The Summer Place

FTLComm - Crooked Lake - August 16, 1999

Having a summer place is a tradition that goes back to the earliest days of this continent. Long before the arrival of the Europeans, the nomadic people of this land, had their summer locations and with arrival of settlers from another continent, the whole process seems to have taken off. The English are not the only folks to move to their summer cottages and homes in summer, but it was common practice in Russia and France. So it seems only natural for Canadians to have cottages around lakes and beauty spots. Homes away from home to vacation and let life run at its own pace.

Bert Shire and his wife Marion have enjoyed this tradition for years but in a somewhat different
manner. They and their neighbours have taken

a normal travel trailer and set it up on a lot permanently to serve as their home away from home. Of course there are cottage owners as well at the beautiful Qu'Appelle lake they live beside, but there are also a lot of people with trailers who have turned them into a special place to spend the summer. In Bert and Marion's case they move out to the Lake as soon as the campground has its water turned on and that is in early May and remain there until Labour Day.
Together they have fashioned a decorative yard filled with flowers and birds out of the little plot that offers them pleasure and a rich environment to spend their summer.
The great golf course nearby is the main attraction, but there is always a chance to go fishing and remarkable good company to spend the long summer days.

Below is a look around their little yard using QuickTime VR. You can use your mouse to tour the yard. You are seeing it at about 8:00 Sunday morning with the sharp shadows of the day. Marion has cucumbers, various varieties of tomatoes growing amidst the flowers and Bert has added some features to make things fit together and have some harmony.

Outdoor living has never been as important as it is now with people having decks on homes and cottages and people wanting to spend more time enjoying the things that grow. Though there is a strong tradition for people to build gardens, for both beauty and practical food production, I doubt if we as a society, have ever valued this sort of activity as much. The growth in green houses to provide the products people want and the development of appliances and tools to make the outdoor environment even more pleasant, are clear indicators of the trend.

I have noticed that this year, flowers are no longer being considered as a frill, but we now have come to expect them and need them around every dwelling. People encourage each other and lend a hand to solve interesting horticultural problems. Talk radio phone in shows feature experts and magazines and newsletters on the topic are selling well on the news stand and by subscription.

One of the interesting phenomena that I have noticed is the remarkable growth in the ornamentation in terms of sculptures and other decorative articles, as this has become a major industry and few yards do not have some feature that enhances the flowers and shrubs. Many people have installed fountains in their yards while others are developing esthetic environments with the use of trees and rocks. There is also a growing number of people using water in their yards to grow lilies and develop life that would be found it a marsh environment. Bird feeders are increasing, as are bird houses, especially those for Purple Martins.

One neighbour of Marion's was very upset with a Peregrine falcon that has established itself at Crooked Lake and of course is raising hell with the song birds, she called the Department of Natural resources to complain about the behaviour of this endangered species bird that she wanted something done about it and was surprised to hear the conservation officer's defense of this predator