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CottageSmith  noun  1.  A person who practices and applies the many skills involved in maintaining and improving a cottage or cabin for the benefit and enjoyment of themselves, their family and their friends  (cf. blacksmith, whitesmith, wordsmith, tunesmith).   2.  An Internet-based resource providing guidance and advice for those who practice the art of cottagesmithing.


by Duane Behrens

From 40 yards away, I saw Muttley bounding toward me as fast as his 6-inch legs could propel him. He put on the brakes, skidded to a stop at my feet and looked up at me, tail twitching, eyes blazing. Something big had happened, and he clearly ached to tell me what it was. The dog was on the verge of speech.


Electrical Basics

Of all of the systems that work together to make up the wonderful whole that you call "cottage", the electrical system is the one that will kill you dead in an instant if you let your guard down. In fact, your safest bet is to leave the electrical system to a qualified expert. Having said that, the costs, distances and inconveniences involved in getting an electrician to a remote cottage likely mean that you'll at least be giving it a shot yourself, but at least give yourself the benefit of the safest environment possible.


Quiet Water

by Duane Behrens

It was almost time to put it all away for the season.  But on this relatively balmy morning in mid-October, we managed to get the canoe out for one last day trip. 


The previous month I'd put together a small, four-by-eight-foot brush trailer as a tool to help in clearing the front woods.  Today, the same trailer would perform reasonably well as a canoe caddy.  The rack is more than sturdy enough to support that heavy old Grumman - and loading a canoe onto a four-foot high trailer rack is much easier than wrestling it onto the top of the pickup/camper shell as we used to do.


Staying True

by Duane Behrens

Finally, sadly, I closed up the cabin for the winter last week.  Storm windows replaced as needed, inside windows locked, thermostat set to 55, timers set on lights, LP gas valve turned off, neighbors notified, straw on the septic tank . . . and all the other things that I would probably forget if not for this list my wife gave me.  She's good like that, and I've dutifully checked off each item.


The Cottage Toolkit

My original cottage toolkit was woefully inadequate; left-over from my days as an apartment-dwelling student, it was little more than a tackle box crammed with an assortment of tools and equipment that I had "inherited" from previous roommates, or when absolutely necessary, picked-up piecemeal from corner and dollar stores.


Pickled Patooties

by Duane Behrens

My son and I spent yesterday hauling brush to the local disposal facility.  (I'm old enough to remember when we called them "dumps.")  Six loads of brush were pulled from that front stand of trees - 12 loads last week.  Finally we're seeing the results; you can actually see the service road through that front grove now.  The local landfill is good enough to accept this type of material without charge to local residents.


The Cottage Inspection

The problem with getting a home inspector to evaluate your cottage before you buy is that they can be quite expensive.  Do it anyway.  It can also be a challenge to find a home inspector willing to travel significant distances through rural areas.  Do it anyway.  Getting a qualified home inspector to a remote cottage site can also often involve additional costs for extra travel time and expenses.  Do it anyway.


Opening Day

Well, I have to admit that I have not been all that prolific so far this cottaging season, but it has already proven to be a busy one.  We have hit the ground running this year, having already started stripping our badly peeling deck of its partial coating of (truly abhorrent) red paint .  We have also managed to re-establish contact with our AWOL septic engineer and hope to be efficiently bio-degrading before the end of the summer.  And this is all before the summer solstice.


Utility Futility

The thing about owning a piece of land of your own is that, where your land ends someone else's begins, and that often invisible boundary can be the cause of many a headache.  They say that good fences make for good neighbours, but if you build that fence without consulting your neighbour, or worse, build it even inches on the wrong side of that property line, you may have started a feud that will last for generations to come.


Moose Gulch Chili

I can't say that this recipe has been handed down from generation to generation in my family but I have made it a couple of times, varying the ingredients slightly with each incarnation, and I think I'm getting closer to a fairly impressive chili recipe.


