Episode #082 Splitting mauls, and ax handles, and Francie Dancer takes a dive.
Bruce picks up an eight-pound splitting maul but it didn’t come sharp from the store, so I had to grind an edge onto it before we could use it. This was to compliment the six-pound maul that has done years of service at the cottage. Bruce also picked up a new ax handle to replace a broken one and I’m glad he went with the hickory rather than the fiberglass.
Wally Canoe gives us a good tip about soaking the end of the ax handle in glycerine or linseed oil to prevent it from drying out and shrinking which causes the ax head to fly off. Who would have thunk it. He also sharpened all Bruce’s knives to a surgical edge and we are going to do a special video episode just on that.
Also Late last night, Francie Dancer went for a short walk off an even shorter dock. Luckily everything worked out ok, but it certainly could have been a disaster. Always let someone know when you leave the cottage even if its just a walk down to the dock. Especially late at night.
Our beer of the day is Ten Bitter Years Imperial IPA from Black Oak Brewing Co. Black Oak Brewing
Episode #081 Building a new wood shed.
Bruce and I were supposed to build a new woodshed this week but he got called back to the city. How convenient. That left me all alone to get the job done. I enlisted several cheap/free apprentices to help. This was definitely a 24 beer job.
Our beer of the day is Millenium Buzz Hemp Beer from Cool Beer Brewing Company in Toronto, Ontario. This is not what you would expect. Apparently hemp has a similar flavour profile to barley. And don't get all excited because there is no THC. Cool Beer Brewing
Episode #080 Biblical Rains and the Snapping Turtle.
Mother Nature gets “Turkey of the Day” for raining on our parade this weekend. The rains were biblical at times and confirmed our belief that a metal roof, although not as quiet as regular shingles, isn’t as noisy as some people will say. We did get a few small breaks in the rain, so we did squeeze in some dock time. We were even visited by a very small snapping turtle. These guys can live to be over 100 years old with a shell diameter of almost 24 inches, so he has lots of time to get really big and scary.
We did watch commander Hatfield’s video on YouTube. He did an amazing cover of David Bowe’s “a space odyssey” from the international al space station, as well as a few other YouTube videos. I’m not sure that searching for “Bambi vs Godzilla” is a safe for work search but give it a try.
We decided not to do the “toys go here” thong and boy shorts. Even though it seemed like a good idea at the time, it was deemed to be socially unacceptable the next morning.
Our beer of the day is #9 IPA from Duggan's Brewery in Toronto, Ontario. This is a head banger at 6.2% Alcohol by volume. It is very dark for an IPA, almost more like a British brown ale. Not a bad find in the beer fridge. Highlander Brewing
Episode #079 Bush Buggy Envy.
Hydro One has been in to brush the hydro right of way for over a week now. It's slow going because of the rough terrain but they sure came equipped. They have a big orange articulated boom truck that is well set up for the task. Complete with chainsaw holsters, a couple of Stihl ms260s, a hydraulic pole pruner and a cherry picker it's pretty unstoppable. It's like the ultimate ATV.
Bruce worked so hard hauling firewood that he had to do a few Kahlúa shooters to kill the pain. Really Bruce? Seriously? He even tried putting it in decafinated tea for a stronger hit. I don't think so.
We go back to the Flying Monkeys Craft Brewery in Barrie Ontario for our beer of the day. This time it's Smashbomb Atomic IPA. It's a pretty typical IPA which we are kind of getting tired of, but with that said, it is a nice one.
Episode #078 Hot swapping water pumps.
We started out with pump problems again so we made our usual trip into Parry Sound to the Home Depot for a new pump and other assorted parts. OF course we were all decked out in our finest kottage-tek T-shirts from our swag shop and we actually got some attention from a couple of hunnies. Wow! "We be stylin dude".
While we were there I also picked up some 2"quick disconnect couplings. These are intended for gas lines but I'm tired of having to use the big ass monkey wrench whenever we disconnect the pump. These worked like a charm and now we can hot swap a water pump in less than 20 minutes. Once we swapped out the old pump, we took it apart and discovered some pieces of plastic were clogging the jet. We cleared out the debris and we now have a spare pump ready to swap back into service should if and when it is needed.
Our beer of the day this time is Hops & Bolts India Pale Lager from Creemore Springs. Creemore is one of our favorite breweries located just south of Collingwood Ontario. This time they have come up with an interesting twist on the ever so popular IPA.
Episode #077 Swimming with Cinder blocks and The Wolverine is sick..
I can't believe Bruce even considered swimming a cinder block more than 50 feet out into the lake where it has to be about 15 feet deep. He first swam out with the foot valve and then came back to get the cinder block that weighs down the water line so wave action doesn't break it off the foot valve. Does the name Jimmy Hoffa mean anything? At least he plans on taking a life jacket along next time. I think I'll stick to using something with a bit more boyancey like a boat. Even the paddle boat is a smarter idea.
