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December 24, 2008
Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow!
Welcome to our winter wonderland. I’m not sure how much snow we’ve gotten so far but it’s piled so high that we had a mini-avalanche onto our back deck last night, burying a row of firewood (which I’ll have to dig out soon). The temperatures have been brutally cold with a low of -30C on the night of the 22nd. All the chickens made it although Lucy brought one into the kitchen as she was seeming listless. Some fresh water and food in a warm environment and she perked right up and back out she went. Now to clean up that kitchen floor.
Lucy and I have been sick for the last 4 days with the stomach flu. Running to the outhouse every few minutes isn’t a lot of fun.
We got the tracks on the ATV December 10th, the day after another humongous snow dump. I had cleverly stored the tracks at the trailhead in anticipation of putting them on myself, but when Serge quoted me $20 to do the job, well there was no hesitation. Lucy managed to drive the ATV out through the snow but there was no question of hauling the trailer with the tracks in it. Instead that task fell to the little Yamaha Elan which just managed to haul out one track at a time in the sled, abet with much pushing going up the hills. Instead of arriving at Serges at 10AM we finally got there at 2 PM.
Last week I bought myself a 1992 Yamaha Bravo, long track, complete with sled for $1,000. Quite the deal. She’s in perfect condition and just eats up the snow. Great for getting back and forth the 2 kilometers from the cabin to the car. The throttle froze up on me last week and the ride out was exhilarating! Instead of varying the speed I would hit the kill switch to slow down and then pull it out to roar onwards. Some silicon spray. A few taps and prying with a screwdriver and the throttle mechanism is back in play.
Not so the ATV. We were having an impossible time starting her finally resorting to Quickstart. She started but then roared and wouldn’t settle down into an idle. We tried everything including dismantling the choke, spraying her with carb cleaner, called the shop several times and just about gave up (well at least I did) when Lucy commented on the shiny wire poking out through the throttle cable cover. Well the throttle had been stuck before and one method (besides greasing it which we finally did) to free it was to yank on the cable. Yep, we had stretched the housing so much that the cable found itself too short and couldn’t slide back far enough. I disconnected the throttle cable from the throttle wire and tried her. She started up and idled just fine. A couple of days later in the -20C temp and she won’t start again. Well it’s going up to 0C today so we’ll try again.
Merry Christmas to All from Dwight, Lucy and our furry and feathery friends at LoneWolfCabin.
December 1, 2008
The Road less Plowed
I got myself a Subaru 4WD this year. I knew it would prove helpful getting back and forth on our road. We have about a foot of snow down but we’ve kept the road well packed with cars, the ATV and recently the snowmobile. Lucy is keeping her car at the main road but I’m parked at the trailhead. When the loggers get here the road will be well packed but until then, probably the end of December, we’re keeping it open ourselves. We got the plow out for the bike and I’ll get it on this week as I’m sure we’ll need it soon.
Perhaps sooner than I thought. The temperature was above 0C during the night with rain falling which softened up the snow considerably. Even in 4WD in low gear I didn’t think I would make it up the first hill. I stopped and backed up a few times when I seemed to be slipping off the track and made it up. Steering was almost impossible as the car swung left and right catching every rut. At one point I was off the road so I stopped, dug out the side in the deep snow, got my steel tracks out and made it back on the road, going almost sideways for several hundred feet before straightening out. If we get the huge wet snowfall they are promising I think I’ll leave the car at the road and take the snowmobile out tomorrow.
Getting out to the ACC AGM
We made it out to the Alpine Club’s AGM and potluck dinner Sunday night. It was great to get out (like we always promise ourselves we will do) and see so many friends that we haven’t seen in a long, long time. Ice reports are that there is climbable ice at Lac Poisson. We offered to have a winter outing at Lone Wolf in January or February. The skating rink should be in good shape by then. People were excited.
November 22, 2008
How things Change when the Snow Arrives
The lake froze over for good overnight. I chopped a hole on Sunday and measured 4 inches of ice. Strong enough for skating I figured so Winston and I spend a fun hour skating and chasing pucks. Lucy would have joined us but she had a kink in her back and wasn’t up to it. It didn’t last long though as snow arrived soon after and covered up the ice.
I took Thursday Nov 27th off. Lucy and I got the chains on the ATV and the snowmobile running. There is about a foot of snow on the ground.
One month to the shortest day of the year. We’re only getting about 4 hours of sun on the solar panels now, when the sun is shining. Interestingly, the panels produce about 2 amps of power when the sun is out but not hitting them. It seems that the reflected light off the snow carries enough energy to produce some power. It’s been overcast and snowing most every day for a week and some days there is just no sun. The battery banks are down. We’ve taken to running the generator for about ½ hour first thing in the morning and late in the evening. This gives us enough power for Lucy to be on the computer during the morning and lights and tv watching during the night. It helps to have a backup system. I’ve been paying attention to the wind and there has been enough the last week to make wind power viable in the fall. Once the loggers are finished above the cabin I’ll order my wind generator and get it installed. I’m looking at an inexpensive 300W 120VAC system. The 120V is a bonus. I’ll be able to run a couple hundred feet of extension cord without worrying about line loss.
