That was one busy weekend. We enjoyed our last bit of crazy cold swimming on Thursday and Friday morning, then took the dock out Friday afternoon. On Saturday John had a speech to give to the Ontario Landowners Association meeting in beautiful Tyrone (north-east of Oshawa) in the afternoon so we packed the kids and the dog for a round-trip. John's speech on Magna Carta went swimmingly, the kids behaved remarkably well (reading, writing stories, colouring quietly while the adults talked and talked and talked), and the puzzled hound was on his best behaviour too.

We came back to our island late last night in near-pitch darkness under light but cold rain. We had to land at the "winter dock". See, our dock is a floating dock and it spends the winter in a quiet bay tethered to trees, a few feet off the shore. It's easy enough to land the boat there but it means everyone has to step through some water and then clamber up the hill over a hundred feet from the back of the cottage, through the woods, in the dark.

I got off the boat and made sure the kids (who were of course carrying stuff; everyone pitches in around here) were safely on land and sent them on their way. They all had headlamps and they know the terrain pretty well, but still, it's dark, it's cold, it's raining, and there's this wind... I'm helping Middle Child who nearly tripped to find her footing and next thing I know the Youngest One is shouting at us to "get a move on please". The little goat made her way up that hill, through the woods, in the dark, wearing a small plastic headlamp, in less than two minutes. She's five.

I stopped right there and burst out laughing. See what I mean about being grateful to have a place like this to raise kids? I so enjoy the fact that they don't spook easy, that they can cope with wild things, that they're at home in the woods. It's so neat.

But neat or not, we still had to close up the place today, and that was the stressful and anxiety-inducing part. We had to dismantle and winterize the water and septic system, and while we have a good routine going (with checklists and everything), it's a problem if we forget something and a pipe bursts when we turn the water back on in the spring. Ask me how I know.

But we did it, said goodbye to our island (a tear or three may have been shed), and drove back to Ottawa. We took the kids for a quick bike ride at sunset, had dinner, put some stuff away, and bam, fatigue set it.

It was a very busy weekend, and a very successful one. And now I feel like I can finally sleep.