Cottage Country Winter 2024

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Cottage Country

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Cottage Country LIFESTYLE


Since 1994

Hike Haliburton Discover Winter's Wonderland






Cottage Country's FREE Multi Award Winning Cottage Lifestyle Magazine!

January/February 2024



Home & Cottage 11 12 17 18 23 24 27 30 41

Fisher Excavating Bringing Humans & Nature Together - Fort Treehouse Building a New Home? - PKHBA Cheers to Winter - Birchview Design Puppets & Marionnettes - Peterborough Museum Styling Shelves - Designer Diana Bastone Transform Your Home - Lifestyle Home Products Those Were the Days - Russ Sanders Cottage Memories - Being Winterized

Get Outdoors 08 32 36 38 42 48 50

Hike Haliburton - Discover Winter's Wonderland Toronto International Boat Show Steve Cuppy - Graywood Sporting Group Rider On The Storm - The Intrepid Snowmobiler Stoney Lake Equestrian - Team Irwin Dressage Get to Know Your Furry Neighbours - Rick Whitteker Bird Friendly Peterborough

Pg 8 Hike Haliburton Fisher Excavating

Birchview Design

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Pg 18

Pg 32

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Toronto Boat Show

Stoney Lake Equestrian

Weddings & Events

28 Whispering Springs - Glamping


31 Weekend at the Cottage

Pets & Vets

44 Spotted Salamanders 44 Caching & Overwintering 45 Winter Wellness - Keeping Your Dog Active in Ontario's Snowy Season

Kids Corner

46 DYI Snowflakes 47 For The Birds - Jacob Rodenburg

Chamber News

49 Fenelon Falls & District Chamber 49 Coboconk, Norland & Area Chamber 49 Lindsay & District Chamber

On the Cover Discover Winter's Wonderland:

Hike Haliburton

PUBLISHER, EDITOR & DESIGN Kelly Welsh, Owner COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER Emily Ireland ADVERTISING SALES Linda Blunt & Fiona Rudder ADVERTISING SALES & DESIGN Moira Gale CONTRIBUTORS Russ Sanders, Emily Ireland, Jacob Rodenburg, Don Willcock, Birchview Designs, Jacquelyn Toupin, Craig Nicholson, Rick Whitteker & Ineke Turner

Volume 31 • Number 1 705-313-2245 • Published 6 times a year by Cottage Country Lifestyle Magazine Inc., 705-313-2245, PO Box 8, Buckhorn ON K0L 1J0. Distributed by Canada Post Publications Mail (to Cottages, Homes & Businesses) and distributed to over 100 drop locations. Also promoted and viewed Online. In Print, Online and on Social. Copyright 1994-2024. All rights reserved.

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Since 1994

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Welcome to the

Winter Issue Fresh. That is the word I choose for January. A fresh year, a new start. The opening to a story poised to cover all the fun and adventure you - the author - can fit in. Sometimes the new year is met with resolutions for change, perhaps you plan to travel more in 2024; we encourage you to do a little traveling in our own Cottage Country, too. With experience-based destinations, plenty right here in our region, a weekend away can be as easy as ‘click to book’. Haliburton Highlands offers a warm welcome to their area for those who love to hike. Read about their winter Hike Haliburton Festival in this issue and plan to strap on your snowshoes, cross country skis or a warm pair of boots and head to the trails. With plenty of overnight accommodations as well as one-of-akind restaurants your hike into Haliburton can become an easy unique vacation. Welcome to the Winter 2024 issue of Cottage Country Lifestyle Magazine. In this issue we have included some fun and interesting reads for all ages. Check out the kids section for fun ideas on feeding birds with Jacob Rodenburg. Have a laugh with Craig Nicholsons comedic tale of ‘getting winterized’. We have Wedding Retreat inspiration from Whispering Springs Glamping and dreamy treehouse vacations with Fort Treehouse Co. Don’t forget design inspiration with the team at Birchview Design. We also had the chance to travel to the Royal Winter Fair and chat with Team Irwin and lots of animal info with writers like: The Peterborough Zoo, Kawartha Wildlife Centre, Bird Friendly Peterborough and Trainer Ineke of Turner and Pooch. We have Recipes from our faves Weekend at The Cottage to fill your belly and warm your soul. “Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: It is the time for home.” – Edith Sitwell So, get out and explore our very own winter wonderland Cottage Country! There is so much to explore. After all, “What good is the warmth of summer without the cold of winter to give it sweetness.” – John Steinbeck

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Discover Winter's Wonderland:

Hike Haliburton As the snow blankets the landscapes of the Haliburton Highlands, the stage is set for an extraordinary adventure awaiting outdoor explorers and nature enthusiasts. Mark your calendars for the weekend of February 3rd & 4th, 2024, as the Hike Haliburton Winter Edition returns, beckoning all to discover the untouched beauty and thrilling experiences of the winter wonderland. With an array of free guided hikes and bookable experiences, participants will traverse snow-laden trails, immersing themselves in a realm where nature paints a stunning tapestry of white. But it's not just about the hikes; it's about embracing the enchantment that comes with winter. From encountering wildlife footprints etched in snow to witnessing the hushed whispers of the forest, every step is a chapter in a magical story waiting to unfold. As the sun sets, the adventure doesn't end; the festival comes alive with captivating live entertainment across various venues. Experience Drew Allen's live entertainment at the Highlands Hills United Church, groove to Frank and Beans' tunes hosted at Sir Sam's Ski, or immerse yourself in JJ Blue's melodies at the Rockcliffe. These night-time performances promise to add an extra layer

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of charm to your winter expedition. The Dominion Hotel in Minden and McKeck’s Tap & Grill in Haliburton offer evenings of culinary delight as the festival also celebrates the food arts. Indulge in the warmth of local hospitality and savor delectable meals at the many renowned restaurants like The Post House or Rhubarb Restaurant that are scattered throughout the Haliburton Highlands. In addition to traditional hikes, this edition introduces a medley of experiences tailored to celebrate the winter spirit. From guided hikes to immersive encounters, the festival unveils an array of experiences. This year, participants can also book exclusive activities with renowned companies like 'Yours Outdoors' and 'Deep Roots Adventure.' One standout adventure is the Intro to Igloo Building, a quintessential Canadian experience. "The igloo, like the birch bark canoe, is a Canadian icon," shares Emily, a storyteller. "Join us as we delve into this unique winter dwelling, exploring Ontario's snow conditions and learning different construction techniques." For thrill-seekers, the 'Try It' Ice Climbing adventure beckons. You'll grasp the basics, ensuring safety, and then immerse yourself in the thrill of climbing! Additionally, embrace the tranquility of the 'Ski Like a Canadian' experience. "Whether new or refining your technique, join us for a half-day introduction into this tranquil sport." Moreover, the Winter Edition isn't exclusive to seasoned adventurers; it welcomes families, friends, and individuals seeking a delightful winter escape. There are activities tailored for all ages, encouraging everyone to revel in the joys of the season. This edition of Hike Haliburton isn't just an event; it's a celebration of the resilient spirit of winter, an ode to the beauty found in its tranquil landscapes and a testament to the joy of the Haliburton Highlands. So, bundle up, embrace the chill, and step into the magic of the Hike Haliburton Winter Edition. Join us as we discover the beauty, fun, and enchantment that only winter can bring! Since 1994

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Fisher Excavating

Preserving Your Cottage Property for Generations of Enjoyment Water access definitely means peace and quiet as well as a very private cottage experience – but island living can also present some challenges. For clients of Fisher Excavating, the problem they were faced with was that their little island was disappearing. Erosion was happening at an alarming rate; with a little more each year it had gotten to the point that the corner of their cottage foundation was only a foot away from the shoreline of the lake – and it was getting closer. They called Dwaine and his team at Fisher Excavating knowing that they would be able to come up with a plan to preserve what was left of their precious island abode. Dwaine Fisher, owner of Fisher Excavating went ahead and had the plans for the enormous preservation job drawn up. This type of work also means working very closely with Conservation Authorities as well as maintaining all of the rules and governances of the Trent Severn Waterway. Ecological impact is a very important

topic when working with the delicate balance of shorelines, and Fisher Excavating took many precautions to preserve the natural equilibrium of the lake. Among other safety measures, silt fences were used to prevent sediment from entering the water. Equipment and supplies were barged in to the site where the Fisher team worked for over 30 days. They installed 100 feet of armoured stone decorative wall, and lined the shoreline surrounding the island with huge field boulders and then covered them with river rock. It took a total of 400 tons of rock being barged in to complete the project. With the threat of being washed away by the incoming shoreline clear, the cottage on this beautiful slice of heaven – built in 1929 – will be protected for generations to come.

