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 November 2015


We are getting ready for the Christmas season which means gatherings with friends and family complete with lots of food.

One item that has appeared this year in recipes and one we've never used is chestnuts.

Chestnuts have been a staple in many cultures just not in mine. We never had them in the house although I did see them being sold by street venders in Toronto when I was a kid. They just didn't look very appealing so I never tried them. 

Today we actually roasted some on the hot stove and I was pleasantly delighted with the taste. 

Once cooked Mary peeled them and will let them cool before turning them into chestnut paste to be used in some delicious recipes you may try later next month. 

Have you ever eaten chestnuts? Comments?

Time to get back to work and help peel more chestnuts.

Friday, 27 November 2015


Our deck has been turned into a paint shop so Leanne and Jamie have sufficient room to paint these huge decorations.
I think once they are painted they will look beautiful hanging from a ceiling. Unfortunately it won't be our ceiling as these are for a client, not mom and dad.

I'll post pictures later of the finished project.

Almost done.

We moved them inside to dry.

Have a safe day and thanks for stopping by.

Thursday, 26 November 2015


Yesterday we met Tyrill for the first time. He was born October 24th and yesterday we had a chance to hold him and enjoy some time together. Here his sister Halley has a cuddle with her baby brother.

Peter and Eva have three beautiful daughters and were expecting number four to arrive but Tyrill surprised them. He is so fortunate to have so many loving sisters to look after him. 

We didn't stay long as Peter had to get back to work and as you can see Tyrill was fast asleep on Mary's lap. It will be fun to watch him grow and change as the years pass. 

Babies are wonderful and as grandparents it gets even better. We love our grandson Owen, and cherish the times we can be together. 

Give your kids an extra hug today, and spend some extra time with them. They grow up too quickly. 

Wednesday, 25 November 2015


It's a typical November day here, grey, overcast and hovering around 0. We've had some snow the past few days but just a dusting so far. No need to plow the driveway yet but the sanders have been out on the roads.

This downy woodpecker along with the occasional nuthatch and chickadee visit our feeders and keep us entertained. 

The squirrels occupy another section of our yard feeding from the seeds we scatter on the deck. The red squirrels in particular are very brave and look in our windows if the seeds haven't been put out. Cheeky devils they are.

Later today we will hike the trails through our bush and mark the trees along our snowshoe path. In another month we should have enough snow to make use of the snowshoes.

Off to get new tires for my truck. Stay warm and safe travels Bob.

Tuesday, 24 November 2015


I know very little about making quilts. Mary on the other hand is our quilting expert and loves to discover new quilting techniques. On large quilts I understand it's necessary to mark your rows so it can be assembled correctly; thus the need for quilting pins.

The pins are made from beads and some contain numbers while others contain letters, so each row is easily identified.

Once completed the pins are safely placed in the felt holders you see stacked by the bowl. It's a fun and useful way to pass these cold and gloomy days of November.

Safe travels everyone.

Monday, 23 November 2015


Woke up this morning .................. no power in the house and minus 10*C outside. Not good. This has never happened before and got me searching with my flashlight.

I quickly discovered that I had left the truck plugged in and the draw from the block heater is considerable.

 After 10 hours our batteries had been drawn down to 47%. To protect the batteries our system shut itself down; turned everything off.

Our generator would normally activate once we reached 60% but since we are home I had turned it off. Now it's running, the lights are on and batteries are being charged. 

Always something.

On a more humorous note we've noticed our black squirrels collecting stones and carrying them off out of sight. We thought they were confusing them with walnuts and taking them away to hide as a winter reserve of food. 

Not the case. A google searched gave us the answer. Seems the squirrels gather stones for two reason. The stones help radiate their body heat back on cold days and the stones help anchor their nest and keep the leaves from being blown away. It's what we do when we secure a tarp; place a few chunks of concrete or large pieces of heavy wood on top to keep the tarp from blowing away. Squirrels do the same thing.

Never knew that.

Our view this morning. Winter is approaching.

Enjoy today and thanks for stopping by.

Friday, 20 November 2015


My mom always said that breakfast was the most important meal of the day. She would remind me of this whenever I hurried off to school  too late to eat. 

Today there is no rush in the morning, no school to dash off to so I take a different approach, maybe too extreme in the other direction. 

This is my breakfast most mornings. I figure if I haven't eaten in 14 hours my body must be ready for some serious nutritional replacement. 

I start off with spinach and baby romaine lettuce, add carrot, cauliflower, beet, tomatoes, cucumber, ground flax seed, chopped walnuts, pumpkin seeds, goat cheese and mix in Mary's homemade delicious healthy salad dressing. I sometimes add a boiled egg or 1/2 can of tuna. I love tuna, ate it every day for lunch when in school. 

Now I'm sure that isn't the breakfast many would embrace with open arms, but it is full of fiber, nutrition and keeps me going all morning. It does take time to make and isn't the cheapest breakfast on the market but it has helped me lower my cholesterol numbers and at my age those numbers need to be as low as I can get them.

Let me know what your favourite breakfast is and what you are doing to stay healthy. I find it's a struggle so any help is appreciated.

Thanks for stopping by and I look forward to your input.

Thursday, 19 November 2015


Yesterday I drove to Peterborough for my bi-annual cardiologist visit. I was booked for a stress test which included an ultrasound imaging of my heart. 

