Unlike home owners in the city, cottage and camp owners need to be relatively self sufficient. Sure, there are resources in rural areas, usually someone knows how to get a water pump working or how to shingle a roof for example, but you can’t always rely on other people to be available when you need them.
Besides that, although there might be people you can call on, they can be expensive too, depending on the job and the circumstances. If you need to get a plumber to come from the city to fix your pump, that can really get costly.
Therefore, cottagers and camp owners tend to be pretty independent, and they usually enjoy working around their places, fixing stuff or making improvements. It’s one of the joys of owning a camp.
But that means you need to have some knowledge of whatever it is you need to fix or build. I know firsthand, you don’t go from a neophyte cottager to a skilled cottage handy person overnight. It takes a long time and it takes some “learning” to develop the skills and knowledge you need to make repairs.
The other thing that makes camp handywork different from city handywork, is that a lot of it is rather unique. For example, not everyone is familiar with water pumps, they are pretty much a rural necessity these days, nor is everyone familiar with wharf building. Those are just two examples of the kinds of things unique to cottages and camps. There are others such as wells, septic systems and issues with wildlife around the cottage.
Over time, most folks catch on to a lot of this stuff, learning either from neighbors or friends, and become adept or at least adequate at keeping things going. However, there are resources that can help get you up and running, at least give you a start on the knowledge you will have to acquire to be…well…a successful cottager.
Gerry Mackie and Laura Elise Taylor have written a book called The Cottage Bible
which is packed full of useful, helpful information and detailed illustrations for cottage owners. The Cottage Bible covers a wide assortment of information you need, starting with Buying a Cottage, and going on to cover the following topics:
Lake health and water quality
PH and acid rain
Maintenance tips for a safe well
Building a dock
Living with wildlife
Light, heat and power
Closing the cottage
Building a sauna
Winterizing boats and motors
Repairing burst pipes.
To be honest, the above list doesn’t do the book justice. Inside you will find over 350 pages, 7 chapters packed full of information. Getting To Know Your Lake, Swimming, Boating, Fishing, Living With Wildlife, Cottage Operations, and The Other Seasons. There is both useful and nice to know information, for example, do you know the anatomy of your lake? Do you know where the fish go when the water warms?
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