Tales from the Cabin
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From the Editor: Ingenuity

Lesson learned: Never underestimate the creativity of a cabin owner

By Mark R. Johnson
Published: June 11, 2013
Mark Johnson
Cabin Life editor Mark Johnson and Charlie, his chocolate Lab
While my grandpa Art had only an 8th-grade education – he dropped out of school during the Great Depression – he didn’t let that hold him back. He worked hard and eventually owned his own home, bought a home for his mother, and bought a cottage.

Grandpa was also clever. It was during visits to my grandparents’ lake cottage that I saw his ingenuity at work.

He invented a security system for his garage that involved standing outside and using a concealed rope to lower a thick steel bar into place across the inside face of the garage side-access door.

Grandpa also built his own motorized winch system in the boathouse to pull his runabout out of the lake, up a ramp, and into the boathouse. “I should patent that thing,” he’d tell me.

Over the past 13 years of publishing Cabin Life, I’ve seen similar displays of creativity. And the August 2013 issue is no different. Here are a few stories worthy of a Grandpa Art Award for Ingenuity:
  • “Rooftop Oasis,” p. 34. So what do you do when a fire destroys the upper part of your A-frame cabin? Instead of just rebuilding, this Nevada couple builds a rooftop garden.
  • “We Built a Bat Condo,” p. 57. Well, the title says it all, doesn’t it? 
  • “A Little Cabin Soars with Incredible Views,” p. 26. The family that designed this retreat, perched high above a Montana lake, could teach seminars on creatively siting a cabin and capturing views.
Do you have your own tales of cabin ingenuity? If so, please share; email us at editor@cabinlife.com.
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