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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Saturday, 30 April 2011

New Header

Since we are back in Bancroft I thought it was time for a new header. The pictures above were taken in Bancroft last week and yes we did have snow here in April. Like most areas in North America our weather has been a little extreme this spring. Hopefully as we approach May our temperatures will warm up.

The economy base here in Bancroft is tourism and lumber. We pass three lumber yards whenever we drive into town so it is a major employer as well as related industries.

Back in the 60's every lumber town had a smoker, a cone shaped steel building where the scraps and sawdust from the milling process went for disposal. Not today. Every part of the tree is utilized in some way.

These trucks rumble through town every day carting the sawdust to a plant in Quebec where the sawdust is turned into wood panels.

The trees are milled into boards of varying dimensions depending on the customers order. You can't purchase from the mill unless you are a licensed wholesaler.

Bancroft is a busy place but also a great place to live. We see deer, moose, beaver, raccoons, hawks, loons, woodpeckers,  and turtles on our property often. The air is clean, the water pure and the place is quiet. It is a great place to raise your children or spend your retirement. Visit Bancroft, and enjoy the friendly atmosphere any time.

Have a great weekend and travel safely.

Friday, 29 April 2011

High Winds

Yesterday we needed to drive to Peterborough and get Mary's car from Sean. The temperature was 17*C when we left but dropped to 11*C by the time we arrived in Peterborough.

Pulling on to highway 62 we were greeted by dark ominous clouds that rolled in from the south.

Traffic lights were out in Peterborough and we thought it was just a local power outage until we drove through the downtown and reached Sean at his store; everything was in darkness and they had just made the decision to close the store. Trees had been blown over, some lay in the streets, other across lawns.

Most were massive pine or spruce trees that had blown over.

Looks like this car took a direct hit.........ouch!
Power out, trees down, stores closed it was a short trip. We couldn't shop, traffic was congested at each major intersection, so we decided to get the car and head back to Bancroft. This same weather system produced many devastating tornadoes in the eastern part of the USA.

Let's hope today the sun comes out and we can work outside.

Safe travels and keep in touch.

Thursday, 28 April 2011


Now that we are home and not on the move every day it's time to get back to healthy eating. We know far more about the impact of food on our bodies than ever before and as we age we seem to be more susceptible to the damage sugar, fats and food additives can do to us. So today we started the morning with a green drink.

These are just a few of the foods we use when juicing; your choice may be different but it is an easy way to provide a wide variety of nutrients, our bodies need, in one glass of juice.

Soup, crackers, hummus, avocados, and salsa make an excellent healthy meal, whether for supper or lunch.

Now Andrew says I spend too much time writing about food, but stop and think how the food choices we make, impact our health. Maybe we all should think a little more about what we consume and how it makes us feel. I love chocolate, it makes me feel good, but too much and I'm in trouble when I visit my doctor. Variety and moderation has to be my new approach. Lets see what a month of healthy eating will do for me. I'll report back the end of May. WOW! That's putting a lot of pressure on me, but maybe  having a goal and a date may turn out to be very beneficial.

Safe travels and we will talk later

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

150 Years Old

On May 1st, Bancroft will be 150 years old. It's older than Canada. Hopefully the day will be sunny and we can attend the celebrations downtown.

Downtown Bancroft April 26, 2011. Sorry, no picture from 1861. ......... Yes, I know I'm old, but not that old.

When it rains for days we need to get out of the trailer and into dry spots. Our first stop yesterday was the Ministry of Ontario office in Bancroft to get Mary's new driver's licence ................

.....then on to "nofrills" for groceries .............

"McDonald's" for coffee  and a free paper, then home for soup and a sandwich. That killed the morning and kept us warm and dry. For those living in a trailer, you will appreciate our efforts to stay warm and dry.

Really, the only ones who appreciate this weather are these guys ................................................

Yes, the ducks are back and so are the showers. Here we have an expression - "April showers, bring May flowers" so next week should be sunny and the flowers are welcome to come out any time, we are ready for a change.

Finally, I'm always surprised to see things I've missed for years. I've driven past these remains hundreds of times, never saw them once, until today. It looks like an old stone wall, probably someone's cabin from years ago. You may need to enlarge the picture to see the wall, so much vegetation has grown over it.

Safe travels and stay dry. Happy Anniversary Rob and Sherri!!!!!!!

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Mail Delivery

Here in Canada we have a dual postal delivery system. For those who had home delivery of mail prior to 1985, they continue to get their mail delivered right to their door. For folks living in subdivisions or postal routes established after 1985 they have their mail delivered to a postal box.

This is our postal station. It is right on highway 62 at Bay Lake Road about 10 km from our house. We drive by this location every time we go to town (which seems to be every day) so we don't mind not getting "home delivery". Also friends have offered to collect our mail, of course we would have to give them the key to our mail box.

The ice has disappeared from the lakes, the loons are back and the "spring peepers" sing to us all night long.

We feel bad to be cutting down so many trees, especially the large tall ones. Although they look healthy on the outside many are rotten on the inside. In a high wind storm these diseased trees could easily be blown over onto our house. That is why Tom & Christine want us to remove all trees within 30ft. of the house.
You would think someone took a drill to this tree trunk, not so, just eaten away by ants.

The forecast calls for 4 days of rain so we are off to Peterborough today to do some shopping.

Safe travels and we will write again tomorrow.

