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, 31 July 2014


Yesterday was delivery day.

The propane truck was here before 9. We are trying to make one fill-up last us a year. Our tank holds 500 gallons so being the frugal users we are, that should do us for twelve months.

After lunch Steve arrived with a tandem load of A-gravel. This will give us a firm, dry surface for parking the cars. No more mud on rainy days.

Finally our first crop of home grown potatoes this year. Delicious!

This morning we are off to Graphite camp for a tour and visit with Gerry. Life might be in the slow lane but it does keep whizzing by.

Have a great day.

Wednesday, 30 July 2014


Mary wants the yard cleaned up which means we have left over building materials we want to get rid of. I will post this list on Kijiji later today or tomorrow. If you have questions or are interested in any item send me an e-mail.

For Sale:

1) A 20x40 steel shed still on the delivery skids never erected.
Check out their site by clicking: HERE

2) SOLD - Four tires on rims for a caterpillar skid steer, excellent treads.

3) Five skids of Durisol Block, about 160 - R22 ICF building blocks.

If you are interested make me an offer at:

Click Here

Have a great day.

Tuesday, 29 July 2014


Under the direction of Tricia, a group of quilters got together at our house yesterday and had lots of fun! Well we did paint fabric to sell at our upcoming Quilt Show this September 21 and 22. 

Here we are starting on our first project......dipping fabric into a variety of colours, balling it up for a while, then hanging it to dry. 

Penny is putting the final touch on her piece. We each did a couple of pieces for the show and a couple for ourselves.

Here are some of the pieces we dunked, tied, squished and painted.

We hung our work on the line to dry. The red one still has to have a number of layers of texture and colour put on it. 

The day flew by. Lots of fun and very productive. Now...........what to do with the finished fabric?

Monday, 28 July 2014


Wet and cold here this morning and the forecast calls for rain all week. Where is summer?

All is quiet on the homestead. Mary's quilting ladies are coming for a session this morning. Time for me to disappear.

Enjoy your day and stay warm.

Saturday, 26 July 2014


By Thursday I was running out of steam trying to keep up to Paul and Tien. We decided to take it easy and use the bobcat to move rock and build a stone wall.

It was a little tricky maneuvering the rocks into position as we had to be careful not to hit the well pipe you see in front of the wall.

Once completed this will become another platform for firewood. I should be able to lift a full pallet of firewood with the bobcat and place it on the stone wall. Even though it is still July we are planning and getting ready for winter. 

Today we will visit the Maynooth Farmers' Market and get some groceries in town. Rain is in the forecast so it will be an indoor day.

Friday, 25 July 2014


Our summer job list is shrinking quickly thanks to Paul and Tien.

Mary has always wanted a trellis for her garden and Wednesday the boys delivered.

Tien cut the wood, Paul attached the pieces and Mary kept a close eye making sure it was done to her specifications.

Everything was checked for appearance and alignment before making the final connections.

Done, looking good and Mary was so delighted with the finished trellis. Guess what? Now she has ideas for more. Why limit yourself to just one when Paul and Tien did such a fine job.

Once the trellis was up Mary planted the blueberry bushes Connie had given her. In a few years this garden will be giving us lots of apples and berries, yummy!

Today Paul and Tien leave for home. It has been great having them here. We will miss them.

Thursday, 24 July 2014


We spent Tuesday cutting trees and burning brush.

The guys built the crib you see in the background. It will be used as a compost bin also holding brush and small logs we may gather from the forest. This way we hope to continually build and improve the soil in our vegetable gardens. We may also build some container gardens in this area as it gets a considerable amount of sunshine.

This side of the house has been neglected as we focused on getting the construction done. It was good to have Paul and Tien's help this week as a lot got done thanks to them.

Paul buried the drain pipe and raked the area smooth. Looking much better as each day goes by.

Supper was delicious home made burgers and salads on the deck. A perfect way to end the day.

Hope you are enjoying the outdoors where you are.

Wednesday, 23 July 2014


Paul and Tien arrived on Monday and we soon had them at work.

Tien started off splitting logs and stacking firewood.

Paul used the bobcat to move the logs closer to the log-splitter. If you look closely you can see Freckles (their dog) behind the bobcat.

Later I showed Tien how to attach the forks to the machine.

He then used the bobcat to clean up the yard and pile the logs where we plan to use them to build a compost bin. We liked the compost bins Robert had built from logs and will do the same.

Today we will get the chainsaws out and thin brush. Tien will use the bobcat to haul the brush further back away from the house.

With two extra hands here for a week we are getting a lot accomplished. 

Thanks for stopping by and enjoy the sunshine.

Tuesday, 22 July 2014


We discovered nightly visitors were destroying sections of the garden recently. One solution is to trap whatever it is that pulls up and tramples over everything. 

Another was to wrap the garden in plastic. Our neighbor has done this with a measure of success so we decided to try it as well. 

You can see the empty sections of the garden where the peas have been removed. They too had all been eaten...but for the shells left as evidence. Grrr. The tomatoes, peppers, lettuces, herbs and squash were left untouched, so we are grateful for that.

