Monthly Archives: January 2011

Freezing Temperatures are not all fun

Its been really cold. Really. Its never really ‘nice’ here this time of year but its been -27c with the windchill. Every couple of weeks we stay a night in the city visiting friends or family so we thought nothing of it when we finished up the chores for the day and set out to go into my mothers place to put some tile in for the kitchen she is renovating. I was just grouting and my mother had a contractor in doing some electric work so I could not go in during the we packed up at 6PM and headed into town. We stayed over with Jango and went to work. After work we head on home and the place is cold. 3c inside and freezing inside. We got home at 6:30ish and I started the fire and the propane heater to help heat up faster. By about 11 it was finally up to 18c inside. I settle in to read and around 12:30 I hear a large BANG..followed by water running or spurting water..WATER. Water was flowing out of my tankless water heater..I turned off the inflow within 10 seconds so no water damage. I get a screwdriver, take the front off and water is still flowing out of the side of a copper pipe. It had burst. hot water. It was late so I dig up the warranty..the unit has a plug in system that prevents the unit from freezing..if its turned on. We are off-grid so the power to the unit is turned off when we are not using water..WHAM. thank you cold weather. I had though you were terrible before but I am not sending you a Christmas card this year..its over.

..dripping water..lets replace it! time I am getting no burst pipes.


Posted by on January 25, 2011 in Construction, fun, heat, power, Purchases, todo


Tags: , , , ,

Winter Tracks

Took Jango out for a loop..I usually do the same route when I am alone. Down to the Beaver Dam, trail blaze it up the stillwater to the brook..follow the brook to the lake and on to an trail where there are a number of trees down so nobody uses it.. follow it to a main trail and then follow these trails back to my place. Fresh 2-3cm of snow and it picked up some nice tracks. Rabbits, partridge, coyote/fox and some deer.

The coyote tracks were in 2 spots..following some deer tracks and all around a area about 2km from my place where there are rabbit tracks covering the ground..not a shock. Nothing within 1km of my place so I have no complaints..Have not heard them in quite some time.

Leave a comment

Posted by on January 24, 2011 in Animals, fun, Wildlife


Tags: , , , , ,

Weekly Wood

Every weekend we have a chore to do..make sure we have enough wood for the week to assure we do not have to trek out to the master wood pile to grab a load. We have been using our cookstove since Nov 1 but last week was the first week we had to dip into the wood that we bought 2 years ago. For the last 2.5 months we had been using wood that I chopped down and chunked into 16inch lengths.. We had it stored under tarps so for the last 2 months we would grab the wheel barrel, bring it over to the ‘splitting area’ and I would have at it with a 10lb maul. A maul is basically a wood splitting axe..but its not really sharp. Mauls are duller and are really designed to transfer the energy of the maul into the splitting action, not to dig into it. It would take around and hour and a half to transfer, split and load the wood into our ‘pre-house’ location on our front deck. That is also how I totalled the nail on my finger late last year. As I mentioned, we reached the end of wood from the trees I chopped down. These days it takes 1/2 as long..some pieces still need to be split as they are too big for the tiny firebox on the cookstove but truthfully I don’t mind chopping wood. Great exercise and it really makes me feel like a strong-man at a carnival when I swing the maul and split a 16inch diameter log into 2 pieces. Its is also night and day when you split a properly dried piece of wood vs. a wet piece. These days if I take a swing at its too wet I just put it aside and move on..if it won’t split it usually does not burn well either so its a double waste of time.

..I need a new tire..

2 weeks worth of wood gone from a 5 month supply

pre house storage for easy inside loading

We also store at least a years worth at a time. ( but we usually have enough chunked for 2 years). The first year A* and I were in we only got 2 cords and ran out in Feb…and had to have it unloaded from the delivery truck 1km away, transfer it into our truck, transfer it to our place, unload it then stack -10c weather. Needless to say we never want to repeat this!

Leave a comment

Posted by on January 23, 2011 in heat, Purchases, todo


Tags: , , , , ,

Portable Garage

..its been a couple of weeks but I have not updated as to the status of our portable garage so I thought I might. In early December we finished the floor for the bedroom but by the time I was ready to start finishing more wood for the floor it got wet again..and would remain wet so I decided to buy a portable garage to put the wood in over the winter. It might not dry out in there but at least it should be ready in the Spring.

..after 17 easy complicated steps it was all done!

We have had 2-3 storms since it went up and it has faired well..yesterday it was very windy and I could hear it but it has stood up so far. In the summer we will move it somewhere else. I also have an easier way to keep the chicken feed dry. When I did finish putting it up there was already 2-3 inches of snow down so it is now a sheet of ice in whenever it does heat up above freezing the moisture has nowhere to go so it has been forming on the inside of the roof. After the first heavy snow I also had to go out and brush it off..there is no problem with 10cm but a 40cm storm would probably be an issue.