"We were very pleased with Fisher's approach to our shoreline restoration. They committed to a start date and kept to it. They had the permits in hand in time to start the restoration. They worked with us to achieve preservation of the island while attending to our wishes regarding the landscaping. We appreciated their flexibility as the project evolved. We now have an island and cottage that will stand the test of time." Since 1994

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Photo Credit Erin Leydon

Bringing Humans & Nature Together “A hunger for less.


Fort Treehouse Co.

i atr Be t i d e Photo Cr


In a world where hunger for more is the norm, we yearned for something less. It was a simple ‘yes’ that changed everything – a yes to our natural surroundings, a yes to learning through observation, and a deep appreciation for nature itself.” Meet Lauren and Cam Green, the passionate force behind the creation of FORT TREEHOUSE CO. the business that brings together adventure, nature and conscious treehouse design for the ultimate wilderness retreat. Both hailing from larger cities Cam and Lauren met working at YMCA Wanakita Summer Camp on Koshlong Lake. In 2010 they bought a 3-acre property with a log cabin and moved out of the city in search of a simpler, slower more nature focused lifestyle. Over the years their friends from the city would come and visit. Evening bonfires, cooking over the fire, canoeing and wilderness adventure relaxed and invigorated them, they would tell Lauren and Cam ‘this is so special you should bottle this up and sell it’. Cam had always had a curiosity for treehouses, and this led him

to attend a course on sustainable treehouse design and build in 2014. The dream had been sparked. In 2018 the couple began to plot and create a business plan. Along with Cams interest in treehouse life, building a treehouse was a loved idea because it leaves a rather small footprint, allowing the nature around it to remain relatively unchanged. Lauren says, “Cam is most at home in the forest – it was his passion to build treehouses. Whereas my passion lies more in the design and experiential travel realms. Experiential travel is about creating visceral core memories with lasting impact. That continues to be the primary driver behind what we hope our guests will experience when they stay at one of our treehouses.” The Baltic treehouse was conceptualized and brought to life with Lauren and Cam looking after most of the build themselves, all Continued on page 15

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Photo Credit Hårtwood

Since 1994

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Photo Credit Erin Leydon

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while documenting their progress on Instagram. They worked closely with a content marketing team (Bellwetherx) to launch their brand, and as the build unfolds you can watch them give interview style footage on the progress and details of the building experience. It was important to the couple that the brand they were creating reflect their lifestyle ethos, manifesting their business philosophy into fruition.

“FORT really become this kind of practice, rediscovering what it is about this life that keeps us here and what we want to share” Aptly named for its Baltic birch clad walls, The Baltic – a 370 sq ft. treehouse was completed in late 2020. The structure sits 4 meters off the ground in 2 large Maple trees, leaving you feeling like you are floating in the treetops. You are greeted with the dreamy forest canopy when you step outside onto the wrap around deck. This thoughtfully planned out nature escape is powered by solar panels, and was built with a regenerative design to align with the growth of the forest in which it is perched. It was important to Lauren and Cam that the build be sustainable, they built with renewable materials and stock eco friendly products, it’s that forward thinking that completes the experience of enjoying The Baltic; and one that allows their retreat to be sustainable tourism certified. They had no idea that what they were creating would be so successful, at the time of conceptualization many people were traveling only to locations with features like lakes – not to the middle of a forest. It was the focus of coming into the woods and being in nature that Lauren and Cam wanted to be the motivation behind the experience. “We knew it was special bringing people north - to bring people closer to nature.” Lauren explains “there is a constant bombardment of business and busyness – this has been our way of inviting people to slow down and enter into a natural wilderness where they might not otherwise decide to go.” The Baltic is even outfitted with a wood-fired hot tub where you can unwind in the company of birdsong and earthy woodland scents enveloping your senses.

Photo Credit Erin Leydon

The couple maintain that it has been incredibly rewarding for them to see the profound impact staying in The Baltic has had on guests. “The journey simply began with a desire for a different kind of existence, and so we stripped away everyday distractions, allowing nature to be our guide. In doing so, we discovered something profound; something we knew we had to share with others.” Lauren and Cam are currently in a season of growth. With the success of the Baltic, they have embarked on a new project. They are in the process of building 3 more treehouses on their recently acquired property that abuts a 500-acre nature reserve ensuring the longevity of a peaceful, intimate experience. “We are continuing to focus on the quality of the entire experience and what that looks like as we grow.” Says Lauren. This new boutique style hotel is called Hårtwood. Take the leap into nature and book your stay in this beautiful architectural art piece. This treetop escapee is beyond just a place to stay, it is an experience for the senses, ultimate relaxation and peace for the soul. Since 1994

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BUYING OR SELLING A HOME OR COTTAGE? Buying or Selling a home or cottage can be a stressful process if you don’t have the right real estate agent. Let me show you the difference of working with a local professional agent can make. 705.868.4239

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Building a New Home?

Then Get it in Writing! If you own land and plan to hire a contractor to build your new home, here’s some advice – Get it in Writing! You should have a written contract that fully defines the work you’re paying for and exhibits that the contractor is operating their business properly. Without this, you could face serious risks if something goes wrong. Here’s why: As the property owner, you may be responsible for the construction work that is carried out on your property. You could face notable legal and financial problems if the proper measures are not in place and documented in a written contract. In some provinces homeowners are billed for injury and recovery costs if someone they hire is injured and does not have Workers’ Compensation coverage. You are responsible if your construction project does not comply with local building codes. Without a written contract, you will have difficulty taking action against a contractor whose work is incomplete or badly done. Whether you hire a general contractor or act as your own, you need proper protection in case something goes wrong on your land. There are three aspects to this protection: 1. You need a clear and thorough written agreement with any contractor you hire, covering all aspects of the work to be done. This contract needs to describe the work in detail, including: materials, work schedule, pay wage and pay schedule. Work drawings and specification lists are typically included in this contract. 2. Your contract should provide proof that the contractor is protecting you from a number of potential risks. This includes: • Business liability insurance in case your home is damaged, there is an accident, or if something is stolen from the work site Since 1994

• Workers' Compensation coverage for all workers. In provinces where this is not mandatory for self-employed workers, you should require proof of equivalent private disability coverage. • Assignment of responsibility for obtaining required permits and inspections • A Business number or GST/HST number • A valid license, if your municipality requires licensing of contractors • Lien holdback arrangements that conform to provincial requirements, to limit your responsibly for debts that the contractor incurs while working on your home • Coverage from a new home warranty provider 3. You need to talk with your homeowner insurance representative before any work begins, to make certain your policy covers the risks related to your project – many homeowners’ policies do not automatically provide sick coverage Some consumers try to save money by hiring contractors “under the table”, without a contract and with all payments made in cash. Unfortunately, they often have little idea of the significant financial risks involved in such “underground” cash deals. The price is lower for a reason – the consumer is not protected. Reputable contractors who are in business for the long term don’t work this way. Any contractor who offers a special “cash discount” on work done without a proper contract should be avoided. The risks are simply too great. Each municipality has different requirements for permits, zoning and land use. You can always talk to your local building department. For more information on building a new home and hiring a contractor,

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Cheers to Winter! Birchview Design

For our fourth and final season of the year, we are pulling inspiration from our Scandinavian pals, and leaning into the power of “hygge”. The word (pronounced "hoo-ga), is defined as “…creating cozy and convivial atmospheres that promote wellbeing” and is all about surrounding ourselves with things that make us feel good (and who doesn’t want more of that!). Time spent embracing the outdoors, surrounding yourself with loved ones, connecting with your community, and a great emphasis on revamping your interior atmosphere to be extra supportive during a time that can feel more taxing on the body and mind are all ideals that are inspiring. Just like each of our own individual lifestyles (and design styles for that matter), hygge is completely individualized and is all about discovering what makes you feel great in life. Check out a few of our BDI-interpreted ways of incorporating hygge into your space this winter:

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Layer Love As winter blankets our world in frosty hues, the interior of your home has the opportunity to take on a warm and inviting role through the artful layering of fabrics. Beyond mere decoration, the strategic combination of textures and textiles creates a cozy sanctuary that not only shields us from the cold, but also delights the senses. Bringing in heavier fabrics such as wool, velvet, and chenille provide insulation and a luxurious vibe. The addition of seasonal throw blankets, pillows or drapery that complement your existing palette and vary in pattern, size, texture and shape instantly add depth and create visual interest. Check out your local farmer or maker's markets for artisan-made textiles to snag oneof-a-kind pieces and get layering!