Lucy and I went exploring on the new logging road from Andre’s yard to Jane lake. The trees start off as softwoods but change to hardwood as you get near the lake. We spotted quite a few oaks and maples close to us. Great firewood for next year. Lucy spotted an oak fallen and hung up in the fork of a maple. I went back later and cut it down. It was fun, first cutting through one side, watching the oak teeter totter over, cutting the other side and watching it teeter totter back. I did this several times until there was an 8 foot length lodged about 10 feet in the fork of the maple, too high for me to get to.
November 17, 2008
Scrabble, or How I became a Pauper (6 letters)
Now that the sun is setting by 5 PM we have lots of evening time to spend indoors reading and playing scrabble. Last year the scrabble queen had picked my pockets by a quarter or 50 cents or a loonie a game. This year our first game started with a $10 challenge. Was I up to it? What the heck, if I lost all my money then honey could pay the bills instead, so I plunked my $10 down. Now Lucy is a great strategic player, going for the double and triple counts and the double and triple words as well. Every other game she will clear her letters for 50 bonus points. She is a formidable player. I drew a pile of D’s G’s and F’s to start, high point letters and I was feeling good. I put a G on the end of her YIN on my first move but was challenged and lost. Had I looked at my letters more closely I would have seen TOYING which I placed on my second round. From there it was a battle back and forth. I managed to score a number of triples and block double runs but Lucy was playing with her ruthless brilliance as usual. Final score, Lucy 314, Dwight 308. Had I not lost my opening play I am convinced I would have won. Well there are lots of games ahead of us. I hope my pockets are deep enough.
November 14, 2008
The Three Bow Hunters
Last weekend I was in Florida, having driven down with my Dad. It was a two day trip and Mom stayed behind as the boys went down to open up the trailer. Lucy and I drove Mom to the airport on Sunday and the two snowbirds are now snug in their winter home.
Driving down our lane on our way home we noticed our neighbour, Alain, in his bright hunters vest, standing beside his ATV on the side of the road. We are very strict about keeping people off our property so I knew that there was an important reason for him to be there. We stopped to see what was up. Alain apologized for being on our land saying that they had shot a deer on their property but it had run and they had tracked it up the hill from where we were standing.
One of the hunters came down the hill through the bush. There is a side trail going up in that direction so we went up to see the deer. I’ve never hunted so the sight of the deer being dressed was new to me. One of the hunters was elbow deep in it’s belly cutting the guts out. The smell was overwhelming, eugh, guts really stink!
I spent about 10 minutes with them, chatting about bow hunting and how to clean a buck. It turns out that the gentleman who shot the deer had been hunting for the last 4 weekends, and just now, 1 hour before hunting season closed, he got his deer. I thanked them tracking down the wounded deer and congratulated the hunters on their success. One of them offered to drop off a nice juicy deer steak for us. I can hardly wait!
Monday November 3, 2008
Crossing Frozen Jane Lake
It doesn’t take Jane Lake long to freeze up. A few cold nights with no wind and in the morning you are greeted by a reflective glass coating on the water. Not thick enough to hold your weight and hopefully not thick enough to stop a canoe.
I walked out around the lake on the new logging road that had been put in just the week before. The day was spent at work as usual followed by Monday night volleyball. I had chatted with Lucy during the day and she said that the ice had melted so crossing that night would be easy.
By the time I got to the dock it was about 10 PM. The sun had been down for hours and the temperature was dropping. There was a thin layer of ice around the canoes at the dock. Just starting to form I thought, having forgotten that the ice was always thinnest on the far shore. I broke through the ice with my paddle as I moved across the lake. Within a few tens of feet the ice got thicker and the canoe started to ride up on the ice before breaking through. After a few more feet I had to stand up in order to break through the ice to paddle. About a quarter of the way across, the canoe was completely on the ice and I was breaking through the ice surface with the paddle in order to be able to push against the ice. What I need is a stick with a nail in the end of it I muttered, this is really hard on the paddle. That was about when my paddle snapped, one too many jabs into the ice. Luckily I had another one in the canoe so I started again, very carefully. We have a floating dock about 2/3 of the was across and I was contemplating landing there for a breather but I thought the effort of getting there would be better put into getting across. I started shouting out for Lucy, hoping she would hear me. If she could throw me a rope then maybe I could pull myself across. However the cabin is well insulated and I couldn’t get her attention. Winston was out watching me from the dock so I started to howl, hoping he would join in and Lucy would come out to investigate. Well it worked with Winston and myself howling and with Lucy occasionally joining in from within the cabin. As she later said, “I could hear you outside having fun howling with Winston. You sure seemed to be taking a long time crossing the lake!”
Well about ½ hour from when I first started paddling I got to the dock on the opposite side, normally a 3 minute paddle. “Why didn’t you get out and push the canoe?” my wondering honey asked. Why not indeed? I can just imagine that adventure!
October 31, 2008
Postscript. The lake was completely frozen over this morning. I just managed to break through the ice in the canoe. The forecast is lows of -14C over the weekend. I’ll probably be walking out by next week.
