November 2022

First snowfall of the year Nov. 3 (pic taken at 7:28am)
Little accumulation from last night. If we don’t clear the panels, no power to the house.
View from the dock…a lone Loon.

Nov 3 – Forgot that I had created a Youtube channel. So far only half a dozen videos, but hope to add more content going forward: https://youtube.com/channel/UCEUlgwrTf3Us2cDeY6X2gOg

Nov 5 – Amazing how the weather changed in 48 hours. Two days ago it was -5C and we had received about an inch or two of snow. Today, sunny and +8C.

Nov 8 – John was to have come home today, but will take a trip to Oshawa, then home tomorrow. Can’t believe he’s been gone 5 weeks. Just got home myself from the usual laundry/grocery trip to Kapuskasing. Once a month, I head to the laundromat as we don’t have a washer/dryer. I’d love a washer/dryer but being off-grid, we just cannot generate enough solar power for the next six months. I find the laundromat to be convenient in that I can do 7-8 loads in under an hour. I’m thinking how long that would have taken in my previous house where we had a washer and dryer. Would have taken at least a full day or maybe two. Add in electricity and water costs…meh…I don’t mind the laundromat. It is what it is.

Quote I read the other day by Mark Twain: “There are two important days in your life: the day you were born, and the day you learn why.”

Nov 16 – I think the snow that recently fell will stay as the forecast for the next two weeks is below zero. Winter has arrived. Since we have the wood stove going all day, decided to make a stew and cook on the wood stove – sort of mimic a slow cooker. I can alter the temperature either by the fire itself and/or placing a trivet under the cast iron Dutch oven. Using a trivet and creating a bit of air beneath the pot allows the stew to simmer, rather than boil. Todays stew is “pork, fennel and roasted red peppers.” This will take approximately 8 hours and served over smashed taters.

Just got home from my first winter bike ride. Two years ago I had purchased a fat bike, but the seat was so uncomfortable I couldn’t ride it. Finally got a new seat and took the bike for a 6km ride on an icy/snowy road. For those who aren’t familiar, a “fat bike” is sort of like a mountain bike, but a lot sturdier. The wheels are about 5 inches wide and have studs with tiny little metal rivets. This helps grip on ice and enables the bike to ride through six inches of snow. A terrific workout!

Johnny is busy up at our other property. He’s been busy changing brakes, tires, oil changes and so on. All the stuff I have no clue about. It’s nice that the distance between our house and our other place is only 600m. When we remember to charge the walkie-talkies, we’ll keep in touch that way.

One of Johns hobbies is model railroading. Couple pics from what he’s created in part of the garage:

Nov 20 – Our least favourite day since we decided to move off-grid: cleaning the compost toilet. I’ll spare you the details, but cleaning the toilet isn’t really all that bad. We do this not-so-fun chore every other month and takes maybe 20 minutes. The upside is we don’t need a septic bed, no worries about lines freezing and the cost of septic is about $15,000 versus $1,500 for a compost toilet.

9pm view of the moon.

Nov 21 – went for a bike ride. We have some snow and the roads are a bit icy, but no worries with the fat bike tires.

Nov 23 – ice just starting to cover the lake.
Nov 23
Nov 27 – 7:30am -18c

Nov 29 – last minute decision, we’re driving to Timmins today – about 1.5hrs south of us. Shopping up here kind of sucks, so it’ll be nice to hit up Bulk Barn especially. Haven’t shopped there in three years. We’ll spend a couple nights enjoying a few dinners out, shopping and spending time in the “big city.” LOL…population 42,000.

A new day, a new start to my website

7:58am view from dock

Past few days I have slogged around Facebook and thought to myself “why?” Constant and useless ads; misinformation and just not a big fan of the founder of Facebook.

I had quit Facebook back in 2017, but for some reason felt I needed to rejoin in 2018. Back then, I had hundreds and hundreds of “friends” but I bet that I knew less than 1% of them. When I rejoined Facebook in 2018, I vowed to keep my friends list even smaller.

