Tag Archive for backwoods


My wife and I were driving along a long straight back road through various farm fields on the way to the polling station to vote today. It was much further than we’d expected. We’d never been that way before. It was all farms of various kinds. In certain directions time actually stood still. There really was no way to tell if it was 2008 or 1978. It was just farm fields. I started wondering if just maybe we’d get to the voting booth and finding Pierre Elliott Trudeau’s name on the ballot.

Summer’s Winding Down

I figured I’d post a plain old blog post for the day to day tag just because it’s been awhile.

It’s September already. I’ll be 33 in seven days or something. I’m not as bothered about getting older this year as I have been in past years. Life is good.

My wife and I have settled into married life but we’re still as silly around each other as we ever were. It’s not the cold boring married life that people expect.

We’ve got our horse boarding business up and running. We’re expecting 10 horses on the acreage by the fall with a constant flow of emails from people wanting to bring their horses. We’ve drawn the line at 10 horses this year including a young stud and a colt. We have two of our own horses as well.

Regal is Lynn’s thoroughbred. He’s come down with a bout of “cushings” and lost a lot of weight but he’s getting better.

Raine’s our newest quarter horse. She’s settled in well though she’s the only female on the pasture right now so I think she’s really milking the attention. Lynn’s been working on breaking her all summer. It’s been a longish process since we’re both working and setting up the horse boarding business.

However, I did manager to sit in the saddle yesterday without Raine throwing me off. She just looked back and saw it was me up there and went back to her oats. I figured that surely I’d get tossed off when the oats ran out like where were sand in an hour glass but I survived that too even though she did get little restless. Raine’s got a long way to go before we’re riding along the train tracks but she’s getting there.

Jester’s Mouse

My cats aren’t mousers. I didn’t get them with the intention of having them around to catch mice. However, since I moved out of town to the acreage with my wife, each of my cats has caught one mouse each.

Yesterday, Jester, the fluffy silly cat of the three caught his mouse.

He nabbed it in the walk in closet in the bedroom while his little sister looked on in pure hateful envy. The mouse lay limp in Jesters jaws so we led Jester to the door to take the mouse outside. Normally, Jester would be meowing his little lungs out at such excitement. He was looking pretty stressed because he couldn’t meow with this mouse in his mouth. I sometimes wish he’d keep a mouse in his mouth more often.

Jester carried the mouse outside. Joey our dog bounced around making sure Jester didn’t take off into the woods or something. Jester put the limp mouse down for a moment to grasp the situation.

Much to everyone’s surprise, the mouse rose from the dead and darted under the house while Jester was looking away. The only way I can describe the look on Jester’s face when he realized his prize mouse had vanished is a look of pure “Srsly… WTF!”.

It was priceless.

A Taste of Spring

One of the best things about living on this acreage is the short period of time it takes to make an idea into reality. While feeding the horse this morning, my wife looked at an old oil drum full of junk and decided we should burn it. Ten minutes later I had the drum rolled over closer to the house and the drum’s contents were ablaze. We’ve never had a fire like this before but by the end, most of the old patio railing was torn down and burned away; a much needed head start on rebuilding the patio this spring.

Joey basked in the sun all day and lounged around the fire. My wife and I did a lot of the same.

The temperature today was well above zero; possibly in the double digits. The snow is almost gone from the yard and the snowman is a foot shorter.

It’s going to be a long summer.

Joey sleeping on the grass

Joey passed out on the grass.

Snow Man's On Fire!!

The Coyote

My wife first alerted me to a Coyote she spotted out on the pasture. They’re very impressive looking this time of year with their this gray coats like small wolves. This particular lone coyote was quickly making his way past Regal, our huge black thoroughbred. Regal made his presence and might quite obvious to the coyote, frolicking and darting around. Smart enough to know the consequences of confronting such a horse, the coyote crossed the fence line and disappeared into the woods.

People seem to always associate spotting a coyote with shooting a coyote. Personally I gauge their threat level of a coyote to be quite a bit lower than a porcupine or even a skunk. Even my dear wife would shoot me before I ever got a round off at any animal. She has a gift for handling animals and that just goes with the territory. I could only ever shoot an animal with my camera anyway.

My biggest worry above and beyond any wildlife on the property is the traffic on the road at the edge of the property. Joey, our 6 month old lab is pretty new to the concept traffic and she’s recently found out about the road and where it is.

Yesterday, I parked the car on the edge of the property as the recent snow made the driveway much too slippery to drive all the way to the house. Of course that means hiking all the way down the 200 yard stretch in the dark to get to the car again to go to work.

Last night on my hike to the car, I noticed dog tracks. At first I was infuriated to find out that damn dog was wandering down to the road by herself. I got to the car and realized the tracks were fresh and there wasn’t any leading back to the house. Joey was sound asleep in bed when I left anyway. The tracks led to the car and then they disappeared into the darkness of the woods.

It occurred to me that I was probably tracking the same coyote that I had seen earlier. This time, I’m a little relieved that the animal wasn’t waiting there at the car for me. I’m sure we’d have scared the crap out of each other.

