Dwight's 2009 Ramblings

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November 23, 2009

New Sled for Winter, Yamaha Venture MP

Last year we had a ton of snow and the two ancient Yamaha Elan’s augmented by a not quite ancient, long track Bravo had a very difficult time getting us around through all the snow.The Elite is still sitting where we dropped her two years ago although we hope to get her repaired and back in action this year.So, an executive decision was made and a brand new Yamaha Venture MultiPurpose was added to the fleet!The Venture MP is a utility sled often called the pickup truck of the snowmobiles.It has an 80hp 4 stroke engine and the track is 16”x144”x1.25”, so lots of power and lots of track to get through the deepest snow.It’s got reverse, heated handgrips too!The best part is the price.I found a brand new 2007 at dealers in < place st=on>< city st=on>Cornwallstill in its shipping crate.My total cost is below the dealer’s price for a 2010 model.Sweet.Oh yes, because my drivers license is still < state st=on>< place st=on>Ontariowe put the Venture MP in Lucy’s name.Merry Christmas sweetie

Zach – Big Toys for Big Boys

The Grizzly ATV just came out of the shop from it’s winter tuneup and transmission repairs.Now our Grizzly has been doing heroic duty here with tracks on in the winter, wheels in the summer, hauling logs and trailers full of sand, rocks, whatever needs hauling. At $1300 though, it’s time to look at some serious equipment here.We need a real workhorse and she is just too light for what we need.Now I have been looking at front end loaders, skidders, Kubotas, John Deere, etc but most of these things cost a lot of money and anything under $20K is older than me (or doesn’t have an engine, etc).I asked about Rhinos etc at the shop the was told that this is all recreational vehicles and what I need is industrial or farm equipment.Farm equipment, hmmm.Now I had looked at tractors as well and what I learnt was about the same as for the construction equipment.What we need is 4 wheel drive, diesel with power.

I was mentioning this to Gaetan, our local heavy equipment man, and he mentioned a Zetor tractor a friend of his had.Zetor???Turns out it is Czechoslovakian, 1993 4WD, diesel, 80 hp with a snow blower, scoop and loading forks. I brought the mayor of Quinville along to have a look and Dave says as long as she starts and goes, everything else is how she sounds.How does she sound? Sweet!She purrs like a kitten, just like < city st=on>< place st=on>Alvinin fact.

Well we shook hands and concluded the deal, Zach to be delivered as soon as I pay for him.Now to find the money (yes we have been spending a little bit recently).Santa, you listening???

October 20, 2009

Getting Ready for Winter

The temperature has been dropping over the last two weeks and we’ve had a few days of frost and freezing weather at night. Monday morning I could hear the ice cracking under the canoe as I made my way across the lake before down, heading off to work.Within a month we’ll be walking across on the ice.

I’ve switched the water system to the inhouse coolers.This year I drilled a hole through the wall above the kitchen door and ran a length of garden hose from the cooler water line outside.The line goes up through a stopcock, through the wall and then down ending by dangling about 1 foot off the deck.The stop up and down and the stopcock prevents the line from backsiphoning and emptying the tanks after disconnecting the fill hose.Keeping the fill hose vertical will keep it drained and unfrozen after use.The water tank up the hill had an inch of ice in it but I broke through and filled the inside tanks.No leaks!

Wood Stove

Lucy sold theElmira kitchen stove.I’m gonna miss it.We moved it out last Thursday, boy what a job.Even after taking it all apart the base must have weighed over 400 pounds.I hired a couple of boys and together we walked it out of the cabin onto one of the landing rafts and paddled it over to the over side of the lake and onto a trailer and back to Owls Nest.Just that little job took over 2 hours with moving rafts, taking doors off their hinges, etc.

We had the new wood stove moved over earlier and Lucy and I got it installed.After the kitchen stove this one was easy. It’s a high efficiency with a glass door and we’ve been enjoying sitting in front of the fire watching the flames.We think we have enough wood to last until freeze up.I hope so.We’re still learning the stove.I put a large piece of oak in last night and we roasted!The stove seems to burn quickly and Lucy is looking to put a piece of stove rope in the air intake to slow it’s burn rate down.

Back Room

The order for the back room ceiling and flooring came in.Lucy hauled it all the way from John’s house, across the lake on a raft and into the back room.That’s one tough girl! This week she will be putting the ceiling in first and the red pine floor afterwards.There will be power tools galore for the next few days.I’ve been clearing earth, getting ready for the deck extension for the new hot tub.It’s time to start measuring and ordering the deck materials.

