Fall into Winter at the Cabin

Photo Journal of Michael Campbell: A new picture every day (almost)


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Spring into Summer and on into Fall 2016

May 01, 2016  -  Medical Issues

It was an interesting weekend. Marisol, Marina and Javier came up with plans to really get going on our plans for this summer. Unfortunately Javier became ill on the trip and we had to bring him to the hospital.

The hospital needs customers so they kept Javier in for two nights to observe him. We stayed in town and there was not a lot that could be done.
I had to come back to lock up the cabin. I took a couple of pictures but I was preoccupied with Javier so just a couple of snapshots for this entry.
Many many spring bulbs, particularly daffodils and hyacinths.

The Beach

New Growth

May 7 & 8, 2016  -  New Growth
We were expecting Javier to be released from the hospital right away but he ended up staying a week. It was considered best for his health if he stayed home this weekend. Marisol and I went up to clean up the place and have a look at the spring bulbs we planted last fall. We explored a trail just off the road from our place and spend a lovely weekend. The river is rapidly receeding. The flood is gone and already ferns are breaking the surface of the mud.

My Tree Hugger

After the Flood

Busy Beaver

New Ferns

Little Blue Flowers

Little Yellow Flower


New Growth

The River

Marisol 2

May 14 & 15, 2016  -  Wet Weekend

I went up alone to do some planting in the rain. We had ordered several plants from Vesey Seeds in Prince Edward Island last fall and they were to arrive this week but the new carrier from Canada Post saw they were for me and even though the cartons were clearly marked perishable plants he sent them back in order to cause me harm. It is a long story but it was my error in politely asking him to put my mail on the bottom step rather than shoving it through the mail slot so that it landed on the wet floor. Apparently White Mail Does Not Matter. I needed to get away and so I went up north to sulk and calm down in the rain. Meanwhile our dreams of organic potatoes, Chippawa Blueberries, Cherry Trees and many other plants are gone this year. Thank you Canada Post.
I spent some time walking the land and discovered that in the spring our little creek has a wonderful waterfall. This will be worth developing by removing the dead branches and planting some shade loving perennials.

New Waterfall

The creek goes way up to the right off of the page. With some clearing / grooming it will be a nice spot for a trail and planting of shade loving perennials. At the top of the waterfall is a tiny lake with a pine tree and granite boulder. I called it Island Stream. There was a sense of peace and well being.

Island Stream

There is spirituality here.
It feels like a good development site

Wildflowers Yellow

Blue Flowers

The Road Was Wet

July 09, 2016  -  Back to Work
I have been neglecting the blog. After the Euro trip it was all I could do to catch up with work at the office. It was the kind of vacation where you need a vacation to recover when you are done. But we have been going up to the cabin and work continues.
With some expert help we decided to re-engineer the roof. It involved replacing the struts with supporting beams and double 2 x 6" cross beams bolted to the 2 x 4 supports. After that we added a kind of plywood and covered that with cedar planks. We added a wall to create a bedroom and this also created a nice space for a daybed.


The River

Wild Iris

(lots of these scattered along the shore)

Re-engineering the ceiling

New Wall Panelling

Javier and Marino
(I believe the guitar is in case of bears)

The river continues to receed
By now the water is warm and wonderful. Very hard to leave once you get in.

Misty Morning

On the Road

August 6, 2016  -  Work Continues
The weather has been wonderful at the cabin. I have not had the time even to take a few snap shots because of all the new work. Last week we put in a new door, started escavation of the basement and found a bunny. Marisol even ventured into the river for a swim!



New Door


(Don't worry we released it immediately)

August 12 to 14, 2016  -  Two Nights are Better Than One

As they say in the hospitality trade, two nights are better than one. We went up on Friday evening and had a nice time on Friday night then all day fresh on Saturday before returning to the city on Sunday afternoon. I had a few minutes extra to take some pictures so I playedf with the Canon 100 mm macro attached to the Fuji with an adaptor.
I continued work on the ceiling. Javier continued work on the basement. It rained a lot on Saturday but up at the cabin there is no such thing as bad weather. It is all good.

Late last spring I planted Atlantic Giant pumpkins which are supposed to yeild those 1000 kilo mutant pumpkins. They went in way to late for that to happen but the growth is truly impressive.  It is a good thing that the frost will kill off the plant or there is a risk it could take over the world. Every time there is a flower it sets out new roots and the growth is exponential. The bees love the flowers.


