Friday, November 23, 2018

Wildlife Update: 14 November 2018 (Deer)

This one is interesting - according to the time it was taken, it was just twenty minutes after we had gone for our nightly walk down the driveway!  We just missed it!

I know the date says the 13th, but I had set it incorrectly, it should be fixed going forward.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Wood Piling Helpers

It's always four times the fun piling wood when you have double the helpers!

A little dusting of the white stuff just makes it look nice

Love to see the smiles!

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Oil, Chains, and a Trip to the Mechanic for the ATV

A couple of weeks ago my awesome neighbour J! offered to help me change out the oil in the ATV.  I thought that sounded reasonable and much easier than me loading it onto the truck and running it down to KC Auto again as I've done every previous year.  As well, I imagined that it would be a bit cheaper to do it yourself.

While there, the much more knowledgeable and wise J! suggested that my tires were looking a little worn, but not yet ready to replace.  He said a big help with ploughing and skidding would be to invest in some chains.  This resonated with me - Grandpa always had chains on his tractor and I had entertained the thought previously, but this latest advice was the precipitating factor for me to order them up.

Two more weeks passed before they arrived, and I rushed out to install them.

It took a bit of head scratching, and watching some Youtube videos, but I think I got them on correctly.

On Saturday I decided to try to bring in a large windfall I had noted on Thursday or Friday when I was last in the bush.  I brought out the ATV and hooked up the log arch.  Of course, it refused to start.  I spent some time turning it over to no avail.  Choke, no choke, gas, no gas.  Sigh.  Next I removed the spark plug and lightly sanded it and cleaned it off.  No go.  Then I added petrol (hmmm, this was much easier to do, perhaps I should have done that before the much more challenging spark plug removal?).  Still no go.

As our car was down at KC Auto anyway and needed to be picked up, I decided to load up the ATV into the back of the truck and take it down to swap vehicles.

Everything lined up.
Ramps in place, and as always, safety first!  Strap those ramps so they can't slide off the gate - I've seen it happen in Youtube videos, as well as in real life!  Very unnerving!
I ended up removing the chains before approaching the ramp, as I figured they wouldn't be good on my aluminum ramps or the truck bed.

Cold work with bare hands!
Getting the front tires on the ramp.  I've also removed the power saw boot.  Note the cable hooked on the passenger side of the truck.
Decided to just guide it up, rather than ride it up.  I know, I'm a nervous Nelly.  (Apologies to the brave Nellys out there.)
Taking a load off the winch as it reaches the top of the ramp.
Pretty much done.  Just to get up and over the wheel wells.
It was a bit of a challenge getting the ATV loaded into the truck without being able to drive it up the ramps.  I first hooked up the winch and let the ATV pull itself up the ramp.  It was not a little exciting when the wire rope snapped just as the ATV reached the wheel wells, and I had to quickly switch to the brake and steering to lower it down the ramp again.

Even a well worn wire rope can break now and again.  Thankfully no one was injured!
I tied off a knot in the wire rope, and put two heavy duty straps across the bed of the truck.  The first time I had just put the winch hook on one side, but this time I was able to hook onto the centre of the straps so that I was pulling the ATV straight up into the back of the truck.

Lots of creaking and a straining winch, but it worked!

Worked this time!
And an extra strap at the back to make extra sure all was well.
Of course, now I get to let KC Auto look at the ATV again - and in hindsight, the time and cost of the oil change kit ended up costing me more than letting the pros look at it anyway.  That's something I've definitely learned here on the homestead - while it does give one a great sense of accomplishment to be able to do everything for one's self - it is often as not more expensive and inefficient, with results that can sometimes be better obtained from a professional.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Wildlife Update: 13 November 2018 (Fox)

Editor's note: Too frequent (and blurry) fox photos? Should we post every photo with an animal, or only those that are new or particularly remarkable?

Monday, November 19, 2018

Wildlife Update: 10 November 2018 (Human)

Saw this magnificent female who seemed really pre-occupied with the lynx scat on the driveway.  Looks like she even brought along her offspring and I think that's her mate peeking in on the far right.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Friday, November 16, 2018

Wildlife Update: 30 October 2018 (Fox)

Okay, now that we have the game cameras working on a regular basis, I'll try to post the pictures of what comes up and just tag them by date and perhaps what animal they are.  Not sure if this will be all that interesting or not?

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Wildlife Update: 21 October 2018 (Lynx)

This lynx appeared about 25 minutes after the grouse, following the same route.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Cold Morning in the Cabin!

I woke up early this morning, it felt later than it really was, but I decided it was a good time to start the woodstove.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Security / Game Cameras

A couple weeks ago at Canadian Tire, I picked up a few game cameras after we witnessed the lynx following some grouse along our driveway.  This coincided with a recent uptick in traffic on the homestead while we are away.

I figured that the game cameras could double as security cameras as well.

