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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Monday, 30 June 2014


 I'm always delighted to see the abundance of wildlife we are blessed to enjoy in this part of Ontario. 

Yesterday this doe and her fawn stood just inside the tree line watching us take their picture. I use a point and shoot camera whenever I travel so the picture quality isn't  the best. If you double click on the picture you will see another deer hidden behind the poplar tree in the foreground.  

Please drive carefully as we often have deer out on the road licking salt from the winter runoff. 

Sunday, 29 June 2014

LOGS for the MILL

Another busy day yesterday moving brush and logs. I was helping Peter clear his property and sort the logs he had piled up this winter.

We organized the logs into two piles; one for the lumberyard and one to stay and be cut into firewood.

I used the grapple bucket to lift the logs headed to the mill onto the trailer.

By lunchtime we were done and then enjoyed a lovely picnic lunch with Peter's family.

Today will be a rest day as we enjoy the sunshine on this long holiday weekend.

Thanks for stopping by and safe travels everyone.

Friday, 27 June 2014


It's been a week full of distractions which means progress on the chicken coop has been slow. 

 Today the sun came out, the ground was dry and we could work without too many deer flies attacking us.

We worked on the deck to frame the walls. This gave us a flat surface to work on and the porch is screened which was another bonus. 

Peter dropped by to help tack everything together and make it secure.

He took the bobcat home and tomorrow I'll help him clear brush at his property.

Next week looks like rain everyday so I'm not expecting there will be much to report.

Enjoy the long weekend and drive safely everyone.

Monday, 23 June 2014


This week's project is a new chicken coop for our meat birds. It's taken a lot more effort and time to just clear the area and build the base than expected. Here Mary is attaching chicken wire which will be buried around the perimeter.

The base is just about complete. We are expecting rain for the next 24 hours which will help pack the fresh soil around the base.

Hopefully by Friday we will have the walls up. The birds arrive July 9th and they need protection. We have a fox in the area who enjoys "chicken on the run".

Sunday, 22 June 2014


June is turtle month up here. This is the month they are up on land finding a suitable place to lay eggs. Because we have sandy soil around the house we often see turtles up here using our property as their own personal delivery room.

This girl was busy yesterday morning digging a hole for her eggs. They usually deposit 30 eggs before covering the nest and letting the sun do the incubating.

It's not an easy trip from the pond up to our house but we obviously have some determined girls living in the pond who make the trip every year.

Too often the egg nest is discovered by raccoons and egg shells are all that's left when we get up in the morning.

Mary covered this nest with chicken wire hoping it will keep the raccoons from having another feast while we sleep.

If all goes well the eggs should hatch about the end of September and if we are lucky we may even see some little turtles emerge and make their way to the pond. 

Stay tuned for an update in the fall.

Thanks for stopping by and safe travels everyone.

Saturday, 21 June 2014


This doe has been hanging around our house lately. 

Each morning we see her, first down by the pond then slowly she works her way up to the house. There is plenty to eat and Mary even planted deer food which the doe seems to enjoy and spend time munching. However she also trims off Mary's rose bushes which isn't appreciated. Not sure what the solution is as we enjoy seeing her first thing in the morning.

Enjoy your weekend and thanks for stopping by.

Friday, 20 June 2014


We live on a cottage road which is well maintained by the cottage association. Thanks to Jim and Paul our road is as good as any in the area. They do regular maintenance on it and make some improvements each year.

Yesterday a blind corner was widened to give improved sight lines for those driving in both directions.

Most of the trees that were removed were small and easily taken care of. This was the largest one we had to deal with.

By noon the job was done and the road available for use again.

Thanks Jim and Paul for doing such an excellent job.

Thursday, 19 June 2014


Another stop while travelling with Don and Carol was the St. Catharines Museum located along the Welland Canal.

It was a delight to wander through the rooms and see the displays showing the construction of the first canals back in 1824. 