October 30, 2008
Winter Wonderland – The Ice Storm Revisited (in a very minor way)
Well that was the shortest fall on record! October was spent hustling to get ready for the coming winter. Firewood was cut, split, hauled and stacked, a new shelter was put up at the trailhead (just in time too as the cheapy collapsed last weekend) and a general cleanup and pickup was done around the cabin, coinciding with the arrival of our first guests staying in the yurt. On tuesday October 28th , I arrived at home just as the first snowflakes were falling. There was a winter storm warning in effect but we were well prepared with plenty of firewood and fully charged batteries.
I got up at 6AM Wednesday morning determined to get to work before the inevitable morning traffic tie up. There was a good 6 inches of snow on the ground as I bailed and shoveled out the canoe in the morning darkness. I paddled across the lake and started walking out to the car. There were many trees overhanging the trail, weighted down by snow. I had planned on clearing some trees back from the road and now I knew which ones to take down. Just over the first hill I came across the first tree across the trail, just a small one but enough to prevent the ATV from getting through. Then another, then another. By the time I got to Deer Crossing Bridge I had counted 6 trees that would need to be cut before the bike could get through, two of them right at the bridge. “Gosh, I’m going to have some work to do when I get home tonight”, I thought. “I can’t wait to tell Lucy about my trip out. Hmmm, I better not! She’ll be out here with her chainsaw and have it all cleared up by the time I get home.” “That’s too much fun for one person.”
From Deer Crossing bridge to the cars there were another half dozen trees down plus innumerable hanging branches and when I got to the trailhead there was a big balsam across the trail and a birch leaning on my brand new shelter! As I started the car and cleaned off the windows I thought that I would be busy the rest of the week cleaning up.
By now the morning sun was coming up and I turned off my headlamp. I looked up the road and could just make out a dark line across the road partway up the hill. Letting the car warm up I took a little walk and confirmed the worst. There was a huge pine across the road and there was no way to drive around it. A little further up the hill a birch was blocking the road too. Ah well, I thought. I guess I’m not going into work this morning.
About ¾ of an hour after I left, I was back at the cabin for another cup of coffee and breakfast. I got the chainsaw and buck saw out and Lucy, Winston and I took a walk out in our winter wonderland.
After surveying the scene Lucy and Winston went back to the camp and I started working my way to the main road. “Since you are heading out, can you take the garbage with you?” Lucy asked. I am happy to report that at 2 PM I finally got to Stanyar Road and I put out the garbage. Final count, about 12 trees removed from across the trail and road, and about 30 trees with overhanging branches cut down as well.
October 9, 2008
Fall has Arrived
And with the arrival of fall comes all the chores involved with putting away the toys of summer and getting ready for the trials of winter.
It is with great sadness that I must tell you that the Blue Lagoon has been removed from the water, scrubbed clean of the summer collection of algae on the bottom and sparkling wine stains on the top, and put away until the arrival of next spring. As well, the paddle boat and the cedar strip canoe are away until next spring. The passive solar hot water piping is gone as well and our little hot tub is looking a bit forlorn with a layer of brown cedar tips covering it.
Some new arrivals are 2 cords of split wood stacked behind the solar panel support. This makes about 5 cords of wood ready for this winter. That should be enough. If not, there are two cords blocked and drying by the garden and I’ll be cutting down a couple of standing dried hardwood trees just in case. Oh yes, we also bought a cord of kiln dried maple pieces, leftovers from furniture making that John discovered. Hopefully this will burn nicely in the wood stove in the yurt.
The loggers, with their road building machines, have come and gone. We now have three new logging roads on the far side of the creek, from the large yard on Andre’s and Susan’s property all the way to our little lake. We also have a couple of new roads from the trailhead all the way to the cabin. It was quite interesting watching the large excavator coming through the bush, knocking down trees left and right as the roads were made. We’ve walked these new roads and they have opened up areas of the property that we normally wouldn’t get to. Overall, getting these new roads in is a plus.
Oh yes, I’ve purchased approximately 60 acres alongside the road from John to add to our property. Lucy says I’m now a land baron so that makes her a baroness.
The otters are still swimming in our lake, munching on fish about 4 times a day. Lucy is baking up a storm, I’m chopping wood and everything is perfect in Lucyland.
September 8, 2008
Lucy and I were busy on the weekend getting the bathroom ready. Lucy had taken out the composting toilet and replaced it with a birch tree pissoir! I was busy plumbing a Coleman cooler water tank from above the sink through the wall, down to the floor and then back up to the sink faucet. I went from the cooler to ¾ inch PVC tubing, to ½ “ PVC to 1/2 “ some kind of indoor white stuff to flexi steel to the faucet connectors. All I needed was to throw in a copper line and all the plumbing food groups would be represented. Just one small leak noticed and after the joint was tightened the wall went back up on another project almost finished.
September 4, 2008
Is summer nearly over or has it just started? From the weather this week I’d say that summer has just begun! We moved our fall party to the September 6th weekend but we had a few people show up on August 30th for a great time. Everyone loves the yurt and wants to stay the night in it.
The Hot Tub, A Nobel Experiment
Remember that stock tank we bought last spring? The one that was going to be our hot tub but instead spent the summer sitting forlornly down by the south dock? Well never go shopping at Princess Auto because you’ll spend over $500 on stuff nothing to do with a hot tub and then you’ll go back into the store and buy a pile more stuff for the hot tub because you just thought of it.
