Canadian Renegade

Renegade: an individual who rejects lawful or conventional behavior

Author: Matthew (page 1 of 7)

How I started Elm Trees from seed for Free!

In this video, I re-pot Elm trees that I started from seed last year. During the process I talk about what I did to start them which was really easy and, now that I think about it, everything I used to start them was free! Seeds from gutters, reused pots and regular garden soil were all the supplies I used for this project.

Planting Test Trees on the Homestead

In this video, I plant a variety of trees on our new homestead. Unfortunately, I don’t really have much time to spare this year for messing around with trees, instead I am more focused the yard site, my brothers wedding and our impending twins. Still, I wanted to get a wide variety of trees into the ground to see which do well.

Unpacking Mail Order Trees

In a previous video, I reviewed a few nurseries I was interested in buying trees from online. With all the other things going on this year, I only ordered from two of them. The trees finally arrived and when I unpacked them I noticed differences in how the nurseries packed their trees. In this video, I discuss what I thought of the packing and shipping of the two companies and get started on planting.

Mike’s Fence Project

With the arrival of the babies getting closer, we have been extremely busy. So much so that we spent the prior weekend vehicle shopping and finally purchased a mini van but at the expense of not having the time or energy to get our usual Tuesday video out. This last weekend, I spent an afternoon helping my brother mark a fence line and clear brush and I figured that would be a great opportunity to quickly film an interesting video. Things were going great until I checked my footage at the end of recording and discovered the mic had been off the entire time. Still, it was a fun day hanging out with friends and having a few beers. I managed to salvage the video with a voice over but it would have been more entertaining had the audio been captured.

Natural Rubber Mattress Review

We had a request for a video review of our natural organic rubber mattress and, with this week being so hectic, we thought now would be a good time to do it. Our mattress is comfortable, non-toxic and fairly thin, which helps maximize the head room in our tiny house loft.

The mattress was rolled up like a giant sausage when we picked it up from the store!

It is made from natural rubber and the outer shell is wool and organic cotton. Here are the attributes from the Sleeptek website.

Overall, we are happy with the mattress in the year we have been using it. We bought a medium firmness which is just a touch too soft for me but Aimee finds the level of firmness really comfortable.

PVWatts Tutorial

Here is a quick tutorial of the online solar planning tool PVWatts. This tool will help you gain a better understanding of the actual solar power that can be generated on your site and it’s FREE!

PVWatts Calculator

Dish Drying Racks

We had a request to know more about the dish drying racks in our kitchen and I thought it was a great idea for a short post.

The racks are from Ikea and can be mounted on the wall, set on a counter or in  a sink. If you are interested, the product name is Fintorp and they are $16.99 CAD each.

We positioned our drying racks over the sink to keep the counter space free and so that any stray drips not caught by the trays would fall into the sink.

The pine paneling wasn’t thick enough to support the racks long term so we added a thicker pine backing board to the studs and secured the racks to that instead.

The kitchen ceiling is low so we have shelving over the counters instead of cupboards. We put our dishes on the shelf next to the drying rack so putting dishes away would be less work.

Overall the racks work great but our one complaint is that the drip trays are galvanized steel and still rust on the inside. We are not sure why they didn’t just make plastic drip trays.

At least the sides haven’t corroded too badly yet.

Hobbit Stove Review

As you know, we have been living in the tiny house for a little over a year now. We thought it would be a good time to do a review of The Hobbit Stove from Salamader Stoves. We were very excited when it came in the mail from the UK and it did not disappoint.

Still in the crate shortly after arriving.

The stove came with a variety of accessories; a small brush and dust pan, a stove top thermometer, an oven mitt, some fire starters and a tool to open and close the door when the handles have become too hot.

The stove top thermometer provides temperature and also has a handy guide to make sure the stove is running in the best temperature range.

The Hobbit compared to the wood burning stove in the house we used to rent.

We have several other posts that cover the installation and operation of the hobbit stove:

One thing we should mention, even though it has been covered previously, is that all wood stoves should have fresh air intakes located nearby. Our air intake has a cold air trap built into it and can be shut by sliding the grate closed when the stove is not in use.  This vent also does double duty for the gas range. We usually leave it open all the time unless a cold breeze is blowing directly into it and neither stove is in use.

Fresh air intake located between the Hobbit Stove and gas range.

 

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We Visit the Homestead to Pick a Yard Site

Matthew_Recording_Stream

Matthew records the stream flow after the spring thaw. 2017

This past weekend we decided to take another look at the property during the spring thaw. We wanted to get a better idea of where water was flowing and pooling on the property so we could not only determine future potential pond locations but also design our driveway and yard site to be free of water issues. Hastily made driveways and yards often end up having water issues that are not seen until well after the work is done which can make rectifying the problem can be expensive and time consuming. We want to avoid this error.

We have a plan to keep our driveway as close to on contour as possible to avoid creating mud holes or areas that are susceptible to erosion during extreme weather events. Not having a steep grade also means less chances of getting stuck while getting into or out of the property during the winter months; steep driveways can be almost impossible to traverse when icy. As we walked along what will most likely be the driveway path, we identified one area where water appears to accumulate. Having the driveway cross this area will probably prevent  proper drainage, so we will have to take this into consideration when planning our final design.

The yard site itself will be up on one of the hills on the property next to established trees. Normally, building up on a hill can be problematic because you are exposing your house to the wind. While you may end up with a great view, the wind can be really annoying when you want to be active outside and makes miserable winter days feel so much colder. Additionally, leaving a house open to the wind can create unnecessary heat loss. Luckily, this location already has quite a few trees for shelter. If we clear out a small pocket within the existing trees we should be sheltered from almost all directions especially the prevailing north and northwest winds. With the tree coverage and driveway length this area offers sufficient privacy from the road.

After noting our building site observations, we checked out some of the valley lines we had identified from the topographic maps we created of the property. These valleys, while not showing visible signs of erosion, funnel a large amount of water and would be prime areas to build dams and create ponds in the future.

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How To Create a Printable Topographic Map in ArcGIS Pro

In this video I demonstrate how to create a combination, aerial and topographic, map in ArcGIS Pro quickly and easily. I then go through the steps needed to create a printable layout for the map in any size you like.

My First Topo Map Tutorial

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