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, 28 June 2013


Looks like we will be eating lots of fish this summer. We were all in the mood for "fish and chips" last night so Mary and Connie headed down to the lake to try their luck.

They were soon back with a lovely string of bass and one small perch.

Mary looked after cleaning them while Connie cut up the sweet potatoes and made "sweet potato fries"

I fired up the BBQ ............................

and it just a few minutes we had a delicious meal of fresh caught fish, delicious fries and cabbage salad. This was a great way to end the day.

Looks like we will be doing more fishing and since the house is done, and we aren't travelling I think I'll join them.


See you in September.

Thursday, 27 June 2013


This week we are focused on my friend Wayne lung transplant and hospital care. We are so grateful that a lung was found and at the eleventh hour he was able to receive the transplant. This was a critical time for Wayne as his condition had deteriorated and without new lungs he wouldn't be here today.

His son sent this note last night:

"He's getting amazing care from the ICU nurses who are with him around the clock.  We can't say enough good things about the professional care dad's received at Toronto General."

Some of you might wonder what this operation and hospital stay is costing the family. The short answer is nothing, 0. In Canada, our hospital services are provided free of charge and funded through our taxes. Yes, we complain about high taxes, but when you have a loved one or friend go through what Wayne or our daughter Sherri went through you soon forget about high taxes. In many countries, such a medical procedure would bankrupt most families.

There are costs outside of the operation and hospital stay that the family will fund out of pocket. Wayne needs to stay close to the hospital once discharged for three months. This will require renting a house in Toronto which isn't easy or cheap. 

The good news is Wayne is recovering, and able to communicate by a writing pad as he has tubes down his throat.

Once again, if you have ever thought about being an "Organ Donor" do it now. In Canada every province has a registration web site and you can see Ontario's site on yesterday's blog. Mary and I signed up yesterday, that's two more donors than they had on Tuesday.

Let me know if you sign up and I'll pass on the news to Wayne. It would be an encouragement to him.

Thanks for stopping by and a special thanks to Rebecca who shared this story on her blog. Thanks Rebecca.

Wednesday, 26 June 2013


Today our thoughts and prayers are with my friend Wayne who had a double lung transplant yesterday.

As his son so eloquently shared:

"Dad's condition had severely depreciated and it is safe to say (both literally and figuratively), by Sunday night, he was in the "eleventh hour of life"At about midnight we received the miraculous news that a set of lungs had been found and from there, a flurry of activity from medical staff saw him transferred to the ICU and later to surgery.  About 10:30 Monday night, surgeon Dr. Cypel announced the success of surgery...just 24 hours from rock bottom to the joy of a new lease on life.  A true miracle of God that we've lived (and frankly could be a Grey's Anatomy episode script minus the relationship drama).

Wayne has a long road ahead of him before he will be up and about in his usual happy manner.

We pray that the healing and recovery will go smoothly and according to the expectations of his doctors.

If you have ever contemplated being an "organ donor" please fill out the necessary forms and let your loved ones know of your wishes. It is remarkable how many lives can be saved thanks to the compassionate decisions we can make now.

If you live in Ontario go to this site for donor registration:

Thank you for saving a life.

Tuesday, 25 June 2013


This is a very busy time of year for all creatures up here. Eggs are being buried by the bucket around our house. We've seen at least 15 turtles come up and dig "egg nests" in the sandy soil. 

Unfortunately there are many creatures out there at night looking for supper. This guy especially loves to find the nests and enjoy fresh eggs.

Another night walker we hadn't seen but knew from her tracks was around is this beautiful lady.

She came wandering through about 8:30 last night enjoying the new growth on the bushes just outside our windows.

Night walkers, we must have dozens go by our window every night.

If you are out driving after dark, be careful.

Monday, 24 June 2013


With no air-conditioning and temperatures expected to go above  28*C = 82*F (feels like 37*C = 98*F) this week we need to find creative ways to stay cool.

Our house is super insulated and built like a thermos bottle.

Our blocks came with insulation.

We added 6 inches of spray foam under the concrete slab.

...... and 3 inches of spray foam to the walls.

Now with all that concrete and insulation the house temperature stays fairly constant.

We use our Green Egg for baking ......

...... don't those onion buns look delicious?

as well as BBQing. 

Out strategy is: keep the heat out and don't add to it while enjoying these real hot days.

I remember, before everyone had an air-conditioner, my mom would put newspaper on the windows to keep our house cool. Do you remember those days?

Summer has arrived and we are enjoying it in Bancroft..

Thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, 23 June 2013


As you saw in yesterday's post, Mary loves to fish. We enjoyed the bass for lunch, very tasty and hope to eat more this summer. We are surrounded by hundreds of lakes and there is variety of fish available. I will post more pictures as Mary brings home more fish.

