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Full Timing in Alberta Foothills

Posted By: OldRebel

Full Timing in Alberta Foothills - 06/22/14 09:11 PM

Hi everybody. I thought that since it was the summer solstice yesterday-the first day of summer-that I should start a new thread to carry on my blog. First of all, thanks again to everyone who is following my adventure with me. I am truly thrilled at the number of views I have received on my winter blog! I will do my best to keep you entertained as always.
After a ton of rain this past week the weather has finally turned for the better. Remember that really awesome winter morning I had when I took so many pictures? Well, late this afternoon here today was in that same category. I started out the day working--cutting the grass on my "lawns" and also spread a bunch more gravel. After I was done for the day in the late afternoon I had an inspiration. I cut myself a new patio area that puts me closer to the edge of wilderness area I'm in.

I will split my pics into different posts.
Posted By: OldRebel

Re: Full Timing in Alberta Foothills - 06/22/14 09:16 PM

It was a gorgeous evening. The lighting was fabulous for some nice pictures.

Posted By: OldRebel

Re: Full Timing in Alberta Foothills - 06/22/14 09:26 PM

I went for a short walk down into the small meadow in front of me and spotted what looked like a deer with no head, lol. It wasn't moving at all.

I slowly walked a bit closer through the now fairly tall grass. Suddenly the deer's head came around and at the same time I saw that there was a young fawn suckling on it's mom. By the time I took this next picture it had also sensed something and turned to face me.

To end the night for you I cropped the preceding picture for a nice close-up of mama and her fawn.

What a beautiful afternoon. I was truly in awe at my surroundings.

Posted By: OldRebel

Re: Full Timing in Alberta Foothills - 06/23/14 07:39 PM

I have a real treat for you tonight. It was for me anyways. These pictures were takien about an hour ago this evening looking out through the windshield of my coach. Pictures to make you smile.:) I can hear all the young girls saying "Awwwe" I cropped a couple for closeups so if they look "soft" that's why.

Several more on next post
Posted By: OldRebel

Re: Full Timing in Alberta Foothills - 06/23/14 07:43 PM

Goodnight all.
Posted By: OldRebel

Re: Full Timing in Alberta Foothills - 06/27/14 07:25 PM

Just a quick note to let you folks know that I have been having great difficulty accessing this blog lately and have been unable to post. I just found a back door way in tonight to let you folks know I'm having trouble. Hopefully I can get it sorted out soon.
Posted By: OldRebel

Re: Full Timing in Alberta Foothills - 07/04/14 07:04 PM

Hi folks. I can post. Someone has been blocking me from posting but I have figured out work-a-rounds. I really don't know why someone would do such a thing but sadly it is the case. Honestly, I haven't had much to post lately. I've been still working on my graveling job although I was seriously delayed for a number of days due to huge amounts of rain. As of today I am working on the last half of the last pile of gravel. It has been a lot of work but I enjoy manual labor. Especially the kind where you can see the results. The only other thing of note lately is that I rigged up my water tote tank to be an external water supply for the coach. I now have hot and cold running water in the coach again. I'll post some pics very soon. Maybe tomorrow. I can hear people asking "Why not just find and repair the break?" The answer is because once I disassemble that utility bay all my water and sewer system is down. I have always still used the gray tank and have actually been using the black tank again just recently. Like I said early in this blog---I am not a real handyman type of guy. I can take things apart pretty well but I am really not adept at fixing or fabricating things. What would take me days or weeks to figure out and fix on my own will probably be an afternoon undertaking if I am patient and wait for help from my brother Scott. Yes, I am spoiled in that regard but I have been trying to improve. It`s just been easier for me to get along with simple work-a-rounds up to this point and I have been living comfortably doing so.
Posted By: OldRebel

Re: Full Timing in Alberta Foothills - 07/07/14 05:16 PM

I'll update on what I've been up to lately. First off here is a pic on my temporary water tank setup. The second pic shows the hose connected to the pump. I ran the hose up through the floor portal in the electrical bay and then through up high above the aquahot boiler.

I have been using all the awnings. It's been hot here lately. I've also used the coach air conditioners several times. They work fine.

I lawn-mowered out another patio even closer to the forest. It is really nice to sit out there in the evening.

Posted By: OldRebel

Re: Full Timing in Alberta Foothills - 07/07/14 05:25 PM

I finished my big graveling job today--WOOHOO!! All five piles spread by hand. Here are a few pictures. Remember the idea was to firm up the turn-a-round and also to repair and firm up the parts of driveway that really needed it. It was a lot of work but I'm happy with the results.

Fixed mudhole corner and widened it out some.

Posted By: OldRebel

Re: Full Timing in Alberta Foothills - 07/07/14 05:30 PM

This first corner in from the gate was bad too.

As was this whole front section--a real mud-hole as it is almost always in the shade.

Another deer poking around close to my coach.

This pretty laid-back living folks. Lovin' it.
Posted By: OldRebel

Re: Full Timing in Alberta Foothills - 07/20/14 08:39 PM

It's been a couple of weeks since my last post so here is an update on what I've been up to. The weather has been generally excellent. Hot. Up into the low 30'sC some days. I've cut down a few dead trees here and there to build up some stock. Most importantly I got the coach out of here and on the road for a few hours.

I took her down to the dump station at the campground a few miles west of me and dumped the tanks and then put some bleach and some water in the tanks to slosh around while I went into the city. Once in the city I filled up the propane tank and topped off the diesel tank. I forgot to mention that I replaced the fuel filter before I left. The coach ran like a top all day. I was very happy about that since it had sat so long.
My brother Scott had a friend give him an old worn ATC trike so he spent some time on it and dropped it off for me to use for now. That has allowed me to do more exploring around this fairly large property. Today I found and followed an overgrown cut-line through the bush and ended up in the far northwest corner of the property. There are a couple of beautiful wild meadows back there and also a really nice pond in the far corner.

Posted By: OldRebel

Re: Full Timing in Alberta Foothills - 07/20/14 08:49 PM

I also came across what I believe to be the old miner's cabin I was told was on the property.

All the above pictures are of the land I am renting and today was the first time I had seen this much of the property. It is 112 acres for those who have forgotten. By the way I have cleared the fallen logs and brush from that trail well enough that I am pretty sure I can trailer my pedal-boat with the ATC back to that little pond. Cool. Yes, I have a pedal-boat that I have owned for years. I've been watching for a place to use it out here. The ground is solid right up to the edge of the pond so I wont have trouble launching it. I'll take pics for sure.
Posted By: OldRebel

Re: Full Timing in Alberta Foothills - 12/28/14 01:08 PM

Yes I'm still alive and still living out here near Bragg Creek Alberta. I see people are still investigating this blog and I figured it is about time I gave an update. I had let this blog slide because I was having internet issues at the time and I just plain got out of the habit of posting to it. Sorry about my negligence.

Shortly after I last posted in late July I was asked by an old long-time employer if I would consider coming back. After clearing the table of a few issues we had had, I started back there about mid-August. It pays not to burn bridges. It has worked out nicely and I am very happy to be back working there.

My set-up out here has changed somewhat so I will bring you up to date. The biggest change has been a huge upgrade to my wood-heating arrangement. My brother and I had talked about the advantages of burying the wood stove and ducting in sand so that the sand acts as a "heat battery" once hot. This idea needed to done outside so I began to plan and build it back in September. I wanted the ducting to be through the dining room window this year instead of the more forward living room setup last year. This reason plus needing room for the heat battery on my pad necessitated facing the coach the opposite direction on the pad. Here are some pictures to get us started and to clarify what I did. My good friend Denis (a welder by trade) was instrumental in the building of my heat battery. Thanks Denis!

As you can see it is a cinder block structure including a cinder block floor. All cinder blocks were stuffed with pink insulation. The floor is topped with 1/4 inch concrete board. Particle board was secured to the outside and then Denis framed the whole thing with angle iron to ensure everything held together. There needed to be a piece of plate steel fitted around the front of the stove and across the entire sand cavity in order to keep the sand from leaking out the front. I used the same u-shaped ducting arrangement on top of the stove from last year but this year it is buried in sand of course. I had a dump-truck load of sand delivered and filled up the structure to almost the top. Then I laid R-12 insulation batts on top of the sand and covered the top with 1/2 inch plywood. I had a bit of trouble fitting the chimney through the top so as not to set the plywood on fire. The first test-burn did set the top on fire after a while so that was all redesigned using old bricks I found on the property. Here is a picture of the first burn test. That is my brother Scott in the picture.

Posted By: OldRebel

Re: Full Timing in Alberta Foothills - 12/28/14 01:45 PM

Here are some pictures of the finished product. I painted it all black so that the sun could also contribute some heat. Since the chimney needed to be higher than my coach it needed some support so I rigged up some metal supports.

