Cottage Life

Cottage Life October 2019

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The go-to source for cottagers, the award-winning Cottage Life offers valuable advice as well as profiles, how-to articles, recipes, essays, issues pieces, and lifestyle stories that help readers look after their cottages, entertain guests and, of course, kick back and have fun.

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1 min.
s’more stuff

Win a pair of Maxtrax! Dockside DIY, our newest newsletter, has the best solutions, projects, and how-tos for cottagers, because even seasoned DIYers need advice sometimes. Subscribe now for a chance to win a pair of Maxtrax to help you out the next time you’re stuck in a bind (or the snow)*. Enter at cottagelife.com/maxtrax. The play list Have you visited our YouTube channel lately? We’ve got a ton of DIY projects, real estate tips, and Q&A videos, and we’re constantly adding content. Plus, you can watch episodes of Cottage Coach and our new web series, Brojects Re:Builds. Find it all at youtube.com/cottagelife. (And, don’t forget to like, comment, and subscribe.) TICKETS, GET YOUR TICKETS The best part of closing season is upon us—the Fall Cottage Life Show returns to the International Centre, Oct.…

3 min.
in the same camp

This summer, I had the surprisingly fraught experience of dropping my young kids off at sleepaway camp for the first time. It was so hard. I knew they’d love it, but as I drove away, I felt like I was leaving my arm behind. This, despite the fact that I believe so strongly in the camp experience; it’s one I cherished myself for a decade. Spending summer weeks outdoors exploring the forest and swimming in lakes without the safety net of my family was a precious gift. I deeply value the lessons I learned at camp—how to get along with people, even when you don’t agree with them; how to be independent; and how to contribute to a community in meaningful ways. Beyond that, and perhaps most importantly, it was at…

9 min.
your letters

On Facebook, we posted a story about why you should be drinking boxed wine at the cottage. John Sharpe was quick to respond: “My wine is boxed. The box just happens to have a dozen bottles in it.” A family jewel The piece on the Stevens family and their unique island rock chair (“One Hundred Years in the Making,” Aug/Sept ’19) really stuck with me. While we do love the comfort and look of the traditional Muskoka chair, and we have many versions of it, I was most intrigued to read about the changes that the Stevens family has made to it. We wish we could sit a bit more upright in our chairs so that we can read with our heads resting on the back, and, as we age, we find…

1 min.
smells like team spirit

When Hilo sniffs boats for zebra and quagga mussels at roadside checkstops in Alberta, most people get out of their vehicles to watch the dog, hard at work keeping the province’s lakes and rivers safe from these invasive species. Along with his handler, Cindy Sawchuk, the five-year-old black Lab–golden retriever mix is one of three teams on the payroll of Alberta’s Environment and Parks department who can sniff out the tiniest trace of mussel. How does Hilo stay motivated on the job for eight hours a day, five days a week? Cindy plants a mussel on about every fifth watercraft that Hilo inspects. That allows him to earn his reward, a chance to play with his favourite toy—a ball on a string. “It keeps him enthused. He’s always searching, always…

1 min.
speaking of aquatic invadors

When zebra mussels first appeared in Lake St. Clair in 1988, they seemed unstoppable. “If you’ve got them in your lake, you might as well sit back and watch them reproduce,” Paul Hebert, a University of Windsor biologist, warned Cottage Life in 1990. Three decades on, zebra and quagga mussels still threaten to “march on,” says André Martel of the Canadian Museum of Nature. The research scientist tracked the spread of mussels through the Rideau River for more than 25 years. In parts of Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, and the U.S., the molluscs have choked out native clams, sucked up useful nutrients and native plankton, and fuelled toxic algal blooms. But Martel stresses that there is some good news: care, vigilance, and the sensitive sniffers of mussel-detection mutts can bring the mussels to…

2 min.
a box of love

Two years ago, we lost my dad—suddenly, and forever. We were shattered. Dad was the centre of our family, and the heart and soul of our cottage on Sharbot Lake, Ont. His voice echoes through the shed—filled with rusty tools from the 1930s, not to mention about a million miles of fishing line, lifejackets to fit all ages of grandkids, cobbled-together croquet sets, and at least one 1950s lawn mower. His engineer’s know-how lingers on every bolt secured to straighten that flagpole (at last!), every tweak to the dock (which goes in a little different each year), and on that special spot you have to avoid on the back deck, especially if you’re carrying a tray of mimosas. In his bedroom at the cottage, Dad had “that shelf.” You know the…