35th anniversary celebration: 35 things we’ve learned and some of our favourite covers

Illustration by Katie Hicks

We asked readers, Cottage Life staffers, and our social media followers: what’s the best thing that you’ve learned from Cottage Life?

1. Embrace it all
I’ve learned great maintenance tips for each season, and I like the puttering projects that everyone can try. The recipes are good for quick, hearty meals, and I appreciate the local dining and bakery recommendations. Above all, it makes me appreciate that we are all blessed with the beauty that surrounds us.—Andy Lamovsek

2. It’s a family affair
Family cottaging can be a real pain in the butt.—Gianni Cirilli

3. Some jobs are sneaky
I have to get my chimney cleaned!—Kathy Thomsen

4. Repurpose what you have
I loved the tip on how to fill a bucket with water by using a broom pan.—Chris Fox

5. Let it be
We always wanted to change the shoreline at our cottage, as we worried about erosion. We read in CL it is best to leave it alone!—Vicki Archambault

6. Rack ’em up
I learned how to build a kayak stand.—Rhonda Lennox

7. Chips are important
While researching potato chip history, I discovered that the inventor of the Pringles can was buried in one. Not all of him, obviously, just a portion of his cremains.—Jackie Davis, Senior Editor

8. Have a sense of humour
I don’t know if it is something I learned, but my favourite story was a family who had ungrateful guests complaining about things they had no control over. The hosts got the dog to lick the plates clean and put them in the cupboard. When the guests suddenly left sooner than planned, they laughed and got the dishes out and washed them.—Beth Hayhoe

9. Industry secrets
I’ve learned where to find the best butter tarts!—Martie Whitaker

10. Sage advice
Don’t let your subscription run out.—Gayle Wouters

11. Be prepared for anything
I had to ask a source for “Game of Thrones” (Mar/Apr ’21) whether he stood or sat to pee on his alternative toilet. I learned more than I wanted to that day.
—Marie Waine, Assistant Editor

12. Foodie faves
I collected many keepers from the recipe contest. Please bring it back!—Katie Maloney-Buchanan

13. Stay hydrated
I like the water filtration and winterizing tips.—Evelyn Chisamore

14. Maintain your stuff
Deck maintenance is so important. I have always cleaned between the cracks with a fine tool, such as a steak knife, as seeds sprout and compromise the wood’s integrity. My decks are 35 years old and only a few boards have been replaced.—Norma McNaughton

15. Nature is wild
I loved learning that when grouse make their motorcycle-starting sounds, they do it by moving their wings back and forth so fast that they form a vacuum, which creates mini sonic booms. It’s actually breaking the sound barrier. Whaaat?—Liann Bobechko, Deputy Editor

16. Off-grid options
The article on alternative toilets was very informative. (“Game of Thrones,” Mar/Apr ’21)—Shelley Fire

17. Keep records
Have guests sign a book. Ours is full of memories!—Jola Ruta

18. Bacon makes it better
Wrap pork tenderloin in bacon.—Tom Mara

19. Try new things
I’ve appreciated all the info about renting.—Robert Mann

20. Nature finds a way
There’s so much hormonal pee involved in animal mating strategies, which I learned while fact checking “Nature Swipes Right,” (Early Summer ’18). There’s only so long you can remain professional asking experts about “copulating” while your co-workers are giggling at the next desk over.—Alysha Vandertogt, Senior Associate Editor

21. Sharing is caring
I liked reading about how to share the cottage, the tips for entertaining, and discovering why we get lost.—Louise Keevil

22. Age = experience
I’ve grown right along with you. Your first decade, you helped me dream about cottage ownership as we rented. The second decade, you taught, informed, and influenced what we did at our cottage. Now, into the third decade, your content is still delightful, but I have learned and failed so much on my own that I can say, “All hell, I could have written that!”—Karyn Klaire Koski

23. Get outside
I love the recipes about cooking in tinfoil over a campfire.—Gail H.

24. You can do it yourself
The DIY projects are my favourite!—Darlene O’Neill

25. You’ll learn stuff
There are ice worms that live many kilometres beneath the frozen tundra. I once spoke for two hours with an expert who spent his whole life studying them. He was very keen to talk, which made me think that ice worms are vastly under-covered by media. It was fascinating. Not the worms necessarily, but realizing how passionately people get into things. The most obscure things!—Michelle Kelly, Editor

26. Community is important
Cottage Life fans are everywhere, which I learned when I was at a friend’s wedding, and two women approached to ask me for a photo.—Adam Holman, Cottage Coach

27. Use vertical space
I loved the suggestion about using wall attachments to hang life jackets and deck cushions.—Linda Mara

28. Live a rustic life
We appreciated the tips on how to open and close our water system with an old pump. And how to keep mice out—use steel wool!—Lynn Band

29. Add more storage
I learned how to build a shed.—Vivian Geneski

30. Some truths are…ugly
I found out from Cottage Q&A that red squirrels are cannibals.—Megan McPhaden, Managing Editor

31. Unplug the router
Even if you have good Wi-Fi at the cottage, it doesn’t always mean you should use it. Sometimes, it’s important to be completely present and enjoying your surroundings device-free.—Roxy Kirshenbaum, Editor, Cottage Life Digital

32. Be proactive
I read, “If your cottage is surrounded by trees—look up.” We’ve taken down a few trees that could have fallen on our cottage.—Ann Mittag

33. Take it easy
You suggested using an eco-toilet grey water system. It’s handy and very low maintenance.—Violette Sarkozy

34. Start small
When my father passed, upkeep of our property fell to me. The three cottages needed repairs, and I didn’t know where to start. I picked up an issue with a cartoon of a fellow worrying about the work he needed to do on his property. The Old Man of the Lake came and asked which job was needed most. The owner said his dock. The Old Man shoved a piece of lumber into the cribbing and said, “That will hold for this year.” A light went on for me. Do the immediate, and plan for the rest. It was my sanity saver.—Kevin McKee

35. Stick to the basics
How to have fun.—Avery

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Throughout our history, covers have transported readers to the lake, no matter where they are. Which one is your favourite?

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