Tag Archives: lake

Summer 2018

I realize it has been over a month since my last post and people must be wondering what the heck is going on. The best answer to that is “a little of this and that”.

Some friends of ours bought a house in the area so they could move up here full time, but it had been abandoned for five years so it required some work, to say the least. I volunteered to go over and help them with whatever they needed. By that point they had finished much of the heavy stuff (replacing the drywall, wiring, redoing the kitchen, painting, etc), however they had this large pile of rough cut poplar that they were going to use for trim around their doors, windows and for their baseboards. They had bought it from a friend and there was quite a bit of it sitting on two pallets.

When I got there the first day, they had me working on this and the method they were using was to sand each piece so it looked nice and then cut to the 3″ (7.6cm) width that they wanted. To give you some idea, this is what we were starting with.

I managed to get five and a half sanded down by the afternoon and then I was helping hanging doors and putting up shower curtain rods for the rest of that first day. I did realize very quickly though, while sanding those boards that had I known that this is what I was going to be working on I would have brought my planer.

So the next day I did. I set it right beside the table saw.

By early afternoon, I had the entire pile of lumber planed down looking quite nice.

That was about 50 boards, give or take a few, of varying widths. Needless to say, it sure saves time when you use the right tool. If we had kept up with the sanding, it we’d still be working on it two weeks later.

After all of the planing was finished I stared running them through the table saw to cut them down to size. They also wanted a 45° bevel cut on one edge, so I did that as well.

All in all, I think they turned out pretty nicely. They certainly weren’t factory perfect, but they were a far cry from what we started with. Kat showed up after I had made a large pile of the trim pieces and got to work varnishing them.

They chose to go with completely transparent varnish so it was a little difficult to see which ones had been varnished and which ones hadn’t, but luckily we were fairly organized and just kept those piled separately. Here are some varnished ones.

Yup, they look exactly like the unvarnished ones.

Anyway, all this work turned out to be quite a boon for us because our friends also decided to pay us for our time, which was very welcome.

In other news, I have a few other things going on around the trailer. I have been using the brush saw quite a bit, trying to clear out the area up at the top of the hill where we plan to put the Earthship. I also worked on the plan for the pantry we want to build for the trailer. I found we already had enough materials so I can build the drawer at the bottom of it, so I’ll be working on that. The front steps also need to be refinished as they have been turned mud brown from us tracking in and out over the winter. We only managed to get one coat of varnish on them when we put them in last year so I’m hoping to plane off the mud stands and put multiple varnish coats on them this time.

I was also up at the cottage on the Canada Day long weekend and we had a lovely sunset on Canada Day.

It was great weather to be up by the lake as it was so hot. If you were in the city… well, you probably suffered if you were outside.

That’s all for now. Hopefully I’ll have some more updates soon.


The long voyage home, Day 2

We started off today here.


This is the view from the parking lot at the hotel we stayed at last night in Newcastle, WY. Kat was doing the driving today so I played Mr. Picture Taker. I took a lot of pictures too, so I hope you’re prepared.

I took this shot just after we got back on the highway heading east. I thought Wyoming was about to get hilly. Well, I was wrong. About ten minutes after we started, we ended up on South Dakota, so those hills in the picture are actually in SD. Sorry Wyoming, no hills for you.


We drove along for a while, and we started to get more hills…


… and more trees.


Then we got bigger trees.


Eventually we made it into major forest country. In fact, we were driving through the Black Hills National Forest. This place has awesome scenery and I would recommend it to everyone.



We came across numerous sections that seemed to have suffered major tree damage. We were wondering what the cause was and we had some theories, but if anyone knows for sure, please post a comment and fill us in on the details.


There was also a lot of red soil. It reminded me of Prince Edward Island.


Once we got super inundated with trees, we started to see some rocky parts too.


Then we came across this: Crazy Horse Memorial. You can just make out the face in the rock.


After that, we got to some seriously twisty roads, but still very scenic.



We even found a lake with a woman in a kayak just being lazy on the water. It looked very relaxing.


At this point, the hills were more like mountains.


And someone decided to carve some faces in the rock.


I don’t know about you, but ol’ T. Roosevelt looks pretty squished in there.


And what the heck is up with that big nose sticking in the side of the picture on the left?


We didn’t stop, but I somehow managed to get every picture of Mt. Rushmore to turn out well. That’s more than I can say for a lot of the other pictures. The parking for the main viewing location was $11. Pretty pricey, if you ask me.

There was a funky tunnel that we got to go through as well.


After that, it was just a lot of trees and valleys and ranches and that sort of thing.


Oh, and some mountain streams too.





We passed another lake.


And yet another lake, this one bigger than the previous one.


Eventually we made it to Deadwood, SD. Small town (population 1270), BIG tourism. Lots of cabins, and resorts and hotels and restaurants. They had some serious construction going on too that had us waiting around for a while.


It was a this point that Kat and I thought that funny sound coming from the back of the truck needed some extra investigation. So we pulled off into the information center’s parking lot and took a look under the truck. At first glance, we didn’t see anything, but Kat got back in and drove in circles around me a few times and I spotted the problem: one of the metal bands that secures the gas tank to the frame had busted loose and was leaning up against the drive shaft.

Isn’t that lovely? We removed the offending piece of metal and then the sound went away. There is another band holding the tank in place, but we did reinforce it with a cinch strap as a temporary fix. We’ll need to get that looked at soon, though.

Anyway, eventually we left the Black Hills and headed back out on to the plains.


Plains full of hay. Lots and lots of hay.


We ended up crossing back into Wyoming…


… and then eventually into Montana.


I know you’re probably asking why the heck we would do that, as that would take us further west. Well, Kat has this thing about wanting to visit all of the 50 states. So we have been taking a circuitous route. This, of course, costs us more time to get home.

