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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Thursday, 29 September 2016


Yesterday I lost a friend. Paul Johnson (standing on the left), director of Open Doors Canada, was involved in a motorcycle accident near Calgary last weekend. He succumbed to his injuries on Wednesday.

Paul was a dear friend who helped us get organized some years ago when we ran AK BOB. He gave us table space at the mission conference in Toronto that year, no charge. We enjoyed Carol and Paul's cottage when we celebrated the arrival of 2007 with three other couples. It was always fun and laughter when we were together.

He will be missed by many and loved by all who knew him and were touched by his kindness.  May we all get together some day where there is no pain or sorrow.

Goodbye Paul you are loved and missed.


Yesterday we decided to take the day off and get away for a few hours.

Since the fall colours are just starting we headed north to Algonquin Park.

By the time we arrived it was lunch time and Lake of Two Rivers was a perfect stop for a picnic lunch.

Then it over to the visitor center  to see what new displays had been added.

I was delighted to see new siding on the building as it had been looking a little shabby the last few years.

Algonquin Park has a rich history in the logging industry and the white pine was shipped from here to England to be used as masts on their wooden ships.

Finally it was time to tackle the hike up to Lookout Point. The trail was excellent but steep and we took a few breaks to enjoy the fauna as we hiked.

It was late in the afternoon when we reluctantly headed back to the truck and our trip home.

Still another week before colours are at their best so we may be back.

Hope you get a chance to hike the trails wherever you live. Fall is a great time to enjoy the outdoors.

Wednesday, 28 September 2016


Last weekend we had a great time with family here to help Mary and see the quilt show.

Everyone brought food and helped prepare meals.

Sharon peeled vegetables while ..........

Annabelle got the desserts ready.

In the morning Jamie, Leanne and Mary fixed breakfast for everyone.

After breakfast Sean and Jamie helped me replace the window in our bedroom. It gets foggy on a cold day and Fibertec kindly gave me a replacement under warranty; a very supportive company to deal with.

In the afternoon it was time to relax and enjoy the water so Sean took the canoe out while Casey enjoyed her inflatable paddle-board. It was the perfect fall day to be out on the water.

Thanks everyone for all your help and for taking time to visit. You made it a wonderful weekend to finish our summer.

Tuesday, 27 September 2016


A few pictures taken by Mary on her cell phone:

I didn't get a chance to photograph the show so I am posting Mary's shots.

Lunch was $5.00 and you got to fill your plate from this table. So delicious and plenty of choices.

This is Betty with her quilt the winner of the show. Betty started the club 25 years ago and it was great that her quilt was the overall winner this year. This quilt will now be going to the Canadian National Quilt Show in Toronto, May 2017. Congratulations Betty!

Monday, 26 September 2016


Some months are busier  than others but September tops the list. With our first granddaughter being born and a quilt show Mary was responsible for our agenda was full.

If you are a regular reader you know our granddaughter arrived healthy and safe September 14th. Kate was 9.1 lbs at birth and not to be outdone by her brother she decided to arrive at home; no time for the hospital, call the midwife and get ready for this baby.

All went well and we are delighted to have a new grandchild to spoil.

This past weekend was the quilt show and my sisters came to help Mary and the club get the displays set up.

Friday morning we were busy unloading the trailer and deciding where everything should go.

The ladies were well organized and the job went very smoothly.

The show was a huge success with everyone giving positive feedback on all the displays.

Once we had the frames up it was time for me to leave so I never got pictures of the actual show. I'll post some quilt pictures later if Mary can send me some.

Friday night Casey and Sean arrived and Saturday Jamie and Leanne pulled in so it was the best weekend we've had in a long time. We love to see the kids and my sisters and have some time together, which doesn't happen often enough. Of course the delicious meals everyone prepared were greatly appreciated especially by Mary as she didn't have to cook after a busy day at the show.

I'll post more pictures of the weekend tomorrow.

Thursday, 22 September 2016


It's picture day at school and Owen wanted to wear a bow-tie.

What a handsome dude if I do say so.

He makes his Oma and Grandpa proud.

Monday, 19 September 2016


The North Hastings Quilt Club is hosting the

Festival of Quilts 

which  runs September 24 and 25th from 9 am to 4 pm Saturday and 10 to 3 on Sunday.
 It is held in the Bancroft Curling Club and over 200 quilts will be on display.