We’ll I’m happy to report that we have a wood fired hot tub! Lucy and I bought a cute little prospector’s wood stove and a 5 gallon oil reservoir. A few connectors, some hose, a submersible pump and voila, our own wood fired hot tub. Yeah it’s a little out there in the looks department but what the hay. Anyways, sitting there sipping champagne with your sweetie, life doesn’t get more perfect.
August 13, 2008
Tuesday was a mental health rest day from work. At the office that is, not around here!
Breakfast was a three egg omelet with fresh eggs from our chickens and vegetables from our garden. Delicious!
Lucy and I had spent the weekend taking out individual lattices out of the yurt, white washing the raw wood (yellow actually – very nice looking) and putting them back in. With all the rain, we only got three done and both were still tacky from the high humidity, not dry in 8 hours like the label said. We decided to leave the last two in place to be painted later.
Instead we took off the canvas, leveled the lattices, tied them up (so the poles would quit dropping out on our heads) and started putting the yurt completely together. The first item was the no-see-um mosquito netting. This went on quite easily with myself folding it out onto the poles from the outside and Lucy inside on a ladder guiding it around the tonoo. The first thing we noticed was there was no way to secure the netting to the floor and the wind blew it out and around. If it was another foot longer it would easily tuck behind the plywood rim. Maybe we’ll staple it down?
Next was the two wool roof felts which are heavy and about an inch thick. We followed the same procedure, with myself unfolding the felts with Lucy grabbing them above and pulling them to the rim of the tonoo. This went well too, especially when I grabbed a roof pole from inside and used it to push up the felts.
Next was the side felts. These overlap on the roof felts and friction keeps them from sliding down. Well friction does the trick when the bottoms are supported on the ground. However with our yurt on a platform, there is no ground and every time we would push one up in one place it would slide down in another. Finally we threw a felt up on the roof, wrapped a strap around the yurt and slowly pulled it down under the strap. This worked like a charm. We decided that one side felt was enough as we wanted as much light to come in as possible and a good view of the lake.
Yves had suggested putting Tyvec between the felts and the canvas cover. This stuff comes in 100 foot roles, 10 feet wide and is slippery as hell! I came up with the idea of putting a 20 foot long, 10 foot wide section down the center of the yurt, cutting out a hole in the center to go around the tonoo. The hole turned out to be 29 inches, with a slit cut on one side to slip it around the tonoo. I this worked like a charm except that I now had two 5 foot wide sections on either side uncovered. I cut another 20 foot section, cut it in half to 5 feet and Tyveked it to either side of the original piece. It was quite a folding and rolling job getting it small enough to fit through the window on the tonoo but we managed. Lucy Tyveked the cut edges together while I rolled it out and voila!, a Tyvek covering. Putting the canvas back on was simple enough. The Tyvek was very slippery though and the cover kept coming off until Lucy went back inside the ladder and held the top in place.
After starting about 4 hours earlier we finally got the yurt finished! Lucy furnished it and we spent our first night dining and sleeping in the yurt. With a dozen candles burning it was pure magic!
August 8, 2008
August already???!!!! Damm, still lots to do and I’m back at work (in the office) again. I just don’t have time for an office job anymore J
Well the yurt is up! I took the last week of July off to get the site ready, order all the materials and build the platform. It sure is a beauty! 19 feet round, with a nice band of plywood around the edge to hold the yurt. R22 insulation underneath to keep her warm in the winter, ¾ inch plywood on 4x6 beams and 2x6 joists to keep her stable. I found these great adjustable supports from Pylex so as the deck blocks settle I can just raise the supports to keep her level.
I managed to keep Lucy away, busy on other chores like building a garbage box, but no sooner was I done then she built a front deck for it! Good foresight or good luck had us build the platform about 3 feet off the ground so now we have lots of storage room underneath. Hey, we can store all our lumber there!!!
Getting the yurt here was quite some fun. We bought the yurt from Groovy Yurts (www.groovyyurts.com). Yves Ballenegger started in the yurt business as a Swiss truck driver taking school supplies to Mongolia and bringing back a few yurts in an otherwise empty truck. Yves has since moved to Canada but kept the yurt business going. We had met Yves a few times at the Home show and liked the yurts. Yves was doing the Rideau Canal weekend show so I met him on Friday to set the yurt up and again on Monday to take it down. We loaded it into Yves truck and drove up to Lone Wolf. Driving into the trailhead was no problem. There we loaded the complete yurt onto a flatbed trailer and drove it with the ATV to the lake. There we loaded the yurt onto the row boat, towed it across the lake with a canoe and set it up on the yurt platform. Taking the yurt across the water was a new experience for Yves.
Our cabin spring dried up the last week of July. Same for the spring at the garden but I noticed the garden spring was flowing again today. All that rain. Hopefully the cabin spring will start again.
Anything else new??? Oh yes, Lucy and I are engaged!!! I proposed and she said yes. Isn’t that great. The wedding is planned for August 1, 2009 at the cabin, so mark your agendas.
Thursday July 10, 2008
Not a lot new to add. I’ve pretty well finished moving dirt from behind the outhouse. Part of that job involved felling five trees. Of course the first three hung up on their neighbors and the fourth wanted to go the wrong way. Breaking out the come-a-long took care of that! The last was a 30 foot oak (not too big) with a definite lean in the wrong direction. I managed to drop it through a 3 foot gap between the chicken coop and a storage tent. Not bad (pat pat).
