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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Wednesday, 31 December 2014


Wonder how batteries and construction boots are connected; read on.

This is not a good sign. I noticed our battery box on the trailer had a popped corner so went over to investigate. 

Lifting the lid I could see we had major damage. I was hoping to remove the batteries and take them inside to see if I could thaw them out and restore them back to life.

As you can see they are split wide open from the freezing so forget trying to salvage them.

That takes care of the batteries but what about the construction boots?

Since I was lifting batteries and carrying them I decide to put on my coveralls to protect my clothes. The coveralls prevented me from sliding into my rubber boots but since there is no snow I laced on my construction boots ......... the boots with steel toes.

Now an RV battery is not light and when it slips from your hands it doesn't float gently to the ground, it lands like a rock ....... a huge rock ...... especially when its slamming into your foot.

Construction boots to the rescue, no broken bones just bruising and swelling which will disappear in a few days. The boots did their job, protected my toes.

As my Dad would say "There's always something"

Thanks for stopping by and be safe out there.

Tuesday, 30 December 2014


First thing Owen mentions when he gets here is the Bobcat (skid-steer). Don't get me wrong, he loves to see his Oma but the Bobcat is always a high priority.

Reminds me of my sister Carol and her love of horses when we visited our uncle's farm way back in the 50's. Soon as Dad stopped the car, Carol was off to the barn to see the horses; matter of fact as soon as we turned onto the farm road Carol would say "I smell the ponies". Owen doesn't smell the Bobcat but he is always excited when he sees it.

Owen in the driver's seat, ready to go to work.

Can't wait until he's old enough to drive it himself and help us clear bush and move logs. 

It was just a lovely time together, best Christmas present you can give a grandparent. 

Thanks for stopping by Owen. We love you.

Monday, 29 December 2014


Sherri called last night and said she was coming over with Owen. Rob was home sick and Sherri was in Peterborough for the Van Ryn Christmas and decided to visit us and stay overnight. What a lovely surprise. 

We are both home fighting colds and sore throats so it was a real treat to have them come for the night.

Oma showing Owen the tree house she made for him. It is full of little forest creatures hidden in the stump.

He was much more interested in playing with the Santas, Mary has on the window sill.

The Christmas village was also a great source of amusement.

With all that playing a little nourishment was needed so Oma fed while Owen played. Oh, the life of a two year old.

We must have tuckered him out with all that playing. Here it's almost 7:30 am and he is still sleeping.

Up-date 8:20

Owen finally got up and now he is making pancakes with Oma.

He is such a wonderful helper. Thanks for stopping by and safe travels everyone.

Wednesday, 24 December 2014


It's foggy here in Northern Ontario this morning. Looks like we will lose our snow and have rain for Christmas. This is not the winter they were predicting.

Although we haven't had internet access for four days we have still been busy. Sunday night we piled into the church bus and visited homes of the senior members who find it difficult to get out this time of year. We spent more than two hours singing and visiting and just having a real good time. We finished with delicious homemade soup back at the church. This was a great way to get into the true Christmas spirit.

As I type Mary has the dough for cinnamon buns rising by the wood stove. Cinnamon buns on Christmas morning are a tradition in the Kelly family. My Mom made the best buns and Mary has followed her recipe successfully. Delicious.

Another hour and the dough should be ready. What traditions do you follow for Christmas?

Many of you will be travelling over the holidays, be safe.

Thanks for stopping by.


We have been off the internet since Saturday morning. Ma Bell notified us that we had used all our data space for the month and wanted $50.00 to keep us connected for four days. I declined as the 24th is the start date of a new data month for us. 

I'll be back posting later today.

Friday, 19 December 2014


We just returned from a late afternoon hike through the bush; thought you might enjoy the pictures.

We took along our pruning sheers to cut back some of the low branches on the trail.

This tree had fallen across the path. After moving it to the side, Mary is cutting back the branches.

Sun set across the back pond. The ice here isn't thick enough to walk on.

Just a beautiful day up here in the bush. Batteries went from 63% to 80% thanks to the sun and tomorrow we are promised more.

Thanks for stopping by.


Last month Charlotte and Mary cut trails through the bush. Now that the snow has arrived our forest is a magic wonderland, perfect for those afternoon walks.

The trail goes past our three ponds .....

and is well marked with red tape so we won't get lost.

Yesterday, Mary discovered watercress growing in one of the little streams flowing into the pond. She was delighted as this will be used in our salads this summer. I remember my Mom going and picking watercress whenever we visited my uncle's farm.

