For November the posts will be organized so the most recent is at the bottom. The start of the month is at the top. 

NOVEMBER 2018

Rain and then more rain ☔️

So far it's been a pretty wet and windy fall. The wind has been gusting to 80km per hour on several occasions in the past few weeks.

 

My wife and a friend moved our travel trailer to a safer location when I was away a few weeks ago. The forecast for the next day was calling for 100km winds and the trailer was at our property that is right on the ocean... it's 60' or so above the water but right at the bottom of the cliff / steep bank is the shoreline.  The view is beautiful but it's often windy there which means no flies and cooler summer days! Two things I like.  Several people mentioned that we shouldn't leave our trailer there over the winter as winds often hit 120-140km and that could definitely flip the trailer onto its side. 😳

 

Yesterday it was at least sunny and yes it's still windy.  We went to our friend's place that is storing our trailer for us. We drained the water out of the trailer's plumbing system and holding tank and then circulated plumbers antifreeze through the pump, water lines and also into the p-traps which are under the sinks and shower.

Last year I did this important job too late in the year and the toilet flush valve cracked when it froze. It's a pain to change the valve and it's also pricey.  

 

Last night we had to disconnect the garden hose that runs up to the duck pen. This is unfortunate as now we have to carry the ducks' water dispensers into the house to fill them up until the spring.  I would like to buy one of those heated water pails but that's not something you can/should run when you are off grid. A resistive load like a heater draws a lot of power and leaving it on all day would kill our batteries very quickly. 

Forecast for next two days...

Heavy rain! Yes that's right, more rain!

What I want to know is where was all this rain this summer when we needed it? 🙄

This morning I put tar paper down on the woodshed roof. I might shingle it next spring but hopefully the tar paper keeps things dry this winter. 

My wife and I brought two truck loads of firewood into the new woodshed yesterday afternoon. It doesn't even fill one of the 4 sections of the shed. That's good I guess but also a little discouraging lol. We have to fill the shed which should hold all 4 bush chords we have that is in a pile outside...  not right outside but rather 300 feet away. 🙄

 

Woodshed starts to get filled

The wood shed was built along the side of a 20' storage container. We hung a thick tarp between the wood shed back wall and the container. I fastened the tarp to the outside back wall of the woodshed. If snow slides off the woodshed roof it could essentially deflect off the container side and end up inside the back of the woodshed. 😳

Once I get some washers I will put up the tarp on the other half of the shed. I'm using large fender washers and screws to secure the tarp to the shed frame. I hope to build a set of doors for the front of the woodshed to keep the snow and rain out. I might put up a temporary tarp tonight because of the rain warning we have for tomorrow 🙄 and the possibility of a severe winter storm the day after 🙄!

Next project :-)

Heat rises. That's a problem if you have cathedral/vaulted ceilings. It is even worse if your bedroom is in a loft upstairs, especially if you prefer it cooler where you sleep. 

We have a ceiling fan but can't run it 24/7 as this will use up too much power. Several hours a day is not a problem but running it all day will drain the batteries and then our lights, refrigerator, waterpump etc won't work. 

I have a plan to build a shallow box approximately 24"x24"x10"deep. This box will be fastened to the ceiling. The entire bottom of the box will be a grate so that as the hot air rises it will enter into the box. There will be some 5" flexible duct connected to the side of the box that will be routed over to the corner of the bedroom and then down through the floor into the bathroom below. The great thing about this is that the bathroom is not heated and is very cold in the winter.  I bought a duct fan that looks to be pretty efficient on power. We can run the fan at night to draw the hot air into the box and blow it down into the frigid bathroom below. If it works everyone will be happy, we get a cooler bedroom for sleeping and the bathroom will be warmer!

View of woodstove below from our bedroom

Tractor time ☺️

Tomorrow if I have time I will be going to look at a tractor that is for sale. It is a 2015, 45hp CASE iH that is coming off lease. It has low hours and is supposedly in great shape. Hopefully it works out. I could really use it for maintaining the driveway and also for snow removal this winter. I heard from a few people that we are suppose to get a lot of snow this year 🙄.   It will also make easier work for collecting fire wood and also expanding the garden ☺️  

120km winds

Vicious Wind

The wind was 80-90 km/h today with gusts up to 120. It was unreal how the ocean looked. It was almost scary to stand at the shore. The windchill was reported to be -15 but I think it was much colder. Exposed skin started to hurt within a minute or so. I think at Cape Forchu near Yarmouth the windchill was -25 or more when I was there.  You definitely wouldn't want to be caught out at sea in that weather.  