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Foraging Fun Although our love for fresh greenery runs strong, when the winter months hit, this isn’t always possible to maintain (especially for a secondary home or cottage). Enter: the branch. While devoid of the stereotypically saturated colours of its deciduous and coniferous cousins, branches are absolutely unmatched in spatial and architectural interest. How wispy branches are able to fill a space without feeling heavy is one of life’s little mysteries, and we are all for it. Smaller thinner branches work great in vases and crocks, and larger thicker ones can be used to layer up open shelving or mounted as textural art. Whatever your required size or style, a branch of your liking can be foraged almost anywhere, and requires zero maintenance. Embrace a walk winter and enjoy seeing what you can forage!

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Since 1994

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Seasonal Switch As winter's enchanting embrace settles over our exterior surroundings, there's a unique opportunity to infuse your living space with special seasonal decor. What better way to capture the spirit of hygge than by commissioning a bespoke art piece from an artist in your community! The incorporation of local elements in the artwork creates a piece that reflects the unique specialities of your environmental surroundings (this could include local landmarks, flora, or fauna that are meaningful to you and the artist). We love to recommend the installation of an art rail on your mantle or open shelving to allow you the option to change out your art with the seasons, without any maintenance of wall installation. Definitely a win-win!

Birchview Design Inc. is an award-winning interior design team serving clientele in the Kawartha Lakes, GTA, and beyond. As a full-service studio, the firm offers an all-inclusive, simplified experience with elevated design expertise. / @birchviewdesign Build: Four Points Construction Photography: Ashley Adams @flashadams Fireplace Art: Peter Rotter @peterrotter.landscape.artist

Since 1994

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Do Less I don’t know about you, but I’ll take any chance I can to take a breath and reevaluate my life. What is working and what isn’t? How do I want to use my most precious resource— time. Am I feeling fulfilled (at least most of the time), and if not, how can I recalibrate to what is true and important for me? I find this opportunity to take stock of my life as frequently as possible— in the new year, at the beginning of each month, at the beginning of each cycle, at the beginning of each week. Are our priorities as a family taking up the most space in our life or are we saying yes to things that either once felt good and are no longer nourishing or are we agreeing to obligations out of external pressure instead of our internal compass? The process of weeding out the things I need to let go of is simple. I just imagine the life I want to have, and then I ask myself what I am doing that is moving me towards that life, and which things are moving me further away. It normally involves a list of things I’m putting my time into, with the most important things being at the top of the list. Whatever is on the bottom has got to go. This is the difficult part. Letting things go when I’m actually a whole woman with many vibrant interests is a challenge. It can be easy to get caught up in fear that I’m closing off opportunity, even when I know I’m clearing space for something new to show up. That old adage, “when one door closes, another door opens” suits this experience beautifully. What doors are you looking to close this winter, and what are you making space for? Jacquelyn Toupin is a birthkeeper & intuitive healer supporting women to evolve into their truest selves. You can follow along on her Instagram

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Puppets & Marionnettes

By: Don Willcock

When they hear the term “puppet”, many people will think back to their childhoods – in my case that would be to The Friendly Giant’s Rusty the Rooster and Jerome the Giraffe, and to Mr Dressup’s Casey and Finnegan. Later generations enjoyed Shari Lewis and Lambchop, The Muppets, and the Sesame Street puppets. These characters mostly were hand puppets, with the exceptions of Big Bird (costumed performer) and some of the Muppets who are marionettes. There are two types of puppets – non-articulated and articulated (e.g. marionnettes). Puppets in some form have existed for centuries. They are mentioned in the literature of ancient Greece and Rome, and have been found in archaeological sites of the Indus Valley and other parts of Asia. Some of these apparently were used for entertainment, but others were seemingly for religious purposes. The word “marionnette” is a diminutive of “Marie”, and was first applied to figures representing the Virgin Mary; from the 16th century this name was given to wooden dolls, both sacred and common. Today’s meaning for “marionnette” is a puppet that moves by the manipulation of its strings. Puppets may seem odd items for a community museum to have, but the Peterborough Museum & Archives (PMA) has a collection of handcrafted marionnettes that came to it from the Peterborough Puppet Guild. The Guild was formed in 1953 and disbanded in 1965. Guild members created over 70 marionnettes based on fairy tales, literature, celebrities, and fantasy. The budget for making marionnettes was limited, but members compensated with ingenuity: if you look closely, some noses are toothpaste tube

Since 1994

caps! As well as builders, Guild members were puppeteers, lighting technicians, scriptwriters, set creators, and filled any other roles required for their shows. Until March 2024, PMA visitors will have the opportunity to view a selection of these remarkable artifacts on exhibit. While King Neptune and a mermaid may not swim through the ocean, the Flutist may not play his instrument, Snow White may not bite the apple, and Liberace may not tickle the keys of his piano, they certainly may put on a show in your imagination. The Peterborough Museum & Archives, 300 Hunter St E, Peterborough 705-743-5180

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Top Shelf:

Tips for Choosing & Styling Shelves

Do your empty shelves have you feeling… unfulfilled? Does the design and decorating seem daunting? You’re not alone. When it comes to our homes, many mistakenly “shelf” their shelves in favour of more exciting design additions, like furniture and tech toys. But the truth is, the right shelving can enhance a home’s function and its style. Despite their primary purpose of storage and organization, shelves are much more than just functional pieces of furniture; they are also powerful design elements that can transform the look and feel of your home. Whether you opt for open shelving to showcase your favourite items, or custom-built shelves to maximize the corners and crannies, your choices can significantly impact your home’s overall aesthetic.

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By Designer Diana Bastone

Choosing the Right Shelves Before you can start styling, ensure you have the right shelves for your space. Consider the following factors: Functionality: Assess the purpose of the shelves. Are they primarily for storage, display or a combination of both? If storage is a priority, consider closed cabinets or a mix of open and closed shelving to hide clutter while showcasing your favorite pieces. Also consider your own organizational style. If you’re messy, closed shelving might be the more practical option. Space and Scale: Measure the available space where the shelves will be installed to ensure a proper fit. Pay attention to the scale

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of the room. In smaller spaces, floating shelves can create the illusion of more space, while larger rooms can accommodate substantial bookshelves or custom-built units. Material and Style: Choose materials that complement your existing decor. Wood adds warmth, while metal or glass can lend to a more modern look. Also consider the style of your home – whether it's contemporary, traditional, or eclectic – and select shelves that align overall with that aesthetic.

Choosing and styling shelves is a creative process that allows you to showcase your personality and enhance the overall style and function of your home. Whether you opt for the openness of floating shelves, the customization of built-ins, or a combination of both, the key lies in thoughtful curation and a keen eye for design. By carefully selecting the right shelves and accessorizing with colour and texture, you can transform your home into a space that is both functional and aesthetically pleasing.

Open Shelving: Open shelving has gained popularity for its ability to create an airy and visually appealing display, while keeping certain items easily on hand. Just remember that with this design choice, curation is key. Custom Shelving: Custom shelving allows you to maximize space and tailor the design to your specific needs. Here are some tips for creating custom shelves: Built-In Versatility: Design built-in shelves that cater to the unique features of your home, such as alcoves or corners. Incorporate a mix of open and closed storage to maintain a balance between showcasing items and hiding clutter. Multi-Functional Design: Integrate shelves with additional features like built-in desks, entertainment centers, or seating to maximize functionality. Ensure that your custom shelves are proportionate to the room and serve a dual purpose without overwhelming the space. The Art of Accessorizing Now that you have the right shelves in place, some thoughtful accessorizing will finish the look. Start with a cohesive colour palette for the items you'll be displaying. This creates a unified and visually pleasing look. Introduce pops of colour or bold black accents through decorative items like vases, books and artwork to create visual interest. I like to incorporate a variety of textures, such as ceramics, woven baskets and metallic accents, to add depth and tactile appeal into my interiors. Experiment with different materials to strike a balance between smooth and rough surfaces for a more dynamic look. Mix and match items of varying heights, shapes, and textures to add interest and prevent monotony. Achieve balance by distributing items evenly on each shelf. Consider symmetry in terms of both placement and visual weight. Finally, experiment with the arrangement – alternating between vertical and horizontal stacks can create a dynamic and organized appearance.

