My Granddaughter Hailie loves to see people happy and to let everyone know when she's happy. If you're not smiling or laughing and she notices she'll come up and hug you or do something to make you smile and then she says....Happy?. Happy can be in the form of a question to see if you're happy or to let you know she's happy - it's all in the way she says it and it's so darn cute! Another one for my memory bank that I don't ever want to forget!
Here she is telling me she's happy to be outside feeding the animals - even if it was a wet rainy day!
It took us a few years of living in sawdust and paint before we got it the way we wanted but we got it done. And a few years later we added an addition to the side of it which provided a larger bathroom/laundry room. We lived there for 13 years. It wasn't by far the biggest or nicest house we ever lived in, but my parents and I agree it was the one with the best times and memories! I think we all miss living on the lake. Fishing, swimming, water skiing, and watching wild life year round really is something to treasure.
Here are a few more photos I found.
This was the finished product! A beautiful cozy home to call our own.
My Dad with one of the many fish pulled out of the lake. My parents boat is on the left and you can just see the windshield of mine on the right. They bought me my own boat when I was 12! I was one happy girl I tell you, especially since my best friend lived at the other end of the lake!
My Dad and our neighbour putting a new roof on.
My Mom feeding the neighbourhood geese that came to visit every day.
A Mama duck and her babies taking a walk on our lawn.
Mom relaxing on a warm summer day.
Snowmachines after a winter storm. Winter's were almost as much fun as summer!
So there you have it. The house that built me. I honestly don't think I'd be the person I am today if I didn't grow up there. I cherish each and every one of my memories of that house and the unconditional love my parents gave me. ( I wasn't always an angel you know!...LOL)
Every evening and every weekend would have us all working on the house. I hated weekend mornings when I woke up to a buzzing saw or pounding hammer but I knew it was something that needed to happen in order for us to get our home the way my parents envisioned it, and every weekend after seeing the progress that was made, I felt guilty for cursing the noise in the mornings.
I’ve recently gone through most of my parents photos and sadly there aren’t ANY of the before and after progress that we made on the inside but I can tell you it was like day and night! New flooring, drywall, and a fresh coat of paint made it look really nice!
When the weather was good, I worked outside with Dad. I watched him and learned many things – like how to use power tools, putting on shingles, siding, and landscaping. I helped by getting tools and basically in any way I could. I was strong for my age and used my muscles whenever an extra little bit of help was needed. The first thing that needed to be done was to dig a well so we would have good drinking water. We did have running water inside but it was piped in from the lake and not suitable for drinking. Luckily there was a fresh water spring in town where we filled up containers for drinking water – we had it tested before we drank any of it and it was the best ice cold water ever!
My Dad dug the trench and well by hand only to find out the water was no good. You can see the trench in the photo below. We had nice neighbors that let us pipe into their well for water. They only used their cottage a few weeks of the year so it worked out great!
When we moved to the little cottage in the Fall, I once again had to start over at a new school. We moved a lot before we bought the cottage – in fact, I was never in the same school for more than 2 years at a time. It made it hard to make friends so I concentrated on learning – probably a good thing now that I look back on it.
The only school in the town of Bonfield was a french school and even though I am of French Canadian heritage, I wasn’t taught the language growing up while going to school in Southern Ontario. Both Mom and Dad are bilingual but only spoke french when we were visiting their families. It also came in quite handy for them when they were discussing something they didn’t want me to overhear – I remember trying so hard to understand what they were saying and over the years I did manage to learn enough to understand most sentences – but it took a while.
The nearest school for me to attend was 10 miles away and my Dad had to fight with the school board to get them to send a bus to pick me up. The school was in an even smaller farming town called Rutherglen. The school had 3 classrooms – Grades 1&2 in one class, 3&4’s in another, and I was in the 5&6 class. Our principal was the teacher for 5’s and 6’s. I was just starting Grade 5 and so I spent 2 years at that school before going to North Bay for Junior High which was another 2 years in a different school. Luckily, most of the friends I made in that tiny school house in Rutherglen had to go to North Bay too, so I had some friends with me to start the scary life of high school.