(click on photo to enlarge)

The problem was Niagara Falls and how to get goods and ships up and over it. There was also the need to move military units quickly if Canada was ever invaded again. Back in 1812 we did have military action on our soil when the USA and Britain were at war with each other.

The displays are informative, beautiful and show the challenges faced by the early canal builders and first European settlers to the area.

The museum also houses the Lacrosse Museum of Ontario as well as the Soap Box derby history as it is related to St. Catharines.

Outside we could stand and watch the ships go through the lift bridge and into lock 2.

If you love ships be sure to visit the Welland Canal and the museum located at lock 3. You wont be disappointed.

Wednesday, 18 June 2014


When was the last time you were on a carousel? They still exist but you don't see them very often. There are just 350 antique hand carved carousels left in all of North America.

This carousel was built in 1905 and is located in St. Catharines, Ontario. It costs 5 cents to ride it and we had a blast acting like kids again.

The figurines are beautiful and all were hand carved between 1898 and 1905 in Brooklyn, New York. This carousel was purchased from Scarborough (part of Toronto) in 1921 and our children rode it in the 70s when cotton candy and whirly gig birds were sold by carnie men working the rides. At one time there were 58 rides in the park but now just the carousel remains.

There are 68 animals on the carousel all beautifully restored and maintained by "Friends of the Carousel".

St Catharines has an abundance of parks and bicycle trails.  The Lakeside Park in Port Dalhousie is one you will enjoy especially if you ride the carousel.

Tuesday, 17 June 2014


Our trip south to see Carol and Don was a little different this time. I decided we would avoid the drive and take the bus and train as an experiment. 

For those not living in Ontario our regional network is called GO. It services most communities in the GTA (Greater Toronto Area) by bus or train. We can get on the GO in Peterborough and it will take us right through to St. Catharines, a distance of about 250 km.  for $30.00 (adult) $15.00 (senior)

Sean was kind enough to drop us off at the bus stop and look after our car for the week.

We took the double-decker bus to Oshawa where we got the GO train to Burlington and then the Go bus to St. Catharines. Total time was about 4.5 hours with very little wait time at the stations.

The trip was very relaxing, especially avoiding the driving across Toronto where traffic flows bumper to bumper on 10 lanes in each direction. 

We both agreed we would do it again and maybe take our bikes next time we go.

I didn't get any pictures of the train as I was focused on looking after luggage and making sure we were on the right platform.

The GO system is run on the honour system. There are no conductors on the trains so you buy a ticket from the machine and just get on. They do have ticket spotters who ride the trains (without notice)  and ask to see your ticket but we didn't see any on our way down.

Coming home we were asked twice to produce our tickets which we did. If caught without a ticket you are fined and given a court date to see the judge. Really not worth trying to get a free ride as the cost is so low in my opinion.

Thanks for stopping by and safe travels everyone.

Monday, 16 June 2014


We just returned from five days of fun in the sun with my sister and brother-in-law. For some unknown reason my computer decided to work once we were home, I can't explain it, I'm just enjoying it.

We had a great time with Carol and Don and I'll share more about the trip in the next few days. 

Here are a few pictures from our time together.

Too many laughs. Did I mention it was a fun filled weekend?

Sunsets over Lake Ontario.

Enjoying time at the marine museum. 

Watching the ships rumble through the Welland Canal.

Thanks for stopping by and I'll share more tomorrow.

Saturday, 14 June 2014


Good morning friends.

Arriving by bus

It appears I have a computer problem that will require replacement parts. We are presently having a wonderful visit with my sister and brother-in-law and it is their computer I am using.
Once we get everything repaired I will be back on line. Be patient, it will probably be at least a week. Repairs don't happen quickly up here in Bancroft.

Wednesday, 11 June 2014


This spring we've been watching some new construction in town.

This building is being constructed by students from Fleming College in Haliburton. It is a sustainable design and construction class taught by our builder Pat and so I assume they are using as many products as possible that fall under the category of  "sustainable".

