Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from 2015

Winter Upgrades 15-16

Age, weather, and other factors are prompting some upgrades around these parts. After 26 winters of snowblower avoidance, I decided to try my luck with a small 24" Canadian Tire "Yardworks" model. A $250 discount brought the $1000 sting down to $750 so I wrestled one aboard the old "Westy" and here I sit waiting for snow...

Also, my Drolet Pyropak wood stove is up for replacement. I'm still using it but the secondary combustion chamber has burned through...not really acceptable in my mind but I guess I just have to come to grips with the reality that you get what you pay for, nothing lasts forever, etc. etc. This time I'm trying one built in the good old U S of A. A small Englander...back to the VW mule again...
Woodstove in my van...Hey, this is giving me ideas :) It's a nice little stove. I hope it works out.
So, there's a couple of preparatory projects to get tidied up before Christmas arrives. So far, everything is on track. I'll report…

Lost cause...

Yup, when it comes to Time Management, I really am a lost cause in spite of me pausing to write this post. It's madness I tell you. Christmas is coming at me at flank speed and 2015 is all but over. Between work life and personal space, it's out of control. I can't seem to slow it all down and things are falling through the cracks everywhere. The funny thing though is I'm not really unhappy about it. I just remind myself of that old 2-step:

1. It'll all work out in the end.
2. If it hasn't work out yet it's not the end.

The cliches abound...so much to do, so little time...yada yada yada,,,

I'm hoping to sit down tonight and actually "Plan" the month of December...let's see how that goes...

 In the meantime, here's a collage of my son's recent side trip to Newfoundland for a little respite...

...and one last misc. shot...Debbie by a Pinzgauer we happened upon at a local restaurant...


That's all I have time for...later...

Winter 2015-2016 IS coming...

September has been really nice, but we all know what's coming. Preparing for the cold is always a busy but enjoyable and rewarding chore. I've been stocking up on firewood, and just generally getting things ready for the cold. I have a good friend that happens to be in to milling his own lumber and I sometimes get to enjoy the scraps. He recently purchased a quantity of nice large pine logs, and generously offered me some of the excess "slab-wood"...I'll be right out !!... I'll split most of this up and have a nice supply of "crackly" kindling...the best... A closer look...some of it is big enough to use as regular fuel  :) ...and the preparations will continue...

Summer Holiday 2015

...just recently completed a whirlwind 15 days or so driving the route outlined below. I'll add a few more specific posts soon. We started and ended in Halifax, completing the trek to Newfoundland, up through Labrador, down through Quebec and New Brunswick, and then back to Halifax...


The Solar saga continues

My main goal here is simply to be able to run a Thermoelectric cooler continuously. The cooler draws about 3.8 amps when running. Normally (a subjective word in itself), I'd estimate the cooler has about a 50% duty cycle. It cuts in alot during a hot day but not so much at night. Therefore, my calculations will be based on an estimated average current draw of 2 amps. For a 24 hour period, that's 48, so let's just go with 50 amp hours for each day of use. My Battery Bank is 230 amp hours, but you don't want to run it down much past 50%. Therefore, we're looking at about 2.5 days of use before some sort of charging is needed.

 Here's the cooler I'm using. It's a little better than the regular Canadian Tire variety. Most of them only cool to 20c below ambient...not good enough. This one cools to 30c below ambient. It also has a 7-position thermostat that cycles it on and off.


Here's my 2 x 115 amp-hour Deep Cycle Batteries. To help achieve the off-gri…

Receiver Hitch Table

Nothing says "redneck" like 2" receiver hitch accessories. I just dug this out of my "stores", after forgetting I even had it... Yes it's a small table that slides into a 2" hitch receiver...  Bonus, the arm is long enough that I can even open and close the rear hatch with it in place. This should make for a nice picnic accessory. At the original $79.99 list price it would have been lunacy, but good things come to those who are patient... I thought that the nice "curved" hunk of 2x2 steel might be good for something else too, a bed extender for example, for carrying long items etc  :)

More Power !!

