Sunrise comes early on the Naramata Bench, around 5 a.m., I have never heard so many birds chirping, singing, warbling, and hammering. Those woodpeckers sound like they are knocking on my door, but I don’t mind. The early morning views of rolling hills of orchards and grapes cascading down to the clear blue of Okanogan Lake make it worth my while to enjoy the not so quiet, but still tranquil setting.
Mornings are busy, Skyler checking her schedule for client appointments and check-ins for the day by 7 a.m., and we compile a To Do List. Today is a Spring clean-up day at Lakeview Hideaway.
This two-bedroom cottage sits on a ridge overlooking fields of grapevines, the lake, and a view of Summerland across it. After the long winter and closing of the eight month rental of the property, there is a lot to be done in preparation for the coming vacation property rental season. The carpenter, Emilio from Spain, is clearing out the storage shed for a trip to the dump, while I weed the front rose garden. As Emilio goes to remove a broken bar fridge he spots a snake and freezes, snakes are not common in Spain apparently. I become Franky, the Snake Whisperer and grab tongs and an empty coffee can and proceed to capture, contain, and release the little baby, foot long snake into the wild once again. Not sure if it’s a Rattle snake or a Bull snake but as calm, cool, and collected as I seemed… I was scared! Just an average morning in cottage country!
Lights are replaced, bushes are cut back and cleared, remnants of winter renters collected, irrigation is set up, and a run to the dump is made. On the return we have some lunch and a cold beverage by the beach, while discussing our afternoon list. Then we stop in at the Naramata Farmers Market for dessert….mmmm it’s cherry season. We take a short stroll through the Village proper (see below for links) passed the Museum, Naramata Heritage Inn & Spa, and The Village Motel, as the wind kicks up its usual afternoon gusts of cool air.
The gazebo is assembled and an outdoor eating area is created with a view of the lake. A short-supply list comes in via email from one of the cleaners and an impromptu shopping trip is in order. We gather the staple supplies necessary, toilet paper, paper towels, dish and clothing detergent, and sugar. Other staples required for cottage rentals are kitchen staples such as flour, salt, pepper, spices, body soap and lotion, and fully stocked First Aid Kits.
On our return we find the landscapers cutting the grass and edging, putting a temporary halt to our yard work since we can’t be underfoot. On our shopping excursion, Skyler has purchased a new cast iron bench for the Lakeview Hideaway and a storage bench for outdoor seat cushions. We busy ourselves with assembly and laundry while the landscapers finish up.
I gather the receipts for the day and label them all for future input into the accounting system, which we are still working on setting up for 2014. Last week I met with the accountant Jody for a rundown of the company setup, which went very well. The program is pretty straight forward, but the company itself is complex, with an account for each rental property as well as the Real Estate business. I will have to do accounts for both, which means special care on taxing information, the split up of supply money spent, and deposits and draws on the accounts.
Once this is done, it is already 4 p.m., how the days fly by! Another trip to the dump is in order of all the really heavy stuff, which takes about 45 minutes to load up. I stay behind to prepare a meal to feed all hungry workers on their return after a long day of heavy labour. Although this is not on my job description, it is a chore that needs to be done, and I can’t complain about cooking ribs on the barbeque! Yummy.
Skyler and Emilio stop at the beach for a quick swim to wash off the day and by the time they return with Jay, the houseboat mechanic, dinner is ready. We all sit and eat in our new outdoor dining area under the new gazebo and watch the sun slowly sink while we enjoy a lovely Gewurztraminer from Nichol Estate Winery (local wine of course) along with the breathtaking view.
Shortly after sunset we have a two hundred pound hairy visitor peeking into our picture window in the living room. This teenaged black bear is so cute, but none of us venture outside for the rest of the evening! A snake and a bear… bookends to another great day on the bench!