March 29, 1917 Woods in Winter


I walked to Potter Creek today. To Joe Lake Dam, then to Joe Lake itself. I passed by the Algonquin Hotel. It’s part of the Grand Trunk Railway outfit. It’s one of the outpost of the Highland Inn that includes Nominigan, and Minnesing. It’s shuttered up tight. It only open after the best of bug season. Around late June.

Today I was looking for a scene in the woods. With the sun getting stronger and the snow melting, the trees cast interesting shadows in the woods. Each day the snow disappears more and more. The nights going below freezing and the days into the fifties makes the snow take on rough and uneven texture. The spring light makes the snow look like a bed of crystals. I guess they are crystal, ice crystals.

Shannon is on a maple sugaring venture. He got the idea from the Highland Inn where they have a sugar bush celebration every year. I remember tapping the sugar maples back home in Leith. I wasn’t crazy about the idea, but my father insisted that we try it. Well we collected the sap but didn’t have a proper boiler. We used an old kerosene tank as a boiler. We scrubbed it and scrubbed it. We thought it was clean, but the maple syrup still tasted like kerosene in the end. I never liked maple syrup from that point on. When offered maple syrup or a lump of brown sugar, I always took the sugar.

Dinner was fine tonight. Annie is the saving grace of this institution that they call Mowat Lodge. We ate in the dining room with the fireplace in full fury. It was another chilly night. Below freezing, meaning that it will be another good day for sap tomorrow.

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