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3 Easy Steps to Deck Maintenance

Keep your wood deck looking like new by following these easy but important construction and maintenance tips.

Off-Grid in the Catskills

Spectacular view & bass pond included.
By Fran Sigurdsson

Ken and Laurie Hoffman own the perfect spot for off-grid cabin living. Their New York retreat has a beautiful southern exposure, with full sun from dawn to dusk. “It’s ideally situated for solar gain,” notes Ken.

But the real reason the couple purchased the lot was for the spectacular […]

Staying Safe on the Water

Pulling towables behind your boat or PWC.
By John Tiger

Having guests at your lakeside retreat is a lot of fun. Water sports are a natural part of that fun, and given most folks’ appetite for excitement, it’s likely your weekends will include all the fun things to do on the water behind your boat – waterskiing, […]

Tips for Buying a Waterfront Cabin

Expert advice for buying waterfront property.
By Janice Brewster

Photo by Mark R. Johnson

Close your eyes and envision your dream cabin … Does it come with a view of the water?
For many, cabin living means waterfront living. If you’re in search of your own shore haven, do your homework first to make the buying process go more […]

Outdoor Stains & Paints

How to choose the best products for tough conditions climates.
Q. I just built a lakeside log cabin with a cedar-sided garage in the far northern U.S. Because of lake exposure and temperature extremes, I want to buy the best possible stains and paints that will endure. What do you recommend?
– Cliff Bevins, via email
A. Because […]

Help! My Outboard Won’t Start!

Step-by-step troubleshooting to help you pinpoint problems.

Murphy’s Law says your boat won’t start when you have a cabin (and boat) full of guests. While outboards have become more and more complex, they still operate on the same principles as they did before the current wave of EFI/DFI and four-stroke technology appeared. To start and run, […]

How to Declutter the Cabin

Q) Our family cabin has accumulated things from various family members and friends over the years. Some items have sentimental value, even when they’re not used, and I’m having trouble getting rid of things. How can I declutter a cabin that’s been in the family since my grandparents built it?
– Anon., via email

A) Decluttering is […]

Portable Solar Generators

This web-exclusive article provides bonus info on portable solar generators for the magazine story “The Unplugged Cabin: Off-Grid in the Catskills”.
By Fran Sigurdsson

Solar generators are a great option for the off-grid cabin. Unlike gas or propane models, solar generators draw power from the sun, not fuel. They are completely silent and emit no exhaust or […]

Exterior Finishes at the Cabin

There are several options for exterior finishes at the cabin – should you paint or stain wood siding?

Wood siding, unlike vinyl or metal, requires protection from the rain, wind and sun. This means applying paint or stain to new wood and periodic re-coating on previously finished siding. When re-finishing previously finished siding, it’s usually easiest […]

Solar Energy at the Cabin

Don’t be intimidated by the thought of incorporating solar energy into your cabin – just start small!
By Jim Cooper

The most common solar installation (often called PV or Photovoltaic) relies on a collection of solar panels and an inverter to convert the direct current (DC) electricity from the panels to alternating current (AC) that is required […]