Many of the solar solutions offered these days are frankly not very powerful. from the radios and flashlights with built in solar chargers, to AA solar battery chargers to those little 1.8W Battery "Maintainers", They all really don't amount to much. After toying with many of these, and even after using 40 watt panels, I admitted to myself that bigger is better, and more wattage is required if you want to even think about coining the phrase, solar "Generator". Well, as usual, a recent Canadian Tire sale was the catalyst yet again... Now I realize that in spite of the hoopla, there are still cheaper options. However, the convenience of not having to wrestle with shipping etc made this a good choice. It did not come bundled with a charge controller. I have a couple, but I decided to try a cheap Ebay one to see how it performs... ...seems to be working ok. I'm going to try and secure it to the top of the van's luggage rack. It "almost" fits, so I…

Spring Hope...

Finally, I think the weather has turned and Spring is indeed here...what a mood picker upper it is. In a bit of a panic, I wondered if we'd have some more final blasts of weather, and I loaded up on some fire logs... Probably a bit of an overkill, but there was a deal to be had for buying 32 packages. No worries as it'll be useful for other pursuits such as backyard or camping. There's no such thing as too much preparedness.
I noticed a unique issue of Newsweek on the magazine stands recently. I had to grab it just out of curiosity. Here's what Amazon had to say about it: "Many ponder leaving the trappings of modern life behind and going off the grid--whether for safety preparedness or simply to see if they're up to the challenges of finding shelter, food and water and sustaining their own life. Off Grid is a guide to not only surviving, but thriving. Filled with first-person accounts, anecdotes, expert how-tos and tips-everything from besting a blizzard to whi…

Carpe Diem Fail

Most of my friends, and sadly, myself too, have consumed allot of energy complaining about all of the snow this winter. It's been quite the mob mentality bandwagon actually. Social Media is replete with angry outbursts where nobody escapes blame. The weatherman, the city snow removal folk, mother nature, even God are at the end of an angry arm shake. This kind of makes you wonder about our collective failure to seize the day. Oh sure there's the occasional snowshoeing or skiing photo that appears, but largely it's been a negative affair. Through all of this of course, we've wasted a full 2 months of another new year that we've been gifted with. Children of course, don't seem to suffer from this affliction, with their innocent ability to love the snow in direct proportion to its quantity. I'm guilty as well, of not enjoying the time that I've been given. God help me. A recent Facebook post made me pause and think. It suggested that each day, your "…

Man-Crafts

That's an odd title...let me explain: I recently got out to another February Men's Retreat at Bayside Camp. Even though the weather was cooperative, for some reason I spent more time indoors this time around...
One of the activities was a "Craft"...sounds a bit girlish but when I saw a compass rose was involved, and we would be using a sandblaster, I was sold. Some photos below but first, a little explanation: We basically made a "Coaster" from a 4" square ceramic tile. First, a compass rose was drawn on a rubber coating affixed to the tile...
 Then, portions of the rubber coating are sliced into with a knife, and carefully removed...

Finally, the tile is discretely sandblasted to get the final result... Mine turned out ok I think...
So, quite a change from snowshoeing, but it was fun, and Debbie seems to enjoy her new coffee cup resting pod  :) There was also time for other manly pursuits...overall a great February undertaking...looking forward to nex…

Belated Happy New Year 2015

According to Gandhi; "There is more to life than increasing its speed". I agree, but at my age I'd kind of appreciate it if I could slow things down, not speed them up. I know it's about as cliche as you can get but where does the time go ? Another year has slipped away, and while I had a good year in general, I can't help but think of all of the things I didn't get done. With age comes the scourge of unfinished business... I'm not a fan of New Years Resolutions, mostly because they amount to little more than wishful thinking and little action. That notwithstanding, my main one would be to seize the day, live in the moment, or something like that. Sometimes, a little recklessness can go a long way and if life has taught me anything it is summed up in that classic H. Jackson Brown Jr. quote: ""Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from…