Sunday, August 13, 2006

Returning to the old stomping grounds

Time out to play with the ducks for a while

I am waiting for my fishing partner so we can go

An early morning out, you noticed Lynne doesn't go fishing in the mornings

The parking isn't the same, the boat is a Plain Jane but the fishing is the same

Lynne, it's hard to see the fish she caught,
Lynne caught the bait

Lynne with some a size bigger
The afternoon sun bothers her eyes or is it nap time.

Lynne and Tara waiting for the big one

Tara at the Camp Ground
They traded their Cottage for a mobile dog house
Tara checking out the area, waiting for a pat on the head and an hello

The new fishing shack on wheels

After a couple of major surgeries and a clean bill of health, we purchased a used RV, a used fishing boat and decided to go fishing again. It's not the same as owning a cottage but it has it's good points. No lawns to mow, no major upkeep, you fill up the tank when the old age cheque comes in and head for the fishing hole. We have returned to our old fishing spots at Wallace Lake and although we have smaller quarters to live in our needs are not the same and both of us can get out of bed in the morning, put our two feet on the floor and say it looks like a nice day. What more could you ask!

The completion of the Cottage and the end of Cottage Life for the Van Tassel's

Lynne & Norm Van Tassel, 2002, sitting on the deck of their cottage

Well, we got to do it although we don't want to. We have no other choice. It was a good ride and a lot of hard work but we enjoyed every bit of it. It made us better people.

This is 2006,almost 20 years after the fire

Every tree and every blade of grass was put there by the owners of this cottage Norm & Lynne Van Tassel of Winnipeg, Manitoba. Norm retired early in life (younger than most) so had the strength and energy to fulfill one of his dreams, the cottage for him and his family but something along the way went wrong. These things are sent to try us.

The view of the cottage from the lake

A view of the open area, living room and kitchen

The walls and ceilings were done in pine grove wood.

Lynne and her buddy enjoying their quiet time together. Sitting on the deck of the cottage enjoying each others company.

Lynne feeding her ducks as you can see they are fairly tame

A very good morning out fishing with the neighbour

My neighbour Ron Desrocher, I had the odd occasion to take him out fishing and attempted to teach him how to catch the afternoon lunch.

The exact limit as per the license requirements. 6 per license

A couple of Norm's friends showing a couple of nice pickerel

These are a couple of the cottage owners from the lake, we often went fishing together. Norm, Sepp Helfrich and Karl Meyers

Lori, Norm's daughter, Norm and young Semchuk.

Norm used to work with his father who had passed away recently and was in need of a friend

Lynne and her best friend Ginger who has gone where all good Dogs go

Ginger ready to go fishing, awaiting her partner

This is our new fishing partner, Tara.

She doesn't have the same fine qualities as Ginger did but she loves the boat, she loves people and is great company. Ginger was supposed to be my last dog, but now Tara is.

And yes there are fish at Wallace Lake

We will return with the morning breakfast, Norm & Tara

The entrance to our Cottage Lot, now under new ownership
The sign is gone, a new one is up and I believe there are a bunch of happy adults and children enjoying their new cottage.

Lynne and our good friend and fishing partner, Ginger
Ginger after 13 years of being the best friend we had became very sick and had to be put down. She was a great dog who enjoyed being in the boat, knew when there was a fish on the line and would get excited until that fish was in the boat. She would bark when a fish was caught and the local people at the lake always knew when we caught a fish. Ginger would give it away, needless to say, we often had company once she let the word out. Her ashes were spread out in our favourite fishing spot which is commonly know as the "Ginger Spot" by the locals.

Ginger you were a great dog, loved by all and missed by all.

The completed cottage in 2002
Almost 20 years after we built the cottage, did the landscaping, planted the trees and the hedges. This is the dream home we built. At this time we were told that I had immaculate degeneration and that I would be losing my eye sight in the very near future. We asked the kids if they wanted the Cottage and they felt it was too soon for them and they couldn't keep it up. The choice was to sell, which was a difficult one. We decided to sell put the word out by word of mouth that it was up for sale and it was gone within a week. A few months after we sold I had to go for another checkup and asked for a second opinion. We found that I had been misdiagnosed and that no I wasn't going to lose my eyesight. That I had one bad eye and the rest was normal and age appropriate. Unfortunately the deed was done, the cottage was gone and we were at the age where starting over again was not in our best interest.