Honey Bee on Pumpkin Flower

Green Tomatoes

Inner Workings of a Flower

September 3 to 5, 2016  -  Last Long Weekend of Summer

We enjoyed a great long weekend. The weather was warm and sunny all weekend. We did not work too hard but enjoyed working on the Wash House and harvesting a few potatoes. They went well with the fresh fish. There was time to take a few photographs and we even had a nice swim in the river.
Javier finished the siding on the wash house and he put in a new window. I installed electricity there so that in the night the lights come on and you can see where you are going and what you are doing.
We could not have asked for more perfect weather but it is getting cooler in the night and there are traces of red starting in the maples. I was in the pumkin patch and noticed a small red maple leaf had fallen onto a pumpkin leaf. Fall is coming. The next long weekend is Thanksgiving, October 10. We will see the difference then for sure.

Bouquet of Bee Flowers

Cilantro Patch

Dewey Rose

Green 3

New Potato Crop 2016

Pumpkin Patch and New Solar Panels on Wash House

Small Green Flowers

Steamy River

The River

First Fall Leaf

Zuchini Climbing Tree

September 17, 18, 2016  -  Last Weekend of Summer

We enjoyed the last weekend of summer. The weather was still unseasonably warm and we had time to do a bit of roadwork, electrical work and wall panelling in the cabin. There are hints of red in the leaves in the trees.

My main focus was the solar batteries. I am troubled that the batteries are no longer holding a charge. They are no longer even able to be charged even though last week I added an additional 300 watts of solar panels. The theory is we did not have enough panels to fully charge the battery bank. The batteries gradually get weaker and weaker until they die.
I brought 6 batteries back to the city in the hope that I could spend a week charging them. I removed the plastic screw caps and noticed that none of the batterys had any water! I gather that I was supposed to check them every month not every other year.  I used two gallons of distilled water in 6 batteries. This week I charged and equallized all six. I will bring them back next weekend and see if they can hold a charge.  Some internet sites predict that they are probably ruined. If so it was an expensive lesson. While wiring the new charge controller and additional panels the charge controller which was improperly fastened to the wall fell and struck me in the head. It caused a small wound but bled a lot. With the orange and black clouds I am almost ready for hallowe'en.

Javier thought he would remove a small stone that was sticking up in the middle of the road and touching the muffler of low hanging sports cars. The small stone turned out to be a gigantic boulder. With the help of Joel and the Ford F150 we were able to haul it out and roll it off the road. It left us exhausted.

The panelling of the cabin continues. I am getting tired of paneling. One day I hope we can go to the cabin and simply chill out.

A Touch of Red in the Trees

A Touch of Red in the Face

Orange and Black Clouds

The River

October 1 & 2 , 2016  -  Rainy Weekend

It was a reminder that there is no such thing as "bad" weather it is just weather. It rained a lot on Saturday and Sunday. The temperature was very mild however and it was good to get out into the garden. The girls harvested potatos, tomatos and parsley. I continued with Eric's design in the panelling (will it ever end?).  Javier installed curtains and I continued to work on the electricity.
The leaves are rapidly turning and I suppose in a week or so they will be peaking. The drive down the Bunny Trail to the highway was spectacular.

Leaves are Changing Colour

Cabin Road

Dahlia Girl

Digging Potatos

In the Pumpkin Patch



Marisol in Yellow

Working on the Paneling

Curtains for Javier

River October 1

The Cabin

October 15 & 16 , 2016  -  Enjoying the Fall Weather

Last week I brought the camera but left the battery home in the charger. This week I brought the camera but the battery was nearly dead. I did get a few pictures of the river. The trees have peaked and now the leaves are falling like rain. It was a remarkable 24C on Sunday and Javier even went in for a swim. It was pretty cold though. After catching his breath he started shouting and did not stop until he got out. Jumped back in a second time just to make sure it was too cold.
We put up the storm windows on the porch. The turned out great. This is a big step up from the semi-transparent plastic sheet we used last year. Looks like we won't be using the canoe until spring so I hauled it up and we placed it safely behind the trailer.

