Sunday, July 20, 2008

A cottage for our family

We're cottagers, my family. All my life we've had a cottage. This is no big surprise considering I live in an area where cottaging is just a way of life.... in fact, we have the one of (if not the?) highest percentage of cottage ownership per capita of any place in North America. It's probably the fact that they can't even complete a count on the total number of lakes around here.... but whatever the reason, everyone I know has a cottage. It's what we do.

Growing up, my family's cottage was a true family was originally two neighboring cottages built by my grandfather and his brother as young men, with a guest house added along the way to accommodate sleeping quarters for the kids. At some point our side of the family bought out that brother's cottage and we ended up with two lake front cottages and a guest house on a double lake-front lot. Combined, it could sleep 22 people easily at it's peak.... and thank goodness because it had to house my grandparents, my parents & us plus my mother's three siblings and their families.... it was chaotic, but it was fun.... some of my favorite childhood memories surround those times at the lake running barefoot for days with my cousins, living in our bathing suits - having one long slumber party.

But times change and families grow. Even though two of my mother's siblings years ago moved away with their families, reducing the local clan to just my mother and one sister, that still leaves 6 of us in this third generation. My brothers and I recognized years ago that there was no way this old family holding could possibly hold another generation. So we've left it to my cousins... the daughters of my mother's sister, who've always had the closer tie to the place anyway. And now we're building our own... starting fresh - we're building a cottage for mine and my brother's families (when they come ;), but also planning it to last at least a generation beyond my own children. And I'm hoping they have the chance to build their own memories :)

We started the first building last fall, and it'll probably be a year or two before we start on the main cabin - definitely a few years before we'll call it finished I'm sure.... but it's a start. So this weekend we installed new patio doors (to replace the ones that were kindly given to us but that we just didn't feel would last long enough on their already older wooden frame)... and my Dad & husband got busy on the shed. Yeah, the shed.... that things like something out of Tim the tool man's dream - a little on the HUGE side, but I'm sure we'll appreciate all that storage space down the line :P

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