Your Guide To Lake Living

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Welcome Summer

Time for all you lake lovers to get ready for another great summer!
Here are some tips and lists of things to do and have ready before summer starts. Having company for a holiday weekend? Make sure you get the lake house open and the boat ready a week or two beforehand, so you won't be having to deal with unpleasant surprises and you can all relax and enjoy the lake.

This article can help you make the most of the long weekend by getting the chores out of the way beforehand. Every year I start out the Memorial Day weekend feeling like I have all the time in the world to do a few chores and have boating fun too. But somehow I find myself in the middle of Monday, wondering where the time went, and why I spent the whole weekend trying to get everything done and never made it out on the water!

The House & Dock - Mow, seed, weed and feed, trim, etc... the weekend before. If it needs a touch up over the holiday weekend, at least you won't be battling foot-high weeds! Check on the air conditioning unit! Several times ours has been out of commission the first hot weekend because the tube which carries away the condensation got clogged over the winter. Add some bleach to the water in the reservoir, or blow out the tube to clear it before trouble starts. I usually spray outdoor living areas with long lasting insect repellant to discourage bees and wasps from invading them, and look for nests or hives that may turn into a problem.

Boat and Dock - If you have a seasonal dock make sure you get it in the water before the big weekend. Nothing is more frustrating than getting to the lake on Friday evening and not being able to take advantage of a lovely evening because the docks are not out yet. Make sure all the water equipment is clean and there is no mold on jackets and straps. Make sure ropes and straps are not frayed on jackets, bumpers, anchors, and canvas tops. Check the dates on fire extinguishers in the house and on the boats, and replace them if they are expired. If you need 2 cycle oil for any of your watercraft, be sure to get some. Also, check the batteries on all boats, charge them if necessary. Check your boats thoroughly at least one weekend before you plan to use them. See the article on Getting the Boat Ready for Summer for details. Decks and docks can warp and nails can pop up over the winter. We usually do a review of all the decking and hammer down any nails, or screw down boards that have warped, they could cause a bad fall or a scrape. Make sure there are plenty of towels, and any other water needs ready to go. If you are trailering your boat, do a trailer check to make sure it is roadworthy.

First Aid Kits/basic medications - Make sure all the kits in the house and on the boat are fully stocked with Tecnu (for poison oak/ivy), your preferred sunburn treatment, antiseptic, antibiotic ointment, band-aids and bandages. Also make sure you have a supply of the standards, such as isopropyl (rubbing alcohol), painkiller such as aspirin/ibuprofen/acetaminophen, diarrhea medication and cold and cough medicines.

Food and Drink  - Gotta stock up so you don't have to run to the convenience store every hour! I like to bring loads of non-perishable stuff to the lake house before the long weekend to make the load lighter Memorial Day weekend. Paper products of all types - napkins, paper towels, toilet paper, tissues, cups, plates, foil, disposable tablecloths, baggies and plastic utensils should be stocked up. Cans and bottles of drinks, condiments such as mustard, mayo, catsup, relish, pickles, sauces and dressings, marshmallows, graham crackers and chocolate for s'mores, staples like cookies and crackers, and cereal. Canned goods and cupboard staples like macaroni and cheese can all be stocked well ahead of time as well.

Miscellaneous - Don't forget to load up on the sunscreen  bug spray and mosquito repellants! If you are planning on having fires in the evening gather up the firewood and kindling. Make sure you have any charcoal, lighter fluid, candles, torch fuel, or propane replacements you might need. As Dad always used to remind me, you never run out of it until you are using it! Also, a supply of fresh batteries in the various sizes you use is a good idea.

Enjoy - Relax when you get there, you've earned it! Memorial Day weekend is great because everyone expects to have quick grill dinners, and nothing fancy. Traditionally we have hot dogs, hamburgers, some easy sides like Chuck's Texas Ranch Spicy Baked Beans, Deb's Broccoli Salad, macaroni or potato salad, or perhaps some fruit salad. Kids enjoy a special evening treat like sparklers or s'mores to make the long weekend even more special. Memorial Day is a great time to share you patriotic spirit with a boat parade too!

Last but not least, check the weather forecasts and the water temperature before you set out for the lake. Will everyone need sweaters or windbreakers, or just shorts and bathing suits? Let everyone know what to pack to be prepared. Have fun!



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