The yurt area is really starting to look good. I’ve gone back to behind the house for more dirt and so far I think I’ve dumped over 40 wheel barrows of dirt and rock so far. I’ve cut back quite a bit of brush too, even starting a new fire pit there to burn all the cuttings. It’s a lot of work but every night I’ve been able to gain a couple of feet of ground or fill in a couple of feet of uneven ground. What started as a clearing for a 6 x 8 shed now is close to 30 x 30. As a bonus, we’ve got a new view of the lake.
It’s been a lot of work! Every night I put in 2-3 hours and most of last weekend as well. I found some neat adjustable deck supports from Pylex which I’ll use when I start the deck… which should be next week. Time to order materials. Sure hope it stops raining soon!!!
Thursday July 10, 2008
Almost a month since my last post! Let’s see what’s new?
Garden Water Works
Hmmm, I got the water system hooked up at the garden. I had spied a 300 gallon water container in the back yard of the place where I got the free stove pipe and when I dropped in (I’m so bold) and asked if it was for sale, the guy sold it to me for $70, about ½ the price another fella wanted for one. Anyways, after several trials including loading it onto the red trailer, parking it below the spring at the garden, half filling it only to discover it slide off the trailer during the night, busting the back of the trailer, etc, I discovered that if I just positioned it at the top of the garden and ran the hose from the spring, there was enough pressure to fill it completely. Now we have 300 gallons of water stored at the garden just in case it ever stops raining and we need to water our asparagus (which is doing great by the way).
What else, oh yes prepping for the party. I think I finally lost it when Lucy had yet another job for me to do (installing a handrail on the second of our now three docks). I had the whole back yard to clean including the tents, a two week job with 1 day to go and yet another project? Well the backyard got cleaned up including restacking all the good lumber into one area and all the scrap into another.
I also had time to get my pet cooler project up and running. We have this great cold water spring running down from the hill. I bought a massive cooler from Costco, built a platform for it to sit on (okay, I wanted to build a nice platform but just had time to lay a few boards for it to sit on), ran a hose down from the spring and stuck the hose into the drain plug on the side. Within a few moments, the cooler was overflowing with cold water. I emptied soft drinks, beer, wine and sparkling in and there was still room for a few small kids to go swimming. Lucy dropped a thermometer in and the temperature read a cool 8C. Perfect for cooling your beer.
The party was great! I managed to shave at about noon, our first guests arrived just minutes later, stopped working and changed my clothes about 2 PM and demonstrated the delights of the water by going for a swim to get cleaned up. People were coming and going all day, about 50 in total. Next year I’m going to hire a transportation coordinator. We have three canoes, a row boat, a paddle boat, an ATV, Gina the electric golf cart and one bicycle to transport people back and forth. Needless to say the vehicles were always on the wrong side of the lake or the wrong end of the trail when you needed them and it was great to hitch up a boat, a paddleboat and two canoes into a long flotilla and paddle them across for the next group of 8 people just arriving.
I did make the mistake of showing a few people the cave where I had about ten bottles of sparkling laid down in the cold water. The blue lagoon attracted quite a crowd of swimmers and loungers. I did notice some sort of canoe delivery going on and I did have to run (er canoe) over with the pliers once when I got the call that the wire basket on the champagne broke and they couldn’t get the champagne open. Good thing I’ve got another double batch on the go ready to bottle August 1st.
Stan brought a huge box of fireworks! Justin and I worked for about an hour lining everything up and then spent about ½ an hour lighting them. From the ohhs and ahhs I knew that people were enjoying them, not that we got to see anything except getting blinded by the bright flashes and deafened by the loud bangs. Next morning it was a bit difficult getting up but all of the grounds had been cleaned. Such considerate guests, thanks!
Digging in the Dirt
No new projects did I say? Well then perhaps we’ve moved onto ones that we had discussed before.
The lake is low now and the dock is resting on some rocks. Time to lift up the gangplank, shove the dock out and start digging. I got about 6 wheel barrows of heavy wet muck out and dumped it in the garden and flower beds. I’m pretty close to bedrock at the dock now. Of course we now need a longer gangplank, say how about shove the dock out another 3 feet, build a crib for a new gangplank from the shore, and an extension to the dock while we’re at it? Maybe in a week or two.
Lucy started building a walkway around the back of the cabin and decided that the earth should be cleared off the hill first. Sounds like a job for shovel man! So with a shovel I’m digging up the ground in the back taking out trees, stumps, grass and rocks first. First it’s loosen up the earth and shovel it into a Rubbermaid container. Not too much though as I have to hand carry it to the back stair where I can dump it into the wheel barrow. Two containers fill the wheel barrow and then I roll it over to the front year to fill in some low spots. Hmmm, I should have pumped up those tires first. Of course when you start dumping earth you start landscaping so it’s clip branches, pull stumps out of the ground, etc before dumping your first load. So far I’ve gotten ten barrows of earth off the back. Perhaps another ten to go.
