Monday, January 26, 2015

calm before the storm!

it's a beautiful and freezing cold day!

the whole east coast is going to get blitzed by a doozy storm! thankfully, our little part of the island is going to escape the worst of it! we'll get some snow and some fierce winds but nothing like the rest of nova scotia is going to get!

but no worries kids - we had french toast for breakfast and everyone knows that pure nova scotia maple syrup can get you through just about anything!

pure nova scotia maple syrup is pretty awesome stuff - but not even close to the stuff that jam's step-dad makes!!!

we just finished all of our preparations for this storm - generator is ready, our 23,000 BTU kerosene heater is ready, candles: check, lanterns: check, tons of food: check. jam's been out in the yard tieing various things down and we've done a general sweep around the house.

to all the people in the provinces and states that have had serious weather advisories - we hope that you will be ok during the storm. it'll be an interesting couple of days, that's for sure!

Monday, January 19, 2015

happy 14th anniversary to my love!

we met on january 19th 2001. i have had my digital camera only since 2007. one of these days i am going to scan all of our older pics. but here's a few good ones from days gone by.

notice the bunny ears? i had those things for years and wore them. for real. i'm bad like that!

 one of the worst winters in ottawa! he was out snowblowing every. single. day. poor guy!

but he got lots of rest and relaxation.

and we got him a canoe - he looooves that canoe!

this was his first time seeing our beautiful Morrison's beach.

and his first time fishing in it.

it's been 14 years babe! it's been an amazing adventure and it has really only just started! i love you more with every passing day....except that's not possible. not when my heart is already so full of you. thank you for everything!

(UPDATED TO ADD: we both forgot it was our anniversary. again - bahahahahaha!)

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

a nice winter so far....lots of reading.....and a DUCK!

after a snowless and gray entire month of december, january has been much brighter!

we haven't had any major storms or anything so it has been a nice winter so far. *knocks on wood*

this afternoon we spied this little guy:

sorry for the bad picture but i took it through a window. he is a male mallard and at first we thought he was hurt. jam went out with a towel to take him in, in case he was hurt, but he flew away. 10 minutes later we found him out under the bird feeder and he's been there ever since!

it looks like we have a duck - woohoo! he doesn't seem to be going anywhere anytime soon so here's hoping he'll get a mate and bring her back with him. then in the spring we'll set up a pool for them. if he ends up choosing to stay here, we'll turn him into our guard duck! bahahahah!

kids, what is it about january that makes me crave potstickers?

i honestly don't know but every january i go on a pot sticker binge.

january is also a month that we spend our afternoons in the bright sun reading through our Harrowsmith magazines.

these magazines are like Mother Earth News but were published in Canada. we have over 10 years of these magazines that jam's mom and stepdad gave us before we left the city. we enjoyed reading and learning from them back in the city but they were a godsend for us during our first winter here - shivering, freezing, pipes blowing up, losing power, freezing, more shivering, flooded basement, bathing in bins, melting snow for water, more shivering and freezing BUT bundled up in clothes and blankets and reading our Harrowsmith magazines!

we break them out every winter and re-read the lot of them. and we have learned so much about homesteading/gardening/prepping/self-reliance and we relearn all of this great information every winter.

my mother used to say that if the house was burning down, she would make a bee-line to her photo albums to save them. we would grab our cats and our Harrowsmiths!

hope everyone is having a great week!

Thursday, January 8, 2015

driveway "enhancements"

jambaloney here!

first off - i spent 2 weeks in early december completely re-doing the septic drain field by hand - i will spare you all picture of that! mercifully the weather held, it didn't freeze and i was able to get it working properly as opposed to the nightmare that the previous owner cooked up!!!

on top of that - our driveway is a never-ending chore..

it is always rutting and i am forever re-trenching and filling in by hand - it is a lot of work so this december - i decided to REALLY try and change the way it is fixed... look - old chain and free iron!!!

i have lots of old chain that i got over the years scavenging - i had no idea how expensive it is!!! this spring i will oil the whole lot, but right now, no time...

look at this awesome thing - too heavy for my purpose though... chain on other plates

and rutted driveway - AGAIN!!!!!!

the ruts become ditches and it gets worse near the bottom over time...

first, i dug out all the big rocks with a pick-axe - my teeth rattled for days after..

so the plan is to scrape the driveway flat....

not really much of a dent..

but this worked well..

and so did the hookup...

