You have the essence of Benny nailed. He's pretty much always that perfect mix of both those things. Thanks always for stopping by. ;)

• Thanks kindly, Gaston Studios. I'm glad you like them. :)

• MPM, it's truly difficult to leave it behind each time.. and so is Mister Romance. ;)

• Thanks, Daryl. I'm glad you like them. :)

• Thank you, Suldog. You're still using lines that are just as much in keeping with your own recent post. ;)

• You name the date, Cheffie. I'm sure we can work something out. Thanks always for the kind comments. :)

• Thank you, Reb. We always do. :)

• Thank you very much for such kindness, Sandy. You spoil me as well. :) Though I'm not sure it's appropriate to use the words "Benny" and "calmly" in the same sentence, thought or Universe. ;)

Barbara Martin said...

There's nothing better than a campfire at the end of pleasing day at the cottage.

Anonymous said...

Such beautiful photos Hilary! I love the campfire ones. Oh Luca is SO ADORABLE! She sucks her blankie? So cute! And LOL about Frank getting frisky from fishing, ha ha ha! Great post!

Anonymous said...


You made me laugh so hard. Yes, I know that look from my own man. Football is often involved when I see that longing look in his eye!

I love how you made your photos larger. Oh and that little Sambuca...ADORABLE!

Lots of beauty here today, a little cuteness, and then there is that romance of yours :)

Anonymous said...

Ha! I knew that Frank was thinking of fishing! ;) But his flame whisperer technique is impressive (and your photography isn't shabby, either!) and the cottage must surely be a magical place.

My cat was a feral stray and she kneads quite a bit. I wonder if that is a clue to her early life?

Maria said...

I enjoyed your trip. I feel I was there with you through your fabulous word and pictures. You're quite a photographer as well as a nice writer.

Thanks for coming over to mine for a while. I'll be back to you.

Unseen India Tours said...

Some really beautiful and lovely shots !! I loved this post !! Thanks for sharing..Unseen Rajasthan

Oman said...

i always adore your critter pics but that last shot have to be the best. love it.

Crabby McSlacker said...

Ah, that Frank is such a romantic!

So as usual, the photos are amazing. I've long since run out of adjectives. The eagle in the nest, the clothespins, the adorable animals, the flames, all of it-- just wow.

Thanks so much for sharing these!

the Bag Lady said...

Oh, what a peaceful time! Even Benny looked relaxed (but I'm sure it was only for 10 seconds or so - lucky you caught it on film!)Thanks for sharing this trip, Hilary. Great shots, as always.

Anne C. Watkins said...

I love that second fire pic! Gorgeous. But then all your work is. :)

Glad you and Frank found time for a brief, but meaningful, romantic encounter. rofl

Hilary said...

• Totally agree, Barbara. Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Thanks so much, Rain. I'm glad you enjoyed it. Thanks always for the kind words. :)

• Thanks kindly, MT. I'm glad I could make you laugh. Football.. fishing.. sigh! Thanks for the visit and for the warm comments. :)

• Thank you, KC. You knew, huh? Sigh.. men! ;) I'm glad you liked the fire and photos. Most cats knead, I think. It was the sucking on their respective blanket and tail that struck me as missing a mom. Thanks always for stopping by. :)

• Thanks very much, Gaelikaa. Your kind words mean a lot to me.. very much appreciated. Thanks for the visit and please do return soon and often. :)

• Thanks for the kind comments, UR. Much appreciated. :)

• Thanks kindly, Lawstude. That means a lot to me - coming from your keen photographer's eye. Thanks for the visit. :)

• Crabby, thanks always for stopping by and sharing your kind comments. They're always very much appreciated. I'm glad too that you can see what a romantic that guy is. ;)

• Thanks, Baggie. You'd be surprised how umm bagged Benny can get. He sleeps like a log for about 12 hours each night, and has himself a good nap (usually in the sunshine) for an hour or more during the day. Otherwise, you'd be right.. he's perpetual motion. Thanks for the kind words.. and as always for stopping by. :)

• Thank you, Anne. Your kind words are very much appreciated. And now you know just what a sweet-talker Frank is. ;)

steviewren said...

Reading about your days and nights at the cottage are so relaxing to me, I'm ready for a nap in the hammock.

Anonymous said...

Oh, Hilary. What an eye you have for photography. These are all great. I especially like the clothes pins!

Kerri Farley said...

You make me wanna be there! Love those Eagles!! And Benny of course!

ds said...

Great story and photos as always (the second flame shot took my breath away, and I loved the sunset on the water with the boat). And who can argue with Mr. Yeats as an epigraph? Well done!

Hilary said...

* Thank you, Steviewren. I'm glad you find relaxation in my photos. I suspect I'll have a lot of indoor quiet time on this next trip up, since we're expecting rain for most of the week. We'll see how that fares out. Thanks always for stopping by. :)

* Sandra, good to see you visiting. It had been a while and I missed your kind and supportive comments. Thanks so much for stopping by. :)

* Thanks, Kerri. I'm glad you could join me virtually. Thanks for the kind words. :)

* Thanks very kindly, DS. I'm glad you liked the photos and my choice of quotes. Thanks always for the visit. :)

Louise said...

Where do I start? Your story-telling is captivating... and makes me laugh.

I don't think I've ever seen Benny sit that still. The photo of the boat near the end just exudes peacefulness. The water is so smooth, the colors so soothing.

Hilary said...

Thanks so much, Louise. I'm glad you get a kick out of my posts. And you're right about Benny. He's usually either in perpetual motion or asleep. Thanks always for your visits. :)