Creating a Happy, Colorful, Handmade Home & life on the shores of lake superior

September 23, 2013

Movin' to the Country

. . . gonna eat a lot of peaches.



In my case: apples, from the apple trees in our yard that reportedly lure the bears on to the little lane between our house and garage.

Things are looking sufficiently messy at the lakehouse, but with my parents' help I'm making progress.  All of us are afraid of heights, but my Mandelbaum Mom braved her way up the ladder to the scaffolding, to prime and paint that beam and those top windows (will she comes back to clean them every spring too?).



In progress . . .
The lakehouse is still a jumble of half-finished projects and drop cloths, but I thought first I should really tell you a little bit more about where the lakehouse is anyway.  We'll soon be relocating 1500km from Ottawa to our rural property on Lake Superior, about 60km from Thunder Bay, my hometown.  I don't think I shared the little tidbit that our lovely lakehouse is in the sticks.  For those who aren't familiar with it, Thunder Bay is a small city of only 109,000 people.  It's surrounded by a lot of beautiful scenery and populated by a lot of Finns!  It's also a hop, skip and a jump from the USA border.


The hour long drive from town (including 10km on a dirt road) is new to me, as is the total quiet, and dark, at night.  I'm a city girl who is kind of really afraid of the woods at night so the abundance of forest around us is unnerving.  Country living in it's entirety is a huge adjustment for me, but I've already found new hobbies, like my daily "chase the geese away" run, done while making squawking sounds (the buggers don't jet if I just yell at them, they want the squawk).  I need new hobbies like this, though, as spray painting season has been cut short for me (it's been dipping down close to freezing temperatures at night, and quite chilly during the daytime).  Living in this part of Ontario, I'll have to get used to the colder temperatures, plus the copious amounts of snow.  


Hubs grew up in a small town outside Thunder Bay on 80 acres, so he's used to living in the country and relishes the things that creep me out (the dark, the woods, the total quiet).  As the only authorized "country folk" in the house he's also been setting rules, like "don't feed the wild animals," but are they that wild when they saunter straight into your house if the door is left open?  And what about if they eat muffin pieces right out of your hand while you're outside taking a well deserved break?


And does it count if they are this cute?  I think I might get used to the country pretty quickly with Foxy Fox, Shifty McGee and Fatso (my three neighborhood foxes) around. 

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52 comments

  1. Omg those foxes are beautiful! We actually had foxes in the suburbs where I grew up!! After youve been in your new house for a year you should do a city vs country update. Id be interested to hear since Ive only ever lived in the city!

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    1. That's a great idea - I'll definitely do an update!!

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  2. that fox is a part of your family now. DONE AND DONE. it's sooo cute!

    I feel you on the country living- I grew up literally 5 minutes outside of Boston and my husband grew up down the street from a horse farm. When we talk about our house #2 being out in the country I think we have wildlyyyyyy different ideas of what that means. To me, it means there's some trees and the grocery store is 20 minutes instead of 5. hahah

    can't wait to see it all come together :)

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    1. The grocery store is 45 minutes away!!! But I still don't think this is enough "country" for Hubby because we can see neighbours from the road (there are trees between us and no one across the road), but I didn't want to feel totally isolated. Hopefully you guys can strike a good compromise for house #2.

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  3. You're a regular Snow White! ;)

    Love the updates and good luck with all that painting! My husband not-so-secretly wants to move to the country, but I fear the daily commute back and forth to work. Lakefront living would surely help make up for it though!

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    1. Lol. Next I need to train them to do my dusting and sew my a dress. Currently they're freeloaders. The commute will be tricky but the peaceful lake to come home to makes it better. Not sure I could have been lured into the country without it!

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  4. OK, this post wins - with the peaches video and the FOXES!

    (there may or may not have been squeeing going on here. maybe. perhaps.)

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    1. Haha! I am surprised they are not scared away by my real life squeeing right in their faces. They are so gentle too, nicely taking the snack with just their front teeth.

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  5. Wow - your new home is looking really good - even though I know how much of a difference paint can make, I'm always pleasantly surprised when I see the results.
    I can't believe the fox came in your house! I'd freak - there would be much yelling, and jumping up on high surfaces

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    1. I stood there, frozen, as I watched the little fella just saunter in. At one point, Fatso also stole a roller (a mini one, in a wrapper) and I had to chase him to get it back.
      I'm also amazed at how much brighter it's looking with white paint and trim. I thought with those giant windows it couldn't possibly look brighter!