so i brought out the "i-don't know what"  - i found it in the trash of a nearby fisherman - i THINK it is some sort of boat spade - the rollers are definitely for a boat..

here it is behind the truck..

it worked okay

but there is still room for improvement - problem is, the soil is clay so i ended up doing the whole thing by hand anyway - no matter - the trenches needed another scraping - i put the excess soil and rocks in the ruts - no pics as it snowed the day after i was done - i do this kinda work in the rain when the soil is soft..

you can see some added soil here..

part of teh problem is that water drains around the curve at the top...

so i am trenching that curve..

and laying in perf pipe (thanks ted!)

here it is all dug out...

it needs some soil fabric wrapped around to keep the soil from clogging it (this was a bit less porous that i would have liked, i ended up using different fabric on the ends)..

and a mesh cap on the end...

i got rocks from the beach, put a small bed of them down first, and laid the pipe in place, then covered it with more rocks... the round rocks are perfect - i used a lot for the septic drain field as well....

here is a different angle...

back to the beach for more rocks - i have to use a wheelbarrow - i got stuck in the sand ONCE ;-) that is a new 9 foot surf rod i bought - no bass this day though ..

back to finish the trench

here is a good view of the finished job - it works really well - almost all the water that comes down the top part of the driveway is now diverted into a ditch - in the spring i will place a couple more in strategic places, add more rocks, grade and the driveway should be MUCH better...

things i should have bought years ago - after the trench was finished - i found i could buy a 150 foot roll of perf pipe with fabric sock included for 80 cents a foot including tax - oh well it is there for spring ;-))

it is now cold but not as cold as the rest of you - no more outdoor projects until then it warms up.

cheers all - stay warm!!

Saturday, January 3, 2015

our blogroll

i have just noticed that a lot of our newer followers and commenters have blogs that are not listed in our blogroll. if you have a blog, and would like to exchange links with us, just leave a comment on this post. and for any other readers who want to find good blogs - just check out our blogroll - there's a lot of good folks there!

much love!

Friday, January 2, 2015

welcome 2015!!!!

woohoo! it's 2015 and we are pretty excited! we are sooo looking forward to this year as each year here gets us that one step closer to becoming more self-reliant and truly enjoying our lives!

last night we got our first staying's a pic from earlier today:

we have had an awesome december in that we had a few flurries, but they melted as they landed, and we didn't have any super-cold days until yesterday and the day before. it is supposed to go above 0 degrees this afternoon, it is bright and sunny but tonight we are getting an arctic blast, followed by a 2-day rainstorm - brrrrr! it's ok though - we have everything we need to get us through this cold spell!

many preppers, sustainers and survivalists keep animals on their homesteads and raise them for food. one thing that we constantly discuss is the fact that we don't want the responsibility of feeding and tending to animals, and we don't want to butcher and eat what will definitely become pets. and we don't want the added burden of trying to feed those animals with only what we can grow or forage for them. we have a freezer full of wild rabbits and fresh-caught fish! so maybe we won't be eating any chicken in a SHTF situation but we're ok with that! there are enough farms and whatnot nearby that we can barter...or better yet - just do without! when we can walk or bike down to the beach and come home with this free, foraged food - well, let's just say that we won't be hurting!

do you know how much protein and calories and vitamins and minerals are in those mussels???? we are of the opinion that we would eat rocks if we had to...but guess what? we don't have to!!!! we have access to free food in the form of fish, hunting, berries and a whole schlew of other stuff...and that's besides what we don't grow ourselves, and save seed from!!!

here's some more free food. fish that jambaloney caught, french fries from our own potatoes and home-made tartar sauce.

we have always told each other that if we had to live in a box together in the parking lot of a mall somewhere - we could do it! but after years of paying off debt and learning to live with less, moving here and being able to hunt, fish, grow, seed save and forage - we will never have to. we are already changing our eating habits and will learn to live with what food we are able to get if SHTF.

until the gravy train stops, tho, kids - we'll enjoy every little special treat that we can! like homemade teriyaki chicken wings and sweet and sour chicken wings - bahahahaha!

and here's some delicious sweet and sour pork:

if it all goes to hell in a handbasket, i guess we will have chicken wings and sweet and sour pork until it runs out. and then - i guess we will just have to make do with fresh-caught lobster, crab, mussels, clams and all of the other fish available in our river and ocean. throw in a moose, some rabbit and/or a deer and i guess that we will somehow make do. fresh fruit, berries and greens for at least half of the year from our garden and other various and sundry through late fall/early winter (due to our greenhouse) and the rest of the year we will eat fruit, berries and greens that we preserved. don't forget that you can sprout your saved seeds and have access to a variety of nutrients from the sprouts all winter long! we will always try to make the best of it because we planned, practiced and prepped.

but the thing is - IT hasn't hit the fan yet so planning, practicing and prepping is still doable. and since IT hasn't hit the fan - why not embrace the life that you have and do your best to love it!