The First Ride of the Season

It came sooner than expected actually. I thought I’d be waiting until early April for the first ride of the season. Me being without a mountain bike and all right now, I’m in favor of dry roads with the racing tires on the Trek Fx hybrid. I like to get out early as the first ride on the bike is also the diagnostic ride where I find out what all has to be repaired and replaced in time for spring and often times it requires a little saving up for parts.

I headed out Sunday from my office near Whyte Ave on a 39Km trek Stony Plain, west of the city. I’d been watching the Environment Canada website like a hawk waiting for that burst of warm air that was supposed to bring the morning’s -21 up to the forecast high of -6. By the time work was over at 4pm the high had barely reached -14. My spirits were hardly crushed as I’m quite familiar with riding in temperatures as cold as -30 just not for 39Kms.

I donned my long sleeve jersey, hoodie, and wind-proof shell; toque, face-mask, and helmet; lined cargo-pants and luxurious alpaca socks (best socks I’ve ever owned); in short, my standard winter riding outfit. Keeping the body warm is relatively easy compared to breathing in all that cold air. The lungs work hard to warm it and push it back out again.

Rolling at last at 3:55pm, less than a block down the road I already knew my rear sprocket cassette was worn out and my derailers needed needed a good long bath in some degreaser. This aside, it felt damn good to be back on the bike after 3 or 4 months of driving. My limbs got cold quickly but warmed just as quickly as the blood got pumping. I hustled west down Whyte Ave. I don’t think I’m at home on the bike anywhere like I am on Whyte Ave. It’s funnest little stretch of road in this city with a good mixture of doors, peds, cabs, and cops all mixed in a in a 10 block stretch of chaos. The only reason I haven’t been mowed down on Whyte Ave yet is because I’m so familiar with it.

With the Ave behind me I rolled slowly thought the University which I am not so familiar with. Two or three dead ends later I cleared the university and was headed down the cold fast hill towards Hawerlack Park and the queen Elizabeth Park Trail heading west to 156st. The trail was exactly as I expected. Much of it was lightly snow covered but lots of sand and a few of those ice patches that you just pray that you’re slick wheels don’t fall victim to. There’s a new bicycle path heading west down 100st where the valley trail ends. It was more of the same but with even bigger slick ice patches.

Eventually, I made it to Stony Plain Road and the western edge of the city in a respectable half an hour. I pulled in to the Tim Horton’s for a coffee and a quick call to the wife to let her know I wasn’t dead. She knows me better than that anyway.

The highway west to Stony Plain was the same boring highway it is in the car just colder but with a tiny bit of a tail wind to keep me going. I found myself focusing on the sun sinking ahead of me as I knew riding after dark on any highway is miserable. At the final bend before Spruce Grove with about 10Kms to go I stopped on an overpass and called my wife again. This time I was calling her to come meet me in Spruce Grove. As I said, she knows me hell enough to refuse to come get me. Instead she told me to get my ass going. I complied and pushed for Stony.

We did meet up in Stony and had dinner. The sun was still floating above the tree line. I was sore that’s nothing new.

As for the bike, a new rear cassette, new tires, and a whole lot of grease are in order.

It’s going to be an early spring.

I always wondered about the hackcanada chainsaw until….

So yea, the installer from Xplornet came to hook us up with internet via a dish pointed at a tower about five kms away. He’s on the roof and pointed out where the tower was. Somewhere through the dense woods was the tower in question. Unfortunately those dense woods were in the way of the signal. This was where the chainsaw came into play. We discussed which trees would have to come down. I went at it the next morning sawing open a cut line through the trees. I’ll have to cut even more in the spring when the leaves come out but those can wait.

Happy Tenth Birthday Hackcanada!

Trying Again for Those Radio Waves

So the installer came this morning and attempted an install. He lined the antenna up with the tower to the west of us and pointed out the trees that were in the way. There was genuine disappointment in my wife’s face at that news. Of course I do own a chainsaw. This afternoon I was out there cutting a 6 foot gap in the trees to make way for the feed from the tower. By tomorrow afternoon the project should be done. My wife already called and booked an appointment even before I started cutting. She wants that connection more than I do but I have a good DSL connection at work to use. She’s got nothing for the time being unless she comes to work with me.

Hear them radio waves, radio waves

In other news, the installer is coming Tuesday from Xplornet to test and hopefully install wireless rf broadband. I hope to god it works. The ISP contact seems confident it will but I’ll remain skeptical as she was also a salesperson. I know never to believe anything a salesperson ever has to say. At the same time, Google doesn’t always offer the 100% truth either but it’s always good to research an ISP or any company ahead of time before doing business with them.
This brings me to Xplornetsucks which is more about the satellite service but still an interesting read. A lot of it is just crying over the same thing everyone cries about with any ISP. That being the ever coveted bandwidth.

Madness! Chaos! Storm of the Century!! Sort of…

Ok, no. It’s not the day after the day after tomorrow (Such a bad movie). It’s -29 outside right now with that oh so sensational sounding -39 wind chill. Really, though it’s pretty normal for it to get like this once a year, maybe twice. The same old week long cold snap.
What was interesting this morning on the drive home was the fog. It’s was thicker than anything I’ve seen. I snapped a few photos while on the freeway. Traffic was just crawling anyway.