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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Wednesday, 29 June 2016


Mary's recovery so far as been much better than anticipated. Her pain is greatly reduced and she often travels without her cane. 

She misses working and puttering around in her garden but did manage to pick a basket of rose petals yesterday.

These will be used in a hand cream she makes which doesn't just smell and feel wonderful but actually helps heal and restore the skin thanks to all the natural ingredients she collects on our morning walks. (Hopefully they will resume in a few weeks)

She also has the strength to help Leanne in a small way. Mary in this photo is holding the grass while Leanne attaches it to the frame.

Such activities are short and followed by a rest but each day she finds she can do a little more or last a little longer. The challenge has become to watch that she doesn't overextend herself.

Tomorrow the staples come out and that will be another step forward.

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

1st BBQ

Summer is here and that means barbecue time. Last night we enjoyed a sausage casserole the neighbours sent over along with some fresh roasted vegetables on the BBQ. ....DELICIOUS!

Summer also means the loons are back. We love to hear their call across the lake or when they fly overhead. This time of year they are busy sitting on their nest. On the little island you see in the photo above is just such a nest, tucked away in the tall grass at the edge of the water. Can you see it?

Click on this picture to get a better view, then look near the shore between the two rocks.

Now you can see her.

I went out after breakfast to get this shot. I'm quite a distance away up on the road that runs past the lake.

On the way home this girl was watching from the road.

If you are thinking of coming up, next weekend is the "Water, Wings and Wheels" weekend in Bancroft, always a fun time in town.

It doesn't matter where you are, summer is a great time to be with friends.

Safe travels everyone and thanks for stopping by.

Monday, 27 June 2016


I thought this might be a good time to reflect on the events of the past few months. As this was our first time dealing with a major health issue we naturally had fears and concerns as the journey began.

Mary has been seen at the Bancroft hospital,  Bellevile hospital, Peterborough hospital and St Michael's hospital in Toronto throughout the past six months. In all but one incident she was treated with compassion and courtesy, each individual answering her questions and explaining how the test was done. We do have a nursing profession that truly cares for their patients.

Mary's nurse practitioner here in Bancroft who took  immediate action and got the ball rolling without delay is the best caregiver anyone could have. She set aside the time needed to go over Mary's tests and explain the results so we both understood what was happening and what needed to be done. We were never rushed or embarrassed by the questions we asked. Thank you Christine, you are a blessing.

Her oncologist, Dr Dixon, at Peterborough was gentle and encouraging passing her on to St Michael's hospital when he felt she needed to see a surgeon.

Dr Das at St. Michael's hospital is a true gem of a doctor. He embodies all those qualities you so look for when you are dealing with major health problems; sensitivity, patience, compassion, empathy, the ability to reassure you and reduce the fears of the unknown. We couldn't have found a better neurosurgeon if we had gone searching ourselves. 

That's not to say other surgeons in Toronto are not of the same standard but rather speaks of the depth and quality of our doctors one finds at our critical care hospitals in this province. We are blessed.

The nurses, physiotherapists, nursing assistants, anesthetist, all took time to support Mary, make her comfortable and put her at ease.

Our family and friends who sent words of encouragement, lifted us in prayer, dropped off meals we will enjoy for days to come, who stopped by for short visits and were so complimentary on Mary's progress, we thank you. You lifted our spirits and brought smiles when we needed them most; you have made this journey possible.

A special thanks to Mary's sister Connie who came with us to take notes at our first meeting with Dr Dixon. She cleared her agenda so she could be there for her sister and make sure we recorded all the information given. Fortunately all the news was good and we left the meeting ready to celebrate. Thank you Connie.

Finally to our children;  Leanne who rented a car so her Mom could travel home in comfort, we thank you. She stayed and made sure her Mom was looked after royally, feeding her delicious meals and making sure she didn't overextend herself.  To our daughter Sherri who sent flowers and called everyday to chat and lift her Mom's spirits, thank you; you put your Mom at ease and made her laugh whenever you chatted. And to our son Sean who called and chatted and put a smile on his Mom's face every time they spoke, thank you. Each of you has a special place in your mom's heart.

