We are having some crazy weather here – like many other places. Strong winds with above-seasonal temperatures overnight. At 7:00 am this morning it was 16C, the expected high tomorrow only 1C. It was all enough to make the ice on Lake Muskoka disappear!
Look at the two images below; essentially the same view separated by three weeks.
It got up to 8 degrees C today, and really quite lovely, but we have some work to do to get all this ice and snow out of here. Other than today, our high temps have been -2 or so with night temperatures 10 degrees below that. Lake Muskoka is still totally ice-covered, so the cottage awaits.
It looks like temps will be above freezing for … well, after tomorrow.
But, the ice is still very thick; hope so – we have to go price an island property on Lake Jo tomorrow, and we have to go by snowmobile. I might wear a CO2 lifejacket I got as a sailboat gift at Xmas … just for warmth of course.
There is a way to tell that it is spring in Muskoka. It is subtle, but encouraging because, you may know that we still have lots of snow here in Muskoka and we need encouragement. But we have light, more light, and I love light!
Steve and I walk the dogs late every afternoon. Until fairly recently we have had to outfit them with their special Muskoka walking lights. They fit on their collars and blink. Blinding for us, but safety for them. We march down by the cottages, leashes in hand. When we get to Chamberlain’s TimberMart, we can let them off their leashes. Chamberlain’s is gracious enough to let us walk our dogs offleash. And they have a wide dirt road, and a large forest. Good for everyone!
We are very proud of the fact that we walk our dogs daily. Caesar says that dogs need exercise first, discipline second and love third. So we are on it! Bentley is a little Muskoka boy through and through, and Askim is from Iqaluit. I will fill you in, in another post. Our dogs seem to love living in Muskoka and they look very fit and healthy. I, on the other hand, look a little less fit. Don’t worry about me, I am in good health, but my tummy just won’t budge from under my belt. It finally dawned on me why the dogs look so slim and fit and I don’t. They are constantly running in and out of the forest and playfighting all the way.
So – I am sure you can guess what is on the agenda for me. Steve???
Many times in the past, at work in Toronto, Chicago, Orlando, or Boston, I’d hear about spring equinox (night and day of approximately equal length) and begin to wonder how conditions were at our Muskoka cottage.
In case you are at work planning for spring at the cottage, I have an update for you. Depending on where you are, it may not be all that spring-like, and it isn’t here either.
On Lake Muskoka, I made this image less than 20 minutes after the spring equinox today (Mar 20th). It’s hard to tell, but it was snowing and the high today is expected to be -2C.
Here’s how the spring weather looks coming up this week:
Most are anticipating spring now, but it seems to still be about a week away before any sort of warmup. Some folks though, are having way too much fun, still enjoying beautiful winter weather.
We were out yesterday, delivering Cottage Life Show tickets to some of our clients (now all friends actually) along with Catharine’s “Welcome Spring” cookies – this year they’re canoe and paddles.
Among others, we found two by the fire on Pine Lake, two about to go snowshoeing on Lake Muskoka, two just getting back to Lake Joseph from lunch, and … two clearing the snow for a skating rink. That’s right, just days from when the fish huts have to be off Muskoka lakes because of ice break-up, they were making a rink! And having a wonderful time doing it!
There’s nothing quite like skating on the lake, at the cottage. Heading inside to relax by the fire afterward is pretty good too.
In 2003, there was virtually no snow in Muskoka until about a week into January. It was quite cold though, so I had a chance to enjoy a very large rink – really cool!
These sort of conditions don’t occur very often, so lake rinks are more a product of dedication and some degree of work(fun). If you want to get started right away, or want to file this away until December-ish 2013, here’s some good, mostly Muskoka stuff:
From Huntsville, someone really into rinks.
Some rink and safety info from a Muskoka cottage products web-retailer. Keeping the rink smooth from Cottage Life magazine.
And one of many home grown methods to improvise a bodger Zamboni for the ultimate surface.
