Maple Lake Ontario – One More Time With Feeling (PHOTO) #maplelake #ontario

Ξ August 30th, 2013 | → 0 Comments | ∇ Algonquin Township, Canada, cottage country, Haliburton Highlands, health/happiness, Maple Lake Ontario, Ontario, Photography, summertime, Travel/Vacation |

Twenty-two Years Ago at Maple Lake Ontario:

Jamie and Ellen 1991 Maple Lake Ontario

Jamie and Ellen – 1991 Maple Lake Ontario

J and E @ 2010

J and E @ 2010

Though the hairstyles may have changed, at heart, Jamie and Ellen have not.

They met many years ago, before graduating 4-year university and they remain together in the strongest partnership I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing, these many years later. My brother has just graduated college again–this time with his doctorate in chiropractic medicine. It couldn’t have been easy. E. needed to keep most all things not-school-related running, including their Evanston-based massage therapy business, as J, if he was to be a succeed at becoming a chiropractor, had to give over his life–their lives– to the pursuit.

This week was the one leading up to E and J’s 16th wedding anniversary, which falls on August 31st.

Here they are just a couple of weeks ago, at J’s graduation:

J And E - J D McCrackan, Chiropractic Physician (Aug 15, 2013 )

J And E –
J D McCrackan, Chiropractic Physician (Aug 15, 2013 )

These guys are a couple that I cherish dearly and am over-the-moon excited for. For the first time ever, this  week past, they stayed in the cottage at Maple Lake without health issues. It was one of the first weeks off either one has had in a decade, which I hope made it even sweeter. They are to back home today and Roger and I are heading up to Maple Lake for Labour Day week. I’m pretty sure the cottage will still be brimming with good vibes when we get there. Love you guys!


Maple Lake Ontario PHOTOS Early August Morning #halibutonhighlands #maplelake #ontario

Ξ August 16th, 2013 | → 0 Comments | ∇ Algonquin Township, Canada, cottage country, Haliburton Highlands, home, home and garden, Maple Lake Ontario, nature, Ontario, Photography, summertime, sunrise |

Leaving Maple Lake is always a bitter-sweet endeavor (PHOTOS)

Early morning August 3 2013 Photo by Roger Corrao

Early morning August 3 2013 Photo by Roger Corrao


Early morning August 3 2013 Photo by Roger Corrao


Early morning August 3 2013 Photo by Roger Corrao


Early morning August 3 2013 Photo by Roger Corrao


Early morning August 3 2013 Photo by Roger Corrao


The new garden on the lake-side of the cottage. Early morning August 3 2013. Photo by Roger Corrao

Having spent part of June, all of July and a wee bit of August living on Maple Lake, it really came to feel like ‘home.’ And it is home–our summer home–so we will keep on making the improvements that both need to be done (they come first) and that we wish to make (that may take some time). In my opinion, every little improvement is big in that it is yet another transformation–sometimes to a state of being that hadn’t been a reality for a decade or more.

The little garden at the bottom of the photo set was in place around fifty years ago. Those stones are the ones that my grandfather put in place. There’s nothing special about them other than that. But, to me, that is quite a bit and that my husband dug them out of the ground where they were nearly buried means even more. You can’t simply plant a garden at Maple Lake. You must treat the soil as the only flowers that will grow otherwise are wildflowers. Roger sort of did this on the fly. After the septic system setback we essentially lost four days of getting stuff done, so we were a bit rushed. Anyway, he mixed in soil enhancers and mulched and we shall see next year what becomes of it. While we have stewardship over it, it shall remain a garden, tho.

It has begun to inspire me to return as many of the aspects of being at the Lake, both physical and social to their former glory. The last time the Lake was the paradise of my childhood memory was when my grandmother was the matriarch of the McCrackan family. She loved having family around as much as possible. And I recall many gatherings of family and friends. It wasn’t fancy but it was friendly. Friendliness was something I encountered a lot when I was out and about this summer.

My mom became the McCrackan family matriarch after my grandmother passed but living in the States our family only made comparatively brief, though regular visits. I hated being referred to as the American because well, I’m not. I’m proud to be a Canadian and so I’m also proud to now be the McCrackan matriarch (I kept my maiden name).