Admission is $6.00 and $5.00 for a lunch. Hope to see you there.

This the week we are getting ready for the quilt show. Today I decided to make a rack for the trailer to make it easier to load and unload all the display pieces

I will add two PVC conduit pipes to the top and cover everything with tarps so it will resemble an old covered wagon.

Friday we will take everything to the curling club, unpack and assemble the display frames. Once they are up the ladies will begin arranging and hanging the quilts.

Watch for more information and pictures on Friday.

Wednesday, 14 September 2016


Our newest grandchild arrived this morning. She is 9 lbs 1 oz, born at home with the support of the midwife.

Mother and child are doing fine.

Owen is delighted to have a sister

Oma cried when she got the news .... happy tears.

No name yet.

Finally asleep ..................

Tuesday, 13 September 2016


Two of our windows developed leaks and we get mist between the glass on cold days.

Fibertec was good enough to replace the glass units and I installed the first replacement this morning.

Fibertec have been very supportive and helpful regarding any questions or concerns we've had with their products. They replied to my e-mails promptly and provided clear instructions for replacing these windows. Thanks Fibertec.

First job was to remove the molding strips from the inside.

Then I took a exacto knife and cut the seal from the outside. This simply allowed us to remove the glass easily from the frame.
The black glazing tape was next and was the biggest part of the job. We tried to get as much out as possible before installing the new glazing tape. This is the first seal between the glass and the frame. It is essential it is installed without any gaps.

Mary worked on some and between the two of us we got most of it off.

Our glass is 3 panes thick and they are heavy. I lifted it into position as Mary watched and guided from the outside.

Once in place I installed the snap in molding without cracking the glass. YEA!!!!!!

Done and ready for winter.

The next frame is much larger and heavier so I will get Nathan to help me with that.

All our chickens are in the freezer and tomorrow we get 6 layers. We are looking forward to fresh free-range eggs in the morning.

Still waiting for that baby.

Thanks for stopping by and safe travels everyone.

Friday, 9 September 2016


Keeping the water containers clean has always been a chore. Every morning we would drain them, hose them off and refill them only to find them stepping into the trough as soon as we left. Naturally this contaminates the water and puts our birds at risk.

Last week these arrived. It's a nipple used to control the flow of water in a bucket.

The chickens peck at the metal rod, pushing it up and allowing a drop or two of water to flow.

I inserted 4, filled the bucket and waited for the action to start. I waited and waited. I have slow birds. They looked, pecked the bucket but not the nipple. What's wrong with my birds?

Some nipples leaked a little so I removed the bucket, added Teflon tape to the nipple and refilled the bucket.

I'll check after lunch to see if it is being used.

Still waiting for the baby.

Up-Date 7 pm

Apparently it didn't take long for the chickens to figure out their new source of drinking water.

This system is so much cleaner and easier to manage, I decided to add a second bucket.

I moved the old bucket to a new location; installed the new white bucket and the chickens didn't miss a beat.

Now I can have 10 gallons of water available which means we can go away for 24 hours and the chickens will be fine.

Each year the system just gets better.

Now if that new baby would just arrive.

Tuesday, 6 September 2016

OUT of the BUSH

Hauled these bucked logs out of the bush this morning. Great workout.

After my break and snack I'll split and stack them ready to burn in a couple of years.

I'm sure we already have enough firewood stacked and drying to see us through the next two winters.

Monday, 5 September 2016


I decided to make myself a job list to keep me focused while Mary is away. Unfortunately, this list isn't stagnate, it keeps growing. As I work on one job, I think of two others I need to add. Never unemployed around here.

Of course the first job every morning is to look after the chickens. After that it's up to the weather and my energy level which job gets tackled.

Today I decided to buck logs still in the forest since last winter.

I'm discovering that every job requires me to do four more before I actually get to the intended job. Bucking logs is a prime example.

I'm lazy I didn't feel like changing so I had to search and find my coveralls, which I last used back in February.

Next was sharpening the saw. I learned from Nathan that a sharp saw is a safe saw and take the time to keep it sharp.

Check the oil and add it to the gas. Don't forget to top up the chainsaw oil reservoir. Not done yet be I am getting closer to bucking those logs. 