This is about 10 years after completion of the cottage

A look at the lake from the deck of the cottage

We modified the dock because of the damage the ice did in the winter. We could remove the dock and place it back in it's original spot in the spring if need be.

Wallace Lake The Fire and the rebuilding stages Part 1

A view of the cottages from the lake before the trees and shrubs grew up again

We did get together from time to time for a lunch and to share things

Betty and Jim Dickieson joining us for a beer break

This use to be my truck

The building process has it's ups and downs. Lori and her friends decided to go to town for an ice cream. They hit some loose gravel and ended rolling the truck and writing it off. When I asked about the truck her first words were well what about me you care more for your truck then you do me. I could see she was all right and ever body said they were OK but fathers have to be careful what they say and how they say it at times.

The view from the other side of the finished product

The sod is completed, the young trees planted, the sign is up and the sod is constantly being watered to help with the growth. Notice the canoes on the rack waiting for the crew to head out on their yearly canoe trip. The fire wood is being piled up in the background for use for our winter campers.

The boys having some fun with each other

The staff and the boys play together after a day of a little work and a lot of water skiing

The open door policy, when in the area drop in

We always ensured we had time for the boys to go water skiing, driver of the boat Clyde Richard Van Tassel (deceased)
Every boy that went to camp, if he wanted to, had the chance to get up on skies and I do believe they all did. You could see the smile on their faces as they passed the cottage on their second round as much as to say "look at me I am doing it" and then come back and say when can I go again.

The back yard completed

The holding tank is in place, the sod is layed and the trees planted. We water and wait for it to grow. Now we relax for a few years and enjoy the results of the hard work.

Building up the back area for run off from the rains

The start of the storage shed and workshop

Just Filling the hole for the holding tank by Nick

The stump clearing crew. What a team!

The boys have come over from the boys Camp to give us a hand and their reward for helping was water skiing for the day, needless to say, we didn't accomplish as much as we should have in a day but it was worth it and they certainly showed they cared and wanted to help out where they could.

The completed cabin of Norm & Lynne in 1998, from the neighbours lot

Once the cabin was built the task of planting new trees and landscaping was taken on. A major job as we were running from our jobs and also trying to rebuild. We were also maintaining the boys camp and attempting to keep it operational. No easy task at the time.

Our two contractors that look more like tourists than builders.Yogie and Darren both brothers, a good working crew.

The Cottage Lot front view from the lake

This was a rock base where we hauled in top soil, added 6 or 8 inches on the frontage and then covered it with sod. We then went into the bush where it didn't burn, found some young spruce and planted them hoping that they would grow and they did. We also put a hedge along the side and front to allow for the area to be private from the next lot. Of course this helped my neighbour also.

This is the first building that was built after the fire. Lot 22, Blk 1
It is a lonely little outhouse on the lot that was shared by all. You will notice we cleared the lot laid new sod and started to build our new cabin. Once we cleared the stumps we took on the task ourselves of laying the sod after using the front end loader to level the land and add soil over the sandy areas. The sod had to be watered constantly because of the heat. The water was pumped up from the lake (see hose along side of lot that extended the length of the lot). We were able to stay at the boys camp while we were rebuilding our cabin and we also allowed others to use it while their cottages were being rebuilt. Ours was the first to be rebuilt on the lake and we believe it also encouraged others to rebuild theirs and start over again.

The girls in search of something that can be salvaged. Not a pretty sight.

The results of extentive heat it took its toll

Posted by Picasa In May of 1987, one of our dry spring days and the forest fire

The fire of the Bissett and Wallace Lake area which destroyed 75 of the cottage area lots, leaving few standing. Above is a picture of Lynne and Lori Van Tassel looking at the remains of the cottage that was recently purchased and renovated by Lynne and Norm and were looking forward to a long summer at the lake. Needless to say their dreams were shattered. This was a long, sad ride back home. There was nothing left except the nails that had fallen in a straight line around where the walls stood. We went on to rebuild as you can see in the following pictures. The positive thing was that the boys camp was saved either by an act of God or by the water bomber that dropped a lot of water on the site.