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Showing posts from December, 2009

Lunch of Champions

The package on the left was in my Christmas stocking. The can of "Energy Drink" came from a 7-11. The combination, priceless. Not taste tested yet.

Not so with this soup. It has been thoroughly taste tested. This was the famous, and utterly delicious, smoked meat soup - complete with home made, whole wheat buns.
I made a quick run to the coast with Kevin and Sara to make a friends Birthday Party. She was 34 - and I'm not talking age. The place was packed. It was great seeing friends I've missed having face to face with. Some I haven't seen in over 20 years.

On the way down to the Coast, moving at highway speeds, Kevin snapped this picture through the window of the car :
Here's one he did in the Woods back at Xanadu. It reminds me of a Bev Doolittle painting and I keep looking for hidden horses..
This size, reduced a 1000% for the web, doesn't do the original justice. I am going to try and get it printed on canvas in a 24" X 36" size, dire…

The Great Snow Adventure

Today we rolled out of bed late. Still feeling the tryptophan stupification from the smoked turkey supper yesterday.

It was a glorious thing. Not a large turkey only about 5 kilos, much larger wouldn't have fit in the smoker. Took about four hours. Well worth the effort. Kevin's secret turkey rub added a succulent finish to it.

We were anxious to try out our new inventions: Snot Dots, and Booger Bands. Snot dots are plush fabric circles that are strategically attached to the back of winter mitts with a Velcro patch.

They make clearing iced up glasses, or even, as the name suggests, iced up noses. Booger bands are the same idea but simply slip over winter mittens and can be rotated to find an un-used section as need be.

We didn't get the snow shoes strapped on and started out until about two p.m. Sara got some new shoes for Christmas and here's a photo of her making the first ascent of Mount Aras.

She ascended by the technically challenging West face rather than the…

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to you and yours.


If you look closely I think you might be able to see Grandma waving from an upstairs window. We see her from time to time. Peeking our from behind a window curtain. We'll snow shoe up later today and drop off a care package. I think she likes visitors..

The animals are all in their mangers.
Jack, our new kitten, is saying hello to guest Lucy. Jack is an amazing cat with no fear of dogs, that has changed how Cleo relates to the cats. He adopted Cleo and became her buddy which I think really helped Cleo with the other cats. Quite funny to see Jack hanging onto Cleo's leash. Cleo went "off Leash" in the house yesterday. That's a real mile stone in her integration to the house pack. As a matter of fact Kevin also taught her to shake a paw. Here's a picture just after she was boring in the snow for mice:
Lucy, Kevin and Sara's Coon Hound, has been having a lot of fun in an unfamiliar environment. Learning all the grea…

Tannenbaum

It warmed up to zero, two days later we had a foot of snow and temperatures went back down to the -30's with a daytime temp of -25. And it was time to get the Christmas tree. We didn't have one picked out this year but I had a path plowed out to the field and we "donned our gay apparel", layers of thermal underwear, wool underwear, down jackets, wool and leather mitts - with inner gloves, full face balaclavas and neoprene face masks. I'm still not having any luck with my glasses freezing up - even with a new mask I purchased at Mountain Equipment Co-op.


And then we had to pee. Mothers everywhere it gets cold, are familiar with that phenomenon. We found a few candidates and then a nice blue spruce.
After posing in front of a candidate tree and waiting for the resident and guest photogs to immortalize the moment we chopped down a nice one, trussed it up and towed it back to the path so we could skid it back up the driveway to the garage to season for the night…

The Road Less Traveled.

Cuz it's -35 and getting colder. The chickens are laying frozen eggs.

I like the look on Cleo's face: Yikes! Dad are you going to wear that?
I guess it would give me a start too, if I wasn't expecting it.

Indeed I am. No problem keeping the core warm. Even the hands. A pair of light knit glove, then a wool glove then a thick lambswool insulated leather over-mitt. Toasty. The trick is to keep my glasses from icing over. When I wear a face mask to keep my schnozz from freezing I just can't seem to keep my glasses from freezing over.

When we spent a lot of time, a few years ago, winter camping we wore face masks with snow goggles. I still had them but when I went to put them on the foam lining had all deteriorated and just wouldn't work. I went into town but the local sports store doesn't have any so will have to wait until I get to a bigger centre in order to grab a pair.

In the mean time I got the brainiac idea to try a pair of safety goggles. Well they wo…

Compost

The Mark 2B model.

Since the large compost pile is frozen over and hard to move around with the blade on the skidsteer we resurrected the tire composter to handle the winters compost supply. Jo-Ann grinds all the compost material until it looks, well, like ground up processed food, like, well yes, that stuff. They idea is that it will break down a whole lot faster.

The tire composter is made of logging truck tires that have the sidewalls cut out. The top bulge is a small truck tire that has been turned inside out. The lid is made from a discarded plastic garbage can. We can add more rings to increase the volume but it probably won't be necessary. We keep dirt in the shop so that it doesn't freeze and put that between layers of ground up material.

The tires sit on top of a solid pallet so come spring, I can pick the whole thing up and move it over to the re-tired garden.

Of course not a lot of composting is going to happen at sub zero temperatures. I am having a look at how c…

Electrifying News

Now don't try this at home folks. I'm a trained professional.
I'm installing an emergency power system so that when our power is out we can keep essential electrical equipment operating. Our grid power disappears at least half a dozen times a year, not counting minor outages. The longest outage we've had so far is about a week. Usually they happen right after snow storms. Essential systems for us are two freezers, a fridge, some CFL lighting and two laptops. We have a wireless internet connection that is beamed to us from a mountain about 15 kilometres away. It enabled us to reach the outside world during major outages. After a day or so the batteries in the local telephone exchange building run down so there is no land line service. Lighting isn't a big need as it is covered by flashlights and Coleman lamps. At least one readily available flashlight is strategically placed in each room. We have wood heating and gravity fed water so we can stay warm and fl…

Citizens of WhoVille

I love this tree. It would make a memorable Christmas Tree. I must have walked by it many times over the last four years but never noticed it. Of course it was growing but I thought I would have noticed its charming Who-ville like qualities.. This tree is in the "Christmas Tree Field". It is a couple of acres half way down our kilometer long driveway, that was cleared years ago and , the locals tell me, a prolific pasture . As near as I can tell it was around twenty years or so ago . Then the pasture was just left to let Mother Nature take over. It is now covered with Spruce, Pine, Balsam and Fir. Some of them three inches around and 15 feet high. Most of the pine trees seem to have missed the pine beetle scourge. Maybe because the trees were surrounded by Spruce and Balsam camouflage.

Or maybe when the pine beetles saw this tree they couldn't stop laughing enough to bore in.

I can see the same in fill process happening in all our fields. First Mom sends …

Snap

Last night we had a cold snap. It went from +2 to -21 over night and this morning when we got up it was -12. A snap like that does wonderful things to the trees making it look like it has just snowed when none fell. Just ice crystals sparkling on all the trees and fields.

I've heard predictions that Western Canada will be having a less cold than usual winter. Looking forward to evaluating the truth of that prediction.

In the meantime I've made sure all the machinery that I want to run has working block heaters and can be plugged into trickle chargers to keep the batteries in tip top shape. When it gets to about -20 or so the cold batteries just don't have a lot of power to turn over an engine - especially if it has cold oil.

When it get's to -30 I will cover the equipment with a tarp and plug in a heater to give it a chance at starting. Mind you at that temperature I have a hard time getting me started! But it just doesn't last these days. Not like a few deca…