Last year I used a cheap duct blower fan to circulate the air through the ducting. It worked ok but was quite noisy. I am now using a quiet 8" computer fan. I have the fan run through a timer that I have programmed. It seems to work better to have the fan shut off periodically to let the sand immediately next to the ducting reheat itself from the mass of hot sand in the overall structure. I get an average temperature of 100F from the duct outlet into my coach. Once the sand has been fully heated it will retain it's temperature for literally days. The idea is that I shouldn't have to burn as much firewood as there is not near as much wasted heat as last year.
There has only been one real problem with this idea in its current form. My oil drum wood stove has not been strong enough to hold up to the extremely high temperatures in the battery. Especially since it is encased in heavy sand. It has basically been collapsing in on itself so I have not been able to use it for the last few weeks unfortunately. Luckily the weather has been fairly mild for this time of year. The new stove will be a modified old large cylindrical propane tank found here on the property. It has been evacuated of any gases and is ready to have one end cut off to be made into my new stove. It is made of quite thick steel so it should be robust enough to hold up. Sorry I don't have a picture of it right now but will post one later. Everything is on hold right now because of the Christmas season. My friend Denis and my brother Scott have other commitments of course. I'm surviving fine with electric heaters and the diesel Aquahot system for now.
You may have noticed in the above pictures that I have changed the way I have skirted the coach. I invented this idea myself and am quite happy with how it has worked out. I used styrofoam board supported on 2x4's that I installed dowl pins into. The styrofoam boards fit between the dowl pins. The 2x4's each have a single large spike through the middle holding them to the ground. The 2x4's can pivot on the spike as well. This helps when removing boards that have exhaust pipes ported through them. Bungee cords also keep the boards secure to the side of the coach. I have painter's tape strips on the coach where the boards lean so the gelcoat wont get scratched up. This set-up will allow me to start the coach if I want. The air suspended coach can rise up and down behind the skirting. My heat battery ducting will have to be temporarily disconnected to do this however. The styrofoam boards can also be independently removed for access to baggage bays and compartments.
Posted By: OldRebel

Re: Full Timing in Alberta Foothills - 12/28/14 02:03 PM

I forgot to mention that I bought a new car!! HaHa---yes I went from being unemployed to buying a new car in a pretty short period of time. I work at a Nissan dealer and it just suddenly occurred to me that with 0% interest and my employee discount a new fuel efficient car would probably pay for itself. It does. It is a 6 speed standard which is very rare for these cars. In fact the Sentra SV model that I have is not even available with the six speed in the U.S.--Canada only. Go figure. Since my commute is almost all highway miles it is averaging about 50 mpg (Imperial gallons)!! Awesome!!. Driving the Ranger or my Dodge van was costing me usually 400-500 dollars a month for fuel. I am now paying less than half that and the car payment is only 228.00 a month! Plus I'm not racking up the mileage on my Ranger.

I sold the old van but still have the Ranger of course. Since I bought a snowblower at the end of last year's crazy winter I have been able to keep the driveway clear. There was no way a car could have got in my driveway last year but this year is no problem. I did buy top-of-the-line Nokian studded winter tires for the car though. They help make commuting a lot safer for sure.
Posted By: OldRebel

Re: Full Timing in Alberta Foothills - 12/28/14 05:59 PM

Ok, I took some fresh pictures this afternoon while I was waiting for the car to warm up for a trip into the city. These pics are basically showing what I was describing in the above posts. First up is the propane tank that will be my new wood stove. The big piece of pipe will have about a 2 foot section lopped off of it to be welded to a hole in the top of the tank for a solid chimney. It is a 6 inch pipe so the rest of the stove pipe chimney should attach ok. Luckily enough the diameter of the tank seems to be 24"---the same as the oil drum. Perfect!

Here is a shot of the inside of the current oil drum wood stove. Note the sand pile under the chimney and the roof of the barrel caving in. Also notice the fine grey ash in the bottom of the stove. This thing burns so hot there are no chunks of anything left over.

This is a picture of the bricks surrounding the chimney stack. The bricks actually lay on top of the sand under the plywood. I just stacked them up from there and sealed them a bit with high temperature mortar sealant. Works.

Next up is a good picture of my skirting. You can see the dowl pins poking up out of the 2x4's. The pins are in pairs--one on each side of the styrofoam. I also glued foam tubing along the upper inside top of the foam boards but it was kind of a waste of time really. Notice I also painted the foam boards to match the coach (sort of). The other nice thing about this skirting method is the whole thing can be disassembled and stored in a baggage bay.

This is a shot of my new Sentra and also a collection of wood crates and pallets I have brought home from work for outside fires.

These next two pictures are from the aftermath of a massive snowstorm that came through on September 10th!. Yes you read it right--September 10th. Crazy. The city got it just as bad. Since all the trees were still in full leaf it did major destruction unfortunately. Although I had many trees bowed over out here I didn't have many broken ones. The city of Calgary however lost thousands and thousands of trees. Very sad.

Posted By: OldRebel

Re: Full Timing in Alberta Foothills - 12/28/14 06:15 PM

Up next are a few pics from the fall. The first one is taken from the side of highway 22 driving towards Bragg Creek from the TransCanada highway.

One Saturday my brother Scott came out and we uncovered his dune buggy that has been stored on my property. A really cool little unit. We took it into the back meadows on the property. He sold it a few days later.

I discovered this past summer that I have several patches of wild raspberries. One really big patch. The bears have discovered them too!.

One last pic of a snow squall coming through one day.

My neighbor lost one of their house cats to a cougar one day. His wife happened to look out their kitchen window and saw a long tail! She then looked out the next window just as the cougar was snatching up the cat and off he went! That was right up on their deck next to the house. A full-sized cougar. She was a bit shaken by it from what I understand.
Posted By: OldRebel

Re: Full Timing in Alberta Foothills - 12/30/14 07:18 PM

Water. Tonight's post will be largely focused on my water situation. First of all, when you live like I do and have to haul in your water you quickly learn how you have previously taken its availability for granted and also how much you actually use. A normal lifestyle consumes a huge amount of water---way more than I think most people realize. Soon after I bought this coach in February,2013 I began living in it at my old location of Chestermere, Alberta--just east of Calgary. I had access to a water hose there right where I was parked. I used the hose to fill up my 100 gallon tank when needed as the situation there didn't allow me to remain hooked up to a water system all the time. Since the water was so readily available I just carried on my normal lifestyle I have always led. I was showering daily in the coach, using the coach toilet, washing dishes regularly, etc. That 100 gallon tank was lasting about a week! When you have to manually fill jugs and tanks and haul it home you suddenly become a water conservationist. Obviously the shower and the toilet use the most water. All summer long I used the bathroom in the old mobile home for my showers and the toilet in there for sit-down business. Although the water from the well on the property is murky with iron deposits it worked fine for dumping in the trailer's toilet tank for flushing. The shower water I was hauling in but in summer I can get water 10 minutes down the road from a local campground. One 5 gallon water jug will provide two "military style" showers.
Winter is different altogether. The campground shuts off its water in October so then I started hauling it from my place of work.
At that point I also have to start heating the trailer bathroom to keep things from freezing. The well water setup had to be shut down to prevent freezing issues also. Therefore I switched to using the infamous port-a-potty again. I tried to keep the trailer bathroom and shower operational for winter but it just wasn't going to be feasible. One morning I forgot to dump antifreeze down the tub drain after showering and that was that--frozen. Readers of my blogs here will remember that last winter I used a shower where I worked all winter long. That was a different dealership. The dealership I'm at now does not have a shower in the mechanic's locker-room. However, there is one in the bathroom of the owner's private office. I was offered the use of it and you better believe I took him up on it! Very lucky. Between using that shower at work and using the port-a-potty my need to haul water is a fraction of what it is in the summer months. A full coach water tank will usually last me at least a month. The necessity to dump my grey tank is really infrequent now as well although I will dump it sometimes even when only at 1/2 full. If I have any errands in the city on a Saturday I will stop in at the dealership and use the shower. I still use the coach shower on occasion on weekends.
Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that I finally disassembled that water utility bay to fix my "break" from last winters' cold snap. I just couldnt wait for my bro any more and took it all apart one day last summer. It came apart way easier than I thought. After the panels and covers were all out of the way I could see lots of pex piping and the ends of all three tanks. I started pumping water into my fresh water tank to look for the leak. Well guess what? No leak. NADA! What the? Readers will remember that I ended up with water/slush all over the ground under the rear coach area after trying to fill the water tank last winter. I had -40 degree temperatures in the preceeding days. I naturally assumed something had broken. Apparently that was an incorrect assumption. The only thing I can think of to explain it is maybe a part of the fill pipe or tank entry point froze over and the water I was trying to install was just getting diverted to an overflow port or something. I really don't know for sure to this day but the entire water system is tight with no leaks or seeps what-so-ever and I'm happy with that! grin
Posted By: OldRebel