Posted by on January 23, 2011 in Construction


Tags: , , ,

then there were 3

OK, so we are now up to 3 hens. Its been snowing more than usual so the chickens are not ouside as much as they have been in the past..a couple of days ago it was snowing and when we got home we were not feeling up to shovelling..When we got home from work the next day we checked the chickens and looked for our usual egg or maybe 2 since we missed a day ( she lays 2 over 2-3 days so its not unusual to have none )..well we hade 4 eggs. Being at home that weekend we checked often and decide that we have 3 hens. Well that was a week ago and we are amazed at what even 3 hens produce. You think,’..neat a couple of eggs a day.’…then you notice after 4 days that you have a dozen eggs. More egg dishes are in order!

Jango loves them too so we always know who is willing to eat any extras that come his way.

..get the eggs every day when its too cold outside..2 of the 4 were cracked due to freezing.


Posted by on January 17, 2011 in Animals, Fowl


Tags: , , , ,

Cheesy Returns Part III

There are all sorts of tracks out by the shed and when I went out this morning to fill up the bird feeders I opened the shed door and I had a visitor..Cheesy was back. I am not sure if he is a Weasel or an Ermine but he does not seem very interested in the chickens. I had some leftover sausage from a quiche earlier in the week so I put it out to lure him for a photo op..

it's not easy being Cheesy!

..I got within 3 ft of him..Hes not too scared of me

..there had been mice in the shed..he took away a mouse trap..I assume with a mouse carcass in it

1 Comment

Posted by on January 15, 2011 in Animals, Pests, Wildlife


Tags: , , , ,

entertainment in times of no electricity

..we are lame.

As I mentioned a couple of months ago the TV went the way of the dodo. Its gone. I actually saw a cool idea that I might implement for the TV..a felt test pattern. Saw it on a site I often visit so I may steal the idea and do it up myself on a larger scale.

seems fitting for a broken TV..but why bother keeping a broken TV?

Besides that what do we do nightly? Watch a movie on the and when we are feeling really energetic we play a game or something..Dominion is one of our favorite games right easy card game with lots of variety so every game is different and coming up with 1 strategy to win is impossible. A good way to pass the time next to a roaring fire..the coffee table and 3 hours of this = a sore back.

...its easier then it looks!

We also play some other games Carcissone and the occasional game of chess. We used to play chess more but A* still has not beat me in 25 years so we don’t play as often anymore. We actually met in the chess club in junior high too. I may let her beat me this year as an early Christmas gift. I was a video game addict in a previous life and if there is one thing I miss more than anything else about limited power is the fact that I cannot stay up until 3AM in an attempt to beat an end of game board games will have to suffice. I do still play a PSP but its not the same..especially since most games skip the PSP but what can you do!

1 Comment

Posted by on January 12, 2011 in fun, lighting, power


Tags: , , , , , ,

Binocular Follow-up

..a shadow of my former self

..I am an idiot.

I was looking around for mirrors and for ways to keep fog off mirrors for my binocular stand..pricing new mirrors and stuff all in the hopes of using my Zhumell Tachyons more regularly in the winter..not much success. Then I started to say to myself, ‘..if only there were a way that I could use the stand without needing to use a mirror…’ when I had a thought. Why not just turn the binoculars around so they point up instead of down at a mirror? ONce again, one of those instants where you wonder why it took so long to come up with such a simple solution to a problem. So, when I got home I grabbed my gear and headed outside. Turned the binoculars around, aimed ( roughly ) and there was stood out bright red and with the extra light pick up it was surrounded by other stars that were usually too dim to see. Next I moved onto a planet…I focused in on Jupiter. You could clearly make out the planet and I could see 4 of the moons as well..pretty neat. In the 9 months I have had the binoculars these were the clearest viewings I have had and I cannot wait to see more. Also, I read a story the other day that a 10 year old girl found a supernova somewhere in Canada on her first attempt at trying to find one..apparently she had 50 pictures to compare the stars to and on picture #4 she found a new supernova…amazing. I am envious. I have been reading a book called ‘a brief history of nearly everything and there is a whole section on a guy in Austrailia who had found numerous supernovas with basic equipment.

..and now that I have something working...there is peace in the land.

Leave a comment

Posted by on January 7, 2011 in Construction


Quadrantid last night was cloudy and I did not get a chance to see the Quadrantid at their peak. It is supposed to be one of the better meteor showers of the year with the moon on the other side of the planet..tonight was clear so I headed outside with the new and old binoculars…I am having some major fog issues with the mirror configuration. Due to the height on the table I cannot sit so I need to hover over the eyepiece..and after 5 minutes of this in -5C all of the stars become blurry..from the fog on the mirror from me breathing. Not optimal but for now I can deal with it..maybe more of a summer project at this point. So I settled for the naked eye..which is best for meteors anyway. I was out for an hour before it clouded over so I only got to see 2 shooting stars. Also, I think its coyote mating season and supposedly it is one of the more active months as far as howling is concerned and I did hear a coyote way off..which is where I hope they stay.

I also upgraded the mirror from the time I took this picture. I use a smaller one now so it fogs up quicker…that’s convenience!

Leave a comment

Posted by on January 4, 2011 in fun