The nice thing about LoneWolf cabin is that when you get bored with one project you can just drop it and go onto another. Getting bored (and tired) of shoveling dirt behind the house I switched projects. Now I’m shoveling dirt behind the outhouse, trying to get enough dirt to fill the massive hole where the yurt will go. Lucy was kind enough to mark out a 20 foot circle so I know exactly how futile my efforts are. Of course the wheelbarrow doesn’t go to the back of the outhouse so it’s shovel dirt into the Rubbermaid container, carry it out, etc.
Thursday night I got a reprieve from all this. It seems that the chicken coop isn’t in exactly the right spot so after lengthy consultation Lucy decides to turn it 90 degrees and move it about 6 feet beside the woodshed. (This is exactly where she had planned to put it in the first place but I don’t mention this). Of course there is a mother of a rock buried in the ground so the two of us struggle and curse and lift and pry and after about an hour we have moved it about 4 feet, just enough to make room for the chicken coop. Of course there is a big hole now, so it’s back to shoveling dirt into the Rubbermaid container, dumping it into the wheelbarrow, etc. I’m now working on filling three different areas. It sure is nice to go to work where I can sit and rest!
Wednesday June 11, 2008
Having a man work in the city is a great thing for Lucy. She just sends me emails of stuff to do on my way home. I sometimes have a few things of my own to do so getting home before sunset can be a challenge
Here's tonight's agenda.
1. Pick up Champagne that we bottled and fight traffic.
2. Pick up hose from Home Depot and cement.
3. Go to Sears to spend certificates.
4. Go to folks to pick up mail and snack.
5. Go to Pauls' to pick up roof racks and visit.
6. Go to Costco and get propane tanks filled.
7. Pick up paint from the back of Lucy’s car.
8. Go home to Lucy, pick up canoe that floated away (cause maybe she didn’t tie it up????), have dinner, shower and bed!
Well, it’s 9 PM and I’m loading Gina up. I got everything done but number 7. Time for dinner, a glass of wine or two and then to bed for the start of another day. I wonder what Lucy has prepared for dinner in her solar oven? Whatever it is it'll be good.
Tuesday June 10, 2008
I picked up the washing machine after work and on my way home called Lucy to let her know it was on it’s way. She sounded orgasmic in her delight. I guess we’ll have lots of clean clothes tomorrow. I brought it home across the lake in the canoe. We’ve gotten pretty good at packing and balancing goods across the lake.
Lucy has scuba lessons tonight. That means the boys (Dwight and Winston) will be at the cabin alone for some male bonding time. For Winston this means getting to chase a stick or a ball (or both which really confuses him). For Dwight, it’s a time to have a look around and see what projects he wants to tackle in 3-4 hours of alone time.
I had thought that cleaning out the small back tent shelter would be a good project but it’s a bit wet out, threatening with rain and very buggy. Instead I tackled the spare room. Now the spare room has become the repository of all the detritus of coming in and out of the cabin with all manner of daily purchases, tools, winter clothes, etc. Things were getting randomly stacked up three deep. Time for a good cleaning!
First thing was to gather up all of the half filled dollar store bags and pack sacks strewn around and sort out their contents. Some got filled with shoes, others gloves, others with raingear. Next was all the bedding type stuff, which went on top of the armoire. Next went up a board on the side of the short hallway with a pile of screw hooks which quickly got filled with jackets, hats, and overalls. Next was sorting out the tools and hardware on the floor. I ended up with three containers, one of tools, one of painting supplies and a third of hardware. A quick sweep of the floor, line up all the shoes and boots for everyday use. There a clean room. I wonder if sweetie will notice?
June 6, 2008
So what’s new in Dwight and Lucyland?
Well I caught a perch in my pajamas Saturday morning! (What a perch was doing in my pajamas I’ll never know J) It was about 1.5 lbs. I went online to learn how to fillet it and now it’ll be our appetizer for dinner tonight.
Oh, we’ve got hot running water now! Last year I strung some garden hose on the spare room roof and managed to get some warmish water out of it. A couple of weeks ago Lucy and I went to visit Linda and Dan in North Bay. Dan and I came across a pile of hydraulic hose (1” ID) and I brought back a bunch and looped it across the spare room roof. I have been collecting 55 gallon food grade drums and there are 4 up on the hill above the roof line. I strung a line from the roof to the cedar tree beside the drums, hung ¾” black water line from it and connected the water line into the hydraulic hose. I then t’d the other end into one water line into the shower and the other to the outdoor shower. Voila. Two showers! After 1 hour we tested the water. The indoor shower was too hot to use, but the outdoor was just right.
Too hot? Well it’s 30+C outside now but a cool 22C inside the cabin. This morning it was cool enough until about 10 AM when the heat hit us. We managed to get the arbor posts redug and this time we cemented them in place. I also went back to the trailhead tent and straightened out the collapsed poles with a few well placed 2x4’s at one end. What a piece of junk!
Yesterday Lucy and I planted more garden at the asparagus patch. The two springs are flowing nicely and all four barrels are full. I think the spring just might continue all summer. I’ve got a design for a ram pump and I’ll build two of them, one for here and one back at the cabin when I get some time (next lifetime maybe J).
Oh, I’ve been swimming (or just jumping in the lake) for about a week now. The top 2 inches are getting tolerable.