New Pets

As you may know, we have two new additions to the Willemsen-Yachuk family.First there is Alvin a pretty 12 week old kitten.Alvinis all black with a white spot on his chest.We wanted a companion for Winston and decided to get him a cat.The cat can catch mice too we hope.Anyways Alvin has had his fur and tail up in the air everytime Winston comes around but we hope they will get along soon.I’ve never seen a cat hiss and spit before.I’d be scared like Winston too!

We also now have Theo a 6 week old fat puppy that’s a cross between a Rotweiller and a lab.He also is all black with a white stripe on his chest.Theo and Alvin get along great, rolling around playing on the floor together.The first two nights we slept downstairs on our new couchbed (from Ikea) with the puppy between us, getting up to take him out for a pee whenever he whined.I picked up some pee pads and last night we slept upstairs and the two new kids stayed together. Life sure is fun.

October 1, 2009

Five Months since My Last Post!!!

Geez, what happened.I get a little bit busy (ier) and nothing happened, right?I mean nothing worth writing about eh???

Well maybe a thing or two.

Owls Nest

You will remember that it was quite cold last winter (with another one approaching so soon).Margie had told us we could stay at Owls Nest as no one was renting it during the winter and wouldn’t we like to stay somewhere warm on the grid???Damm right we would.After two weeks there I announced to sweetie that we were either buying the place or squatting there each winter cause it was just so nice.On August 4th we took possession just in time for:

Dwight and Lucy Are Married

August 8, 2009, Mr. Dwight Yachuk and Ms Lucy Willemsen are proud to announce their marriage on this day.The marriage bonds were posted on the front door of Owls Nest for a month and Reverend Margie Swain conducted the service.Fifty plus invited guests enjoyed the ceremony including the ring bearers, Mitchell and Winston.Afterwards Lucy’s sister, Linda, conducted the butterfly ceremony and after wishes for the newly weds, 50 butterflies were released to the wild.They decided that they liked the surroundings and stayed around for quite a while to the amusement of the guests.All this time a pig was roasting away under the watchful eye of Dave, the mayor of Quinnville and dinner of roast piggy, salmon, perogies, salads and tons of other great food prepared by Gordon Hoselton was enjoyed with great gusto.Afterwards Lucy’s brother Brian, and his sweetie Barb treated us to an amazing fire works celebration lasting over ½ hour.Everyone said it was the best wedding ever.

Anything else?


Ah yes, that stack of firewood.Well in addition to all the wood junior forest cutters Dwight and Lucy hauled out of the bush, I paid the loggers to skid out about 20 cords.Well they did so, but put it on top of Andres’ wood.After the confusion of who’s wood was whos they skidded out another load for Andre which left me with about 40 cords to block, split and stack.I got at this with great gusto, spending 3-4 hours cutting each weekend day and a couple of hours at night or on a day off during the week.After weeks and weeks of blocking wood the pile seemed to go down a little bit.Finally after a month or so of blocking I figure I got about 2/3’s of it done and moved to the road. But that was just blocks of wood in a huge pile.They still needed to be split and stacked.Luckily my good friend Marc loaned me his 25 ton wood splitter so at least I didn’t have to do it by hand.

At about this time I met two young lads on OUR road, cutting wood with great gusto.A quick chat revealed that they were cutting up the wood for Andre cause he was too old to be doing that himself and they really, really liked working in the woods and and and ….Feeling suddenly old myself I asked them if they would like to help me with my wood.They said yes and then their eyes bugged out when they saw the pile.I said, no, it’s just to stack the wood that was already split and I would pay them.So a day or two later they came early and I watched as they expertly stacked about 5 cords of wood.After paying them one young lad asked me if I was selling wood as they needed some for the winter.With brilliant insight I answered no, but if they would come with me I would show them another huge pile of trees.I took them to the left over trees that I hadn’t yet blocked and made them the offer that if they split and stacked all my firewood, they could have all the wood left in the lot for themselves.I figured there was about 5-7 cords of wood left.Well we had a deal and for the next month every few days I would return from work to see the piles of stacked wood grow and grow.Finally they were done with 25 cords for Lucy and myself, about 3 cords for Andre (and 3 for them for the work) and another stack of 5-7 cords for the two hard working boys.They did such a good job that I greatly recommend them to whomever needs wood cut, split and stacked.Maybe in 5 years when I’ve burnt through all 25 cords we’ll do it all again.