Diana Bastone is the Principal Designer and founder of Toronto based Diana Bastone Designs. The firm has become known for creating stylish, and thoughtfully tailored livable interiors The firm provides full service residential design servicing GTA, Toronto Ontario. @dianabastonedesigns

Since 1994

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Transform Your Home A Dive into Lifestyle Home Products

Hey there, home enthusiasts! If you're anything like me, you've probably spent countless hours daydreaming about turning your place into a cozy, stylish haven. Well, buckle up because I stumbled upon something that could be a game-changer – Lifestyle Home Products. Let's talk sunrooms. Lifestyle Home Products has nailed it with these beauties. They're not your run-of-the-mill additions; they're like a bridge between your indoor and outdoor spaces. I'm talking about a room filled with sunlight where you can just chill, or maybe a spot to grow your own little jungle of plants. The website showcases many of the designs they offer, and gives you the lowdown on how you can customize them to fit your unique style. What caught my eye is the attention to detail. Lifestyle Home Products isn't just about making good-looking Since 1994

sunrooms, windows, doors and baths. They're all about quality. They are a turn-key solution for your needs. From manufacturing to installation - the Lifestyle team is there with you every step of the way. In a world where homes are more than just four walls, Lifestyle Home Products gets it. They're not just selling sunrooms, windows, doors and baths; they're selling a lifestyle. So, if you're itching to give your place a facelift, Lifestyle Home Products might just be the partner in crime you've been looking for. Check out the website, get inspired, and who knows, your dream home might be just a few clicks away. 1-800-465-0593

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Glamping Whispering Springs

Located just 90 minutes east of Toronto in Grafton, Ontario, Whispering Springs is a wedding destination close to home, yet worlds away. This spectacular destination is situated on 200 acres of pristine farmland and wilderness, it includes picturesque pastures, oldgrowth forests, spring-fed ponds and charming meadows. Nestled in their old-growth forest is the Forest Chapel, a stunning ceremony location that is perfect for your exchange of vows. Spend your first night as newlyweds in one of their Cozy Glamping Accommodations and spend a relaxing weekend surrounded by unspoiled nature. Whispering Springs offers lavishly outfitted and decorated lodgings for a one-of a kind overnight experience for both wedding party and guests. They have a selection of adorably named Safari Tents and Treetop Tents – which are built on a lifted platform so you awake amongst the treetops – as well as the Whisper Cabin and Chalet.

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Perhaps you love the idea of sleeping outdoors under the stars but are not one to compromise on comfort and convenience; the Glamping experience is a perfect way to ditch the sleeping bag and tent and rest in a real bed along with facilities like a close by washroom and soaker tub. Whether your wedding guests are outdoor enthusiasts or nature newbies, Whispering Springs guarantees that they have the perfect accommodations to suit everyone’s needs and provide them with an unforgettable wilderness experience.

“Understanding that the traditional camping experience is not for everyone, Whispering Springs Wilderness Retreat bridges the gap between camping and the desire for comfort, allowing individuals to experience the great outdoors in style and sophistication.” Explore Cottage Country

Invite your guests to indulge in ultimate relaxation in this unique location. There are amenities to suit everyone including a cedar barrel sauna just steps away from a saltwater pool and hot tub; ultimate relaxation complete with a stunning view. Whispering Springs offers wellness options too, including group yoga and fire meditation. There is a great selection of lawn games, as well as hiking and forest trails, a spring fed pond with access to a row, or paddle boats, as well as badminton and volleyball. Tended communal campfires add a cozy touch to the evening experience, a glamorous take on camping under the stars that you and your guests will be talking about forever. From weddings and corporate events to luxury wellness retreats, Whispering Springs offers guests a unique way in which to reconnect with themselves, those around them and the great outdoors. Since 1994

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“In God We Trust” It is a walk on the dangerous side when one actually questions the will of God or in fact, questions if there is a God. We need only look around us and wonder why a God, any God would allow such evils to happen; but if we do seek the answers, we can actually find them predicted and explained in the bible. Yes, I know, words can be twisted and meanings altered to fit any situation, and depending who is translating, some words usually are. One preacher simply said, “God does not condone suffering and sorrow, He created man and has let us make our own decisions no matter the outcome”. On the battle field when soldiers are wounded it has been recorded they cry out to their mother and God. Even if a soldier had never set foot in any church or synagogue, they will still plead, “God help me.” How many times have we all looked to the heavens and cried those same words, “God help me.” And when your prayer wish is granted whether it be positive or negative, how many actually give God the credit or say thank you? My brother Len was a year and a half older than me; he was my best friend. We never wore the traditional white shorts and sneakers, but we still beat all comers in doubles tennis. My brother was one of Windsor, Ontario’s top five-pin bowlers and I bowled in the ten-pin classic league. I was terrible at five pins so Len changed and bowled with me. His wife Marilyn played the accordion and was quite musical, but we used to chide Len saying he could not carry a note across the street. Marilyn bought him a ukelele where you just push one button for all the chords but Len was totally unable to keep the beat. On Christmas Day 1959, we all gathered at Mom and Dad’s house for dinner and celebrations. Nursing our full bellies, we heard a tenor singing O Holy Night in one of the upstairs rooms. His voice was beautiful, the notes clear and soulful. It was Len, we couldn’t believe it. We gathered at the bottom of the stairs not wanting to interrupt the impromptu concert. What a wonderful gift on Christmas Day, not only for Len but for all of us. A few weeks later on January 20th I was playing hockey when my wife and sister came to the rink. I went to them saying, “Len is dead, isn’t he?” They simply told me to go home. How did I know my bother had died? Was O Holy Night a final gift from God as a reward for being a devout and faithful Christian? But Len left a widow and three wonderful kids, would God do that? There have been many killings, uprisings and wars all in the name of God, surely, He would not turn away from such false claims. I was one in a family of nine, they are all gone. During the Christmas and new year holidays yes, I admit I do wonder, I miss them deeply. Wishing you a happy 2024 new year and may God be with you. Russ Sanders

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Weekend at the Cottage


BAKED BRIE EN CROÛTE A wheel of double cream brie topped with shallot, sautéed pear and a spicy red pepper jelly before getting wrapped in puff pastry and oven-baked. INGREDIENTS


• 1 package frozen puff pastry, thawed • 1 450 g wheel of double cream brie

1) Prepare the filling: Melt butter in a small skillet over medium heat. Add shallot, sautéing until soft and fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add pear. Season with salt and pepper, then toss and cook for 1 minute more. Remove from heat.

For the egg wash: • 1 egg, room temperature • 1 tablespoon whole milk For the filling: • 1 shallot, finely chopped • 1 pear, diced • 1 tablespoon butter • sprinkle of kosher salt and black pepper • 2 tablespoons spicy red pepper jelly

2) Prepare the egg wash: Whisk egg and milk in a medium-sized bowl until thoroughly combined. Set aside along with a pastry brush. 3) Preheat oven to 425°F with the rack in the middle position. 4) Prepare brie: Roll 1 square of puff pastry out onto a lightly floured work surface. Trim away the corners to create a circle large enough to cover the wheel of brie you’re using. Drop the red pepper jelly into the centre of the pastry and gently spread it out to the same size as the cheese. Spoon the pear and shallot mixture over the jelly, also spreading it out to the same circular shape. Place the cheese on top of the jelly and fruit mixture. Brush the pastry with egg wash and dab more egg wash on top of the brie. Lift and fold the puff pastry up over the top of the brie, adhering it to the egg wash. Lift and invert the cheese onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Brush the pastry sides and top with egg wash. Add additional pastry decor to the top, gently brushing it with egg wash too. 5) Transfer to oven and bake for 30 minutes or until pastry puffs up with a rich golden colour and the top of the brie is soft to the touch. 6) Cool for 20 minutes (runny) or 40 minutes (slightly runny). Serve with assorted crackers, nuts and fresh fruit.

MOCHA HOT CHOCOLATE A rich, mocha-flavoured hot chocolate served with whipped cream, chocolate sprinkles and mini marshmallows… INGREDIENTS • • • • • • •

6 cups whole milk 1 cup half-and-half cream 1 cup cocoa powder 1 cup granulated sugar 1/4 cup instant espresso powder, regular or decaf 1 teaspoon vanilla extract pinch of kosher salt

Serve with whipped cream, grated milk chocolate and mini marshmallows DIRECTIONS 1) Pour milk and half-and-half cream into a medium-sized pot. Place pot on stove over moderate-high heat. Scald the milk and cream by heating it almost to a boil, stirring frequently. Remove from heat. 2) In a large pot over moderate heat, add 1 cup of water plus cocoa powder, granulated sugar, espresso powder, vanilla extract and a pinch of kosher salt. Stir to dissolve sugar and cocoa. Right before it comes to a boil, add milk and cream mixture, stirring to combine thoroughly. Heat until hot but not boiling. 3) To serve, ladle hot chocolate into mugs or cups. Add a few dollops of whipped cream, some grated chocolate and a few mini marshmallows. Serve immediately.