Yesterday I got the gas driven water pump set up. It works remarkably well, pumping an impressive amount of water. I’m using the 2 inch blue plastic hose for now and it pumps an impressive amount of water which I was able to spray onto the house from about 30 feet away. I need a check valve for the input line and a proper fire hose (did I mention we had a chimney fire a week ago) and an adaptor from a 2 output to a .5 inch hose. Now we’re ready for fires or drought or both.
Lots of little things done, from hauling flat stones for the garden wall, and earth to fill in behind it. Winston is on snake patrol again. He managed to grab one a few days ago, puncturing it. Bad dog! The snake seems to be doing alright .
Lots of birds around, red wing blackbirds, robins, grackles and of course out humming birds are back. Lucy has been lining the bases of the tomato planted with red plastic which is supposed to promote the ripening of the tomatoes. It attracts the hummingbirds as well so now we can see them at the three feeders or the dozen tomato plants. There are at least three of them around (I know this because I have seen three at once). They are fierce little creatures and will chase each other away. I’ve also seen one take three runs at a grackle. The nest is close by?
I’ve cleared a large patch of swamp brush behind the woodshed. We’ve gained another 20 feet of land! We’ll build a shed back here, we really need a couple or more to store all our stuff.
Lucy really loves the solar oven I bought a few weeks ago. She’s cooking in it all the time now. Today she baked rice and squash. Yesterday she made a great cake as well as a soup for lunch.
I also picked up a Hot Water on Demand Coleman water heater from Cdn Tire. Gosh I’m a hero again. Now we have hot water for dishes right at the sink. It works like a charm. Instead of using the plastic water jug we just fill the sink with cold water, dump the pump into the sink water and spray the hot water back into the sink. Within a minute you have a sink full of hot water, just ready to do dishes. Now if only that washing machine I ordered would come in I’d score a hat trick with my sweetie!
Yup summer is here. I’m out these days wandering around in my white painters coveralls/bug suit. I’m sure it looks quite strange but it’s cool and it keeps the flies away. The dragon flies are here in full force now so it’s just a matter of days before all the black flies, mosquitoes and deer flies will be gone.
Summer is here. If you need to get away for a cool refreshing swim at the end of the day just come on up. We have lots of homemade beer, wine and champagne cooling away.
That reminds me, it’s time for a cool one…
Dwight’s Ramblings May 21, 2008
While we were bottling champagne we had decided to make some beer. Lucy did the witches brewing while I took a spritzer shower bottling. I had forgotten what day we were to bottle the beer so I called and yes it was tonight! I called Lucy to bring the bottles while I went ahead and got started.
Bottling beer is easier than champagne, or maybe I’ve got the technique down now. In no time at all (okay after about 40 minutes ) we had finished the beer and it was time to finish off the champagne we hadn’t completed last time as we had run out of wire baskets. The young lad got us all set up (again) with the Chardonnay but guess what? No wire baskets! They had forgotten to order them. The guys agreed to bottle what was left for us and we left a dozen bottles . Bottling is fun, you get to drink the last half bottle that didn’t quite fill!
May 22, 2008
Today was a work from home day I had taken the day from work as the loggers were supposed to be in to grade the road but they cancelled .In the morning I got some files reviewed and sent off for further review and comments. After that it was hard at work at the cabin. We decided to get Gina, our electric golf cart, so I hitched up the trailer, drove to Margies, loaded Gina aboard and drove her back to Lone Wolf trailhead. I thought it was better to trailer her in instead of driving. The bad road didn’t stop Lucy as she drove her car down! I hope she can get back up!
The Grizzly had been making a clacking sound from the front right wheel when in 4 wheel drive, possibly the CV joint. After unloading Gina we loaded up the Grizzly and I drove her to Chartrands Yamaha dealership and left her there. Lucy suggested that I stop somewhere and get the trailer loaded up with compost as I was returning empty but I told her she was full of it enough for both of us and the garden as well J
When I got back I finished fixing bicycle tires and replaced the chain on one bike and voila, Lucy’s mountain bike was on the road. Just in time to ride up to our new garden about midway down the road and help Lucy plant 75 asparagus plants! What a day.
May 15, 2008
Lucy and I picked up some gates last week and installed one at the beginning of the road. Installation was easy and it looks quite nice, rust red in colour and 18 feet across. Getting them home was interesting as our trailer is only 8 feet long. We bought them in Rockland and took the ferry across. It was that or drive through downtown Ottawa during rush hour. I just can’t believe that there isn’t a bridge east of downtown.
Well another birthday has gone by and there are 53 years under the belt. We’ve done so many things. I keep trying to update this log but by the time I do, I’ve forgotten most of what we’ve done. Every day when I come home from work, Lucy has started (or completed) another project. Last week I humped piles of flat rocks across the lake. Now they are lining the gardens as beautiful rock walls. We’re still short a few hundred rocks though. My back hurts just thinking about it J
The loggers are coming next week with the bulldozer. I’ll take a day off to see what they do.
