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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Friday, 28 April 2017


Today I put the pieces together and all looks good.

This is what I call a guillotine valve much like you find on the dump system of an RV. It slides to close which makes it very easy for me to divert the rainwater to the storage tank. No more climbing on top of the tank to disconnect the downspout.

I screwed this white cap to the lid of the tank and drilled holes to let the rainwater in. I also inserted a screen to catch the leaves and keep out the mosquitoes.

I was a little short on the downspout but was able to get things attached thanks to this short pieces of pipe extension Don gave me.

If it works as planned I'll add another tank closer to our raised garden beds.

Next week looks like rain, rain, rain so I'll soon find out if it holds water.

Thanks for stopping by and safe travels everyone.

Thursday, 27 April 2017


Baking, building, planting, just another typical day back here in the bush.

We were up at 6 getting the oven and pots ready for baking bread. Mary makes such delicious breads they don't last very long.

Once that was done I was off to the lumberyard for some 2x10s to make a stand for our water tanks.

Mary got busy quilting, then took a break and did some planting as we are anxious to get the seeds germinated and into our gardens.

We moved Carol's greenhouse into our raised garden bed where we could anchor it and cover it if it needs extra protection.

Lots of seeds planted today. I believe these are tomato plants.

Our cold-frame is full so it is great to have the extra protected space in the portable greenhouse.

Once I had all the wood home and cut this project went together very quickly.

Next job is to modify the downspout and install a slide valve to divert the rainwater. I'll post more pictures once that has been completed.

Now it's time to relax and enjoy some jam and bread.

Wednesday, 26 April 2017


It's been a while since I've posted, busy with life and appointments. Today we actually found some time to work outside.

Mary wanted to add more seeds to the cold frame so we can cut fresh once the plants are mature.

Spinach, lettuce, Dutch-sets and radishes we planted two weeks ago are up and doing well.

We expect to be harvesting by the end of May through to the end of June. Then the produce in the gardens should be ready for picking.

All safe and warm under glass.

Tuesday, 18 April 2017


Jamie and Leanne take fabulous pictures using their cell phones. Here are a few from this past weekend.

My favourite; Owen helping his uncle Sean load the bin with firewood for next winter. Happy Birthday Owen!!

Mary using the food bowl to call the chickens into the coop. Jamie likes the black and white option on his camera. Although the photos say copyright Art Kelly these photos were taken by Jamie and Leanne.

Kate enjoying the sunshine and watching her brother and uncles load firewood.

We love her and she is such a happy baby.

Yes the chickens actually run when Mary calls them.

It was a great weekend and it went by too quickly. Thanks everyone.

Sunday, 16 April 2017


Mary took Owen fishing this morning. It was foggy and cold down on the lake, still lots of ice and very little open water.

Oma had to show Owen how to fish without jabbing the hook into his hand.

Next was casting and Owen soon figured that out.

I think he was using a little body language to tell the lure where to land.

One happy fisherman.

Must be something nasty on the line ........ weeds. Glad Oma knows how to get that stuff off without me getting dirty.

Maybe next time the fish will be biting.

Saturday, 15 April 2017


It was wonderful to have everyone home for the weekend. Before the little ones arrived we had to practice making balloon animals. Not sure how happy Leanne was to model the first creation.

Kate got lots of attention from everyone.

Oma having some special time with Kate before she went to bed.

Owen building a castle from the Moon Sand his aunt Leanne brought.

Kate and Mom playing on the couch. This little girl is just the most contented baby any mom could have. We love to spoil her.

Way too much chocolate this weekend.

It's been a rainy afternoon here; time to get some wood and start a fire.

Enjoy the day and thanks for stopping by.

Friday, 14 April 2017


The day was warm, the sky was blue and Mary wanted fish for supper.

Still lots of ice on the lake but enough open water around the dock to cast a line.

Mary fished for an hour, I enjoyed the sun and solitude of the lake.

No bites, no nibbles, no fish so we went out for supper.

Today the kids arrive and we will have a full house for the weekend. Looking forward to seeing everyone.

Safe travels and thanks for stopping by.

Thursday, 13 April 2017


We finished the cold-frame this morning and are very happy with the results. Once the soil has warmed for a day or two we will be planting kale, lettuce and onions.

Still no sign of any activity in our garlic bed. Maybe next week.

Enjoy this beautiful weather and safe travels for those visiting family and friends this weekend.

Wednesday, 12 April 2017


Yesterday I set up my chop saw on our front porch so I could cut lumber and build a lid for our cold-frame. I like working on the porch as it's an easy cleanup once done; just sweep the chips off the deck. It's a little crowded at the moment as I have a stack of black walnut drying there.

Our freezer also shares the porch and I use it as a work table when cutting and building my projects.

Chop saws make the work so much easier and accurate. The frame members were easily cut and ready to glue together in less than an hour.

I used a band to hold the frame together once all the pieces were glued.

In the afternoon I routed out a section to fit the glass into for the lid. Thanks for the glass Marvin.

And that's as far as I got yesterday. Today we have company for lunch so this project may be on hold until Thursday. Life is busy back here in the bush.

Safe travels everyone and thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, 11 April 2017


It has been a long winter for our chickens. For the past five months they have been confined to the coop run, an area with limited choices. Lately we have been letting them free-range the property but that exposes them to predators in our area. Yesterday we expanded their yard so they can now scratch in the garden or on the hugel beds without wandering off and ending up on the neighbour's property or in the mouth of some hungry predator. If you've never heard of hugel beds then check out "Hugelkultur" by clicking  HERE

With our temperatures above freezing all week the last of the snow and ice should disappear. We are anxious to get planting the garden but frost is still possible until the middle of May. One solution is the use of a cold-frame for hardy plants such as kale. Today I will build a glass lid and post pictures tomorrow.

Chickadees have been around all winter and we have provided over 400 pounds of seed to their diet this year. Now that the snow is almost gone and bugs are appearing it's time to let them forage in the forest.

Time to get out the chop saw and start construction. I'll post construction pictures tomorrow.

Thanks for stopping by.

Saturday, 8 April 2017


Sun is shining and the snow is melting, YEA!

We hope by Monday this snow is all gone.

This morning we trimmed limbs that were split from yesterday's storm. Work is done, saw put away and off to town to get groceries; we do love to eat.

Be patient everyone, spring is coming, just slower than expected.

Friday, 7 April 2017


One lives in an insulated bubble to some extent when one lives off grid back in the bush. The fresh dump of snow this morning wasn't pleasant but we fed the chickens, had breakfast and ran the generator for an hour and we were fine.

At 10:30 we got a call. "Can Art come and help"

Access to the world beyond our road was blocked. We had no idea.

Mary and Kim surveyed the damage and decided what needed to be done.

Chainsaws came out and with all the neighbours helping we slowly moved our way up the road.

Within an hour the road was cleared and the job done.

It would be tough to find a better place to live.