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Showing posts from 2010

Plowing Along

I like snowplowing. I don't know if it's a guy thing - the equipment part, or the almost meditative quality of the task. It's more productive than meditating via T.V. My skidsteer is still undergoing some maintenance so I've been using Brother Tom's modern cat.  All in all by the time I get the machine back to Tom's it's a four hour job.  I probably have to do it at least ten or twelve times a winter.


Tom's machine has more power than my old girl and I can actually plow our driveway, a kilometer of it, while going uphill. Plowing the place makes it easier to get around. Getting the paths clear to the various outbuildings makes getting to the animals and plants a whole lot easier. And of course without plowing it is pretty hard to get to town. I can sometimes get out without plowing when the snow is over two feet high, but unable to get back up. I don't have chains for the truck I am using now, and while studded winter tires will get me pretty f…

Full Of Hot Air

I love popcorn.  I have a bunch of boxes of #10 cans filled with popcorn.  I have a hot air popcorn machine but it is a real pain picking up the kernels that end up flying everywhere.  Ah, when the student is ready the teacher will appear.

Here's a method I picked up from Wendy at her Surviving the Suburbs Blog:

Now she used a wood stove which I can do out in the green house or Barn but I tried it on our electric range and it worked perfectly.  All popped, no oil, no mess and the sieve didn't even get hot.

If you're in the mood for some hot air popcorn with no fuss or muss give it a try!

Deck The Halls

We're starting to go into a bit of a cold snap.  Yesterday when I was bidding the Barn animals good morning I was admiring the frost painting on Boose's window.

Now don't worry she's plenty warm.  That's a folded up electric blanket that she sleeps on. It keeps her butt warm and toasty.  It's good to have her in the Barn.  Haven't seen a spec of mouse crap around since she declared it her territory.  Despite lot's of feed scattered around the place.

We got a couple of more loads of wood yesterday while the sun was shining. And our nose hairs weren't frozen. This was a bug killed pine that was very branchy.  When I cut it down it lay eight feet off the ground on the branches and that took some cutting to bring it safely down to the ground.  We had to cut the tree into half so that Jo-Ann could skid them out to the path side to facilitate cutting them up.  The stump is always the heaviest part of the tree and I was dragging parts of my anatomy as well…

Stinky Mail

That's the kind we occasionally get.  Thankfully.  The local post office phoned us and wanted to know if we were expecting a package - that smelled.  Jo-Ann's Auntie Roberta had turned us on to Oka Cheese last year so our hopes were up.  We assuaged their fears that it was a dead animal and assured them we would be in to take the odiferous package away.  There was no hiding the smell when we picked up the package. Delightful.  Home for tea, some delicious Auntie Roberta, world famous, hand made crunchy biscotti.

With a ration of Oka.  It's got to last.  At least until it's gone.  It is just nothing we can get in a local store.  I found one at the Coast but it was a pale remembrance of the real thing.  How can something smell so odiferous and yet taste so good.  It's a cheese thing I suppose.  The only other example I can think of is Durian Fruit - smells like baby poop, tastes like honey.  Don't leave it in your fridge.

Finally got a moment to fill the 45 gallo…

Dog Tired

I took the day off.  Sort of.  No falling trees - just the usual chores.  Sometimes it just catches up with me.  The doggies have been pulling a disappearing act the last little while and while they do return it sure takes them a while after I stand on the porch and call them.  I decided today to follow their tracks as we had about an inch of fresh snow last night and it would make tracking them pretty easy.  I grabbed my camel back, with its little supply of emergency goodies, decided I didn't need the snow shoes, and started tracking.  Should have taken the shoes.

Just as I started down the driveway following their tracks Xena showed up and was  happy to show me where she had been and where Cleo still was. It was like they were very excited to show me where they had been playing.

 -With the rabbits down in the Christmas Tree field and just over our West fence line.  So we ended up going for a bit of a slog up our West fence line trail and back across the snow covered pasture to …

Where's the Beef!

That would be a pickup truck full of meat trimmings.  It's all destined for Doggie Food.  As a matter of fact right now we have a large pot of stew simmering away on the stove.  With the additions of some green beans and carrots it's starting to smell pretty good.  No salt or spices - just good old grass fed blue beef - with a few chunks of moose meat thrown in just because they love it.  And you can't beat the price.
After   a lot of research into various dog food brands and the pet food industry in general, we discovered that it is healthier and cheaper for us to buy a cow and grind it up for dog food than it is to buy dog food.  A way cheaper.  And healthier.  And that is weird.  Do some research on what is found in Animal food - it will make you shudder.  I guess, technically, chicken feet and feathers are "Chicken Parts", slather some lard on it and dogs will eat it.  Why?  They have too.  A lot of it is just junk food.  And if you think that " they must…

Bundle up

We've come out of  two week stretch of -20.  Today it's sun and just below freezing.  A good day for unthawing the skid steer.  I have some drive problems with it and want to get it into the heated garage to work on it.  When I tried to move it the left hand side was frozen solid.  Time to bundle it up, stick on a magnet block heater, plug in a circulating block heater, battery charger and ceramic heater.


