A relaxing, weekly dip into what matters most to cottagers

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Season 2

/Catch up from Season 1

E8: The expert on all things cottage

On the last episode of the season, we chat with a true cottage expert—former editor and publisher of Cottage Life, Penny Caldwell. She shares an insider look into working on the magazine for 18 years, what she’s learned from cottagers, and what makes cottaging in Canada so special. Plus, she answers the most common Q&As we get to the magazine. Also, we’ll revisit an essay about the traditions we form while being a kid at the cottage. 

E7: Weather lore: True or False?

Should a red sky at night really give sailors delight? Michelle interviews David Phillips, senior climatologist for Environment and Climate Change Canada, about the weather lore we love to share. Whether the sun is shining or rain is coming down at the cottage, it’s always a good time for a nap. We revisit an essay by journalist Elamin Abdelmahmoud about the rebellious act of catching a few zzzs when you’re at the lake. Plus, if you’ve got ants marching in and out of your kitchen, our quick tip will help.

E6: Slow your boats

Safe boating practices continue to be a hot topic among cottagers. On this week’s episode, we chat with Diana Piquette, the president of Safe Quiet Lakes, an organization with the goal of making cottage-country lakes safer for everyone. Then we’ll hear about journalist and Lake Simcoe cottager Sasha Chapman’s experience making maple syrup. Last, we offer a key tip for potential cottage guests: what never to bring for a weekend at the lake.

E5: Save the shorelines

For this week’s episode, we called on Dan Kraus, a Senior Conservation Biologist with the Nature Conservancy of Canada, to discuss how cottagers can protect their lakes through the restoration of their shorelines. However, when it comes to personal health, the cottage is the place where calories don’t count (right?). We’ll listen to an essay by award-winning food writer Mark Schatzker about the way we eat at the lake. Plus, our tip will help with live staking red-osier dogwood along your shore.

E4: Living with wildlife

Should you or should you not feed the deer? Michelle interviews the star of the Cottage Life channel, Hope Swinimer, about how to live in harmony with cottage wildlife. And while we’re on the topic of nature, we revisit an essay about journalist Clive Thompson’s most perfect memory of the wilderness. One memory you may want to forget: stepping on a porcupine quill. Our quick tip reveals the secret to safe removal without a trip to the hospital. 

E0: When mosquitoes attack!

We love going to the cottage, but there is something that bugs us about life at the lake. It's not the maddening commute, the frantic Friday packing, or the iffy plumbing—it's the mosquitoes. In this special bonus episode of the podcast, brought to you by the experts at Off!, we’ll share how to keep those pests (and their bites) at bay. Then we’ll listen to CL favourite Roy MacGregor’s take on the big five bugs of cottage country.

E3: “Is it okay if…” Appropriation vs. Appreciation of First Nations’ culture

Join us as we dive deep with writer and educator David A. Robertson, who wrote about the difference between appreciating and appropriating First Nations culture for our June/July 2021 issue. Then journalist Clive Thompson shares his most perfect memory of the wilderness. And for anyone who fears the lake because of leeches, there’s no need to worry. If one finds its way onto you, use this leech-removal tip and never fear the drink again. 

E2: We’ve gone to the birds

If there’s one thing we can thank the pandemic for, it’s our deeper connection to nature. Join Jody Allair from Birds Canada as he teaches us about common cottage birds and how to identify them by their sound. Then we’ll listen to an essay about everyone’s favourite cottage pastime: the puzzle. Plus, have you ever been kept awake by a leaky tap at the cottage? Don’t lose sleep—do this instead. 

E1: Cottage real estate madness!

In the premiere episode of season two, we interview Scott McGillivray about the booming cottage real estate market. One perk to the madness is that more people will experience the joy of cottage living, which we explore in an essay about the magic of being completely alone at the lake. And we share the solution to a stinky cottage situation: how to remove the skunk smell from your dog. 

Season 1

E8: Catching up with Roy MacGregor

For the final episode of the season, we take a look at some of the greats, starting with treasured Canadian journalist and author Roy MacGregor. His work explores what is so special about cottaging in Canada and what makes it unique. Then we’ll listen to the sounds of the regal Great Blue Heron. And to close out the episode, an essay by Roy that’s received one of the greatest responses from CL readers.

E7: Getting there

Once you pack up the car and put the key in the ignition, your cottage experience is under way. We talk with Dr. Eric Miller from the University of Toronto Transportation Research Institute about how traffic works and the surprising ways drivers can cause problems on the road . Then we’ll listen to the sound of an animal you could mistake for a car coming down the road. And we ask: are you a bullet driver or a meanderer? 

E6: The art of entertaining

Nothing makes the cottage feel more special than when it’s full of family and friends. But the idea of entertaining everyone can seem overwhelming. Thankfully journalist, cookbook author, and cinnamon bun magician Amy Rosen is here with tips to take the pressure off when it comes to feeding a crowd. Nothing will wake everyone up in the morning like the sound of the woodpecker alarm clock. We’ll share what a yellow-bellied sapsucker is really up to when it’s pecking away first thing. And then we visit something all cottage-goers love: a well used deck of cards. 

E5: Our crowning glories

There is nothing more beautiful than the green canopy of trees that make up cottage country. But the health of our trees is just as important as the beauty and arborist Matt Logan is here to answer reader FAQs. Then we’ve got even more tree talk—you’ll learn how trees communicate through their roots, share nutrients, and can warn one another of infestation. We also discover how planting a tree grows more than just a forest. 

E4: Have you had the talk?

A conversation about cottage succession can be awkward, but it shouldn’t be avoided. On this episode, we chat with estate planning lawyer Peter Lillico to get his expert advice on the three pillars of a successful cottage succession plan. Whether you’ve inherited your cottage or bought something new, chances are you can hear frogs chirping around your property. We’ll learn about the sounds of some of the most popular frogs in Canada. And then comes the eternal debate: is cottaging better in July or August?

E3: #cottagesowhite

Editor Michelle Kelly sits down with Elamin Abdelmahmoud to reflect on his 2019 Cottage Life article “Breaking the Colour Code” and to discuss race and how people of colour experience the culture of cottaging. Resident bird-lover Liann Bobechko is back to share why we should give a hoot about owls and their calls. And we take a look at how nature can help us come together to find our roots as a community, whether at the cottage or as a country.

E2: Going wild!

Life Below Zero star Sue Aikens, who is famous for living off the grid, shares her thoughts about what it’s like to live in isolation, especially during COVID-19, and offers advice to the cast of Life Below Zero Canada, the Cottage Life channel’s newest hit show. If you spend time in the wilderness, you might meet an otter—a silent and stealthy creature, until it’s not. Find out what sounds the otter makes and what they mean. One sound every cottager is familiar with is the buzz buzz of a particular pesky insect. We share a classic essay about taming the mosquito.

E1: In search of peace and quiet

Let’s make some noise about...being quiet. We interview longtime Cottage Life contributor Leslie Garrett about “Killing Us Softly,” from our June/July 2020 issue, about the importance of silence and its surprising effects on our wellbeing. Some noises, however, we love. Like the call of a loon. Deputy Editor Liann Bobechko decodes loon calls. And, in true cottage style, we revisit an essay about relaxing at the lake. 

E0: Introducing the Cottage Life Podcast

In Canada, we get just 14 summer weekends every year, and only three of them are long weekends. So we created the Cottage Life Podcast to help you get more out of every single one of them.