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, 31 October 2014


This past week we've had a great time with Carol and Don. It's good to get away from the homestead every now and then and visiting family is a good excuse.

Carol has been busy in the kitchen making fabulous meals for us.

Mary thinks I should wear this for Halloween tonight....... not a chance.

Stopped by one of many markets in the area. Saw this train in motion up by the rafters. Neat. 

I think we got our shopping fix on this trip. Been to Costco four times and still didn't get everything. 

Almost time for supper. There are some delicious smells coming from the kitchen.

Thanks for stopping by and Happy Halloween everyone. Easy on the sugar tonight.

Thursday, 30 October 2014


Last week I lost my glasses. I was busy helping Doug and Matthew dig a trench and in the process of the work they disappeared. I searched everywhere without any luck and figured maybe they got buried in the trench.

This week while walking through the bush I found them lying among the leaves. I had to take a second look to be sure my eyes weren't fooling me.

The lenses had popped out so something had rolled over them but the frames were't broken and after cleaning them we popped the lenses back in place. 

What are the chances of finding something that small in a forest of a thousand trees? Not very likely. 

Monday, 27 October 2014


Maple syrup time is still at least six months away but today we worked on our system. Last year we worked in the mud which isn't fun but expected when your evaporator is outside.

We added a row of blocks to the end and moved one side out about 6 inches.

Once we were happy with the larger fire-pit we filled the blocks with gravel and levelled the area around the blocks.

Next step was building a patio around the production area from some leftover bricks. 

We wanted this patio large enough so all our visitors will have a dry place to sit.

Done, covered and ready for winter. Lots of wood close to the fire-pit and the sitting area should remain dry as the snow melts and the maple syrup production gets into high gear.

By the time we finished it was 3:30 way past our lunchtime. 

Thanks for stopping by and safe travels everyone.

Friday, 24 October 2014


Time together is precious at this stage in my life. I love having my children, sisters, sisters-in-laws and brothers-in-law visit whenever they can.

This week my sister Sharon and her husband Doug were up for a few days. The weather was perfect and we had a great time. 

We gave them a tour of the place including our very special "girls".

Walked the forest every day.

Went to town and checked out the stores.

Doug and Mathew installed a drainage line. Thanks guys.

The ladies enjoyed a perfect fall afternoon.

One final walk and the visit was over.

We've had perfect fall weather and although the leaves are now on the ground the forest walks were still beautiful especially with the temperature hovering around 16*C.

Thanks Sharon and Doug it was great to have some time together.

Monday, 20 October 2014


Our bird feeders are busy this time of year and right below them are the squirrels and chipmunks collecting any seeds the birds drop.

Yesterday I sat on the porch and this little guy decided it was safe and joined me.

As you can see he is sitting right inside my seed bucket. My arm was resting on the chair and he was very content to have me so close.

After a while he grew bold enough to let me touch him.

As long as there were seeds in the bucket he was content to stay and eat. Looks like I may need more seeds this winter.

Happy birthday Mike. Enjoy your day. Wish we could be there for the cake.

Thanks for stopping by and safe travels everyone.

Sunday, 19 October 2014



Time to look at travel brochures.

Check out Sherri's blog for a much more enjoyable climate.

Saturday, 18 October 2014


Deer season starts in a few weeks which means the woods will be crawling with hunters. Last week we enjoyed watching these deer down by our pond.

You may need to click on the picture to see them. I sat on the deck and watched for half an hour while they munched on greens along the pond edge.

Now you can see them.

Today is another rainy day. We saw lots of trucks hauling ATVs heading north from Bancroft. Either the guys are going up this weekend to get their hunting camps ready or bow season has opened on deer. Whatever the reason the roads are busy and so are the restaurants.

Thanks for stopping by.

Thursday, 16 October 2014


Today has been a little of everything; sun, rain, clouds and lots of wildlife down by the pond. 

Once the rain ended the chickadees, nuthatches, bluejays were busy flying in and out continuously.

This nuthatch was a constant visitor flying in, a quick snatch of a seed and then gone. If you blinked you missed him.

Not sure if this is a takeoff or a landing but it looks cute either way.

I know there is a seed down there but I just can't reach it.

Fall colours are just about done but it was a great afternoon to spend on the deck.

Thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, 14 October 2014


Mary is away having a few days with Owen and Sherri. I'm here looking after the chickens and getting things ready for winter. Nothing exciting to report, just looking after the daily routines.

