Well here we are approaching the end of September 2012. While many cottages in the North Kawartha area are used year round there are still a number of summer only residences on Chandos Lake as well Jack Lake and other area lakes.
With that in mind here is a short list of things to consider for those that will be closing up the cottage for the fall and winter over the next few weeks.
1) First of all and probably the most important the water needs to be shut off and the system completely drained. In properties where no heat is left on over the winter this should be done no later than Canadian Thanksgiving Weekend.
2) Empty the refrigerator, unplug it and defrost it. Use something to prop open the doors to keep them open over the winter. Place an open box of baking soda in the refrigerator and freezer compartments in order to help absorb any smells.
3) Make sure all of the windows are closed and locked. If possible remove the screens and store them inside to avoid damage from winter storms. Close all curtains and window blinds. If you have windows without curtains they should be covered with some other material. This will keep people from scoping the place out while you are away as well as reduce the risk of birds flying into and perhaps through the window glass.
4) Place moth balls in the attic as well as the living area to discourage critters moving in while you are away for the winter.
5) Pack up all the food including canned goods and take it with you. Canned goods can freeze and also the food should be used up and not left unused for extensive periods of time.
6) If you have a dock make sure it is protected over the winter. Floating docks with over two kilometers of open water in front of them should be moved to a more sheltered place such as the bottom of a bay nearby. All docks with ramps attached to the shore should be disconnected from the shore to allow free movement over the winter. Of course the safest way is to remove the dock from the water all together. However, this is not always possible or practical.
7) Put gas stabiliser in the fuel tanks of any motors that you are storing. The motors should be started and run to allow the stabiliser to run through the fuel system. This prevents the gas from breaking down and gumming up the fuel system over the winter. Insure that all the water is drained out of your outboard motors and that the lower unit lubricant is changed especially if they will be stored where there is no heat.
8) Make sure your boats are out of the water and well away from the waters edge. The water will likely be much higher in the spring than it is in the fall.
9) If you have year round neighbours or people who use their properties year round then let them know that you are finished for the year and ask them to keep an eye on the place while you are away.
10) Have one last look around and lock up the place.
Enjoy the winter and look forward to another year in paradise next year.