In June 1991, my husband and I visited a cabin on Big Sand Lake near Siren, Wis., and found a cabin for sale next door. Before the end of the weekend, we owned a rundown 32-year-old cabin with two bedrooms and one bath, offering nights around a campfire gazing west at gorgeous sunsets and listening to the loons.

Our first weekend there was spent ripping out shag carpeting, gutting the deteriorating bathroom shower and digging a fire pit. Our large extended family and friends have helped on projects over the years.

The original red cabin was painted aqua, then gray. Now it’s fern-green. We built a guest cottage for our three children and visitors, upgraded electrical and plumbing, remodeled the kitchen, rebuilt a rotted garage, installed new windows, and put in septic, a patio and sidewalk, trees and gardens. Every year we fix spring damage to a berm on shore.

Between projects we fish, play various games, tube, take in July 4th fireworks, and watch eagles and loons (and their young). Our small place hosts family reunions, wedding showers, birthdays, girls-and-guys weekends, and golf outings. My favorite beverage involves mixing “whatever is on the shelf” and has a nickname: “Happy Juice.”

We survived the Siren tornado of 2001, and two other straight-line windstorms that caused extensive damage to roofs, trees, docks and boats. The last storm resulted in our finally getting a much-desired pontoon called “Loony ’Toon.”

There always seems to be a project to do, but there is nothing like the feeling of sitting at the end of the dock, feet in the water, watching the sunset, and sipping my Happy Juice.

Barb Bollum, New Brighton