Category Archives: Nature

More Autumn 2018 Colours

Well, we couldn’t resist taking a few more autumn pictures. It was a good thing we did because now all of the leaves are falling and there are a lot of trees that are bare. No more reds as they are the first to go. Luckily for you, we caught some good pictures when they were in their prime.

These first few are views from the road we live on.

For a while, we had an amazing forest of gold on our property. Even more so if the sun was out.

Caught this one in the morning as the sun was hitting the tops of the trees.

Same picture, but about 20 minutes later.

Sunshine through the trees.

Golden canopy.

To top it off, have some mushrooms.

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Autumn 2018 Colour Extravaganza

Here we are in October and Thanksgiving is this weekend, unless you live in the US, then you’ll have to wait until November. In this neck of the woods, Thanksgiving is often one of the best times to experience autumn colours. I have done an autumn post pretty much every year I’ve had this blog and I have to say autumn is probably the most photogenic time of year.

If you haven’t experienced autumn colours before, well here’s your first chance. We were lucky today as it has been rather cloudy and rainy for the last while. We had a huge thunderstorm this morning before sun-up, but it cleared up afterwards and we had a beautiful day. This allowed me to get out and get some really nice pictures around our property.

Sit back and enjoy the photos. Feel free to click on the pictures for larger versions.

The Power of Nature

Welcome to the second half of June. The weather is now hot and humid and this is usually the best time of year for our most powerful thunderstorms. As an example, let me share with you the one from last Wednesday.

We had had some really cool weather up until recently and early last week was the last of it. Then it warmed up considerably and any time you have a rapid change in temperature, along with rising water vapor, you get some really powerful storms.

It was around 15:30 in the afternoon and the sky was getting darker and darker, but the clouds were moving faster and faster. As I was watching it from inside the trailer, the clouds were taking on a noticeable twisty-spirally kinda of form. This did not bode well. It had started to rain, and the wind was fairly stiff, but that was just the precursor.

There wasn’t much of a build-up, the major part of the storm just hit like baseball bat. In the space of about 10 or 15 seconds, I watched four large trees drop on our property. Let’s start with these ones.

It almost looks like it’s lying in the sawbuck, but it’s not. That one was a spruce and it took out a small maple sapling on it’s way down.

Walking around behind it, you see the second spruce that fell as well.

Continuing the to turn, you now see the first spruce from the back.

This was shortly after the storm had finished and the sky was still quite grey and roiling.

Going further down the driveway, there was a rather substantial poplar tree that dropped over the driveway. Here you can see me standing in front of it looking mighty impressed.

Later on, when we were clearing that one, Kat took this picture from the end where it broke off. You can see me in the distance with my hard hat on as I’m using the chainsaw to clear up the part on the driveway.

This one is a shot of the stump that was left after it broke off. It broke off around eye level.

Heading back to the trailer, you can now get a good look at the maple tree that wanted to reach-out-and-touch-someone, with that someone being our roof.

Here is a closer look.

Fortunately, there wasn’t any damage to the roof or chimney so we came out of that one unscathed.

This was another large poplar tree that had snapped off, but it didn’t cross the driveway.

Later on, Kat and I took a walk up the hill to find other victims. This was another poplar tree that had snapped off about 9m (30′) up and as laying across the pathway.

This one was a maple that was viewable from the pathway up the hill, but had just crashed in the forest.

As you can see, it was quite sizeable, but also had a rotten core. That was a common trait on all of the trees that came down. All of them had an unsound core and with the force of the wind that hit (90-100kph I was told, somewhere around 55-60mph), their inner flaws were what did them in.

On top of the wind, the rain was just pounding and we had hail too. Here is a picture of our garden bed afterwards.

Hail and shredded leaves. The hail wasn’t huge, maybe somewhere from the size of a green pea to a chickpea, but it came down in buckets, really fast. When the hail started, it was just like someone was up in the trees with a weed-wacker because it was also raining leaf parts. We were fortunate that it didn’t damage our new truck shelter as we had just replaced the one that didn’t survive the winter.

Here is a handful of hail I picked up out of the bed of the truck.

Needless to say, this was just what happened on our property. Downed trees were wide-spread and about 8000 people were without power. One person we talked to didn’t have their power back until Friday. Fortunately, being off-grid as we are, we never had a power outage.

Oh, and remember me mentioning the whole twisty-spirally clouds? Yeah, a tornado did touch down just a few km from us. Fortunately, it was short lived. The whole storm only lasted about five or ten minutes, but that was all it took to wreak some havoc.