Our journey isn't over. We have more tests and doctors' visits next month but we believe we are over the "hump" and slowly returning to our normal, tranquil, daily routines. 

This is the type of care and support everyone in this world needs and deserves. Thank you for walking this path with us and making our journey so much lighter than it could have been. You are a blessing to us.

Safe travels everyone and thanks for keeping an eye on us.

Saturday, 25 June 2016


Leanne is busy this weekend building grass shades on our deck. 

These will be used in a project due next month.

So far, working here has been great; she can keep an eye on her Mom and make progress on her project at the same time.

Mary does come out once in a while to check on progress. 

Here Leanne is soaking the grass so it won't crack when she places it on the form.

I'm always amazed at her creative ideas and how she brings them to life.

The sun is shining, there are no bugs and it is the perfect weekend to be up at the cottage.

Safe travels everyone and thanks for stopping by.

Friday, 24 June 2016


Mary is up and about for short periods of time. Yesterday she and Leanne enjoyed coffee on the deck. 

Mary also asked me to thank everyone who has sent words of encouragement; they are greatly appreciated.

Leanne has a major project she is working on and is grateful for the use of our deck. She really needs a barn or industrial area type space for the many projects she creates and assembles throughout the year. This time she is doing double duty; making sure her Mom is OK and designing her latest assignment.

Still unable to upload my photos to google+

Update 3:30

Finally up and running with my pictures once again. YEA!!!

Thursday, 23 June 2016


Leanne brought Mary home yesterday and she is happy to be home and in her own bed.

The ride went smoother than anticipated partly because Leanne rented a car and of course the medication helped Mary sleep during the four hour drive.

Thanks for stopping by and safe travels everyone. It is good to be home.

Wednesday, 22 June 2016


It was a slow painful start to yesterday. We saw the doctor and Mary was in a lot of pain and rather discouraged.

Leanne and I took a break and headed down to the St. Lawrence market for lunch. It was a beautiful day to sit outside and enjoy the sunshine.

Back at St Michael's I found Mary up and walking. The physiotherapist had brought up a walker and assisted Mary on a tour of the ward.

Mary did so well on the flat surface she had her try the stairs. Here Mary is smiling ....... for the camera.
But it wasn't all smiles as it wasn't pain free. She did extremely well and we did walk the ward two more times before I called it a day and left Mary to crash for the night. I think she will sleep well and be even stronger in the morning.

Thanks for all your support, encouragement and prayers. It makes the recovery seem to moved forward by the hour.

No idea when we will be heading home. It might be today or it might be tomorrow. I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, 21 June 2016


I was up and at the hospital before 8 this morning. Dr Das came in and checked on Mary. The incision looks good. He explained that he removed some of the L2 and L3 vertebra and cleaned up around the nerve so that it wouldn't get pinched.

Now Mary needs to heal from the operation and get mobile again.

Yesterday Leanne visited and helped to cheer her Mom up. Mary was very groggy from the surgery and not very sociable which is understandable.

Not sure when she will be discharged or when we will be home. It all depends on her progress.

Thanks for all your support and well wishes. It is difficult to respond to everyone but I hope this site keeps you sufficiently informed.

I'll post again tomorrow.

Monday, 20 June 2016


We were at St Michael's hospital before 6 a.m. this morning. There were already several people waiting for the reception desk to open. By 7 Mary was being prepped for surgery.

The anesthetist and surgeon both came to chat with Mary before she went into the operating room.

I'm back at the hotel and will return about 12:30

I'll update again this evening or tomorrow morning.

Up-date 5:30

Mary is now in her room. She has a lot of back pain because of the tissue that was removed from the spine. She is on morphine and we are not sure when she will be discharged. We will chat with the doctor in the morning.

Saturday, 18 June 2016


I know they are difficult to see but if you look closely you should see a fawn just to the right of the doe. We watched them feed down by our pond for well over an hour last night.