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  6. Wow, what an adjustment. I can't believe the little fox came right into your house! How did you pick that spot? Do you have family nearby? Will you get snowed in this winter or does someone plow the roads? And will you work from home? This is going to be an exciting journey. The house is looking great already. It will be so cozy sitting by the fire and watching the snow fall, with a fox curled up at your feet! Can't wait for your next post.

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    1. We have family in Thunder Bay, so that's what lured us back. Also, I wanted to be on the water and housing there is very affordable - even lakefront! The roads are plowed but the driveway is up to us. I am hoping to get a teaching job that will allow me some time to work from home, but I still need to defend my dissertation, so for right now I'm in limbo on the job front.

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  7. I live in a city-ish place on Lake Michigan and have seen a fox stroll down our front walk. But WALKING INTO YOUR HOUSE? How did you have the nerve to stand there and take a picture? :)

    Otherwise, it's looking fantastic, so clean and bright. Kudos to your mom for the high spots. And best wishes on your big adventure!

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    1. He came in dozens of times while the door was open (so the paint could dry) and I had a chance to grab a camera. I'd be in the other room, painting, and hear the pitter patter of his feet on the drop cloths.

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  8. OMG that fox is adorable!!!!!!

    And your house is coming along nicely! Keep up the good work :-)

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    1. I love foxes already, so this is such a neat experience to see them up close.

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  9. BE STILL MY HEART! Those fox pictures are toooo cute. Also, the Canada goose is one of my favorite birds! I love their colors. I love your new place; so excited for you!

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    1. I USED to love geese . . . lol. Weirdly, the seagull is one of my favorites.

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  10. EEEEE! So adorable. I would totally make wild animal feeding exceptions for foxes.

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  11. that fox is ADORABLE! too bad they arent as nice as they seem! lol
    getting used to living in the country was easy for when our house was finished because i grew up in the country...it still can be a little scary when you are alone at night and watch too many crime shows! but don't worry, there are many more positives than negatives

    and also HOLY COW are you guys moving accross country basically!

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    1. Well, we're moving across all of Ontario, pretty much.
      And yes, crime shows are off limits for me because they give me too many ideas!! I'm pretty confident the pluses will out weigh my irrational fears. Or maybe this time next year I'll be posting jibberish posts about the zombies I've been feeding to keep them from eating me.

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  12. I WANT A FOX TO COME INTO MY HOUSE.

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  13. omg Mr Foxy Fox is so cute :) I really dream of living in the country too. It looks like everything if off to a good start with the lake house, tough :D
    Dora
    http://adropofindigo.blogspot.ca/

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    1. Everything is going pretty smoothly, except for a few bumps in the road. I'm hoping the winter won't do me in!! So much snow, such a long driveway!

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  14. OMG...the fox pictures are amazing. I lived in the country when I was a teenager, and we had coyotes in our yard every night, but they'd always run away when we came outside. I can't believe your foxes will curl up and take a nap on the deck!!! (I've had a possum come into my house before and a skunk under my gazebo, right here in the city but I don't think that counts for much, compared to your fox.)

    You're making great progress on the lakehouse. I'm so happy for you and can't wait to see it when it's done.

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    1. I would not enjoy the company of a skunk, but a possum would be cute!! I would also be happy with coyotes that bolt. These foxes are lucky they are so darn adorable.

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  15. love the beautiful lake and the foxes! my husband also loves the country. it's an adjustment - having to plan your trips into town rather than just running out whenever you want something. but i've adjusted and have grown to love my gardening, an occasional brood of chickens, + scouring through the woods for seasonal decorations and wild mushrooms for dinner. the trade-off is definitely worth it!

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    1. I'm happy to hear the adjustment is pretty easy and the benefit outweigh the inconveniences. The nature is beguiling and I do have a bevvy of mushrooms - everywhere!!

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  16. "sun soakin bulges in the shaaaade..." We love this song in our house, it always makes us laugh. You can't eat a peach, or even say the word, in our house without someone breaking into this song. The lyrics are so funny...

