This blog is about our travels in our solar powered "Airstream" and living off grid, in our passive solar home, near Bancroft, Ontario, Canada.

If you have any questions send us a comment; we love to hear from our readers.
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Monday, 22 February 2016


These guys came for a visit last night. They were not bothered by the motion activated light and seemed very content to eat the sunflower seeds while we took pictures through the window.

There were six in total but the three young ones scooted out of sight before I took the picture. 

Not sure how our garden will survive this summer with these hungry guys hanging around.

Anyone want to adopt a raccoon?

Just kidding.

We are heading south in search of warmer weather soon. Once that happens posting on the blog will depend on free internet access. We will be back no later than April 13th.

Thanks for stopping by and safe travels everyone.

Sunday, 21 February 2016


We love watching the birds fly in and out of our bird feeders. Nuthatches, chickadees, finches and pine-siskins, along with Downy and Harry woodpeckers visit us daily. Right now as I type we have about 100 pine-siskins on the feeders.

Can you see the hole? This is what our friendly Pilated woodpecker is doing to our beloved maple trees. I suspect he is after the sap which maybe is there on a mild winter day. 

You will need to click on the above picture to see the row of small holes. These were drilled by a Yellow bellied sapsucker, once again into a maple tree. As his name implies he is going after the sap and although the holes are small he is able to get his tongue in there and enjoy whatever sap he can find.

What to do about all the damage? Probably nothing. This is a forest, inhabited by many critters all looking for food, shelter and their own territory. Death is part of the life cycle and if the trees die they will provide food and shelter for those who come after. Dead trees are essential for the survival of so many, so we will let nature have her way and watch how things unfold.

Time for our morning hike.

Safe travels everyone and thanks for stopping by.

Friday, 19 February 2016


Left my sunglasses in the shopping cart yesterday and didn't realize I'd left them behind until we were halfway home. (old age) These are quality sunglasses that Rob gave Mary and I use when I can't find mine. 

Today when we were back at the grocery store I inquired if they had a lost and found box. I told the teller what I was looking for and she found them by the cash register, next isle over.

Some kind and honest shopper had discovered them sitting in the cart just where I left them. Bancroft shoppers, ........ you can't find better folks anywhere? 

A BIG  "thank you" to whomever handed my glasses in; greatly appreciated ....... you made my day.

Safe travels everyone and thanks for stopping by.

Thursday, 18 February 2016


We met with Mary's nurse practitioner in town this morning and all the tests came back clear and clean. No indication of cancer or any other health issues. 

This Saturday and Sunday we will be in Peterborough for an MRI. We won't get those results until we return from a brief holiday in Virginia. 

We are hopefully that the MRI will reveal some issue in the soft tissue and we can move forward with repair or care that will address the problem.

Once we know what we are dealing with we will post it here.

Thanks for keeping an eye on us and safe travels everyone.

Tuesday, 16 February 2016


Step outside and you are into a winter wonderland. It's a balmy -5*C and the snow is gently falling. Looks like we will be in this system all day.

Our maple syrup station sits quietly under its winter blanket, but in another month we expect to be boiling sap. Winter won't last forever.

Life is good just outside my window.

Safe travels everyone and thanks for stopping by.

Monday, 15 February 2016


We use wood chips to make our own fire-starters. Wood chips are readily available from our local saw mills and we use them with egg cartons and wax to make excellent fire-starters.

Old candles are melted so we can pour the wax over the chips.

While the candles are melting the chips are spread out in the egg cartons.

Final stage done and once the wax solidifies we will cut them into cubes and have another supply of fire-starters to see us through the last of our winter.

Thanks for stopping by and safe travels everyone.

Saturday, 13 February 2016


It's a beautiful morning, sun just getting up, lots of long shadows across the new snow and the birds are searching for food.

We kept the wood stove working all night, putting on the last load of logs at 3 a.m. Just refilled the box and that will be it until this evening. Once the sun reaches our windows around 9, that will be sufficient to keep us warm.

Looks like a good day to stay inside, plan out the garden and order seeds for the spring. Chickens have been ordered and will be here April 6th. Can't wait for spring.

Have you ordered your seeds yet?

Friday, 12 February 2016


This was our road at 3 pm yesterday, blue sky and lots of sunshine.

Today we have whiteout conditions; a good day to stay home.

Hope everyone is safe and staying warm.

Thanks for stopping by.

Thursday, 11 February 2016


We were up early this morning, off to Peterborough for Mary's scheduled bone scan.

