I’m back!

Figuring out how to keep a steady stream of firewood moving from the woodpile to the woodstove, with a little help from my friends!

Hauling in firewood.

Pals Pam, Robin, Geoffrey and Nadia came over on a beautiful November afternoon and split about 2-3 cords of wood for me. The wood had been delivered, 3 years ago, already split, but still too heavy for me to pick up now that I’m in a wheelchair.

Wood splitting team!

The splitter itself is a much smaller machine than I thought it would be and runs on gas. I rented it from Saugeen Sales and Rentals in Durham (Ontario) for $60 per day. Geoffrey picked it up because he has a trailer hitch on his car. It was super easy to use and at one point I controlled the lever which just pushes the blade back and forth, whiile everyone else fed wood into it, or stacked. Wood is placed at either end of the blade action so you split one way then the other. We were done in 2 hours!

The Splitter.

End of April Snowstorm

Snow April 24/12

We can always expect crazy weather in April and here it is, half a foot of snow. Everything is in leaf, the rhubarb is up 6 inches, tulips starting to open. Tomorrow it’s supposed to get up to +10 but I kind of dread seeing the yard after it melts.

Last of the carrots

A nice surprise when I dug the garden. The carrots never really got thinned and pretty much got lost under the tomatoes and arugula.

How to put together an Emergency Car Kit

Turkey supper.

An emergency car kit is something that’s important to have in your car all the time, especially in the winter. I recently went to a turkey supper for a local high school band to raise funds to send them on a tour of Great Britain. At the silent auction my bid on an emergency car kit was highest so I got to take it home (and put it in my car!).



Emergency car kit duffle bag.

Here’s what’s in it, all packed into a cute little duffle:
• booster cables
• florescent orange cone
• flashlight and batteries
• candles and matches (candles can produce enough heat inside a car to keep you from freezing)
• a cloth
• gloves
• handy wipes
• bandaids
• some plastic ties
• rain poncho
• florescent orange safety vest
• emergency blanket
• a “call police” sign to put in the car window

My own personal of winter road kit also includes:
• sleeping bag
• emergency flashing beacon light
• extra boots, mits, hats, scarves
• snacks like high energy bars
• bottled water

Contents of an emergency car kit.

It’s a good idea to have a shovel in your trunk too and before you set out into a wintry night make sure your gas tank is full and your cell phone battery is charged.

Here’s a story about the first time I realized the folly of not having one.

It was my first winter here, 2002, and I hadn’t moved in yet but was traveling up on Friday nights after work in Toronto to spend the weekends. It was early evening, a blustery night in the deep of winter when I arrived at the turn off the highway onto the sideroad leading toward my house. I’d been driving for over two hours in a snowstorm that worsened the further north I got. Continue reading How to put together an Emergency Car Kit

How to Survive with Rural Internet Technology

This week I’ve been going through the suburbs of hell trying to get, then keep, an internet connection. When you live in the boondocks your choices are limited and the services we do get are not as fast or stable as those in urban environments. For those of us not in, or on the edges of communities that run underground cable systems, we rely on the cellular system (3G) or satellite.

Let me backtrack. When I moved out here in 2001, I had one option for internet connection – dialup, which I used exclusively for the first two or three years I was here. I know people out here who STILL use dialup. Then I used the satellite service of Xplornet, but dumped it within two years, even buying out my contract, just to get rid of that painfully slow and unreliable load of frustration. I still have the giant dish in my garage, and I will soon take it to the dump.

Then for a couple of years I used the Bell Turbo stick, a small USB modem that travelled with me everywhere in Canada and served me well. In June of this year,  I “upgraded” to the Turbo Hub, a modem/router that sits on my desk and connects me to broadband through the 3G cellular network. The hub allows you to connect up to four devices through an ethernet cable or wifi, the latter useful for visitors that bring their laptops or smartphones. The hub was faster and cheaper than the Turbo stick, and I was saving $30 per month.


Above are all my ways of connecting to the internet: Turbo Hub, phone (for dialup), iPhone with “Personal Hotspot”. Continue reading How to Survive with Rural Internet Technology