    Wow, so exciting at the lakehouse! The white is making a tremendous difference- it already looked lovely but it looks so bright and open and brimming with potential.
    I love that little fox- it's funny they're not timid.
    I'm not sure if you and hubby are dog people but having a dog is a sure way to keep the geese at bay. My dad lives on a canal; all the neighbouring houses have some form of goose deterrent- either a coyote decoy or pie plates strung along a rope or other shiny whirlygigs to try to scare off the geese. None of it helps....except my dad's dog. The geese don't even land on his yard.
    I imagine that it would deter other wildlife... even just their scent around the yard. However, the little fox is a pretty cute sighting... although perhaps more so on the other side of the door...
    Good luck with all that painting.

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    1. Haha!! We have the same reaction!!

      I think a dog might just have to join the lakehouse life . . .

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  17. You can almost see my town on that map! I just googled it.. 819 km from my town to Thunder Bay! That's a days drive! If you're ever in the area... our house is the one I just painted it our front door.. TOURQUOISE!

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    1. Oh my gosh, I'm jealous of your door!! I bet it looks AMAZING. I love that in Canada, 819 km is close. That's a country in Europe, lol.

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  18. Oh my God.
    This is a horror movie in the making.
    You're going to wake up one day and there will be 100 of them. Staring.

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    1. Lol. Foxes or geese?? I think the geese would scare me more, I think they actually bite.

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  19. Big adjustment but so fun. I've decided i'm a natural outsider who just gets bored if we're too comfy. So, like you, we bought a place ''off the beaten track,'' a 45 minute drive to the nearest grocery store. Love it here, but I feel a little like Zza Zza Gabor in Green Acres: dumb city girl who calls a plumber instead of knowing how to do it herself. We're the only ones on the street who don't own a gun, roof our own roof, etc. However I do now know how to light a fire in the wood stove without fearing I'm going to burn the kitchen down. Love your foxes by the way!! Do you have coyotes around? THAT's another new experience for a city girl. Hearing those guys howl at night sends shivers up the spine. Enjoy!

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    1. It's so funny - we thought we'd become so much more rough and tumble in our neighborhood, but some of our neighbor's seem a little prissy and fancy. Not sure if they will like our ways, lol. I am currently a Zsa Zsa Gabor gal, but I'd like to be the take care of it herself type too.

      No coyotes . . . yet.

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  20. If only you could train the fox brood to chase the geese away ...

    I love Canada geese, but the poop! I myself have a rather large herd of deer to contend with; our backyard is like Fort Knox. Is it too much to ask to have lovely red geraniums in the fall months?

    LOVE your blog!

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    1. That would be a neat trick. But I think the geese have the upper hand in numbers and size - they sure are plump! I'm so happy you like the blog :) Thanks for your kind words.

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  21. Foxes are quite popular in Norway these days ;)

    The Fox by Ylvis:

    http://youtu.be/jofNR_WkoCE

    Enjoy :)

    Love your diy tips! Got my dear to start welding me a desk from your step by step guide on Remodelaholic, slow progress, but looks like it will turn out great!

    Good luck with your renovations!

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    1. I actually saw that video - Hubby sent me the link. I love it!! It's so wonderful and weird. But it gets so stuck in my head . . .

      I'm so excited you're working on a welded desk project. I'd love to see photos when you're done :)

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    2. Pics could happen! Might just take a while as we are not the fastest workers ;)

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  22. Wow I've never had such a close encounter with a fox. Lucky you! I guess that's the upside of country living. Me so jealous!

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    1. I had never been that close before either!! I think it also has a lot to do with the former owners feeding them too, maybe since they were little. Awww, little foxes.

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  23. Oh, my. Those foxes are so stinkin' cute. We've got them as well... but they kinda ate my neighbor's dog. Not so cute :(

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  24. Oh what a beautiful welcoming committee! What luck.

    Vanessa

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  25. Tanya, I know this comment is way late since you have lived in your Lakehouse for sometime now but if the foxes are still charming you, you might want to read a series of books by Alexander McCall Smith. The series is called 'The Sunday Philosophy Club'. They are charming books, a great way to while an afternoon away in front of your fire. The protagonist, Isabel Dalhousie has a fox that lives in her backyard. She calls it Brother Fox. Give the series a try!

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    1. Oh that series sounds so good! I have a degree in Philosophy too, so I think I need those on my nightstand, lol. I'll definitely look for it (I have a Chapter's gift certificate burning a hole in my wallet).

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  26. The stories are light on Philosophy but I think you will enjoy them. I find I enjoy them when I need a book that totally takes me away. Nothing too serious.

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