March 9, 2009

The Wood Cut is Over!!!

No more rumbling of logging trucks, roaring of chainsaws and crashing of trees.The forest is silent, the loggers are finished.They have been putting on a big push this last month.The roads are closed as of March 13th and they really want to finish this year.

There are still two skidders in the yard and the excavator as well, but the bulldozer and several other skidders are gone.The far yard is empty and Lucy and I have been busy scavenging trailer loads of firewood from the bits and pieces left behind.We also have that pile of firewood that was cut for us.Initially it didn’t look that big with all the other wood stacked up around it, but now that it is the only pile in the yard, it is huge!Lucy and I spent Saturday morning blocking and blocking and blocking ...We cut wood for over 3 hours and we hardly made a dent in the pile. I figure we’ve blocked about 4 cords ofwood already and there must be another 20 cords or more to go.Much of the slash we have been cutting has been no more than 6 inches in diameter.Some of these logs are over 2 feet in diameter!!!My Poulan chainsaw has been giving me great performance but I think I could really use a professional saw for these big babies!!!The pro saws are 75 cc, almost twice the 40 cc of my Poulan.

We’ve been stacking wood along the road in the area I call the Oven, because it gets so hot there in the summer.We probably have about 10 cords there already!

Yurt Guests

When we set up the yurt in the fall we thought we wouldn’t have many guests until the summer, but we’ve been quite busy this winter with somebody staying almost every weekend and a few during the week.Many have been celebrations (birthday, anniversaries) and others just getaways. It’s been quite an adventure for most of them but with a good woodfire in the yurt, lots of trails for snowshoeing, a great ice rink for skating, a bonfire at night and Lucy’s good home cooking for dinner and breakfast, everyone has had a wonderful time.Our furthest guests have been from < city st=on>< place st=on>Montreal, a couple of ladies and two young boys who spent the day playing hockey and got to go for a ride around the lake on my moto-neige.We’ve already had one referral too, from a guy at a poker party (who would have thought).The dog sleds will be coming in tonight with two couples for an overnight stay.That should be quite exciting!

February 16, 2009

Dwight and Lucy the Lumberjacks

Well last year I waited until the wood cutters were all finished before heading into the woods only to be disappointed with how few bits of trees were left behind for us to salvage for firewood, not to mention that it was all but impossible to navigate the trails covered with mounds of dirt, rock and tree limbs.Not this year!Lucy and I have been in with the ATV for the last two weekends, blocking and hauling every bit of hardwood we could find.Yep, a couple of junior wood cutters with pint sized saws and a tracked ATV instead of a skidder.I’m sure the loggers would laugh if they saw us but we are stealthy, forest Ninjas!

Not that we had to look very far for wood.There are trees everywhere (yeah okay, it’s a forest).What I mean is that there are bits of trees everywhere, tops of trees with good sized limbs, trunks of trees that have split or were hollow, trees that aren’t marked but were knocked down either by the tree cutter or by falling trees.Yes there is probably enough wood here to heat our cabin for the next century.

We’ve got to get the wood out though, and now is the time to do it, before the snow melts and the trails become impassible.Well last weekend Lucy and I cut, blocked and hauled 5 trailers full of hardwood.On Saturday I hauled out about 10 good sized trees or parts.Lucy got to work on Sunday blocking two trailers full and leaving me about another trailer full to load.I figure a trailer is about a ½ cord so we are good for about 4 cords so far and we’re just starting.My goal is at least 10 cords if not more.

We made a deal with the wood cutters as well.They are going to haul in 20 cords worth of trees into the yard for us just as they finish for the season.

We plan on stacking it all along the roadside just past the garden.The road passes a south facing cliff and it bakes like an oven here in the summer.By next fall we’ll have stacks of kiln dried wood.My friend Marc has a 25 ton splitter and he can hardly wait to get up here.My friend Markus has been practicing splitting wood by hand so I’ll be saving him a few blocks to practice on (hint, hint Markus).In fact if we get enough wood we may sell some to the neighbors.So far I got interest in about 20 cords ….

Anyone interested?Drop Dwight or Lucy a line.

The Lumberjacks

January 28, 2009

When the Going Gets Cold …..

The cold get going.Back to Stanyar House in fact.John and Sheila were off to sunny Florida but there was just one problem in that there were guests at the B&B the day they were flying out and would Lucy mind serving them breakfast???