What has filled the Facebook void the past couple years has been Reddit. I like Reddit because ads are minimal, but I choose what groups I want to belong to. Sort of like Facebook, but in a way much different. I find a whole lot less negativity and much more informative. Groups that I belong to are:

  • Places I’ve lived (Saskatchewan, Ontario, Northern Ontario, Ottawa and Northwest Territories)
  • Hobbies (hiking, Appalachian Trail, Pacific Crest Trail, ultralight, fat biking)
  • travel
  • Investing
  • Off grid living
  • Russian culture, literature, language and travel (I’ll expand on this later)

So now that Facebook is getting the boot, I thought I’d go back to my website. In the past, I always wanted to keep a running diary of our transition from living in Ottawa to moving off grid in Northern Ontario. Laziness played a big reason in why I never maintained the site. I’m hoping by getting rid of Facebook, that this will be a good way to keep in touch with friends.

As of this writing, it’s been a long 4 weeks as John as been away on contract work in Ottawa. Thank goodness he’s coming home next weekend.

I haven’t been real busy around here as most of our projects were completed. Firewood is all neatly stacked, summer gear has been replaced by winter stuff. Now it’s just waiting for the first snow to fall. Temperatures have been hovering around 0C at night and low single digit during the day. Leaves have long fallen off the trees around here while the tamarack trees have seen their needles turn bright yellow.

Lol…yes, I’m prepping for yet another Appalachian Trail hike April 2022. It is hard to put into words how exciting and disappointing my attempts have been. I will try yet again. I am stubborn that way.

My first attempt was 2019 and failed miserably. I had pain in my feet, hips and knees. Looking back, the hip and knee pain can be attributed to a YouTube video how to hike downhill. The video suggested you tackle the downhills by side stepping rather than straight on. I believe that put a lot of pressure on my joints. Adding to this, I knew I was dehydrated but later on when I was back home, I learned that dehydration can contribute to sore joints. Lesson learned! Arriving home, I visited a podiatrist. She quickly determined I had plantar fasciitis and was fitted for orthotics. Great!

I attempted the trail again in 2021 – new orthotics, hydrating a lot, stretching often…yet I quit early. Again! This attempt, I wasn’t hurt or injured, but mentally…that’s another story.

Back home, I was out hiking one day. A nice 10km saunter – nothing too strenuous. A few days later, big toenail on my left foot is black. Few years ago, hiking Algonquin Park, I had lost that same toe nail, but at the time I was wearing hiking boots. Why was my toe black? Usually that’s caused by shoes too small. I grabbed my train runners – the exact same pair I had worn both in 2019 and this year and couldn’t believe it. Wrong shoe size! D’oh!

What a dummy. Prior to my 2019 hike, I had spent hours and hours scrutinizing every piece of gear down to the gram. It’s common knowledge that hikers always, always go up 1/2 to 1 full size bigger than what they normally wear to account for foot swelling and your feet sliding forward when walking downhill. So not only had I been wearing shoes not one size bigger, they were two sizes too small. So say I normally wear a size 9. For hiking, I should have had a 10. And what was I hiking in? An 8. Lol. No wonder my feet hurt. And yes, I’m now wearing proper sized shoes.

Second thing I changed since I came home is losing some weight. Since May I have lost about 17 pounds. That should really help because when you think about it – that’s 17 extra pounds walking up and down mountains. Final thing I changed is my gear setup and have shed a few pounds. Aside from water and food, all the stuff I carry (excluding what I’m wearing) in my backpack weighs about 12lbs.

Now it’s all about getting and keeping in shape. I have a fat bike for riding on our snowy/icy road, an indoor recumbent bike and snowshoes. I think the latter will be great when the lake is frozen over and a foot or two of snow. Should be good exercise.

John and I are tossing around the idea of maybe going to Spain in January, but this time, instead of being tourists like we were in 2018, I would hike the Camino Santiago trail. It runs from Spain/France border to Portugal. Trail is around 500 miles, mostly flat, but might be good to keep my legs in shape. Another option is Patagonia in Argentina.

Anyhow…that’s about all for now. Thanks for reading.