Nineteen of us, including babies, headed to the family cottage for the fall clean-up Saturday. We took out screens on the porch and washed the storm windows before putting them up. We cleaned behind the stove and fridge. We raked leaves. We raked and raked and raked. We piled leaves on tarps and dragged them into the woods.
There's a lot to rake, all the way around, down the hill to the lake, and down the driveway.
Our cottage sits on a hill, the highest point on the lake, except for the state-owned woods next door, which we don't have to rake, thankfully. If you know about feng shui, our cottage has a pretty good feng shui position with its hill at the back and side, and facing water.
This is the view of the place from the lake.
It takes a big investment of energy and funds from our individual selves to maintain this place and keep it in the family, now that Mom and Dad are gone. Sometimes Don and I think of the vacations we could take somewhere every year with our share if we didn't have this place to keep up.
And then we gather with our family at one of the spring or fall work days, or the 4th of July, or New Year's, and we realize again that we have something very special. We have a home where our tribe can go, and keep our love alive.
I wasn't even going to post about the cottage clean-up this year, and then when I viewed my pictures I had to show you the acorn harvest and what I learned.
For hours, the kids
The icing on the acorn cake was when Casey (in the next to the last photo, below) decided she was going to make acorn cakes. (You can see the ball of acorn dough in her right hand in that photo; that's a lot of acorns.) I asked her if acorns are edible, she just shrugged her shoulders and smiled big with her gorgeous white teeth just released from their cages (braces). I told her I was not about to sample her acorn cake until I knew they were not poisonous (where was my sick-at-home husband when I needed him?). Someone googled it on their iPhone and we decided we were safe. You know what? Acorn cakes are not bad. She just added flour and water. I could survive with Casey if we were stranded near oak trees.
Of course when I got home and asked the sick [smarty-pants] husband about eating acorns, he coughed and sneezed out a fine lecture on the Native Americans, especially those in California, who made breads and mush with nutritious acorns, soaking them first in water to remove the tannins. They used the tannin water to tan animal hides. Read this beautiful history in our National Archives of the California Indian Acorn Culture. You know what I just remembered? I think Casey's mom has Native American heritage. Casey was not taught this by a relative though. It was in her somewhere, waiting for acorn season when the acorns called.
In the photo above, you can see a number of things: The original structure, on the right, built in the 1920s with its tin roof that is wonderful to fall asleep under in our beds at night when there is a rainfall lullaby (but alarming under acornfall!) and badly needs replacing; at the left, the addition my father built in the 1960s (after my grandpa bought the place for my mom) to accommodate the ten of us, and eventually many, many more; and most importantly for this post, notice the little green sandbox lid at the bottom left behind the woodshed where Casey and Sydney stashed their acorn collection, which ended up in the acorn cake, below. (Oh! Casey and Sydney won!) In the first picture, Gary (visiting from Guatemala, next to Rachel from Brazil), is smelling the acorn dough.