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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Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Wood Pile

No complaints about the weather today. We reached 31*C here in Bancroft and the black flies are dying off as I type. YEA!

I've been slowly working away at the pile of logs I split when Sean was here two weeks ago. Now with the warm, dry weather it was time to tackle the job in earnest.

After much huffing and puffing, and gallons of water in-between, this is the finished stack. What do you think?

It's a round wood pile, with logs stacked in the centre. I will pull a tarp over whenever it threatens rain.

There are still lots of logs left to stack, so I'll start a new "round" tomorrow.

Building site is almost cleared. The well diller arrives June 25th.

By the end of the summer we should have; drinking water on site, septic system working, a roof over our heads, wood stove for those cold October nights, and farm fresh eggs every morning. We are getting domesticated up here.
Have a great day.

Monday, 30 May 2011

Caught on Camera

I'm learning patience here. Finally after many hours of watching, clicking, checking I was able to get a few pictures of the Chickadees as they darted in and out of the bird-house. Once the eggs hatch they will be even busier and then I'll have more opportunities to get some pictures. Remember I only have a 70 mm lens and I've cropped the picture to help you see the image, so forgive the slight blurring, after all these are birds in flight.

Enlarge this frame and you will see one bird coming in, just to the left of the nird-house.

One again, looking to the left, you should see one chickadee in flight. Not sure if she has something in her mouth.

Sunday, 29 May 2011


There is so much life close by that I often never see it. Case in point. We've had the bird house pictured below for years. Last fall we hung it in  tree, more for safe storage than anything else. (Click on picture to enlarge)

Yesterday I noticed it was leaning against the tree trunk at a crooked angle so stopped to adjust it. and out flew a bird just as startled as I was. A quick peek inside and I could see five or six little beige eggs with spots; Chickadee eggs.

I retreated to our trailer and watched. Finally she returned, went inside and in a few minutes the male arrived with a bug in its beak.

I'll try for some shots of the parents as they go in and out, but they're awful fast and don't stop to pose for their picture.

So there you have it; life so close and yet I didn't have a clue. I thought the bird-house was empty, not occupied by a family waiting for the eggs to hatch.

9:56 a.m.

I've been watching through the binoculars. They have been in and out a few times. This is the best picture so far..............  not even a blur. I'll keep trying.

Check out your neighbourhood. You may be surprised at what you find.

Enjoy the day.

Saturday, 28 May 2011


It's always a delight when friends and family drop by. Today two little "red squirrels" dropped by to check out Mary's flower bed. They are quick and don't stay still very long, up and down the trees, under the plants, across the trailer, they didn't stop.

View from our trailer's living-room window.

Look to the left of centre and you should see the little squirrel.

Don't you dig up Mary's plants. Looks like he is doing a hand stand to get to the roots.

He heard me bang on the window and wonders "should I run?"
Enjoy your day, spend time in your garden.

Thursday, 26 May 2011


Back to wet and cool here in the north. Yesterday was perfect, today is a great day for indoor jobs, like getting prices on our house building project or contacting contractors and arranging times and dates for their part of this project.

Decided to have supper in town last night and when I drove by the park this is what I say.............

Seems like every little community that has a horticulture society has a sale this time of year, and why not?

The selection is grand, prices are right and the plants are hardy, ready for your soil.

They were just getting started, but there were people buying before they had the check-out table ready
Regardless of the weather it's time to get outside and work in the soil.
Thanks for stopping by, now where's my shovel?

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Moving Stumps

Today was a very productive day. The weather was perfect for working outside and there were no bugs in the bobcat. Last year Steve had piled stumps along the ridge where we want to build the house. He placed them there with the excavator as he cleared the building site of trees. It was my job to move them out of the way this spring. Well today the job got done.

Typical tree stump I moved today.

Now our building site is clear and ready for the excavator.

In just a few months our house will sit in the middle of this clearing. This will be a busy summer for us.
Had one little mishap while moving the stumps. I put the bobcat up on her nose when I was attempting to move one real large stump. It happened so quickly that it threw me up against the door. No serious injury or damage, just a lesson in why I need to use the seat-belt when working with the machine.

Happy Birthday Connie! Hope you enjoyed the chocolate. OOPS! now you will have to share with Andrew.

Have a great day and drive safely.

