In 1968, my father-in-law bought 100 acres of woods with a half-mile of lakeshore property in Cass County. It was ideal for hunting and fishing, encapsulated in Chippewa National Forest.

Accessing the land was either by boat or on foot depending on the time of year — totally off the grid. Despite this, he and my husband (then age 12) built a 30-by-24 foot four-room cabin, a shed, a pole barn, and an outhouse, all with materials transported over water or ice. As he grew old, the cabin weathered to gray, lichen-covered wood and brittle shingles. Hiking trails were grown over.

Years later, major upkeep and renovation were needed. All materials were brought across the ice and a five-year process began. The cabin was re-sided in half-log, the roof replaced, and the rarely used, mosquito-infested deck was roofed over and became a screened-in porch, increasing the size of the structure by 25%. Windows were replaced by much larger ones.

The result was a rejuvenated cabin for us and our children and grandchildren to enjoy the lake and woods.

Margie Meyers, St. Paul