They were a long way off and I had to crop the shots to get them large enough to see.

It was a special moment when the doe let her fawn have a drink.

Today we will relax and get ready to return to Toronto. Mary's surgery is scheduled for 7:45 a.m. Monday. Fortunately we can stay with Leanne and Jamie just a twenty minute walk from St. Michael's hospital.

I will write again Monday night and let you know how the operation went. Until then we will be watching for the doe and fawn again today.

Safe travels and thanks for stopping by.

Friday, 17 June 2016


Yesterday was a special day for Owen and Oma as they got to spend the whole day together.
Owen loves Lego so much of the day was spent building cars and planes.
While they played I went back to the first school I taught at for their 50th anniversary.
Although the attendance was small it was still a pleasure to visit with those who made it.
Extra special to reconnect with those who were there the same time I was.

Not sure if I will be able to make their 100th anniversary but it was a delight to attend the 50th. Thanks everyone for such great memories.

This morning we will head home once we have breakfast with Owen. We will be back in Toronto on Sunday as Mary's surgery is Monday.

Thanks for stopping by and keeping an eye on us.

Thursday, 16 June 2016


We were up early yesterday and on the road by 7:30. Our destination was Toronto for Mary's pre-op visit. All went well and we were done before 2.

Next stop was Brampton where we drove up and down some of the familiar streets we walked every day years ago; lots of changes and improvements.

We planned to have supper at the Mandarin so we headed there just before 5. We were early and sat in the parking lot until it opened. 

Surprise! All my sisters showed up along with their spouses to celebrate with us. I turned 70 last month and this was a good reason to get together. Mary did an excellent job of organizing it and keeping it a surprise. Truly wonderful!!

Here we are in the "fish" room at the Mandarin.

The ladies posed for a picture. So good to get together.

Supper was over too soon.

A few last words in the parking lot, then hugs for everyone.

Time to head for home. 

Thanks everyone for coming, you made the day special.

Saturday, 11 June 2016


Every four years the LOG Expo comes to Bancroft. It is an opportunity for manufacturers of logging equipment to display and demonstrate their products.

This truck is typical of the ones used to haul logs from the bush to the mill.

I like this trailer as I could connect it to my truck and load it with the attached boom. Looks perfect for the small operator.
This is a portable sawmill that can be set up for a day or week and quickly turn your logs into boards.

This one is demonstrating how easy it gets the job done. The bandsaw effortlessly sliced through the log. You decide on the thickness of cut and then simply crank the handle to work the blade through the log.

By Sunday these logs will all be turned to boards. They even have portable planers if you prefer smooth boards.

Lots of smaller tool on display too. This little saw and jig from Makita easily cuts into a square log to make a mortise and tendon cut. If I was building a log cabin I would want this tool.
Even got a chance to have a short visit with Peter who was helping out at the Northwood booth with Edward.

It was a great expo and I'm sure they will be busy again today.

Logging, it's the main industry in these parts and most jobs are related to it in some way.

Thanks for stopping by.

Friday, 10 June 2016


Company for breakfast this morning. She enjoyed her greens while we enjoyed our coffee.

Time to scratch an itch .....

.... then back to breakfast.

This was a great way to start our day.

Now we must get outside and do some weed-wacking before going to the Log-Expo this afternoon.

Enjoy your day and thanks for stopping by.

Monday, 6 June 2016


Yesterday was a busy day for the turtles. In total we saw six up by the house looking for the perfect spot to lay their eggs.

Once happy with a location they get busy digging a hole and backing in to lay their eggs. It is fascinating to watch.

It does get a little crowded at times. If you look closely you should be able to see three snapping turtles all digging holes.

This occurs in June every year and happens all over Ontario. If you happen to be driving down any of our county roads this month, slow down and save the turtles.

Thanks for helping.

If you were wondering about our "deer fence" here is a picture taken last Friday. Yes, she is inside the garden. Guess we need to add more rails to our fence. 

Safe travels and thanks for stopping by.