LIVING OFF GRID

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, 17 January 2019

SOUS VIDE

Until last week I had never heard of the term "Sous-Vide" which means under pressure; let alone knew that is was a method of cooking. (unless brother Jim told us and we had forgotten) After reading reports and the glowing endorsements from folks who cook this way I thought it was time to give it a try. Rather than spend money on equipment I used what we had in the house; an old picnic cooler and resealable bags. You do need an instant read thermometer.

Sous-Vide is a method where meat is sealed and cooked in a water bath at low temperatures. For our steak we went with 132*F do give us a medium/rare steak.

This morning I bought the cheapest steak in the butcher shop, a sirloin tip. I had it cut an inch and a half thick which gave us a pound and a half steak.

That was salted, sealed in the bag and placed in the water bath with the temperature checked every half hour.

To help retain the heat I wrapped the cooler in a blanket.

After two hours we removed the steak and seared it in a pan of butter and oil.

Best steak ever; done to perfection and so tasty. It was melt in your mouth delicious; .............. so delicious we ate the whole thing. Time to go back to the butcher.

Sous-Vide is a fool proof way to get the best from your cut of meat. Using the picnic cooler does require you to keep and eye on the process and be available to adjust the temperature of the water. You can buy a sous-vide cooker which clips to the side of a pot and maintains the perfect temperature without you being present. That might be the route to take if you wanted to do a larger piece of meat such as a roast; less hassle, less work.

Will we do it again? Most definitely, we are already talking chicken in the bag.  I think we will also use this method when we camp as the meat could be cooking while out hiking or driving to the park. We will see how to perfect the system so it can be done while on the road. (don't want water spilling all over the place)

Thanks for stopping by and enjoy your supper ..................... we did.


Tuesday, 15 January 2019

MICE

For seven years we never saw evidence of rodents until this past week. I noticed empty sunflower seeds in my birdseed storage bin and first thought it might have been just damaged seeds from the processing; not so. Next day even more empty seed shells so I knew it was time to take some serious steps and remove these uninvited intruders.

It soon became apparent that my dollar store traps were not up to the task. The traps were tripped but the mouse was too fast. Time for new traps.

I found these and have been very happy. Easy to use, no contact with the mice and so far every catch has been successful. That little orange dot you see in the trap above is cheese. It is held in a plug that you remove from underneath, fill then screw back into place. The mouse steps up on the platform to get the cheese and the trap springs into action. .......... one less mouse.


Here you see the plug full of cheese before loading it into the trap.

Imagine the white pen is the mouse. To dispose of the mouse simply press down on the flipped up handle at the back. Disposal is simple, easy and there is no contact with the little critter.

This week we've caught four, but last night was a no mouse night and maybe we have solved the problem. Now we just need to discover how they managed to get in.

Monday, 7 January 2019

KETO BREAKFAST

This morning Mary made Keto pizza for breakfast. The crust was made from Almond flour and cheese.


The usual toppings were added.

















Fifteen minutes in the toaster oven and it was ready to eat.

High in fat, low in carb, it was quite delicious for our first attempt. Next time we will add less cheese as well as a teaspoon of flax and chia seeds to the crust.

We will try this LCHF way of eating for 3 months and see if we get the results we want.

Safe travels everyone and thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, 2 January 2019

1st HIKE OF 2019

To celebrate the new year we joined our neighbours for an afternoon snowshoe hike.

It was a perfect day to be out on the trails.


Owen was a little apprehensive of the dogs so we hung back and gave the group lots of space.

Owen soon relaxed once he realized the dogs were friendly and not a threat.

Two happy hikers.

Three happy hikers, one with a snow cone.




Back home, Owen got busy building the fire: Note the safety goggles and gloves.


It was a great way to start the new year.

We've had such a great time with Owen here but today we have to take him home.

Thanks for stopping by and all the best to you throughout 2019.

Tuesday, 1 January 2019

BRING IN MORE WOOD

Today's kids are tech savvy. Even Owen's sister who is only two understands what a cell phone is used for and will walk around pretending to talk to Oma. We do let Owen enjoy his i-pad but we also get him outside every day.

He really enjoys snowshoeing and this afternoon we will join our neighbours in a snowshoe hike through the bush.

Not content to simply walk on the flats Owen had to try and navigate a steep hill on his snowshoes.

No trouble going down and little more challenging getting back to the top; but he did it.

He decided we should travel separately and meet at the wood pile. He was litterly running on snowshoes in some spots.

Full of confidence and enjoying every minute on the trails.

When I reached the wood pile Owen wasn't to be seen. Looking around I found him hiding inside one of our cubes. He does like to have fun and play tricks on grandpa.

The sled was quickly filled with wood.




A sled full of wood is heavy and a challenge for even me to pull.














We did manage to get the sled and Owen up to the house.

Owen then enjoyed some time watching the squirrels feed. He was very still and quiet, hoping they would take seeds from his hand. They did come very close and Owen tried to imitate their sounds to make them less nervous but the seeds remained untouched in his hand; maybe next time.

Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY NEW YEAR! everyone.

Sunday, 30 December 2018

QUILTS and SNOWSHOES

Yesterday was cold, crisp and sunny a perfect day to try out Owen's new snowshoes. He had a blast. You would have thought he was born with them on his feet. Tomorrow we are to get some fresh snow so I'm sure we will be out again.

Grandpa was delighted to head out on the trails with is favourite grandson. It's always extra special when Owen is here to share the experience.

Back inside it was time to help Oma with her Owl quilt. This is a project that will take months and uses hundreds of little cuts of fabric.

Owen was very meticulous in his cutting making sure to do just as Oma wanted. He was a big help and more of the feathers were cut and applied to the Owl's face. It will be spectacular once done.

This morning we are enjoying a book by the fire after a pancake breakfast.

Safe travels everyone and thanks for stopping by.

Saturday, 29 December 2018

DOCTOR KATE

Just home from a wonderful week celebrating Christmas with family and extended family. Before heading home Dr. Kate had to make sure we were fine after eating so many delicious meals. Here she checks Oma's heart beat ................

.....then decided Oma needed a needle.

















Of course Christmas means gifts and Owen and Kate were excited to open their gifts from Oma and Grandpa.

The coffee percolator kit was a big hit with Kate. She made tea, coffee and hot chocolate for everyone the next morning.

Lots of laughs when Oma open her gift; sorry can't show it as I didn't get a picture.

A few quiet moments inspecting the blanket Oma made; lots of cats on the one side.

Some relaxing time, reading instructions and deciding what to do next.

A hug is always a good way to end the day.

Thanks everyone for a wonderful time together. Sorry that there are no photos from Margaret's, left the camera in the truck.