Monday, 25 April 2011

Loons, Frogs and Stars

How sweet is the sound of the loon? It is the call of our northern lakes. It warms the heart because it's a true sign that the season is changing and last week we heard the call; the call of the loon.

Unfortunately no picture of our feathered neighbour but I did find this pictures taken on our lake July 23, 2009.The amazing thing about loons is their ability to swim long distance underwater. You watch them dive and disappear and think they will bob to the surface just where you last saw them. Not so. Scan the lake and you will see them way up the lake, just a mear dot.

Another sign of spring are the "peepers" They are tiny frogs you hear across the pond once the sun has gone down. It's their mating call you hear and it is unique. I have no pictures of these little guys but may try to get some once our house is up and we are living here full-time.

As for the stars; they take your breath away. The skies are so clear, free from any light pollution and every star sparkles in its own magnificence.

Of course the best time of year to visit is the fall.

Safe travels and stop by when you are in the area.

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Going South

Today we head south to Toronto to visit family and celebrate Easter. Many we haven't seen since January so it's always a good time when we get together. I can hear the rain hitting out trailer as we type so it will be a welcome change to get out and visit for a day or two.

Unfortunately Leanne is sick so we will miss her and Jamie. Get well soon and we will see you when you are better.

Yvan finished splitting the wood and now all that needs to be done is to stack it and let it dry.

We checked the lake and the ice is almost gone. Can't wait for summer and those evening paddles we both enjoy.

Here and there we still see patches of snow; this one happens to be along our road.

Enlarge this picture and you can see some of our local residents. I had to shoot in a hurry, from a moving truck, so the picture is a little blurry. We also have coyotes, bear, ducks, loons, eagles, and moose in the area. Once our house is up we will have a perfect view over our pond and hope to get some better pictures.

We also have some local domestic animals. We get free range eggs every week and I do mean free range. These girls love to wander all over the place, but they prefer to travel in a group.
Happy Easter, see you in church. Travel safely and watch out for the other guy.

Friday, 22 April 2011


The day started out cold and overcast like so many days here in Bancroft since we returned. Yvan called and said he was coming over to cut trees so after a quick breakfast we were ready to work.

First job was to check the solar panels. They were covered in ice from the freezing rain last night. Not much we could do, just let the sun come out and warm them up; which did happen sometime after 10.

Yvan cut the trees down, I trimed the branches; team work.

We left this huge fir tree to the end. Our strategy was to tie a rope to the truck and Yvan's jeep. This would allow us to keep some tension on the tree while Yvan cut it and hopefully cause the tree to turn and fall where we wanted. It worked.

The tree is down and look at all the rot in the middle of the trunk. If we hadn't cut it down, a big wind storm could easily have blown it over onto the house.

All the trees are down and it is a little easier to see the pond.

Now it's time to cut the logs into firewood.

Now that's what I call a "full day's work" Thanks Yvan for all your help.

Thursday, 21 April 2011


We have landed full time in Bancroft and will be here until November when we head south again. For our friends south of the border, who believe all of Canada is white and frozen, I'm beginning to think they're right. Here it is the middle of April and it looks like the middle of January outside. Remember, parts of Ontario are as far south as northern California, but the weatherman here doesn't know that. Our castle is frozen to the ground, and we are looking forward to staying indoors this weekend when we visit family and friends for Easter.

Can you see that little building off in the distance? No Mike, that's not our house, but that is where we will build our house this summer.

Our castle, frozen to the ground, cosy and dry on the inside.

Looking down our driveway, waiting for spring to arrive. Has anyone seen her?

Tuesday it was warm enough to work outside and that meant clearing and burning brush; Mary's favourite job.

We now have a "911" number, much easier to find our driveway. Are you coming up this summer?

This is what we like to see........... blue skies, fire burning, trailer safely parked, ......our home in Bancroft.
Let us know if you are planning to drop by this summer. We will have to work visits in around our construction schedule.

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Home and on Line

We arrived in Bancroft April the 17th., surprised to discover that winter was still here.

Looking down highway 28, heading north towards Bancroft.

Finally the snow stopped and the sun came out as we reached Stringer Dr. It felt good to be home but we weren't expecting all the white stuff.............. this is the middle of April.

Our trailer has seen it all from hot desert storms to snow and freezing rain and we drove through it all.
If the sun shine tomorrow I'll post more pictures.

Monday, 11 April 2011

Cleaning Windows

Sunday was a warm, quiet day here in Jackson Center, Ohio,  so decided it was a good time to clean windows. Rather than just simply spray and wipe we decided to remove the windows so a thorough cleaning job could be done.

Taking the windows completely off turned out to be very easy; just remove two screws and lift the window off its hinge at the top.

The window frame was rubbed down with steel wool, wet cloth and window cleaner.

Here I am supporting the frame with my head while removing the screws that hold the window in its track. It really was much easier than it looks.

Before replacing the window, Mary rubbed the gasket with coconut oil; you could also use silicone spray. This will help to preserve the rubber and keep it supple.

I caught this picture of a trailer leaving for home yesterday. He was driving back to Burlington, Ontario, with one wheel missing. Apparently his axle was cracked and the factory couldn't get one for 3 weeks. Hope he got home safely.

Can you see the missing wheel?

Today we are back in Canada and  looking forward to seeing family and friends.  It may be a few days before we next report. I need to renew by "Bell" contract so we can get internet service while in Bancroft.

Safe travels and we hope to be back writing soon.