Tuesday, 24 May 2011


Seems this time of year there are lots of birthdays to celebrate. Yesterday we went to Peterborough to celebrate Annie's  ______  birthday.  You didn't think I was going to mention her age did you?
Tomorrow we celebrate Connie's birthday, next week my sister and Earl have birthdays and the list goes on.

Annie reading one of her cards.

Chuck holds the umbrella while Marvin deep fries the fish. Delicious.

Fresh fruit for dessert! Yum Yum!

After dropping Mary off at the GO station I headed north and this was the traffic heading south to Toronto. It is like this every weekend until September. Bumper to bumper.

This is the type of road I prefer; quiet, peaceful, no traffic.

Monday, 23 May 2011


It's good to get out and walk the property. Last week I took just such a hike to see the place and check for any trees that might have fallen during the winter.

Remember those eggs that disappeared a few days ago? Well, I haven't found the eggs but I did see the hen. She is very evasive about her nest and try as I may, I can't find where she has hidden it.

Wildflowers on our property. Can you name them? ...................  wild violets.

Looking across the beaver pond from behind the beaver dam. There is such an abundance of wildlife here because of this pond.

We planted watercress here and hope to harvest it this summer and add it to our salads.
Must get Mary back to Toronto, so have a good day and  drive safely.

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Bancroft Summer Festivals

For a community of just over 4,000 Bancroft seems to host special events all summer long This weekend was "Art in the Street" with vendors and booths set up along Flint Street for all to enjoy.

People mingled and the artists were glad to answer questions and demonstrate their crafts.

As a fund raiser you could paint a bowl and the proceeds went to the Art Council of Bancroft. Here Mary tries her hand at decorating a bowl for the cause.

A great variety of talent was on display for all to enjoy.

Bancroft is celebrating 150 years on the York River and this was part of the celebrations.

They even had live entertainment by local artists. Great country music, most enjoyable.

Remember to travel safely and take your time on our roads.


Yesterday was the start of our "Victoria Day" long weekend. It was a perfect day, sunshine, temperatures in the high 70's and clear skis.This is the weekend most people open their cottage and I'm sure they were glad to be out on the water once again.

Now tell me, wouldn't you rather be sitting on the dock, watch the loons in the water?

Our roads are wide and peaceful.

Looking across Bay Lake near Bancroft, Ontario. Life in the north is wonderful. Come on up and enjoy.

Saturday, 21 May 2011

Dawn and Dusk

Up here in the north, the best chance for viewing the creatures of the forest are early morning or just as the sun is setting. Yesterday on the way back from Bancroft I spotted this family enjoying an early evening paddle.

Checking the shoreline.

My view across the lake.

Mom and dad keep the little ones close by.
Enjoy the sunshine and be safe

Friday, 20 May 2011


Yvan came over yesterday to show me the Grouse nest and eggs. I had tried to find it using my binoculars but couldn't. He couldn't find it either. Everything had vanished; not even a broken egg shell left as evidence. Did a predator get them? Did she move her eggs? I have no idea but unfortunately I won't be able to post any pictures of the babies.

This is where the nest was hidden.

There are lots of places available for her to move to, but we didn't find any evidence that the nest was re-located.

Spring in the forest and the Trilliums are up.

Take away the tree stumps and this will be our view out our living-room window this fall.
Enjoy the long weekend and drive safely

Thursday, 19 May 2011

May 19th in Bancroft

It may be raining, the blackflies may be out in abundance, but it's still good to be back home. Although it's overcast this morning and I'm plugged into the battery power the solar system is still putting 5.8 amps into our battery bank as I type. Great!

I was told we have a grouse with 11 eggs nesting close to where we want to build. I looked for the nest this morning but couldn't find it. I need to do some research to see how long the incubation period is. Watch for pictures, once I locate the nest; must be careful not to disturb her.

Here is a picture of the nest, thanks to Yvan, who just sent it to me. Now I need to find it for myself.

Our wood pile continues to grow.

We have a forest full of white Trilliums, so beautiful.

Trilliums in front of our trailer.
Have a great day and travel safely.

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Spring Finally Arrived

We seem to be about two weeks behind everyone else in Ontario. Finally the trees are starting to show leaves and the white Trilliums are carpeting the forest flower. But the real reason I know spring has arrived is .................................................. BLACK FLIES. They are everywhere!

Our driveway May 17th.

Ontario's provincial flower the Trillium.

Mary's flowers are starting to come up.

If you enlarge these photos, I'm sure you will see the million blackflies that greeted me.
Enjoy your day and safe travels.