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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Monday, 30 September 2013


I've had a few distractions the past few days and apologize for not doing my regular posts.

Last Friday Mary and Leanne took me to the hospital in Bancroft where the doctors ran some tests and believe I had a mini stroke. In medical terms it is called a TIA. You can look it up on google.

The good news is there is no lasting side effects from a mini stroke. The clot forms in the brain but dissolves quickly so no permanent damage.

However it is a warning sign that I shouldn't ignore.

I have been referred to the vascular clinic in Peterborough where they will do further testing and then contact my GP with their findings. I expect by Friday at the latest we will know their recommendations and have a medical plan established for me.

I will let you know what they discover and suggest we do as we go through this process. Until then I expect to be busy with appointments and focused on the doctor's advice so my blog entries may suffer. 

Thanks again for keeping tabs on us. I'm fine, no side effects and enjoying the beautiful fall days we've been blessed with the past few weeks.

Safe travels everyone and I will write again later this week.

Thursday, 26 September 2013


We've been asked to participate in the annual fall Natural Home Tour. If you are thinking of building in the near future this is a great opportunity to talk to some home owners about their unique choices of construction. No one is a salesman and so you get just the opinion from someone who is living in the type of home you might be thinking about. Of course the added bonus will be the fall colours just at their best during the tour. 

Here are a few pictures from our construction days back in 2011.

Durisol Block construction.

If you are interested in the tour which takes place October 6th then go to their web site: (Click Here)

Hope to see you in a few weeks.

Thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, 25 September 2013


Studio tours are very popular this time of year. It's a great way to come up and see the fall colours, get some special gifts for Christmas and see the incredible array of talent on display throughout the north.

One of our favourite stops is the Homestead Pottery in Haliburton.

Matt and Lisa create beautiful pottery all fired on site in a wood burning kiln Matt built. You can see more pictures of their work by clicking here.

We always pickup a few pieces to add to our collection. 

You may be wondering about the holes in the bowl. This is a bowl for rinsing your vegetables, very clever.

The Haliburton Studio tour runs October 5th and 6th and then again October 12th and 13th. Do a google search to get directions. Make your plans now and plan to stay overnight at a local B&B. It's the best way to see the fall colours and local artists at a leisurely pace.

Hope to see you up here.

Tuesday, 24 September 2013


This morning Tyler was here early to check out our generator. He installed it a year ago and wanted to make sure everything was running properly.

This generator is very easy to service except for the spark-plug which seems to be located in an awkward spot.

The original hood had arrived badly dented so Tyler replaced it under warranty.

While Tyler worked on the generator I worked at hauling brush. It was a perfect day for working outside.

Monday, 23 September 2013


Today Pat, Jeff, John and Barb stopped by for lunch and a tour of the house.

Everyone brought something so we had plenty of food and everything was delicious. Thanks for leaving the extra slices of pie with us Pat. I'm looking forward to supper. As John said, "A meal isn't complete without dessert".

We enjoyed a lovely afternoon together, the sun came out, we toured the house and got caught up on all the news. It was great to see everyone.

At 4 p.m. Matthew showed up to clear brush.

He uses the grapple bucket to take the stack of brush back into the bush where we can stack it out of sight.

What an improvement when he is done.

Thanks for stopping by and safe travels everyone.

Sunday, 22 September 2013


It's been great having Casey visit the past few days. She is recovering from a serious bike accident and as with all head injuries she needs time to rest and allow things to get back into place.

This morning she was using her computer out on the back porch so I snapped a few pictures. Although it is only 6*C out this morning she gets much better reception on the internet out there so she bundled up and took her coffee outside.

Yesterday was all rain but today the sun is out and filling our batteries. As you can see the leaves are starting to change.

Looking forward to seeing Pat, Jeff, Barb and John tomorrow.

Thanks for stopping by.

Saturday, 21 September 2013


I wasn't comfortable with the service I did on the generator yesterday. The oil level when done wasn't right and I couldn't seem to get it to drain down to the right level. So back to the service manual but it wasn't crystal clear. Check You-Tube, some help but not for my model of generator. Time to do some more thinking.

Once it stopped raining today I was back out to the generator. Cover off I could see the sticker that says Oil Drain but could only see one drain line. 

Tucked in behind is another drain line which when opened allowed the excess oil to drain off. Good, one step forward.

Can you see the two orange caps on the left? Both say Oil Fill but the bottom one is actually the oil dipstick. 

So why label it Oil Fill? If it says oil fill then I thought that's where I put the oil in ................. not a chance.

After several test starts and double checking the fluid levels everything seems back to normal and working properly.

I printed some reminders on the top of the generator as well as the date of change on the oil filter. I should also write the model number for the oil filter because a year from now I won't remember.

I think we are almost ready for ................ winter. We have enough wood cut, split and stacked thanks to Matthew and Nathan, the water tank that collects the rainwater off our roof has been drained and the generator has been serviced.

There is still lots to do but the critical jobs have been done. 

I know it's not even October and we are thinking winter, but up here you need to be thinking ahead.

Thanks for stopping by and safe travels Tony.

