Up date

This Spring, we have been regularly visited by Jack2 and Liz2, our resident Ravens. They are distinctly different from the original Jack and Liz in size and behaviours but still black, beautiful and noisy. Quirky, too. And we are getting to know each other more and more as this year carries on.

Last week there were just the two of them, today there are five! Seems J2 & L2 have launched a new squadron! Flying circles of life? A fledged family? Three eggs hatched. We think this is the couple’s first family.

Nature. It’s always nice to see but the constant announcements throughout the next few weeks as family news broadcasts changes to lessons-learned-on-the-fly followed up in the end with loud goodbyes can get a bit screechy. Stll, all nice to see.

My friend (with the ship) had a good day yesterday. Got things sorted. Boats and gear, junk and debris, work and repairs all handled and, as a nice reward, the channel he was in was flooded by hundreds of Pacific White-sided Dolphins. That, too, is quite a nice sight. Lifts the spirits.

Typically, we would have seen hundreds of yachts going by by now as they head North for the wilder sections of the coast. Not so much this year. Very few. And all Canadian. The same is true for the whales. Usually we would have had a dozen sightings by now but so far we have seen just one ‘resident pod’ of Orcas and only two Humpies. Seems all the big guys are still hanging out down south.

Sal and I resumed getting in the winter firewood as soon as the big-toe excuse was considered lame (sorry, kinda pun-like?). And we have been gardening up a storm. So, today’s update will finish with a few pictures.

View from the Greenhouse

A real OTG adventure: part two

My friend and his ship remain at the secluded bay up the coast.  He’s not done there yet.  Murphy got involved.

Firstly, ‘friend’ has three boats.  There is the big Mama and then there is the little baby boat (LB).  In between is the mid-sized Big-Boy boat (BB).  The two smaller ones are ship’s tenders.  You need small boats with which to do things that are too difficult with huge, old tanker-ships.

As you have gleaned from the previous post, ‘friend’ works around the tides.  When the tide gets close to being low enough, friend goes to work on Big Mama and, naturally, his focus is on the work-at-hand and not on the two other boats.

Murphy, however, attended to them.

As the tide dropped BB got hung up on some rocks, tipped on it’s side and filled with water as it sank.  It did not go too deep.  The bottom is shallow, after all.  Still, it filled with water and sank in the deathly shallows.  While friend cleaned and scraped big Mama, BB sank deeper and disgorged the usual workboat flotsam and jetsam into the area.  NOT pollution per se (he is a Greenie) but definitely unsightly and messy.  Maybe a few wine bottles, ya know?

When he discovered his new gift from Murph, he waded over to the mess and started to ‘sort’ it all out beginning with the wooden pallets he had obtained earlier and stored inside BB.  He carried all of them through the water and stacked those pallets on Big Mama.  Of course, as he was dragging the last pallet onto Big Mama’s deck, the stack of pallets he had just put there, fell over and the free-falling pallets fell on his ankle and leg.  Nothing broke except the silence of the bay as friend bellowed out to Murph!

But my big toe feels his ankle pain.

The next day it poured and poured and his leg was kinda mushed so not a lot got done.  Still, he is not the type to just sit it out and so he went back to BB to try and right it.  In the process, the boat, half submerged, moved unexpectedly and pinned his arm and wrist between a rock and a boat-place.  The wing got squished.  Friend bellowed again.

He limped his sorry butt back to the Big Mama and poured wine with his remaining good arm.  He hurt from fingers to toes.  BB still lay on it’s side under water.  Friend’s mood was somewhat dampened by events and he couldn’t wait for Murphy to leave.

But, the next day is another day.  And it was not raining.  So, it was potentially a good day.  He limped through the remaining clean up and will eventually get to addressing how to ‘right’ BB.  That task wouldn’t be easy if he had a crew of three and everyone was a young buck.  Assisted only by the omnipresent-but-never-welcome Murphy, friend has his work cut out but, knowing him, he’ll succeed.

Or, he will hurt something else, drink more wine and keep doing it all over and over again until it is done.

I mentioned that he was a smidge obstinate, didn’t I?


