I wake up in the middle of the night and roll over, peeking over hubby to see the clock…the green lights display 3:30 a.m….hmmm…may as well get rolling as the alarm is only going to blare in 30 minutes time anyway and hubby needs his sleep as he has been sick all week with a head cold. Poor guy.
I creep out of bed, grab my clothes and head to the bathroom, carefully resting the bedroom door closed on my way out to minimize noise. After getting myself ready, I head down to the kitchen and put the kettle on for tea while pulling things out of the fridge and freezer to pack in the cooler. The kettle barely whistles before I grab it off the stove and fill the mug. I lug everything to the front door and head upstairs to smooch my sweetie on the cheek and give him a big hug, he responds with the usual ‘carefree drive’, a play on the words drive carefully, as we always drive carefully…
I load the car and pull out of the driveway, ready for the long drive up to the Homestead. The clock in the car displays 4:08 a.m., you are probably wondering why I leave at this time in the morning. Well, for those that are not familiar with traffic in and around the city of Toronto, if you do not get an early start, you are in for an even longer day. There is no other way to get to the Homestead (unless I sprout wings) other than skirting our Province’s capital on the busiest highway in North America. The 401. Busier than the Santa Monica Freeway and I-75 in Atlanta (yes, I googled this info, but I already knew it was the busiest) the 401 is also known as the King’s Highway…of which he can have it back anytime too. If we still had a King that is, perhaps his daughter, Queen Elizabeth would be willing to take it…
By 4:45 a.m., I am on the 400 heading north, with the traffic just starting to build behind me. As the city lights fade, I glance out the window to the left, just in time to see the moon, three-quarters full and orange as a pumpkin hanging low in the sky, just above the western horizon. It was setting, and an absolutely beautiful sight. I was almost compelled to pull over for a photo, but by the time I would have done so and found the camera, the moon would have been gone. The stars would have to keep me company on the remainder of the drive, or at least until the sky starts to lighten with the arrival of a new day.
It is the end of September here, and I find it amazing how late the sun finally makes an appearance in the mornings. Like a sleepy teenager that keeps hitting the snooze button, not wanting to rise and face the day. It is a good 2 hours of driving in the dark before the sky finally starts to turn a faint blue. I was well past the half-way point before I didn’t need the help of the headlights to see. By then I was nearing Hunstville and knew that I had just over an hour left to go. Fog patches appeared in low lying areas, thankfully it was thin and not as thick as pea soup as deer and moose are rampant this time of year by the highways. I was already kept busy on the drive scanning the sides of the highway on the lookout for them. I didn’t need a Deer emblem to join my Impala emblem on the front hood.
With about 45 minutes left to go in the drive, the sun finally peaked over the hills to the east…and blazed on the hillside to my left. The trees, whose leaves are now in full colour, were brilliant shades of crimson reds, burnt oranges and golden shades of yellow. Another photo op missed….darn, but I keep driving and admire them occasionally as the drive is long enough without stopping to take pictures of Mother Nature’s beauty.
I pull into the driveway of the Homestead at exactly 8:00 a.m. About 15 minutes later than I had hoped but that was due to the gas/tea stop back south of Gravenhurst. I think everyone in the little town of Cumberland Beach decided to stop at the Timmy’s at exactly the same time I pulled off the highway. I have never seen so many folks there at 6 a.m. There was no free coffee either, so that ruled out the first thought I had about why so many people were there.
I type out an email to hubby, letting him know I arrived safe and sound, then start to unload the car. Groceries, travel bag, cooler and the new blinds we ordered for the patio door. All find their proper home. I peek out the front window at the bird feeder, empty, did I expect anything less? Nope. The poor birds must have thought I abandoned them. So I head up to the garage to replenish the feeder.
I no sooner have it filled and hoisted back up into the tree when a chickadee lands on the feeder, looks down at me and lets loose a string of “chick-a-dee-dee-dee’s” …which I can only assume is his way of scolding me for allowing the feeder to become empty. Within an hour, the chickadees, nuthatches, a Hairy Woodpecker and a Bluejay are happily chowing down and fighting over the choice sunflower seeds.
After filling the feeder, I head down to the lake to check on the boat. As I walk onto the dock, 2 frogs dart to safety underneath, they were sunning themselves on the exposed rocks of the shoreline. I wondered how long it was going to be before they head into hibernation. Soon I guess as most of the ‘summer’ critters have already disappeared. Flocks of songbirds, northern terns/ducks and cormorants have already departed leaving behind the hardy souls to brave out the winter. The boat is fine, no ropes broken and all looks well. I stare out at the flat lake, which is reflecting a gorgeous shade of blue from the sky. Calm. Peaceful. Serene. Makes the drive worthwhile every damn time.
With everything attended to both inside and outside, I head inside and pull out the laptop to answer emails and make a phone call. Being home for the 3 days was busy. So busy between listing/showing appointments, groceries, sewing a shower gift for a friend’s bridal shower, helping hubby (somewhat) close the pool and laundry that I barely had time to breathe. I spent an hour and half getting business in order, then grabbed my runners to head out for a walk. The sun was warming things up nicely as it was only 1C (34F) when I first pulled in.
As I put on my fleece pullover, I remembered Oddball the Paint Mare down the road. I grabbed a carrot from the fridge and shoved it in my pocket. I headed out thinking again, what a gorgeous morning, clear skies, bright sun and a bare whisper of a breeze. As I turn onto the gravel road, the sun hits my face with its warming rays and my legs are welcoming the movement after being cooped up in the car for almost 4 hours.
I wind along the roadway and the silence is almost deafening. Until a flock of chickadees and sparrows back in the bush noisily chatter to themselves in their search for food. Apparently this flock didn’t get the memo about the feeder being filled up back down the road at the Homestead.
I round the last turn before Oddball’s pasture and scan the wooded area on the right, nope, she’s not there. I walk further on and spot her on the other side of the small, cleared side of her pasture. As usual, her head is down, mowing the lawn. She lifts her head when I whistle and cocks one ear forward, then goes back to eating….hmmph…going to play hard to get today it seems.
I continue on my way out to the end of Bear Creek Road where it meets Sunset Cove Road before turning around and heading back. It is pretty much a mile and half to this point from the Homestead. A good distance to be able to get your daily exercise in. As I approach Oddball’s pasture from the other side, I notice she has moved closer to the wire fence. I guess she thought I would hang around to try and coax her over, I fooled her though. When I was directly across from her, she lifts her head again and stares at me. I whistle once and both ears come forward, she takes 2 steps, then puts her head back down and goes back to grazing.
Fine…be like that.
I continued back toward the Homestead, looking back once over my shoulder to see her looking at me as I walk away. She walks about 5 steps, stops, gazes again, then goes back to eating. Ok, your loss missy. Last week she was bucking and bunny-hopping all along the fence trying to get my attention. Fickle mare…..
The rest of the walk was just as peaceful. The leaves of the Birch and Poplar trees with their golden hues were rustling in the slight breeze and diehard crickets were chirping in the tall grass at the side of the road. I headed up the driveway and into the Homestead to grab some lunch and as I pull off my pullover, the uneaten carrot falls out of my pocket and clatters to the floor. I pick it up and put it back in the fridge…..maybe tomorrow she won’t be so fickle…