Springtime 2021

So here we are. It’s the beginning of May, 2021 and spring is in full force. Though, we did wake up to snow on the ground yesterday.

Most of our snow had all melted by April, which is really early for us. The snow from yesterday disappeared quite quickly during the day. Today, it’s bright, sunny and warm… and no bugs yet either.

Our spring flowers are starting to boom as well.

So, Dave, what have you been doing to keep yourself occupied? Well, as it so happens, I built a loft ladder. We got a job over at the metal shop for a nice looking, robust ladder going up to a loft. Here you can see it just after it was installed.

It turned out really nice, but there were a few hiccups along the way. The first being I made it too big. I account this partially due to using imperial measurements. We went to the client’s cottage and I took the measurement of the height of the wall at 105 inches. Then I came home and made a CAD drawing for the ladder using 10 feet, 5 inches, which is 125 inches. Originally, we had it finished and the client came to pick it up Easter weekend, but they brought it back the next day after discovering the error.

Needless to say, I had some more work to do, but as it turned out, this was a blessing in disguise. We had been running out of time and we did a rush job on the paint and it came out kinda blotchy, not to mention, it was really easy to peal off in several spots. So having it back in the shop, after I cut it down to the proper size, I took the time to strip all of the paint off completely. This time, when we repainted it, I did it over three days. The first time we did all of the priming and painting in one day.

Anyway, it turned out great after the refit. It’s solid steel C-channel for the frame and we had nice maple treads made by a friend of ours for the steps. The wood against the black looks really nice. We also made it so it can be pushed back against the wall when not in use as it’s in a hallway. We welded casters (that have breaks) on the bottom and attached it to the wall with a bar that passed through the C-channel. It rolls out nicely from the wall and it wasn’t too difficult to move, which had been a concern because, frankly, it’s made of steel. It weighs about 45.5kg (100lbs). But with the casters it moved nice and smoothly.

Here it is pushed up against the wall.

All in all, it was quite satisfying to see it installed and in action.

February 2021

Here we are in 2021. It has been quite a while since I last posted. As with a lot of people, we have been hibernating; staying at home and keeping the fire going. Well, maybe you don’t have a fire going, but it’s pretty essential at our house, seeing as it is our only source of heat.

Most of this winter has been pretty mild. We did have some cold days in the latter half of February, but for the most part, it was just below freezing during the days for the most part.

We did get out on occasion to enjoy the scenery and we did snap some pictures to remember that the sun does still shine. These weren’t all taken on the same day.

Picture of the ol’ homestead. Yup, there are some solar panels there that need to be cleared of snow.

When we’re not outside, which is most of the time, we’re probably inside melting a pot of snow.

Why, might you be asking, would we do such a thing? Well, this is how we get water during the winter. We melt it. We filter it with a coffee filter for washing dishes and hands, and then we put it through our Berkey water filter for drinking. It’s part of our morning routine: get up, eat a banana, clean the snow off the solar panels, fill a pot with snow and put it on the wood stove to melt. I’m sure everyone has similar morning routines 😛

Oh, I forgot one step in that routine: knocking the ice off the fridge vent.

There are two pipes there you can see: one with ice and one without. The one without is the air intake pipe for our propane fridge. The one with the ice is the exhaust. Burning propane creates water vapour and, when it is below freezing, has a tendency to freeze at the end of the pipe. If you don’t knock off the ice every day, the pipe will freeze solid, the fridge won’t be able to exhaust properly and it will shut off. We learned that from experience.

Have propane fridge in winter = constant ice removal maintenance.

Many friends of ours have asked us how Gurgi, our other cat, is doing since his brother left us. He’s doing quite well, though he’s turned into quite the crotchety old man. Fortunately, he also sleeps a lot.

Often in a box, or in a bag. Above, he’s sleeping in the box where we keep all of our winter mitts and things.

In this one he’s sleeping in a plastic tote.

When he’s not asleep, he’s usually begging for attention. He’s lost a lot of hearing ability and we think he may have the equivalent of feline Alzheimer’s because he will come over and get pats and attention for several minutes, then move some where and lay down like he’s sleeping, then get up five minutes later and want more attention like he didn’t just have some a moment ago. He can go on like this for hours.

We do dote on him so it’s not like he’s attention starved, but he can be quite vocal if you aren’t paying attention to him. Oh well, we must enjoy his company while we can because you never know when he will disappear from our lives.

On that note, I feel it is quite appropriate to finish off with a beautiful Maynooth sunset.

More Goodbyes

Alas, today we had to say goodbye to another member of the family. We got the call this morning that DareDevil, one of our horses, had moved on to greener pastures.

He was well loved. Kat brought him and his brother with her when she moved up to Canada ten years ago. He had a fun, if a bit nervous, personality, but he also liked to goof off if there was a camera nearby.

He will be missed.

Martin Earthship 2020 update

So on Hallowe’en we decided to go visit an earthship build that we have visited, and worked on, before.  Jay and Erin Martin have been very busy since the last time we visited them in 2019.

As you can see, they are a lot further along, now having it fully enclosed with a roof and glass installed.

It’s been over a year since we were last up, so they have accomplished quite a lot. The interior isn’t done yet, but it is definitely starting to look like a real home now.

It was pretty messy on the inside, as most construction sites are, so there aren’t a lot of interior pictures.

You can see from the above picture though, just how huge their greenhouse section will be. And with the high ceilings and tall glass, just imagine the size of the trees they can grow in there.

Normally you don’t plaster over the tires on the back side of the house, but some concessions were made with the local inspector and engineers so their back wall is plastered over. I don’t remember the technical name of what they used, but it basically allowed them to spray the concrete on the wall, which, after they discovered this magic tool, made their lives way easier.

Their cisterns are ready to be installed, which is important to get done, not just for catching water, but it also allows them to finish off the back of the earthship and get it insulated so they aren’t losing all of their heat out the back wall.

Here you can see where the thermal wrap insulation is already partially in place. Once the berm is built up some more, they can finish the insulation up to the roof and close that all in. That will allow them to start storing all of that beautiful sunlight coming in those south facing windows.

This is most exciting and very motivating to see. I wish we were half as close to this as they are. Unfortunately, we haven’t even pounded a tire yet on our earthship, just other people’s 😛

That may seem discouraging, but we are still in this game and we are still determined to build an earthship. We just have some hurdles to overcome..

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