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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Monday, 31 October 2016


Someone has been enjoying our kale when I wasn't looking. It could be slugs but I thought it was too cold for those guys to still be out; maybe it's mice.

Today I added this aluminium strip to the raised garden bed. I hope this will keep the mice from climbing up the sides. If the kale recovers then problem solved.

Our green lettuce hasn't been touched but the red lettuce is also being devoured. We do have selective eaters here.

Our carrots have reached that baby-carrot stage. They are sweet but we want them bigger.

Tonight it's going down to -2 *C so everything is covered. These fabric tunnels work just fine and have a zippered door at each end for easy ventilation on hot days.

Enjoy the little goblins and hope you get lots of candy tonight.

Friday, 28 October 2016


We knew it would happen just didn't want it so soon. This morning we have 4-6 inches of the white stuff on the ground.

I may have to reinforce my garden cover as it didn't stand up so well to the first dump.

Our garlic will be happy under this white blanket of insulation.

Clearing snow off our solar panels has started again ....... new season, new tasks.

Fortunately we wrapped the chicken coop in plastic before the snow arrived and that is all we do for their winter home, no heat, no extra blankets although we do add extra layers of straw to the run.

They checked out their new environment but weren't very eager to get outside and start scratching.

They do give us 5-6 eggs a day.

Saw fox tracks around our place this morning but no signs he tried to enter the chicken run.

I think it will be a day by the fire with a good book.

Enjoy your day and thanks for stopping by.

Thursday, 27 October 2016


Yesterday we decided to get away on a date, just the two of us. The sun was shining and the colours were still showing, so off we went  to explore the countryside.

Up here the roads aren't busy and we headed east at a leisurely pace with only two destinations in mind.

Lunch stop was at the Blackbird cafe in Burnstown which serves delicious food in a century building first used as the village apothecary shop. Every item on the menu is worth trying and guaranteed to please. You won't be disappointed.

I finished with this huge slice of chocolate banana cake ....... to die for.

After some help with directions we finally found our favourite apple-orchard. We had stopped here last year and really enjoyed their apples so we were determined to find it and get more this year. We bought a half bushel of Empire apples for $10.00, a sweet, firm apple that is good to eat or use in baking.

This was our last destination and one we visited before but it was never open or had beer in stock. Today we lucked out and took home a sample four pack which we will enjoy when Leanne comes this weekend. This is a start up company only one year old and doing so well they have trouble keeping products on the shelf.

We got home just before dark, in time to check on the chickens and make sure all were safe.

Today we are expecting snow so we will stay close to home and enjoy the warmth of our wood stove.

Thanks for stopping by and keeping an eye on us.

Monday, 24 October 2016


Another beautiful fall day here, perfect for working outside. First job this morning was to get a load of topsoil and fill the two new raised garden beds.

After lunch it was time to plant garlic.

It is one of the foods I need to eat regularly as it:

1) Improves cholesterol levels

2) Reduces blood pressure

3) Boost the immune system

4) Highly Nutritious

plus a host of other excellent properties.

Mary was able to plant 171 garlic cloves and with the new location and new soil we are expecting an excellent harvest next June.

If you grow garlic let us know of your best strategy for getting a bumper crop.

Thanks for stopping by.

Thursday, 20 October 2016


With the weather being perfect we decided to give our chickens an expanded chicken run.

We kept it simple using snow fence and rebar to create an enlarged area for more scratching opportunities for our girls. Paul held the fence in place while I attached it wherever possible.

Mary held the re-bar while I drove it into the ground and in half an hour we had the chickens out enjoying their new yard.

No sooner had we finished the job when I spotted a fox trotting across our road just a short distance from our property.

I think the chickens will only be out in their new yard when we are down there and can keep an eye for any predators.

You can't be too careful when raising livestock in the bush.

Wednesday, 19 October 2016


Paul and Connie arrived yesterday and Mary soon had them working in the bush.

The day was 20*C and with the occasional shower as they worked.

Most of the leaves have fallen making the forest floor and spectacle of colour.

Work was augmented with much discussions as they haven't been together for a while.

While they worked I made sure supper was cooking properly.

Today I did a run to Peterborough while Mary. Paul and Connie worked in the bush.

The drive was beautiful with still so much colour showing on the trees.

Tuesday, 18 October 2016


Durl's back porch was starting to sag, not much but a sign it needed some attention. First job was to excavate around the post and then shore up the beam so we could remove the post safely.

Durl made sure everything was secure and well supported before the post was removed. Once out he mixed concrete and built a pad for the new post to sit on.