A real OTG adventure

A friend of mine lives on a big ship.  The ‘J’ is over 100 feet long, pretty beamy and has a flat bottom.  It was a small tanker back in the day.  My friend handles it alone.  That, in itself, is not easy.  Hell, just getting the old engines started is NOT easy.  If this ship was more modern and had all the modern computer-controlled equipment, it would still employ a crew of three at a minimum.  Instead, ‘friend’ does the work of three people and, quite frankly, he is no spring chicken, either.  Not easy being Green (the colour of his vessel).

But that is NOT the adventure referred to in the blog title.  The real adventure is that ‘friend’ has to maintain the damn thing now and then.  Maintain includes all the things you would expect but it also includes cleaning the hull.  That’s right, over 2500 square feet of ship’s ‘bottom’ needs cleaning, checking and painting.

He does that alone, too.

He finds a shallow beach and calculates the tides so that he has an hour or two with the boat first resting on the bottom, high and dry, so that he can clean and paint the foot or so up to the waterline.  Then, as the boat rises with the tide, he bends down and starts to scrape off the barnacles and weeds by reaching under the boat.  That’s right – 2500 square feet of flat bottom ship is eventually just floating at over-his-head height as he walks under it along the bottom of the bay with a scraper and/or pressure washer.  Ship looms over his head.  Marine crap all falling down.  Dark.  Ominous.  Alone.

He can’t get it done all in one day (lazy butthead!) so he is anchored remote for the time it takes.  Typically 3 or four days.  Still the tides change by about 45 minutes every day and so his work schedule also shifts daily.  The only way he can keep track of it all is to set the alarm for 5:00 pm and he stops for wine and dinner then – no matter what.

He could use a little help.  “Hey!  Next time tell me a few months in advance and we’ll get in some W’fers.  They would love that adventure.  And I would love to boss them around.”

This is an OTG, west coast, liveaboard, somewhat common occurrence made special primarily because of the size of the boat.  Throw in a ‘senior’ doing it all alone and way up some lost channel somewhere and you have the makings for a real adventure.  But, but, but….he’ll share it with you.  I am taking names for the year after next.  If you are young, strong, willing to get wet and look good in wet t-shirts, you are eligible to apply.  If cleaning ship bottoms is appealing to you, you are on the short-list.  And, if you can cook and pour wine as well, you are in.


Update: June 9, 2020

It’s raining.  My big toe still hurts.  Today should be a perfect day for writing.  But, it is not.  To write, one really should have something to say.  And, of course, I do.  Oooohhhh, do not get me started. But I say that at the outset because all that I have to say, I have said already.  Maybe more than once.  Readers don’t like repetition.  I need NEW stuff.

I will point out that there have been a number of counter-protesters who expressed themselves by driving into crowds and shooting people.  A few of them have been associated with the Boogaloo Bois, a KKK-styled alt-right group.  So, the crazy conspiracy blog of a few days ago is a bit less ‘out there’ and it turns out to be a recognized phenomena.  See: https://www.lexingtonchronicle.com/news/who-are-boogaloo-bois-and-what-do-they-want.  Jus’ sayin’…..

Another prophecy of sorts.  The US officially has 113,000 dead from the 2M Coronavirus victims.   I don’t believe it.  I think it is higher and the number is being suppressed.  I know, I know,  “Geez, Dave, conspiracy theories, Boogaloo Bois and now this!  Have you gone mad?”  Maybe.  But Dr Fauci has been removed from the NEWs and he was the only truth teller in the White House.  He hasn’t been seen since April 29 and hasn’t spoken with Trump in 3 weeks.  And the CDC has been muzzled.  And India and South America are peaking….I just think the US was headed for a higher figure and then………things seem to ‘all-of-a-sudden’ get better.  And I do not trust Trump.  Adds up to spin, lies and information suppression to me.  Jus’ sayin’…

The ‘Defund the Police’ movement has some momentum.  But it won’t happen.  Too many are too invested in having a police force.  Emphasis on FORCE.  Having said that, the now-retiring Toronto police chief had been working to ‘soften’ the ‘force’ side and emphasize the ‘service’ side and Cambden, New Jersey, went even further in that regard.  Now the Minneapolis City Council has gone the extra, extra step of actually ‘defunding’ the police.  I think all that will be a wake-up call to everyone in uniform and those attempting to manage them.  Most cities will give their cops the chance to change their macho, semi-militant, uber-belligerent cultures but I do not think we are going to see the end of the bully-boys quite yet.  Too bad.  It is inevitable.

