Cam Mather saved my back… and lungs!

Your first question might be, “Who is Cam Mather?” So, before explaining why I credit him with saving my back and lungs, I will tell you that Cam is one of the genuine Canadian gurus of off-grid living. He and his wife Michelle packed-up and left Burlington and the sprawling suburbia of the GTA behind them as they started a new life and big challenge on their own 150 acre piece of eastern Ontario. That was over 15 years ago, before the notion of wind turbines and solar panels had entered the popular vocabulary or started to dot the landscape, and living off-grid by generating your own electricity was seen as more hippie than sustainable, or even trendy as some would consider it now. Continue reading

Categories: Woodlot Management | 1 Comment

Bird News

red_headed_peckerI haven’t written a blog post for almost 2 months. It’s not that there isn’t much going on here it’s just that, coming up on 7 years since becoming owner & guardian of Peacock Forest, there just isn’t much new going on! It was an average winter and has been an average (albeit delayed) spring so far, and I felt like I would be simply repeating observations I have written once, twice and more, in previous winters & springs. One small piece of news is a first-time bird sighting Continue reading

Categories: Flora & Fauna | 1 Comment

Not all that glitters is cold

IMGP3221That subject line really makes no sense, I just thought it was clever (even if unoriginal) since this blog post is about ice!  We had quite a bout of freezing rain up here on Thursday & Friday. It looked awesome, though it caused a lot of damage to trees–and hydro lines! At its peak, the HydroOne outage map showed about 30,000 customers in Grey-Bruce (and almost 100,000 across southern Ontario) without power. My neighbours’ power went out early Thursday evening and was not restored until Saturday afternoon. Here at Peacock Forest, renewable energy comes from Hydro None so there was no service interruption🙂 I had the opportunity to pay back some of the kindness my neighbours showed me this past summer when my power system was crippled by lightning and provided them with water (in the country no power = no well pump) and recharging battery packs.  Peacock Forest temporarily became a crystalline wonderland… here are a few pics Continue reading

Categories: Weather & Seasons | Leave a comment

It’s Snowshoe Season!

snowshoe2016Yes, blog readers, the magic time has come when I can officially declare it… snowshoe season! Just a week ago, the grass was still showing through what barely exceeded a dusting of snow. But, thanks to several solid days of snow squall activity off Lake Huron, it is now up to my knees… Continue reading

Categories: Weather & Seasons | 2 Comments

Happy New Year


2015 was an up-and-down year at PF… the big down being the lightning strike and its ripple (read: tidal wave) effects, and the big up being the visit by Ken Peacock… but all-in-all it was a wonderful year, with new beginnings and critical growth on so may fronts. I have a confident feeling that 2016 Continue reading

Categories: Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Merry Christmas from Peacock Forest

xmas2015The long-time locals said it was the warmest, and greenest, Christmas in “twenty-odd” years up here.

Certainly no snow to be seen and yesterday, Christmas Eve, it was nearing 15 degrees so my daughter and I did our annual Christmas pic indoors this year for something at least bordering on festive.

Warm wishes to all blog readers for a Merry Christmas, however you celebrate it, wherever you celebrate it, and whoever you celebrate it with.

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A New Paradigm Thinking About Off-Grid Solar


Why is this array fixed vertical? Read on to learn about PF Off-Grid V2.0!

An astute blog follower sent a comment on the previous post, “First Snow”, that the solar panels (i.e., on the roof) were covered in snow. In any previous year that would have been true. But this has been no ordinary year in the off-grid life of Peacock Forest. Continue reading

Categories: Living Off-Grid | 3 Comments

First Snow

What I woke to at first light today.

What I woke to at first light today!!!

It seems to have become a tradition here on the PF blog to post a message announcing the first snow of the season so: Hear Ye, Hear Ye, winter has shown its face… and it was a particularly beautiful face this year. Hope you enjoy this slideshow of pics from around Peacock Forest today: Continue reading

Categories: Weather & Seasons | 3 Comments

Solar-Powered Log-Splitter… really!

solar1I have made previous attempts at lowering the carbon footprint of my tree felling and firewood processing but with the new energy system rebuilt after the lightning strike (HydroNone v2.0🙂 as I like to call it) these efforts have been able to take another leap forward. Spooked by the frightening power and damage potential of lightning, I have removed micro wind generation (and the 80 foot tower) in favour of increased solar (2-3 times the capacity I used to have). More detail on the new system in a forthcoming blog post but the bottom line is that there is now substantially Continue reading

Categories: Living Off-Grid | 1 Comment

The Peacock returns to Peacock Forest

Ken, pausing in the Beech chair, during his woodlot walkabout.

If the lightning strike back in June was the low point of the summer here at PF, the highlight occurred last weekend when Ken Peacock returned to visit the property. Ken now lives in New Zealand with his wife Kathy but returned to his home turf of Bruce-Grey counties this summer for a grandson’s wedding, and we were both keen to be sure that a visit here got included in the itinerary. The reason I retain the name Peacock Forest is in recognition of Ken, who bought the property in the early 1980s when it was mostly marginal pasture lands and had both the vision and the gumption to Continue reading

Categories: Uncategorized | 6 Comments

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