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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Tuesday, 29 November 2016


This is our walnut sourdough that Mary put together yesterday. It just came out of the fridge where it spent the night. Today was baking day.

We are using our Big Green Egg as our bake oven and it has worked out very well, nice even heat.

The first loaf just about ready to come out of the pot. We use a cast iron pot placed on a pizza stone to help displace the heat from the charcoal. Today it seemed to work just fine.

Both loaves done and cooling. The second one looks to have risen a little more, maybe due to the fact it sat out an extra hour while the first one cooked.

Last week we had problems with scorched bottoms, seems we have solved that problem.

Time to sample a slice.

Thanks for stopping by and safe travels everyone.

Sunday, 27 November 2016


Bread making has become our new passion. It takes two days before we finally have a loaf worthy of the effort and rewarded in every savoury bite we take.

 The first day Mary's focus is creating the dough. Every thirty minutes it needs to be stirred by hand and then covered and placed in a warm room.

The warmest room here is our mechanical room where out water heater brings the room temperature up to 78*F, perfect for the dough.

On the second day after a few final adjustments it is time to bake the loaf.

Our Big Green Egg barbecue has become our baking oven. We first get it up to 500*F along with the cast-iron pot for baking the bread.

Once we reach that temperature the dough is placed inside the pot and the lid applied. Twenty minutes later we remove the lid and reduce the temperature to 450*F.

Another twenty minutes of baking and this is the loaf ready to be cooled and eaten; unbelievably delicious and nutritious.

Next baking will be on Tuesday and we will reduce the temperatures and time as we are still experimenting on baking the perfect loaf.

Today we are making potato leek soup which we will enjoy along with the sourdough bread we baked last night.

Time to go and feed the chickens.

Safe travels everyone and thanks for stopping by.

Friday, 25 November 2016


Some days are better than others. Most days I need help just getting through the basics. Today I need major support, a little handout won't do.

Problem is winter has arrived and I can't find the snow shovel. I even looked up in the attic and why I would think it might be there is beyond me but it isn't in the tool shed, water shed, bunkie or chicken coop so where is it? I have no idea. I need help.

I'll keep looking and maybe find it in the spring when all the snow has melted and I have a new shovel waiting to disappear. Of course I'm sure I put it in a safe place, just don't recall where the safe place is. Any suggestions?

Until next time be safe and write things down. That's my new plan, record where I put things and draw a map. That's the plan but I'm not holding out much hope for success.

Time to keep looking.

Thursday, 24 November 2016


Our first loaf of sourdough bread came out of the oven an hour ago and it is disappearing quickly. So incredibly delicious. Makes my mouth water just looking at the picture and the house is filled with this delicious aroma. What could be better than sitting by our wood stove, enjoying fresh bread and a bowl of homemade soup as we watch the snow gently falling on our pond.

Last week we bought several large bags of grain from Oak Manor mill in Tavistock. If you are searching for organic grains to make your own breads this is the place to go; friendly, informative and a small family run business right here in Ontario. Check their variety of grains HERE.

It didn't rise as much as we anticipated but we are delighted with the taste and texture. A few changes in the dough and starter and we think we can improve on the height of the bread. Considering this is our first loaf we are very pleased.

Be sure to call ahead if you want to sample a slice.

Time to try another piece.

Safe travels and thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, 22 November 2016


