Monday, January 25, 2016

A Tale of Two Kettles.

It was the best of boil times, it was the blurst of boil times...

But seriously, things you never really think about in life.  A few weeks ago it was front entrance cleanup day.  As Kenny can attest to, this also includes the woodstove, as it is adjacent to the entrance, and I figure that cleaning out the ashes and carrying them out the front door is a good time to just clean the entire area.

One other group of things I clean at the same time are the implements that we commonly use on the woodstove.  Most obviously, our kettles.

In spite of having the water reservoir on the stove, we've found it to not be as usable as we first would have imagined.  I suppose it is a bit challenging to fill, or remember to keep filled.  Not to mention that it doesn't have a lid, so it gets rapidly contaminated with dirt and debris.  It's just much easier to use kettles - and they tend to heat up faster anyway.

But I digress.  I was cleaning out our oldest kettle (the one we generally use for non-potable water) and happened to scrub off a nodule of rust on the bottom rim.  I thought this was a good thing, but as it turned out, that was some load bearing rust, and when I buffed up the kettle, refilled it, and placed it on the stove, lo and behold - water began to puddle under it on the stovetop.  Rats.

Doubly annoying was the fact that only a week or two beforehand, I had sent off a kettle to the thrift store, deciding that it wasn't needed any longer.

Off to the shops to purchase a spiffy replacement.

I found a suitable model at Walmart for $12.98.  It seemed to fit the bill nicely.  Stainless steel, whistling...  Handle?  What else do you look for in a kettle?  Well, let me tell you...
Walmart Kettle.  Looks normal, doesn't it?
It almost never boiled.  It got warm, it got hot, but to boil?  You had to have it on the stove for hours, or get the stovetop surface in excess of 400 degrees.

So anyway, after discussion with Donna, and reminding myself about the psychological issues associated with sunk costs, I hit up Superstore for another kettle.  I found what for all intents and purposes looked to be an identical model for $12.00.  (Actually, they had a good one for $10.00 on clearance - but it was bright, bright red - I didn't think that would go with our decor).
Superstore Kettle.  Looks identical, doesn't it?
He's crazy! - Is what you might say, if you thought I bought an identical kettle hoping it would produce different results.  But here's where my tale becomes a bit more gripping (to those of you in the market for a kettle)...

I had examined the Walmart kettle to see if there was an explanation for its mediocre performance, and noted that the large, flat portion of the base of this kettle was actually inset compared to the crimped outer edge.  This had the effect of lifting most of the kettle off of the flat surface of the stove - so virtually none of the kettle was in direct contact with the stovetop.  There was a permanent, fraction of an inch spacing between the kettle and the stove.
What's this?!  The rim of the kettle is flush with the cutting board, meaning that the main base of the kettle inside the rim is not making contact with the heating surface of the stove!
The Superstore kettle, on the other hand, clearly had the flat portion of the base extending below the crimped bottom rim.  It put almost the entire base against the stovetop for maximum heat transfer.
Ahhh, the rim is lifted off the cutting board - that must mean that the base of the kettle is actually in direct contact with the stovetop - much, much, much better boiling action!
On a gas stove, this difference would likely never be noticed - the flames lick the bottom of the vessels in virtually any circumstance.

Same with electric - either you put the kettle on a smaller element such that the rim doesn't space it off; or else you just don't notice the efficiency because your electricity is so amazingly cheap you can just turn it up to effect a boil.

Those of us trying to heat items with a flat woodstove top though - it pays big dividends to purchase cookware with wide, flat bases that make maximum contact.

As always dear readers, let my mistakes be your tuition in the sometimes pricey school of life.








Sunday, January 24, 2016

Solar Production in January in Thunder Bay

Welp, here we are in January - the month I was always holding out for during the long, dark days of November and December (and even a little bit in October already).

This is the first year with nine panels feeding into our system.  In spite of that, when there isn't much sun, there isn't much energy production here on the homestead.  Nine times a very small number is still a very small number.

One offsetting feature of our November and December was the temperature - El Nino made things here unseasonably warm, even if no more sunlight appeared.  This made running the generator much easier and less burdensome.

Another help is that Donna has recently begun a new job that pays well enough that the concept of buying a quality generator is no longer a fear - if our current 1kW Champion dies, we will simply purchase a good replacement.  I'm very tired of cheap generators.