So we came through this one alright. It could have been much worse. We are very grateful to the powers that be for that.

June 2018

Yes, it’s June. I realize I haven’t posted in a month so I’m here now to work on that. This is going to be a mish-mash of several things.

So Dave, how is the Earthship coming? Unfortunately, the answer to that is not pleasing. The engineer we’re working with is now fully licensed and has his official engineer’s stamp now. The problem we have now is a financial one. My employer is in some dire straights, as it were, and I am owed a large amount of back pay that has yet to arrive. With this being a single income family, we don’t have a lot of extra funds for building projects and applying for building permits.

One might ask if I am doing anything about my lack of income and I can say “yes” to that. I have been in talks with the local college to possibly do some teaching for them. I now have two degrees to my name (one in Computer Science and one in Biotecture) and the range of topics I feel qualified to teach people covers some fair ground. The only bummer is it’s summer right now and there won’t be any teaching until the fall term starts.

But enough of that, let’s move on to other interesting things. As some of you know, I do quite a bit of cooking here. Our usual setup is I cook the meals and Kat does the dishes. It’s a good partnership.

I recently made my very first vegetable terrine.

The bottom layer was carrots, the middle was spinach and the top was parsnips. The sauce is parsley based. I found the recipe in one of the Canadian Living cookbooks we have. It was quite different to eat, but quite tasty. It was also more filling than I thought it would be.

Kat’s birthday was last Tuesday, and as per tradition around here, I made her a special birthday dessert.

That, my friends, is a chocolate brownie turtle cake. Here it is again from the side.

I didn’t cheap out and just buy the caramels for the gooey layer either; I made caramels. Well, it actually turned out to be more like toffee as it came out a little harder than it should have. Fortunately, if you melt it down and add a bit more cream, it softens up really nicely. It worked well for the cake too.

The main cake layer is just like it sounds: chocolate brownie. I put in some chocolate nibs and chopped pecans into it to add some excitement. Covering that is the caramel layer and then the chocolate ganache to cover it all. This is one of those cakes that you cut into 16ths because an 8th would cause you overload.

From food we move onto wood processing. Yeah, we’re still working on that. I did get my replacement chains for the chainsaw in and it’s been running smooth ever since. The wood pile at the back of the trailer is coming along really nicely. The basic process is to head up into the forest, cut down some dead elm and haul it back to the trailer. Often I just cut it into logs and do the rest of the processing down at the trailer using the saw buck.

Kat is my log loader and we can process quite a bit with one tank of gas. From there, we toss it into the to-be-split pile and then go at it with the axes. I say axes, but to be technically correct they’re splitting mauls, but I don’t like that word cause it conjures up images of large crowds of people moving from store to store expressing their blatant consumerism.

Some of the pieces of wood are easier to split than others. Take this one for instance.

I had buried two wedges in it trying to get that thing to split. It did, in the end, but it was a lot of work. I also broke the handle off one of our splitting axes today after I buried it in a similar piece and I couldn’t dislodge it. Yay, another thing to replace.

The spring time is a great time to be a bird watcher. We always have a huge amount of birdie activity at our feeder. Sometimes we get some unexpected visitors too.

That was a wild turkey that was hanging out under the feeder. She kept coming back for almost a week, but we stopped putting seed out near mid May and it didn’t take them long to clean the place out.

Which really aggravated this guy.

That is a rose breasted grosbeak. After the regular bird feeder ran out, he decided to try the hummingbird feeder. He was very determined, but just couldn’t figure out how to get his beak in those yellow plastic flowers while still holding on with his feet. He was a little big for it. Fortunately, he didn’t try that for too long.

I know I’ve posted a lot of pictures of autumn, winter and spring but I don’t know how many summer photos I have taken of our land. I do realize it’s not quite officially summer, but it sure seemed like it here today. It was bright and sunny and no clouds at all the whole day. This is what it looks like looking out from our trailer.

This one is a forest path that leads over to the neighbour’s place to the north.

Our pond is doing very well. It is full of life. You can’t see them in this picture, but there are a tonne of tadpoles swimming around. The spring peepers have quieted down so we’re on to the next stage of growing the new batch. You might say we’re working on creating our own plague of frogs.

This, of course, is the picture of the road heading up to the top of our hill. Yeah, it’s a lot grassier now.

This is a nice one showing the rest of the driveway heading down to the road and the beautiful blue sky we had today.

Green canopy shot with solid blue sky.

There are so many things we should be doing, but are put on hold due to funds. We’re also behind in our gardening, which we should get moving on. As soon as things change, I’ll be sure to let you all know.