Since 1994

Home & Cottage ~ Winter 2024 31

Canada’s Official


66th Annual Toronto International Boat Show Returns to the Enercare Centre, Exhibition Place

Jan. 19 – 28 Cast your sights on North America’s largest indoor boat show coming to Toronto’s Enercare Centre next month! The 66th edition of the Toronto International Boat Show officially launches January 19th to 28th, 2024, connecting consumers and the boating community with the industry’s top boat dealers, manufacturers, retailers, services, and experts over a million sq.ft. of showroom space at Exhibition Place. No other show in Canada can boast the most product launches from the marine industry, the most comprehensive offering of educational resources for new boaters, and the most seminars and hands-on demonstrations for a wide array of boating interests and lifestyles (more than 400 free seminars!).

public to rendez-vous, re-connect, and rev up for the upcoming season. Returning highlights include the Great Canadian Fish Tank, Antique & Classic Boats, Boating Resource Centre, Cottage Country for accessories, and the Ontario Sailing Booth where visitors can try virtual sailing, and learn about sailing programs for women, sustainable initiatives, and the newest in sail technology and sports including kiteboarding and windsurfing.

The annual 10-day show kicks off on First Look Friday (Jan. 19) when organizers anticipate dozens of product unveilings across the show floor among 500 exhibitors; and welcomes the boating

NEW this year – Glow in the Dark Boating! …on the world’s largest indoor lake for boaters. Transforming the ice rink in Coca-Cola Coliseum with over a million gallons of water, The Lake will also offer free boat rides and demonstrations, stand up paddleboard races, seaflea races, and exhilarating wakeboarding and waterskiing shows.

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The largest selection of boats & new products under one roof The world’s largest indoor lake for boating (and wakeboarding) is back! The Indoor Wakeboard Canadian Championship takes over on Opening Weekend (Jan. 19 – 21) when the best riders from across the country converge to compete, including reigning Canadian champions Riley Dillon (Men) and Kelsey Chiappa (Women). Visitors can whet their appetites aprésboating at the NEW Traeger Grills Flavour Stage featuring cooking demonstrations, bbq recipes, and sampling!

Continued on page 35

Since 1994

Get Outdoors ~ Winter 2024 33

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2024 Toronto International Boat Show Hours Enercare Centre, Exhibition Place First Look Friday (Preview) ~ January 19, 2024 1pm – 7pm

Growing demand for electric boats, riding the wave of surf sports, and innovative inflatables, are among top trends for 2024

January 20 – 28, 2024 Weekdays (22 – 26) ~ 11am - 7pm Saturdays (20 & 27) ~ 10am - 6pm Sunday, January 21 ~ 10am - 6pm Sunday, January 28 ~ 10am - 5pm Ticket prices range from $5 to multi-day passes; General Admission tickets are $25. Kids 16 and under attend for FREE . For programming and seminar schedules, and more information about the 2024 Toronto International Boat Show, go to ABOUT THE TORONTO INTERNATIONAL BOAT SHOW: The Toronto International Boat Show is owned and produced by Canadian Boat Shows. In generating more than $354 million in economic impact to the region, it is the Largest Indoor Boat Show in North America. More boats are purchased at the Toronto International Boat Show than at any other place or event in Canada. About 43% of Canadians (12.4 million people) participate in boating and 20% (6 million) own a boat. Direct revenues across Canada’s core recreational boating industry total nearly $5 billion per year, and directly employ approximately 45,000 Canadians. (NMMA Canada – The Economic Impact of Recreational Boating in Canada).

It is the largest indoor boat show in North America and is the go to show for all your boating requirements . It is the best place to see what is new in boats , pwc’s , kayaks and boating accessories. From Pontoon Boats to Wakeboard Boats to Fishing boats and Cruisers they have it all . There is also a wide selection of docks , water related toys and accessories. With over 450 vendors there is very little you can’t find that is boating and cottage related. The attendance is always good and the people come away from the show with any of their questions answered. Look forward to seeing you at the show . We are in Boat G155. Rick Hickson - R&J Machine

Since 1994

Get Outdoors ~ Winter 2024 35

Steve Cuppy Graywood Sporting Group

The Legends Program: Individuals in the hunting and firearm industry nominated by their peers for this award

Steve Cuppy, an influential and respected figure in the shooting and fishing industry, is celebrated as a true visionary and advocate for outdoor sports. His significant contributions to the industry have earned him recognition from the Canadian Sporting Arms and Ammunition Association (CSAAA) as an Industry Legend.

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Steve Cuppy’s journey into the world of the hunting, firearms, and fishing industry began in 1979 when he joined Peterborough Guns. His early experiences and passion for outdoor sports provided a strong foundation for what was to come. As Steve’s career advanced, he moved over to Hazelwood Sales, a pivotal point in his professional life. This move ultimately led to the formation of the Graywood Sporting Group in Peterborough. Under Steve’s leadership, the Graywood Sporting Group would become a prominent name in the industry, known for its dedication to quality products and exceptional service. One of Steve Cuppy’s defining characteristics is his role in introducing some of the industry’s most renowned brands into the Canadian market. Brands like Winchester Ammunition owe their success in Canada, in part, to Steve’s dedication and pioneering spirit. Steve’s influence extends far beyond his role as a business owner. He is a passionate sportsman and hunter himself, and his love for the outdoors is evident in every aspect of his life. He used his platform to promote the industry and the firearm community, not only through his work but also through his generous sponsorships of outdoor fundraising events and organizations. His commitment to getting young people outdoors and involved in hunting, as well as his unwavering support for the firearms community, is a testament to his dedication to the sport and his desire to share it with others. Steve Cuppy’s commitment to the industry was further demonstrated by his long-time association with the Canadian Sporting Arms and Ammunition Association (CSAAA). He is not only a dedicated member but also served as the organization’s president for several years. His leadership and guidance within the CSAAA played a vital role in shaping the direction of the industry, ensuring its continued growth and success. In recognition of his remarkable achievements and contributions to the shooting and fishing industry, the Canadian Sporting Arms and Ammunition Association (CSAAA) has honoured Steve Cuppy as an Industry Legend. His passion, vision, and dedication have left an indelible mark on the world of hunting, firearms, and outdoor sports, making him a truly deserving Industry Legend.

Since 1994

Home & Cottage ~ Winter 2024 37

Rider On The Storm

Enjoying a lake effect snow squall By Craig Nicholson

Like all snowmobilers, riders from the Kawarthas, Haliburton and Bancroft regions are winter lovers, always hoping for more white stuff. But in my sledding travels across Canada, I’ve discovered there can be too much of a good thing…

wind-blown open areas. It was a real crapshoot trying to spot where the trail went without slowing down so much our sleds sank into that white quicksand. Continually digging out one stuck sled after another took its toll.

An over-abundance of snow interrupted my first trail ride near Cochrane. A foot and half obliterated the snowmobile trail with more falling; the going became progressively tougher. So, we slogged our way to a weather-closed Highway 11 and rode that smooth and untracked white ribbon back to town.

Darkness was falling when we lost the trail completely just outside the town that was supposed to be our lunch stop. So, after 8 hours of struggle and 112 very hard fought kilometers, we stayed there overnight. Fortunately, the storm ended and trails were opened up as we slept, so the rest of our tour was a breeze.

I had a similar experience in Northwestern Ontario. During our tour, four feet of snow fell over two blustery days. Our pace became a crawl trying to follow the entombed trail. Every kilometre, one sled or another dropped a ski off the groomed trail’s edge into the bottomless depths beside. Then came the gut-wrenching extraction work.

But a whiteout storm can be as bad as too much snow. While snowmobiling in Revelstoke B.C., we explored a high mountain peak on a bright, sunny day. Without warning, a whiteout enveloped us, so I couldn’t see my hand in front of my face. Scary stuff when you’re already wary about riding off a cliff! Our local guide said to stay put and wait for it to blow over, and after one of the longest hours of my life, the white shroud suddenly dissipated. Boy, was I happy to see the sun again!

Our weary crew finally found a remote gas station shut down by the blizzard. Fortunately, the owner lived on site and let us get warm and fuel up. Soon an OPP cruiser arrived, and the officer said: “Follow me!” So riding behind its lights flashing for two hours, we arrived by highway at our next hotel. We hit another major one in New Brunswick. A blizzard raged as we arrived, leaving over two feet everywhere. Next morning, we encountered buried trails and deep drifts, especially in heavily

Ontario’s Grey Bruce is notorious for abrupt lake effect squalls, localized pockets like the wall of white we ran into. In the blink of an eye, visibility dropped to near zero for about half our day. But other riders we talked to had enjoyed only sunny blue skies, so go figure. Whiteouts are a good reason snowmobile clubs stake open areas to mark the trail. We wouldn’t have found our way otherwise!