This is a shot of Miles City, MT , just before we jumped on the I94.


I have to say, we did a lot of driving today through the middle of smegging no where. There is a LOT of no where in Wyoming and Montana. You know you’re in no wheres-ville when you can drive for twenty minutes or more and not encounter another vehicle on either side of the highway.


The rolling hills of Montana eventually turned into more grassy planes.


Then we reached North Dakota.


The western side of ND had some scenic parts, with hills and trees.


Some nice valleys too.


But it too eventually turned into flat plains. Wheat was a big crop in ND, along with sun flowers, which you can see below.


All in all, we drove 600 miles (1000km) and made it to Bismark, North Dakota in about 10 hours. Not very efficient, but we did see some cool stuff along the way.


Yes, I am happy to announce that we have just acquired some land. Back in this post I mentioned that buying land was step 5 in our 9 step plan to get to the point of starting to build. Well, scratch that one off the list now.

I’m sure you’re all wondering what we bought, where it is and what it looks like, so I won’t delay any further. Let’s get right to the pictures.


It’s a bit odd looking, admittedly. It’s roughly 15.8 hectares (39 acres). It has a nice hill on it and lots of trees. Here’s a picture of it in summer.

Satellite Image Summer

Yes, lot’s of green stuff there. Some trees will need to be sacrificed, but, as my Dad keeps telling me, trees are a renewable resource, when managed properly 🙂 What kinds of trees are they, you may ask? Well, here is another picture in early spring.

Satellite Image Spring

It looks almost naked now. That’s because most of the trees are hardwoods, so they don’t have their leaves out yet. That could mean some significant dollar value to the lumber, if I were to sell it. I’m looking more to see about renting one of those portable saw mills and milling it myself and keeping it. More work, but having your own lumber on hand could save some dollars too.

Anyway, I know you’re all anxious to see what other features it comes with. First off, it comes with a driveway already built right from the road up to the top of the hill.


It will need some work, otherwise nature will just take over. There is also an old shed which isn’t in the best shape, but might be useful for storing some building materials.


We even have our own spring fed pond. It comes conveniently with its own bench for you to sit and enjoy it. Though it was raining when these pictures were taken in early spring, so it doesn’t look too fun. It’s also really full too; we did have quite a wet spring.

Robinson Rd Pond


On top of all of that, it also comes with a large trailer which will be really handy for having somewhere to stay while building. It will need some power and water, but having somewhere convenient to stay on your own property is quite advantageous.


There is also another, smaller shed behind the trailer. The trailer is only ten years old and was in nice shape (we did get to look inside it).


If you look on those satellite images, you can see a sizable lake to the south of the property. Our property doesn’t touch the lake, but it comes within about 10 meters (roughly 30 feet) of it. We walked down and took a look at it.


Pretty exciting stuff, but a whole lot of kafuffle to acquire. You don’t really think about things like mineral rights, right of way, year round access and all that when you buy a house in a city. But these are all things you need to pay attention to when buying land.

First off, we didn’t want anything we didn’t have easy access to. You can find land for sale that there is no way to get to except by boat, through crown land or over someone else’s property and usually they are quite cheap. But imagine all of the extra expenses you will have if you have to build a road to your property, let alone on your land.

You also don’t want to have to deal with crossing a neighbour’s land to get to yours. You may be able to swing a deal with the current neighbours, but that may change if the neighbours change and it can make a messy legal battle. Something else to avoid.

It also helps if the road you have to your property is maintained year round. No sense building a house you can’t get out of during the winter because the road isn’t ploughed. Unless, of course, you own one of these things.


That could be fun too, but we don’t have one.

What about things like mineral rights? Well, that, as it turns out, is some work. Much of that is discovered through the title search done by the lawyer. In Ontario, things can be weird with regards to mineral rights. You can, in fact, purchase a piece of land, live on it and someone else can own the mineral rights. It’s a bit retarded, if you ask me, but that’s what we have. They can’t walk onto your land and start drilling holes, as that would be trespassing, but they could tunnel under your land from an adjacent lot and there wouldn’t be anything you could do about it. So, we wanted to make sure the mineral rights were included. This turned out to be an interesting process.

The initial title search done by the lawyer didn’t turn up anything regarding mineral rights. So we had to get someone down in Belleville, ON where the land patent registration office is located to find out when the patents for the land were issued. Apparently there is a magic date of May 6, 1913 when some mineral rights act law came into effect that is important. If the land patent for the lot you are buying was issued before that date, you are okay, because anything before then is considered null and void and the rights pass to the owner. If, however, the land patents were issued after that, you need to do more searching. As it turned out, we had to do more searching.

The initial report back from Belleville was that the land patents were issued after that magic date. What this meant was we had to actually obtain copies of the land patents from the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) as they are the organization in charge of these things. My lawyer requested the land patents (there was more than one, as the land we bought occupies parts of more than one lot) and we received them in good time. As it turned out, the patents were issued in 1902 so it ended up there were no problems with gaining the mineral rights. Yay! All is good… or is it?

Interestingly, there was some additional information listed on the land patents to the tune of a Crown timber reservation on white pine. Back in the early days the government used a lot of white pine for things like the navy and so forth. This was not a good thing for us, however. There isn’t a lot of pine trees on our lot, but if we need to remove one and weren’t allowed to, this could cause major issues.

So, back to the MNR. My Dad, being a former MNR forester got me in contact with the right people and it was determined that all of the timber reservations that were listed on the land patents were null and void due to the Free Grants and Homestead Act. Whew! All was good.

Our closing day is today, July 15th, 2014. It wasn’t a very smooth process, but you do need to make the effort to ensure you aren’t going to end up with a legal mess later on. If you plan on buying some land, do your research and make sure you’re getting everything you want.