We’ve had a sailboat in Bayfield, Wis., for a few years and have learned that not every day is a perfect day to be on the water. Therefore, we thought that having a cabin in the area would give us the option to sail on nice days and relax in the woods on the rainy ones.

We searched for about a year and found that most of the available properties didn’t fit our budget or were not isolated enough from the neighbors. We remained patient until my real estate agent sent me information about a property near Herbster, Wis. She thought it was underpriced and deserved a look. I looked that same day and knew that it was the right one. (My wife approved via photos alone!) It was 10 acres, including a 20-by-20 log cabin with a view off the front deck through a valley of Lake Superior. The cabin was stockade-style (vertical logs) and seemed well-built but in need of some tender loving care. It’d been neglected for years and, as a retired shop teacher, I loved the challenge of a new project and was eager to make it our own.

So, 10 years later, we have cleared an area around the cabin for a yard; built a bunkhouse next door for guests; planted native flowers to attract the birds and bees; collected rain water for outdoor showers and cleaning; used an existing outhouse and a composting toilet; enjoyed a solar panel system for powering some of our indoor lights; and heated the cabin with downfall wood from the property.

It’s truly a place of serenity for us all year long.

Dale Mackereth, Minneapolis