Today it's very warm.  If I can't move it I will have to resort to an old cold weather trick.  Placing a stove pipe under the oil pan and using  a tiger torch to help thaw it out.  A tiger torch for those who don't know is basically a propane blow torch.  If that doesn't work it will sit until spring - which will make plowing out the driveway dependent on Brother Tom's skid-steer availability.

We've been enjoying tomatoes and cucumbers from the green house.

 What a delicious thrill!  On a  sad note one of the cuc's has become infested with some kind…

Green House Winter

The green house makes a nice hang out in the winter storms.  Looks down right cozy at times.  We're harvesting cucumbers and tomatoes now.  Complete with herbs, like Savory and Basil.

Winter brings some wonderful sunrises.


Hope your having a fun, warm week.





Stupid Is As Stupid Does...

It's winter.  It takes some adjusting.  Time to get the long johns out, find all the missing mittens, snow boots and scarfs.  Get the equipment up to winter requirements.  Oh wait, isn't that last part supposed to happen before winter really sets in.

Last night I did something so stupid I can't believe I did it.  Denial being my first form of defense.  Our Trusty 4X4 Toyota is down for an engine replacement.  We had to pick up some freezer stock from a butcher yesterday.  Of course it was -20C and over a foot of snow.  He warned us that he wasn't plowed out yet so we had better bring a 4 wheel drive.  Our 16 year old Ford Aero Star van is AWD and has great studded snow tires - but it only has a summer thermostat.  Useless in this cold.  Of course the first thing was to charge the batteries, and then we were off to Pick up the meat - the sun was out so it wasn't too bad.  But we were running late so we turned around and headed to Burns Lake where Jo had a three hour…

The Winter of Our Discontent

It was -17℃ this morning.  We're in a white out snow storm and it's starting to build.  Of course I don't have the skid-steer running or plow attached.  I've put that off a day or so too long.  Ah Winter!

I am busy right now painting a friends house in the valley and refinishing the kitchen cabinets, so that they can move in.  Brother Tom is drywalling and mudding part of the place so I have to paint around that which tends to slow the process up a bit. Hopefully I will finish that up in a couple of three days and get back to doing some work around here.  Like get the skid-steer in the garage.

Time to update the blog pics.  There's nothing green around here anymore.

 I do enjoy the winter as much as I like to complain about it.  Even this snowstorm is peaceful, quiet. It gives me some time for reflection.  Remind me of that come February when I've had enough will you.  My secret weapon for this winter is having the green house.  Nice to look out past the cuke…

Stuck

I got home yesterday from a quick visit down to the Coast to hold my new granddaughter.  One of the jobs on the before it snows list was  ☑ Change to Winter Tires.  Seems like there's always one job at least I didn't get done.

As we were doubtful about the reliability of any of our vehicles my Sister in Law lent me her newer snow studded tire equipped front wheel drive car for the trip.  I had swapped her mine while I was away.  The one with out the snow tires..

Today I dropped her car off and picked up mine.  Having to travel through six inches of snow on Savory road to get it to her should have got me thinking... but no.  Nary a thought as we swapped vehicles.

With Jo-Ann in the car being very quiet we managed to negotiate the place where the sun doesn't shine on Savory road up our driveway - until the right angled bend.  After a few attempts including trying to back up I had to admit defeat and we ended up walking up the hill.  Fortunately a lovely sunny day.

After so…

Back to the Trenches

Brother Tom came up this morning and dug a trench to take a large electrical cable to the greenhouse.  This means that I can have 240 volt power in the green house. Right now it's running on a 110 volt extension cord, not the most electrically efficient method.  A small baseboard heater on a thermostat will prevent any freezing disasters.  I have a conduit run to the green house from the main house but the armored and waterproof Teck cable was too big to pull down the 50 meters of  1 1/2"  poly.  Instead we direct buried the cable and will reserve the conduit for some Cat V cable to take data and internet out to the green house.  What would a green house be without WWW and control signals?


Doesn't matter how much earth moving machinery is used, you still need someone wielding a shovel.

The after picture.  Thanks to the excavator, skid-steer and pre-positioned back fill sand, the job only took an hour and a half.  I know it's going to take the electrician longer than t…

Painting by Frost

Our first  discussion this morning was concerning when to  light the "Big Kahuna",  our large wood furnace waiting in the basement.  Soon we will need to feed it large rounds of pine, but this morning we'll see if the upstairs heater can banish the chill.  Outside our world is  a  white painting .