I like my firewood all the same length so I took down a 50 ft measuring tape to mark out my cuts. Of course it wasn't a carpenter's tape so the 16 inch marking were not highlighted. Back up the hill to the house and search for something to use.

This paint rod is perfect. I won't lose it, I know where I store it and once marked it will last forever.  Great, another job done and I'm ready to buck wood.

Never let your chainsaw bite into the dirt, it dulls the tips faster than you can think. Well at least faster than I can think. Cut into the log, remove chainsaw, roll log, cut the rest of the way through. Of course I needed to cut down all the little saplings that have started to grow since I felled the tree back in January. 

Work, work, work, no wonder I'm so healthy or maybe just exhausted. 

Time to publish this and get back to .................. work. It is LABOUR DAY!

Where's that baby?

Enjoy the holiday and drive safely.

Sunday, 4 September 2016


The elderberry season is just getting started here. I know down south it is over but our small patch here looks to have a bumper crop this year.

Mary made these this morning to take to Owen later today. My Mom always made delicious elderberry pie and I couldn't stop at one slice. Now, that behaviour is risky, (to my health) so these two bite tarts are perfect; as long as I stop at one, or maybe two, no more.

This is our outdoor summer kitchen. Anything needing to be baked or toasted is done in this counter-top oven. It is large enough for our meals and very efficient for our off grid application.

Maybe I'll sample one before Mary leaves.

What wild berries do you enjoy?

Thanks for stopping by and safe travels everyone.

Saturday, 3 September 2016


Eating healthy foods as taken on a greater importance as we've aged. One suggestion is a daily probiotic. Yogurt solves this problem and we both enjoy the Greek style yogurt found in our local grocery store. At $6.00 a container it can get pricey fast when you go through 3-4 containers a week; do the math.

Yesterday Mary made yogurt in our kitchen and it turned our delicious. She simply added high fat milk to her "Instant Pot" plus whatever other ingredients the recipe called for, sealed the lid and plugged it in. Eight hours later, four litres of firm delicious yogurt was ours to enjoy at a cost of $1.50 per litre. Healthy, economical and good for the gut.

While that was cooking it was time to make "fruit leather" Owen starts school for the first time on Wednesday and Mary wants to be there when that happens. A delicious, nutritious, snack for his lunch bucket will be the apple/cherry fruit leather from Oma. He will love it.

The ingredients where first put through our blender, then poured onto parchment paper for the dehydrator. Ten hours later we had delicious candy tasting fruit leather.

Now remember  we are on solar power. While these machines were working, Mary was busy making a baby blanket, she had a coffee, did the dishes, used the computer, a load of laundry and made a smoothie, all from the energy stored in our batteries. Remarkable, when you stop and think about it. It is a great age to be living in. New technologies using solar energy continue to impress and improve. I wonder what Owen's world will be like when he reaches my age?

Friday, 2 September 2016


Call it small town or country attitude it doesn't matter, it's different. Let me explain.

We've always had great neighbours, even when we lived in the city but get two or three doors down the street and we didn't even know our neighbours name. In the city it was always a rush, no time to chat, no time for your neighbour, always another place to go, job to do.

Yesterday we met the "egg man" We heard he sold free range eggs for $3.00 and so we called to see if we could get a dozen. We met him at the appointed time and place and got our eggs. But then something happened and we sat on his tailgate and chatted for 20 minutes. Chatted about eggs, chickens and life in the north, easy comfortable talk just getting to know each other.

Jimmy stopped by to got his eggs. Mary had to show him the elderberries we just picked and they chatted about picking elderberries back in England. Just friendly  chatter.

In the afternoon I went to get my truck. I had taken it in for an oil change and check over especially a close look at the brakes. I had forgotten to mention the extra fuel filter tucked up in the rear wheel well so we went out to get the number. While there I took Ian around to the front of the truck to ask if he could repair the mudflap, but to my surprised he had already done it. It just needed a bolt, a simple job but he saw the need and got it fixed. He told me the back one needed a new bracket, so he fixed that as well. Love our mechanics.

Our neighbours are just as thoughtful. They plow the laneway when we are away, bring meals when we are sick and drop off garden produce or jars of maple syrup when we are running low. Every visit comes with time to chat and get caught up on the local news. It's the country way of living; looking out for one another.

We should have moved here 30 years ago.