Tag Archives: snow

Soggy spring

I would love to say that we have accomplished a whole lot in the last month since I posted, but unfortunately we haven’t. This is largely due to the weather. I think this past May has been the soggiest one on record. Rain is pretty common in May, but it has been rather severe this year.

Our area was pretty lucky in that the worst we had were a few basements where the sub-pump broke and they wet basement floors. Other parts of Ontario and Quebec had full blown evacuations and states of emergency. When you come back to your house after it all resides and find that the water was up to the level of your counter-top in your kitchen, you could say that we had a lot of rain.

My last post was on May 2nd and it wasn’t long after that when things started to get crazy. We had two days of severe rain, then this happened on the 7th.

Yeah, that’s right. It started snowing. This has been known to happen in May, so it wasn’t so much of a big deal, except for the fact that it didn’t stop. I bet you can guess when I took the following picture?

That wasn’t the end of it either. It just kept snowing, right through until the 9th.

You can see that there wasn’t a whole lot of accumulation, but still, three days of snow in May?

Someone needs to turn up the outdoor thermostat.

That wasn’t the end of it either. I think we had a day or two break and then we had two more solid days of rain. When I say solid, I mean around 60mm (2.5 inches) of rain. That number may seem small, but if I put that in equivalent snow terms that would be 60cm (2 feet) of snow. It rained A LOT!

Those were the two heaviest days, but we’ve had quite a few days where it rained since then. Not nearly as bad. On May 14th we had a severe thunder storm which included hail. I had just done my weekly trip to the dump and it started on my way back. I was pulling into the driveway when the hail started so I sat in the truck for a bit and snapped this picture of the hail building up on the windshield wipers.

Not only has it been wet, it hasn’t been particularly warm either. We’ve had a few days above 20C (68F) but not many. And on those days when it isn’t cold and raining, the bugs are bad enough to pick you up and carry you off if you aren’t careful. The black flies especially are having a bumper year. We’re hoping the dragon flies will show up soon and we have seen one or two, but the big swarms of them have yet to arrive. They help a lot with reducing the biting insects.

All of this wetness has put a big damper on our firewood harvest this year. Going out in the pouring rain to cut down a tree isn’t a great thing to do. It’s even more inadvisable if there is high wind. Don’t try cutting down a tree in high wind and expect it to drop where you want it. I avoid that at all costs.

In addition to this, because of all of the rain, there were times we couldn’t even get the truck up the hill for fear of burying it out of sight just because the ground was so saturated with water. We still can’t drive to the top of our hill because a lot of water is draining down the road and it’s very squishy.

Of course there is the bug factor as well. Once you do get a decent day to go cut wood, you have to deal with the bugs. So, needless to say, we are behind in our firewood harvesting.

Fortunately, we haven’t been completely idle. We did get started on installing a new sink and finishing the counter-top around it. Here you can see the cutting of the hole where the sink is going to go.

Slightly closer so you can see the sink outline in pencil.

There we have it, a hole for a sink.

We even have a sink to put in that hole too! We bought it at the Re-store which I have to say, is kind of a hit or miss in terms of whether it’s really worth it or not. The sink we bought didn’t have holes for faucets, nor did it have a strainer basket. We weren’t too concerned about the faucet holes as we aren’t likely to have any faucet for a while. A new strainer basket cost $20 for the cheap one. The sink cost us $45. I could have bought a brand new sink for $100 that included holes for the faucet and strainer basket. Add some tax in there and you start to wonder if it was really worth the savings. Things to think about if you ever go to the Re-store for building materials.

Now for the counter-top we decided to use a 19mm (3/4 inch) piece of plywood with red oak veneer. One sheet of that will set you back $85 so you don’t want to mess it up. I cut out the piece to size for the counter first.

I scribed the hole for the sink from underneath and then cut out the hole for the sink as well.

Voila! New counter-top. Well, almost. The counter then went out to the staining and finishing department. I can say that it has been stained and had two coats of varnish put on it. The next step is to put a thick coat of epoxy on it to make it durable and waterproof. We have the epoxy, but it is sensitive to temperature and humidity so that part has been put on hold until things dry up and warm up a bit.

So it’s been a slow start to the year. We haven’t planted anything in the garden yet either because it’s been so cold. Last night we had a low of 2C (36F). Yes, we had a fire. They say we should be safe for planting after the full moon in June, which is this Friday. We can only wait and see at this point.

Getting back outside

It’s the start of May now and things have warmed up considerably since my last post. April was all over the place in terms of the weather. The last you heard from us we had just had a big snow storm. I took those pictures on a Friday morning as we were clearing the fallen trees from our driveway.

The next day we woke up to full sunshine and it was quite warm. Everything started to melt. This is what it looked like in the morning.

By 16:00 that day, there wasn’t a tree left that had any snow on it. Sunday was nice a sunny too and by the end of that day, the driveway was clear of snow, though still mushy. The following day, on Monday, we hit 24C (75F) and it was really humid. We had a huge thunderstorm in the afternoon too, with some really loud thunder and close lightning strikes. So in the space of five days, we went from heavy snow fall to serious thunderstorm.

