Magic Cottage Creations

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January 27, 2017


By Maryanna Gabriel

I drove east from Vancouver along the route that parallels the border. I wanted to enjoy the fall colours and I reasoned a smaller border crossing into the United States might be less arduous because of the attack in New York. After a hard day's travel I found myself stopping in a place called Conkle Lake and decided it would be a good place to stay the night. As I unloaded my kayak, two hunters appeared dressed in camouflaged overalls. Great. 
Water colour of Conkle Lake. 
Nervously I paddled quickly away hoping they wouldn't shoot me or anything else for that matter. I didn't like that they were armed and I was not. Happily, they disappeared and much to my dismay the temperatures dropped as night fell. Ice formed on the inside of the camper. I had trouble figuring out how to operate the furnace. The next morning the windows were covered in frozen crystals. Exiting the camper I slipped on some unexpected ice on the stairs and hurt my back, flinching with the injury. It was time to break camp and head towards the sun. Gingerly I approached the border and while I was confident all of my paper work was in place I knew it wasn't going to be easy. Little did I know.

January 20, 2017

In Spite Of It All

By Maryanna Gabriel

It took me ever so long to understand how I was going to transport my beloved kayak after painful negotiation with mechanics regarding truck springs for the camper weight and solenoid batteries for recharging the battery and goodness knows what else. I had a
Customized Holder For My Beloved Kayak 
customized kayak holder made as I was travelling alone and wanted very much to be able to offload the 44 pound kayak
 without assistance. I was starting to feel ready. It was a time rather long ago now but when I was very much more spritely and considerably less wise, that I embarked on the journey. Why, in fact, it was immediately after 9/11 (when America was still the land of the free...). I had been hesitating considerably as I am wont to do on a big trip and for some reason I was delaying. When 9/11 happened it was immediately clear as to why I was hovering. Suddenly the scheme seemed dubious and I hesitated even more until I realized that if I was really going to do this, now was it. I had a lovely camper, I had the time, I had the funds, and incredibly the nod for time off from my work as an assistant to a busy realtor. All signs were fortuitous. I was kind of hoping I would not be spirited away by terrorists in the process and so I set out amid much shaking of heads. The Twin Towers being bombed was kind of a serious worry. Was America going to war? My daughter said to me, "Mom, honk twice before you back up and never talk politics." I replied, "Hmmmmm." The season was getting late. I caught the ferry to the mainland somewhat riddled with a gnawing anxiety. I was too young to die surely. 

January 13, 2017

Introducing Bigfoot

By Maryanna Gabriel 

In love....
I had fallen in love. This time it was with a camper. I was enamoured with the idea of being able to go anywhere and prepare my own meals and sleep in comfort. The first time I saw the thing I was dumbstruck. My daughter was with me and impatient with my circling around it in spellbound fashion in a town far to the north. Writing down the phone number I reluctantly left and drove her to where she needed to be. I could not stop thinking about the thing. Finally, I just yielded to the idea of phoning about it, if only to calm myself. A very nice man answered the phone and invited me to come and view it. It was about a five hour drive away but that seemed perfectly reasonable to me. 

The moment I looked inside I was a goner. It was just a thing of beauty and perfection 
Entranced and charmed....
made in oak with brass finishing and done in wedge-wood blue with rose curtains by a comfortable bed. All was thoughtfully detailed. I was entranced and charmed. It was like it was made for me. The man who had designed this particular Bigfoot used to design boats and the model I was looking at was legendary. I did not know that at the time. All I knew was that I wanted it. Small detail. I lacked a truck. No worries. Someone was selling one just around the corner. So I bought the rig. I put everything on my charge card. That seemed to resolve a tremendous amount for me and when I later walked into the bank they were all laughing at my story. Well of course that amount of money needed a more tenable negotiation. This is the beginning of a very expensive story. 

January 7, 2017

It's Winter After All

By Maryanna Gabriel

A parka would be good. "It's winter after all," someone said to me recently. Oh sure. I was asking if he thought it really was minus nine. Fine. The persistent cold just feels wrong. It is hard for me not to feel personally affronted as I spy my primroses in a surprised state of arrested frozen emergence. This is all distinctly uncharacteristic of lotus land.

I have opened up the Edam Cheese that I made and wrote about. It has been aging for several weeks. I taste it thoughtfully. Hmmm. After some rumination I decide it is a cross between feta and cheddar with a kind of rustic undertone as if one could rip off a piece of peasant bread and eat it poised quaintly under a might oak. It's nice. I might try making it with caraway seed next time. 

I have been wanting to write about a trip I took into the United States. It was in a camper.....