The fisherman have been waiting for the past few days to head out as Lobster season has just opened. The winds have been too strong and the waves too large for them to head out safely. 

Rough seas!

Snow! Yayyyyy

We woke up yesterday to a winter wonderland. It snowed a few inches overnight and was still snowing pretty hard.

It was the first snowfall for the ducks! Approximately half the pen has just wire fence for a roof while the other half has green corrugated fibreglass to provide an area of shade and a place to stay dry.  The duck house, where they sleep, is in the dry end of the pen.  About 2 feet from the entrance to their house is where the fibreglass roof stops.  My wife usually lets the ducks out in the morning. She really enjoys it and you can hear it in her voice as she is walking over to say good morning to them.

First thing in the morning when you open the door of the duck house they come running out pretty quickly making all kinds of quacking sounds.  It is pretty cute to see actually. This particular snowy morning was no different.  My wife tells me that they came running out as usual and then put the brakes on when they saw the snow on the ground which started just a few feet away. They almost all piled on to each other as the first ones stopped suddenly. They were surprised and scared of the snow having never seen any before!  My wife managed to coax them to follow her onto the white fluffy stuff. They were quite hesitant and kept backing up. Finally one of them took the risk and made cute little duck prints on the snow! The rest all followed and seemed to like it!

My wife often lets them out of the enclosure to have a stroll outside their pen giving them more area to forage. They loved running around in the snow that morning almost more than our dog does on the first snowfall. 

 

Case iH

When most people think of tractors many think of brand names like John Deere, New Holland, and Massey Ferguson. However there are many other quality brands such as Kubota, LS, Kioti and Case. Depending on which part of the province or country you are in, some brands are more popular than others.

Kioti makes a good tractor that is related to the Kubota brand.  My neighbour (friend) has an awesome  Kioti with several attachments for it. It is a fairly big machine that is over 70hp.  I was hoping earlier this year to get a Kioti however it didn't work out. Im looking for 40-50 hp model and used ones in that size aren't on the market for long before they are sold. 

The different tractor companies all seem to have their own brand colour. John Deere are green while Massey Ferguson and Case are red. New Holland and LS are both blue while Kioti and Kubota are orange.

People often stick with a specific brand of tractor as they do with trucks.  Things to consider when buying a tractor are similar to when you are buying a vehicle. Is it quality built? How far is the dealership and is the dealership good to deal with for after sale service? What is the warranty like?

If you are buying a used tractor there are additional things to consider. 

Are replacement parts expensive?  Will the shop pick up and deliver your tractor for a good price (or free) when service is required? How many hours of use does the tractor have on it?

Tractors have hour meters that give you an idea on the usage. Do you want a tractor with a cab? Some tractors have no cab and just roll over protection while others have a fancy cab with air conditioning, a heater and a radio! 

What kind of attachments and implements, if any, come with the used machine?  What type of attachments are available? What horse power does the tractor have and what's the horsepower of the PTO?  The PTO is a "power take off" which is a shaft that spins when the tractor is running. You can connect a auxiliary hydraulic pump to it which can run the hydraulics of a post hole digger, or a wood splitter or a post driver or a ....

 

Soooo, we just bought a used CaseiH! 😃 It is the Farmall 45CVT. That's a 45 horsepower tractor. It has a cab which will be nice in the winter when plowing and in the early summer when the mosquitoes and black flies are out in full force.  It has 1100 hours of use which is not a lot. It is a 2015 that was coming off lease and apprears to be in great condition.  It comes with a front loader. Yes that's the bucket on the front to scoop up gravel or topsoil. New tractors are usually priced without the loader... yes 🙄 the loader is a add-on!  Hard to believe. I also bought a snow blade for it so we can quickly clean the driveway. 

I am very thankful that the financing worked out. 🙏🏼

 

Winter seems to be here

The duckies are cold!

I've been away for a few days for some work in Calgary. My wife has been "holding the fort" taking care of the dog, the ducks, hauling firewood etc.  The cold temperatures make everything more difficult or complicated. The ducks' drinking water freezes quickly and has to be changed out to a fresh supply every few hours. 

The temperatures have been -20 for a few days with strong winds. The wood stove is going through the wood fairly quickly.  My wife has had to carry in firewood twice a day, and not two small pieces at a time. She packs quite a bit into our canvas firewood carrier bag, sometimes more than me ☺️.

