Slow progress

Over the past couple of years, I've neglected to note my progress at the cottage. Mostly, this has been because COVID-19, and other factors, have occupied my time, and I haven't had much to say. Last weekend, I closed the cottage for the 2022 season. I did not get up to the cottage as much as I had wanted, this past season; other opportunities and obligations took up a lot of my time. But, I did get some things done, some things started, and some things attempted this year.

But first, about 2021. Like this year, last year was slow. I added the finishing touches to ongoing solar-lighting installation by re-insulating the gable above the stove. With fifty years of indirect heat, the old styrofoam insulation had mostly expired, and needed replacement. I removed all that styrofoam and sealed all the cracks and crevasses with caulking and pestblock spray foam. On the kitchen side of the gable, I re-insulated with new styrofoam, while on the entrance side, I added additional framing and insulated with fibreglass batting and cement board. As the entrance side gets the heat of the stove, and has the wiring for the solar panel charge controller, I took extra care to ensure to use non-flammable insulation. And, so, that gable looks clean and neat, and ready for another fifty years.

This year, I decided to tackle a few projects. First off, I replaced the boat roller ramp at the landing with a new construction. The old roller ramp had come apart, and I needed to rebuild it. I'm mostly happy with the rebuild, although it needs a bit of tweaking still to make it fully operational.

The second, and largest, project was to build new steps up the hillside leading to the cottage. Well, that didn't work out. That hillside is full of glacial till: sand and large rocks that are slowly migrating downhill. My plan was to build a timber stair into the hillside, anchored with 4x4 sleepers. After a full day of digging, I managed to place one sleeper, poorly, into the hillside. And it promptly fell out. I have to reconsider my plan here; with all that planning and effort, I can't get even one step installed if I build into the hillside. So, next year, I will try building on top of the hillside with a set of steps and platforms anchored at points in the hillside with cement footings.

And, that lead me onward to my third, and final project: I framed and insulated the gable in the loft. I plan to use the scrap tongue-and-groove panelling from my bedroom renovations to pretty up the loft gable and make it match the bedrooms. I removed the old styrofoam insulation, caulked and sprayfoamed all the open gaps, framed each gable panel with 2x2s, and reinsulated the whole thing with new 1 1/2" styrofoam. Next year, I will take a couple of days to install and whitewash the tongue-and-groove panelling, and the loft gable will be complete. As a bonus, this work closes off only ghu-knows how many mouse entrances, and should make the cottage even more mouse free than it was this past two seasons.

Amidst all this work, the township decided to conduct a "Sanitary Inspection". After a couple of false starts, two "Inspectors" checked out my outhouse (my sympathies to their families) and noted a couple of things that I had to fix while I awaited the final report. The first was to screen in an open section of the outhouse, to keep birds out, which I fixed that afternoon with some screening and a staple gun. The second task was to rebury the kitchen dry-drain, which had heaved and risen with the frost. Since I wanted to upgrade the dry-drain anyway, I rebuilt it properly out of PVC ABS piping and reburied it. Now, all I have to do is wait for the (very tardy) official report, and, perhaps, rebuild my outhouse next year.

And, with all that done, Terry and I closed the cottage.

And I can't wait to open it again, next year.


The very tardy official "Inspection Details" report came to me in late October. After much discussion with the township Building office, the township amended the report to correct a mistake made by the inspector. With that problem corrected, the township issued another "Inspection Details" report in mid-December. Along with this amended report came a Compliance certificate indicating that the township judged the remdiation work I had done over the summer as acceptable, and that they needed no further action or inspections.

So, the "Sanitary Inspection" has finally closed; the township does not require me to perform any more"septic system" work at the cottage, and I can go back to my normal cottage projects.