Slow shift into a new season

While there are few experiences on earth more glorious than August in Ontario’s Cottage Country, it always comes with those occasional nagging reminders – a drifting yellowing leaf, an unexpectedly chill breeze – that a northern winter looms.

by Vicky Sanderson

Don’t let the thought of incoming inclement weather harsh your summer vibe – not yet, anyway. Instead, look for ways around the house to celebrate the arrival of cool, crisp, colourful days.

Take A Hike

September is the perfect month for hiking, especially in Cottage Country, where the colour show is unparalleled. Do your feet a favour, though, and invest in good shoes for your rambles. Columbia’s SH/FT Aurora OutDry shoe is both waterproof and breathable, has an engineered boot for secure fit, supportive midsole cushioning, and sturdy wet-dry traction on the sole.

$180 |

Bring Bird Watching Inside

With fall fast approaching, window-feeders can bring the wonder of birds into the home. A Droll Yankees Observer feeder provides a clear view for people of all sizes. Made from UV-stabilized polycarbonate that won’t yellow, it’s got a teeny-tiny roof that deflects weather. For winter, a Songbird Essential Window Suet feeder will attract chickadees, nuthatches and finches, while a cedar “tail prop” will encourage woodpeckers.

From $19.95 |

Feed Your Face For Fall

The summer-to-fall switch can be hard on skin. New Zealand-based brand Antipodes uses probiotics to promote healthier skin based on the premise that our largest organ is a finely-balanced ecosystem that hosts some 1,000 species of live bacteria. If that’s too much science for you, here’s a little translation. Use it as part of an evening self-care ritual and your skin will go to bed – and wake up – feeling calm, clear, and hydrated. Cruelty-free, vegan, and organic.

Treat Yourself

Deliver yourself something fun to mark summer’s wind-up – possibly a fall-themed meal prep kit or one last seasonal favourite from a local restaurant. Or maybe you’d like to receive – or gift – a fall-themed basket from GlobeIn, a “purpose-driven” online enterprise that sells handcrafted products from global artisans. Items can be bought one-off, and there’s a monthly subscription box option. Bring a little summer indoors with a Bud Box, which includes a terracotta planter from Bangladesh, a ceramic wall planter from Morocco, as well as a tealight lantern and herb marker from India.

$60 |

Candle Buzz

Ron Lofthouse has been a beekeeper for more than five decades. In 2016, he began making attractive, long-burning beeswax candles with 100 per cent cotton wicks. His handsome Lofthouse Beeswax candles are sold online, at the Haliburton Farmers’ Market at the Minden Fairgrounds, and through select retail stores. Pretty and practical for a fall dinner or a power failure.

From $4.50 |

Marinade in Minutes

Any BBQ-enthusiast worth their salt knows that the end of summer is not the close of the grilling season. Those same folks know the value of a good marinade. The downside has always been the time it takes – until now. The FoodSaver 2-in-1 food preservation system marinates in minutes, while vacuum containers lock in freshness and flavor in the freezer, fridge and pantry. Convenient and stackable, they won’t crack or stain, and are dishwasher safe. A perfect complement to the space-saving FoodSaver hand-held unit, and great for home chefs who cook sous-vide.

Containers from $24.99, handheld unit $34.99 |

Small Steady Steps

Feeling overwhelmed by news about the severe weather caused by climate change this summer? Try responding by changing a personal or household habit. Look into, for example, the environmental benefits of water-free hair cleansers/conditioners from Everist, a Toronto-based company led by a couple of female “eco-optimists.” Product is free of parabens, dyes, sulfates, or synthetic fragrances. It’s also vegan and cruelty-free. Packaging is infinitely recyclable, and terribly pretty.

From $28 |

Coffee Break

Summer slipping away needn’t mean giving up relaxing breaks by the lake. Make morning moments spent there more enjoyable with a terrific cup of coffee. Hamilton Beach’s Scoop Single-Serve Coffee Maker uses ground coffee to make an authentic eight- or 14- ounce cup in bold or regular brew-strengths. The design eliminates the need for non-recyclable, plastic coffee pods.

$79.99 |

Giddy-Up and Get To It

How many times this summer did you walk by, say, your dock box or bunkie, remind yourself it needed a good wash and then promptly jumped in the lake and forget about it? Craftsman’s electric cold-water pressure washer can help you get the nagging task done quickly and effectively. Durable, portable, and powerful, it has three nozzles, one with a turbo function. There’s also a V20 cordless power cleaner kit that has five times the pressure of a typical garden hose, a 5-in-1 nozzle, two speed-settings, and a soap bottle for detergents.

Power washer $399, power cleaner kit $179 |

Autumn Colours

Fall’s lower temperatures and humidity make it an excellent time to paint on the porch or deck. For outdoor tasks – from garden-gates to lawn-chairs – Chalk Paint by Annie Sloan is easy-to-use and very versatile. For extra protection, seal it with Sloan’s Chalk Paint Lacquer. To channel summer when the days get shorter and darker, choose her sunny English Yellow.

Cozy Time

Curling up with an enthralling book or podcast is a time-tested fall pastime. For extra comfort, wrap yourself in something cuddly. For that, consider the nubby, 50- by 72-inch alpaca-blend cable-knit throw from Vancouver-based brand Obakki. Bonus points for being made in Canada. If it’s going to do double-duty at the deck, dock, or patio, shove it in a colourful quilted bag from Toronto-based designer Kate Austin.

Blanket $180 |
Quilted bag $96 |