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Speaking of riding blind, we suddenly ran into an ice fog storm in Saskatchewan. This whiteout totally concealed the trail ahead, as if we’d entered a frozen steam bath. But glancing up, I caught a glimpse of light. We discovered that we could get our bearings by standing on our sled seats, raising our heads above the ground fog. Hard to steer standing, but by poking our noggins up periodically we were able to navigate out of that icy shroud. I’ve also been snow bound for two days in a closed Gaspésie town surrounded by impassable trails. And I won’t forget the Great Ice Storm of ’98, when we looked outside one morning of our ride to see the entire world transformed by a thick, frozen coating. Slip-sliding to our sleds, we were shocked to find them encased in over half an inch of solid ice! Breaking that rock-hard covering off required brute force – our first taste of what lay ahead. When the storm ended, the trails were treacherous skating rinks. Without studs and ice scratchers, we couldn’t have returned to the trucks.

Another sled buried, but still smiling!

Even so, a massive power outage extended across much of Quebec and into Ontario. Roads were eerily empty of traffic. Highway ramps closed. Stranded vehicles and impassible snow banks everywhere. Hydro towers entombed in ice or collapsed by its crushing weight. All services closed, including gas pumps. But filling our tow vehicles from our sleds tanks and spare fuel caddies, we drove the 401 home on fumes, with yet another remarkable storm story to tell! Craig Nicholson, The Intrepid Snowmobiler, is an International Snowmobile Hall of Fame journalist and a long-time Kawarthas cottager who also provides tips and tour info for snowmobilers at and for PWC riders at Photo Credit: Craig Nicholson

Deep fresh snow makes for slow trail riding

Trying to navigate through a whiteout Since 1994

Get Outdoors ~ Winter 2024 39

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Cottage Memories

Chronicles of A City Boy’s Life In The Country

BEING WINTERIZED The wife and I gave new meaning to a “winterized” cottage. Usually the term refers to an abode that doesn’t have to sit around closed and unused for the snowy months. But we’ve done even better than that. Wish I could have said the same about our cottage road. As a private laneway, it isn’t plowed by the municipality. So before the snow removal our road committee arranges nowadays, we’d park a kilometre from the cottage at the end of the maintained asphalt. Then I’d hook our two squirmingly excited Siberian Huskies to a supply toboggan and yell “Mush”. Which prompted the wife to ask if that’s what I wanted for dinner. Our huskies would take off on our frozen bay, while we followed on snow shoes or cross country skis. The dogs would home-in on the cottage and wait patiently for our arrival. Except when they spotted deer. Then they’d take off in howling hot pursuit across the lake, the madly lurching sled shedding supplies faster than Husky fur. The wife commented that my screaming “Whoa” wasn’t working again. Woe is me.

By Craig Nicholson

I checked the dogs in for pick up three days later. Outside, the parking area looked like a wrecker’s yard. Sleds, trailers and tow vehicles were helter-skelter every which way with passersby gaping. Jacks were out and tires coming off, since two more had gone flat during my brief absence. Make that three more spares. Then I began to realize we might not have enough good tires left to complete our trip at the current rate of destruction. Judging from the despondent faces around me, my companions might not have enough left either. The wife shaking her head was the clincher. So I reluctantly returned to the kennel, announcing with as much gusto as possible: “I’m baa-ack!” And thus, ended both our briefest boarding stay and shortest snowmobile trip — in fact, we returned to the cottage in time for lunch! In search of other winter activity, we hosted a Chilli Fest on the ice in front of our cottage. So named for the food, not the temperature. Although the wife wore her Arctic-rated snowsuit just in case.

One winter, I decided to organize a snowmobile tour with novice neighbours. Sending a D.A.R.T. Team overseas would have been faster. Unused sleds had to be serviced. Sled trailers dug out, cleaned off and greased. Snowmobile gear reassembled from scattered locations. Reservations made. Itinerary arranged. Doubters reassured. I even made reservations to board my canines. By the time trailer loading finished, several participants were almost too worn out to go. The wife said I should stay in better shape.

Never under-achievers, we set up locations for snowmobile polo with giant hoops and broken hockey sticks to bash around volley balls. Also, snow golf with homemade wooden clubs to tap tennis balls into tin cans drilled into the ice. The wife nixed my snow basketball court idea citing the impossibility of dribbling on the white stuff. Thankfully, her chilli made up for that disappointment.

But my promises of a masseuse at our five star resort spurred everyone on. So we got busy cramming the tow vehicles with enough personal paraphernalia for a world cruise. Or to fill all the seating room, so no one would have to actually drive anywhere.

With kids building snowmen in the middle of polo and golf games, and every dog on the lake playing fetch with a flying assortment of balls, chaos reigned. But everyone had fun, especially when the canines had to be chased down and rounded up by snowmobile. You’d think those deer would have found peace and quiet somewhere else by then… and that I’d have found a better command than “Whoa!”

Our ragtag convoy departed one morning. Everyone seemed eager now that new adventures were imminent, the first being on our cottage road where an overloaded trailer tire blew. The guys started unloading sleds to install a spare; the gals walked back to the cottage to make coffee. The wife quipped that the spare tire around my waist might come in handy after all. I called our local auto shop to reserve a spare spare. Or two.

Perhaps we took winterizing a tad far when the wife did a back flip off her snowmobile into a swamp of yucky gunk wearing my brand new snowmobile jacket. Or got stuck in slush and was marooned on her sled awaiting rescue. But those are stories that won’t get told publicly without the wife’s blessing, so don’t hold your breath…

Mobile again, we arrived at the boarding kennel, our ragtag parade cramming into the parking lot. While everyone re-inspected equipment, Since 1994

Craig Nicholson is a long-time Kawarthas cottager who also provides tips and tour info for snowmobilers at and for PWC riders at

Home & Cottage ~ Winter 2024 41

Team Irwin Dressage Stoney Lake Equestrian

Dressage Duo Jaimey & Tina Irwin This November we attended the 2023 Royal Winter Fair which celebrated its 101st year! While there, we had the pleasure of talking with Grand Prix Dressage Riders Jaimey and Tina Irwin. When we caught up with Tina at the Royal she was getting ready to ride her Grand Prix freestyle dressage test with her talented horse “Fancy That" a 17 year old Oldenburg mare. Their performance was breathtaking with passage, half pass, one-time flying changes, double canter pirouettes, such an impressive horse and rider combo.

began riding when she was old enough to walk and they moved to Canada when she was one. Both born into families involved with horses, Jaimey and Tina quickly fell in love with the sport and horses. Their passion led them to spend time training in Germany with top dressage coaches for many years perfecting their sport.

As a local boy Jaimey grew up with his family operating The Irwin Inn Resort on Stoney Lake in Lakefield. This is where Jaimey got his start teaching riding lessons and leading trail rides at a young age.

Currently Tina is trained by husband and business partner, Jaimey Irwin. Together they own and operate Stoney Lake Equestrian also known as Team Irwin Dressage where they specialize in training show horses and providing High Performance Coaching, and top-quality sale horses. They also have an excellent Junior/ Young Rider program as well as successful International Grand Prix Riders and EC Certified High Performance Coaches.

Tina's Mother, Ute Busse, was born in Germany and is known for developing Junior and Young Riders to national levels. Tina

For more information visit them online at

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“While we strive to help our teams achieve high marks in National and International show rings, we know it’s the journey that matters. Life lessons, after all, are the most important outcome of our work, whether that means instilling a young rider with confidence beyond the ring, or fulfilling an adult amateur’s potential beyond the barn, or imbuing an owner with a grand sense of purpose beyond blue ribbons. The bond between horse and rider is a special one. At Team Irwin, it’s our greatest pleasure to help the two become one in the beautiful flow of motion that is dressage at its best.” – Team Irwin

Photo Credit Nancy Bowman Photography

Since 1994

Get Pets Outdoors & Vets ~ Winter 2024 43

Spotted Salamanders To survive the cold winter months, animals use a variety of strategies. Some animals migrate great distances to reach warmer climates, some grow thick fur, and others bury themselves underground or in deep water to avoid freezing. Spotted salamanders make use of their surroundings to get through winter in Ontario. Crawling into abandoned burrows made by small rodents like mice and voles, some spotted salamanders spend the winter below the frost line. Spotted salamanders may also squeeze into cracks in rocks or find a spot under logs or organic debris. No matter where they find themselves in winter, spotted salamanders will stay there until very early spring before emerging to find a mate. In late March or early April, these amphibians will seek out wetlands or temporary ponds created by spring rain and snowmelt. Here they will find a mate and the female spotted salamanders will lay between 250 and 1000 eggs in shallow water. It will be just over one month before the aquatic larvae emerge from the eggs. Through the summer the larvae will transform into juveniles capable of travelling on land just like the adults. Spotted salamanders spend much of their time hidden from sight, except when travelling to their breeding habitat. This summer you can see spotted salamanders here at Riverview Park and Zoo, the only free admission accredited zoo in Canada, as part of our seasonal Conservation Exhibit. Be sure to plan a visit to learn more about these, and other amazing local species found right here in our natural spaces. Visit our website to learn about and support the work at Riverview Park and Zoo. Mary Kate Whibbs, Riverview Park and Zoo