Re: Full Timing in Alberta Foothills - 12/30/14 08:08 PM

I'm going to take a minute here to comment on this coach. Again. It deserves the compliments I give it. This coach was not sold or marketed as a "four season" coach. If anyone can say that it is and has proven that it is it's me. Sure it should be skirted and yes I supplement the Aquahot heating system with electric heaters and my wood heating ideas BUT this coach could hold its own with its own equipment. It holds its temperature quite well and the Aquahot can provide plenty of heat--just feed it diesel. I use the electric heaters and the wood heating setup to heat more cost effectively and also to keep the wear and tear down on the aquahot system. I have never been cold in this coach. Even at 40 below zero. I will mention again that I believe it makes a huge difference not having slide-outs. I would not want to try this kind of harsh winter living in a slide-out coach. I think it would be just too hard to keep it comfortably warm in extreme cold.
I have read that this vintage (mine is a '97) of Monaco coaches are known to be quality built solid coaches. No argument from me at all on that. I have several cupboard door latches that have broken--that is a common problem on these coaches. I need a couple of new baggage door gas struts. My drivers seat side window is foggy between the dual-pane glass (common also). I'm struggling to think of what else. I do currently have an issue with the generator. I was using it one evening a couple months ago and it suddenly stopped generating electricity. The engine runs fine--just no power. My brother started to check it out but we need to fire up the coach and get the air suspension to raise up so as to get access to the back end of the generator. We're not sure what's up with it at this point.
In closing tonight let me say that I'm still having fun with this lifestyle. Yes, it involves some hard work but I think it's worth it. It is a very peaceful and beautiful place to live. I'm still single and I don't often get visitors but I'm not the type to get lonely. In fact I don't think I really know the meaning of that word. I like the solitude most of the time.
Posted By: OldRebel

Re: Full Timing in Alberta Foothills - 02/01/15 09:08 AM

Time for an update. I'm sure some people have been wondering about the progress on my heat battery set-up. I spent most of January messing around with that and finally got it operational this past Friday night. Most of January was very mild so I got by just fine heating with electric heaters and the AquaHot. I needed help for a number of things to do with the development and replacement of the stove so that took some time as well since I was dependent on other peoples' schedules. I've got a few pictures for you.

Here is one of the propane tank being cut. Of course we made doubly sure it was empty of any gas first, lol.

This is what the old barrel stove looked like after it was removed from the heat battery structure. Major heat damage is apparent.

This next picture is of the new tank stove fitted in to place in the battery structure. One of my neighbors owns a bobcat with a bucket so we used it to lift and then lower the stove in to place.

My brother had mentioned that people using a heat battery like this recommend lining the cavity with styrofoam board insulation so I disassembled last years' heat tunnel and used the styrofoam from that.

The next step was to re-engineer and install the ducting. I had to redesign it so as to fit properly into the cavity since the styrofoam lining made the cavity smaller.

Then I filled the cavity up with sand and covered the top of the sand with 2 inch thick styrofoam board. I bought a new thicker (5/8") 4x8 sheet of plywood for the top. I used the old bricks again around the chimney stack to separate the hot stack from the styro and the plywood top. Many people (including me) would have doubts about the styrofoam holding up in that hot battery. So far, so good. The stove has been in full operation since Friday night and I have not seen any smoke from weird places or smelled any burnt plastic odors. Like my brother said--"If it melts, it melts--so what". I suppose. Anyways, the thing is working great so far. It is holding its heat even better than before. I'm running the computer fan duct blower through a programmable timer. I've programmed it to shut the fan off periodically so as to let the heat build back up in the battery. If the duct fan blows long enough and the fire has burnt down long enough then the output temperature will drop somewhat. Not a huge amount but noticeable. By shutting the fan off occasionally you can keep getting max heat output.
Posted By: OldRebel

Re: Full Timing in Alberta Foothills - 02/02/15 06:54 PM

I have forgotten to mention that even with the duct fan off I get a fair amount of convection heating up the pipe from the heat battery. Once the fan gets the air circulating out of the coach, down into the battery and then back up and into the coach that circulation continues even with the fan off being that heat rises of course. This morning as I left for work I put about 5 decent sized split wood pieces into the stove and hot coals. I dampered down the stove and went to work. I have the programmable timer set to gradually be on less and less throughout a weekday as I am not home to stoke the fire. Tonight when I got home there was still pretty warm air (75-80F?) wafting out of the duct into my coach. Not bad as it was a fairly cold day today---about -10C.
I need to cut down some more dead trees as my summer stockpile is dwindling. This weekend probably.
Posted By: OldRebel

Re: Full Timing in Alberta Foothills - 02/04/15 08:02 PM

This post tonight is in recognition of what is THE most important thing I have discovered....well maybe ever. This month it will be two years since I quit smoking. As mentioned in my previous "winter" blog I was able to do it by switching to electronic cigarettes. Using electronic cigarettes is not smoking--period. There are no tobacco products involved. Nicotine is not a tobacco product. It is a drug in the same class as caffein. There can be nicotine in electronic cigarette liquid and there is in mine. Nicotine is not what will kill you from cigarette smoking----it is the tar and noxious gases and chemicals. I feel great---my breathing and stamina is as good as a non-smoker in my opinion. For some strange reason the best answer to quitting smoking that has ever been invented keeps getting a bad rap in the media and by non-smokers. This is pure insanity. PLEASE don't let misinformation about this product ruin its availability to smokers. It really is a matter of life and death. From my heart I believe this product has saved mine.
Posted By: OldRebel

Re: Full Timing in Alberta Foothills - 03/23/15 05:17 PM

Ok, I know I have been guilty of negligence again! Therefore I will start off with a real treat. I have had a couple of visits from a Great Grey Owl in the last week or so and last evening I was actually able to get some nice pictures. After the following pics I will tell you how I got them and supply some info on this magnificent creature.

Posted By: OldRebel

Re: Full Timing in Alberta Foothills - 03/23/15 05:36 PM

The Great Grey Owl is the largest owl in the world. The length of his tail is what helps him achieve this status. An adult GG Owl has a wingspan of 5 to 5 1/2 feet. They are the official provincial bird of Manitoba, Canada. I read somewhere that the GG Owl is in the top six of the list of fifty desired sightings by bird-watchers. They have very acute hearing that is aided by the shape of their face. They can hear mice and voles under the snow and will dive hard into sometimes very hard, crusty snow to snatch their prey.
I originally saw this owl about a week ago. I was sitting on my couch facing the opposite window that looks out towards the trees and I saw him swoop in and land. I got a good look at him before he left so I went on-line and figured out what he (or she) was. Last evening I was again on my couch and saw him come in and perch on a fence post out by my forest patio. I had my binoculars handy so I sat there on the couch for a good five minutes watching him. Head turning all round, watching and listening intently. I thought it would be cool to get some pictures but I thought he would fly away. Anyways I grabbed my camera and exited the coach quietly. I poked my head around the front of the coach and waited for him to look the other way. Then I would move up about five paces and stop motionless. His head would spin around in my direction to scope out his surroundings and then he would turn away again. Up another few paces. I kept doing this until I was only about 40 or 50 feet away! I was taking pictures the whole way. It was quite exciting and I got to a point that I didn't want to get closer. You can tell in the last picture that he finally spotted me. Now I know what "looks a little "owly" means, LOL!
Posted By: OldRebel

Re: Full Timing in Alberta Foothills - 03/23/15 05:51 PM

I took the lid off my heat battery a week or so ago to check things out. The styrofoam board insulation had melted away to almost nothing on top and partially on the sides. I topped up the sand again as it had settled some more mostly due to the disappearing styrofoam. Remember that 1/4" concrete board that I used for a heat barrier around my wood stove when it was in the old mobile home? I cut it up and fitted it onto the top of the sand. Then I laid R12 pink insulation on top of that and then put the plywood top back on. The heat battery retains heat extremely well. I can get by with one good fire a day in most cases this time of year. If you let the fire go out it will continue to convect heat up into the coach for 3 days or more afterwards!
I have also been busy setting up a few surveillance cameras on the property so I can keep an eye on things/weather when I am not around.
It was a very mild winter here this year---the complete opposite of what I had last year.
Posted By: OldRebel

Re: Full Timing in Alberta Foothills - 03/24/15 08:02 PM

I went for a ride on the ATC tonight and took a few pictures. A different perspective on things to start us off.

Next up is a picture of the small meadow with the raspberry patch. All that redness on that big hump in the middle is raspberries in the summer.

Posted By: OldRebel

Re: Full Timing in Alberta Foothills - 03/24/15 08:09 PM

I found a fair number of freshly broken saplings at the overlook of one of the big meadows at the back of the property. I "think" it was deer that broke these over to access the tips of the branches to eat. It is very early spring here so maybe those branches are tasty when preparing to budd(???). I can't think of another reason these are all broken. The tips of the broken tops are broken off and gone also.

Posted By: OldRebel

Re: Full Timing in Alberta Foothills - 03/25/15 05:13 PM

Fresh owl pictures--just taken this evening. This time I didn't try to sneak up on him. I just slowly walked over to a vantage point and started snapping.

Posted By: OldRebel

Re: Full Timing in Alberta Foothills - 03/25/15 05:20 PM

This picture was taken just as he crouched and was about to take off.

Here he is in mid-flight as he swept by me.

And this is where he flew to. I left him alone after that.