With all of that snow and rain, things have not been dry around here. In fact, all sources of water in the area have exceeded their banks and there is a lot of flooding. Fortunately, most of it is flooding the forest. There are a few cases of people who are near the York river who are having difficulties.

This reminds us of spring 2014 when we first came to look at the property. The other pond we have at the top of the hill was over flowing. Don’t remember the picture? Well, here is what it looked like back then.

As a way of comparison, here is what it looked like on April 26th.

That’s really close to the 2014 level. I should add that we just had a huge rain storm that lasted two days straight. We haven’t been back up to the top of the hill, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the upper pond has now exceeded the 2014 level. I say this because, despite having a drain pipe under the driveway for the pond we have beside it, we had enough rain to wash out part of our driveway.

The drain pipe couldn’t keep up fast enough and the water just rushed over the driveway. I’m sure there will be another load of gravel in our near future.

Going back a bit to April 18th, it had dropped below freezing the previous night and the pond beside the driveway had a thin layer of ice on it. It looked pretty spectacular so, of course, we had to take some pictures.

Needless to say, we have had some really nice weather, and some really wet weather in April. We have been trying to get out as much as we can to work on important projects outside before the bugs arrive. The project with the highest priority right now is firewood processing for next winter.

Last week we had a good run of clear weather so we were able to get out many days in a row. Unfortunately, a bunch of our time was spent clearing fallen saplings from the roadway up to the top of the hill. We did get some trees cut for firewood though.

We started off with that small pile. Anything big I buck up on site and the smaller branches we just haul back and use the saw buck I made last year to make it easier to cut. It sure saves the back using the saw buck.

Another day, and more wood. I split some of it by hand. The cherry is pretty easy, but I leave most of the elm as it is painful to split by hand. All of it is dead already, which makes splitting it much easier than if we were trying to split live wood by hand.

We cleared out the middle section of our wood storage at the back of the trailer and this is where we are piling the newly harvested wood.

It’s not a lot yet, but it’s better than nothing. We’re hoping that things will dry up this week so we can get back out and do some more.

When we aren’t processing firewood or working on other projects, Kat and I like to take walks down our road. Kat uses this opportunity to pick up all of the dang garbage that people throw out their vehicle windows. We live on a very quiet road, but that doesn’t seem to stop people from polluting it. We’ve gathered several large garbage bags worth of things people have tossed away, most of it is beer cans.

There are some nice things to see while we’re out walking too. Like some pussy willows we found growing beside the road.

You have to take advantage of pussy willows pretty quickly as they turn into fuzzy tree buds soon after they appear. Yes the buds are all out on the trees now and some are even starting to sprout a few tiny leaves.

Soon everything will be exploding with colours. The leaves will be out in full force and the flowers will be in bloom. Heck, even Kat is looking really awesome in her spring colours.

She doesn’t tweet as nicely as some of the birds we have hanging around our place, but she sure is nice to look at.

It’s always good to end with a smile 😀

2017 Melting season is upon us

It has been quite some time since my last post. There hasn’t been anything interesting going on as far as building projects go. We’ve mainly been idling away the winter. We must say that this winter (our third in the trailer) has by far been the most pleasant. We’re well insulated now, we have working appliances and plenty of dry firewood. It’s a grand improvement over previous years.

We are one day away from the official start of spring and it is a fantabulous day here: bright and sunny, not a cloud in the sky. Yes, we still have plenty of snow on the ground, but it was warm enough today that we could go out with only a sweater or perhaps light jacket on.

Yes, we even have pictures.

As with every spring, our driveway gets all mucky. Hopefully this year it won’t be quite as bad as previously after we dropped that load of gravel on the driveway in the fall.

The squirrels are out in full force after discovering the huge pile of seeds under our bird feeder.

Generic forest picture.

And we have a shot of our humble abode, complete with overflowing compost pile in the foreground.

If you’d like a bit of perspective, here is what things looked like back in January.

Yeah, a bit snowy.

I took this picture standing on top of the smurf house (composting toilet room).

What was I doing on top of the smurf house, you ask? Well, that is where I stand to clean off the solar panels. I have a squeegee taped to the end of one of those extendo-painter’s poles.

It snowed quite a bit this winter, so that was a very regular task. It’s best done in the morning so you can get the most out of the daylight shining on your solar panels.

We had quite the winter for a while, up until about mid February. One person I talked to described it as living in a snow globe that someone kept shaking. It never snowed really hard, it was a constant gentle drift of falling snow all the time. There weren’t too many days that went by where we didn’t get any snow. I have heard it from others that this was a record year for snow fall.

Fortunately, come mid February, the weather broke and we had a warm spell. Here is another picture of the trailer on Feb 20th.

