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, 19 December 2013


Living four hours north of Toronto is different. For one thing it's colder. Recently our temperatures have been in the -30*C range. When it gets that cold, ears freeze, my bobcat won't start, and the car doesn't want to move.

Since we are living off grid it's not a simple solution to just plug it in and let the block heater warm up the oil. That would put us in the dark very quickly. Another solution .....................

........... hot coals under the oil pan. 

Mary was afraid  her car might not start at -34*C for her 9 a.m. appointment. I placed a pan of hot coals under the oil pan. An hour later I tried the ignition and the car fired up after a couple of tries. 

Yesterday we did the same with the bobcat, hot coals under the oil pan for an hour then a boost from Mary's car. I'd run the battery down a few days earlier trying to get the bobcat started so needed a boost as there just wasn't any power left in the skid steer.

Another problem is frostbite. Mary noticed a dry itchy patch on my earlobe and suspected frostbite. A few applications of alovera gel right from the plant and the ear was soon healed. Obviously my trusty toque wasn't doing the job up here. 

Now the solution isn't flattering but it does protect my ears completely and up here no one worries about trying to make a fashion statement. So, no jokes, no comments, no laughter; here is the solution ......................

Not cute but no more frostbite.

Another concern is the vent pipe for our battery box. I noticed that it was covered with ice so I sent Mike our installer, an e-mail. 

After a few e-mails back and forth Mike called to discuss the problem.  That's why I like dealing with local businesses, prompt service.  

Since I'm not about to go up on the snow covered roof the temporary solution is to leave the window in the mechanical room open a crack and then modify the vent pipe in the spring.

 Interesting side note: Mary had been suffering far too many allergy bouts recently. With the window opened a crack......allergy symptoms disappeared. What is that about?

I suspect the vent pipe was plugged last winter as well but since I wasn't very mobile I didn't notice it.

Life in the north; we are making adjustments and learning new skills every day but we both agree, we wouldn't trade it for anything.

Thanks for stopping by and safe travels everyone.

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