May 1, 2008
A friend had sold their house and had until the end of April to clear the back yard. When I went there last night, I was amazed. What a pile of stuff!!! Of major interest was the thousands of board feet of lumber stacked up. Donny had been building a room to house his gym equipment when he hurt his back. That was three years ago and the building project had been on hold ever since. Various other people had been around to look at buying the wood including ripping down the partially completed 10 x 30 foot structure but hadn’t followed through. I put some 2x4’s on top of the roof rack and a couple of bikes in the back seat and trunk and said I’d be back tomorrow.
I had a Nissan Pathfinder from a friend that I was thinking of buying. I had bought his trailer so on Thursday morning Lucy and I headed in at about 10 AM. The new owners were there with three guys who were cleaning out the back yard which meant pitching everything into a huge container! I said that I was there to pick up some lumber and they graciously let us in. We quickly loaded up the trailer with as much 2x4’s and 2x6’s as we could fit. We also got lengths of insulated stovepipe and a lovely metal trellis, all bound for the garbage container.
After we got home for lunch, I divided the load onto two trailers and brought them down to the tent. I cut up some skids and started to pile up the wood. There are over 90 2x4’s and an assorted amount of 1x6’s, 2x8’s and 4x4’s. With a bit of plywood we’ll have enough to build a shed or two no doubt (I wonder if those are on the To Do List?)
There was still some light left, so I cut up another bunch of pine, dug a bunch of rocks out of the hill road coming down to the trailhead, and filled in my new holes plus other ruts. Oh yes, I also dug a few ditches where the water wasn’t draining.
Lucy called about 7 PM and asked if I was planning on coming home? Yep, just another rock or two to dig out and I’ll be right home in time for dinner.
Saturday April 26, 2004
Did I mention that Lucy and I had a list of about 50 projects to get done? Well one of them was to put up a shelter at the trailhead. While trolling Used Ottawa I came across an ad for a new 20’x 10’ shelter for $200. I picked it up on Friday and up it went on Saturday. I dragged the skidoo into it as well as a number of items stacking up nearby. Because the tent was partially on the trail, I dragged a couple of logs to one side, went up the hill with the Grizzly and trailer and loaded her up with sand. Driving back, I realized that the road was still quite soft and muddy. With the rocks and sinkholes on the hill, I had to put her in differential in order to plow my way back. Luckily it was downhill, I never would have made it up with such a heavy load. I dumped the sand alongside the tent to fill in the holes and sent back for another “half” load.
This only took up the morning so in the aft I proceeded to cut up lots of the pine that was left along the roadside. I think that I got to perhaps ¼ of it in about 4 hours of cutting. I managed to fill two trailer loads and dump them on higher ground on the sand. They should dry nicely here. There is quite a bit of birch and maple to cut as well, enough for a winter or two!
April 24, 2008
The loggers came by today to check out the road. Lucy had sent a note to Jacques, the foreman, noting how the road was full of mud, ruts and rocks, not a bit like it was last spring. Jacques and “Le Grand Patron” arrived at 10 AM. At first the big boss didn’t see anything wrong with the road, but as we continued down towards the trailhead, he admitted that there were a number of items to be put right. In a few places they had bulldozed in the ditches so these would have to be cleaned out. Along one bank where a large amount of sand had been removed, two springs now gushed. A collecting pool and a culvert will keep the water off the road. The hill down to the trailhead is a mess with deep ruts caused by the runoff mixed with large rocks.
The big boss agreed that some work needs to be done. The big bull will come in once the frost is out, probably in a couple of weeks. In the fall, the big shovel will be back and the ditches and culverts will go in then. We’ll get some work done as well, a few culverts here, a few ditches there. It’ll be one nice road!
April 17, 2008
Living up at Lone Wolf cabin is quite the delight but it presents certain commuting challenges that I didn’t face taking the bus downtown from the west end of Ottawa.
First there is the walk across the lake. The ice bridge is holding up nicely but the surface ice on either side is quite thin and you break through into 2 feet of water onto the ice layer below. The water is open at the creek at the far end of the lake and you can hear the geese in the water. With these 20+C days it won’t be long until we’re canoeing across the lake, maybe a week or two.
Next is the walk out along the trail to the trailhead. The water in the creek is running at it’s peak. The trail is still snow covered except for one area where runoff has taken out the snow pack down to the trail. It’s neat to see that we’re still at least 2 feet off ground.
We had loggers in this year and the road from the trailhead to the main road was widened and in two places a yard was created. This has lead to an interesting walk in the morning, trying to find the old roadbed, dodging sinkholes, running streams and small patches of mud. Coming back in the evening is worse as those mud holes have had all day in the sun to get really soft! But then I get to grab a shovel and make lots of canals to divert the water off the road and to the sides. Once all the frost is out and the water is gone, the loggers will be back to fix up the road and we will be able to drive in to the trailhead. In the meantime I’m getting a couple of kilometers walk in twice a day.
Wildlife is starting to come out. So far I’ve seen a flock of wild turkeys and several deer on my walk back to the cabin. There are also literally hundreds of pieces of wood along the road, left over from the loggers. A bit of a mess perhaps but lots of free firewood for next winter.
Lucy and I went to the cottage show last weekend, a very dangerous thing to do. We almost bought a yurt, a bunkie, a hot tub and picked up hundreds of brochures for really cool ideas. I threw a quick project list together and I got up to 43 without having to think about it. Sounds like enough projects for a lifetime.
I wonder what tomorrow will bring?
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