Obviously he wants to hang around here and I don't want to bug him too much. I feel very lucky to have such a fantastic bird staying here. Plus, he can keep the mouse population down!
Posted By: OldRebel

Re: Full Timing in Alberta Foothills - 03/25/15 06:06 PM

I'm still thinking about those broken saplings I posted about. I think I'm wrong about it being deer. How could a deer snap a 1 1/2" thick sapling like that? They were broken off approximately 5 feet off the ground. There had to be a dozen identically broken saplings in that one smallish area. The bears are just coming out of hibernation. Maybe. You would think I would have looked closer for tracks in the snow there but I didn't at the time. I will revisit the area and post.
Posted By: OldRebel

Re: Full Timing in Alberta Foothills - 03/31/15 09:43 PM

One more...cropped one of the previous photos.

Posted By: OldRebel

Re: Full Timing in Alberta Foothills - 07/10/15 07:48 PM

Montana Game Camera video.
Posted By: OldRebel

Re: Full Timing in Alberta Foothills - 12/24/15 05:16 PM

Christmas Eve 2015.
Hi to anybody who might still be checking my nearly dead blog. I am still living out here and am now into my third year living my somewhat unusual lifestyle. I still love every minute of it. I had a surprise visit from a Great Grey Owl this afternoon and took a few pictures. That is what prompted me to finally post again. These first few pictures are current----taken late this afternoon. You will notice that I have built an enclosed porch type structure beside my coach that utilizes waste heat from the front of the heat battery. I have a small apartment size deep freezer and a table in there. It also is a place to dry wet clothing when needed or to sit and drink beer with my friend Denis.

Posted By: OldRebel

Re: Full Timing in Alberta Foothills - 12/24/15 05:27 PM

Here are a few current pics from inside my coach to show what the ducting looks like. The lighted blue computer fan on the floor is sucking air out from the coach and pushing it through the piping in the heat battery. Denis and I took the sand out again last fall and converted the stove piping inside the heat battery to six inch thin wall steel pipe all welded together. It will be much more durable that way. I tried temperature testing the output in the coach one day. My thermometer maxed out at 160 degrees F and the numbers were climbing fast. I would guess at an output temperature of at least 180 degrees--maybe more! The last picture shows that I still use a couple of small infrared electric heaters to help with the heating in winter.The Aqua-hot will come on occasionally on very cold days. I can only heat exclusively with the heat battery in the spring or fall.

Posted By: OldRebel

Re: Full Timing in Alberta Foothills - 12/24/15 05:46 PM

My only utility bill is my electric bill and it was about 135.00 last month. We have been having a fairly mild winter again this year but I have seen -20C several times. I have not been able to shower at the dealership I work at this year because the shower plumbing sprung a leak and dumped water into the showroom LOL! Management wasn't keen on spending the money to fix it at the current time so I shower in my coach. My water availability situation has improved however as I have found that I can buy water from a dispenser at a water treatment plant only about 10 minutes from my place. It works by credit card and is very cheap. About 1.50 for filling my 60 gallon transfer tank. I just use this water for showering and doing dishes. I buy water in big plastic jugs from the grocery store to use for drinking and cooking.
I don't use the black water tank in the coach at all in the winter. I use the porta-potty for pee and use the toilet in the old mobile home for crap. When I dump the grey water tank in the coach using my macerator pump I fill empty water jugs with grey water and then store them on top of the heat battery. Then I use them to fill the toilet tank in the old mobile home so I can flush the toilet after use. After using the toilet I dump winter windshield washer fluid or RV antifreeze in the toilet bowl to keep things clear and unfrozen until next use. If I think I'm going to be using the toilet in the old trailer I run an electric heater in there for a while first to warm things up a bit.
I feel that I am pretty well set up here now overall and am quite comfortable.
Posted By: OldRebel

Re: Full Timing in Alberta Foothills - 12/24/15 05:54 PM

We had a beautiful fall here this year. Gorgeous colors and nice warm days. Here are a few pics including a couple showing my firewood piles. A neighbor let me cut up and haul away some wood that he had piled up after he had a new house built. It was a major score for me!

The photo of my coach directly above is not photo-shopped in any way other than being re-sized for posting. The evening sky that day was phenomenal. It was talked about on the local news the next day.
Posted By: OldRebel

Re: Full Timing in Alberta Foothills - 12/24/15 05:57 PM

I will close tonight with a couple of today's pictures of my visit from the owl. Notice in the one picture that his face is pointed down towards the ground. He is listening for the sounds of mice under the snow.

Merry Christmas!!
Posted By: OldRebel

Re: Full Timing in Alberta Foothills - 12/24/15 08:11 PM

I just about forgot! My brother Scott and his wife were on a back country road in north-western Montana one day back in the early fall and took this picture. A fantastic shot of a Mama bobcat at the side of the road. She had several kittens with her but are not in the frame here.

Posted By: OldRebel

Re: Full Timing in Alberta Foothills - 12/26/15 10:08 AM

I thought I would share a few more pictures that I took on a beautiful fall day a few months ago. All of these pictures were taken either on the property I am on or on the main access road to the property.

Posted By: OldRebel

Re: Full Timing in Alberta Foothills - 12/26/15 10:10 AM

Posted By: OldRebel

Re: Full Timing in Alberta Foothills - 12/26/15 10:11 AM

Posted By: OldRebel

Re: Full Timing in Alberta Foothills - 02/20/16 07:22 PM

February 20, 2016

Hello people. I was down in Montana last weekend with my brother Scott and thought I would share some pictures with you that you may find fun and interesting. I had forgotten to take my usual camera so some of the pics were taken with my iphone and others were with a camera I wasn't familiar with so if they seem a little fuzzier than normal that is why. We went down to check on Scott's place (which is totally off-grid) and also to pick up some stuff I had at the Montana Shipping Outlet which I have posted about elsewhere in this blog. Scott's off-grid set-up is quite intricate and amazing really. It is a solar and generator operation. Since his homestead area is in a hollow the solar operation is quite weak in winter with the sun so low in the sky. Therefore he had to build his buildings with very thick, well-engineered insulated walls so they take very minimal heating to keep things from freezing up since the generators can't keep running with nobody around. This first picture is of the main homestead area. The super-insulated mechanical building is immediately behind the A-frame you see here.

This next shot is of a wall with some of the electronic controls and inverter set-up. This is just one portion of what he has in there. It is also built with an in-floor heating system.

The mechanical room building also contains a kitchen and a shower room as well as a 1000 liter (approx 250 gallon) water tank. It also has a chest type deep freeze that he converted the refrigeration system to operate as a refrigerator rather than a freezer. More efficient at keeping the cold in when you open the lid as compared to a normal front door type refrigerator. Here is a picture of his very cool shower set-up. The tub is a horse water trough.

Scott monitors his systems and temperatures with a program he can access anytime and anywhere from his laptop.

Posted By: OldRebel

Re: Full Timing in Alberta Foothills - 02/20/16 07:38 PM

On Sunday afternoon we drove over to my other brother Gord's place. It is a very nice log home and shop partway up the side of a mountain. It has full power like a normal house with a well and septic system. Since his place is higher up they get a lot more snow so it can be a challenge in winter. He is not keen on me posting pictures of his place but here are a few of a local deer named Bobby that comes around to say hi. This is a mule deer that is tame like a dog. His mom was killed by a vehicle when he was a baby so a neighbor down the road bottle-fed the little guy and raised him until he could get out on his own. He hangs out with a herd of white-tail deer as the other mule deer won't accept him for some reason. The white-tails accepted him. He comes right over when you go outside and is looking for treats and also to get scratched. You can pet him and scratch him behind the ears all you want. He loves the attention and will snuggle his nose right into your armpit. Since he is a male he has antlers for part of the year and Gord says it is kind of dangerous to be around him then as he wants to play. This time of year his antlers have fallen off. The top of his head must be really itchy at the antler nubs as he really seemed to like us scratching him there.

Posted By: OldRebel

Re: Full Timing in Alberta Foothills - 02/20/16 07:51 PM

Later that afternoon we went over to some friends of Scott's who have an absolutely gorgeous wilderness home about 15 miles west of Scott's place. Large log home and very large shop on 240 acres. It overlooks a beautiful little valley that has two streams running through it. Both have rainbow trout in them! Here are a few shots of this dream home that I'm sure you will enjoy.

The main home is a little over 3000 square feet and is heated mainly with firewood. They go through about seven cords of wood in a normal winter.