On a different note, this summer is shaping up to be the quietest we’ve had in 15 years.  No one (‘cept daughter) is planning on coming.  A few are ‘considering’.  Sal said, “Holleee!  Without Wf’ers and guests our monthly budget is already much, much less than usual!  Who knew?”   We’d much prefer the guests and family, of course, but the ‘planned for’ budget saving was a small surprise.  It turns out that, with just Sal and me, with all our attendant ‘costs’ that go with living (food, fuel, cell phone and satellite services) our cost-to-live is pretty low right now.  Biggest single cost?  Wine!  Plus projects.  We’re living at less than $2,000 a month and that includes taxes!

Of course, of course, that does NOT translate into an annual projection.  Nor does it include such obscure costs as depreciation of equipment and surprises that are so common, they should be a line item.  But it is still interesting to see how isolation and being unvisited has so altered our cashflow.  I’m guessing a 33% deduction at the very least.  It really just reveals that we have less fixed costs and more variable and discretionary expenses that we have more control over.  That is an OTG thing.

So, we are gonna save up….and buy MORE wine!




Big toe….

damn….dropped log on foot.  Crushed big toe (my left foot).  Hurts like hell.  I was stupid.  I did not dress properly for the job at hand and had soft slip-on shoes.  No boots.  Very stupid.  Sadly, also typical.

Oh, do not worry.  Please.  Do not send scotch.  Or flowers.  I’ll be fine.  But it will take a few days of being a lazy butt-head to get better.  Sal may have to do the dishes tonight.  Poor baby.  Do you have our address?

I mention this petty mishap (did I mention that it hurts like hell?) because people always ask, “What do you do if you need medical attention?”  And I answer, “Usually, we just deal with the problem ourselves.  We have the first aid materials and the knowledge required is not rocket science.  We can take care of ourselves for the most part.”  What I leave out is, “Well, we usually inflict the damage on ourselves and have done so many times.  So, we have the benefit of familiarity.” 

Getting hurt out here is a given.  You will hurt yourself.  If not doing logs, then working on machines or building buildings.  Or falling out of boats.  A friend of mine who is handy and been ‘out here’ most of his life recently fell off a roof and is still recovering…in the time of Covid, no less.  Lots of people get hurt out here.  All of them have to deal with it initially themselves and, as a rule, they continue to do the caring for themselves until they are healed.  No one goes to the doctor for a ‘little thing’.  In fact, most won’t go for a ‘medium thing’.  We do go to the doctor for a BIG thing like a total knee replacement.  But, for the record: an appendectomy is a ‘medium thing’.  I can take out your appendix.  Should you opt for me doing that, please bring lots of scotch for antiseptic and medicinal reasons, of course.

Health issues for OTG’ers are subtly different than readers are likely to ‘get’ or understand until they have lived out here for awhile.  Firstly, I am sure Sal and I are healthier than we have ever been.  I am not positive because, even though we are pretty good, we are also getting older at a time when age seems to count more.  I am a healthy 72 year old but 72 is no Spring chicken.  We get more exercise, of course.  The air is cleaner, the food is also better and we are not eating any junk food.  Or ‘comfort’ food.  Sal is adamant that chocolate is NOT junk food.  “No chocolate – in any form or any quantity – is junk food!  Comfort food, maybe.”

So, back to the big toe…..

I may have crushed the bone a bit but I did not break it.  Pretty sure.  Hurts too much to ‘feel’ but I can move it.  Can’t walk properly, though…rolling off the big toe is a no-go move.  I am walking with the left big toe stuck in the air and trying to put all my weight on the far left side of that foot.  And that is hampering further log processing.

I have advised Sal to be more careful doing the logs…..


George Floyd was murdered by a team from the Minneapolis Police force over ten days ago and the demonstrations protesting it have NOT diminished and the violent assaults by the police force on the protesters have only increased.  It’s as if the police are not only tone deaf, they are purposefully so.  That is not true of some police departments in other parts of the USA but the majority are still gassing peaceful protests and shooting rubber bullets into crowds.  It is unbelievable.  How is that even possible?  Does that mean the mayors of those cities have NO CONTROL over their police departments?

