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Jim Cumming - From the Publisher's Pen

Jim is the publisher of the Fort Frances Times Ltd. He writes a weekly column and can be contacted at jcumming@fortfrances.com

Enjoying the simple pleasures

Sometimes you don’t realize how fortunate you are until someone shows you.

As I sat by our chimera on Sunday evening and the logs burned to red-hot coals, I had forgotten the pleasure a fire can bring in the waning daylight hours.

For those gathered around the fire, our next step was to slowly roast marshmallows and then squeeze them between two graham wafer crackers with a piece of milk chocolate wedged under the marshmallow.

“S’mores” are the perfect campfire snack. And one is never enough.

Lake level hard to control

Our dock at the cabin sits high and water only has flowed over the top once in my lifetime.

My father had eyeballed the high water mark to build the dock and reckoned he never would have to worry about putting barrels on it to keep it from floating away in high water.

We certainly have experienced low water, when we could walk under the stringers out to the far crib without getting wet.

‘KidPro’ alive and well

Households across the district tune in almost nightly to watch the NHL in action. And when it comes to the Stanley Cup, everyone takes notice.

It is no different with the Fort Frances Canadian Bass Championship. And the future of the tournament lies in developing new, young talent to fill the vacancies left as older anglers retire from the competition.

Stumped by ‘simple’ password

I have a lot of passwords for my computer to access various sites that we receive advertising and e-mail from.

I’ve been able to memorize a great many of them, but for my memory’s sake, and for other people to use at some future time, I have them stored safely away.

Some are as simple as a four-digit number much like you have for your bank access card. Others combine numbers, the alphabet, and keyboard characters.

Some are as many as 16 digits long for added security.

Harvest of crops now in full swing

It is amazing how much a week can change the look of a community.

Two weeks prior to the opening of the Calgary Stampede, the city and the Stampede grounds were awash in water and mud. Yet through the perseverance of the city, its people and its friends, the community is now pulling off the “The World’s Greatest Outdoor Show.”

In little more than two weeks, the Fort Frances Canadian Bass Championship will be unveiling the best bass tournament in Canada through the support and efforts of countless volunteers. Fort Frances will be transformed.

Lake life is unhurried

It is a Friday morning, and the sun and the rain keep drifting across the sky. The forecast calls for a mixture of sun and rain all day.

As I sit in the sunroom of our cabin, I can’t help but think of the tune “Circle of Life” from the Disney movie, “The Lion King.”

Our pair of loons that have nested on the rock outcropping about 300 metres from our shore have failed to return this year. We miss them, although we do hear the plaintive calling of a loon in the distance in the evening.

Wives keep us looking good

“You can’t wear those shorts! They’re filthy and we have guests coming for supper,” pronounced my wife.

I had to agree with her that they were a bit dirty. After all, a huge northern had dripped some blood on them and I had rubbed my slimy hands on them after releasing the fish back into the water.

Our guests were our next-door neighbours on the island. But we were at the cabin and we were not worried about being fashionistas.

Doing battle with mosquitoes

Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

It’s a high-pitched sound that immediately puts us on alert.

Those darn female mosquitoes burned in my ear as I sat out on the deck watching the sunset Friday night. For almost an hour, I could hear them winding up, high above me, into a steady, growing hum.

And then first one, then another seemed to drop out of the air, landing on a visible piece of skin. They were the path markers.

A swat and it flitted away—only to return a moment later. A smack with the bottom of my hand and it was not more than a black smudge.

No use fighting dandelions

Three weekends ago, I was looking forward to the snow disappearing from my yard. And that weekend, I raked parts of my lawn.

Two weekends ago, I was hoping I could put my boat in the water by the following weekend.

My lawn and yard waste had been hauled to the dump, and I began looking forward to my grass turning green. I applied some spring lawn fertilizer.

But as I walked up and down the lawn, it seemed really sparse in parts. Dandelion plants were sprouting and their green leaves were spreading flat over the area.

Didn’t cross my fingers long enough

We can hardly wait to get to our cottages and cabins, though people on mainland with roads to their cabins have had a significant jump on “islanders.”

Last Wednesday evening, Marnie and I launched our boat and headed to our cabin on the south arm of Rainy Lake. It has been a long seven months.

It was clear running, although ice had piled up on the west side of islands and rocks from the winds of the previous day. As we neared our island, the bay leading to the dock was iced in with shards of ice and small ice sheets.