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.
Many years ago my Grandmother won a contest with Toronto radio station CKEY (now long gone). I think you had to write in, and the best story about signs of spring won. The prize was a ride in the radio station’s traffic helicopter during a weekday rush hour. Grannie’s story was something about the pussy willows growing up right out of the snow in front of the Sundial restaurant on the way up to Muskoka (also long gone). Anyway, she gave me the helicopter ride – that was cool!!!
Whether: “is the ice-out”, other signs of spring, habits of wildlife or indicators of a healthy lake, we are often asked about key things cottagers need to know – or go by, and we are happy to help!
But here’s an opportunity to get all the scoops on what to look for: plan to attend the Muskoka Stewardship Conference, put on by the Muskoka Watershed Council. This conference is titled What Are You Watching?
Planned, are talks on algae (identification and monitoring), loon surveying, water quality, landscaping for wildlife, NatureWatch programs and more. There’s even the opportunity to join naturalist Al Sinclair on an outdoor birdwatching session before the talks begin.
Taking place at Nipissing University in Bracebridge, the whole day is only $30 and includes lunch. Register, and get more info here.
The winter issue of the Muskoka Lakes Association ShoreLines newsletter is available here.
In the winter issue there is a quick article on septic systems. If you are interested in more on this topic, just ask us, or the Muskoka Watershed Council’s website has lots on this and many more topics (enter septic in the search field).
Also in ShoreLines, is an important article on funding inequality for Muskoka at the hands of the McGuinty government, that negatively affects the Muskoka economy and keeps upward pressure on property taxes.