No problemo, we’ll even stay and clean up afterwards!!!Well one look at the -25C forecasts for the rest of the week turned that one day cleanup into one week and then a second week as well.Not that we abandoned the camp because we have chickens there and as hard as Lucy tried to figure out a way, we just didn’t think that John would be very happy with four chickens camped out in the B&B as well.So what to do with four chickens and -30C temps?Well our camp is set up so that we can close off the kitchen and the four pilot lights in the stove and fridge generate enough heat to keep the kitchen from freezing. Just put a big sheet of plastic on the kitchen floor, cover it with wood shavings, pop the chickens into a big cage and put the cage in the kitchen.Voila, a hot henhouse hotel.Boy, did the girls ever like being there.They perked right up, put on weight and their feathers started looking much better.Plus lots of eggs!

Now that the girls are back in their henhouse how do we keep them warm?Well Lucy got religious, buying about 100 religious candles (which last 96 hours each).Three of them wrapped together and into a ceramic urn fit quite nicely just under the nests giving off enough heat to keep the girls warm.The first few moments were tense as I watched them stick their heads into the pot, pull them back, shake them out and stick them back in again (bird brains), but finally they ignored the light and settled down for the night.So far no shake and bake but if they do, well it’s chicken dinner!!!

Wanted: Chicken and Cheese Rustlers

Yep, we’ve had chicken rustling going on up here in the country.While at Stanyar House Lucy baked two chickens, putting them out on the porch to cool.When she went out she found the pot was bare.One clue was that the pot was licked clean (it wasn’t me – okay).Later that day we had a few couples over for a dinner party.A lovely brie dish was left on the table as an appetizer.Later that night it was gone.Again the dish was licked clean.

Below are pictures of two suspects of the Chicken and Cheese Gang.A $100 reward (of milk bones) is offered for information leading to the capture of members of this gang.

January 5, 2009

Happy New Year!

Well we didn’t have our New Years Eve bash on the lake like last year.We were pretty sick with the flu, the rink wasn’t ready, we didn’t get the invites out, it was too friggin cold, …….But that didn’t stop us from partying!Markus and < city st=on>< place st=on>Florencehiked in just as we were getting ready to head out to John’s so a quick phone call and instead of two, we were now four for the party!We had a great time at Stanyar house and spent the night there (drinking and snowmobiling don’t mix!)

Sunday morning was a mix of frustration and fun.I had plowed and scraped off a skating rink during the week and it was time to flood.With the chainsaw I cut a good sized hole in the ice.There were two layers of ice, the first about 4 inches, with 2 inches of water above, and another 12 inches below. Good thing we didn’t have a house fire! I couldn’t get the gas pump started. In fact I couldn’t pull the pull cord, the pump was so frozen up.I brought it in and thawed it out but it still won’t start.Plan B was to use the pony pump and the back up generator.Well the backup generator wouldn’t start.Another engine into the house to thaw.I got the primary generator out to the lake, the pony pump into the hole, the garden hoses laid out and started her up.The pump worked but nothing was coming out.I checked the hoses and they were all frozen up.By now the cabin was looking like a used garden center.All I needed was a few frozen shovels to complete it.I got one hose thawed out (lots of boiling water) and back outside I went to find that the pony pump was now frozen too.

Finally that was thawed out and I was just starting to water the rink when I got a call from my friend Mark.He and Diane had just bought snowshoes and were on there way up!A second call came in from Lucy.She was at Owls Next, I had said I would pick her up a ½ hour ago and when would I be there?Well no rink today I thought as I packed pumps and hoses into the cabin (smart thinking this time) and headed out on the Brave to pick up my sweetie.On the way back we met Mark and Diane and their new pup Daisybell.Mark and Diane snow shoed in the new upper logging road while Lucy and I zoomed back to clear up the cabin (and clear out the garden center).

Now we have hit upon a secret trick to build up our wine collection.Our friends know we like wine and they invariably bring up a bottle or two to share.We promptly offer them some of our bubbly and before we know it, the day/evening/weekend is over and off they go leaving their bottles behind.Well, Mark and Diane brought us up a couple of lovely bottles of red and we quickly offered them a glass of champagne to celebrate the New Years.Mark and I ended up out on the rink watering away, changing hoses, keeping our glasses cold in the snow and calling out for more champagne as we worked.Gosh watering a rink takes a lot of time and energy, about two bottles of champagne worth that day.Well Diane had to catch a plane so we tucked an extra bottle under their arms, bid them adieu and off they went.Mark is going to help me bottle our next batch and put one on if his own