Tag Archives: snow

Spring 2019

It has been quite a while since I last posted, I do realize. Over two months this time. Two months ago we were still buried in snow. That has changed now, thank goodness. Let me tell you about it.

Back at the end of March we got ourselves a new toy to improve our lives.

This is a Berkey water filter. Previously, we were buying large bottles of spring water from the store for drinking purposes. Now, with this new doodad, we can just pour rain water in it and fill our glasses from the spout, so no more buying water. Just don’t be in a big hurry for a drink if you just filled it. The filtering process can take quite a long time. We’re talking hours here, not minutes.

Moving forward, April 10th turned out to be a really nice day so we took some pictures.

Yup, still lots of snow.

The sun was out in full strength though, which our solar panels loved. We still had quite the pile of snow up against the plastic shield at that point.

Here are some random sunshine-in-a-snowy-forest pictures.

After a bit of digging, I found the drain pipe for our pond. Here you can sort of see it with a tiny bit of snow across it’s rim.

More snow and forest. Pond too, but you can’t really see that for the snow.

Remember that picture from back in the previous post with the bench buried under the snow? Well, on the 16th of April it looked like this.

We were out snowshoeing that day. It doesn’t look like there is much snow there by the bench, but just behind me there was plenty.

Apparently there was a crazy Kat lady behind me as well. The next one is a picture of where the Earthship will be.

So yeah, April is always a big transition month for us. Easter was in late April this year and we rented a car and drove out to PEI to surprise my Mom and Step-Father for their birthdays. That trip went quite well, but it rained a lot going there and on the way back. Fortunately, we got back before they closed large portions of the highway due to flooding.

Unfortunately, this meant that when we got back home we had another trench through our driveway.

Seeing as we already had the trench dug, we decided to put in a second emergency drain going through there for when the water gets too high. This project was another one of those use-what-you-have-on-hand kind of things. I happened to have some 4″ (10cm) PVC pipe lying around gathering dust so I glued them together to make a long pipe.

I added the tape because one of my pipe joiners was a bit cracked. I’m not super concerned about it leaking, as it’s just going to go in the ground.

Anyway, I put the pipe in the trench and started to bury it. I also had some pieces of 2×10 lying around that I put over the pipe after I had filled in around it to try and give it a bit more resilience. It’s not perfect by any means, but hopefully it will prevent the pipe from being crushed if a heavy vehicle drives over it.

Here you can see it all filled in with dirt.

After I finished that part, Kat came out and gathered some of the gravel that had been washed down the ditch and used it to cover the dirt. It has been driven over quite a bit since then and we haven’t had any issues. Hopefully it will do the trick.

Obviously with all of that rain while we were away, most of the snow that was left had melted so it was time to take the shield down from the the front of the trailer.

We just roll it up and keep it in place with some bungee cords. This makes it easy to reinstall in the fall.

This is what it looked like down our driveway near the end of April.

As mentioned previously, our truck died and we were looking for a new one. Well, after roughly seven weeks of searching, we finally ended up with this.

Yup, it’s a big red truck. In case you’re wondering it’s a 2008 Dodge Ram and it had about 328,000km on it. We were on a limited budget so it’s difficult to find a perfect vehicle. We thought this one was pretty decent for what we paid, which is why we have it. It drives and feels quite a bit different than the old GMC, but I’m sure we’ll get used to it.

We’re well into May now and we’ve had the usual frantic bird activity at our feeder this spring. The humming birds have been back for a while too. You know when they show up because they hover right in front of our big window wondering where the hummingbird feeder is.

Speaking of said hummingbird feeder, some of the larger birds get a bit confused.

That’s a rose breasted grosbeak trying to figure out how to get the feeder to dispense some goodness. Unless he can drink through that red patch on his chest, I don’t think it’s gonna work out.

Now that we have a truck again, spring time firewood processing has started. We have borrowed a chainsaw from a friend due to the fact that the recoil spring on mine broke while we were doing our initial harvest. It is smaller and only has a 16″ (40cm) bar on it so we got Kat suited up and we cut up all of the stuff that we dragged out of the forest.