Enjoy your day and thanks for stopping by and keeping an eye on us.

Thursday, 9 October 2014


Some days are more productive than others.  Yesterday was just such a day.

First job was installing a shutoff valve in a water line to an outside tap. With Pex tubing this is such an easy job.

First cut the tube with this tool.

Slides these rings over the tube and valve and clamp down using the tool seen above. No leaks, no open flame to contend with when I used to use copper pipe, no threat of fire or scorching the paint on the wall. This is foolproof.

Next job was replacing a tube on Mary's wheelbarrow.

Out with the old tube.

Inflate the new tube. Done

Third job was adding these insulation strips to our doors. Peel and stick. Another easy job and all three were done before 10 a.m.

Today we are off to town to get supplies and work on installing the LED lights we bought at Costco. LED lights have dropped to $2.50 which is a lot cheaper than $20.00 we paid when we first starting equipping the house with them.

Thanks for stopping by and safe travels everyone.

Wednesday, 8 October 2014


Headed south yesterday down to Madoc while Mary stayed home for a Quilt |Club meeting.

Marvin had a number of skids for me and yesterday was a good day for a drive and visit. Thanks for the cookies, as always, delicious.

The trailer wouldn't hold them all so I took what would fit and will get the rest later.

Once loaded my tires were looking a little flat. Fortunately Marvin had a compressor and we soon had them filled and looking healthy again.

Looks like more rain today so we will find some indoor jobs to work on. 

Safe travels and thanks for stopping by.

Monday, 6 October 2014


Yesterday we had three couples tour our house during the Natural House Tour. This tour gives people interested in building super efficient homes and living off grid a chance to talk with folks who have already done it.

Three couples came with their clipboards full of questions and took notes as we explained how the systems in our house work. They asked great questions and often asked us to demonstrate what we were trying to explain. Their usual length of stay was a little over an hour and we hope the tour helped them solidify some of their thoughts and plans for future building. 

It was a most rewarding day for us as we got to share something we are very proud of and passionate about.

At the end of the tour Lori and Doug dropped by. They toured our house last spring and it was good to get caught up on their news and hear about the homes they visited on the tour.

Sorry, no pictures, too busy talking and explaining.

Of course we spent Friday and Saturday cleaning the house and getting ready for the tour. We did find time to tag a bunch of maple trees we want to tap this spring. Here Mary ties the band of tape to one, necessary as we can't easily identify the trees when the leaves are off. Don't want to collect sap from a poplar tree thinking it is a maple.

The leaves are starting to fall and with all the wet weather we are expecting this week I know that most will be on the ground by Saturday. Sad, but a necessary part of the changing seasons.

Safe travels everyone, it's always good to hear from you.

Sunday, 5 October 2014


We have a squirrel who spends his day collecting rocks and carting them off to hide in the forest. Strange.

Then there is this crow who thinks he is a woodpecker and should eat from our suet feeder.

He hangs on with his feet, keeps his wings flapping and pecks away at the suet. That's a lot of energy for a few licks of suet.

Any strange animal behaviour around your place?

Today is tour day. We are part of the Natural Home Tour here in Ontario. No idea how many will show up or if any will arrive. Doesn't really matter as the house is clean and we were motivated to get a few more jobs finished.

Thanks for stopping by and safe travels everyone.

Friday, 3 October 2014


I've always enjoyed the smell of fresh cut wood and a trip to the sawmill smells divine.

We have a number of small family run sawmills in our area and I thought Jack and Annabelle might enjoy a tour.

Checking out an 8x8 cedar post.

This planer is almost as old as I am but still does a beautiful job of shaping the boards.

It's noisy and the equipment isn't new but it still saws the trunks into whatever size and length they need.

It's great to see how our trees are used and the variety of products they make from them.

Looks like we are in for some cold wet weather. We have a fire on tonight and glad for all the firewood just outside our door.

Thanks for stopping by and safe travels everyone.

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Walks and Drives

This is the season to be outside.

We started  yesterday with a walk through our property. With plenty of leaves on the ground it made for a crunchy walk.

Jack  taking a selfie on his Go-Pro camera.

Checking out our pond.

Shaggy Mane mushrooms growing on our property.

Time for a delicious lunch at the Blue Bistro.

Then we did a tour of the sawmill which Jack found quite interesting.

The afternoon was spent driving the back-roads enjoying the fall colours and views across the valleys.