5 ways to care for your cottage this winter

Wooden cabin in snow storm with trees Photo by TaraPatta/Shutterstock

Trust us: your cottage will survive the season.

Here’s how to care for it this winter.

1. Let septic tank do septic tank

Are you that old-school cottager who’s still tossing raw meat (or dead mice or yogurt or a pan of sausage lasagna) into the tank to “keep it cooking” while you’re gone? That’s gross. And it’s not helpful—you’re just adding solids. Worse, it could backfire if you accidentally drop in something that you planned to eat yourself. (“What happened to the beef tenderloin?”) The five-second rule will not apply.

2. Your plumbing doesn’t need you. It needs your multiple 4L jugs of RV antifreeze

Propylene glycol is cheap and non-toxic, so let it flow like off-brand cola. Use half a cup to a cup of antifreeze in the drains of sinks, tubs, and showers; enough to replace the water in the toilet trap; and half a litre to a full litre in the emptied toilet tank. Make it rain.

3. If it was designed to live outdoors, let it live outdoors

Willy was meant to be free, gorillas were meant to be in the mist, and picnic tables, propane barbecues, and even some patio furniture sets were meant to experience weather. You’ll want to cover and secure them though (with sandbags or bungee cords). A thief probably won’t steal your synthetic rattan sectional, but the wind might.

4. The building just wants to breathe, man

Your cottage needs air like you need esteem and self-actualization. And air. Interior moisture leads to mouldy fabrics, crumbled drywall, peeling paint, and wallpaper that falls down in a fit of damp despair. The simplest solution? Passive ventilation. Crack your windows, or leave the chimney damper open. Just make sure that the screens covering any openings are wildlife-proof.

5. The roof knows what it’s doing

Assuming it’s properly designed, built to code, and maintained, your roof is not likely to collapse from sheer snow load. More likely: you will collapse, from
two broken legs, because you fell off a slippery ladder while trying to inspect and clear your roof. You deserve intact tibias. Buy a snow rake. There’s only one man trained for winter roof work, and his name is Santa.

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