As of today, the full brunt of black flies and mosquitoes has yet to arrive. That will likely change this week as we are expecting some warmer weather. We have been having fairly cool evenings which helps to keep the bugs away, but it only lasts so long.

Well, now you know what is going on, for the most part. I don’t have any news to share yet on the job front, but some opportunities have been coming my way so something is bound to happen soon.

I will leave you with this lovely picture of the daffodils we have in our garden.

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Life changes

Have you ever had the feeling that the universe was trying to tell you something? Maybe perhaps guide you in a certain direction? Well, things have certainly been interesting these first few months of 2019.

The weather has been up and down a lot here and I probably don’t need to mention all of the crazy weather that most of North America seems to have gone through this winter. Here is a small sample of one forecast we had back on Feb 23rd.

Yeah, +5C (40F) with rain and possible thunder storm quickly followed by a severe drop back down below -20C (-4F). Nothing like mother nature to keep us on our toes.

Not to worry. Kat and I still managed to go out and have a lovely dinner for Valentine’s Day. We even got all dressed up.

For several days at the end of February, beginning of March, we had this guy hanging around our yard.

If you look at the center of the picture you can see a bard owl. He is difficult to spot and even more difficult to take a picture of. We’re guessing he saw all of the squirrel tracks around our yard and figured this would be a great place to wait for dinner.

On a really mundane, but still nifty to us kinda theme, we discovered that the glass lid we have for one of our pots fits perfectly our thermal cooker pot.

Glass lids are great for being able to watch what is going on without lifting the lid.

In other news, our cats love to sit on laps, especially if it gets chilly.

That picture was taken by me holding my phone over my lap.

And just in case you thought I was hogging all of the cats, here is Kat taking her turn.

Having a sizeable property, we do enjoy snowshoeing through our forest. Now we know we’ve had a significant amount of snow, but you lose perspective a bit when you’re walking on top of it. You may recall from previous posts that we have a pond at the back of our property with a bench sitting beside it.

As a reminder, here is a spring picture of it with the pond over flowing.

Back at the beginning of March we were snow shoeing up in that area and I took this picture.

See the bench? It’s that tiny horizontal line across the snow. And then there is this one.

That is a picture of the area we cleared last year where the Earthship is going to be. Looks like Hoth, but with more trees.

In any event, the weather is finally starting to warm up, the days are longer and we are getting more sunshine. Spring also officially arrives on Wednesday. These are all good things.

Then there is what happened today. We were out and about with our truck running some errands and blew the transmission out of it. That isn’t 100% certain, but probably 98% it is the transmission. We’ve had lots of stuff go wrong with our 2004 GMC Sierra pickup over the last while and it’s likely this will be the last straw. So we are now looking for a new vehicle. To make matters more interesting I’m also unemployed right now.

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that part. The company I worked for is/was in serious financial dire-straights and I received just under 50% of the pay I was supposed to for 2018. So I quit. No sense keeping a job that isn’t paying you. So not only are we looking for a new vehicle we are also looking for new ways to make an income. Can’t build an Earthship for free, unfortunately.

Don’t get the wrong impression. We aren’t depressed or worrying ourselves to death. In fact, in situations like this, there’s only one thing to do:

Make some frikin’ ginormous yorkshire puddings. Here is a side shot for perspective.

We then take said yorkshire puddings, split them an dump a creamy beef filling into their centers. I put cajun spice on mine for some extra fun.

I do realize that it kinda looks like chunky pablum with brown sugar on top spread over yorkshire pudding, but I assure you it is not. It is a whole bunch of tasty. Got this recipe from the Lard cook book.

Anyway, time to say, “tootilly-pippski”. Don’t let life run you down. Things have a way of working out better than you imagine.

Winter, already?

So here we are at December 3rd. Usually at this point we’re starting to get some snow that will actually stay and everyone starts thinking holiday thoughts. Well, we’re ahead of schedule on the snow part, that is for certain.