Who let the ducks out... who who who who

Great foragers

I let the ducks out today.  First time really that i did on my own lol. I went to check on their water and they were quacking up a storm and rushed the door when i was leaving. So I let them out for a planned 10-15 min under close supervision. They were soooo happy and were foraging through the grasses and mud and puddles. About 5 min after them being out they were wondering in the direction of the steep bank down to the river. I was a bit nervous for a second that they might take off. All of a sudden I heard 2 ravens cawing and flying towards us. The ducks must have heard as well as they stopped what they were doing and all turned their heads sideways and looked up. They then headed for the pen. I guess they realize that their enclosure is safe. Pretty cool 😎.

Milwaukee Tools

When it comes to tools I believe in buying quality and taking care of them. That's what my dad taught me and it makes sense. I've been using Milwaukee power tools since forever. My father used them with his plumbing and heating business as did my brother. The cordless drill and impact set my brother bought me about 7 years ago has been awesome. Just recently the drill has been starting to show its age. I decided to buy another drill to replace this one before I end up burning it out. This one has some sentimental value as my brother, who was also my good friend, passed away several years ago. 

I stopped at a "big box store" a few days ago and picked up a new M18 cordless drill and a snow shovel that was on sale. Excited when I got home, I unpacked the drill and started to charge one of the two batteries that came with it. Usually the batteries have a partial or half charge to them but oddly these had absoltuley no charge. Within a few minutes on the charger the lights flashed red/green "damaged battery"!  Surprised,  I tried the second one and the same thing happened!  I immediately thought there must be something wrong with the new charger! I grabbed one of my Milwaukee chargers and the same thing happened...with both batteries!  

A little later that afternoon I went out and shovelled the deck off with our new shovel and it broke!  I should have seen that coming as it was only $9 on sale. It didn't last more than 10 minutes of shovelling. This all happened Saturday afternoon and I made a plan to return both first thing Monday am. 

After doing a bunch of chores and work at home I headed into town where the big store is which is over 1.5 hours drive each way. I go up to customer service and explain what happened. Nobody at the counter said anything that was even close to an apology. I totally realize it isn't their fault but they are representing the company. They checked over the drill for a few minutes looking for some serial number and said that it wasn't matching any on their list. After a bit of discussion 🙄,  I got my money back and didn't even bother walking over to the large Milwaukee display that this place has. Whether I'm planning on buying a tool or not I usually stop at that section of the store if I'm in there for any reason. Not this time and likely never again. 

I headed to Kentville and stopped at the HomeHardware where the fellow was helpful. I purchased a different model of Milwaukee M18 drill that was on sale. I get home and.... same thing! Both batteries lit the "damaged battery" lights on the charger. I couldn't believe it. I really like Milwaukee and they have been awesome tools both the corded and cordless ones. Apparently something was up however. I did a search online and there were several YouTube videos discussing the same problem. Apparently if the batteries sit for a year or so at the store they end up self discharging and if they didn't have enough charge initially then they will completely die. The problem is the new smart chargers won't charge a completely dead battery. Lithium ion batteries under normal use will stop when the charge gets to a critically low level but won't completely discharge 100%. This is so the charger will recognize them and recharge. I watched a fellow fix it by getting a small charge into the battery using a 9V alkaline. I grabbed two fresh 9V batteries and connected them so I had 18V. (that's a series connection, positive of one to the negative of the next one). I got a small amount of charge into the batteries and they were then able to be charged the rest of the way by the Milwaukee chargers.  All good and good to know!

18V defibrillator for the dead Li-ion

Duck outing!

First duck egg!

I saw this at the airport. Pretty funny!

Solar Sensor Light

When these lights come on sale I usually try and pick one or two up. We have installed 9 of them. They're very handy especially when living off grid. They can be installed pretty much anywhere. The provided wire from the small solar panel to the light itself is about 10ft long making it easy to install the panel facing south. 

We just installed one on the corner of the new woodshed and one inside the woodshed.  In the winter the sun sets pretty early around 4:30-5 pm. We were carrying a flashlight to see inside the woodshed but not anymore! The new motion sensor lights turn on as soon as we walk in front of the entrance. I have the duration it stays on for turned up to approximately 1.5 minutes. This gives us time to fill our canvas wood-carrier bag. We also have several on the exterior of the duck pen to illuminate where we walk and also to turn on if there is an animal interested in our ducks and looking for a way to get in.  There is one inside the duck pen as well so we can see what we are doing when checking their water and food.