 The morning fog retreated up the Eastern Cliffs revealing  a thick frost, turning  the tall grass in our yard to white feathers.  The Poplars are resplendent in their new garb, a fashionable white and grey.  Everyone is wearing it this season.  Cleo returned, somewhat quickly, from her morning walk with a tiara of snow crystals on her head   and a firm vociferous conviction that now, right this minute, it was  time to come in the house and check in with the cats.  And perhaps the state of her bed  from which she can lounge and watch the warming flames  in  the living room heater.

Some how in yesterdays pre- snow cleanup I seem to have strained my back.  Jo-Ann managed to tortu…

What a Joint

Closer inspection reveals that our 1994 Ford Aerostar AWD van was suffering from a Constant Velocity joint failure.  It is our second vehicle and has taken the place of our Toyota pick up while we save some money to get it fixed.  So spent yesterday with brother Tom and a friend replacing the joint assembly.

We were outside in 5c weather and I was glad for my heavy insulated work coat, gloves,vest and thermal pants.  And very grateful for friends that are better mechanics than me.  And had the right assortment of tork, allen, impact drivers, jack stands and sundry other general hand tools it took to make the repairs.  It was quite a job and provided plenty of opportunity to wonder about the designers of vehicles.  Why they would use so many different fasteners in such ridiculously difficult places to get to.

I am starting to believe the reason for that was indeed the automotive designers revenge on mechanics after coming home to find an auto-mechanic in a compromising position with …

Blog Change

So somebody in China has figured out how to get past word verification to dump a whole pile of crap on my blog.  So you don't have to read this junk mail I have implemented the review before posting option.  Hope that cuts down on the crap.  I am not sure of how it was done.  Maybe a simple cut and paste.  Hard to believe somewhere on this planet there is someone who is making money by pasting spam to Blog posts.

Where will it end.    Sometimes I just hate the WWW.  

Spent the last couple of days making two trips to Prince George to pick up a free freezer in order to store  dog food ( variety cow. ) On the try yesterday our Van crapped out - possible CV Joint- and we had to limp home sans freezer.  Today the truck we borrowed lost its turn and brake lights- fortunately simply a blown fuse.  This has been a tough year on us vehicle wise that's for sure.  And as it turned out the "free" freezer was a small one not the 21 cubic feet one we were counting on.  Ah well the…

Canned Dog

They piggies are slurping up goodies like cheese, mashed potatoes, apples and Cream that come in number 10 cans.  The dogs favorite is the Cheese.  Cleo demonstrates the proper method of getting that last tender morsel from the can.

While checking in with the piggies and chicks this morning I noticed that the window Boose, the cat looks out of was broken in and her cat box and flowers had been overturned.  she was sitting on a chair looking most disgruntled and couldn't wait to get back to her luxury, electrically heated, catnap pad.




This was a very old window that was broken.  I just fixed it up with some caulk and a piece of plastic.  I couldn't help but admire how the window was built.  The craftsmanship of the putty holding the glass in place.  The little diamond metal points that secured the glass while the putty set up.   I don't know how old this window was but something tells me it could have predated me.  I tried to fix up a puttied window last year and had a hard …

Trimming Down

Well, up and sideways.  We got the barnwood trim done on the front windows of the Green Haus.  Looks nice and makes it more weather and water proof.



 If I get a couple of warm days I may even be able to do some caulking.  I also managed to gravel the path to the G'haus and a camper parking pad.  Complete with geo-textile that a  friend dropped off. The next action is to finish insulating the skirting around the Front and sides ( the backs done) and then move inside for window covers and thermal shades.  O.K.  Those would be second hand quilts from Value Village in Prince George - but they all match - and the price was right.  Just need to invent some kind of pulley system to get them out of the way to let the Sun in.

A friend let us use his dumping trailer so we spent three days dumping our pit gravel on the soft spots on our driveway.  After thirty five loads and a day of grading with Tom's skid steer we have an all weather, mud free drive.  A big cornerstone and job off the …

Take a Side

Or siding.  Blessesd with three days of warm sunny weather and the arrival of a willing friend we managed to complete the outside framing, add insulation and siding.


 Of course we had to have a few coffee breaks to discuss job progress.

The siding and two by fours and insulation was salvaged from a house that we tore down this summer.  Diverted from a landfill or burn pile.

The insulation is now up to R50 and the way the wall is framed there are thermal breaks between the insulation inside and outside.  It has made a huge difference in temperature.  With the HPS lights burning it was -2 outside and 18c inside.  And that's with out having the 45 gallon drums all full.

Now we are trimming the windows and doors with one by Barnwood.  Mostly 6 1/2 inches but some of it 13 inch planks.  It will probably have to wait until a warm spring day before it gets stained.

To celebrate we took a day off and went on an Agate hunting trip.  The Volcanic strata around here is a boon to rockhounds.…