Cottage Life Magazine - Review

The quintessential Canadian cottager's magazine, Cottage Life has been in print since 1988, and is now published six times per year.  Featuring seasonal articles on life at the cottage, and showcasing exceptional and unusual cottages from the countless cottaging regions across Canada, Cottage Life is written with a practical tone and a generous helping of humour.


Cottage Smith Becomes a Canadian Tire Affiliate

We are pleased to announce that Cottage Smith has become a Canadian Tire Affiliate.


The Cottage First Aid Kit

There's no denying that most traditional cottages and cabins tend to be more located on more rugged terrain, and that the activities that take place there, whether of leisure or labour, are often somewhat risky by nature.  This, combined with a remote location or any significant distance from a population center, means that help can be a long time coming.


Cottage Smith Becomes an Amazon Associate

In the interest of full disclosure and in an effort to avoid conflicts of interest, Cottage Smith has a policy of announcing any associations or affiliations which can result in a share of referred sales generating income for the site.


Cottage Shows & Events

The beginning of the list of cottage, cabin and outdoorsman-related shows & events!  More to come soon...


Happy New Year!

Hello and Happy New Year, all.  I hope the holidays have treated you well.  I don't know too many people who actually feel more relaxed during the holidays than they normally do, but there's no denying a certain sense of relief when they're finally over.  Only at that point, I think, can you look back on the experience fondly.  That being said, in the face of the tragic experiences of those affected by the tsunami, it's hard to think of one's own situation as difficult, relatively speaking.  Start the year off right and dig deep, folks.


Buying Drill Bits

If you've ever been in the market for drill bits, you know that there's a staggering selection available for sale, something for everyone depending on what you need to do and how much you want to spend.  And while I have no intention of enumerating all of the specialty bits available for specific purposes, knowing a little about what the drill bits themselves are made of can get you a long way towards making your final choice.


Name That Cottage

Despite the fact that we've owned the cottage for well over a year now, and despite our entreaties for suggestions from guests, our attempts to give our sanctuary a catchy, cottage-type name have been fruitless thus far...

In an attempt to remedy this situation, I present you with the beta version of the Cottage Smith Cottage Name Generator.



I've been tracking the nighttime temperatures closely recently, and early last Tuesday, for less than two hours, the mercury dipped below freezing.  That means that time has run out and this is the final cottage weekend.  It's not that we'll really be staying at the cottage for the fun of it, mind you, we'll just be closing it up for the year.

The most important part of the winter shutdown is, of course, disconnecting the pump and getting all the water out of the plumbing system.  Failing at this task can have expensive repercussions, as Neighbour Dan can attest to.


All Hands On Deck

One of the main features that attracted us to our cottage was the large and spacious deck.  At sixteen feet by thirty-two feet it has more than enough room for everyone who stays over to sprawl out on, with space left over for a barbeque and picnic table.  The problem is that when the deck was built, it wasn't exactly constructed to meet code, or even built with a conventional design, and it has been sadly neglected in the interim.  It's basically a recipe for disaster, if not litigation.


Garden Hoses 101

Being a City Boy for the most part, my first sight of our over-sized fire pit evoked memories of gigantic high school graduation bash bonfires, with dozens of "warm and toasty" teenagers gathered around the blaze, feeding the flames with any available logs, small trees, broken picnic tables, shelving units, get the idea. 


Welcome to CottageSmith!

This web site is born of my newly discovered passion for all things cottage-related...which is born directly of my newly discovered cottage.

Yes, last year we became the proud owners of a cottage of our very own.  With the price of recreational properties climbing as quickly as they were (and still are, I think) as the Baby Boomers approach retirement, I didn't expect to become a cottage owner any time soon, if ever.  But thanks to an offhand remark She made to a neighbour, who also happened to be a real estate agent, a series of events were set in motion which culminated in our very own 25-year mortgage (with most of the intervening events consisting of second-guessing ourselves and vacillating on the wisdom of the purchase).


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