Looks like more snow this morning as our sky is heavy with dark clouds. May need to soon get out the snowshoes.

Thanks for stopping by and enjoy the outdoors wherever you are.

UP-Date 8a.m 

Sunrise this morning was spectacular! (click for larger picture)

Thursday, 18 December 2014


Up here the trees are covered in white, and it looks like a winter wonderland; reminds me of the scenes from Narnia. But in that beauty can be danger. The weight of the ice and wet snow will bring down limbs and trees if they are weakened.

We are ten kilometers back in the bush and drive the back roads to town.  Although out roads are well maintained it is wise to carry a chainsaw in the back of the car especially after an ice storm.

Yesterday a huge branch blocked our way. Mary and I tried to pull it off the road but it  wouldn't budge. Back to the house to get my chainsaw and start chopping the branch so we could move it. I was about halfway done when Scott the road superintendent  showed up and finished the job. Someone had called in the road blockage and within half an hour he was there looking after it. Small town, quick response.

While we all have chainsaws and use them so regularly we don't give them much consideration we should. This week our friend George was felling trees in the bush. He was found unconscious and rushed to Kingston where he is still in a coma. It will be a few days before the doctors will know for sure the extent of damage and the length of recovery. Please pray for George and his family as they struggle with this serious accident.

On a happy note I want to wish my sisters Sharon and Carol, Happy Birthdays. (Carol's birthday is today, Sharon's was last week) May you have many many more and may I get to share your birthday cake when we get together.

Thanks everyone for stopping by and safe travels for those on the road.

Wednesday, 17 December 2014


It's a snowy morning here; perfect for a walk in the woods.

Looks like we will be drying the clothes inside today. Being off-grid we don't own a clothes dryer and rely on the clothesline even in winter.

As soon as I stepped onto the porch this guy greeted me. Where's my seed?

Time to get my own breakfast.

Thanks for stopping by and safe travels everyone.

Sunday, 14 December 2014


Yesterday Mary was feeling better so we (she) got out the ingredients and we proceeded to make peanut butter balls. 

These are a delicious Christmas cookie and a favourite at our house.

When you are living off grid it's great to find a cookie recipe that doesn't require using the oven.

All ingredients were mixed in a bowl then scooped into little round peanut butter balls using two spoons. I guess you could use your fingers but this method required less cleanup.

Chocolate chips were melted on the wood stove and the balls gentle dipped and turned in the melted chocolate.

Once the tray was full it was placed outside to cool and today we enjoyed a few at lunch. Like I said ....... so delicious.

Time now to make cinnamon buns, another favourite and required eating Christmas morning.

Thanks for stopping by and safe travels everyone.

Thursday, 11 December 2014


Most Thursday mornings I'm down at the "Switchyard" in town. As you may have guessed, it is an area where the trains would shunt their cars off on a siding, to be unloaded later and the goods taken to the local businesses. The train tracks are gone, the station has been turned into a museum and this building now houses a number of programs for youth.

Tuesday and Thursdays are the education days and volunteers come in to help those taking high-school credits through extension programs.

I'm one of the volunteers and help out from 10 until 12. 

The kids are great; come in and get down to work and ask for help when stuck on an assignment. It is a perfect setting for these kids, quiet and supportive.

Inside the building has some paraphernalia from the days the trains went through town. Can you guess what this is? .............

It was a hand cart, much like a bicycle that a railroad worker could ride on the rails to a work site or the next station. He would pump the handles which would turn the wheels and away down the line he would go.

Outside is the skateboard park now covered in snow. It's right beside the "Switchyard" a great location as this is an area in town set aside for the kids and recreational activities.

Today we are getting snow, our first real storm this month. It's not enough to close the schools or cancel buses but if it snows all day I will need to plow the driveway when I get home.

Safe travels everyone and thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, 9 December 2014


Not much to report these past few days. I'm still waiting for the first big dump of snow but it looks like that won't happen any time soon. Last year we had three feet of snow by now, today we may have three inches, what a disappointment.

Mary is suffering from nasal and ear congestion. She has tried every remedy she can think of but it lingers on. Today we will go to town to get some decongestant. 

Hope everyone is well and those who are traveling do so safely. 

Thanks for keeping an eye on us. 

Friday, 5 December 2014


When the snow is fresh and the air is crisp I always enjoy the drive to town.

No traffic, no lights, no one cutting you off. Just you, the sun, the road and the quiet.

Enjoy the day wherever you travel.

Thursday, 4 December 2014


This morning it's -9*C outside. We heat with wood and our stove keeps us warm and comfortable.