I love Montana. A very beautiful area with fantastic people. I hope you enjoyed seeing these pictures.
Posted By: OldRebel

Re: Full Timing in Alberta Foothills - 02/20/16 08:51 PM

My vegan daughter just texted me and said...
"For goodness sake you can't be all warm and fuzzy with one deer in one post and then throw in his dead stuffed neighbors in the second LOL"
Posted By: OldRebel

Re: Full Timing in Alberta Foothills - 04/19/16 05:49 PM

Hi people---friends. It is obvious that I have lost the necessary interest in maintaining this blog in recent times. I still live the same way in the same place and will continue to do so as long as I am able. I did purchase my own domain with the intention of transferring this entire blog over to it but it has proven to be very time consuming and my interest is weak. The domain is and I may use it in the future. I'm just not sure at the present time. I know that the owner of this site you are reading this on has had a change in lifestyle and wishes to update this forum accordingly. I get that. Thank-you Scott and Jeannie for letting me post my thoughts and adventures here. I really appreciate it and it has been an excellent and enjoyable learning experience. Thank-you also to the people who took an interest in what I was posting and have continued to follow the blog. I have been quite surprised at how it kind of chain-reacted into so many views. I tried to keep things interesting and not boring or too repetitive and it was getting harder to do that after I became settled into the lifestyle I have here. Remember---"Why be normal--normal is boring"
Sincerely, Ken M. OldRebel
Posted By: OldRebel

Re: Full Timing in Alberta Foothills - 11/12/16 06:41 PM

Hi everybody. I finally got some great game camera video of cougars on my property. Check this out. FOUR cougars travelling together just after midnight on your election night. Early on the morning of the 9th.
Posted By: OldRebel

Re: Full Timing in Alberta Foothills - 11/12/16 06:52 PM

Try again

<embed width="600" height="361" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowFullscreen="true" allowNetworking="all" wmode="transparent" src="" flashvars="">
Posted By: OldRebel

Re: Full Timing in Alberta Foothills - 11/12/16 06:53 PM

Posted By: OldRebel

Re: Full Timing in Alberta Foothills - 11/12/16 06:53 PM


Posted By: OldRebel

Re: Full Timing in Alberta Foothills - 11/12/16 06:57 PM

Ok. Got it now.




Pretty freakin cool huh? 200 yards from my coach!!
Posted By: OldRebel

Re: Full Timing in Alberta Foothills - 11/12/16 07:41 PM

Yup, I'm still living out here in my coach. Started my third year here in September. I'm well set-up and quite comfortable. I will take some current pictures tomorrow and post them. It's about time I updated.
Posted By: OldRebel

Re: Full Timing in Alberta Foothills - 11/12/16 07:42 PM

How are you doing Scott and Jeannie?
Posted By: OldRebel

Re: Full Timing in Alberta Foothills - 11/16/16 06:26 PM

I said I will take some pics and post and I will but it will have to wait until the weekend. At this time of year up here it gets dark very early and is currently dusk when I get home from work.
I bought a new game camera last night that should take clearer and brighter night videos or pictures. After work tonight I swapped I swapped it into the location where I got those great cougar videos. I put the other one up the trail about 50 yards and closer to the trail. We'll see how they work out. Fun stuff. Like I said it is nearly dark when I get home so I rode my quad (oh yeah, I bought a quad) over to the cam location so as to make some noise, lol. After seeing those four cougars on video I am certainly more wary around here. I had a flashback to those old "Far Side" cartoons and thought there should be one showing four cougars sitting around checking the pictures and videos on their "human" camera! Hey, look at this idiot- Dinner time! HaHaHa!
Posted By: OldRebel

Re: Full Timing in Alberta Foothills - 11/16/16 06:37 PM

By the way, for those interested I own three game cameras now. The one that took those cougar videos is a Bushnell Trophy Cam HD Aggressor No Glow (nearly invisible infrared light system). My new camera is a Trophy Cam HD Essential which is classed as a low glow camera I believe. The infrared bulbs clearly glow red when the camera is taking video or a picture. Wildlife can see this glow and will sometimes spook them but the picture quality and infrared coverage is better. Camera placement is a big factor. My third game camera is the one I bought first a couple of years ago. It is a Moultrie--880 I think. It is doing a terrific job as a security camera out by my front gate. It is well hidden but placed very strategically so that it even can grab license plate numbers of vehicles near my gate.
Posted By: OldRebel

Re: Full Timing in Alberta Foothills - 11/17/16 07:28 PM

I realized tonight that I should also post three videos I have of a small pack of three coyotes from the same camera. Daytime shots. Here they are.



Posted By: OldRebel

Re: Full Timing in Alberta Foothills - 11/17/16 07:46 PM

Here is a good picture of a moose from my gate camera

Posted By: OldRebel

Re: Full Timing in Alberta Foothills - 11/17/16 07:50 PM

Apparently I have missed posting stuff to this blog. I hope Scott doesn't mind. I bought my own website and tried to transfer everything over but it wasn't working out too well. Let's wing it still on this one, shall we? smile
Posted By: OldRebel

Re: Full Timing in Alberta Foothills - 11/19/16 08:08 PM

Ok, I promised you some current pictures so I took some today but first I want to show you a picture of a massive cougar that was hunted down and killed very close to my place only a couple of weeks ago. I saw one of my neighbours on my access road when I was coming back from the city today and stopped to talk to him. I told him about my cougar videos and he showed me this on his ipad. This beast was taken down just south of the highway from my access road. It is eye-popping huge!! 181 lbs.

Yup, I'm going to get the license needed for a gun. It's time.
Posted By: OldRebel

Re: Full Timing in Alberta Foothills - 11/19/16 08:23 PM

I jumped on my quad and headed over to my game cameras and pulled the SD cards. No action on the cards really but I adjusted the location of one. Pics....

Look for the camera in this pic

Here it is

That is my new one that I placed in the same spot as the other one that took the cougar videos.

This is my new quad I bought back in the spring as a "end of alimony" gift to myself. It is a 2016 Yamaha Grizzly Special Edition. I changed up the tires to Kenda Bearclaw HTR radials after purchase. It is a very nice machine. smile

Here is where I had the older TrophyCam Aggressor mounted.Can you see it?

I took it down from there and remounted it differently this afternoon.
Posted By: OldRebel

Re: Full Timing in Alberta Foothills - 11/19/16 08:30 PM

So here are the pictures of my current setup taken today.

Posted By: OldRebel

Re: Full Timing in Alberta Foothills - 11/20/16 07:25 PM

Anyone who has read this blog completely knows that I have to haul in water to my coach. I used to haul it from my place of work in the city during winter and from a local campground dump station in the summer. That changed about a year ago, thankfully. I met a local fellow who told me about a water treatment/fill station that is only about a 10 minute drive from my place. It is an un-manned operation and is run by credit card. I just needed to get the appropriate hose and fittings to use it. It is very cheap. I fill up my 60 gallon tote for 1.43. Here are pictures of the whole operation including how I fill the coach. I use a 12 volt rv water pump to transfer the water from the tank to the coach. I changed the wiring for the pump to have a 12 volt plug that fits into a booster pack. I have a different connector that I attach to the tank for attaching a garden hose to transfer the water to the coach. Notice also that I use those Gardenia hose quick-connects. These pictures were taken last February.

Posted By: OldRebel

Re: Full Timing in Alberta Foothills - 11/27/16 05:32 PM

Hi all. It was a nice weekend here. We have had a very nice, mainly mild, fall and early winter. Very little snowfall yet.
I had an exciting wildlife encounter yesterday I want to tell you about but unfortunately there are no pictures. I walked down my driveway yesterday about mid-morning carrying the game camera I place near the gate. When I was within about 50 feet from the gate I stepped off the side of the driveway and was deciding if a spruce tree there was a good new spot for my camera. Suddenly I heard the crashing sound of breaking branches straight ahead from the direction of my gate. A huge Bull Moose with the classic full rack of antlers and two full sized cow moose came jogging out from the bush across from my gate! They stopped momentarily on the road just outside the gate while the big guy scoped things out and decided direction. I froze of course. I was only about probably 70 or 80 feet away from them and I was on foot with no weapon of any kind. Moose can be quite dangerous if they are surprised or grumpy. I had adjusted my position slightly so that I was behind the small spruce tree a bit more.
All three then set off into the forest beside my gate---to my right at this point as I was on the first section of my driveway facing the gate. I heard a big twanging noise as one of them hit the wire fence that is out there by the road but out of my view. It was the big bull. He backed up onto the road and into my view again. He stopped, had a quick look at the fence, and then charged through again. Then I heard the three of them bashing and thumping through the forest off to my right. I could see a little bit of movement here and there as they passed through only about 80 feet way.
I could feel some adrenaline for sure. Although I had seen big moose before I had always been in a protective place like a vehicle. To be that close to them and on foot was a new experience for me. I sure wish I had pictures. That bull was huge--- a real Bullwinkle. Being that close made me feel like I was in Jurassic Park, LOL.
I was quite surprised at how fast they were moving through the forest. They weren't just walking through--more like a forceful trotting speed. Literally crashing through the bushes and branches. Very cool.
After I mounted the camera I turned to walk back up the driveway to the coach. Of course I was looking and listening for the Big Three. I heard noises and saw the butt end of one of them going through the trees to the northwest. That was the last I saw of them. They were travelling at such a rate with their very long legs that they would cover a good number of miles in no time at all. Thrilling to see.
Posted By: OldRebel

Re: Full Timing in Alberta Foothills - 12/03/16 04:48 PM

I checked my game cameras this afternoon. Here are three new cougar pictures. These are from my newest camera. The infrared picture was taken at dusk so it is a bit brighter than it would be in complete darkness. Notice the clarity though. The other two daytime pictures are of a pretty big cat. The one picture has it in the shadows so you have to look closely or zoom the image. I tried to photoshop it to make it more clear but I didn't have great success. It is the original image.

