When it comes to grueling outdoor cottage chores, the burden usually falls on dad to get stuff done. We’re all too happy to let him sweat while we read on the dock or enjoy a long swim. This Father’s Day, it’s time to step up and give him a break from the chores he dreads the most. Here are some of the most tedious cottage duties that you can take off his plate.
Chopping wood for the fire
Unless your dad really wants to show off his bulging biceps, chopping wood is a strenuous task he probably wants to ditch. Swinging an axe under the heat of the summer sun is hot, sweaty, and unpleasant. And if your dad is getting older, he could easily throw out his back (just don’t tell him that). When it’s your turn to pick up the axe, consider chopping logs on a heavier surface like concrete. A heavier base, such as a flagstone patio, provides almost no bounce, which makes the task a little easier.
Cleaning out the eavestroughs
This is a wet, mucky situation that no one wants to be part of, especially since no one knows what they’re going to find up there! It’s also the type of chore that everyone puts off until the situation is pretty dire. When you relieve dad from this horrible duty, take the opportunity to try out some new gutter-cleaning tools like Gutter Sense, which allows you to clean the eavestroughs without even busting out the ladder.
Turning the compost
We’re all very proud of ourselves for composting, especially somewhere like the cottage where we’re inspired to reduce waste. But actually handling the compost? It’s gross and smelly! Dad will be elated to give this chore up for the weekend, but it doesn’t have to be torturous for you, either. Try using a compost aerator instead of a pitchfork or shovel. Simply thrust it into the centre of the compost, pop the wings open, and the aerator will churn everything without a bunch of back-breaking flipping.
Washing the dock
Of course all you want to do on the dock is sunbathe. But if your cottage dock isn’t cleaned and maintained regularly, it can become stained, develop mildew, and even get clogged with debris. Pressure washing isn’t the best idea, because too much force can splinter the wood. Dad has likely been sweeping and rinsing with a hose, which can be pretty time consuming. When you take over, concentrate on the cracks between the boards, and if you find it difficult to banish mold and mildew with just a water wash, use a small amount of oxygen bleach (which is much gentler and less toxic than chlorine bleach).
Cleaning the barbecue
There’s a good chance your grill wasn’t properly cleaned at the end of last summer, and may have even been overlooked in the rush to open the cottage for the spring. Tackling last year’s grease and grime isn’t easy, but it will be a nice treat for dad to start with a clean cooking surface. To minimize the pain of barbecue scrubbing, check out our tips on how to spring-clean your grill.
Cleaning out the shed or boathouse
This is worse than cleaning out the garage! You’ve probably been throwing old inflatable toys, deck furniture, and extra junk in the shed for years without sorting through anything. That’s just too much de-cluttering for poor Dad. Send him down to the dock with his favourite brew while you tackle this massive task. There’s no way to breeze though this task quickly, but you could make the best of if by bribing some cottage friends to help. Bribe them with beer and barbecue, throw on some great tunes, and get to work!
Clearing weeds from the shoreline
We all want a clean swimming area, and it’s likely been dad who’s spent hours tugging weeds to ensure the water remains clear for everyone. Give him a weekend off and fight off the nasty water villains yourself. Just remember to study up on environmentally friendly ways to keep shorelines clear. Not all weeds are bad! When you do encounter not-so-friendly plants, make sure you pull them up by the roots so you’re not back in the lake the next week fighting the very same battle.