Slightly annoyingly, we're sure that they've missed some critters, as we've seen tracks in front of the their field of view, but no pictures have materialized!

Similarly, there have been times that we know we drove past, but the camera has either been extremely slow in tripping and thus only shows the driveway, or it hasn't tripped at all.

On the plus side, there are multiple cameras, so we can assume that in most cases, if one camera misses something, another will catch it.

I had planned on owning one more SD card than cameras, so that I could swap out the cameras in succession each night when we go for our after supper walk.  Unfortunately, after the first swap, I could no longer find the spare SD card.  I searched through all the bins in the corner where I THOUGHT I would have left it.

I cleared off the countertop with our computers in the family room of the cabin.  Not there either.

I figured it was a sunk (lost) cost, and purchased a new card.  I opened up the new card and sat it beside the computer.  After supper, while getting ready to go for the walk, I put the new card in my pocket, and then sat briefly on the chesterfield.

My hand slipped (for what felt like the first time ever) between the side of the chesterfield and the first cushion.  It felt an edge of plastic.  I slipped my fingertips around it and pulled out the missing SD card - NOT SIXTY SECONDS AFTER I HAD PICKED UP ITS REPLACEMENT FROM THE COUNTER.

I guess that's another sunk cost, and at least I have a spare SD card, instead of just the memories of one.  Sigh.

Here are the first pictures of wildlife we've gained from the investment.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Partially Enclosing the Porch with Poly

Last week we got treated to a cold, wet blow of snowy rain on our north and east sides here at the cabin.  On the north side of the cabin is where we store firewood briefly before it comes into the cabin (so we don't have to go all the way to the woodshed every time we run out of wood inside - we have a couple days' supply built up in deep Rubbermaid tubs.)  As long as the lids are on these tubs, it isn't really a big issue if the weather hits them, but in this particular case, it meant that every lid had a deep pool of freezing cold slush on it that had to be removed before we could bring in that wood.  I also don't like how the snow blows up to the logs of the cabin and then melts there when the temperatures rise again.

Wood and sawdust bins close by.  Note the soaking wet deck.
Even worse, on the east side of the cabin, we sometimes leave our boots outside when we come in.  We came home during this weather event to find our boots soaked with cold snowy water.  Ugh.

No protection for the front entrance either.
For $25, I picked up a roll of medium strength poly tarp and for a few dollars more, some squeeze type clamps.

Medium weight poly.
These type of clamps are surprisingly expensive!

I cut some one inch by two inch strapping to the same height as the outside opening of the porch roof (78 inches).  I wrapped up some of the poly tarp around this strap, and then clamped it to one of the posts on the cabin.

I zig zagged through the posts to give the poly a bit more support, and then did the same thing at the opposite end of the porch.

The view from inside the porch now.  Feels actually cozy.
And in front of the entrance.  Hopefully it will offer a bit of protection.

It was hard to see through, but on the north side of the cabin, we only have a bathroom window that we sometimes look out of - so no worries there.

On the east or entrance side of the cabin, I didn't enclose the whole porch, just in front of the door, so our view through the kitchen sink window is still unobstructed.

Fingers crossed!
I then wandered off to assemble our pop up garage, but returned shortly after to see this.

I retightened everything and made a note to purchase some more clamps for extra strength.

One new, extra clamp

And an alternate angle, showing the wood slat.
I'll try to continue to report on how well it all works out.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

A Pop Up Garage

So Donna is still making the daily trek into the city for work, and now that temperatures have dropped below zero, she's starting to encounter frost and snow some mornings.

After a brief discussion about whether or not we could find a way to make the morning routine a bit easier, we green-lit the notion of a shelter for her to park in.

I consulted carefully with the Canadian Tire website, and opted for a rounded top ten by ten structure that seemed to fit the bill (ninja edit : it was on sale too, so the decision was swayed towards this particular size and model).  I think that in the future if the fabric does ever break down, I can easily (?) cover it with sheet steel and create something really solid!

Kenny and I spent the better part of the day assembling it in a very cold drizzle, but managed to not only get it put together according to specs, I even used some of the leftover railway spikes from constructing the cabin to hammer it into the gravel where we located it!

All set up, ready to accept a vehicle into it's loving embrace!
With great excitement, I lined up the Echo and backed carefully in.

Looks good!
Nice and tight against the back fabric.
Uh oh...
Yup, I should have bought the fifteen footer.  Sigh.  Maybe measuring the vehicles would have been prudent?

Enough room to get in and out on the side ;).
At least there was room to get in and out of the vehicle without having to slide along the side of it.

The even more glaring issue is that the Hyundai that Donna drives is even longer.

Well, for now we'll try having her just pull the front in, so she doesn't have to scrape her window.  If it doesn't work out, we do have need for a structure like this to park either the ATV or the bikes or things of that nature.

Bonus cold snek picture.