Friday, 20 September 2013


Today's job was to change the oil and filter in the generator.

Our generator runs on propane which means I don't have to worry about it running out of fuel. The white tank in the background holds more than I will use in any season. Presently we have to fill the tank every ten months but with a few changes we hope to get a full year out of one tank of propane.

First we turned the generator to off and took out the fuse. This ensures do accidental start-ups when we are changing the oil.

Draining the old oil is very easy; simply remove the plug in the drain line and let gravity do the rest.

I changed the oil filter as well but since I was busy with both hands no pictures.

The job took about 20 minutes and only needs to be done every 500 hours or two years whichever comes first. As this was our first year of use I thought it better to change the oil now. I'll probably change it every fall even though we don't run the generator much more than 100 hours a year.

Thanks for stopping by and safe travels everyone.

Thursday, 19 September 2013


There is always lots to do up here and the fall is a great time to be working outside. Yesterday was sunny and warm so Mary got

the weed wacker out and starting cutting back some of the wild plants we have growing close to the house.

My job was to get up on the roof and install the rain guards over our gutters.

It's a fairly easy job, insert the aluminium strip and snap it into place. Lets hope it works as easily as it was to install.  Last year the leaves quickly plugged our gutters and every time it rained we were looking out at Niagara Falls.

The job is done, and we are expecting rain later today so we will see how they perform.

Thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, 18 September 2013


Todd spotted him first from our living-room widow. He was difficult to see but once he moved our eye caught the movement and then we had him.

He was very cautious as he approached the salt block, stopping, checking, smelling the air, listening.

He's a young buck and we hope to see him more often.

Our solar panels have been working just fine. Even with the freezer we are usually back to 100% by lunchtime.

Matthew busy stacking firewood for us.

We built another crib and you can see how efficient our system is now. Matthew loads the bucket and brings the wood from the bush. The load is dumped on the first table where I can easily move it onto the log splitter and then toss the split wood onto the table beside the crib. From there it is easy to stack it to dry in the sun.

Always busy but it is a great time of the year to be working outside.

Thanks for stopping by.

Monday, 16 September 2013


We had a lovely visit with Todd the past few days. He works in house sales and was interested in our construction and living off grid.

Monday morning we hiked back to the pond.

It's covered in pollen and we could see places where deer and been sleeping. Very quiet back there.

Then it was out to the road as we made a big circle and headed back home.

Mary, ever watchful for the unusual spotted these berries growing at the side of the road.

The mornings are crisp and the leaves have just started to change colour. Another week or two and it will be the perfect time to be up here.

Thanks for coming up Todd, it was great to have some time together.


I've got more firewood than I can burn in two years and I have more wood in the bush to bring up and split. Wood left on the forest floor soon starts to rot and I need a dry place to stack and store it.

Last week while we were down visiting Sherri and Owen I picked up a trailer load of skids. They are not the heavy-duty ones but they are in good shape and should do just fine for what I want them for.

It's difficult to see in this small picture but if you click on the photo you will see my wood splitting operation. I have the log splitter between two tables. Matthew brings up a bucket full of logs, dumps them on the table in front of the splitter. This keeps everything at waist level which is much easier on my back. I split the logs and toss the pieces on the other table ready to be stacked by Mary. Real simple.

Now I need more space for storage as you can see the crib in the background is full. I started building a second crib where the skids are on the left. I set the skids on 6x6 cedar posts which keeps them well off the ground and allows good air circulation. So far I'm happy with the way everything is working. How do you store your firewood? Let me know as I'm always looking for better ways.

The pictures in the header were from yesterday's church lunch. As you can see we had an abundance of delicious homemade pies.

Thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, 15 September 2013


So yesterday we spent the whole day in church. Wow, when was the last time we spent a Saturday in church, can't remember.

The morning started with breakfast for men only and a guest speaker. We had about 70 men show up.

Right after breakfast Elmer started cooking the roast beef on his home made rolling BBQ. The beef was done to perfection.

Elmer checks the potatoes and beans...........

then slices the beef with help from Gary and Wayne.

We served a full roast beef supper, baked potato, beans, coleslaw, corn, and fresh peaches and ice-cream for dessert, no charge, not even a donation. Up here fall church suppers are very popular.

Supper was followed by two hours of local talent singing and sharing gospel music. It was wonderful.

I can't believe the range of talent and quality of preaching in this little town. We are blessed.

Matt was the guest preacher for the weekend and here he shares a song with us. It has truly been a great weekend and given us a chance to meet and work with so many others at the church.

(Mary's apple pie)

Today we will have roast beef on a bun and pie after church. Even the leftovers will be delicious and another opportunity to have more fellowship.

Thanks to everyone who made this weekend possible. We enjoyed every note, song, mouthful and sermon. You lifted our spirits and filled our souls with thankfulness.  It is a privilege to have helped in our own small way.

Todd is coming up for a few days and Casey will be here later in the week. This is a great time of the year to visit as the days are cooler and the leaves are starting to change.

Thanks for stopping by and be sure to call and let us know when you are coming.