"Instead of getting up so many times during the night to put wood in the fireplace we simply lean over and turn our electric blankets on. We have one on each bed and the heat from the blankets allows us to stay warm enough to make it until morning."
Primitive Lake Cabin that uses Electric Blankets
My family is from Minnesota. When we travel people often ask us about the legendary Minnesota winters. This is usually followed up by comments such as how can you live there. Today it is 85 degrees and I am writing this article while sitting on my pontoon boat on a lake in northern Minnesota. It is September 2, 2011 and I know Minnesota is actually a real nice place for much of the year. The winters here do get difficult especially when the hours of daylight get shorter and shoveling snow becomes a daily routine. The best part about living in a climate where there are extreme temperature and climate changes is watching the changes take place around you.
In a few weeks I will come back to the lake cabin and my father and I will begin preparing the cabin for winter. This year will be a little different. My son will start learning the daunting task of taking in the dock and pulling in the pontoon boat before the lake freezes. These are skills that are past along from generation to generation. Soon my father will no longer be able to help and it will be my son and I.
Last year we prepared the cabin for winter in the rain. It was a cool 50 degrees and I was in waiters that’s had sprung a leak. Standing out in the water while dismantling the dock in leaking waiters I reflected on the warmer days of the previous summer. After all of the items at the cabin are secured for winter we close it down and hope that winter treats the cabin well. The lake cabin was built in the 1920’s. My father purchased it from one of the original owners who had built the cabin with her husband. He had passed on several years prior. It is not a fancy cabin it looks pretty much like it did 80 years ago. There is no running water and we use an old fashioned out house. However, this is my favorite place on earth I would not trade the cabin for anything.
In January my wife, kids and I usually make a trip to the cabin to check on it. There is too much snow in the driveway so we pack all of our belongings into a sled and pull it down to the cabin. We open up the cabin and look at the temperature. It oftentimes is 20 degrees below zero when we arrive. I start up the fireplace and begin the long task of heating the cabin to a comfortable level. It might take 8 hours until it reaches 60 degrees. We spend part most of the day outside while the stove does its work to warm the place up. If it has been a bad winter I will climb up onto the roof and shovel 5 feet of snow off. Eventually the sun will set and it is time to prepare for a cold night.
Just before we go to bed I stoke the fireplace with a lot of wood and hope it keeps the heat coming. Unfortunately it is so cold outside that we can feel the temperature drop as the night goes on. I used to have to get up several times and keep putting wood in the fireplace but several years ago we began using electric blankets and it changed the cabin experience. Instead of getting up so many times during the night to put wood in the fireplace we simply lean over and turn our electric blankets on. We have one on each bed and the heat from the blankets allows us to stay warm enough to make it until morning. Eventually I do have to crawl out of the heated blanket to put more wood in the fireplace but that is the price I pay for having the honor of checking on the cabin. Another handy item at the cabin in the winter is an electric throw blanket. We can sit on the couch and enjoy the heat while relaxing over a warm cup of coffee.
If you ever go to a primitive lake cabin in the winter (that has electricity) do not forget to pack you electric blanket and other warming products!!