The roof was built on the ground as this is a much safer building practice especially when teaching students some building skills.

Today Pat called to let me know the roof was being hoisted into place. It went very smoothly and in just a few hours they had both roof sections secured to the walls.

This building once complete will house a rental facility for canoes and kayaks on the York River. 

Hope to see you up here this summer enjoying a paddle on the river.

Monday, 9 June 2014


We finally got our BBQ fired up for the first time this year. The middle of June seems a little late but I wasn't about to stand out there with a million black-flies and mosquitoes also looking for a meal. 

We use a charcoal barbecue  which eliminates a tank and the possibility of us running out of fuel before our meal is cooked. It's a long walk back into town to get a tank filled before the food gets cold.

Burgers, steaks, chicken and sausages all taste better done over a bed of hot coals. The BBQ heats up quickly and with a ceramic lid we can even make pizza. It's great. Once done we close the lid shut the vents and the coals go out saving them to be used next time.

The view from the deck on a warm summer night. With a little breeze the mosquitoes disappear and the setting sun makes the day perfect.

Enjoy your day and thanks for stopping by.

Saturday, 7 June 2014


As you can see there was a good turnout of all ages for the Switchyard BBQ last night.  This is their annual fund raiser with all the money going to run programs for kids. 

The name Switchyard comes from the location of the building where the programs are held. It is located behind the old train station in Bancroft where the switching yards for the trains used to be located.

Besides the BBQ they had a silent auction table. Here you dropped your raffle tickets for the items you were interested in. At the end of the evening a ticket from each bag was drawn and the lucky holder went home with a very nice prize.

They also had a live auction with the proceeds going to the Switchyard and the kids in town.

It was a fun night, lots of burgers, salads and pies to enjoy and prizes to win.

Today we are heading north to Maynooth for their Saturday Farmers' Market. The sun is shining, the mosquitoes are out and the lake water is warming up; summer has arrived.

Safe travels everyone and thanks for stopping by.

Friday, 6 June 2014


It's starting to feel like summer up here. The days are warmer and longer, the mosquitoes are back and the special events have started in town.

Tonight we are off to enjoy the BBQ at the Switchyard fund raiser. It is always well attended and the funds raised help run youth programs in town.

Back home Mary has her garden planted and we are expecting a bumper crop this year. One problem she has encountered is new plants are being nipped off at the base during the night. She is now using plastic cups to act as a protective cone around new plants in hopes that the nipper will leave them alone.

Off to town soon to get the ingredients for a chocolate pie; it's our contribution to tonight's fund raiser.

Enjoy your day and safe travels everyone.

Tuesday, 3 June 2014


This is the time of year we start to see the new babies in the wild. These goslings which look just a few weeks old spent time munching green vegetation just outside our windows.

They were constantly moving just a nipple here and there then on to the next blade of green.

Mom and dad stayed close by providing a lookout for danger and instructing the little ones through their body and head movements.

This little guy was just too tired to climb over the pipe so he cuddled up and took a nap while the others ate.

This month we will see the turtles come up on land and lay their eggs. It is a dangerous time for them because they are easy prey while on land and many are killed crossing roads up here. Please drive a little slower so you can see them before it's too late.

Thanks for stopping by and safe travels everyone.

Sunday, 1 June 2014


We finished May with yet another birthday celebration. John (Casey's dad) turned 60 and so we gathered in Sean and Casey's backyard to celebrate.

We had a great time sitting around the pool getting to know more of John's family. His sisters were there and it turns out one is into quilting. Naturally there was a great deal of discussion between Mary and her.

Sean makes fabulous back ribs and everyone went back for seconds.

The birthday boy about to slice the cake. 

 Thanks Sean and Casey for hosting the party. As you can see by the happy faces and empty plates we had a wonderful time.

Check out Sherri's Blog for pictures of Mary's visit this past week.