The last two blog titles were song lyrics and I thought about writing a blog post about music. To those that know me well this will be met with skepticism about why I would do that. I have thought in the past about doing just that but tonight I only bring it up because I was trying to find the lyrics to a song that would match my entry and could be used as a title but alas my hour long search didn’t reveal the perfect words so the title is a tad obtuse.
The highlight of my summers as I was growing up was going to camp. Growing up in a farming family in southern Saskatchewan meant that we didn’t take much in the way of holidays but each child was sent to a suitable camp. So summer to me meant mess halls, campfires with your new friends and sleeping on the top bunk. There was structure, activities and if you were lucky, a lake to swim in.
Our one vacation to the lake is a bit of an odd tale. Good friends of my parents had rented a cabin in Kenosee but she was unable to go that week (I suspect illness but I was 5 or 6 so I’m not sure) so her husband asked my mom to go along to help with the children. So Mom and George took her 4 and his 5 to the lake for a week. Seems a bit unorthodox but it worked for them. I have no idea whether we took 2 cars and where everyone slept but I do have one distinct memory.
But I digress because really this post is about summer at the cabin. This was a concept that was quite foreign to me until I moved back to Saskatoon. It is quite common to hear people say they are off to the cabin at the lake. Now, of course, I have a concept of cabins and lakes but no real first hand experience. In recent years I have been lucky enough to spend girl time with my twisted soul sister friends at L’s cabin. Which incidentally, is one of the nicest houses I have ever been in. As the children were growing up they spent some time at Wakaw with friends and we went out on a couple of occasions. The original family cabin was a true little cabin but their subsequent cabin was really more of a house. Other friends sold their cabin at the lake because it seemed to them like just another yard and house to care for which is perhaps why people fancy having brand new cabins. I won’t belabour the difference between a house and a cabin but there is definitely a difference.
Fast forward to the last 2 days when we stayed at one friend’s lake house and helped with the build of a new cabin for other friends. These two couples have always shared going to the same lake so it was nice for us to see both their places and have a hand in helping Georgina and Blair with their build. They outgrew the family cabin about two years ago and bought their own place but when push came to shove decided it needed too much work. So this spring they demolished it and made room for a custom designed log home. We were very disappointed when the delivery of the package was delayed by 3 days as this meant the weekend we were free to go help there was nothing to do. We then had commitments for the next two weekends and so it wasn’t until our return from our pre booked R & R time camping at Diefenbaker that we headed north.
It was exciting to see how far they had come but there was an urgent need to get it to lock up (if you are unfamiliar with this construction term it just means entrances secured from entry by two or four-legged visitors). They have been overwhelmed by how many friends and family have shown up to lend a hand. Their neighbour from down the road was like a kid in a candy store as he had always wanted to build a log cabin. As one set of people move out more roll in and so the project has moved forward at an amazing rate. They were stalled for a couple of days by the roof section for the screened in porch. They have had a couple of rain delays so felt they were a bit behind which meant we became Georgina’s new old best friends! We set to work putting up the fascia boards on the main roof line as the roofers were coming to do the shingles or so we all hoped. Then we proceeded to install the two doors but no shims meant that was held up a little so we went back to work on the fascia. The doors were eventually installed and then they proceeded to “cipher” the plans to see if the decorative porch trim pieces were indeed placed in the wrong order. With a bit of skillful work they were able to finish up a portion of that. In the meantime I was working on insulating above the windows and doors as nothing is a flush fit because of how the pine logs will settle over time. Today Ron put in the locks and handles on the doors while Georgina and I stained the next set of boards that were needed. Blair and Coleman put up almost all of the fascia boards and would have finished if the rain hadn’t driven them inside. The roofers showed up the first day to put up the paper membrane and then today to put the shingles up on the roof but they deemed it was too wet to go up safely and so trudged off. This was extremely disappointed to Georgina as the inside of the cabin was still taking a licking from the rain now pelting down so we did a little interior decorating with tarps and pails. Ron was able to hand her the keys and then we left to come home.
It was fun and exciting to be part of a new build but I don’t think it will change where we want to be in our spare time. We are pretty ok with visiting the lake when invited but at this point we don’t have the time, money or inclination for a second establishment so we will continue to camp and be more of the rolling stone variety. Having said that though I recognize that cabins are about more than logs, lakes, books to read and boat rides. They are the summer time heart beat of the family. The building matters less than the time spent with family and friends but perhaps the stories of the building will matter in the family chronicles. The tales of 3 wrong cuts, 1 bloody thumb dripping on the floor and the rain. The legacy to their family will be that the door will always, always, be open to family and friends to share time together. The moss grows on the trees as the memories grow in their hearts of time spent at the cabin.
Ps It was great not to be the project manager; only the carpenter and jack of some trades (that’s me not him!). It was wonderful to have meals prepared and the work site cleaned up without us being the most responsible people on site. Maybe when we retire we will hire ourselves out!