Family life

It’s spring in cottage country

While most of Canada is celebrating the first day of spring, our Run-at-home mom misses the sub-zero temperatures

By Jennifer Pinarski
It’s spring in cottage country

My son's favourite part of our day in the maple sugar bush was driving a team of horses though the trail.

It’s spring in Ontario's cottage country. Over the weekend, our small town was buzzing with our city neighbours returning to open up their cottages. The ice is off of nearly all the lakes and the river in our backyard is fully thawed and running fast. My fall bulbs are popping up and I’m sure any day now I’ll see trilliums on my trail runs. I should be happy, but I’m miserable. 
To our family, spring in cottage country means:
  • the mosquitoes are out
  • my basement is full of spiders
  • my deck is covered in spiders
  • there are ants inside and outside my house
  • the moths are back
  • there is skunk roadkill everywhere
  • our turf war with the raccoons has started again, since they are out of hibernation and tearing apart our garbage
  • the bears will soon be out of hibernation and I’ll have to get off of the trails
I’d give anything for a few days of sub-zero temperatures to kill all of the bugs. I’d swap SPF for mittens to give me a break from the raccoons scaling the trees to jump on our deck to either poop or tear things apart.
To be fair though, there are many wonderful things about spring in Ontario’s cottage country. 
  • our small town, which thrives on tourism, comes to life
  • spring wild flowers are gorgeous (but I have to be on top of the kids to not pick the trilliums)
  • more daylight hours mean that my evening training runs can go longer
  • maple syrup festivals are everywhere
Of all of the good things about spring, it’s the maple syrup that makes putting up with the smelly roadkill and giant spiders worthwhile. As a girl, I spent every spring in my father’s sugar bush, helping collect sap, topping up the fire that boiled down the sap and, my favourite, making taffy by dipping sap into the snow. Last weekend, we took our kids to the Warkworth Maple Syrup Festival. Very different from the way our family processed maple syrup, with sophisticated taplines and stainless steel drums, the Sandy Flat Sugar Bush in Warkworth is a study in efficiency. My husband, who had never seen how maple syrup was made, suddenly had a new appreciation for the cost of maple syrup. Our children loved maple syrup candy floss and the horse-drawn wagon rides through the bush. And I loved watching my family making the same memories that I had as a girl.
Maybe spring around here isn’t so bad after all.
This article was originally published on Mar 20, 2012

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