I awarded myself an extended vacation to relax and unwind from a hectic 2020. My spouse and assorted family members have spent the greater part of this summer chillin at our favorite escape. With the end of summer and the glamping season looming there is no time to waste.
While here I’ve spent some of my time hand stitching on my small canvases and a little bit of knitting.
I’m sad to say that this leg of our journey is almost over. With very little time left in the season I’m sure we will make at least two more visits to our LittleCabinIn The Woods.
Followers of my blog have heard me speak of my journeys to my little cabin in the woods (lcitw). My lcitw is a retreat located in a northern region of the dairy state. This is where I go to escape from the rigors of daily life. The journey to this escape takes multiple hours via automobile.
On one of our excursions I heard my husband announce that we had just crossed the, “Stress Line.” Being absorbed in my journaling I was not currently aware of our surroundings. Curious why he had said that I glanced up from my spiral notebook to take note of our location. Even after finding my bearings the meaning of his phrase did not ring a bell.
Out of curiosity I asked him to explain. With a smile on his face he shared his thoughts. “Stress Line” was the term people used to describe the geographical location, on our long journey, where the stress accompanied by daily routines is left behind. It is at that pinpoint on the map when relaxation begins to overtake/overcome tense muscles and clenched jaws and replaces them with smiles and a sense of relaxation.
His explanation was not at all what I had expected. Stress line for me conjures up images of earthquake fault lines or stress fractures. I had never thought of using those two words in that context. The usage made complete sense after he explained it.
Now every time I cross that line I think of those two words and remember that moment in my life with a smile and a chuckle.
My husband and I just finished a six day respite at our little cabin in the woods (lcitw). Before heading north we often make an outline of the items or activities we might like to experience. Favorite restaurants, reading and movies are among our usual selections. No matter how much effort we invest in our planning it is always amazing how much time we spend sleeping.
We live a fairly fast-paced life style which takes a toll on us. Paying attention to and managing the fatigue that often ensues takes an intentional focus. The visits to our lcitw help to abate the cycle through rest and relaxation. The down time or sleep usually sneaks in during our first 48 hours. It is not until we find ourselves refreshed that we realize how much we needed to rest.
As we prepare for our trips we gather together the supplies we need to accomplish our goals. If our intent is to eradicate weeds or give our lcitw a bath we might bring with a rake, a weed trimmer and a ladder.
Included in the tubs of supplies traveling with us this time were 16 quilts of all sizes. All 16 had already been quilted and surrounded by either a binding or facing. The last step to be completed was hand stitching. This trip was a perfect opportunity to accomplish that task.
My hope was to at least finish half of the quilts. Much to my surprise I thankfully and very proudly can announce that all 16 are done. Over the next several posts I will give each one its final spotlight.
My Little Cabin in the Woods has been the topic of several postings. Today’s entry is another one in that series. My topic of interest is the memories or experiences detected by my sense of smell.
While living in the woods one is exposed to, or graced by a multitude of fragrances. Some of them are natural to the area and some are not. Some are pleasant and some are not.
On the natural and pleasant side is the strong scent emanating from the towering pines that surround me, the spell of moist earth, the perfumed fragrance of the abundant flowers and the fresh aroma of the forest just after a rainfall. Staying yet in the pleasing category I would also add the enjoyable experience of wood burning in a campfire as well as the fragrance of cooking food.
When thinking of those experiences that would be unpleasant I could only think of two. The scent emitted by a skunk and the undesired, nose pinching odor of sewage being pumped from my Little Cabin in the Woods. Both of them I would much rather avoid.
Whether pleasant or undesired, smells are everywhere. The way in which we react to them is different for each one of us.. Even though there are some things I would rather not experience I am grateful that my sense of smell is intact. My life is much richer because of it.
What naturally goes along with a Cabin In The Woods? Well critters of every kind, of course! Some of them are welcome and some are not. On my must-have-list are butterflies, birds and bats (except not in my cabin). Making the OK list is turtles and frogs and on my thanks-but-no-thanks list is ants, spiders, snakes, raccoons, gophers, flies mosquitoes, bees, hornets and all other bugs, to name a few.