If you recall from my November Snow post we got dumped on several times in November. That didn’t stop. The week of my birthday it also got really cold. For those of you who aren’t familiar with “really cold” let me put some numbers on that. It dropped to -28C (-18F) one night and temperatures below -20C were common that week.

The following week (last week actually) it got really warm; back up to freezing and it hovered around there for quite a while. We’ve had the gamut of precipitation, but the vast majority of it has been wet heavy snow. I went out snow shoeing again and I have some lovely pictures for you after a particularly sticky snow fall.

Here we have a picture of the homestead.

Clearing those solar panels has become a daily chore. Probably nine days out of ten I get up in the morning and have to scrape the snow off so we can get a measly few percentages added back into the batteries. With it snowing so much, obviously it’s been cloudy, which means you don’t get much solar power on those days. We’ve been running the generator regularly to keep the batteries topped up.

As we head up the hill, you can see lots of trees bent over with all of the weight of the snow on them.

For a brief second we had a small patch of blue sky. If I didn’t have a picture, no one would believe it.

The ongoing snow tunnel.

Everyone loves the picture with the spruce trees covered in gobs of wet snow.

For contrast, here’s a really big one. It’s not suffering as much.

Big white pine.

More snow tunnels.

This picture will give you some idea of how much snow has fallen here, based on the depth of the pile on the bench.

Some of the snow has melted with the warmer week, but we just seem to get more so I think it’s pretty much equalized. These next two pictures are from the area at the top of the hill where I did all the tree cutting this summer. We were supposed to do a big bonfire in November to clean it up, but with the rain and snow and other obligations we didn’t get to it. Hopefully we can do it before the end of March because after that daytime fire restrictions will apply.

Pour trees. I got a lot of snow down my neck shaking snow off trees like this.

Looking up at the sky.

Finally, the sun was trying to peak through the clouds. It never quite made it, but it was making an effort.

In case you think we must be sad and depressed about this, here is a picture of a happy Kat (Fizgig included as well).

November Snow

It’s November. It’s been over a month since my last post. Time to update everyone where we are at.

The biggest change is the amount of white stuff we have lying on the ground. It all started on Oct 17th.

That was just a brief preview and it didn’t stick around, but eleven days later we had a significant amount of snow drop.

Need to make sure we include the picture of the spruce trees all covered with snow. People love that stuff 😛

Yes, our pond looks a bit different too. During a dry spell earlier I went in at the beckoning of my feline named partner and cut down the vast majority of the dead trees. It makes it look much more open now. If we cleaned up all of the dead wood lying around and kept the snow off the pond, we could probably skate on it during the winter. That would probably involve acquiring ice skates too.

Some of that October snow melted, but it never disappeared. We’ve had several snowings since then and it just seems to keep coming. This was what it looked like on Nov 11th.

We experienced a rather interesting snow overhang coming off our roof as well that day.

It didn’t stay like that, but long enough for me to get the picture.

The ground isn’t very frozen where the snow is lying on top of it, which usually helps to melt the snow, but we have so much of it now it would take quite a few days of warm sun to melt it. That’s not likely to happen as we are heading into the colder months.

Today I was out snow shoeing and took these pictures.

You may have noticed a common theme in all of those previous pictures: not a whole lot of sunshine. Yes, we have been using the generator quite a bit due to all of the cloudy days. We also put up our big plastic shield across the outside of the front of the trailer. Additionally, we put plastic over the windows on the inside. Here you can see Kat hard at work with that task.

In more food related news, we have started brewing our own kombucha now.

Some family members gave us the brewing vat a while back and we finally have it up and running after we acquired a kombucha SCOBY. We’ve done five or six batches now and it is working really nicely. Saves quite a bit of money buying kombucha from the store too.

I also made a couple of apple pies back in October, it being apple season and all.

Last year I made dutch apple pies which have no topping. This year I went for the crumble top. You can’t go wrong with crumble top and from the sighs of ecstasy being emitted from Kat I’d say it turned out pretty good.

Stay tuned for more exciting action adventures in Maynooth, Ontario.