During my younger days at the cottage when I got my hands on a chain saw, there wasn’t a tree in sight that was safe. Not only was I always on the hunt for firewood, I also had this idea about ‘the view’ and being able to see the lake.
In those days I seemed to want as unencumbered view of the water as possible, to the point that I cut down dam near every tree in between the camp and the lake. I even went so far as to encourage my neighbors to do the same…imagine…the influence I had even back then….
But now…as the exhuberance of youth fades and my aging back no longer loves the chain saw, I see the error of my ways. Over the last few years I have begun a process of reforestation around the lakeshore, and to the sides of the camp. I still don’t want any really big trees too close to the cottage. They rot the roof, and of course a good windstorm could knock them down. But provided they are not too close to the building, I am letting them grow.
Now, when I see the cottage from the lake I am beginning to enjoy seeing a little less of it as some of the trees hide it. It looks more ‘nestled’ along the shore, and more private. I can still see the lake, perhaps not quite as good as before, but I can see enough of it to be happy.
Those trees, the new ones are starting to get tall enough to provide a little shade, some shelter for songbirds, and cover for fish along the shoreline. Not enough yet to say I have made a huge difference, but a difference nonetheless. I still cut the occasional tree down for wood, and I am still thinning a little of our second lot to allow for new growth, but it’s not the clearcut, slash and burn method I used to use.
I like the idea of blending in, becoming part of the lot and the natural surroundings rather than trying to make my cottage look like my house in downtown suburbia. It shouldn’t look like that…it’s a camp…in the woods…that’s why my Dad built the camp in the first place….we just need to remind ourselves of that once and awhile…..
There is a movement afoot in the cottage world to do just what I am talking about. Folks are gradually replacing some of their kentucky bluegrass with natural plants, shrubs and trees. They are allowing parts of their shoreline to return to a more natural look, which not only benefits the fish and wildlife, it also benefits the cottagers and generations of cottagers to come.
© 2008 – 2011, Rob Dares. All rights reserved. Cottager Online/The Cottage Chronicles / Rob Dares material is copyrighted, please contact me if you wish to inquire about reposting etc All prices quoted for products are subject to change, customer is responsible to confirm price with seller.