The single most important thing you can do to protect the value of your Muskoka cottage waterfront property investment is to protect the water quality of your lake. One of the best ways to help sustain/improve water quality in your lake is to ensure you have a natural shoreline and a buffer zone; an area of natural vegetation running along your shoreline.
The function of the buffer zone is to act as a filter for water flowing to your lake, and studies show that they greatly reduce water pollution. The plants and soil absorb runoff water laden with sediments, nutrients and pollutants harmful to the lake. Turf grass does not do an adequate job filtering water runoff, and is very attractive to geese and other nuisance species.
Native Plants … and lots of them! “Ideally the buffer area is thickly covered with native vegetation. The higher the percentage of the ground that is covered, the better your buffer can work. A landscape made up of native plants is low maintenance. Once established, they can survive without extra watering, and without application of pesticides and fertilizers. Native plants are adapted to deal with local bugs and diseases and can get all the nutrients they need from existing soil.”
On the Living Edge Sarah Kipp, Clive Callaway
You can pre-order native plants from the Muskoka Lakes Association.
“The Annual MLA Seeding Day is scheduled for Saturday May 18, 2013 at the Port Carling Community Centre from 9 am to 12Noon. The emphasis this year will be on Muskoka native species. An order form (with pricing) is available from the MLA website here. We have a lot of seedlings available in some of the most wanted species including White Birch, Balsam Fir, White Spruce, Dogwood and Nannyberry among others.”
Order soon as quantities are limited. Orders can be emailed to email@example.com, faxed to (705) 765-3203 or mailed to Box 298, Port Carling, ON, P0B 1J0
Now, 10 days or so into fall, we are still completely busy with real estate, almost. I was able to get out sailing today from 3 till dusk.
With the sun setting before seven now, and me still used to long summer evenings, dusk seemed to come quickly along with cold winds. Three in the afternoon was t-shirt weather, then a sweatshirt on top by five, and a foul weather jacket by six.
The winds were our prevailing northwesterlies, and in the afternoon at 15 knots with gusts required a reefed sail. By evening they were a nice steady 8 or so so the reef was blown out and I sailed back north.
The evening sail was wonderful; once set, the boat stayed on track without any input from me. I was able sit back and take in the beautiful evening colours as the setting sun accompanied the boat back to Pine Island.
Once I rounded Pine Island, the wind, blocked by the mainland, slackened and I dropped the sail and watched the following sun set to the west.
The key feature about this property is the land itself; the rare privacy afforded by 895 feet of Lake Muskoka frontage on this beautifully level point. Nevertheless, the buildings, specifically the boathouse, has found its way into a number of classic Muskoka books.
As an iconic Muskoka boathouse, the boathouse at Pine Point doesn’t dominate the scenery; it plays an important supporting role.
We wanted to feature all of it somehow; the boathouse, cottage and the truly wonderful property itself in our own way. So, up in a battery powered remote-controlled helicopter went a carefully mounted digital camera, and softly(whew) down it came with the following pictures on its memory card:
We had a couple of hours available after a pre-closing cottage walk-through on Lake Rosseau, and before a cottage showing on Lake Muskoka, so we got out sailing.
Wind was primarily from the north west, gusting to 15 knots + at times; to the extent we had to tie in 2 reefs in the sail.
Lake Muskoka’s south bay was loaded up with whitecaps. Despite the double reef, or thanks to it, we had great control and the 18′ catboat reached the theoretical maximum hullspeed often – exhilarating!
The Segwun was out for a while, then shot back toward the Narrows from Eleanor Island– either the cruise was overdue or the forecast was not good. We were pretty much headed back by then.
Muskoka does need the rain.
Last night we had dinner with wonderful clients who bought their cottage last year – after 4 years of searching with Catharine’s help.
They report this beautiful, beautiful property and cottage is enhancing their lives even more than they imagined it could. And, perhaps not surprisingly they took a long time to choose outdoor furniture. Looks like they got it right again.