If I do nothing else, I’d like to take a page from my grandmother’s book in making people feel welcome when they are anywhere on the property that is shared by the descendants of  Frank and Alice. My spouse seems to have gotten a jump on the ‘building of good cheer’- thing. Because I work until the wee hours while at the Lake and thus sleep in, I’m not outside as much as he is, but give me some good swimming weather and just try to keep me out of the lake. 🙂


Goodbye To Maple Lake For Now #maplelake #ontario (PHOTOS)

Ξ August 2nd, 2013 | → 0 Comments | ∇ Algonquin Township, Canada, cottage country, family, Haliburton, Haliburton Highlands, holiday(s), Maple Lake Ontario, Minden Hills Township, My dog, nature, Obi, Ontario, Photography, summertime, Travel/Vacation |

Heading Home To Chicago Tomorrow

Maple Lake Ontario - August 1 2013

Maple Lake Ontario – August 1 2013

I cannot believe that I just spent the longest consecutive stretch of time at Maple Lake since I was 12-and-a-half years old(!)

The time went really fast.

As usual, I was not really keen on leaving the Lake for much other than groceries and gas, going to the laundromat (as infrequently as possible) and fetching drinking water from Stanhope Airport (though I confess, I only make my coffee and rinse my hair with it).

Maple Lake Ontario July 31 2013

Maple Lake Ontario July 31 2013

For one, when alone, I had all the chores that are unique to cottage life to do–plus taking care of Obi (I think we may be the only people on the Lake that actually walk our dog here). My dad and his friend were here for 8 days which kept me occupied, I spent last weekend in the city of my birth–Toronto–meeting up with some old and new friends.  Took loads of photos–wish I could have gotten the battery on the boat up and running sooner because it is a blast rolling around silently on the lake. I am not a motorboat fan–if I wanna feel the wind in my hair and get randomly splashed I can go on a flume ride at Disneyland. You cannot even hear the electric motor when it is running–there’s no lake or noise pollution. I hope friends/family who visit will get a lot of enjoyment out of it. The rowboat we attach it to is at least 35 years old, based on the fact that my grandfather painted the family name on it and he couldn’t have done so much past 1985–plus it was the boat that came with this cottage–what we then called the rental cottage. That’s a longer story. Anyway, it suits our needs just fine and should have quite a few years left in it.

Obi in the little red rowboat on Maple Lake Ontario

Obi in the little red rowboat on Maple Lake Ontario

Speaking of ‘just fine,’ the water was warm the entire time I was here. Even today, with a strong wind and thundershowers passing through, it was warm enough not  to feel chilly–so that was a big bonus as I love to swim. That’s another oddity to me, beside one other older adult (like myself) and some of the the kids (anyone under say, 25) no around here one swims anymore! I don’t get it as this lovely north shore of the lake was made for swimming. There’s a clean, sandy (not muddy) bottom, it stays shallow until way out–that is why this place was picked for us to settle on. Nothing against the kayak-users and sailors (I’m lousy at both) or the canoeists (I’m sort of klutzy so though we own a canoe, it’s more for visitors) but you should know how to swim if you do any of those things, right? I just don’t get not enjoying swimming. I would totally snorkel if there was anything to look at and we have the gear, but alas this is a lake, not a reef. I love to pull the swim dock out (see above photo) and goof around underneath it. Again, I’m not terribly graceful in terms of diving off something but I love to swim, especially underwater where I can actually be graceful, or at least feel so.

Roger, standing atop the septic

Roger, standing atop the septic

The septic system failed but it was way overdue to be pumped out (like, 10-15 years) so it was unsurprising. The city boy I’m married to did his damnedest to get the toilets unclogged but there was nowhere for the clog to go so while I was having fun in the city he was knee -deep in ick. I knew it was the septic as soon as got back from TO and I realized both toilets and the shower were backed up. Anyway, good help from a couple of local men has gotten us back up and (literally) running.

I need to pack now as it is a long way home. We’ll be back the first week in September to close.



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