The River

Cold Water

Very Cold Water

River from the cabin

New Windows

Canoe in Storage

October 22 & 23 , 2016  -  Visiting the Neighbor's

We continued to touch up the paneling in the cabin and on Sunday visited the neighbors for a nice lunch. To visit Ray we headed out cross country through the forest which felt like we were visiting the next farm 100 years ago.
Ray has a lovely cabin which offers beautiful views down and up river. He has situated the place so that the summer solstice sunset is directly down river. Very nice.
I added a couple more solar panels because we are not able to charge up the batteries fully yet. I note that the topmost panels are shading the middle panels which is not very smart. I plan to relocate them next week if I have time. Meanwhile this week I turned off everything, including the inverter so I hope we will have a full battery bank next week. The beer can solar heater is working great. Around one in the afternoon the inlet on the floor was sucking in air at 55F and it came out 68F on the top.
The mini power plant we installed in the wash house seems to be working well also. It shows a full 5 out of 5 bars and there was plenty of power to use the lights and camera including the auto light that illuminates the place when you approach it at night. All lit up it looks like a cathedral because of the wine bottle stained glass windows.

On the Way to the Neighbor's

Javier on the Rock

View Up River from Ray's Place

View Downriver From Ray's Place

Directly across is where we planted the potatos

Solar Array and Solar Beer Can Heater

Notice the shading on the middle group of panels

Wash House

October 27, 2017 -  First Snow!

October 28, 2016  - First Snow Melt!
The first snow of this year's winter season did not last long.

First Snow Melt!

October 29 & 30 , 2016  -  New Furniture
This weekend we brought up two very good kitchen pieces. They added a ton of storage and counter space. They are eventually destined for the kitchen when that gets built but they look so nice where they are it might be hard to move them. Our poor old truck had a hard time with all of the extra weight getting them here and we also had to remove a door to get the wide one in but they look great.

We scored 4 rolls of cast off wall to wall carpeting and managed to fit both bedrooms. Now it is not so cold on the feet. The only down side is that the girls prohibited muddy boots in the house. Civilization always comes with a price.

I played around with the solar panels and moved the top most four down to the ground. They seemed to be shading the center row and anyways are too hard to clear after the snow.

Javier got a chance to dig and that was good for him because he enjoys that so much. We are removing the topsoil down to the bedrock so that we can have a strong foundation when we build the kitchen. There was a small worry as it seemed that the granite went straight down deep but Javier found that it leveled off and it should not be an impossible task to remove all of the soil and spread that out into the eventual gardens.

The River

New Kitchen Cabinets

Wall To Wall Carpeting

Javier Digging


White Trees

November 5 & 6 , 2016  -  Home Alone
My usual group was busy this weekend with work obligations so I went to the cabin alone. I thought I would have a good opportunity to take some pictures but this time the flash card in the camera was defective. The spectacular sunset and tail end of autumn were preserved in my memory but not in my memory card.
It was a beautiful weekend and the views during the trip on the highway were some of the most beautiful I have ever seen.
I did take a couple of pictures with the cell phone. here is one of a red cloud moving towards the crescent moon.

Red Cloud and Crescent Moon (the small white blur on the left side)

November 12 & 13 , 2016  -  Work on the Solar Panels (again)
During the past week there was a big wind storm and one of the solar panels on the roof flipped over. This weekend my task was to go up and fasten things down. I was able to do that without much difficulty except that I somehow strained my back so after fastening the solar panels I generally relaxed.
This week the camera was functioning properly but the light was wrong.  It was the weekend of the "supermoon" and I was tempted to get outside with the tripod and take some shots. I did get outside and the moon was beautiful. No pictures however.
The video camera mounted on the wash house recorded the shadows cast by the trees in the middle of the night.
This week I am beginning to save videos of the day in 60 seconds.

The River November 13, 2016

The Cabin

Field of Shadows

November 13, 2016
The day in 60 Seconds
That's Mike up and down on the roof.

Supermoon Shadows
Usually at night the clouds are well beyond the range of the camera's LEDs.
On the night of the supermoon the scene is well lit.

November 14 , 2016  - 
Ongoing Surveillance
I am sentanced to a week of labour for having enjoyed myself so much over the weekend. Here is all I could see of the cabin on Monday. I noted a quick flash of activity around 9:30 in the morning. On closer examination I discovered a trespassing hunter. Mmmm... in Ontario hunters can get gun licenses without being able to read. Perhaps the wind blew down the No Tresspassing sign? At least in Ontario we are still legally entitled to shoot traspassers on sight. ( just with cameras of course)

Click on either image for video.