On the face of it, the problem is basically just that  – one of a malignant, toxic police culture and a militarized one that is out of control.  I.E: the Vancouver Police Department had to take down their ‘online store’ that sold a T-shirt that had printed across the front: POLICE – the world’s largest street gang!  Just the mind-set required to choose that slogan suggests that they may have missed the lecture on serving and protecting.  They clearly do not know what ‘peace officers’ refers to.  And I am 100% sure that the bullies-in-blue that make up the VPD are nowhere near as violent and abusive as the New York, Chicago, Detroit, Baltimore and Minneapolis police departments (just to name a few).  It is absolutely true that the Blues are the world’s largest street gang and they break the law with impunity all the live long day.

And the religious right, the evangelicals, the fervent fanatics of TV-based ministries such as Franklin Graham, Pat Roberston and Jerry Falwell are supporting this madness in the name of Christ, the pursuit of money and the re-election of Trump.  How can anyone with even a smattering of Judaeo-Christian ethics and morals do that? That, too, is unbelievable.

It all made me think of Disney and the lemmings.  There is a myth about lemmings – they commit mass suicide by leaping off of cliffs.  They do not.  The myth is partly based on a Disney nature film where the producers actually herded lemmings and pushed them off the nearest cliff for the camera.  Of course, for the lemmings, the result is the same.  Death by rapid descent for the sake of the story-line. 

It is a conspiratorial stretch, I admit, but there is a similar ‘dark force’ at work here.  The police are elevating the tensions of the citizenry, not helping.  The citizenry has so far not pushed back very much.  So, the police are getting worse!  The crowds of protesters are suffering more.  So are the journalists (average year for ‘Merican police attacking journalists is 150 and, so far, this year, it has been in excess of 300).  And there will eventually be push-back from both victim groups.  And soon enough, a lot of people will ‘die in front of the cameras’.  The ‘producers’ will get their shot.

And that is the subject of this blog.  Who are the producers?  What is the story-line they are shooting to?  It just might be the alt-right.  It all has Steve Bannon written all over it.  Growing a race-war has been a central theme in the alt-right political platform for decades.  A race war reaffirms the black as bogeyman, the Confederacy as a recognized entity and the righty-whities as the psuedo Christian Crusaders.  Duck Dynasty with teeth.  That literal blockbuster stars the John Wayne, wartime, Orange-in-Chief, the evangelical fanatics and the Deplorables.  The merchandising and distribution rights go to Fox News.  It is an ugly mash of reality show and alt-right politics.  And it is what Steve Bannon has advocated for and what he has prophecized.  And it is what is happening.

Even though a race war is a component of Bannon’s plan, it is not central to it.  Bannon is basically just an anarchist.  He wants to ‘de-institutionalize’.  That is why Trump is out of the World Health Organization and disses his allies.  Bannon wants global insurrection and Trump is his tool.  And, when you look at it…this recent Floyd murder works exactly as Bannon wants.  He is even dividing the armed forces.

“Dave!  You walking the Conspiracy route?”

Well, yes and no.  Bannon wants deconstruction, anarchy and is anti-instution and anti-establishment.  Bannon is also an anti-globalist.  Bannon preaches race/white supremacy and Bannon helped create Trump.  But that is not enough.  Bannon is also back in the White House.  Trump brought him back for the campaign.  Bannon is there to get Trump re-elected.  So….conspiracy?  Coincidence?  Or opportunism?

Like the bad lemming analogy the master plan is irrelevant to the lemming.  The lemming just dies.



Unh….when I said…..

….that I was gonna shut up for awhile, that was pertaining to race and racial politics. I am just not as ‘woke’ enough on the subject as I should be to comment very much. But I think we all know that I can’t shut up on everything. Or for very long. And, don’t make the mistake of thinking that I am well-steeped in the rest of the subjects that I write about, either. I am not. I am just steeped enough to have an opinion on those other topics but the racial issue is a deeper-felt and complicated subject than is OTG’ing or general politics. General politics is fair game for the ignorant and ill-informed as much as anyone and I definitely qualify for that.

NOT talking about racial issues is not the right answer, either. But, as I implied, now is the time to listen more. And, if you are listening, you are NOT talking. Or writing. Soooo………

What can I talk about? What do I know? What and where is my expertise? Hmmmmm…..maybe I really should just shut up? But I do have some opinions on electric vehicles, weather, the environment, Trump and Trudeau (of course), the police, the economy and living OTG. I have opinions about marriage, men and women, relationships and family, too, but so does everyone so…….and that is what the comment section is for.

