Archive for May, 2010

Sometimes I wish I was at the cottage working on some project or another but I just can’t get there.  On one such day I had an urge to do something creative. I grabbed some paints, washed a few flat-sided rocks and began to make markers for some of my favourite cottage plants and vines. I labeled my designs in french because it was a good opportunity to learn a few new words.  A couple of quick coats of spray-on clear acrylic and viola!

aka Hydrangea

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Last year I had what I thought was a good idea to offer Keats View Cottage for a week at a reduced rate to an individual or couple willing to spend an hour or two a day doing some weeding or other light spring gardening. 

I was thinking along the lines of the old hostelling model, where one paid a modest rate per person per day, and did a chore or two to help keep things running. Only instead of a rickety bunk in a shared room, we had a private and comfortable cottage on offer.  How could it fail?   

I sent invites to local garden clubs but got little interest; then advertised on Craigslist and got lots of interest before coming to an agreement with a very enthusiastic gal who cancelled on me more or less at the last minute.

A year later, I still thought this was a fundamentally good idea.  Shouldn’t we all be trying to swap some of what we have for some of what we need or want? I was sure it couldn’t be that hard to make it work. So I advertised again and found a keen couple, who came as promised and did a terrific job!  I offered them a choice of two garden tasks to tackle during their stay, and they did both – then cleaned out the gutters too!  Here are a couple of before and after photos.

A very untidy bit of garden

And after a good clearing up.


I imagine these gardeners – Julie and Richard – are a bit like Cottager and I – which is to say, happier when they have a project on the go.

Julie cleared up a badly overgrown area in the garden, identified the plants she uncovered, suggested what should be moved into sun or into shade, and even marked branches on shrubs that she thought should be removed. Brilliant. And much appreciated. 

They seemed to enjoy themselves and expressed an interest in coming again sometime, and I hope they do.  They more than held up their end of the bargain and left the cottage in nice condition too.  

My new blog buddy Matt over at Howe Soundings is enthusiastic about bartering and has even listed what he has to offer – sourdough bread, ale and yoghurt. I hope to attempt more diverse and pure forms of bartering when I have more time at my disposal.  I could imagine dog sitting for a few weeks or doing someone’s Holiday baking in exchange for a place to park our trailered sailboat or for a wee bit of plumbing or electrical work.  I’m sure other ideas will occur.  

Meanwhile, if there are any masons / handyfolk out there with the skill and patience to stabilize and secure a dry-mount rock wall – perhaps you’d like to spend a week at a cottage on the Sunshine Coast?

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