This is a photo of it as it stands now. It's no longer used as a school.
This was the Grade 5/6 class. I'm the third from the right in the front row. My Mom made that blue dress for me. It was always one of my favorites!
My Granddaughter Hailie loves stickers! Today when we were visiting my Mom, she pulled out some address labels she has. Both Mom and I were putting them over our mouths and pretending we couldn't talk. Hailie attempted to do the same only she didn't have the sticky side towards her mouth. We told her to turn it around and she proceeded to turn her self around in a circle! Too cute! Love you Hailie Bear!
I can’t remember how much time passed after we viewed the little shack with the real estate agent, but it wasn’t long before we moved in. It was in the Fall of the year and the place needed much work before it was liveable. I’m not sure of the exact time my parents told me we were moving to that place or the day we moved in, but I do remember the ground shaking along with the cottage and all it’s contents whenever a train would roll by. The CPR (Canadian Pacific Railway) tracks ran right behind our house – about 100-150 ft away! Because it was a crossing that several cottages used to access their driveways, they would have to blow the train whistle every time they approached it. That took some getting used to!
Mom and Dad had the only bedroom so they put my bed in the back corner of the house where my bedroom would eventually be built – it’s been a long time joke between us that all I had for a bedroom that first year was a “space”!
The first thing we did was get rid of the old furniture that came with the place and clean! We cleaned and cleaned and Mom painted the walls and ceilings! Winter was coming quickly and we had no wood for the wood stove my Dad put in to replace the old oil furnace, so that was next on the list. When the lake was frozen enough we would take the snowmobile and sled and travel up the lake a bit to crown land where we cleared out the dead trees that were laying down. Dad would cut them up with the chain saw and I would help haul them to the sled. Once we got them home, he’d chop and split the wood and I would help pile it. We did that every weekend that winter.
I was born in Southern Ontario and lived there for the first 9 years of my life. Both of my parents were born and raised in Northern Ontario and decided they wanted to move back up north to be closer to their families. My Dad found a job working in a large mining company as a plant foreman in North Bay, so that’s where we were headed.
We packed all our belongings, moved up north, and rented a house in the city while my parents looked for a place to purchase. They wanted a quiet place in the country and preferably on a lake. The near north, as they call that area, is dotted with lakes – some large and some small.
I’ll never forget the day we drove out to the country…it seemed like we drove forever before we turned off the main highway and onto a secondary highway which led to the tiny French village of Bonfield, which is situated on the north shore of Lake Nosbonsing. The first thing I remember seeing was a tiny damn with a little waterfall beside a park and train tracks – lots of train tracks! We took the first bend in the road, crossed the tracks, and on to another sharp bend which had a general store to the left. The store was located in an old house with the owners living quarters in the back. It was a typical farmhouse style with green wood siding and the store at the front. It’s no longer there but I can still picture it in my mind.
Photo of Bonfield Ontario
We drove through the town and turned on a small dirt road that followed the west side of the lake. We crossed an old rusty iron bridge, crossed the tracks again, and drove about a quarter of a mile along the lakeside before turning into another small road that was more like a driveway entrance to a string of cottages on the lake. The train tracks ran between the dirt road and row of cottages that faced the lake,so we had to cross the tracks again on the driveway before finding the cottage where we were to meet the real estate agent.
Even though I was only nine years old, I remember thinking that this was not the kind of place that I wanted to live. It was the boonies and I didn’t even know what the boonies where then! I was used to living in a large city in nice homes, in nice suburbs, not a tiny town out in the bush! But of course it wasn’t up to me.
We pulled into the end of the long driveway where we met the real estate agent. I couldn’t believe that my parents were even looking at a place like that! It was no more than a shack as far as I was concerned. It looked horrible on the outside and I could only imagine what the inside looked like.