In any case, we made it through to New Year's without too much trouble.  I was a bit miffed that unlike in years past, the New Year didn't represent a real change in the amount of sunlight we received.  For a week or two afterwards it still was overcast six out of seven days.

At least our water continued to flow.  We had a bit of a trouble getting it going when we returned from Southern Ontario after Christmas, but now that I understand what happened, I don't anticipate that occurring again.  Since then it did freeze up only one more time - when we didn't have much solar production and before I had made my clothes airing rack, so we didn't pump water for about two days.  Since then, we try to "churn" the tanks a little bit every morning and night.  Even if we don't pump water, we just turn on the pump until we can hear water sloshing around - theoretically, that should break up or prevent ice in the pipe.

The past week and a half though - they've been excellent!  Strangely, we've not been able to get to float - but that's been offset in my mind by the fact that we've just been in extra long absorptions.  I think this is because during absorption, things like the fridge or me doing laundry or pumping water drag the voltage down enough that the charge controller decides to cancel float the next day.

One other thing I should mention is that we have been shutting all the power off when we go to bed.  This seems to help ensure that in the morning we don't really have to worry about whether or not the sun will rise in time to carry us through the day.

In any case, I have already found that on the clear, sunny days, by midafternoon we have such an abundance of energy that I have already:


  • boiled water in the electric kettle
  • steamed hard boiled eggs in our rice cooker
and
  • made slow cooked scalloped potatoes for the afternoon
Oh yeah!  Super cheesy scalloped potatoes a la Daddy!
This last one was especially rewarding - an entire meal!  A slow cooker is something I would suggest anyone consider purchasing - doubly so if you have a decent amount of solar power.  You are probably over generating power for your batteries at exactly the right time (afternoon) for cooking up your evening meals.

The person who invents a better battery for solar (I'm looking at you Elon!), will surely be my hero.
Criminey, Pmax = 1750W, but all I need is 360W to keep the batteries fully charged.  I'm losing sleep imagining what I could do in life if I could find a way to save up those other 1400W for future needs!

Thursday, January 14, 2016

My Own Indoor Clothes Airer / Dryer

You become pragmatic about things when you're trying to simplify or live in a small footprint.  Now that the weather is consistently twenty below or colder, drying clothes outside is no longer really an option.

I moved our standup rack inside and we have been making do with that, but it's sitting in the middle of our tiny kitchen, and is constantly in the way, moving close to the stove, then away from the stove when we have to cook or work the fire.  It's not really been a "permanent" solution in the sense that we can accept it.

That really only left a few other options - a dryer of some sort?  Well, that's really not much of an option when you don't have propane, and you're off-grid and trying to conserve power.

Instead, hanging the laundry indoors in the cabin is the only real answer.

A side benefit of this is that it should hopefully add moisture to the air here, where we generally are below 45% humidity most of the winter.

Now - where to put up a line?

I contemplated putting two pulleys at each end of the cabin and then carrying the laundry up to the landing upstairs and hanging it there.  It wouldn't be a very long line (no more than 20 feet of useable line at the outside) - and it would be a hassle to navigate the stairs with a basket of laundry on a regular basis.

I had in my head a vision of drying racks that could be lifted up to the ceiling after loading.  A quick internet search led me to many options for a "clothes airer" - something that really seems to have become an art form in the UK.  Here in Canada though, there really wasn't an option for someone within the country selling them.  It's a pity really.

There were one or two places in the US that were importing them and reshipping them to Canada, but the best price I could find was still $260US - and with exchange the way it is now, that would be quite an investment in a few pulleys, a length of rope, some wood slats and cast iron ends.

Instead, I decided at last to check out Home Depot and see if I couldn't rig together something on my own.

I ended up purchasing a handful of 3/4" screws with decorative washers, a pair of double pulleys, a single pulley, three hooks, 100 feet of solid cotton rope (3/16"), two 8" angle iron brackets (the exact same ones I used to mount the water tank), and four 1x2"x6' fir slats.

Total cost, GST in, was $75.00.  Hopefully this experiment justifies the expense.  At least it was a quarter of cost of the one I would have ordered in.

I assembled my materials on the dining table, and then headed up into the attic with the hooks, pulleys and rope.
Materials all gathered together.
Of course, my fear of heights kicked in, and with trembling hands I inched out onto the plywood up there over the main part of the cabin and screwed in the hooks under the collar ties by hand, without pilot holes.  It was crampy, difficult, anxious work.  Kenny remained downstairs begging me not to fall through the rafters.  This didn't help my mood.