After supper last night Paul called and asked me to bring the bobcat down to help move his chicken coop. They had decided to give their chickens away to a good home and put a notice on "kijiji".

 Within 30 minutes they had a reply and the birds were off to a new home. It took us a while but we finally squeezed the coop into the back of the truck, strapped it down and away the went. Since they didn't come back I assume they made it home safely. 

No pictures as I was too focused in lifting the coop and avoiding any damage to the truck.

Safe travels Tony and thanks for writing Shawn; those Honda Civics are very miserly on gas.

Saturday, 22 June 2013


Mary has been busy with her latest wall hanging. She learned this style when we were down at my sisters in May and thought this creation would give our home a "Northern Ontario" feeling. What do you think. She calls it "First Portage".

Thursday gas in town was selling for $121.9 a liter. Friday morning it was down to $116.9 and in the afternoon it was $111.9. Naturally there was a lineup but everyone was patient and we all got our gas. What are you paying for fuel these days?

We won't see prices this low again. Hope you had a chance to take advantage of it.

Here's a little guy who doesn't worry about gas prices. I spotted him wandering through the MNR parking lot in town about 10 a.m. Guess he was looking for a place to sleep.

Mary isn't back from fishing yet so no idea what we are having for supper. I'm hoping fish and sweet potato fries.

Thanks for stopping by and let me know what fuel costs where you live.

Fish for Lunch: update 10:30 am

Looks like we are having fish & chips for lunch.

Mary caught, landed and cleaned them. She loves the outdoors.

Friday, 21 June 2013


I love living in a small town. Rolf has been so helpful with my learning curve on my new computer. I have a problem, take it in, he finds a solution. Great service with a smile.

We've had lots of company this week and tonight folks are coming for supper so another chance to show some friends what living off the electrical grid is all about.

Tomorrow Bass season starts and Mary will be out on the lake early. I'll let you know if we have fish and chips for supper Saturday.

Enjoy the day and thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, 19 June 2013


Picked up a new computer on Monday. Did a new post entry with it yesterday, no problem. Today the new computer won't give me access to my blog. I can see my blog but can't create a new post on it. Very strange. I notified "Google" but so far haven't heard back.

I ran a "virus check" and "spam ware check" but still no access.

No idea when I will be back posting. Send any suggestions. I need help.

Tuesday, 18 June 2013


Bancroft is a small town, population 3,500. Last Friday the "Switchyard" held their annual fund raiser,

The Switchyard is an outreach program for the local youth and named after its location in town; the old railway switchyard.

As you can see the event was very casual but well attended.

This was the 17th annual BBQ for the Switchyard so they were well organized. Once you bought your ticket you meandered through the tents for your food, salads, hamburger, drink, and delicious homemade pie for dessert.

Here Ben helps serve the crowds. They planned for 200 but it looked to me like the crowd was closer to 300.

The weather was perfect and the BBQ was followed by a live auction which raised even more money. They auctioned off such things as a load of gravel, tandum load of firewood, weekend retreat at a local spa and the favourite   ..................   left over pies that sold for $30 to $50.

A most enjoyable event and one we will attend again next year.

Monday, 17 June 2013


Today Sherri and Owen head back to the city. It has been wonderful having them here for a week and enjoying all the new discoveries Owen makes. 

We discovered he likes ice-cream. Just a lick now and then and he is satisfied. Not like his grandpa who finishes his and then looks to see if Mary needs help finishing hers.

Owen enjoys having someone read to him and Sherri and Rob are very good to do that every evening before he goes to bed. Owen will sometimes turn the pages and make sounds like he is reading the story. Very cute.

Now if it has wheels, handles, buttons or levers Owen has to touch, pull, poke and twist until he figures out what it does and how it works. He's very inquisitive.

Like his grandpa, he likes to eat, especially snacks but no chocolate yet. That's a treat for later when his digestive system can handle it.

Thanks for all the great memories. Come back soon.

Love Oma and Grandpa.

Saturday, 15 June 2013


This was our company last night. About 8:30 he trotted by our windows, but I didn't have my camera ready. Later we spotted him way down by the beaver pond. This was my best shot after blowing it up on the computer.

This morning we have  many turtle holes outside our big windows. The ground there is sandy and a perfect place for the turtles to lay their eggs.  They rely on the sun to incubate the eggs. Did you know that the sex of the turtle in the egg is determined by the temperature the sun incubates the egg at?

We've certainly seen most of the local wildlife this spring. Now if we could just have a black bear visit it would be complete.

Thanks for stopping by. I must check on our chickens to see if they are OK.