They hooked all those electrical devices to my chest and then I got up on the treadmill, thinking they would run me to exhaustion. Not the case; just a steady increase in speed and incline until I reached my targeted heart rate. All went fine and I didn't collapse or have to terminate the test early.

Next was a consultation with my cardiologist. He looked at the results, the video clips of my heart pumping and concluded that all was normal. No clogged arteries, no enlarged heart or visible damage. Yea! Next appointment is scheduled for October 2017.

Now I just need to walk every day and avoid the sweets that I love and all should be fine. That's a tall challenge especially with the holiday season approaching followed by a month of birthdays and travel which always destroys my good intentions.

Today I plan to stack the firewood Jamie split for us on Tuesday, if the rain holds off. Otherwise I'll walk and find something inside to do.

Thanks for keeping an eye on us and remember to stay active.

Tuesday, 17 November 2015


Today was the perfect day for working outside, cool but sunny and dry. With Jamie and Leanne's help we cut down five trees before lunch.

Once we had the trees down we limbed them and then bucked them to the length of our wood stove. 

Here we are loading the bucket so Leanne can take the stumps over to the log-splitter.

Getting the log-splitter working was a challenge but we succeeded and got most of the wood split before supper.

A very productive day.

Now it's time to relax and enjoy the setting sun.

Thanks for stopping by and safe travels Tony.

Sunday, 15 November 2015


We left Thornbury this morning and arrived home about 4 pm. 

Yesterday Owen insisted we go to the beach even though it was cold and windy.

When you're three, the temperature doesn't matter, you have higher priorities; like throwing rocks in the water........

and watching the waves wash over your boots.

A bonus delight was finding this old tractor at the farmer's market. He had a great time turning the wheel and shifting gears and of course making tractor engine sounds as only little boys can.

Time together was too short but we came home with lots of pictures and wonderful memories. 

Now it's time to unload the truck.

Thanks for stopping by.

Friday, 13 November 2015


Today we drove to Owen Sound to go toy shopping. Owen was promised a Lego toy if he took his medicine. He checked all the models and picked the biggest box he could find but Oma convinced him that this one was just as good...........

Once he had his toy he was ready to go home.

Back at the resort Owen and Grandpa spent hours reading instructions and finding the right parts. Owen was a big help and I was amazed at how well he did putting the toy together.

All done and very happy to have his own fire-truck. It even has doors that open and a ladder that swings and goes up and down. WOW! love the toys they have for kids today.


On our drive back from Bolton yesterday this is what happened. Owen talked nonstop for the first hour and a half then ................

fell asleep for the last ten minutes.

He has to take some yucky tasting medicine twice a day so we've been bribing him with chocolate. This way we have a little success.

Oma and Owen having fun with the playdough.

This has been a great week; four days with my sisters, three days with our grandson. What could be better?

Safe travels and thanks for stopping by.

Thursday, 12 November 2015


With a blue sky and sunshine we decided to take a walking tour of Thornbury. I love "small town" Ontario and glad to see Thornbury was restoring some of its old buildings.

Warmly dressed as it was cool and wet when we first started  on our walk.

Time for a group shot. We've been having a great time exploring the countryside together, visiting apple orchards, organic farms and hidden waterfalls in the area.

Yesterday, the fish ladder was worth a visit as we don't have one in Bancroft.

The local bakery was a necessary stop as their butter tarts are so incredibly delicious. For some reason the tarts disappeared before we got back to the resort.

While the ladies shopped ...........................

Don got in some extra vitamin D. 

Today my sisters head home and we get Owen for our last few days at the lodge.

Safe travels everyone and thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, 10 November 2015


We are spending a week with my sisters and their husbands at a resort in Thornbury. Yesterday was a perfect day for a hike so we walked the 12 km trail from our lodge to Meaford. I took my camera along but didn't realize it had no memory card, so no pictures.

Unfortunately the resort's internet service is too slow to allow me to upload pictures. I'll post them once we find a faster service or get home.

10 minutes later ...................  Just after I posted this the internet permitted me to upload pictures, (go figure) so here are a few from yesterday.

We celebrated Don's _0 birthday last night. Annabelle prepared a delicious pulled pork meal and we all enjoyed some good time around the table.

Here's the birthday boy all smiles. He sure doesn't look _0. Birthdays are a great excuse to get together for a few days of celebration.

As soon as supper was over what did we do ? ......................... check our e-mails. We're just like the teenagers, crazy. 

It's not yet 7 a.m. and I just returned from taking a few outdoor shots. Icy on the boardwalk this morning.

Thornbury harbour at 6:30 this morning. Taken from the front door of our lodge.

Our home for the week.

Sunrise and now it's time .......

for my morning swim. Chat later. Thanks for keeping an eye on us.

Safe travels Bob.

Wednesday, 4 November 2015


This morning was perfect for window cleaning. It was 18*C out and we could work in our T-shirts, unbelievable for November 4th.

I gave the window frames a wipedown first so that most of the dirt was removed along with the inevitable cobwebs. When we were kids we called them cow webs, don't know why, but I think the proper term is cobwebs. 

Mary followed with the squeegee and bucket cleaning the actual glass in the window.

In less than two hours we had all the windows done, outside only. Now some bright sunny day this winter we will do the inside and enjoy watching the birds and squirrels through clean windows.

There hasn't been a lot to blog about as we have simply being focused on getting ready for winter. I will try and write once a week just so you know we are still alive and enjoying life in the north.

Enjoy the sunshine and safe travels everyone.