Let’s do a tiny bit on the economy. Canada added 290,000 jobs in May! The loon is up! Seems some people, despite Covid, are doing boffo. A contractor friend of mine is doing exceptionally well right now building suites in homes. He figures (from talking to the owners) that the ‘mortgage helpers’ are less about the general rental market and more about getting elderly parents out of rest homes. In a weird way, Covid-19 may bring some families together a bit more.

I have a couple of other friends whose adult children are moving back home and they, too, are adding bedrooms or suites. Or buying motorhomes for the back yard.

Some of those new jobs are in delivering goods and packages. Our little community has pretty much embraced the food delivery, package delivery, materials delivery phenomena much more than ever before. We have ‘cut down’ unnecessary travel by at least half and, judging from the vehicle parking lot we use on the other island, probably more. Those cars aren’t moving much at all. We haven’t driven in two months! We are saving fuel, time, wear and tear on the vehicle and we are saving money in the process as well – people are just buying less. All that has to play out as a bit of a palliative for the environment. Maybe even part of the cure? It sure has injected new life into the ‘gig’ economy.

The restaurant industry, on the other hand, is struggling and I do not see that bouncing back too soon. Same for tourism-based businesses. Same for air travel.

Our fish stocks will likely do better around here this year simply because the numbers of American and Canadian Sportsmen fishing for salmon and foraging for shellfish is way, way down. I wouldn’t mind a few years of that. There have been few – if any – whale watching boats so far and that would be good for the whales ‘cept part of the reason for no boats is that we have not seen any whales this year. Well, one pod of Orcas about two weeks ago.

The e-bike revolution has started and it is gonna be big. Urban traffic will be a bit confused for awhile but, eventually, e-bikes will make a big difference. We may be moving to the New York model where the well-off have a car that they do not use except on the weekends. It is fascinating to watch the development and the iterations of that old transportation component (now with more bicycles and e-vehicles) being revitalized. That technical adjustment to the way society works is a good one and I am a huge fan.

On the gardening front, we are exploding with new veggies, plants and flowers. Our bees runneth over. I have not been an advocate for planting flowers since I prefer to eat what I grow but the the plight of bees is still with us. I am helping to add more flowers – just for them. Seems they need us more than ever.

Sal’s new knee is better than her old, good one. She says she is more confident with the new one when she has to push the limit a bit. That is marvelous news. She’s off to ‘first yoga’ today.

And that is it for we OTG’ers the 5th of June, 2020. Things are alright with our mostly isolated world.

It may be time for me to shut up for awhile…..

The murder of George Floyd is, sadly, just another in a series of tragic results from a militarized police community and an increasingly amoral society that has lost it’s sense of humanity, community and tolerance for each other.  The police have gone way off the rails in way too many places, in way too many instances, in way too many ordinary situations.  They have lost their way.  But so has society.  So has the government.  So has the environment.  So have a lot of us.

A lot in our world seems amiss, confusing and perplexing to the point of despair.

But for me to write about all that is to assume extra knowledge, to assume superior behaviour, to assume holier-than-thou status.  And I cannot claim any of that. I know of racism, discrimination, prejudice.  I know of marginalization, exclusion and systemic bigotry.  I have seen it in ageism, sexism, racism and all the little and large, rotten ‘isms’ woven throughout all the cultures of the world.  I have even suffered on rare occasions from it in very minor ways.  And I consciously strive hard NOT to be part of it.  But I do not really KNOW it.  Not really.

And I don’t DO much about even what I know of it.  I don’t march.  I don’t send money.  I don’t even write about it unless it is ‘in the news’.  In that sense, I admit, I am complicit.  For evil to be done, good people only need do nothing.  And I do, in effect, nothing.