Friday, 14 June 2013


My brother-in-law made a good point in the comments yesterday. He noted that the larger deck would allow me to stand further back from our "flame throwing" BBQ. Very cute. Just because I singed my hair once, no need to bring it up again.

We are waiting for Nathan to arrive and cut more trees. It is windy, cool but dry so the bugs won't be around and we should get lots done.

Hope you have a great day.

Thursday, 13 June 2013


Have you ever finished a project and then decided it was too small or changed its use and realized it needed more space?  Fortunately for us it was an easy fix.

You can see the original deck in the dark shaded area on the left. After getting it finished we decided to use it as our BBQ location. It was just too tight for that.

The easy solution was to call Peter.

In just a few hours we had expanded the deck to make room for the BBQ as well as a chair or two. This is now the perfect spot for the hamburgers, steaks, fish and chicken we might like to do on the barbecue.

We have also been busy thinning the bush so we have a better view of the pond and the activities on it. 

Always busy either modifying a project or starting new ones.

Thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, 11 June 2013


Today we awoke surrounded by turtles. From our windows we spotted 5 turtles all busy trying to select the best spot to lay eggs.

This girl dug several holes before moving across the driveway to try the possible sites there. Imagine what the chipmunks here must think when they see this "monster" coming their way.

Owen enjoyed the activities from the safety of the window. This is the best science classroom he could have.

Finally a site to her satisfaction and time to dig a pit to hold all those eggs.

While the turtles were busy laying eggs, Peter was busy getting the steel panels up on the east gable.

YEA! The last one goes into place. Thanks Peter.

Time for Owen in his new boots and hat to check out all the work we got done today.

We actually accomplished quite a bit in spite of all the rain.

Thanks for stopping by.

Monday, 10 June 2013


Rob dropped Owen and Sherri off yesterday and they will stay the week. We are delighted. Nothing better than a week with your grandchild; ask any grandparent. Owen is walking and just recently started to climb. Boxes, chairs it doesn't matter. If he can get a little higher he will use it. Yesterday he put on his new fedora and took his dad out to see the bobcat. Anything with a motor that makes a noise is first on the inspection list. Can't wait until he is old enough to drive an ATV. 

 I hear his little voice so it's time to get out of bed.

Breakfast is over, Mary's delicious buckwheat blueberry pancakes.

And Owen fed himself.

Now it's time to head into town.

Enjoy your day and thanks for stopping by.

Friday, 7 June 2013


We've had 3 days of rain and the forecast calls for another 5. Feels like we are living on the west coast rather than the middle of Ontario. I've spent so much time in water I'm checking to see if I have webb feet.

Yesterday I cleaned out the eavestroughs as they were constantly overflowing. The closest trees to the house are at least 10-15 meters away and yet our eavestroughs were full of leaves. Now the water can go down the downspout and away from the house.

Hope all this rain isn't creating more flooding in the area. I'll keep you posted.

The pictures in the header were taken at Sean and Casey's place on Wednesday, the last day we saw the sun.

Thursday, 6 June 2013


Waking up and seeing chicken feathers in the driveway does not give you a good feeling to start the day. We dressed, put on rain jackets and headed down to the coop, expecting the worst.

Somehow during  the night a marauder had managed to slip the bolt and gain access to the inside. 

So now we are down to two chickens unless the brown one is still alive and hiding in the woods.  White feathers littered the ground so we know at least one bird paid the ultimate price.

For now the two remaining birds are locked inside and seem to be doing fine in spite of their ordeal. We got two eggs this morning, much to our surprise.

Life in the bush. We learn something new every day.

Wednesday, 5 June 2013


Yesterday was very productive. With Peter's help we were able to get the .................

east gable 3/4 done.  We need to order 4 more sheets of steel so hopefully this job will be completed next week.

After lunch we worked inside installing the stove hood. This was an easy job and we will re-route the black electrical cord once we have an outlet in the box below the hood.

As you can see our forest is getting a major thinning. Thanks to Matthew and Nathan we can now see so much further into the forest.

Sadly our turkey left her nest. We suspect a raccoon must have found it and eaten all the eggs as we couldn't find any egg shells when we looked.

Off to Peterborough shortly.

Thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, 4 June 2013


Hi Everyone!

We are fine just very busy. Yesterday we worked from 7 to 7, had supper then called it a day.

Today, Peter will be here at 8 and we will work together until 5. The boys arrive at 4 and work until 7. 

Tomorrow we are off to Peterborough for the day. I have an appointment and we want to see Sean and Casey.

Thursday and Friday will be like Monday and Tuesday. The weather is warm and dry and we only have the boys for another two weeks so it is work, work, work.

The turkey is still on her nest. We expect the eggs to hatch around the 20th of June.

Thanks for keeping an eye on us.

Safe travels