2014 was a great year - we had some sad losses, losing my friend SciFiChick and my Uncle Gerald, but overall we are happy with our accomplishments in 2014.

2015 looks like it will be a smashing good year. we are sooo looking forward to it!!!

welcome 2015! we can't wait to see what wonderful things that you will bring! and we hope that all of you have wonderful dreams for 2015 and we look forward to reading about you achieving those dreams in the upcoming year! it's gonna be an awesome ride, friends!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

a very merry Christmas to all of you!

it is the centennial of the Christmas Truce. you can learn more about the Christmas Truce here.

this is how the capital of Canada is celebrating the Christmas Truce.

i think that we all can learn something from the Christmas Truce - don't you?

we will be meeting up with all of our Framboise and Fourchu families over Christmas. we will be well taken care of, loved and appreciated. we hope the same for all of you!

a very Merry Christmas to all of our readers and other blog and internet friends. we wish the very best for all of you in the upcoming year. we are expecting the upcoming year to be fantastic - there are so many projects that we have accomplished, attacked, demolished and are ready for - we have so many new friends, re-established contact with old friends, and then just enjoyed relationships with existing friends (who fight over trout. and i am not referring to either Sweet Sandy or Pioneer Preppy here! i mean it! i am not!)

a very and truly Merry Christmas for all of you.

much love from your friends,
jambaloney and kymber

Saturday, December 13, 2014

plastic insulation

jambaloney here!

so i have been busy fixing a recent "septic surprise" - gross, but nearly complete...

but this is a post about something you can do to help ward off cold drafts... last year out front i did this. it was a great improvement on the draft @ the front of the lower 1/2 of the manor.  the siding and flashing are so bad and drafty that even the insulation in the basement doesn't stand a chance - sections of the kitchen floor can get real cold...

so i decided to ramp it up this year - my goal was to provide a draft barrier right up to the bottom of the storm door window. - first thing's first - a 13 foot piece of free creosote 4x4...

(one day we'll have a front step again!). place the creosote on a bed of sand and make sure it is level..

next up - build some frames outta 2x2s (purchased) and cut appropriate lengths of Poly-Fastener - i bought a 300 foot roll. I wrote about this stuff before - it is awesome - made by Curry Industries and sold by Northern Greenhouse you will see why I love it so much!

i measure and cut many lengths - you install the channel without the fastener so i numbered all the matching pieces accordingly...

here are the frames seated in place - i had to make a shallower section to accommodate the door...

next up - water cloches to trap heat on sunny days....we had some old water bottles - perfect!!! instead of painting them black for more absorption i simply wrapped each in a garbage bag...

here they all are...

the rest of cloches were old vinager and juice bottles.. not quite full as they will freeze and expand sometimes...

pretty much covers where the sun DOES shine ;-)

closeup of the garbage bags and the drill - next step

i tucked the bottom edge of each frame under a lip of the siding - pushed in tight and screwed the frame into the wall - then i anchored the bottom into the creosote 4x4s...

here are the frames securely in place..

now i add the poly ..

and the other side  - overlapping in the middle

and here it all is - tight and taped on the edges - the right and left sides were anchored using strapping and tape...

here is a better view of the whole thing and rocks @ the bottom..

and then a layer of sand to secure the gap at the bottom - i shoveled teh dirt at the base in such a way that the rain will runoff out..

on the right hand side - it wraps around kinda funny -- i secured the bottom with dirt around the right - our mascot has seen better days ;-)

here is a side view of the whole thing.. we have only had a couple of cold days so far, but the difference was really noticeable - when the high freezing west winds blow at the front - we will REALLY notice a difference - so will the power bill!!! anyone with a similar problem in an old or rough structure could try this - sometimes it is better to try and insulate on the OUTSIDE rather than fight a losing battle from the inside. Now when i put the insulation back in place under the kitchen floor - it will do a much better job!

this was back in november - we were getting nice frost!!

i love the effect in the mornings!

and of course - don't forget your laundry the night before!!! ;-))

cheers - and hope you are all keeping warm!