We arrived at 10 and once she had the dye or whatever they inject done we had three hours to wait before the actual scan.

Off to McDonald's for coffee and lunch then back to the hospital at 1.

The Peterborough Health Centre is a new facility and the staff is friendly, professional and helpful. To relax Mary they wrapped her in warm blankets and we were done and on our way home by 2.

The warm blankets were especially appreciated as it was -14*C outside but with the wind chill felt closer to - 30*C. Everyone was complaining about the weather.

Next week we return for two MRI appointments. Hopefully when all the tests are back in the doctor's hands he can identify the cause of Mary's pain and suggest a course of action to eliminate the problem.

Once we know what is happening we will let you know.

Until then safe travels and thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, 9 February 2016


While Mary was buying the pots and pans yesterday, I was sorting through the health books at the Heritage Thrift Shoppe.
We've enjoyed many health documentaries on the FMTV channel and recently watched The Sugar Blues, a documentary highlighting the amount of sugar we consume. 
Over the holidays it is easy to lose control of ones eating habits and now it's time for us to refocus and get back to healthy living.

With that in mind I was delighted to find these two books on the shelf. Sugar free is a challenge to achieve but every resource helps and we know that a healthy immune system is critical for total health which is what we are striving for.

Once home I found my easy chair and sat down to enjoy The Sugar Free Lifestyle. It's full of good information, easy for a layman to understand and includes great recipes and suggestions. Not until I was into chapter two did I discover another hidden fact.

Sugar Free was written by our neighbour and good friend Nancy. In the store, I glanced at the title, flipped through a few pages then tucked the book under my arm to take to the counter. I didn't even notice the author's name on the cover.

Nancy and her husband Yvan have been so welcoming and helpful as we made the transition to Bancroft. Genuine, caring people who want to help everyone achieve a healthy lifestyle.

If you are serious about your health, check out Nancy's web site by clicking here

She has a wealth of information.

Thanks for stopping by and safe travels everyone.

Monday, 8 February 2016


One of our favourite shops in town is the Heritage Thrift Shoppe. People donate their unwanted items which the store sells and the money raised goes to our local hospital; a win, win for everyone.

When in town we usually pop in for a minute or two looking for cheap novels, Canadian books, or whatever else catches our eye.

Today this box came home with us. Mary spotted the lady putting the pots and pans out on display and asked about the price. She then took a picture with her cell phone and sent it off to our daughter to see if she could use the set.

It was all there still packed in the original plastic bags, never used.

The pots look great sitting on our counter, but that's not where they will stay. Next time Leanne visits they will be going home with her.

The set included this bonus knife, a retail value of $169.00  at our local Canadian Tire.

This pot and pan set happens to be on sale at Canadian Tire this week for $399.99 without the bonus knife.

The Heritage Store sold the box set including the knife for ........... $85.00

That's a better price than you will find at those discount malls in the U. S.

Now, if we could just find a car with that type of discount we would be buying.

Safe travels everyone and thanks for stopping by.

Saturday, 6 February 2016


Today is Mary's birthday. We started celebrating yesterday with an Indian Buffet at one of the local restaurants; Mary enjoys Indian cuisine.

Tonight we need a birthday cake; but we don't need all the sugar. What to do?

Chocolate dipped, coconut sprinkled, lamington cake (eggs, honey, raspberries, coconut oil, and coconut flour) 

First came the cake, fresh out of the oven.

Followed by the chocolate ganache. Divine, without the sugar.

Can't wait for supper.

Happy Birthday Mary, hope you enjoy the cake.

Tuesday, 2 February 2016


It was a perfect day for working outside. Temperature was above freezing, sun was shining and the snow melting; time to cut down some trees. Uncle Paul loves using the chainsaw and we could have used him today.

Mary wants more sunlight on her gardens so we decided to take down eight trees this morning. They aren't big trees, only 6-8 inches in diameter but they do cast a shadow across the garden throughout the summer.

Fortunately they all fell away from the house but a few got hung up on neighbouring trees. Hopefully a windy day will finish the job.

After lunch we did some down by the chicken coop. 

I like to level off the stumps and this is the time to do it as there is no sap flowing yet.

Later I went back and bucked the trunks into firewood. It will probably be 2-3 years before we burn this maple.

I don't work alone when cutting down trees. Mary was present selecting trees and taking pictures.

This is birthday month with many family members having birthdays in February. Happy Birthday Kari, Rob, Sherri, Casey, Mary, Bryan and Pat (not family but a cherished member of our extended family).

Safe travels everyone and thanks for stopping by.