I had the camera set to take still photos and had it set to just take one and then wait five seconds to take the next one. I was thinking of night shots and not wanting the glowing infrared of this camera to spook the animals. I think I will set the interval between shots down to three seconds.
By the way, I had to buy a new computer in September as my old one crashed. I had to buy a new photo editing program and I am still learning it. As I have mentioned before on this blog I post almost all pictures as untouched originals. I will let you know if I have doctored one to create a better image.
Posted By: OldRebel

Re: Full Timing in Alberta Foothills - 12/03/16 11:30 PM

I zoomed the images of today's cougar.

Posted By: OldRebel

Re: Full Timing in Alberta Foothills - 12/04/16 05:12 PM

We finally got a decent snowfall today. Not only out here in the mountain foothills but in the city of Calgary as well. The forecast is for cold temperatures in the week ahead (-17 or -18C) so I had decided yesterday I would top up my water tank and dump the waste tanks in the coach today even though I could have lasted another three or four days easily. I have filled and dumped the tanks in cold temperatures before but if I can avoid it I will. I also bucked up a bunch of small diameter logs yesterday so that I can stoke the heat battery in the morning for an all day burn while I'm at work. After the tank chores I fired up the quad and drove all my trails. I'm going to try to keep them usable through the winter if possible. Not only for fun but also for firewood hauling. Here are today's pictures. First off is heading out to get water in the Ranger.

This is how much snow fell this morning. It mostly stopped by mid-afternoon. This picture of the snow on the car was photoshopped because it was one of those winter pics that came out with a blue tint. I don't know why that happens.

The rest of the pictures are taken back on the trails with my quad. I love being in a forest after a fresh snowfall.

Posted By: OldRebel

Re: Full Timing in Alberta Foothills - 12/04/16 07:20 PM

Updated forecast shows colder. Tuesday will have a high of -20C and a low of -26C! When it is going to get that cold I switch the refrigerator to propane and use all my heat sources to the max. I will burn a bunch of wood this week.
Posted By: OldRebel

Re: Full Timing in Alberta Foothills - 12/05/16 06:29 PM

I have been getting a lot of comments at work and from friends about the size of that cougar in the latest pics. One guy at work thinks it is actually a female. He says if you zoom in close you can see her teats. If that's a female she is monster big. My brother Gord mentioned that the vehicle track shown in the picture is a quad track and not from full-sized vehicles so he thinks it misleads the size. However, that is the main trail back from my coach to the other end of the property. I have had my Ranger on it several times and it fits that trail pretty well. That is one big cougar regardless.
Posted By: OldRebel

Re: Full Timing in Alberta Foothills - 12/05/16 07:04 PM

I also meant to mention I have pulled the game cameras indoors until this bitter cold snap is over. The cameras are rated down to -5F which is about -20C. I bought another Trophy Cam HD Essential on ebay the other day. It is already sitting at the Montana Shipping Outlet in Eureka waiting for me to pick it up. So I'll have four cameras out there. Too much fun. Sometimes people ask me why I live out here like this. That is the answer. It's fun. And interesting. Exciting. Abnormal. LOL.
Posted By: OldRebel

Re: Full Timing in Alberta Foothills - 12/05/16 08:04 PM

Since it is cold here right now and heating is my focus, here is my current set-up. First up is my Delonghi oil filled heater. It has two power setting switches. The MIN switch is 600 watts. The MED switch is 900 watts. Turn them on together is 1500 watts of course. I never turn them on together even though I power that heater direct from a 110 plugin at my power box. I have run a heavy cord from the box over to the coach and inside the door jamb. I am more comfortable taking some of the load away from the coach wiring although I have never had a problem. I modified a metal lip on the door jamb to allow the cord easier access. Look closely and you will see where I ground out a divot in the metal door lip. This stops the cord from pinching as well as it still lets the door seal pretty well.

Next up is my old faithful. It is a $40.00 Mainstays heater from Walmart. It has two settings. 400 watts or 800 watts. When I use one of these in the back hallway I only set it to 400 watts. It wont run at 800 watts from the rear coach circuit. It will just shut off. In warmer temps I have it run through a programmable temperature monitoring controller so it will shut off when not needed. In cold temperatures like I'm dealing with right now it is plugged in direct and will run 24/7.

Here is the current duct setup for the heat battery wood-fired heat. Intake is through the blue-lit computer fan mouth on the floor. In normal temperatures I stoke the fire only once a day at night but in cold temperatures like now I will also stoke it in the morning before I leave for work. I'm going to guess that its output is the equivalent to another 1000 watt heater.(Edit--The amount of heat produced from the heat battery varies depending on how hot I have stoked it of course. Upon reflection I think that 1000 watt figure is very low. That would be if the fire has smoldered down and the overall heat from the heat battery is moderate. When the heat battery is working at full temperature properly stoked I think it is probably the equivalent of at least a 1500 watt heater. Maybe even 2000 watts. It pumps out a lot of heat.) Yes, I have a messy kitchen table. Those little bottles are different flavors of "juice" for my electronic cigarettes. No, I guess my coach and I won't be featured in Better Homes and Gardens, haha.

Lastly I have the built in heating system of the coach which is an AquaHot diesel boiler system. Liquid heating throughout the coach with individual fans at multiple heat exchangers including one in the water bay. Five different heat zones with a thermostat for each zone. It also is how my water is heated. It runs off the coach main diesel tank. That tank holds 200 gallons of diesel and I always keep it topped up. The AquaHot is pretty efficient really but it is a complicated system and I don't want to use it too extensively so that I lessen the risk of an expensive break-down. This coach has some expensive-to-fix systems and the AquaHot is in that category. My hallway heat exchanger failed some time ago and I have bought a replacement but I haven't gotten around to installing it yet.
I also bought new batteries for the coach this year. It takes two 4D size 12 volt deep cycle batteries. BIG batteries. And expensive. I bought the Lifeline brand of AGM batteries. I bought them on-line from a dealer out of Los Angeles at a very good price. 550.00 U.S. dollars each and free shipping up to Eureka Montana. Considering they weigh about 130 lbs each (I think) the free shipping was a big deal. I picked them up in Eureka and brought them across the border without incurring any taxes or duties at all even though I was over my limit.
What happens if the power fails:
I have my power inverter switched off. Therefore, if the power fails the electric oil-filled heater and the Mainstays small electric heater stop working. The AquaHot and the heat battery will still provide heat at that point. The AquaHot will kick in when the temperature drops and the heat battery will still provide plenty of heat through convection up the ducting even though the intake fan will stop. The fans on the AquaHot heat exchangers will slowly draw the batteries down but those are very good batteries.I have an auto-start module for the coach's big diesel generator wired in to the 12 volt system. That module monitors the coach battery voltage. I have it set so that if the battery voltages drop to less than 12 volts the big generator will fire up and run for three hours. This will restart the electric heaters, recharge the batteries, and everything will run as normal even though the outside power supply is down. After three hours the diesel generator will shut down and battery monitoring will continue. The generator will start again if needed. I have tested that auto-start module and it started my generator at -15C. The module can be programmed to prime the diesel generator engine sufficiently for a good cold start plus I have synthetic oil in the diesel generator engine. It is A Kubota four cylinder diesel and a 10KW Onan generator.

Posted By: OldRebel

Re: Full Timing in Alberta Foothills - 12/10/16 03:44 PM

Now you're going to know I'm crazy for sure. I drove to Eureka, Montana and back this morning to get my stuff from the Montana Shipping Outlet. I mentioned in a previous post that I get most of my on-line purchases shipped there as most sellers on ebay ship stuff free within the 48 states. I usually go down for the whole weekend and stay at one of the two properties my brothers own there. Not today. It was a down and back mail run. Middle of winter, crappy, slippery roads and steady snow falling through the Crowsnest Pass (Hiway 3) and down into Montana. I left at 4:40 this morning and was back at 2:05 this afternoon. 704 kms which is approximately 422 miles. I drove my 2014 Nissan Sentra which has a 6 speed manual transmission. I have it equipped with studded winter tires. It cost me approximately 35.00 in fuel. The best mpg I have got with it is 57.6 mpg (Imperial gallons) which is 4.9 liters/100 kms. Great little car. One of the items I picked up down there was that second Trophy Cam HD Essential game camera. As soon as the weather warms up a bit I'll get them all out there again. There will be a total of four game cameras operating.
Posted By: OldRebel

Re: Full Timing in Alberta Foothills - 12/19/16 08:20 PM

Our bitter cold snap has ended. It was two weeks long and I saw multiple days of -25C and colder. The coldest was -31C. I can deal with two or three days of temperatures like that but two weeks is quite annoying! Anyways, I was outside yesterday splitting wood on a balmy -1C day. It was nice but it has been windy. Very windy today. Semi trailers have been blown over on the open highways. I placed all four game cameras yesterday and will swap out the SD cards in a few days. With this wind I might just get pictures and videos of moving branches and weeds. I try to place the cameras to have little effect from that but it is pretty hard to stop them from some false triggers.
Posted By: OldRebel

Re: Full Timing in Alberta Foothills - 12/23/16 08:57 PM

Snowfall most of the day today and will carry into tomorrow. I will be using the snowblower on the driveway for the first time this season in the morning. After that I will swap out the SD cards in the cameras and see if we get a Christmas present. It is currently -6.8C.
Posted By: OldRebel

Re: Full Timing in Alberta Foothills - 12/24/16 04:43 PM

We had a decent dump of snow since yesterday. Maybe 5 or 6 inches. I cleared the driveway this morning with the snowblower and then fired up the quad after lunch. I changed the SD cards in the cameras. Unfortunately there were no interesting game pictures to post. However, I did take a few pics while riding around this afternoon tracking up all my trails. Like I have said previously, I am trying to keep them open all winter. Kind of a grey day today but beautiful none the less.