And so, to then write about it, somehow lessens the truth of it. To write about it makes it about me in very much the wrong way.  I just cannot seem to address the problem in any way properly.  I really do NOT have the extra knowledge or the better perspective.  I am a bit thick, a lot protected and I am mostly unaware of all that is wrong.  Worse, I am in no position to do a lot even if I wanted to.  And I do want to but……well, not enough to actually do it.  Does anyone in Chicago really want an old, white Canadian carrying a sign?  I doubt it.  So they don’t want me.  And I do not want to be there with them.  But, well, something is wrong there.  We are all in this together and yet, in so many ways, we are not all in this together.   Some of us are removed, largely protected, not engaged or aware.  We are unburdened.

So, how can I write about that?  It may be time to shut up for awhile.


As my readers know…..

…..I am not keen on what the police have become – a quasi-military gang of security for corporations and rulers seemingly given license to harass, intimidate and, in the latest oft-repeated offense, kill ‘ordinary’ people like George Floyd in Minneapolis, MN. Change in community policing is long overdue but 90% of the public are apathetic (until they get a speeding ticket). We care but we do not care enough to do anything about it. And the system relies on our unconscious apathy.

We (the governed) are like one-ton steers being led on a flimsy tether by a little kid (the government)who thinks he is special. That HAS to change.

Slight tangent: When I ran a medical clinic in Vancouver’s skid row, we had a policy never to call the police. There were reasons for that; chief amongst them was that they would not come! We were literally one block from the police station and, on the two occasions over five years that we really needed a strong presence to protect staff and patients and we called, they never showed up! They neither served nor protected.

The second reason was that, for the most part, most of the staff could diffuse a ‘hot’ situation with a calm and gentle approach. And we had ‘hot situations’ every day. Anything short of a person with a gun we could handle and we did. And we never had to face a gun.

The third reason was that the police always seemed to get it wrong (for the perp and the community). They would use force and scream orders at a totally zoned-out raving schizophrenic who was incapable of complying or cooperating and then that poor sap would suffer their ire to the point of being beaten up, handcuffed and arrested. None of the social services in Skid Row relied on the police. It was too dangerous for everyone – public, patients, staff.

We did not hate the police, they just could NOT do their supposed job right.

Of course there is a need for a rapid response to an escalating violence but, as a rule, two healthy, calm, intelligent, unarmed human beings can diffuse the situation and do so rather quickly. Send in the guns when some nut is on top of a building with a rifle and a bucket of ammo.

The community needs a ‘force’ but not a big one. What the community REALLY needs is more ‘social-worky-types’ that actually do the ‘day-to-day, walk-the-beat, show-the-badge policing’ and they can leave the macho-military, bullying crap to a carefully selected few. Save the tough guys for the other nutty gangs. The best part for the cities is that it would be a lot cheaper and way more civilized for everyone.

I am NOT going to go on and on about that except to use it as the intro to the observation that the larger ‘system’ is clearly breaking down. Especially in the US. Leaving aside the police problems, the whole justice system is being exposed as a farce and an injustice – especially to minorities and increasingly to the lower and middle class. So is their health care system and their education system. No one really cared all that much because the US held out the promise of ‘getting rich’ and, so long as you could stay in the game (translation: out of jail and healthy), you could maybe get rich (and remain ignorant and apathetic to the other issues).

But that get-rich system has also proven flawed. The rich are getting richer and the poor are just getting poorer. The American-style of a Capitalist economy is riddled with fraud, lies, double-standards and growing inequality. And we, in Canada, are not much better. That truth is emerging and more and more of the oppressed are coming together. Black Lives Matter marches are usually about 60% Black and 40% White with significant number of Hispanics and Asians.

So, what is the answer?

I have all sorts of answers and opinions but all of them are built somewhat on what I know of the existing system. In other words, my long-steeped immersion in the system gives me some knowledge of it but NOT any knowledge of what is OUTSIDE that system (except the newly discovered mini system of barter, in-kind payment and gifting of the off-grid community). I am still ‘in the box’ trying to think outside of it.

Nature’s answer is just to burn it all down and start again.

THAT natural crack in the BIG wall was revealed again as the Minneapolis rioters set the police Third precinct building on fire. The masses revolted and fought back in a real ‘burn it down’ revolutionary way. Of course, no one wants violence and destruction but the Governor of Minnesota pleading for peace, and the Orange president threatening to shoot the protesters and now to ‘unleash the vicious dogs’, revealed the fear in the establishment of the masses revolting.
China showed that same fear over the very peaceful pro Democracy demonstrations in Hong Kong.