We got out of the car and followed the agent inside. I was right! The place was horrible! There was an old oil furnace in the middle of the main room which had spewed black soot all over the ceiling. There was only 1 small bedroom, a tiny bathroom with a shower stall, and small kitchen. The only redeeming quality it had, was it was on the lake. But even the front yard leading to the lake was in dire need of work as the man who owned it, only used it as a party place and had gravel poured on the front lawn to use for parking.
Dad listened to the agent tell him about the property and cottage while Mom and I snuck away. When we were back in the car, Mom and I looked at each other and both said “No way are we living here!” Dad came back to the car and we drove back to the city. I thought that would be the end of it and I would never see that little shack again. Boy was I wrong! …..to be continued.
I'm new to making homemade bread from scratch. It's only last year that I decided to tie on my trusty apron and dive into a recipe that always terrified me. 20 or more loaves later, I don't know why I was so scared! I got the recipe from Suzanne on her blog Chickens in the Road. If you visit her blog, just do a search for Grandmother Bread and you'll find all kinds of recipes for different kinds of bread.
Here is a photo of some of the first loaves of raisin bread I made.
Anyhow, back to the tip I learned today. I was catching up on the blogs I visit and Monica over at The Mennobrarian had a post about making bread and she shared this handy tip -You want your water temperature to activate the yeast; too cold and it won't, too hot and it will kill it.
I never knew this so it's something to keep in mind when making homemade bread.
Oh, how I miss our old woodstove! I miss the smell and the warm heat that used to radiate off of it while it kept our small home on the lake warm. The snap, crackle and pop of the wood spitting as I fell asleep is one of my favorite childhood memories.
This one is similar to the one we had.
Of course in those days it was my Father that rose early each morning and stirred any remaining embers and started a new fire before my Mother and I got out of bed to start our days. I was sure glad he did because our floor would be icy cold in the mornings. Mom would be the one to stoke the fire during the day while Dad was at work and I was at school.
Our home was a remodeled summer cottage with no foundation under it. It had a crawl space that my Dad and I would bank up with snow each winter to try to keep some of the heat from escaping. It was small with 2 bedrooms at the back and had an open living room/kitchen/dining room in the main part that held the woodstove. When it was really cold, we used a space heater for the back of the house.
When my parents purchased the cottage, it was in dire need of remodelling and we spent many years transforming it into the home I remember so well…but more about that in another post.
The house we’re in now has baseboard heaters that only throw a bit of heat which then goes straight up the wall only to escape out the windows they're under.
This is the one I'd like to have someday.
For now, I have an electric fireplace that I’ve put in the kitchen by my computer desk so I can sit and watch the dancing flames – it throws a bit of heat too. I’ll have to just settle for that and enjoy the peace and warmth of the woodstove when I go out to the ice hut for winter fishing – which I hope will be soon!
For some reason this bedroom looks so inviting and cozy to me. It might have something to do with the warm sunshine coming through the window, but I think it would be just as cozy this time of year wrapped under that warm quilt. Don't think I could give up my bed with the memory foam top or my memory foam pillow - best investment I think we've ever made!
Well I hope everyone is having a great start to 2011. Mine has been quiet so far and that's just fine with me. I'm a homebody and love the peace that comes with it.
Have you ever been inside an old fashioned General Store? I've been in a few and we even have some that are still around in the area. Of course the items have changed in the "One stop Shop" General Stores, but I still find them fascinating. Whenever I watch the Waltons (and my family will tell you it's way too much), and there's a scene from Ike Godsey's store, I'll pause the DVD just so I can look at all the stocked supplies he carried in his store. I'm also blown away by the prices on the signs he has up!
I thought I'd share a few photos I've taken over the years of some General Store Museums that we visited. Click on the photos for a closer look.
The 4 photos above were taken in Huntsville Ontario at the Muskoka Heritage Village.
This building is in the middle of nowhere...literally if you blink while driving through this small town of Commanda, you would miss it! It's now a museum but was once the General Store, Post office and hub of the tiny community. It was built in the late 1800's.
This beautiful cash register is housed in a Museum about 10 miles down the road from me in the small village of Nipissing Ontario.
I have a lot more photos that I'll post soon! Until then, keep smiling and enjoy the New Year!