Caching & Overwintering Did you know that not all wild animals hibernate (sleep away the winter) or migrate (leave for better conditions)? Some animals, just like us, need to tough out the long Canadian winter and they do this in the same way we do: finding shelter, storing up food, and getting a thicker coat! Many of us are familiar with overwintering animals who brighten up our short winter days. Colourful Cardinals, Blue Jays, Chickadees, rabbits, squirrels, among many other species remind us that life is still very much around us. You will notice that there are no amphibians, reptiles, or invertebrates in our list of active winter species - that is because as cold blooded - or more accurately termed, exothermic animals, they cannot regulate their internal body temperature, so their metabolism shuts down and they are forced into hibernation. Overwintering animals face obvious challenges during a long, cold, and dark season but what could possibly be the benefit for these species to stick around to tough it out? For many species, the benefits of sticking around through the winter has all to do with territories; if you stick in place, nobody is going to move into your home (whether it be a tree, a bush, a burrow) next spring and leave you out of the next cycle of reproduction! As a result of this pressure to keep intruders at bay, many overwintering species have adaptations that make this challenge possible. They have insulating feathers that moult in late summer to provide additional protection or grow thicker and denser coats of fur to shield themselves from the cold, and many species will cache food for use during lean times.

Local Humane Societies Lakefield Animal Welfare Society 2887 Lakefield Rd., Lakefield • 705-652-0588 Humane Society Of Kawartha Lakes 111 McLaughlin Rd., Lindsay • 705-878-4618

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What is caching? Caching is a process whereby an animal will find food in addition to its immediate needs and store these foods for later (and leaner times). Squirrels are quintessential mammalian cachers, storing walnuts, acorns, butternuts in holes and hollows throughout their territory in the hopes that they remember where they are when they get hungry; and fortunately for our forests, they usually forget some! Many species of birds do the same. Chickadees, Nuthatches, and especially Blue Jays are particularly good at caching, with studies showing that individual jays can cache over 3,000 acorns in a season by selecting and hiding an average of 107 acorns per day - and remember their cache locations for months! Why does caching matter to us? Caching matters because these animals have worked for months to build up these stores of reserves for lean times and unfortunately the biggest threat to the survival of their caches (and them!) is often us. After the leaves fall, there is temptation to tidy; to prune or cut trees, remove garden "waste", and prepare or till soil. All of these actions put caches (and the animals that work so hard to store them!) at major risk at a time of the year when there is no further opportunity to collect more food. The hard season has already begun. Please resist the temptation to tidy yards, gardens, and trees at this time of year - it could be a life-or-death determination for our wildlife neighbours! To support wildlife in need, please consider making a donation this season: dn/33851 Animal Rescue Krew (ARK) 3307 Lakefield Rd., Lakefield • 705-651-0069 Peterborough Humane Society 1999 Technology Drive, Peterborough • 705-745-4722 Home Again Bancroft 613-474-3450 •

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Winter Wellness Keeping Your Dog Active in Ontario's Snowy Season Winter in Ontario, especially in picturesque cottage country, transforms landscapes into snowy wonderlands. But for dog owners, it also brings the challenge of keeping their furry friends active. While snowflakes dance outside, maintaining training and physical activity for our canine companions is crucial, albeit in a different, more indoor-centric way. Consider the breed of your dog; a Husky might revel in snowy romps, while a Chihuahua prefers the cozy indoors. This variation in breed characteristics means adjusting activities to suit your dog's natural inclinations and ability to cope with the cold. The lack of regular outdoor activities can lead to noticeable behavior changes in dogs. You might see signs of separation anxiety, excessive barking, increased hyperactivity, or other attention-seeking behaviors. These are cues that your pet needs more mental and physical stimulation. Combat cabin fever with these indoor activities: • • • • • • • •

Treadmill Training: A safe way for controlled indoor exercise. Hide and Seek: Reinforce 'stay' and 'come' commands while having fun. Sniff and Find: Hide treats or meals around the house for a tasty scavenger hunt. Food/Treat-Dispensing Toys: These keep dogs mentally engaged while feeding. Indoor Fetch: Use soft, indoor-friendly fetch toys like the Chuckit!™ Indoor Ball Dog Toy to play fetch safely indoors. Trick Training: Utilize meal times for teaching new tricks, turning feeding into a learning session. Stair Climbing: Combine this with fetch for a more challenging workout. Obedience in Play: Merge 'sit', 'stay' and ‘come’ commands with playful activities for ongoing training.

Since 1994

Be mindful of your dog's diet. With reduced activity, use their regular meals as training rewards instead of additional treats. Adjust food portions to prevent weight gain during less active months. As winter blankets Ontario in snow, remember that with a little creativity, keeping your dog active and engaged indoors can be a joyful and bonding experience. Stay warm, stay active, and enjoy the season with your four-legged family member. Be sure to follow me on Social for more tips! @turnerandpoochtraining You can also email me at

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DIY Snowflakes Do you have a stash of tissue paper from Christmas or a birthday gift? It doesn’t matter if it’s been used before, grab some smooth or wrinkly tissue paper and give these easy but fun crafts a try. Tissue Paper Snowflake These make excellent party decorations or they can even add some fun to your bedroom. Choose colours that fit your room and they’ll add a pop of colour to your cozy space. You’ll Need: • Tissue paper • Scissors • String Layer several sheets of tissue paper- around eight will do. Accordion fold to the entire length of the sheet and tie your string around the centre of the fold. This is also how you’ll hang the pom poms, so make sure to keep your string long enough for them to dangle from your ceiling. Next, trim the ends by either rounding or pointing them. Just make sure they’re the same on both ends. Now begin to fluff out your pompom to its proper shape. Trim any places that look a bit uneven, and hang it to display. Make a bunch of them in complementary colours…maybe peach, teal, and white, or blue, purple, and green. If you’re planning a Valentine’s Day party, red, white, and pink will do nicely! Jacquelyn Toupin is a birthkeeper & intuitive healer supporting women to evolve into their truest selves. You can follow along on her Instagram

46 Winter 2024 ~ Cottage Country Lifestyle Magazine

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For The Birds The temperature has dipped to minus 20 degrees Celsius. Wind is whipping snowflakes into white swirls and pine boughs are bending under the weight of growing mounds of snow. We are cozy and warm inside while birds do their best to make it through the extremes of winter. How do they do it? It turns out that birds have some unique adaptations. Their feathers offer great insulation and to retain heat, they can fluff up their feathers, trapping warm air. Birds can reduce blood flow to their feet, saving this for their core and they are champion shiverers. Most importantly they stay active and eat constantly. A black-capped chickadee needs to eat one third of its body weight each day during the winter, to survive. You can help our feathered friends by making simple bird feeders. Here are a few examples: Pinecone Feeder: You’ll need pinecones, suet (animal or vegetable shortening), peanut butter, black oil sunflower seeds, wax paper and string. Gather some cones. Mix a ration of ½ peanut butter and 1/2 shortening together. Use a kitchen knife to smear this mixture all around the pinecone. Cram into each nook and crevice. Spread black oil sunflower seeds on a plate and roll the pinecone until it is liberally coated with seeds. Tie a string at the tip making sure it is securely fastened. Hang in a branch of a nearby tree and watch to see who comes and visits. This is a tasty treat for nuthatches, blue jays and chickadees. Log Feeder:

Find a log about 6 inches (20 cm) in width and 14 inches (30 cm) long. Use a 1 ½ inch drill bit and make a series of holes about 1 ½ inches deep (make sure you have adult supervision). You’ll need about 6 or so holes. Mix the suet and seed together and cram this mixture into each hole. Attach the eye hook at the top of the log, tie string to the hook and hang in a nearby tree. Woodpeckers especially love this feeder. The fat from the suet and the seeds, provide much needed energy to fight the cold. Hand Feed Chickadees After your birds have come to visit your feeders, you can train chickadees to land in your hand! To do this you need patience and perseverance. Remove the feeders (temporarily) and stand exactly where the feeders were located. Fill your hands with black oil sunflower seeds, extend them outwards and stay very still (bird feeders don’t move and neither should you!). Try not to flinch if a chickadee lands in your hand. The touch of their tiny feet and a gentle brush of their feathers is a magical feeling that you won’t soon forget. And once they become accustomed to landing on your hand, they’ll keep coming back. Happy feeding! Submitted by Jacob Rodenburg, Author & Executive Director of Camp Kawartha, an award-winning outdoor education centre and summer camp.

