Up and away

We had the opportunity to borrow a cottage last week from some generous friends, and expected it to be a “fall vacation.” However, it was some of the hottest end of August/early September weather I’ve ever experienced and we felt especially fortunate to be hanging out and swimming at a lake during that time.

This lake connects (by portage) to the lake we went canoe-camping on earlier this summer, an area that’s geologically known as part of the Frontenac Arch – a ridge of granite that links the Canadian Shield to the Adirondack Mountains. The Frontenac Arch is known for its biodiversity and was declared a World Biosphere Reserve in 2002 by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) [1]. Rising from Precambrian rock, the main floor of the cottage is high up in the trees and the deck feels like a tree-house surrounded by large white pines, poplar, maple and hemlock trees.

I was busy writing one day when I heard a bird hit the large front window. At first I thought it was dead, but it “came to” when I picked it up. It had a swollen left eye, and no other injuries that I could see.

Not wanting to leave it on the ground in reach of predators, I set it on a branch to see if it might be able to rest and recover there, but ended up bringing it to the “tree-house” deck when it looked like it was having trouble perching. I searched for the phone number of a woman who cares for injured wild birds in our area – but when I checked on the bird again, it was much more alert and flew into the nearest big pine tree. I think it was a Yellow-throated Vireo (anyone know?).

We discovered that the yellow dog is into swimming in a big way. She’s great at retrieving, of course, but would often just head off for a swim through the lily pads on her own.

One day, my partner returned from a hike announcing, “I’ve brought home dinner!” I expected to see a fish, though I knew we hadn’t brought fishing rods. It was a giant puffball, about the size of a volleyball and was pretty tasty fried in butter. Of course, there’s a lot left and we may be eating it into next year! (Edit: For more information about giant puffballs, check out Tom Volk’s page[2]. As with all other mushrooms, make sure you know what it is before you eat it.)

We had a nice view of the sunset from where we were. I always missed just the right moment for a photo, but the water made a beautiful mirror.


Ross, A. Land before time. ON Nature magazine. Online: http://onnaturemagazine.com/land-before-time.html.

Volk, Tom. Tom Volk’s fungus of the month for August 1998. Online: http://botit.botany.wisc.edu/toms_fungi/aug98.html.

Note: The owners of referenced or linked-to materials do not endorse me or this site.

10 Responses to “Up and away”
  1. donald says:

    welcome home and beautiful shots! looks like a good time was had by all. i have never met a yellow dog that doesn’t LOVE to swim. was even hot here on the maine coast last week, which is unusal any time of the year!

  2. Cait says:

    Hi Donald, thank you! And now it’s breezy and cool – you just never know anymore! I didn’t know hot weather was unusual for Maine.

  3. Sue J says:

    Okay, I’m stumped. What’s a Puffball?

  4. Cait says:

    Hi Sue – this was a Giant Puffball and they are a type of fungus/mushroom. Strange looking things, for sure!

  5. Barbara says:

    What a great vacation! I haven’t been canoeing since I was a child – would love to do it again some day. That is one happy looking dog! And I’m glad the bird seemed to be all right. It was probably pretty stunned at first. And what a huge mushroom! Wow!! Nice to have a hunter-gatherer on hand to do some gathering!

    • Cait says:

      It really was great. I realized after seeing the dog in that photo that she isn’t a Yellow Lab cross as the Humane Society papers indicated, but more of a Golden Retriever – which was confirmed by the vet who said: “definitely a Golden/Hound cross.” I should call her orange dog now, I suppose! Yes, very handy to have a hunter-gatherer on hand (though I must say, we have gotten a bit tired of mushroom over the last week). Hope you can go canoeing again someday soon!

  6. Deb Weyrich-Cody says:

    If you’re ever lucky enough to find another puffball, I understand that they freeze up quite nicely: ) We found one when I was a kid and it was delicious! Pretty sure you’re right about the Vireo. And, whatever her bloodlines, Yellow Dog’s a beauty (‘specially in “retrieving mode”; )

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