Monday, December 1, 2008

Winter at the Cottage

I had a relaxing weekend up north. What I like about wintertime at the cottage is the silence.

In late fall, we shut off the well water, attempt to drain out the pipes (this is our first year doing it ourselves), and survive on big jugs of municipal water provided by our friendly township. It makes me feel like a pioneer.

We have 3 large water containers that we haul out to the public taps (they keep it heated with heating cables so that it works throughout the winter), fill them and voila, water to drink, cook, clean and bath with. We boil water to mix with the cold water and fill our camping "shower bag", hang it from the shower head and water comes out of a nozzle/hand held sprayer. When we are done for the weekend, we just pour some plumbing antifreeze into the kitchen and bathroom drains.

So what about the toilet, you ask? I'd like to say we use an outhouse but we don't have one (we have a septic system) plus I'm not sure about freezing my behind... Really, the only reason we are able to use the cottage in the winter because we have a couple of year round streams on the property.

In fact, a selling feature for me was that you get to walk across a mini bridge over the stream in order to get to the cottage! So, what it means is that with a couple of buckets tided to some rope, you can get water to pour into the toilet tank for flushing!

The first winter, we employed the crawlspace heating system (so that we could keep water running) that was set up by the previous owners and almost fainted when the hydro bill came. So we had to come up with a far more economical way to make it work. I kinda feel like I'm living a bit of the "Little House on the Prairie" life without the prairie.

Heating is taken care of by a thermostat controlled gas fireplace (with blower) and baseboard heating in all the rooms. Because the cottage has insulating technology from the 40's, it does take about 1 1/2 hrs to get to 70 degrees F. So by the time we unpack, make the bed, vacuum, read the Friday flyers under an electric blanket, it is warm again.

So what do we do up there? There isn't a land line, internet or tv. We do a morning run to a couple of favorite bakeries to buy donuts and meat pies, tour the local harbours to see if the ice flows have come in yet, lunch at a local diner, decide on what we would like for dinner, read a lot, walk along the beach, reflect on our week and catch up on sleep.

I'm consistently amazed at how content I am up there.


  1. It sounds truly idyllic. It's so interesting to read about what you have to do to manage through winter.

  2. It sounds like you are really happy at the cottage. I love the idea of no distractions, but I don't like the idea of "roughing it". I am a city girl at heart ;)

  3. Yes, winter in Canada has its challenges! We found 1 1/2 feet of wet heavy snow on the roof this weekend so my husband spent a bit of time pulling it down with the roof rake.

    Having a husband who is very handy helps a lot! He does mostly everything up there and is also my personal bug killer--I am deathly scared of them!

  4. This sounds wonderful!

    For some reason I've only just found your blog...I'm going to read all your posts and catch up, what I've read so far is wonderful

  5. Hi Laura!

    Thank you so much for your kind comments!

    I am really enjoying keeping up with your quest to realize your dreams in Portugal.

    Your husband deserves a extra special gift this Christmas for sending you to NYC!! What a wonderful surprise!