Not much is attracted to garlic. Something did  manage to walk through my small patch and tramp half a dozen down, so I have pulled them out to use. The rest I will leave in the ground until at least 3 leaves turn yellow.

My Heugall hill is coming along nicely. The zucchini are producing. The tomato plants look greener and thicker that in the garden (something to think about for next year). No kale.........chickens love kale. Won't be planting that on the hill next year. 

Apple tree update. Well two lovelies look real good. The tree was full of blossom this spring. Being year 2 I decided I needed to pull off at least half the blooms to ensure larger fruit. That left at least 40 blossoms with the promise of fruit. Not sure what happened, but all but these two died off.??

We are learning about gardening up here in the bush as we go. Local farmers and friends always have suggestions when we have questions and we have many questions. Each year our soil gets a little better and we learn a little more about what to plant and what to do to keep the little critters on the other side of the fence.

What we do get from the garden is delicious and so we will continue to refine our strategies and selections.

Thanks for stopping by and have a great day.

Monday, 21 July 2014


Robert has some beautiful old barns on his property. I particularly like this stone foundation and try to imagine the labour and skill that went into building it. I'm sure this land was cleared by hand and the barn built with manual labour too.

An old windmill still standing, still in use. Before electricity came to the rural parts of Canada this was the way they pumped the water out of the ground for the cattle.

Scattered around the fields were old horse drawn implements once used to plant and harvest crops. Today they lie silent in the sun slowly decaying and slipping deeper into the soil. This plow was actually used to harvest potatoes. With its winged blade it would roll the potatoes onto the field where they could dry and then be collected.

Horse drawn implements and old barns reminds me of my uncle Gordon's place.

Hope you have good memories of farm life long ago.

Saturday, 19 July 2014


Decided we would head out this morning and go exploring. I always enjoy driving the back roads and discovering new places.

We found Robert on just such a road. He gave us a tour of his organic farm, complete with greenhouse and old barns.

He took us out into his fields and cut vegetables as he and Mary talked gardens and strategies to get the most from the least amount of soil.

One method we liked was his use of logs (which we have lots of) to make compost containers. Once the soil has been built up he adds squash or cucumber seeds and lets nature take over. As you can see it seems to be very productive.

Lunch, thanks to Robert. Simply delicious.

Enjoy the weekend and thanks for stopping by.

Friday, 18 July 2014


Mary spent the last week visiting Owen, Sherri and Rob. There is no better way to spend a week than with your grandkids. You can spoil them, keep them up late, change their routines, then go home and let the dust settle. Wonderful.

Yesterday I drove down to Paterborough to meet Mary. We have discovered how convenient and relaxing the GO system is. For those not familiar with GO it is the transit system run by the provincial government to move people about and get a few cars off our roads. The GO drivers are wonderful, very helpful and patient with those of us just learning how to use the system. They will even phone ahead and ask for a bus to wait a few minutes if they know a passenger needs to make a transfer. Now that's working to keep your customers happy.

Photo taken in 2011

My drive down takes me past a few of the hundreds of lakes we have in this part of the province. This is vacation time and our lakes are busy with boaters and cottagers enjoying their holidays. 

If you don't own a cottage you can rent a houseboat and still enjoy the water.

These kids were playing in the rapids at Burleigh Falls. Glad to see they were wearing their life jackets.

Finally got to Peterborough and had time to kill so stopped at Costco for a wander around. I met Marvin and Annie who just happened to be shopping at Costco the same time. We had a great chat, got caught up on all our news and then it was time to get Mary. This is her bus stop where we planned to meet, but as you can see no Mary.

The bus arrived thirty minutes late. Seems the train was stopped coming from Toronto and inspected for some reason.

In spite of the delays it is still a great way to travel and real cheap if you are over 65. Mary still has to pay full fare, me I'm cheap.

Today it's a few jobs outside and get the house ready for visitors next week.

Happy Anniversary Bob and Jackie. Sorry we will miss the party.

Thursday, 17 July 2014


It was another night of loud music in the park. No idea who was playing but it sounded like a mix of Elvis and CCR. It was cold and I was just wearing shorts so I only stayed until the intermission.

Everyone brings their own chair and if you decide to leave early you simply pack up and move out.

If you are hungry there are several vendors selling fast food. I've never tried it haven't even ventured over to see what they are selling.

Later this morning I'm off to Peterborough to meet Mary and do some shopping. She's had a wonderful time with Sherri and Rob and of course has been spoiling Owen all week.

Must run and get ready to leave.

Thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, 16 July 2014


This morning found me up in the attic adding some more bracing to the roof truss that supports Mary's swing.

You can see the bolt the swing hangs from just behind the drill. I glued and screwed the 2x6 running off to the right. This will add some additional stiffness to the roof truss and help spread the load when I use the swing.

Next job is checking the batteries and adding water where needed.

It's cool this morning, only 10*C

Thanks for stopping by.