Among the many chores required to open the cabin, vacuuming is high on the list.  

This year, the little machine that was perfect for the task and has done a yeoman’s job for many years, blew up. I had just switched it on when it made a strange gurgling sound, whined and with grey smoke billowing out in a great puff, died.  

I dashed to unplug it as the smell began to permeate the cabin and with the good fortune of blue-sky weather and plenty of windows to open for fresh air to breeze in, I retreated to sit on the deck and inhale.  

But that was just the beginning.  With family to share in the routine tasks of getting the place up and running, one of them started mowing the grass.  It had grown long, very long so the machine was struggling and not quite up to the demand. It managed to plow through the most visible lawn (which is a fancy description of grass and weeds) by the road, leaving clumps of grass like large birds’ nests to prove the effort.  

After putting the mower through such a struggle, the gear shift stuck in permanent “on.” After pushing it back to the shed, a son-in-law figured out how to shut it off, hung a sign of “free” on it and set it by the road. Not worth the fuss and bother of repair and definitely showing its age of Herculean duty for so many years, it was time to part ways.

That meant that within a day, I was in the hardware store looking for appliances to vacuum and mow, but not with the same machine. Though some day that may be a possibility.

After the dormant life of a garden, sometimes called winter, there is always the chore of weeding, watering and feeding. Having put down a fresh layer of mulch last fall, there was the significant improvement of less maintenance which was my intention all along. Everything seems to have weathered well and the hostas look like I have been fattening them up with beefsteak. Now it remains to keep the deer from having a feeding frenzy on them for lunch.  We will have to see if my trusty bit of dusting powder will deter their temptation.  

Between that and having to stake a netting barrier on the shoreline to prevent the geese from using our front yard as a latrine, we were kept typically busy preparing the place for seasonal activities and enjoyment. The list of cabin chores never seems to diminish but a barbecue afterward eases the pace and provides a necessary reprieve to the relentless pace of “tidying up.” This followed by a leisurely cruise on the lake is always welcome relief at the end of the day and to our tired, unconditioned muscles.  

 Cutting grass and vacuuming aside, another summer is underway and the haven at the lake will bring its own reward as we sit and ponder life’s distinct beauty in a sunset.

Janice Kimes sketches the domestic cartoon of life with its inevitable calamities, delights and vigor. She and her family enjoy their seasonal Aitkin County cabin.

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