First Time Generator Usage

Yesterday afternoon the power went out for about five hours. It was most likely due to the wind storm. Besides the wind, it was a nice enough day that allowed me to try out our back up generator for the first time.

In all honesty the generator we picked up is pretty heavy duty considering what we ended up running on it: A couple lamps and the Internet. Yup, we needed online access. Not the most practical use. I suppose I should look into connecting our well’s pump so we could have running water next time. Or maybe the stove top for cooking…

Anyhow, the generator works. Which is a good sign. It gave us a sense of normalcy for the few hours that our power was out.

Lightning Storm 2019

Last night brought forth some excitement in our neighborhood. Quite the light show was coming from the heavens. So we sat on our front stoop and watched and listened to the thunder and lightning.

The glow from the lightning was pretty intense. We spent a good couple of hours outside trying to catch some pictures and video. Thank goodness for having a covered area to sit in.

There were plenty of cheers going on after each blast. Oohs and Aahs were rampant. As well as plenty of “DID YOU SEE THAT?!?

The weather app even added motion lightning strikes across the screen. It was a fun Saturday night had by all. I’m glad we decided to enjoy it.

Is It Autumn Yet?

The daylight is getting shorter. The leaves on the trees are starting to change colour. It’s foggy in the mornings. We must be on the cusp of autumn.

So I decorated our front stoop accordingly!

We had an old wooden chair in our barn that I set up out front. I had bought a couple of metal buckets from the dollar store last year and filled them with firewood. I gathered some leaves that had fallen and placed them around. Finally, our crone gargoyle sits patiently waiting for Halloween.

On the other side of the door I put an unfinished “living edge” table (also from our barn). I set up our collection of British Columbia Beer Growlers from our road trips over the past few years. I surrounded everything with some leaves, dried seeds and bark.

I’m happy with the results and have a few other decorative ideas to add to our home before Halloween takes over. I finally found my glue gun at 11pm last night, but won’t be starting a project until later in the day.

What do you do to decorate for the seasons?

Do you like fall as much as I do?

Let me know in the comments section!

Some Assembly Required

I finally bought us some classic style wooden chairs for our yard. The kind that suits our country living lifestyle. My wife always Adirondack chairs. However, I convinced her that we should by Muskoka chairs instead.

What’s the difference between the two styles you may ask. (If you didn’t ask, I’m going to tell you anyway.) Adirondack chairs are both 2 inches higher from the ground and 2 inches wider between the arm rests. Also, the Adirondack chair is built with a flat back for the seat. The Muskoka chair is built with curved back.

That’s it. The two styles are very similar in every other aspect. When we were purchasing the chairs we wanted natural wood, not plastic. Oh, and the Muskoka chair was cheaper by $20 And came with a foot rest.

I took the chairs home and needed to assemble them. Before I did that, I lay out every piece and gave a light cherry stain to seal the wood. I figure if they’re going to weather outside in our rain forest of a yard, it’d be best to try and get a few years out of them. After a couple of hours of preparing the wood and staining it, I had to leave the first chair over night to dry before assembling it.

This morning I woke up and put the first Muskoka chair and ottoman together. I’m really happy with how it looks. Just a hint of red on the wood from the stain. I’m also happy with the comfort level of the chair. The curve of the yoke feels more inviting than the flat back of an Adirondack chair. Chances are we’ll be spending hours relaxing in our yard on these chairs.

I can’t wait for summer to kick in.

Fern Baby Fern

When we first moved into our home, I hated the ferns we had growing everywhere. In fact during the first year or so, my lawnmower found them attractive. I chopped them right down to the roots. You know what happened next? They grew back.

I gave in and accepted that ferns are pretty dang hearty plants. I’ve even dug them up and transplanted them and they’ve thrived happily. Over a decade later, I’m satisfied with the ease at which these plants are to maintain.

Ferns have this amazing ability to just keep living. What I do now is wait until mid spring and cut off the old or dead leaves. It’s easy to figure out because the new one stems have sprouted and are a vibrant healthy green color.

After a quick trim- these plants look good as new. If I forget to water them, no big deal- they could live through a drought of a few weeks. Ferns grow exponentially without being trimmed as well. For us, ferns add the splash of greenery to our garden that we get to enjoy during the beautiful weather.

Wildlife House

I love animals. Always have. I think I could’ve been a veterinarian if it wasn’t for my allergies. Living in the countryside means more woodland creatures all around.

Yesterday when we returned from camping, there was a squirrel hanging out on our back deck. The fact that we were able to walk outside and it didn’t move, meant something was wrong.

After about thirty minutes of us eating lunch outside next to the little dude, we decided to catch it and take it into a place called Critter Care Wildlife. A local organization that specializes in mammal rehabilitation.

We put a box over the little critter and put a towel on top. We dropped it off and the staff was really happy to take it in. They gave us a case number so I followed up today to see how Mr. Squirrel is doing. He’s been integrated into a new group of squirrels and is bouncing back. The organization is unsure as to what was the original issue, but they will be keeping an eye on the little guy.

This afternoon another woodland creature entered our home. We had left the sliding glass door open and the bird flew right in. It bumped the window and perched itself on our cds. My oldest and I grabbed a towel and tossed it over top and I gently carried the bird outside to set it free.