That was a really nice weekend up here. Kat and I took a walk through our property. The snow had melted and refrozen a few times so the top was hard enough we could just walk on it without using snow shoes.

That’s Kat sitting on top of the back rest of the bench that sits in front of the pond at the top of our hill. We had been up there earlier in snowy-er days and you couldn’t even see the top of the bench.

After all that snow, the top of the smurf house had quite the massive pile on it so Kat decided to get up there and clear it off. I managed to snap this shot of her looking quite gleeful in her snow removing activities.

That’s all of our winter weather related news.

There was one other interesting event that happened back at Valentine’s day. Our local cafe, The SunRun had a special event.

The SunRun usually only does breakfast and lunch, but they put on special dinner for Valentine’s day. As soon as we found out about it, we reserved a spot. Natalie, the woman who owns it and is the main chef, does amazing things with food and this is not an opportunity you want to miss.

So, Kat and I got dressed up for it.

I have to mention that this is the very first time Kat and I have ever done anything special for Valentine’s Day, seeing as both of us are not very into that mainly commercial event. The dinner, I have say was absolutely superb. I had jalapenos with mango wrapped in prosciutto for an appetizer, one of the most amazing pieces of beef I have ever eaten for the main course and chocolate brûlée for dessert. That was the first time I had ever had a brûlée, chocolate or otherwise. It was so good, we went back the next day and asked them if they had any left-overs.

They did. We ate them. We were very happy 😀

If you are ever in the Maynooth area, I cannot recommend The SunRun enough. The meals are simple, but everything is made fresh, mostly from local ingredients and it all tastes amazing. Unfortunately, they will be closed for the next eight weeks due to some renovations they are having done.

Sigh. We will miss you, SunRun, but we will also look forward to your re-opening in May with a great new and fresh look 😀

The Beauty Of Winter

Well, here we are in January 2017. A new year has come and there is much to do. Unfortunately, we don’t generally get a whole lot done on our building projects during this time. The weather greatly reduces your willingness to work outside.

That being said, the weather has been rather interesting this year so far. It’s only January 5th, and we’ve seen quite the gamut of weather activities. I have pictures for your viewing pleasure too.

Let’s start off with January 2nd, which was a rather spectacular day. It was bright and sunny, not too cold. Kat and I decided we should take advantage of this and go for a walk through our forest. We strapped on our trusty snow shoes and ventured forth.

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The picture above I have shown numerous times in different seasons and weather. This is the road that will eventually become our real driveway up to the top of the hill where we plan to build the Earthship.

We headed up the hill and we were quickly reminded what it is like to break fresh trail in powder with snow shoes… up hill. We made our way to the top, stopping every so often to enjoy the view of the sun on the snow and examine several sets of animal tracks that we came across.

We reached the top of the hill, where we have a little meadow with a pond and I suddenly realized that my phone was no longer in my pocket. After a moment’s panic, I retraced my steps and found it sticking out of the snow.

With phone recovered, I snapped this next picture of the pond with some rabbit tracks crossing it.

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The fields of snow in the meadow in the sunshine were quite lovely.

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Here is a lone spruce tree looking very Christmas-y.

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On our way back down, I took this picture of the sunshine in the forest.

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All in all, a very good time. The sky was pure blue that day, which is rare this time of year.

It did not last either. That evening, the clouds rolled in, the temperature actually rose and we received a dumping of ice rain that night, so when we woke up the next day, everything was coated. I don’t know if you have ever experienced ice rain, but it does things like this.

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The ever green trees get it even worse.

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This is what it does to your vehicle.

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And your bird feeder.

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It does make everything glisten like crystalline glass.

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It would look even more awesome if the sun had been out, but alas, that was not the case.

Oh, we’re not done either. It rained more that day as well, then the temperature dropped that evening and it snowed. So, imagine what wet iced tree branches do when they get snowed on. Actually, you don’t need to imagine, I can show you.

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Those are the same branches shown above, but with snow added on top of the ice. Here also is a picture of that same spruce tree from above, but now also covered in ice and snow.

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Needless to say, it was mighty beautiful. I walked all around taking several pictures, trying to take it all in.

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Beautiful though it may look, it is really hard on the trees.

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There were a lot of trees that were bent over or broken, or large branches having fallen off. I’m sure there will be a lot of trees killed by this. It is both beautiful and deadly to behold.

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The big white birch behind the trailer looks mighty awesome, I must say.

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Same road as before, but frosted white now.

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So that was yesterday, but the fun doesn’t stop there. It snowed some more last night. But as luck would have it, for a while this morning the sun was out and I ran outside with my phone to capture some yet even more amazing shots.

Sunshine through the trees.

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Sunshine on the snow drifts.

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It all lights up so wonderfully in the sun.

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I really like this last one. Lower branches not in the sun with ones that are above them.

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The weather here has not stopped. The temperature just keeps going up and down like a sine wave. Here is a shot of our weather forecast for tonight and the following days.

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It’s almost like a Katy Perry song.