Vacation home ordeals
August 29, 2006 3:24 PM Subscribe
Help my family protect our log cabin. Much
posted by Amizu to Home & Garden (7 answers total)
My family bought land on forested land overlooking the Bay of Fundy in Nova Scotia about 40 years ago. (My father thought Nixon was going to take over the country in marshall law.) About 20 years ago, they hired a local log cabin builder to construct a traditional log cabin. It is beautiful, secluded, and very important to my family, because every year we spend unadulterated time together as a family, without TV, friends, or other distractions. And when my family lost everything else, we still had the cabin.
However, the cabin has problems, namely trespassers, flies, and mice.
Here's the scenario: The place has untreated logs (which are starting to disintegrate a little bit), and various small holes and cracks. The roof has wooden shingles. My father is a contractor, and has years of experience, but he's 65 and didn't build log cabins.
We used to have a small "camp" nearby, and had a few problems with mice, but hardly any problems with flies. The log cabin, however, has a fly problem, and so every summer when we show up, everything is covered in fly bodies - a dark, nasty layer of dead flies. Even if we think we've killed them all, they form into hives in about October, and by summer they're all dead and covering everything. And mice get into the mattresses. Also, vandals and thieves have entered the cabin a few times, as they do to other seasonal homes in the area. To protect the house, we have covered the windows and doors in heavy plywood and steel bars, but we know it's not impenetrable. We lock the cabin from the inside, and someone thin slides out the bottom of the cabin via a trap door, but my parents can't fit, so they can't visit their cabin by themselves. We live 12 hours south of the cabin. The result of all these problems is that it takes days to get into the cabin and clean it, and our ability to use the place is reduced.
I'm wondering if there are solutions to these problems. Are there ways to effectively protect a cabin from mice - especially mattresses, couches, etc.? Are there ways to stop this fly abomination? How about security for an isolated cabin with no electricity or running water? (We'd like to keep it that way, because it's a large part of the charm, but we would consider alternatives.) Is there some way to keep it secure without using the trap door? Nearby friends look out for the place, but it is mostly inaccessible in the winter, other than by sea, so it's hard to check on at the most vulnerable time of year.