Mr. Birdie took a moment after I uncovered its head before taking off. (Our son names every animal and stuffed animal MR.) We have had numerous animals visit us for brief moments. My favorite moment was when we rescued a hummingbird.

I think that when I retire, I might get into bird watching.

You know, like old people do- ’cause I’ll be old. And I’ll need a reason to look up from my smartphone once in a while.

Shitty Day

Today is the shittiest day of my vacation.

Literal shit.

After having the kids dig in our garden for the past few weeks in search of buried treasure, they found it. We just needed an extrusion afterwards to get it out.

This was not like the adventures that The Goonies had. My kids were digging to find our septic tank opening.

They did. In fact they found both lids. What to do next…

Today was the day to pump it out. This is the first time in 11 years since we moved in. And at nearly 20 years since it was last done. The tank is apparently twice to three times the size needed for our home.

That’s a lot of poop.

We needed a big truck.

Bright and early this morning it arrived. The fellow vacuuming out the waste was super awesome and we talked about shit. Apparently we should be pumping out every couple of years.

Oops.

The smell was bad. Butt not as bad as I thought it would be. A bit less than steaming manure on a hot day. Not quite campsite outhouse.

Now that it’s empty, I’m happy that this is done. Onto the rest of my day.

It really can’t be as shitty as the start.

Froggy Frog

My son caught a frog the other day. We named it Froggy Frog. It’s not the first time we’ve caught a frog in our yard. We’ve even caught a salamander and a couple of garter snakes (or garden snake if you prefer).

We tend to just look at them for a day or so, then set them free again. There’s no reason to keep them in captivity or kill them. The little ecosystem in our backyard is as if living in a Disney movie. I even described the sounds we hear daily in The Early Bird as well as the time I had to set a hummingbird free. I’ve even discussed my dislike of Rats a few times. But country living is accepting that all of these critters live here as well.

Mr. Froggy Frog has been set free already. Maybe his journey will be an incredible challenge with a set of crazy memories of us. Or maybe he’ll just go about his business eating bugs and staying cool.

That’s about it for my frog blog post. Time to hop along.

The Pinterest Plans

A few years back, I was addicted to Pinterest. So much so that I’d kill the battery on my iPhone regularly. Then one day it stopped. I think it was because I had saved all these wonderful ideas, but never did any.

It has been ages since I’ve logged into my Pinterest account. However, I do remember certain things I kept looking for. Mostly to do with our garden and doing it on the cheap.

We have an acre to work with. Lots of old growth as well as large trees. I have taken the time to move things around in the yard and have cut back some of the overgrown parts. It’s a labour of love.

Even animals love to hang out on our property. Our dog Lex is super lazy and never chases the squirrels away. We have numerous bird nests hidden in places like the wood shed and throughout trees. So we have a bird feeder that is always filled to keep them happy. And the squirrels love to run along our fence and up the trees.

Like a regular Disney Princess film- we just need more singing in the yard.

Pinterest was always something that kept me creating visions for our property. “Up Cycling” is still a hot trend. We have a collection of junk that is turning into Instagram hashtags. All with stuff we had already in our possession. This year’s spring cleaning and yard setup hasn’t cost me a penny. Thanks to some old ideas from Pinterest. I did toss a couple of our old toilets. I wasn’t really wanting the white trash planters in my yard. I’m glad I don’t go on Pinterest anymore.

But I still think about making stuff from old pallets I have…

Saturday in the Countryside

I don’t know if I could ever give up this lifestyle.  I’m not talking lavish luxuries- we are halfway between being well off and dirt poor on the best of days- I’m talking about location, location, location. 


We live on the outskirts of a suburb in a little corner of the countryside, yet close enough to enjoy the local shops.  Today was a prime example of everything country that makes life wonderful. Except country music.  That’s not our thing.


The day began with me doing maintenance on the bikes that we own.  Just a bit of tightening brakes, oiling chains and straightening handles bars.  As I did this, an older lady in a diesel truck pulled up into our driveway where I was working.  I traded with her a bunch of empty egg cartons and she gave me some farm fresh eggs that she had gotten in the morning from one of her hens. Nothing beats farm fresh eggs- perfect for a ham and egg breakfast.


I finished the work on the bicycles, packed up my tools, then began smoking a brisket for our dinner.  Our oldest has been keeping an eye on the temperature to make sure is does a slow smoke.  She has taken up wood burning as a hobby. While she stayed home to practice her new found art, we had her watch after our dinner. My wife and I took our two youngest on a bike ride up the road to the local berry farm. A few years back, the Krause Berry Farm did a major overhaul and added a bakery, a dessert shoppe and a winery.  My wife and I enjoyed a couple of cold Wine-a-Ritas before cycling back home with the kids.

It was under fifteen minutes to ride home as a family.  On our way, we passed some other families on bikes enjoying the afternoon, some horses grazing in a field, and a guy on a tractor heading down the road.  With the exception of the horses, everyone waved and smiled.  It’s very surreal to have such friendliness shared amongst strangers.  But that’s the country lifestyle.  A lifestyle I’m not ready to give up on. A lifestyle I never knew I wanted.