Why water levels are so low in cottage country
The first thing to go—besides the water—was the dock at Bob Guest’s Georgian Bay cottage. With the water barely deep enough for a canoe, the Guests didn’t see the point in putting the dock out. Last year, as the mud flats...
What you need to know before owning an alternative toilet
It adds up to about a quarter-kilogram a day, this package that everyone delivers, but no one wants to receive. In the city, it disappears with the pull of a lever and a watery flourish. At the lake, well, human waste is another...
The lowdown on composting toilets
Combine air, warmth, moisture, and food for oxygen-loving (aerobic) bacteria, which consume waste. Done right, the compost emits an earthy aroma, carbon dioxide, and water, and leaves minerals and humus behind. Some models, such...
The lowdown on incinerating toilets
Heat waste to about 600°C. The Incinolet (below) is akin to a self-cleaning oven, using an electric element to char waste. Fuelled by propane or natural gas, Storburn toilets incinerate 30 to 40 uses at a time, in a process...
Top 5 tips for owning an alternative toilet
1. Check the numbers. Most makers rate toilets by number of users, but some count on as few as three daily uses per person. Others allow four or five.
2. Ladies first. “When you have more people over than the toilet is...
Fire safety tips for the cottage
Outside the cottage
Store fuel, firewood, and other combustible materials at least 10 metres from the cottage.
Keep roof and rain gutters free of dried leaves and pine needles. Install a screened cap on your...
Owners’ advice for alternative toilets
Whether you're considering a composting toilet or an incinerating model, it's worth your time to learn from cottagers who've had experience buying, installing, and using them. To simplify the process, we've compiled some of the...
Is your cottage covered against fires?
When Alice Ogden’s Manitoulin Island cottage burned down in 2005, “We knew the cottage was insured, but we didn’t know by how much.” The Ogdens bought their getaway (originally a cabin at a fishing resort) in 1985 and...
How to troubleshoot alternative toilets
Composters Composting toilet problems tend to start with what the user puts into the toilet, not the hardware itself. “Service people are few and far between,” warns EcoEthic’s Rob Davis, “but most issues can be remedied...
Stuff we like: The Gyro screwdriver
The simplicity of the screwdriver: Turn it one way, the screw goes
in. Reverse it, the screw comes out. But add a cordless motor, and suddenly it’s not so simple. Now you’re trying to drive screws while fumbling with...