In the fall we bring up sufficient firewood to do for the winter season and stack it on our front porch. Until you have to go out in freezing cold you wont appreciate the great benefit of having your wood within reach of the front door.

This wood has been drying for over a year so it's ready to be used and burns cleanly. 

This is our method for bringing in the firewood. Leanne gave us this apron from Lee Valley  and it allows me to carry an armful of wood with just one hand. Clothes stay clean and the apron still looks brand new.

An evening by the fire munching popcorn makes winter in the north so much more enjoyable. Can you feel the warmth?

Thanks for stopping by and safe travels Bob.

Wednesday, 3 December 2014


Last week Gerry and Jackie gave us some venison for looking after Matthew's chickens. Never having eaten venison we were anxious to give it a try.

Mary checked the internet, found a recipe she liked and put the ingredients in the crock pot. It slowly cooked for five hours and filled the house with mouth watering wild game smells.

The stew was delicious, not strong very much like tender beef. As it cooked the aroma filling the house was strong and we were afraid the meat taste would be overpowering for us, but it wasn't. The recipe called for carrots, yams, onions and potatoes and Mary marinated the meat in lemon before cooking it.

Today we will finish the pot for supper. Thanks Gerry and Jackie for such a delicious meal.

Thanks for writing Tony. Looks like you are having a great time in Seattle.

Update 3 pm

Whiteout conditions as we drove home from town at 3.

Tuesday, 2 December 2014


Yesterday the sun came out and Mary was feeling better so off we went for a hike in the woods.

We have very little snow as you can see. Our chickens are happy in their coop and continue to give us 4 or 5 eggs a day.

Our pond is once again frozen over. Last week I watched a marten cross the ice with something firmly clutched in his jaws. He was too far away for me to identify his supper that night.

Out on our road Jim was busy filling in potholes and ruts, getting the surface ready for winter. We have sufficient road equipment among us to keep the road in decent shape thanks to our dedicated road crew.

Soon our road will be a white path allowing us access to the outside world. In the two winters we have been here we have never been unable to get to town when needed. 

Today it's sunny and -16*C. Time to go to town and get sewing supplies. No need for groceries, we have a freezer full of food that I'm sure will last us 3 months.

Safe travels everyone and thanks for stopping by.

Monday, 1 December 2014


My new computer is up and working and I have finally installed Picasa successfully. Now I just need to find the right path and door to replace my header picture. Be patient and bare with me, another 24 hours and things should be back to normal. This is much too stressful for an old man.

Up-date 2 pm

OK, so I got lucky and hit the right buttons. The header picture as now been updated and fingers crossed I hope to do it again tomorrow.

Thanks for stopping by and keeping an eye on us.

Saturday, 29 November 2014


I have used PICASA photo program for years. I love the way it files my pictures and makes it easy to upload to my blog page. Unfortunately my new computer and Windows 8.1 don't seem to allow me to download PICASA.

So if you have a solution let me know, otherwise for the next little while my blog entries will be without pictures.

Too many learning curves at my age. I will say that Costco's help line was excellent but I'll write about that experience in another post.

Until then, safe travels everyone.

Friday, 28 November 2014


Mary has been down helping to look after Owen this week so it has been very quiet here. Poor Owen got pinkeye and wasn't feeling very happy this week.

Yesterday my computer stopped working so today I drove down to Peterborough and picked up a new HP notebook. It will take me a few days to get everything working smoothly and find all the sites I enjoy visiting. Not sure how to make the transition between computers easy, especially when my computer was working fine in the morning and unresponsive in the afternoon.

While in Peterborough I stopped by to see Sean and Casey and helped Sean put up the plastic wrap for winter. It didn't take us long and this helps to keep their porch snow free.

It was also great to see Marvin and Annie at Costco, such a wonderful surprise. Always great to meet friends unexpectedly.

Home by 4 and now I need to download some more apps for this new computer.

My last one only lasted 16 months. Not impressed.

Safe travels everyone.

Wednesday, 26 November 2014


I use the skid-steer to clear snow from our driveway. It has worked great the past few years but every once in a while I get into a difficult situation.

When I find the skid-steer sliding sideways down the hill with no way to stop the slide then I know I need some help.  Chains I hope will provide the traction I'm looking for. 

I ordered them last Monday and they arrived yesterday, just over a week from BC. Not bad.

Now I need to adjust and tighten them so they are ready to work and keep me from sliding sideways when I want to be going straight.

I'll let you now if they are as good as the manufacturer claims.

Thanks for stopping by and safe travels everyone.