Although I admit we stray sometimes, this is first and foremost a blog for cottagers and camp owners and others who love the outdoors in one way or another.
So with that in mind, I thought it might be nice to create a page that contains lots of cottage tips for cottagers, campers, boaters etc, based on my own experiences and your experiences. I call this The Completely Random Cottage Tips List
1) A floating wharf is a good choice if your lake experiences a lot of fluctuations in water height.
2) Fire pits work best if there is a way for air to enter at the bottom of the fire.
3) Wrap dryer lint in small pieces of wax paper and put some in your outdoor clothes pockets, they make excellent aids for getting a fire started
4) Fishing is not good during a north wind.
5) Your septic tank should be inspected and pumped about every two or three years depending on usage. Septic fumes can be deadly so exercise caution when standing near an open septic tank.
6) Septic tank additives typically do not work and may in fact worsen your septic tank problems in the long term.
7) Paint a small strip of red fingernail polish on the sides of your bait minnows for good trout fishing.
8) While many home remedies will work in the short term to keep deer out of your garden, ultimately the only sure fix is a high fence.
9) If your dog finds a skunk under your camp, your dog is going to lose the argument.
10) An anchor with 6 feet of chain attached to it, before the rope, will work better than an anchor with no chain.
11) Two oars are good to have, a third for a spare is even better.
12) Outboard motors and other small engines benefit from high test gasoline because regular unleaded has too much ethanol content.
13) Only mature bald eagles have white heads.
14) An air horn, police whistle and stout walking sticks are good to have when walking in coyote territory which these days is almost everywhere.
15) If your water pump loses it’s prime when not in use, start by checking the footvalve at the end of the water line.
16) Use your boat compass to find your way around the lake on a clear day so that when you need to use it in the fog, you know which direction you should be travelling.
17) After your boat gets up “on plane” cut back on the throttle just a little to save lots of gasoline.
18) When you are starting out for a row in a small rowboat, row into the wind. That way when you get tired and decide to row back home, you won’t have to fight the wind.
19) A sharp knife is good to have, so is a first aid kit and a supply of bandages.
20) Closing the curtains on your cottage windows will keep out prying eyes. Thieves don’t want what they cannot see.
21) Buy several padlocks that are all keyed alike, that way you only need one key to unlock your shed, your boat, and anything else you lock up around the cottage.
22) When cutting down trees around the cottage consider the impact on privacy and wind protection before you make the first cut.
23) Firewood takes at least a year to dry properly before burning. It should be stacked off the ground to allow air circulation.
24) Hardwood burns cleaner and hotter than softwood, but softwood comes in handy for small quick fires, particularly nice to have on cool early fall mornings at the cottage.
25) When building a wharf, consider how it will react under adverse conditions, high water, low water, high wind.
26) Putting a wharf into the water in the Spring is a lot easier than taking it out of the water in the Fall.
27) A wood splitting maul is a handy thing to have for splitting firewood, a hatchet is good for splitting kindling.
28) Boat batteries should be charged frequently, and a spare boat battery is a wonderful thing to have aboard the boat.
29) If your boat is an oil injected model, carry spare oil in your boat at all times.
30) If you are not an electrician, it’s probably not a good idea to wire the cottage yourself.
31) Keep brush and trees away from your cottage to help keep your cottage fire safe. Keep a water bucket, shovel and if possible a water hose handy at all times. (This is tricky in the winter, so a fire extinquisher is a must)
32) Young children should never be around the water unsupervised, not even for a minute.
33) Not all dogs are smart when it comes to porcupines.
34) A compost toilet will help you avoid the cost of a septic tank, but how are you going to install a shower and sink without a septic system. Many jurisdictions do not allow grey water tanks.
35) An outhouse as a spare bathroom will help take the stress off your septic tank.
36) An outhouse should have a vent running from the “pit” up through the roof to vent the gases and reduce the smell.
37) Smoking in an outhouse can be dangerous because of the gases.
38) Adding lime to an outhouse may help to reduce the odor, but it will also slow down the decomposition of the effulent. Having some ground in bucket or some dry leaves to throw in will help reduce the smell.
39) Store aluminum boats upside down in the off season, and inside if possible. Don’t let boats sit for long periods full of water.
40) Make sure your boat drain plug is in the boat before launching it into the water.
41) Having a key ring that floats for your boat key is a great idea.
42) A properly built bat house will encourage bats to live around your cottage not inside of it. A family of bats living around your cottage will go a long way to reduce mosquitos and flies.
43) Don’t store outboard motors, chain saws, tools and other valuables in a vacant cottage over the winter.
44) Ask a full time resident to keep and eye on your cottage during the winter off season and make sure he or she has your contact information, phone number etc, and you have theirs.
45) Tim Hortons coffee trays make great fire starters for the woodstove.
46) Protect your cottage lake, let wild trees and bushes grow along the shoreline to create a buffer.
47) Rub some toothpaste on a mosquito bite to stop the itch.
48) It seldom rains when the wind is blowing from the west. Rain is almost guaranteed to fall when the wind if blowing from the east.
49) A small axe or a hatchet is a great thing to have aboard your boat, in your camping gear, in your hunting pack. A hatchet or lightweight axe will come in very handy if you have to stay overnight in the woods. A small handsaw is also handy to have.
50) Use Skin So Soft in your bath to keep mosquitoes away from you. Skin So Soft is a product of Avon used for years. An old method that really works! (Thanks to Susan MacDonald for this tip)
51) If you are cutting wood you will be splitting, cut the wood short, about 10 or 12 inches, it will make splitting the wood much easier, especially if it is of a large diameter. Granted, it may require a few more cuts with the chain saw, but that is always easier than the splitting part.
52) Boat, travel trailer and camper 12 volt battery connections need to be tight. Although most boat batteries come with wing nuts for easy installation and connections, it pays to tighten up the nuts with a wrench to ensure a good connection.
53) Apply Permatex 31824 Bulb/Lamp & Electrical Connector Dielectric Grease – 0.10 oz. to all the electrical connections on your boat and trailer to protect the connections. Pay particular attention around the fuse panel.
54)Plant trees and allow natural shrubs to grow along your shoreline. They will provide your cottage and camp protection from winds off the lake, help prevent soil erosion and runoff. They also help to improve fish and wildlife habitat. Not to mention the privacy a nice stand of spruce and fir trees provide. Hardwoods, like maple, birch and poplar will give you shade in the summer.
The Cottage Chronicles by Robert Dares is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at cottageronline.com.
This means you are free to use this work, but not for commercial purposes which includes not re-posting on sites with advertisments, affiliate links etc without my express written permission