This blog is about our travels in our solar powered "Airstream" and living off grid, in our passive solar home, near Bancroft, Ontario, Canada.

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Friday, 16 March 2018


Owen really wanted to take some maple syrup home so Wednesday we boiled off the little sap we had. We first warmed it on our wood stove then moved the pot to our barbecue.

In order to boil off the water we needed some serious heat so next stage was on the propane cooker.

Finally after six hours of boiling we were ready for the final stage, on the stove inside.

Mary uses a float to identify when the syrup is done and ready to be bottled.

Carol found an old coffee urn which is perfect for filtering the syrup as well as bottling it.

Our first bottle of maple syrup 2018.

We tried making maple candy in the snow but the snow was too fine so Owen just left it on his spoon.

Today the house is quiet, Owen is home and we miss him already.

Thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, 13 March 2018


A week ago we had a bare driveway; now we have snow mountains.

We thought Owen's March Break would be spent collecting sap, instead he has spent it playing in the snow.

It's been a great week at Oma's. School isn't nearly as much fun. Tomorrow we are expecting more snow so it will be another day of staying close to home and playing on Snow Mountain.

Just wish we had half his energy.

Monday, 12 March 2018


Saturday we collected our first sap of the season.

Mary checked the trees down by the pond but there wasn't much sap flowing.

Owen checked the trees close to the house and those jugs that had sufficient liquid were brought to the sleigh.

Oma and Owen loaded the large buckets in the sleigh.

We store the sap in these garbage container until we have enough liquid to boil. Don't worry, the garbage containers are only used for storing maple sap.

Sunday, 11 March 2018


We have 16 house batteries that I want to rotate regularly to keep them healthy. It's like rotating your plants in the window, all sides need exposure to the sun.

Owen, always wanting to help, was soon up to his elbows in paint. No problem as it was an easy cleanup with water.

I have 4 platforms, each a different colour.

Tomorrow we will attach the wheels and then place 4 batteries on each dolly. Rotating the batteries will suddenly become very easy without any lifting. Must find a few more jobs for Owen this week. We don't get free labour up here very often.

Thanks for stopping by and safe travels everyone.

Saturday, 10 March 2018


 Yesterday we got our maple syrup supplies out of storage, cleaned and ready for the season.

 First job was drilling the holes for the taps.

 Then Owen drove in the tap making it snug against the tree. Oma made sure everything was done right.

 We kept moving through our property selecting trees and getting Owen to drill the holes.

 He is almost an expert.

Finally we have 26 trees tapped and ready for the warm weather to get the sap flowing.

It may be a few days before that happens.

Friday, 9 March 2018


March Break started early for Owen. We brought him home Wednesday with the intent of starting our maple syrup production on Thursday. Owen wants to take a bottle back for his teacher and class to sample. Unfortunately the weather didn't co-operate. Winter has returned and we now have a new foot of wet snow on everything.

We had this Lego kit just in case we had a rainy day; we got a snow day instead and Owen was glad to have something new to put together.

Today we will help Owen drill a few trees and put out the buckets. Saturday is to be sunny and above freezing; the sap should flow.

Thanks for stopping by and enjoy your day.

Sunday, 4 March 2018


Life, back here in the bush,  is quiet this time of the year. We've had some warm days and some folks have started collecting maple sap but we will wait a few more weeks until Owen can come and help.

In the meantime I'm trying to get ready to start work on our trailer modifications once the warm weather arrives for good.

Yesterday I found these in my workshop. They are drawer glides I bought at least 35 years ago when we first talked about renovating our kitchen back in Brampton. They will come in handy when I start building the cabinets for the trailer.

One of the local families holds a vintage snowmobile rally every year.

I would guess that the machine seen above is close to 50 years old, and still going strong. Of course today's machine are faster, smoother and have heated seats.

We love elderberries. Mary makes juice and pies from them and we pick them wild up here.

We would like to have our own elderberry patch so last week we went out and cut some young shoots in the hopes that we can get them to root down by our pond this spring.

Still need to be careful when driving. Our snow may be disappearing but we often get freezing rain now. This would be an expensive slide off the road.

Drive carefully everyone and thanks for stopping by.