Eventually though, I got all three hooks screwed in to their nearly full depth.  Then I threaded the ends of the rope through both double pulleys, and then one end through the single pulley.
I found it easier on the nerves to try to stay on this piece of OSB so that I couldn't see down very easily.
Again, inching my way along the rafters, I hung the pulleys from the hooks so that there was a double pulley against the wall, one spaced out a few feet from the wall, and the single pulley three rafters over yet again.  I extended the ends of the rope downstairs until Kenny was able to grab them and I instructed him to not let go of them until I got down.
An awesome assistant!  Even if a little prone to not helping my nerves.
I found him hanging on diligently, thanked him for his assistance, and tied them off to one of the dining chairs.

Next up was to assemble the airer itself.

I measured in a foot from the end of each slat and made a tiny pencil mark.  From a six foot slat, this gave me an inner distance between marks of four feet.  Coincidentally, three rafters spaced at sixteen inches also gives me forty eight inches, or exactly four feet.  The ticks on my slats would line up perfectly between the two pulleys overhead.

I attached the slats of the corner brackets with my fancy screws, which at 3/4" wouldn't protrude completely through the fir.
First attach the slats on this side of the bracket.
In this version I fastened the slats on top of the brackets, with them forming an inverted V shape - I assumed this would lend the apparatus some stability.
Okay, all screwed together.  Check to make sure they are tight (and retighten the loose ones) and then on to the next step.
I tied off the ends of the ropes through my brackets, and then carefully pulled on the loop of rope hanging down the wall to lift my airer up.  It swung into position and sat quite nicely for me.
I just kind of made up a knot based on the one Grandpa created when we were hoisting the cabin beams into position.
With Kenny's help holding the airer as high as he could, I tied a knot into it just above my window, and then lowered it to the floor.

I lined up and mounted a cleat to the wall just above the window - once I put trim around the window, I'll likely mount the cleat on the trim in the same position - as long as this whole scheme passes Donna's judgement.
One cleat, mounted with 3" screws for extra grip.
Next I tied off another knot with the airer up as high as I liked.  This knot had the double function of also being a fall arrest knot in case someone ever unhooked the rope and didn't hold on - the airer wouldn't quite reach the floor at this position.  Of course, I hope something like that wouldn't happen - I don't want to imagine what would happen to anyone beneath it if they were caught unawares!  Luckily I'm the one who spends most of their time directly under it - so I guess I'll be forced to eat my own dog food.
Lines right up with the back of my head when I sit at the table!
And now up in her resting position.
I loaded her up with some laundry, and hoisted her into the air.  I was quite pleased that it didn't immediately collapse!
Nice and heavy mats to really test it out!
Now only time will tell if it provides enough area to do a good job at drying things for us.  I'm hopeful though!  Especially when we finally get the ceiling panelled such that the heat from the stove is trapped right around that level.



Wednesday, January 13, 2016

A Review of Our New Washing Machine - Sonya SYW-70S

I have been quite happy with our Panda washing machine.  And after extended use, we still liked it.  But, as we have become more comfortable in our surroundings and have expanded our power and plumbing systems, we began to entertain the thoughts of something a bit more convenient.
Time for a break Panda, you served us well!


Enter the Sonya SYW-70S.  This machine is about the same width as the Panda, but much taller (at about 36 inches) and deeper (at about 24 inches).

It has three major advantages over the Panda unit.

It combines washing and spinning in the same drum.  This means we don't have to physically move the wet laundry from one side of the machine to the other.  That wasn't a huge hardship, but it was an interruption to our other workflow, and it did often result in water splashing on the floor as it is hard to move soaking wet laundry without having a few drops go astray.

It has a permanent, automated hookup to the water lines.  The Panda DID have an option to hook up to the water lines as well, but it was a very small diameter connection, which made for a slow water flow.  It also was not automated, so we would have to monitor the water going into the Panda and shut it off when it gets too high.  Not something I would trust to happen uneventfully over the long term.

Finally, it is larger.  The Panda really choked on floor mats or heavy sheets or even loading more than one or two shirts and pants at the same time.  The Sonya can easily handle these items, with room to spare it seems!

Observations after using it for a day or two (and multiple loads).