Mary was scheduled to have a followup consultation with her radiologist in October but that didn't happen. She called but when the hospital didn't call back she figured they were busy and would call when ready.
Two weeks ago the pain in her leg returned and Mary knew it was definitely time for a consultation. Thursday they called and booked Mary for a 7 am appointment Monday morning at Sunnybrook Hospital.
This worked out just fine as we were spending the weekend in St Catharines with my sister and brother-in-law. We had a great time with Carol and Don and left Sunday night for Toronto. There we stayed with Leanne and Jamie which made our 7 a.m. appointment doable.
We arrived before 7 to an empty parking lot, got a spot close to the doors and then went in to find the right department and get registered. Dr Sahgal arrived about 7:20 and the questions and examination began soon after. He and Dr Myrehaug were very thorough and answered all our questions and concerns putting Mary to ease with their manner and assurance of the procedure. We thought we would be heading home by 8 as we were only booked for a consultation. Surprise!
At 8 we were sent upstairs for an X-ray with an MRI hopefully booked for Tuesday. We returned to get the word on the x-ray and we're informed that there was no bone damage to the spine. Good news! Better news was the MRI could be done at 9:30 as there was a cancellation.
So before we left at 12:15 Mary had an x-ray, MRI, Cat scan, body mold, and tattoos done, far more than we ever expected when our consultation visit was booked on short notice.
Mary will return December 1st for and hour of radiation followed by another session Dec 2nd. Her followup for this procedure will be January 22nd.
The radiation sessions are designed to cut off the blood supply to the tumor and thus keep it from growing.
Driving home we just couldn't believe all that was done and how kind, thoughtful and compassionate everyone was who looked after us.
We are now home, enjoying our wood stove and the solitude of our forest covered in the first major snowfall of the season.
I will keep you posted and we both thank everyone for all their support, love and prayers. We are blessed to be in such good hands.
Safe travels and thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, 15 November 2016


We've entered that season when homemade soup and fresh out of the oven breads are preferred. The soup part Mary has perfected. The bread part we are learning.

Mary has a sourdough starter in the works, still not ready to use and we aren't sure why it's taking so long. If you are thinking of making your own breads check out The Perfect Loaf web site. (Click Here) He has a wealth of information there to guide you through all stages of bread making.

We use our Vitamix to grind the wheat grain which it does in seconds. It does heat up the grain the longer you grind it which isn't good for the flour.

Our flour, full of all the nutrients the grain came with and no preservatives or binders.

We grind a small batch at a time and I'll post more pictures once we actually get a loaf out of the oven.

Hot soup, fresh bread, my mouth is watering just thinking about it.

Safe travels everyone and thanks for stopping by.

Saturday, 12 November 2016


As you can see in the picture above this maple tree was badly damaged this summer. Those two large holes were dug by a pileated woodpecker who was obviously looking for something. In the winter we park our truck and trailer under this tree and didn't want it falling during a storm. Today we took it down.

Once down it was easy to limb the branches.

Mary burned the small stuff.

I worked on the big stuff.

It's now piled beside the log-splitter ready to be split into firewood next week. It will probably be several years before we get around to burning it.

Now it's time for lunch.

Thanks for stopping by and safe travels everyone.

Friday, 11 November 2016


We've had these girls hanging around all week. They usually show up about 4 pm looking for seeds under our bird-feeders. They are nervous and any movement inside the house sends them back into the bush.

We have a large maple tree that has been badly damaged by pileated woodpeckers this summer. Today I got dressed and sharpened my saws ready to cut the tree down. Unfortunately the wind picked up and made it just too risky for felling the tree; at least too risky for my skills and where I need it to fall.

Maybe next week.

Enjoy the weekend and we will chat latter.

Tuesday, 8 November 2016


Connie and Olga are here for a short visit. The sun is shining and we will go for a walk in the bush (even though it's deer season) after breakfast.

Outside our windows these girls entertained us as they looked for seeds while we ate. Guess they know turkey season is over and deer season just started.

Another warm fall day in the forecast. We are expecting a high of 14*C

Enjoy your day and safe travels everyone.

Friday, 4 November 2016


Nights are getting colder often into the freezing temperatures. Our chickens need water. We need an easy solution to keep their water from freezing.

Today we came up with a $2.00 plan.

Take a cookie tin.

Drill a hole in the side of the tin.

Install one light bulb and replace the lid. Place the chicken water container on the cookie tin, turn on the light and the heat from the light bulb should keep the water from freezing.

I'll post more pictures once we have it installed and working.

Any suggestions?