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  • Writer's pictureDawn McLeod

A Day at the Lake

What a beautiful way to wrap up summer! On the last day of August, the family and I packed up the Mazda with food and necessities and drove out to my brother - in - law's summer lake cottage in Silver Sands, Alberta. The cottage was originally owned by my mother - in - law, a vibrant, energetic woman who took great pride in maintaining the property's simple, rustic beauty before her passing in 2011. When I stepped out of the car late Friday morning, I could still feel her energy, even though seven long years have gone since then.

Our family really enjoys being out on the water.

We spent the morning harvesting a bountiful crop of carrots and marveling at the unbelievable size of the rhubarb patch. We had less luck with the potatoes and beets, but the work was pleasant, and the reward was garden-fresh veggies! I also managed to hunt down an elusive pileated woodpecker, which I heard calling from the woods a hundred feet away. What can I say? I can't resist the call of nature!

A bountiful bouquet of carrots!

For lunch, we enjoyed a delicious hot split pea soup and some hearty chili with fresh ciabatta buns and a variety of fresh fruits, vegetables and cheeses. My sister - in - law deviated from the hungry herd to make herself some hot oatmeal with some special ingredients, including peanut butter! I never would've considered putting peanut butter in oatmeal, but the smell of the finished product was divine.

Sharing a meal, just like us!

After lunch, my husband and my daughter went for a canoe trip down the lake. The water was still plenty green, much to my dismay, but there was significantly less blue-green algae in the lake than previous years. I took the opportunity to relax on the deck and work on my cross stitch project, a passion I have recently rediscovered. When the intrepid explorers returned, we all went to check out a yard sale a couple of houses down, all except my brother - in - law, who stayed behind to do some more work around the yard. There was quite a variety of items up for sale, but I abstained, as we don't have a lot of extraneous space in the suitcases. My sister - in - law made off with another French press and some tupperware for the cottage.

A beautiful variety of bird life.

The rest of the afternoon was fairly lazy, with at least half the party napping at one point or another. I spent much of the time working on my cross stitching and bird watching. Towards 5 pm, my sister - in - law expertly started a fire in the remarkably large fire pit, and we all enjoyed roasting hot dogs and marshmallows over the flames. My husband even made a valiant attempt at grilled cheese for me, which was delicious!

One of several woodpeckers we saw and heard at the lake.

We stayed until the fire burned down, and the conversation got deep, as it tends to do. I really felt the absence of my mother - in - law, with whom I was very close. I think we could all feel her warmth around us, even as the weather turned and we saw the beginnings of what would be a rainy drive home. It has been a wonderful vacation, and I am very grateful we had the opportunity to visit the cottage and the lake that holds such precious memories for our family.

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