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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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.

Monday, 24 November 2014


It's another grey day here, wet and windy; the type of day to curl up by the fire and read a good book. No reason to go outside except to feed the chickens and get the eggs.

Time to load up the fire and find my book.

I'll write again when I see the sunshine coming through the trees.

Sunday, 23 November 2014


When it's damp, foggy and miserable out it's time to visit friends. We are in for 4-5 days of just such weather so our plan yesterday was to head to Haliburton.

It was good to have some time with Pat and Jeff. Pat and Mary worked together years ago and have kept in touch since retiring.

They do a great western show on Canoe FM twice a month. Jeff has played western music for years and knows personally many of the great performers in the music industry. It makes their show very personal. (This picture wasn't taken by me even though my name is on it. Jeff gave me permission to use it.) Next time we will stop and see them in the studio.

Love driving down their lane under the canopy of red pines. Perfect with a little snow cover.

Their daughter Lisa gave us a tour of her studio ...

then showed us how to make a Christmas ornament.

I even tried to make one.

Lisa makes and sells her own pottery from her wood fired kiln. We have a few of her mugs and bowls we use every day. So lovely on our table.

It was a great day visiting and so good to have some time catching up with friends.

To our friends who read our blog, thanks for keeping an eye on us.

Friday, 21 November 2014


Last night I helped with the Victorian Tea held at the Graphite Bible Camp just north of Bancroft.

It was a beautiful evening with each table hostess dressed in her finest Victorian outfit and responsible for decorating her table. Mary was the MC and did a superb job; I was very proud of her.

While the women enjoyed the entertainment the men made  final preparations in the kitchen.

The room was lit with Christmas trees beautifully decorated in a teddy bear theme.

Each hostess provided the plates, cups and saucers as well as the cutlery. The sandwiches and sweets had been prepared the day before. Tea and coffee were served from the kitchen.

The men were busy all night delivering the food and tea and removing the plates once the ladies had enjoyed themselves.

Lots of pictures were taken and it was a great way to start off the holiday season.

Thanks Linda for a wonderful time.

Hope to do it again next year. 

Wednesday, 19 November 2014


A beautiful sunny day here. It has been a while since we've seen the sun so today was good for our batteries.

With the sun pouring in our south windows we don't even have to use the wood stove.

If you look closely at the trees you will see some have been taped. This is our way of identifying the maples so we are sure to tap the correct ones when maple syrup time arrives.

Mary is home and had a lovely time with Owen. I thoroughly enjoyed the cookies Owen sent home for grandpa.

Tuesday, 18 November 2014


Plowing season has arrived and it felt good to be back in the bobcat doing our driveway.

It snowed lightly all day Monday and by the afternoon there was enough snow on the ground to get the skid-steer back in action.

In twenty minutes the driveway was cleared and the job done

right down to the road.

The road is passable but very slippery especially on the hills. This is when you appreciate having four-wheel-drive.

Discovered that my machine has an oil heater so now it is plugged in ready for the next dump of snow. The heater draws 10 amps but the outlet is on a switch so I only turn it on an hour or two before I need the machine.

Trying to stay in control in the frozen north.

Thanks for stopping by.

Monday, 17 November 2014


Mary is down looking after Owen this week as he has a cold and can't go to daycare. Owen asked Oma to open Grandpa's blog so he could see pictures of him and Oma in the bobcat. This post is for Owen.

Did you like the pictures Owen?



Saturday, 15 November 2014


When it's like this outside ......

it's good to have this inside.

Very happy to have the wood stove when it is -14*C.

Stay warm and safe travels everyone.

Friday, 14 November 2014


On November 13th I (Mary) spent a wonderful day with a group of  North Hastings Quilt Club members. 

We were delighted to have Maggie Vanderweit from Fergus as our special guest teacher. She spoke at the club meeting on the 12th, then spent the 13th inspiring, encouraging and teaching us about embellishing our quilts. Maggie used childrens' story books, instructional texts, her own beautiful quilts and her years of experience to inspire us. What a day!

Maggie brought along beautiful hand dyed thread and coloured beads. So many choices. 

One can tell by the smiling faces just how satisfied we were with our day. A very big thanks to Maggie for giving so much of herself. 

Up-Date  - 12 pm

My friend Gord (yesterday's post) was in a head on collision last night. Fortunately he is fine and at home resting, in pain but otherwise fine considering the van is totally demolished.

Thursday, 13 November 2014


Its been way too long since I touched the keyboard and even longer since I've had lunch with friends. Yesterday I looked after the lunch, today the keyboard.

Yesterday I drove down to Barrie to meet friends for lunch. As you can see we had snow on the way down and more last night. The sanders were out so winter is getting a deeper grip on us as each week passes. Not a problem, we are ready.

It was great to see Ruth and Gord and have some time together. Time passes too quickly and suddenly a year has gone and contacts haven't been made. We met at the Mandarin so all food tastes could be satisfied and we were free to eat as much or as little as we liked.

Today Mary has a group of ladies here taking a quilt class so I think I'll get out and do some outside chores. I'll post pictures of the quilt class tomorrow.

Thanks for stopping by and safe travels everyone.

Sunday, 9 November 2014


This morning we see the sun for the first time in days. This is most welcome as our batteries are way down and in need of some filling.

The sun is also flooding our great room giving us that solar heat we so cherish. Now we need at least four hours of sunshine to make a real difference in our batteries. This is the time of year when we really have to closely monitor our battery status and prevent them from discharging below 60%.

Living off grid does add a few more chores to ones daily routine but the benefits for us outweigh the extra work.

Thanks for stopping by and safe travels Bob and Tony.

Saturday, 8 November 2014


Took the bobcat over to Peter's place Friday morning. As you can see winter has arrived and everything was frozen.

We used the grapple-bucket to pile brush and clear the building site.

We piled and burned all morning and by 1 the job was done.

Not the best day for working but the cab is heated so I didn't mind helping.

Not sure what the plans are for today. I think one job will be wrapping the chicken coop in plastic. It's about 50% done just need to do the north side. So far we are still getting 4-5 eggs a day.

Thanks for keeping an eye on us.

Friday, 7 November 2014


Sometimes it's better to sell than put things in storage.

Take this bolt of fabric Mary has airing on the line. It's obviously seen better days. Those gaping holes are thanks to the mice who found it and thought it would make perfect nest lining to keep everyone warm.

Maybe it's good for a Halloween costume, but not much else. Not sure if Owen would wear it, even for Halloween.

Next time I think we will just give it away rather than store it. What do you think?

Thursday, 6 November 2014


I had never seen a bird without a tail but there it was one morning collecting sunflower seeds like the others.

You can easily see he has no tail, not even some small tail feathers.

This is the way he should look but he is clearly missing his tail feathers.

He can fly and land and after some research it seems his tail feathers will grow back.

What happened to them? 

Hopefully soon he will be looking like the rest of the flock that devours our seeds.