This morning we mixed concrete and filled the 10 inch sonotube.

After several measurements were taken and double checked Durl placed the saddle into the cement.

Another final check to make sure everything is square and lined up properly. Friday he will insert the 6x6 post and squeeze it into place before releasing the beam. . It will be a snug fit but once we remove the jack it needs to be perfect.

Always fun working on house renovations especially when the lead guy knows what he is doing.

Thanks for stopping by and safe travels everyone.

Monday, 17 October 2016


Did you have to recite poetry when you were young? Remember this? (click on picture to enlarge)

Indian Summer written by William Wilfred Campbell

I was reminded of this poem as I sat and listed to the blue-jays call as they enjoyed our sunflower seeds.

I think I first heard this poem is Mrs. Miller's class. Our desks were made of cast iron, attached to two runners in one long row with an inkwell in the top right corner of the desk. Such wonderful memories of carefree days at McHugh Public school.

Sunday, 16 October 2016


Another beautiful day for working outside yesterday. We took advantage of the warm temperatures and got two more raised garden beds moved into place.

Thanks to Mary's help and the use of the skid-steer we were able to get the raised beds off the front porch without a problem.

Each bed was lined with landscape fabric. I'm hoping this will preserve the wood just a little longer. We used hemlock from our local lumberyard and 2x10s to make the sides. Each bed is 24 inches tall, 30 inches wide and 10 feet long.

Logs were added to the bottom which will add nutrients to the soil as they decay.

A layer of soil scraped from the area was added next. This will be topped with garden soil from our local landscape supplier. Unfortunately they were closed when I went yesterday.

We want to be able to easily walk around the complete beds so I needed to remove a log which should have been done first. No problem; I could reach it with the strap and drag it out from behind the bed.

Next week is busy and there is lots of rain in the forecast so it might be Thursday before I get a chance to get a load of mulch.

Looks like it will be the 24th before Mary gets the garlic planted.

As you can see we still have lots of colour on the trees and it feels so good being able to work outside this late in the season. Another two weeks and the trees will be bare and the days much colder. We know that snow can show up anytime now.

Although winter is just ahead, we are already thinking spring, new plants and more raised beds for the garden. First I need to build the platforms for the new water tanks. Always something.

Thanks for stopping by and safe travels everyone.


This is the scene Sunday morning at 7:30. The hoops are simply bent PVC pipes and are used to support the deer netting or plastic protective cover we use. We are very happy with the beds and the amount of produce they yield.

Saturday, 15 October 2016


We've used this water tank to collect rainwater which we use on our garden. It has worked very well as it holds 250 gallons.  We are building raised garden beds and expanding our garden so need more water storage capacity. I've ordered 3 more of these tanks and need to build platforms for them to sit on.

First task was to remove the old tank and clear the site ready for the new base.

Using the skid-steer I can do the work myself and get it done quickly.

Lifting the empty tank was easy and now it sits in my storage yard.

Not sure when I'll start constructing the bases but once done I'll post pictures. I would like everything ready for the spring and have the tanks filled by April.

Storing sufficient water for all our gardens will reduce the demand on our well pump which should make it last longer.

Once everything is in place and filled we will have 1, 250 gallons of water in storage.

These tanks are perfect for this application. Wait till you see my latest design to divert the water coming off our roof. No more climbing a ladder and switching pipes to make that happen. At my age I prefer to keep both feet on the ground.

Thanks for stopping by and safe travels everyone.

Friday, 14 October 2016


By the time I got up and got my camera the bright red of the sunrise was fading. Still a beautiful way to start the day.


Monday, 10 October 2016


Another perfect day here in cottage country. We had an overnight low of -5*C so we were in no rush to get moving this morning.
But by 9 we were outside cleaning up and deciding what should be stored and what should be sent to the dump.

Next on the agenda was another raised garden bed to be built. I completed one as you can see in the photo and the other is sitting on top waiting for more nails so I can finish the project. Tomorrow we should have them in place and ready for the garlic planting.

From our kitchen window I spotted something large and orange lying on the forest floor down near our pond. Mary thought it was just the morning light reflecting off the fallen leaves.

This afternoon I went down to investigate and this is what I found; a large orange paper bag.

It resembles a miniature hot-air balloon but made from paper. It is very light and floats easy once tossed into the air.

I'm wondering if it is something from our national weather service or just a bag for carrying a T-light into the night sky. I suspect the latter but can't be certain. Any suggestions?

For now it hangs like a huge jack-o-lantern on our back porch.

Thanks for stopping by and safe travels for all those heading home after a marvelous Thanksgiving weekend.