It only takes slightly more power than the Panda did.  It also take longer to do a load than the Panda.  This is mostly because with the Panda, I only ever set it to wash for about 10 minutes - the Sonya generally is around 12 to 18 minutes, depending on the setting you choose.

The Panda was quick to fill (with buckets), while the Sonya and our low water pressure requires a long time to fill between wash and rinse cycles.

Clothes aren't as dry coming out of the spin of the Sonya as they were in the Panda, but the Panda had the advantage of a small, dedicated spinner, so again it isn't really a fair comparison.

Of course, the Sonya uses more water.  With our 30 gallon water tank full, the Sonya uses about 7/8 of the tank to do a heavy wash at 50% water level, or a normal wash at 100% water level.  When I did a heavy wash at 100% water level, the tank ran out partway through filling for the second rinse.  I don't think that's a big problem, it shouldn't be a challenge to return to the washer within the hour that a heavy wash takes, and repump the water tank.  Otherwise, I think if we just size the programme selected to the amount of laundry we put it, all should be well.
Still out from the wall for the first run - don't want any surprises to happen in behind!
One interesting water related thing that happened with me using the Sonya - when I first installed it, I jammed the drain hose as far into my drain as I could manage.  The first time I used it, after the initial wash, it seemed to take forever to refill.  In fact, it kept refilling and I pumped the water tank and eventually it errored out from taking too long to refill (yes, it will eventually give up if there is not enough water coming into the machine).  This was at first discouraging, but then I noticed that I could hear water going down the drain while it was filling.  I believe that once again I was the victim of an unintentional siphon.  I pulled up the drain hose a few inches until I heard the suction break and could feel the hose drain empty.  Since I have done this, the machine has worked just fine and even with our low and slow water flow, it doesn't give up, even at 100% water level in the machine.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Finishing up the ABS in the Corner of the Kitchen

I screwed in the ABS panel in the corner of the kitchen that covers up the water pipes.  It looks not bad, so I snapped a few pictures for your pleasure.

Nice colour match!  I used fancy washers on the screwheads to make it look professional.

Just showing the nice corners that fit over the counter.  I'll likely try to silicone the seams.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Installation of a Clear, Acrylic Backsplash - Plus a Low-Pressure Tap

Returning from the south over the holiday break also presented a few other opportunities - items I had ordered before leaving were now ready for installation!

First up - protecting the wall behind the counter from inadvertent drips and splashes.  I didn't want to hide the look of our wood walls, but I didn't feel confident in treating them with anything that I've had previous experience with.  That's why I once again looked up my good friend Larry at Surecraft Plastics.  I took a crude diagramme that we both looked over together, and over Christmas he managed to get two pieces cut for me.

They consisted of a clear piece with holes pre-drilled to put along the wall under our hanging cabinet.  To the surface of this piece I added a hanging bar from Ikea to support their hanging drying rack and cutlery cup.  It looked just how I envisioned!

So pristine and shiny.
And with the drying rack!
I drilled a small hole in the corner of the drip tray under the Ikea drying rack - this allows much of the water to run out harmlessly, so I don't have to try to unclip a tray full of water every few uses.

In the corner, he provided a piece of grey ABS that was shaped to fit the counter.  This covered up the water pipes extending out of the bottom of the water tank.  I still have to mount this piece, hopefully I can get to that today, as I have all the parts I need to proceed with that.

The other decision I had to make was between two taps that had arrived in the post.  One, expensive, from the U.K, - it had both hot and cold running levers, and was advertised to be compatible with very low pressure systems.  The other, cheap, I ordered on a lark from China.  It only had a single lever and was very no-frills.  Annoyingly, the Chinese one seemed a better option for our situation.  With only a single lever for cold water, I wouldn't have to cap the other side to prevent mishaps.  As well, the U.K. tap still sent the water through a very narrow hose before it got up to the spout.  The Chinese one allowed me to remove that hose, and screw my water line directly to the 1/2" connection on the base.  I then removed the aerator and replaced it with two small extensions, to ensure that it cleared the edge of the sink.  You see, the corner sink placed the tap halfway back in the triangle created between the two sinks, and this mean that it was close to six inches away from either sink...