Posted By: OldRebel

Re: Full Timing in Alberta Foothills - 12/25/16 02:38 PM

Christmas Day. What a difference some sunshine makes. Gorgeous day. About -13C when these were taken a bit earlier. I adjusted the contrast on a couple of these. The pictures will be over several posts.

Posted By: OldRebel

Re: Full Timing in Alberta Foothills - 12/25/16 02:40 PM

Posted By: OldRebel

Re: Full Timing in Alberta Foothills - 12/25/16 02:44 PM

Posted By: OldRebel

Re: Full Timing in Alberta Foothills - 12/26/16 04:21 PM

DING DING DING! We got our Christmas present and it is pretty special. I decided to check the cameras again today. Check out this sequence of photos. Notice the camera tilting. This is so cool!! I didn't include about 3 in the sequence because they showed the same thing.

Posted By: OldRebel

Re: Full Timing in Alberta Foothills - 12/26/16 05:38 PM

Those pictures were taken with one of the Bushnell HD Essential game cameras. As I have said before they are a "low glow" camera so the animals can see the infrared display (about 3x1.5"). Some animals may be spooked by this, but apparently some are curious!
Posted By: OldRebel

Re: Full Timing in Alberta Foothills - 12/28/16 09:32 PM

For those interested. When one of these cameras is set to take still pictures the infrared light panel lights up and goes off much like any typical flash bulb. They stay on longer than a flash bulb. So the cougar above noticed the infrared flash and got curious. It was set to take a picture with a three second interval. The cougar was either pawing it or mouthing it or both. The pictures I omitted are totally washed out infrared shots. The test over time will be whether to set those two HD Essential cameras to take stills or video. When on video the infrared panel will be lit up for ten seconds at a time. Great quality though. It's becoming a hobby.....ya think?
Posted By: OldRebel

Re: Full Timing in Alberta Foothills - 12/30/16 09:06 PM

One of my neighbors found a deer tangled in a fence today. He tried to save it but couldn't as it had a damaged leg. He had to put it out of it's misery. The carcass was then moved out onto my property further away from our immediate living areas. I have a much larger property than he does and he has the run of it with his horses and snowmobile. When he told me where he put the carcass I realized it is somewhat across from where I have a camera. He has also bought a game camera and set it up near the carcass to see what happens. Should be interesting.
Posted By: OldRebel

Re: Full Timing in Alberta Foothills - 12/31/16 04:26 PM

I changed out all the camera SD cards a short time ago. Unfortunately I have nothing worthwhile to show you believe it or not. A couple of deer and a lot of video of my neighbor on his snowmobile. I adjusted the one camera so that it is directly facing the deer carcass. I'll probably get a lot of video of crows but we'll see. I might check that camera again tomorrow afternoon.
There is a snowfall warning here for tonight and tomorrow morning. It is also going to get cold again in the week ahead. I filled my water tank today and dumped my waste tanks. It was a fairly nice day today at just several degrees below zero Celsius.
I bought another camera on ebay last night, LOL. I guess it's becoming an addiction. I wanted another no-glow camera that took better video than my Trophy Cam No Glow Aggressor. I decided on the Browning Spec Ops Platinum model. It takes terrific 1080p video and has a very fast trigger speed which is unusual for video. About .6 of a second. That's very fast. My Bushnell cameras take about two seconds before they start recording video after a motion trigger. They are, however, lightning fast when taking stills.The Browning is reported as sub-par for stills so it will only be used for video. I won't have the new Browning for probably a week or two (or more) as it is being shipped to Eureka, Montana. I'm not keen on doing another "mail run" just yet. No more camera purchases. I'll be happy with my fleet of five unless one breaks.
I will post again tomorrow afternoon and at the very least I will post some nice stills after the snow.
Posted By: OldRebel

Re: Full Timing in Alberta Foothills - 01/08/17 06:44 PM

Hi friends. I lost my Mum today. She was ninety years old. She was born in Scotland but immigrated to Canada on her own in 1951. A brave adventurous lass. Like all Mums (Mum is British/Scottish compared to Mom--she hated the Mom spelling,lol) she understood her children. She has always understood my rebelliousness and my need to be different. She would sometimes tell people about how, when I was about only two, that I wanted to camp out underneath the basement stairs by myself. An undeveloped basement--concrete walls and floors. She let me, figuring I wouldn't last too long. She was wrong. She ended up going down to the basement in the middle of the night to drag me back upstairs. Please have a shot of Scotch tonight in memory of a great lady. Isobel. Here is a favorite picture I have of her from 1959. That is me with her.

Posted By: OldRebel

Re: Full Timing in Alberta Foothills - 01/17/17 05:43 PM

We had another two week cold snap here and for one of those weeks I had pulled the cameras inside again. The previous week to that I had almost no wildlife shots at all. Certainly no cougars. It's like they moved to a different area for a bit. I'm sure they will be back. I put the cameras out again this past Sunday and will check them this weekend. We have had a classic southern Alberta Chinook this week and temperatures have soared up into the teens (C) here. It was plus 13C (55 F) in the shade at my place this afternoon according to my weather station. Snow is melting like crazy and the city and roads are a sloppy mess. Loving it! Anyways, one of my co-workers told me about a friend of his who has had cougar visitors at his rural property in the Dewinton area which is also southwest of Calgary. About 10 miles from me. These two pictures were taken with his security cameras while he is away on vacation.

Posted By: OldRebel

Re: Full Timing in Alberta Foothills - 01/23/17 08:15 PM

I checked the cameras on the weekend. Almost zero action on all cameras last week. One cam recorded three deer for a couple of minutes. That was it. I spent most of my weekend bucking up trees and splitting wood. Those two cold spells reduced my firewood stash significantly.
Correction on the above cougar photos. Those pictures were taken by the home owner at home at the time. The pictures plus one more ended up on one of the local news stations here last week although I showed them to you first. They are a beautiful animal aren't they?
Posted By: OldRebel

Re: Full Timing in Alberta Foothills - 02/23/17 06:36 PM

Hi friends. I haven't posted for the last few weeks mainly because I haven't had anything worthwhile to post. Even though I have five cameras out now ( the newest one just this week) there has been a real lack of wildlife around here lately. The last cougar picture was of that one who stuck his face in the camera. They do wander I understand. I've had several deer pics and a quickie of a moose but nothing special. There have been several decent snowfalls here and we had another cold snap for a week or so. Dropping dead trees, bucking them up, splitting and burning wood has mostly been about it. I'm looking forward to checking all cams this weekend. Especially that new one. I placed it in a new spot so fingers crossed. It had a real quality feel to it right out of the box. It is supposed to be top notch on 1080p video. We'll see. I have managed to keep all my quad trails open through the winter so far. Hopefully I can post something cool for you to see soon.
Posted By: OldRebel

Re: Full Timing in Alberta Foothills - 02/25/17 05:34 PM

I checked the cameras today but still no goodies. My new Browning camera did show me what it is capable of with a 10 second clip of me on my quad. I have tried to upload the video to PhotoBucket but I am having trouble doing so. Probably because it is fairly big file even though it is only 10 seconds long. True 1080p hi-def video. It really looks spectacular. I'll have to figure out a way to link you folks to the video from that camera because when I get some critter video on it it will need to be shared for sure.
Posted By: OldRebel

Re: Full Timing in Alberta Foothills - 02/25/17 05:39 PM

Try this
Posted By: OldRebel

Re: Full Timing in Alberta Foothills - 02/25/17 05:43 PM

Ok, that worked. Now all we need is some wildlife! I moved that new cam into a good spot on one of my main trails. Pretty much the same spot as where that cougar played with the camera and got his picture taken.
Posted By: OldRebel

Re: Full Timing in Alberta Foothills - 03/12/17 06:38 PM

Hi all. We have still been having some very cold temperatures here. Colder than -20C on many mornings. Depressing. It's supposed to warm up this coming week. There has still been a lack of wildlife on my cameras. All I have to show you is one short video of a wild horse coming by for a visit. Yes, I have wild horses come onto the property and hang out. Often, actually. I originally thought they were wandering Indian horses from the big reserve this property backs on to. A neighbor told me that they are actually wild horses cast away from the original herd. I have seen about five different ones.
Posted By: OldRebel