November 14. The Day in 60 Seconds

Unknown Hunter Trespassing
("Shot" With the Security Camera)

November 15 , 2016 Ongoing cloud cover from the south

Just a Minute. The Day in 60 Seconds November 15, 2016

November 16, 2016 It was a rainy day

Just a Minute. The Day in 60 Seconds November 16, 2016

November 17, 2016:    It was a lovely day

Just a Minute. The Day in 60 Seconds November 17, 2016

November 19 & 20, 2016 Snowy Days
Javier and the two girls came up to the cabin with me. There was not a lot to do however we enjoyed the cabin. It was below zero outside with very strong winds and snow but the cabin was toasty warm. We enjoyed our music and a good meal. A few trees fell in the storm but there was no real damage. I cannot recall the river down by the trailer being so cold even in the dead of winter last year. The north wind was howling.
I moved the backyard camera over to the wash house and faced it west in the hope that we should be able to get some nice sunsets.

The River

The Day in 60 Seconds November 20 (Click for Video)

Fur Fashionistas

Javier beside the trailer

Pushing down a fallen tree


Sunset Nov 20 - 60 Seconds - Click for video

Just a Minute - Backyard Camera

November 21, 2016 Snowy Days
The big storm that passed by to the north and resulted in a lot of lake effect snow south of the great lakes has stalled and we were left with strong wind, low clouds and flurries. There was enough sun to melt off the snow on the solar panels until late afternoon. The panels on the roof remain covered.
It is approximately a month to the winter solstice.

Just a Minute- the day in 60 seconds
(click for the video)

November 22, 2016 - Sun strong enough to melt the snow.
New Record Low (Outside) -9.6C  @ 10:16 pm
It was below freezing all day but the sun was strong enough to melt the snow from the solar panels. Also finally we caught a sunset from the camera in the backyard that faces west.

Just a Minute: The day in 60 Seconds


November 23, 2016 - Dueling Weather Systems
New Record Low (Inside Cabin)  -3.6C @ 9:43 am

For the last several days we have been under the influence of a large system that drove many low clouds and strong winds from the north. Today a low pressure system moved in from the east. The winds shift from the south.  Note that the clouds of each system are quite different.

Just a Minute: The day in 60 Seconds

View from the backyard

November 25, 2016 - Grey Friday
Waiting for the snow to melt from the solar panels is like watching paint dry.

Just a Minute - The day in 60 Seconds

November 26 & 27, 2016 - Playing in the Mud
I was not planning to come up to the cabin but it promised to be a good weekend and Javier wanted to go so we made the trip up to the cabin.
Work progressed on removing the soil from around the supporting posts for the cabin. It looks like they did not anchor the footings properly. With no evestrough and the cabin built on a hill the constant thawing and freezing of the soil is gradually moving the cabin down the hill. If we left it like that it would eventually end up in the river.
I also moved one of the outside cameras to get a slightly different view.


Beer Can Passive Solar Heater
(It Works Well!)

Javier Playing in the Mud

Just a Minute The day in 60 Seconds
(Click for 1 minute video)

Leaving the Land
(Rocket Powered F150)

November 28, 2016 - Sudden Change of Wind

This is what it looks like when there is a sudden change of wind speed and direction.

Backyard Camera The day in 60 Seconds

Just a Minute the day in 60 Seconds
(Click for Video)

December 11, 2016 - Frozen

Arriving Frozen

Probably the last weekend on wheels
Snow piling higher and higher
Low sun now is colder
Than high sun later.

Minus Five Degrees C
Inside and out on arrival
Solar panels covered in snow and ice
Electrical system in the outhouse gone
Its death accompanied by
Ominous red and green flashing lights
From the monitor
Intermittent wails of alarm
From the inverter.
For how long the system has been calling out to me this way
I cannot say.

I unplug the fridge.
A useless contribution to the name
Of Agenda 21
We don't need the refrigerator anyway
The beer is already frozen in the can.




Property Line

On the Road

December 21, 2016 - Solar Midnight
I am loving the Apple watch. One of the interesting faces is the solar cycle. I was looking forward to today to take a snapshot of it (with the Apple iPhone) to show how little of the 24 hours the sun is above the horizon.
Thank goodness that after today the sun will be returning! I hope this Christmas weekend I will get a chance to return to the cabin to brush the snow off of the solar panels.

Solar Midnight

(one hand on the wheel, one eye on the road)

Europe 2016

Europe 2016

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