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, 30 April 2013


Spring is garden season and Mary is anxious to get back to planting hers. Up here the usual date is the 24th of May but most avid gardeners start their seeds indoors a month early.

 I think Mary might have started hers two months early. She was real eager to see spring arrive.

Regardless most have germinated and look healthy and now she is transplanting them to larger pots.

Once the "hugo culture" beds are prepared then these little plants will have a new home.

Tall healthy tomato plants. Can't wait to pick our own.

Right now we keep them on the deck as long as our nights stay above freezing. This toughens them up and gets them ready for the garden. Don't they look healthy? Do you need some plants Sean? Leanne, are you guys doing a vegetable garden?

Thanks for stopping by. We will have fresh vegetables in a month or two.

Monday, 29 April 2013


Now that we have settled in and survived our first winter Mary has decided it's time to get her quilting machines out and back into production.

Last week I made this "design wall" for Mary. It is essential to have a design wall as you lay out and organize the varied pieces for the quilt top. With this wall Mary can rearrange the layout very easily to obtain the best fit for the design of the quilt.

Hundreds of little pieces need to be sewen together then arranged to create the pattern desired.

She has a fabulous work area, directly in front of the large south facing windows and everything is easy to reach from her mobile office chair. Here she irons each square before placing them on the "design wall" Remember we are "off grid" but all the electricity used by the iron and sewing machine can be easily produced from our solar panels.

Lots of natural light and a compelling view down across our pond.

This quilt is here latest design, just getting started. I'll post more pictures as the project progresses.

Owen's baby quilt.

A few of the many quilts Mary has completed for family and friends.

If you are looking for a hand made unique quilt let Mary know. She does quality work and can find something for every taste and situation.

Thanks for stopping by.

Friday, 26 April 2013


I thought yesterday would be a quiet day for me. My ankle is still sore and I need to stay off it from time to time. With Peter working here Monday and Tuesday I pushed myself to help where possible as I enjoy working with Peter.  

My plan was to do some errands in town then spend the rest of the day on the couch.  That didn't happen. The sun was shining, the weather was warm and it turned into a perfect day for working outside.

My workshop needed organizing. We had stuffed it full of boxes when we cleaned out our storage unit and hadn't touch it all winter. Yesterday was the day to start.

All the boxes were moved outside. Shelves, hooks and nails were installed ready for the content as I opened each box and decided what to save and what to toss. "Oh, look, I wondered where that went to,"  was the expression heard most often as we went through the boxes.

Today it's garbage day. If it doesn't rain we will load the trailer and take what we no longer use to the dump.

As soon as the trailer is unloaded, I plan to take that day of rest.

Time for a little chocolate.

Thursday, 25 April 2013


Can you tell I like chocolate?  I think I would gladly eat 5 helpings of chocolate for every one healthy bowl of salad. Unfortunately at this stage of the game I need to reverse my habit.

So we have been trying to eat more vegetables, salads and home made soups. Mary is an excellent cook and everything she makes is delicious. We try to avoid "store bought" soups as much as possible because of the high salt content.

This is a typical salad, lots of greens, home grown sprouts and topped with chicken chunks, just simply delicious with orange flavoured dressing.

I am aloud 1 ounce of chocolate a day which is 5 of the little paper holders above. Mary makes these and they melt in your mouth.

So far everything is fine. I'm loosing weight, still eating until I'm full and still enjoying my chocolate fix every day.

We will see what happens after a month.

Another quiet day in cottage country. Yesterday the propane truck made a delivery 1, 334 litres worth of propane. Our last delivery was back in October and we were down to the last 5% of the tank so were glad to see the truck arrive. Like to guess what that cost?

Today, Mary will be working on her quilt, I have some errands in town and for most of the day I'll try and give my ankle a rest.

Safe travels everyone and thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, 24 April 2013


Yesterday, Peter worked late to get our deck, landings and rails finished. At three o'clock he had finished the ramp and the first landing, put up Mary's clothesline and I thought he would call it a day. Not Peter. Since today the forecast calls for rain and Peter won't be available Thursday and Friday he forged  ahead and worked until 7. We are delighted to have the project completed and with how well it all looks and enhances the house and use of the outdoors.

Installing the railing on the ramp.

Next we installed Mary's clothesline, way up in the trees to catch the breeze. This location should dry the clothes in 10 minutes, lots of sun, lots of wind.

Can you see the chips flying? Peter routered all the edges to make them just a little smoother.

He even built a shelf for the laundry basket.

About three, Peter decided he still had time and energy to build landing number two.

Almost done.

East side

South side, all done. Thanks Peter, another quality job by "5 Star Innovations".

Today will be another tense day in cottage country. Our rivers and lakes are at their maximum and more rain is expected today. Many communities will be watching the dams very closely.

Thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, 23 April 2013


We are approaching the last list of outside items in our house construction. One thing we plan to do this week is build two landings off the back deck for easier access to the ground below. Yesterday we started the landing on the east side and today we should finish the ramp. I decided on a ramp as opposed to steps as a way to make it easier to bring in firewood when needed.

First we removed the steps and cleared the area ready for construction. It was a perfect day for working outside, warm, sunny and no bugs.

Once we decided where the corner posts would be located, Peter cleared and levelled a spot for each footing.

The frame for the landing was quickly completed 

......checked for level ................

....... then the decking added. Peter is great to work with, always very particular, happy and precise.

Today we will finish the decking and railing on the ramp then start the landing on the south side.

Safe travels everyone. Watch out for the other guy, he hit my sister's car 3 times.

Monday, 22 April 2013


We are high and dry but several businesses in Bancroft found the York River flowing through their property this weekend. This has been the scene all over cottage country and those that have lived here all their lives say it's the worst they can remember.

As the ice melts off the lakes, the rivers rise and the flow is turbulent. Last week we had over 50 mm of rain which because of the frozen ground was added to the run-off.

 The York River just below the dam in Bancroft. The water is in full flight, roaring past this spot churning and bubbling like an ocean storm.

This is the old mill that has been converted into apartments. Looks like water is running right through the basement. The police cordoned off the building and had the occupants removed for their own safety.

Click on the photo above to see the York River overflowing its banks.

Downtown the water has breached the bank and is flooding the buildings alone the river's edge.

Out by Tim Horton's, Bancroft Rental is underwater.

Cables and straps are used to keep these propane tanks from floating  down the river.

Sandbags and sand are  keeping the water out.

All along the business section owners have used sandbags.

Today Peter will be here and we will start work on the deck landings. Watch for those pictures tomorrow.

Thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, 21 April 2013


Yesterday we gathered to celebrate Owen's first birthday. It was wonderful to see everyone, chat with some we hadn't seen in years and eat some yummy food. Thanks to everyone who made this possible.  It was very special for me.

Here are a few pictures.

My sisters and brother-in-law talking with Sean.

We all enjoyed the sandwiches, fruit and drinks....

............ especially the birthday cake made by Sean.

Good food, good company and time to chat.

Leanne even organized a play corner for the little ones. Looks like more adults than children enjoying the playdough.

Sherri and Murissa chatting.

Finally the children found the playdough.

Sean and Uncle Don chatting.

Looks like time for dessert.

Owen's not sure about this candle and cake, but we sure enjoyed it.

Too soon it was time to say goodbye. What a fun time we had celebrating Owen's first birthday.

Time to clean up and head for home but first 

............... more food.  I don't see my sisters as often as I would like so we decided before we all went our different directions we would find a restaurant and enjoy supper together.

This time we tried to eat only healthy choices. 

Thanks everyone, it was one of those days we will keep in the memory bank forever.