Anyone who owns a home knows that it’s a lot of work. When you own a home and a cabin or cottage, it is more work. Still, we know how lucky we are to have both. Our “cabin” is a four season house – it could be lived in all year and we do visit it all during the year – in every season. It has all the amenities of a middle class home and a beautiful setting on a small freshwater lake in Northern Wisconsin, as well. But, it does take maintenance, just as any home does.
In 2005, we built the cabin, three hours north of our primary residence. It is a timber frame, open concept with beautiful and large pine timbers holding it together with large pine “pins” knocked into place by a huge mallet called a persuader! Our boys were young, 11, 6, and 4 years of age when it was built. We specifically looked for land no more than three hours away so we could gather them up after school on a Friday afternoon and get there by bedtime. We would leave Sunday by noon so we could be home to get ready for school on Monday. During the first 14 years, we had nothing but a TV and DVD player. No cable, no wifi, no internet. It was our place to unplug. It’s been a good thing. Although we’ve added some internet and a TV antennae, we still enjoy the quiet by just reading.
My husband and I were first introduced cabins through a couple we were friends with in Delaware. The wife’s family had a big sprawling place on a small body of water in Vermont, on Bebe Pond. We were guests at this cabin two or three times in the 1990’s. The most important thing we learned from them was that before you left the cabin, it was throughly cleaned and readied for the next stay. Laundry was done and put away. Dishes were washed, garbage was taken out, and beds were freshly made. The bathroom was cleaned and the entire cabin was vacuumed. Boats are stored and fishing equipment was put away. The refrigerator was cleaned out of perishable items.
We inherited this way of cabin maintenance from our long-ago friends. Before leaving, we do all the things they did. Both cabins were “houses.” Both deserved to be left in a state that invited you back with cleanliness as well as coziness. It’s worked well for us to treat our cabin with care.
We love our time spent at our cabin. There’s a sleeping loft for guests, not private bedrooms. There’s a full kitchen, a laundry room, and full bath. Soon, there will be two full bathrooms. It’s not the biggest, most lavish, or fanciest of places. But, it is ours and we love it. It is warm, welcoming, and always work in progress. We love the view we have of orange, pink, and yellow sunsets reflecting off the lake through the trees. We love the privacy – hence the trees. We love our quite boat rides powered by us, not motors or gasoline. We love the quietness and serenity of the woods.
Last year was a time for some outside maintenance. My husband re-stained all the cedar trim and worked on the fascia. Our deck is finally what we want – composite and metal. All the work, except the raising of the beams, and the installation of the windows and roof, were done by us. It is a home. We appreciate it as no one else does. And, no one else has to for what is important to us does not have to be important to others. The cabin, our cabin, is just right for us.
It is, and will continue to be, a place for family memories. The maintenance is nothing.