Living in the woods without sharing your outdoor space with many of these creatures is next to impossible. We are, after-all, invading their domain; the place they call home. If they could communicate in a way that we could understand I wonder what they would say?
There are two creatures that seem to have collided with my Little Cabin in the Woods, the ant and an unknown guest. Evidence of the ant population can be seen just about everywhere. The tell-tale sign of their presence is their characteristic mound. I’m sure you’ve seen them. Their painstakingly assembled home gently rises above the surface of the earth. All those tiny little grains of sand are neatly stacked in a shape similar to that of a volcano.
Hoards of ants can be seen maintaining their tiny home. My Little Cabin in the Woods apparently has laid out the welcome mat for these critters because there has been an ongoing battle between us and them. They have found the cool, dark refuge beneath the rug on my deck to be an irresistible location to raise a colony. Left undisturbed the space between the surface of my wooden deck and the underside of my rug can become quite crowded.
I discovered their secret hiding place one day while sweeping the rug. The edge of the rug happened to catch on the bristles of my broom. As my broom swept across, the edge flipped up. With the rug raised into the air I could see the surface beneath the rug; that’s when I became aware of the ant colony. Hurriedly the ants began scurrying away.
To encourage their complete exodus I turned the edge of the rug over even further and anchored it down with a few large stones. I also assisted with their move by swiping my broom over the surface of the wooden deck.
To promote the drying out of the wood, I allowed the breeze and the sun to do their thing. Once the moisture had been evaporated I released the rug from the weight of the rocks and allowed it to return to its original position. Now every once in a while I lift the rug to see if the ants have returned, but so far they have not.
Ants have occasionally been found inside my trailer but never to the extent that I have found them on the side of my Little Cabin in the Woods. For a time an army of ants could be seen marching along the edge of the electrical cord that has attached my cabin to power. From the thick, round, black cord they marched single-file up the steep expanse of the side of my Little Cabin in the Woods to the roof. What attracted them to those heights is beyond me.
Not knowing what their intentions were we decided to discourage their continued migration by spraying the cord and the side of my cabin with an environmentally friendly deterrent. After a few repeated applications the mass progression came to a halt. Now all that can be seen are the occasional explorers.
The most puzzling creature is the one that has taken up residence between a small segment of the wall on the east side of my Little Cabin in the Woods. I first noticed his/her existence while busying myself with sewing. Over the whir of my machine I was startled by what sounded like scratching or chewing of wood. At first I thought the noise came from my little companion Sadie but a quick check for her proved me wrong. Sadie was sound asleep, snoring in her favorite place, totally unaware.
I listened further. Whatever was inside continued to chew. I tapped on the wall and it stopped, waited a while and started again. I tapped harder and more frequently. I wanted my message to come through loud and clear. For a time the sound stopped. I had no idea who was making their presence known nor of what species the creature belonged.
At first I thought it might be a red squirrel. Red squirrels have earned the reputation of being a nuisance here. While they haven’t, as of yet, to my knowledge, made their presence or should I say done damage to my Little Cabin in the Woods they have raised havoc at the home behind mine.
From time to time I have heard them scamper across the roof of my refuge and for a time thought one of them might be my unwanted guest. I’m fairly certain the red squirrel is not to blame because I had the owner of the property walk around on top of my roof looking for tell-tale signs of a visit but none were found.
Left on my list of suspected culprits is either a mouse or a bat. I’m strongly leaning toward a bat because of the habits it is exhibiting. Activity seems to take place in the morning when I would expect a bat to return and in the evening when it would want to leave.
I make it a habit to annoy the mysterious guest by tapping on the wall in the vicinity of the latest noises. By creating a noisy environment I’m hoping I might be able to annoy it to encourage an early departure. Then again I’m not certain a checkout is possible because my husband has been methodically sealing up every entry point he can find. It’s quite possible that my unwanted guest may be trapped. Only time will tell.
I know that bats are our friends, especially here, because they are voracious consumers of the pesky mosquito. However I would much rather accommodate them with shelter far away from my Little Cabin in the Woods.
I will provide updated information on my guest’s identity and his/her fate as further tidbits are made available. Until then I say thank you to the creatures of these woods for allowing me to live alongside them in separate habitats. As long as they leave me alone I will do the same.