These hoses are just too narrow for my tastes.
Chinese tap for the win!
Luckily the water flows nicely into both.  It does tend to drip a tiny bit back onto the splash area between the two basins, but of course, that's all solid, molded stainless steel anyway, so no harm.  I have a few absorbent cloths that I keep by the sink, and if it bothers me, I wipe the drops off right away.
Clears the edge pretty well, but I can always mop up any drips.
Looking good!
Things are coming together!  Having a kitchen(ette?) gives us much greater range and ability in our choices.  It was Kenny's birthday recently, and for the first time since we've moved, we were able to make our own pizza dough for his special supper!
We can bake again!
Kenny's Minecraft cake that he made!

Sunday, January 10, 2016

AGM Batteries for Everyone!

One experience that we've had more than our fair share of has been jump starting various vehicles.  Our first and second winters were a lesson in finding which vehicle was able to start, and then using it to jump start the other(s) until all were running.

Last year the Echo needed just one too many jumps for my patience.  I headed down to KC Automotive and had Kyle put in an AGM battery for us.

In case you aren't sure what that means, an AGM battery is an "absorbed glass mat".  Instead of free flowing sulphuric acid between the lead plates, the battery has a fibreglass type of mat with a gellied type of acid.  This helps prevent the battery from freezing in winter, and gives it much better cold weather performance.

Since the installation of this, the Echo has been starting just fine for us.

After returning from the sunny south, I had to plough out access for the vehicles.  The snow was deeper than I expected!

Still 500% better than doing it with the tractor!
I then decided to try to get the truck going as past experience has shown that it isn't wise to let the vehicles sit for a week or two in winter without running.

Annoyingly, the ignition simply clicked while the dash lights dimmed.  Dead - and this after the battery got a clean bill of health this fall!  Anyway, I brought up the Echo, and used it to jumpstart the truck.

I left the truck idling for about twenty minutes, then pulled it forward, ploughed behind it, and then as I was backing it in again, I stalled it.  Of course, it wouldn't start.  Rinse and repeat the Echo jumpstart.  I went inside and left the truck idling another half hour.

I shut the truck off, and restarted it without issue.  I crossed my fingers that it was okay, but alas, the next morning, again it was all clicks as I was leaving to go to the hospital for more x-rays.

I stopped at Canadian Tire and picked up one of their Optimum brand AGM batteries - normally I would have let KC Automotive handle this entire operation, but I needed the truck running, and they were closed over much of the holiday break.

Installation was a snap, and the truck has started up quite nicely ever since.

So far, if you can't, or prefer not to have a plug in heater - I'd highly recommend the dependability of an AGM battery.  Now if only they could get the price down to the point that I could use them for the cabin!

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Returning to the Cabin

The day we left for the south was reasonably sunny.  I was in a hopeful mood that with the power switched off completely, any sunlight at all would go towards charging the batteries, and we could return to a nice, fully charged system.

Kenny was still excited about the snow we were leaving behind.

Will this joy last into his teenage years when I ask him to shovel?
Returning home the cabin was very cold.  Luckily we were home by afternoon, so I started a fire and checked on the batteries.  I was a bit miffed to see that they were mediocre at best.  Of course, the panels were completely covered by even the little bit of snow that we had received while we had been gone.  I had instructed Grandpa not to bother sweeping them off, but he said he had, and even so, there we were.

I managed to fire up the generator and then crossed my fingers and pressed the button for pumping water from our well.

Unsurprisingly, nothing happened.

I was prepared for this though.  I punched the heat cable on for 30 minutes, and then rechecked the fire.

As part of our preparations for our trip, we had taken food over to Mummu and Grandpa's that wasn't capable of being frozen - canned goods or things in bottles and such.

Items in the freezer I decided could just stay there.  I guessed that with the power off, the cabin would drop below zero, and the freezer, already being there, would only reinforce that.  You can imagine my annoyance to discover that the freezer, while still below zero, had somehow allowed the ice cream to melt and cause a sticky mess inside the freezer compartment.

This made me too nervous to keep the shrimp or a few chicken breasts that were there, so they wound up in the compost right away.  Lesson learned - some things need to be REALLY cold to qualify as safely frozen, not just at zero!

After an hour of heat cable, I tried the pump switch again.

Slightly distressing - nothing.

Grandpa came over, and together, we managed to wrangle Kenny's bed upstairs to his room.  It was like one of those twisted wire puzzles - rotating and flipping the bed to get it around the obstacles and up to his room.  But at least it worked!

Next time though, any furniture for upstairs will have to be able to be dismantled and ... remantled(?).

I then started to think of possible worst case scenarios about our water system - and wondering if there was a horrible chance that the water could be frozen somewhere between the well and the water tank inside the cabin.

