Monday, January 31, 2011

A Hike Up To Our Our Winter Wonderland

The recent blog posts inspired an impromptu drive to Rice Lake and hike across the lake to our island property.  While I always get excited to go up to the lot, this trip was different.  It was our first long awaited trip up with our newest little cottager, now 6 months old.  We hiked across the lake, carrying her in hand.  The snow was packed, thanks to the many snowmobilers, ice fishers, and winter cottagers that have been enjoying the lake over the winter season.  The walk was beautiful.  There wasn't a cloud in the sky and the snow glistened like sparkling diamonds from the sun's reflection.

We arrived at our lot roughly 30 minutes after departure.  I love a winter visit to the property.  With all the leaves off the trees/bushes, we're able to get a good glimpse at our land and a better idea of our property lines and grading.  Let the cottage planning begin!  As we stand in the bay, we imagine the view from our future cottage.  We discuss very preliminary plans..... maybe a small A-frame or a bigger version of our bunkie.

DIY Ice Rink at the Boat Launch
It was a lot colder on the open lake than we had anticipated and with having the baby with us, we couldn't stay too long.  We decide to head back.  At the boat launch, we stumble upon a make shift ice rink.  It's days like these that I'm proud to be Canadian!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

"A dream can't come true if you don't dream it."

It's cottage planning season and time to reflect on a lot of hard work to date.

It's hard to believe, that just 2 1/2 years ago, my husband and I purchased a waterfront island property on Rice Lake.  How we would get to our boat access only lot would be our first obstacle.  Problem solved..... acquired with our property was an old fiberglass boat, abandoned in the bay directly in front of our lot.  We pulled it ashore, bailed it out, and took a sigh of relief when it floated.  Phew.

The old shed
The first summer we spent clearing brush.  The bon fires were amazing!  We spent nights sleeping in an abandoned shed.  Although I love camping and was grateful to have a roof over my head, sleeping with insects and the odd creature put the wheels in motion for building a bunkie.  With no running water, hydro, or outhouse, and the discovery of poison ivy,  we knew we had a lot of work ahead of us.

By the end of the first cottage season, we built our 8 x 12 bunkie and outhouse.  What a relief!  We also had enough PC points to purchase a bbq.  At this point, fire roasted hot dogs were losing their appeal!  In Fall of 2009, we we're on the grid with Hydro.  Ahhhh...... refrigeration!  My husband surely appreciated the cold certified (blue mountain) beer after a hard days work.  This is cottage life!

Summer of 2010- The new bunkie!
2010 started off with a bang.  We added a small wrap around deck to the bunkie and heavily seeded the lot with hopes of keeping the poison ivy at bay but the season was short lived as we awaited the birth of our first baby.  On July 28, 2010, the world became more beautiful with the arrival of our daughter.  With no running water, a completely unreliable boat, and a new baby, we knew we had our work cut out for us.  2010 was pretty much a write off.  At the end of the season, we purchased a used pontoon boat from another islander.  We're rarin to go for Spring of 2011!

Our daughter is now 6 months old, and we're getting the cottage (bunkie) itch again!  We are so excited to start the season.  We cannot wait to take our baby to the property.  She seems as though she is going to crawl anyday now which is very exciting but it will pose more challenges having a baby on the move!  Although there will be obstacles ahead, these challenges keep us focused and inspired to create a family getaway.

This blog is a chronicle of our adventures on Rice Lake with our newest little cottager.  We hope you enjoy it and are inspired to follow your cottage dreams!  You can follow my blog by clicking on the Follower widget on my top right sidebar! 

"There's only so many affordable waterfront properties."

Growing up spending summers at our family trailer, I came to love life by the lake.  The childhood memories that I have catching frogs, sitting around camp fires, swimming in the lake, tubing, getting up at the crack of dawn to go fishing, and catching minnows are so vivid.  
2 1/2 years ago, I found myself standing on my brother's boat access only lot on an island on Rice Lake, ON.  My husband and I were looking across the bay at a bushed property for sale, thoughts racing of a quest to build our own cabin!

"There's only so many affordable waterfront properties," my brother said.  At the time, purchasing a waterfront property was out of reach financially but buying on an island made it a possibility.  We couldn't pass it up.  We knew if we did, one day we would look back and regret it.  Like many people, we dreamed of one day owning a cabin.  Living in a 600 sq foot condo in downtown Toronto, we craved the balance of owning a piece of land away from the bussel of downtown.  A place to one day bring our family and teach our kids to appreciate and love the simple things in life.

Our "cottage" retreat!
And so we did it!  We purchased the property before we even owned a home!  We owned a boat access only property without even owning a boat!  But owning a lot on an island accessible only by boat raises a lot of challenges.  I had a lot of questions:  How did the other cottagers on the island get their building materials over here?  Where did the materials get dropped off?  How do we get running water?  While I didn't understand all the logistics, I knew with careful planning, we could make it happen..... and what a story it will be to tell!  I've always said I want to live everyday like a new adventure..... and I knew this project would keep us occupied!

Entering our 3rd year, I decided to start a blog to document our pre-construction planning, design ideas, and adventures with our newest little cottager, our 6 month old daughter.