Basically, the governments are giant, paper facades built on the flimsy foundation of the passive apathy and lack of unity of the masses. Plus, the bastards are armed. We live in organized gangster-land.

If the masses ever get really hungry and angry about it AND organized, look out! The result will not be peaceful.


We need one.

A Spring box is, basically, a settling pond-in-a-man-made-box. It’s designed so that the naturally occurring sediment in a stream used for your potable water source is as sediment free as possible.

Water bearing sediment enters the pickup vent in a collection bucket and then goes to the pipe leading to the Springbox lower down the hill. After passing through some coarse filters, it then flows cleanly out the top end of the Spring box. The reason the filters are coarse is because sediment, if allowed to, will, in less-fast-moving current, drop to the bottom naturally. The upper and lower, multi-holed filters are primarily used to slow the current down and act as a bit of an extra barrier to help the sediment stop halfway up and drift back down to the bottom of the box. Gravel (optional) at the bottom of the box can be a crude additional filter. The REAL filter (100 microns) is used only at the higher, last stage when the water should already be clean and ready to exit the box down to our place.

A Springbox should cut our trips up the creek to one or two a year. That is the theory, anyway.

1 1/2″ input line

I have the right box. Heavy damn thing. Thick black plastic, 2 feet by 2 feet by four feet. Perfect. Thanks to Non-con, I also have the right, coarse-screen filter. I already made the fine filter using 100 micron s/s mesh. I will need to plumb the Springbox to the ‘pick-up’ collector bucket set further up the stream. The pickup itself is a bit of a filter, too. Then: from pick-up into pipe. Pipe downstream to Springbox.

I will put the Springbox out of the way of the actual current…..off to the side. If I do not move the box well out of the current, it will be caught up and swept away in the occasional roaring deluge that is part of the streams winter character. The optional gravel mentioned acts like a preliminary crude filter but it (and the water when it is filled) also serves to weigh the box down from an occasional extra stream flow.

clean out valve

All this (the Springbox, filters and the feed-lines) is being made from ‘crap and junk’ saved under the house from previous projects. And from the neighbour’s accumulation, too. AND, of course, Non-con. Together we can cobble up all sorts of stuff. Well, we can make the box, anyway. Making it work properly is always a question. The hard part is getting the whole damn thing up the hill…through the bush, over the fallen trees, etc.

1″ outlet fitting

coarse filter courtesy of Noncon

And then there is Murphy to deal with. Doesn’t matter how well I design and implement this thing, it will inevitably require a hacksaw or a different fitting or something that I did not anticipate. And it is that part that is the most daunting. Forget the right screwdriver and someone has to go back to the shop (downhill, into boat, uphill and then back to boat and then back uphill)and return trip taking at least 40 minutes if you are lucky.

That’s OK, there are usually plenty of mosquitoes to keep one busy!

fine mesh wrapped canister filter

Obviously the right thing to do is to assemble all the tools and parts you need and then add a bunch more tools and materials for insurance and then a lot of duct tape, baling wire and chewing gum. And then hope for only one or two trips back to the shop. The problem with that technique is the stream is steep and impassible. Carrying an unnecessary tool up and down it is like Olympic training. It’s natural to try to ‘get it right the first time’.

That has never happened.

Fine filter attached to outlet fitting

The good news is that this project is waiting on every neighbour and guest we can get for this one-day project. Ideally, I could just ‘talk them all through it’ on a walkie-talkie from home while sipping mint juleps but I am not kidding myself. I will be there swatting at the mosquitoes of adversity. But, in the meantime, the box and stuff needs designing and assembling and then disassembling and transporting to the base of the stream. That and getting in the firewood and I have my work cut out for awhile.

#1 of 2 coarse filters with handles

And I am not even 1/4 of the way through making the solar oven.

I wrote this blog because, as usually happens at least once a year, a city-friend asks (incredulously), “Geez, man, what the hell do you DO all day in the damn forest? I mean, seen one tree, seen ’em all, right?”

“True”, I say, (while jamming my tongue firmly in my cheek), “but every squirrel is different and they just keep us on our toes all the damn time. Crazy squirrels, eh? We are just really busy a lot with the squirrels, ya know? And then there are the ravens. Don’t get me started on the ravens! Just ask Sal about those attention-getters!”