With a start, it came to me - the awful realization that I had forgotten something vitally important in our preparations for our trip south.  I hadn't removed the particulate filter under the sink!

Hollering out a type of chocolate* in spite of myself, I jumped across the cabin and whipped open the door under the sink.

Feeling gingerly around the filter, I was immensely relieved to not note any deformities or cracks.  This was a double blessing.  I hadn't broken an important component of our water system, AND I gave myself a possible simple explanation for why we had no water - the filter was frozen and preventing water from coming in.

I left the cupboard door open, and shut the woodstove up airtight.  I then headed back to Mummu and Grandpa's house to enjoy a slightly belated Christmas Eve - giving Kenny a chance to open his gifts.

Where does he get his silly streak from?
We returned home to a still very chilly cabin, and sadly, the water still wouldn't pump.  I let the timer run out a final 30 minutes of heat on the cable to no effect, and then went to bed.

First night in the new bed!
It was a very poor sleep I had.  Between the cabin still being just above ten degrees, and obsessing about the water problem, I tossed and turned and didn't feel very chipper when I awoke.

I put on the fire again and tried to bring the cabin up to a better temperature.  I didn't bother closing the door under the sink, but wasn't very optimistic about things.

Eventually Donna and Kenny awoke, and on a lark I pressed the pump button, in spite of the heat cable having been turned off for the past eight or nine hours.

I almost keeled over when immediately the sound of water gushing up the pipe to the tank met my ears.  The blockage must have simply been the filter as I had barely hoped for - and it thawed overnight!

Nearly crying for joy, I invited Kenny and Donna to join hands with me while I did my happy dance around the kitchen!

Thursday, January 7, 2016

The Holiday Break

Sorry to my regular readers for another hiatus, but it was the holiday season for many people, myself and my family included.

This year we headed back to Waterloo earlier in the month and returned just after Christmas.  We managed to dodge some dicey weather at both ends - somewhat.  Starting two days before we were scheduled to leave, and extending through the night to the next morning we got our first real snowfall here just north of Thunder Bay.  In the city I don't believe they received as much snow as we did here.  I'm not too guilty of exaggeration when I say that it was close to 30cm.

I ploughed twice the day the snow began, and the next morning when I thought that it would be easy for Donna to leave for work, I was quite surprised to see all my work from the day before had been undone overnight, and I had to spend another couple of hours clearing the driveway again for her to be able to get out.

I then pressed into service our roof rake again and cleared the porches and yurts from the majority of snow that had built up.  It was about at this point that Kenny came outside and wondered where everyone had gone and left him unsupervised!

We had a very nice breakfast with Mummu and Grandpa, and then Grandpa and I attempted (unsuccessfully) to get Kenny's bed into his room.  It was too large to fit up the stairs without some extended thought!

I suggested he could try to think of ideas for how to get it upstairs while we were gone, and we headed off to the aeroport.

In Waterloo, my parents took us in again for the next week and a half, and we had a wonderful time.  Kenny was nearly relentless in trying to get Papa versed in the ins and outs of Minecraft.  It remains to be seen just how much actually stuck.

It was a real pleasure to catch up with friends and family.  Highlights include breakfast with C! and J! W! - as well as going out with my brother and friends  BY! and JC! again.  Of course, Christmas with family was awesome.  Kenny got to spend extra time with Aunt A! and Uncle C!, as well as all of us over at Aunt V!'s to have a meal and play Nintendo and Pictionary with her friend R!  We enjoyed that so much that we downloaded a Pictionary type app for it on Nana's iPad and were able to have a blast ChromeCasting it to both her, and Uncle C!'s television.  It was also really nice to see Great Grandma Garstin again, it's too bad we missed the visit of my cousin H! and her new husband and baby.  And who could forget Donna, Kenny and me going to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens with Aunt V!, R! and B!

Alas, while we ended on a high note, seeing most of Nana's side of the family at Aunt P!s, we had to be up early the next day to catch our flight back home.  Here's a shout out to Aunt S! for being a regular reader!  I hope everything works out with the new hip and the old job...

Arriving home bright and early, we visited a few stores to purchase items we thought we would need as soon as we got back to the cabin, and in doing so, managed to pass enough of the morning to finally be able to enjoy the buffet at Mr. Stir Fry with Mummu and Grandpa Oiva.