Re: Full Timing in Alberta Foothills - 04/04/17 06:21 PM

Hi readers. I figured I should post an update since it's been a while----again. With spring upon us here finally the wildlife around here has been returning. No cougars though. I did get several videos of a couple of moose, a large skunk and a startled fox. The fox was surprised by the glow from one of the Bushnell Elite glow cameras. One of the moose is quite a large cow and was captured by the new Browning 1080p camera. Unfortunately I have not been able to successfully upload the videos to my photobucket account in order to link to them for you to see. I don't know why yet. It's possible that photobucket may be blocking me from doing that because of bandwidth useage by multiple viewers but that is just a guess. I have recently (last weekend) switched two of my cameras back to taking photos instead of videos so that I can at least show you something. The newest camera (the Browning) will continue to take videos as it really excels at that. My oldest camera, which is a Moultrie, quit working several weeks ago so one of my two Bushnell HD Elite cams is performing security detail now. It is positioned so that it may also grab some wildlife shots.
I have not been burning wood for heat for at least 3 weeks now. I could use the free heat at night as it still drops below zero but I can't shut it off during the daytime and the coach would roast inside. Daytime temps can climb into the teens Celsius. I think I burned less wood this year than any previous year as I have been continuously learning the most efficient ways to make use of my heat battery setup.
Stay tuned. I hope to be able to post at least some stills soon.
Posted By: OldRebel

Re: Full Timing in Alberta Foothills - 04/09/17 11:27 AM

Ok, I have several pictures of a moose that walked by one of my cams earlier today. Nothing really exciting but at least I've got something to post. I'm going to try those videos again shortly.

Posted By: OldRebel

Re: Full Timing in Alberta Foothills - 04/14/17 12:34 PM

We had a fairly big spring snowstorm yesterday. Even though much of it melted as it hit the ground it did eventually leave several inches by the time it was done. It is a beautiful sunny day today (about 10C) so I just went out for a sloppy quad ride to switch out the SD cards in the cams. Down by the lake in the far corner of the property I came across these very large canine prints! I believe these were probably created within the last few hours. I took these with my iphone. Hopefully you have the ability to zoom them if desired. The size of the prints and the long stride in places makes me think they may be wolf prints. I put a hand print in the snow beside one to give you an idea. I was very wary following these tracks into the trees on one of my trails!

I'm going to check what is on the SD cards now and will post again if I have something interesting.
Posted By: OldRebel

Re: Full Timing in Alberta Foothills - 06/08/17 07:17 PM

Hi all. It's been a while but I didn't feel I had anything worthwhile to post. I checked my cams today and got a few closeup pics of a moose. The camera is deep in the trees so they are a little dark but I like them enough to show you. Moose are smart...they notice the camera and study it.

Posted By: OldRebel

Re: Full Timing in Alberta Foothills - 06/11/17 06:25 PM

I was out for a quad run this afternoon and had to dodge something on the trail. I stopped and got off to check what it was. Here you go....the youngest fawn I've ever seen. Probably only a day or so old! Tiny, like a small miniature poodle size. Mama was nowhere to be seen. I left it there and went back after about 20 minutes and it was gone.

Posted By: OldRebel

Re: Full Timing in Alberta Foothills - 06/11/17 06:33 PM

Like I said, it is a beautiful day. After doing a few chores I've been kicking back, listening to some tunes and having a few beers. I have this cool little setup for music now. I bought a tiny amplifier that powers a couple of vintage Royd Audio bookshelf speakers I've hung onto. Plug in the ipod and I'm set.

Posted By: OldRebel

Re: Full Timing in Alberta Foothills - 06/14/17 07:38 PM

All future posts will be on my own website at I purchased this website some time ago but when I tried to transfer this entire blog to the new site I did not have great success doing so. At the time it was easier to just keep posting to the blog here. However, the time has come where I switch to my own site. It may take a period of time before I get fully underway on the new site but please bookmark and check in for new posts. I have said before how thrilled I am at the following I have attained on this blog and I would really hate to lose that. I realize that I don't post as often as when I first started this adventure but I think you all realize that I respect your time and I try to only post worthwhile things to say or see. Thank you to Scott and Jeannie for letting me post this blog here for as long as they have. Hopefully the archives here can remain for reference for the future. It is just too big a job for me to transfer all the material to a new site. I hope to see you all checking my latest posts at All you viewers feel like friends to me somehow. I hope you continue to follow my adventures. ....Ken M.
Posted By: OldRebel

Re: Full Timing in Alberta Foothills - 06/18/17 10:26 AM

Just a quick final post to give you the link to the new site. I just posted to it today with a link to previously unseen video. I created my own youtube channel in order to do that. Here is a link to the new site.
Posted By: OldRebel

Re: Full Timing in Alberta Foothills - 12/22/17 08:33 PM

I'm still living out here at Bragg Creek in my coach. I posted several times on the new site but I have let it die really. In a way I suppose it might be a shame but I have had trouble keeping the blogging interest up from my end.
It's almost -20 here tonight. The heat battery is burning full tilt and I have three electric heaters going. I'm always warm enough. It's a great coach.
I realize it is easy for me to have come to the point where my life out here has now become common-place to me but still holds the imagination of fresh readers who have recently discovered this site. It is still often spectacular and city people who know me and my lifestyle here will occasionally confide to me their envy. It is hard work though. No doubt about it. You have to keep on top of things--make sure you minimize the chances of equipment failure and disaster. It is worth it though. While others may not understand the desire to live out here like this it just suits me to a tee. smile Merry Christmas!---OldRebel
Posted By: OldRebel

Re: Full Timing in Alberta Foothills - 08/18/18 08:31 PM

Hi all. It was five years ago today that I moved my coach onto this beautiful property and started my adventure. I'm still here and still loving every minute. Even though I am well settled and have systems and procedures in place it is still a lot of work but worth every bit of it. Thanks again to Scott and Jeannie and all of you who have read my blog! Remember..." Why be normal...normal is boring"---Ken (Old Rebel)
Posted By: OldRebel

Re: Full Timing in Alberta Foothills - 09/29/19 01:22 PM

Hi to anybody who is reading this blog and especially hello to Scott and Jeannie. I hope you guys are doing well.I'm happy to see that you have kept my blog available for people. I actually made a weak attempt at starting one on my own page at one point. I stopped by here to refresh my memory as to how I posted these pictures, lol. In fact, I should post one here today since we are going through a huge snow storm here in southern Alberta. I measured 13.5 inches on my picnic table about 4 hours ago and it is going to keep snowing until sometime tomorrow.
Now that I think about it I have some really great wildlife pictures to show you guys! Cougars killed a buck deer on the property about a week ago and I set up my two best cameras at the carcass. Stay tuned while I remember how to do this.---OldRebel
Posted By: OldRebel

Re: Full Timing in Alberta Foothills - 09/29/19 01:45 PM

Ok. Now bear with me here as I haven't done this for a while. I am first going to post one of four pictures I just took outside.
Posted By: OldRebel

Re: Full Timing in Alberta Foothills - 09/29/19 01:49 PM

Hey, look at that! There are numerous choices of links to post pics and I remembered that only one seemed to work well. I guessed at the right one. Whoah! I just noticed that I need to downsize the pictures some more. I'll be back. Once I get this nailed down I am going to blow you away with the best cougar pictures you have ever seen. I promise.
Posted By: OldRebel

Re: Full Timing in Alberta Foothills - 09/29/19 01:52 PM

Weird. It looked way to big for a moment and now looks ok. Let's try the other three.

Yeah, yeah I know...looks like a whole bunch of other pictures you've seen on this blog already. But they are current..;) Now give about 10 minutes or so to downsize my cougar pics and I'll post them.
Posted By: OldRebel

Re: Full Timing in Alberta Foothills - 09/29/19 02:06 PM

This first picture is a test for sizing. These pictures I am going to show you are screenshots from video clips taken by my best game camera. I have six cameras going. This particular camera takes really good 1080p high definition video which means you can get some really crisp screen shots. The camera is a Browning Spec Ops Extreme.
Posted By: OldRebel

Re: Full Timing in Alberta Foothills - 09/29/19 02:12 PM

Looks good to me! I am going to post three or so to a page.

Posted By: OldRebel

Re: Full Timing in Alberta Foothills - 09/29/19 02:15 PM

Pretty cool eh?

Posted By: OldRebel

Re: Full Timing in Alberta Foothills - 09/29/19 02:21 PM

I forgot to mention that these particular screenshots are ones that I sent out to friends for desktop pictures. I have used my photo software program to trim the game camera info bar from the bottom of the picture so they have been slightly cropped. I am really happy with how these turned out.
Now I'm going to wait and monitor this page to see if there is any interest. I have sometimes thought about posting on this blog again. It always annoyed me a bit how few replies or comments I got after posting. Let's see what happens.