You’ll need a power drill for this one. As well as suet or shortening, a bird seed mix and an eye hook. Since 1994

Kids Corner ~ Winter 2024 47

Get to Know Your Furry Neighbours! The animal tracks you see in snow are like wildlife signatures, letting you know who was here before you. With just a little bit of knowledge, you can get a glimpse into the lives of the wildlife that live in the neighbourhood.

If the track width is about equivalent to your middle and index finger together, this is likely either a mouse or a vole. The difference? Voles are stockier and have shorter tails. Their eyes and ears are smaller because they spend more time below ground than mice. Mice are thinner, have bigger ears and eyes. Their long tails often drag in the snow between prints. If the straddle is about the width of your three middle fingers, it is likely a chipmunk. Four fingers, a Red Squirrel, and a full hand wide, that is you’re the bigger Grey Squirrel (which are also black). These are just estimates but this “handy” guide can help you to narrow down some of the small critters in your neighbourhood.

Knowing your tracks starts with understanding gait or the pattern of four footprints. Each animal presents a baseline gait which is the most common pattern of movement for that species. These include the diagonal walk (humans, felines, deer, moose), the bound (rabbits, hare, most rodents), the lope (the weasel family) and the trot (canines, shrews). These gaits will vary depending on the urgency of movement needed and the type of substrate (snow, sand, mud, etc.) the animal is travelling on. Other identification features are the track length called stride and the track width called straddle. Knowing the length and width of the track will narrow down the possibilities, however, it can be a lot to configure out on the trail. One simple trick I learned from a colleague at Fleming College is that you can use the finger method to help identify small mammal tracks. If the straddle is about the width of your thumb, it is likely a shrew. This busy, small insectivore stays active all winter hunting for insects, spiders, slugs and earthworms. These pointy nosed pugilists are active day and night, almost always on the hunt.

by Rick Whitteker

a distinct 2 x 2 lope pattern common to the weasel family. So, get to know your furry neighbours from their movement memory left in the snow. Each winter track tells a story, however, these wintery signatures can be fleeting, as new snowfall or a warm spell of weather can whisk away a track very quickly. Learning your tracks can make a simple walk in the winter more interesting and it can

Other good cues to track identification are patterns of movement. For example, it is difficult to identify members of the canine family. A mid sized dog and a coyote can have the same size print. A print pattern that meanders and stops at every tree is likely a dog. A straight-line pattern is more common for the energy conserving wild canines. If you see a small track set that appears to drift from side to side but travels, generally, in one direction it is likely a Stripped Skunk. Active on mild winter days, this seemingly staggering pattern is the basis for the saying, “as drunk as a skunk!” Going out to my backyard coop to feed my handful of laying hens, I saw a distinct track made by an ermine or short-tailed weasel. Very cute and all white in the winter except for the tip of its tail which is black, this small weasel is an active carnivore. Great for controlling small rodent populations but this small bundle of energy also likes to hunt birds. I now have less than a handful of laying hens. The loping gait of weasels (short-tailed weasel, long tailed weasel, mink, martin, fisher and otter) is well suited to their long, narrow body and short legs. They move like a slinky - their hind legs land where their front feet have just landed, leaving behind

48 Winter 2024 ~ Cottage Country Lifestyle Magazine

expand your intimate knowledge of your most cherished natural places and those you share them with. Submitted by Rick Whitteker. You can find Rick at home in the forest, as a seasoned trail guide, nature writer and passionate wildlife enthusiast in the Haliburton Highlands.

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150th Anniversary of Fenelon Falls

Looking Forward to 2024 Events

2024 marks the 150th anniversary of the village of Fenelon Falls and the 45th anniversary of the incorporation of the Fenelon Falls & District Chamber of Commerce (FFDCC). It’s an exciting and nostalgic time as we reflect on the rich history of our community; the people, local businesses and volunteer organizations who created the beautiful place we call home today.

As we flip our calendar into the new year the Coboconk, Norland & Area Chamber of Commerce is looking forward to the events we have planned for our community!

Throughout the years the volunteer directors of the FFDCC have worked to build a growing and vibrant economic landscape, in spite of the challenges of their day. The current Chamber Board is made of up 11 directors with a variety of business and volunteer experience. Each director is responsible for at least one portfolio from Advocacy, Beautification, Member Events, to Village Improvements and so much more. The FFDCC also hosts the very popular Kawartha Lakes Country Living Show (KLCLS) every April. The KLCLS is an important opportunity to showcase local businesses and organizations while offering a place for the community to gather after the winter season. Chamber members can take advantage of networking and learning events, group benefits for themselves and their employees, promotion across multiple platforms and receive support from their fellow business owners. Collaboration and cross promotion are great ways to make the most of limited resources. Over the decades; through economic cycles, celebrations and tragedies, growth and decline, Fenelon Falls has become more than a dot on the map, and the Fenelon Falls & District Chamber of Commerce is excited for all that the future will bring. To show our love for Fenelon Falls we recently launched a line of unique merchandise. Check out the “Shop” section on our website to bring home your little piece of Fenelon. To find out more about joining the FFDCC, Fenelon Falls and our exclusive merchandise please visit or email Marylee at

Since 1994

One of our longstanding events comes early in the year. The Fresh Water Summit Festival Loonie Auction is always a crowd pleaser, and it is happening in February of 2024! This event is not only a fantastic evening out, but also an example of how our communities come together in support of projects and events close to our hearts. The loonie auction raises money for the Fresh Water Summit Festival that happens annually in June and is largely how we can provide such a fantastic summer community event. The auction items are fantastic, the laughs are plentiful, and there is no shortage of fun! The Fresh Water Summit Festival is a free day-time event for people of all ages and celebrates Balsam Lake being designated as Canada’s Fresh Water Summit – a title that boasts how one can reach all four oceans by starting out in Coboconk! Celebrations happen the third weekend of June and features live music, kids activities, vendors & community displays, and more! Every year we are thrilled to see more and more people enjoy the Festival and everything Coboconk has to offer. Mark your calendars for June 15th, 2024! Being a member of the Chamber not only supports your business with the many benefits membership includes, but it also supports the community events we have all come to love.

Lindsay & District Chamber Of Commerce Hello Friends, Let me introduce myself. My name is Terry Guiel and I am proud to be the new Executive Director of the historic Lindsay & District Chamber of Commerce. I am excited to bring my many years of experience working with businesses, entrepreneurs and community leaders to the Lindsay Chamber. My goal is to build a strong local Chamber that proudly showcases our members' services and strives to create programs and supports that enhance the day to day lives of our members and their businesses. Under my leadership we will be a strong voice in advocating for the needs of our business community at all levels of Government. I truly believe Chambers are more important than ever. A healthy Chamber leads to healthier businesses, and healthier businesses always create healthier communities. If you want to join our Chamber family or learn more about all the benefits of becoming a Lindsay & District Chamber of Commerce member, such as our amazing benefits package, please reach out to me. I love meeting new business owners and look forward to meeting you. You stop by our office at 180 Kent Street, W. Lindsay or call me at 705-324-2393 or at

For more information about becoming a member of the Coboconk, Norland & Area Chamber of Commerce – or to learn how to support specific events and projects – please email to get started.

Home & Cottage ~ Winter 2024 49

Bird Friendly Peterborough Bird feeding is for the birds, for their benefit first, and ours second. We need to take responsibility for their welfare and enjoy feeding our birds by following safe practices that prioritize their health. Often overlooked compared to price and design, disease management is the single most important issue to consider when making your selection of bird feeder type. We do not want to do more harm than good!


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Why is disease management such an issue for bird feeder birds? Birds are highly mobile and are constantly moving back and forth between multiple feeders. All this movement creates the perfect environment for diseases to spread; and unfortunately, the diseases of bird feeders can infect nearly all bird species. Additionally, many bird species are gregarious - meaning that they live in groups for mutual protection and defense. This close proximity when roosting, eating, and foraging - combined with their high degree of mobility, creates a perfect storm for disease transmission. The ideal bird feeder:

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Can be easily disassembled and cleaned at least weekly! Many are dishwasher safe, which is the easiest way to remove disease agents.

Manufactured from plastic, steel or glass because they are easier to clean and disinfect. Do not use any bird feeders made from wood or clay as those porous materials trap and hold disease agents.

Smaller and with fewer feeding ports. Small feeders are best because they do not allow large numbers of birds to congregate and feed at one time which greatly reduces contact rates that could permit disease transmission. Additionally, small feeders empty quickly which prevents seeds from getting wet or spoiled.

Placed far away from hazards such as windows and widely separated from other feeders to minimize contact.

Squirrel and Predator Proof!

50 Winter 2024 ~ Cottage Country Lifestyle Magazine

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Since 1994

Home & Cottage ~ Winter 2024 51

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