We also discovered that the pump is pooched again so we have to swap it out and repair it. I have some ideas for a quick connect system that we wll cover an a later episode.
Peter Couch also stopped by this time and definitely took some shots at our beer selection. Now our beer of the day is Muskoka Dark Ale from the Muskoka Brewery in Bracebridge, Ontario. It’s a gold medal winner so we valiantly stood our ground in spite of the wolverine’s health issues. This is from a guy who only serves Bud Lite Lime?
Episode #076 Cheese In Aerosol Cans.
We got a lot of small chores done today but the biggest was taking down the temporary garage. It's been up for two years so it's about time it came down. Now Bruce should know by now that you just can't stop the demolition man. Especially when he is fueled by beer. We did finally get it taken apart and packed up the way he wanted it, but it did cut into dock time a bit more than I would have liked.
The up side is that we had sustenance in the form of "Kraft Easy Cheese" also known as cheese in aerosol cans. This delectable gourmet delight was specially imported into Canada from North Carolina specifically for enjoyment at the cottage. It's kind of an American food concept that never seemed to catch on in Canada. I wonder if it has anything to do with the Canadian Health Act prohibiting the sale of Easy Cheese because it has ingredients that are deemed "unsafe"? I specifically chose the "sharp cheddar" flavour because it would go so well with our more flavourful beers without being over powered. The up side is that you don't even need a cracker. Just point the can into your mouth, press the nozzle, and presto! Instant cheesy snack. Tuck one into your back pocket and you are good to go for the whole day. They also fit quite nicely into a case of beer or a cup holder.
Our beer of the day is Scottish Ale from the Highlander Brew Company in South River, Ontario. Now I've done my due diligence on this and it turns out that South River is a village on Highway 124 near Algonquin Park in the Almaguin Highlands region of the Parry Sound District of Ontario. It is about halfway between North Bay and Huntsville. The Highlander Brew Company has been around since 2009 and Scottish Ale was their first recipe.
Episode #075 Yellowknife, and Beer makes us smarter!
This time Cliff talks about his travels to Yellowknife. It may not be "the cottage" but there's lot of roughing it and being outdoors that they both have in common. Everyone should try to spend at least a bit of time there. Everything from incredible fish that are pulled from Great Slave Lake, to driving on ice roads and Ragged Ass Road. The magic of the Aurora Borealis is a must see. Even on one of its dull nights it's spectacular. The trip made quite an impression on Cliff and we don't think he will ever forget it. Unfortunately that includes the hotel from hell which will haunt him for the rest of his natural life.
We also came up with the theory that consuming alcohol is a lot like Darwin's theory of evolution. AKA "survival of the fittest". Much like the way the wolves help keep the caribou herds up north strong by killing off the weakest of the group. Beer kills off the weakest brain cells and greatly improves our overall intellect. Yes us brains be getting strongly smartest by the bottle minute.
Our beer of the day is Bare Naked Ladies Imperial Chocolate Stout. It comes from Flying Monkeys Craft Brewery in Barrie Ontario. This was a collaboration between the Flying Monkeys Craft Brewery and the band from Toronto called "The Bare Naked Ladies".
Episode #074 Recreating The Bleeding Edge.
Bruce had a good friend named Walter Martindale join us this time for a boys weekend. It turns out Walter is a master knife sharpener. We of course put him to work sharpening every knife in the place. He also brought along a few interesting ones to show us as well. One of them has quickly become my favorite for when I feel like sitting on the deck cutting the cheese. It's known as the "Original Woodman's Pal" from Lee Valley Tool Company.
This ushers in the first entry into our new Kottage Know-how category. We will do some how-to videos about common repairs, tips and processes at the cottage and post them up on the YouTube channel. We will do our best to keep these to short form and under 5 minutes but in true Kottage-tek fashion our first one blows that theory out of the water. It comes in a at whopping 30 minutes so make sure you crack a fresh cold one before pressing play.
Our beer of the day is. Rock Cut Baysville Lager from The Lake Of Bays Brewing Company
Episode #073 The Belkin WeMO, IfThisThenThat, and Daniel Steele is a chair leg?
The first project this time was replacing some of the trashy novels that were holding up the furniture with actual legs. We left a couple of books under the corner of the sofa because we figured nobody will want to read them anyway. Besides, IKEA doesn't make that part anymore so we are stuck.
I also played around with the WeMo home automation switch from Belkin. This is an interesting new product from them. It is basically a timer switch that connects to your Wi-Fi and can be controlled by rules such as on or off at sunrise or sundown or by specific times. They can also be controlled remotely from the internet via an app on you IOS or Android device. We were eventually able to get it working and firmware updates have made these devices more stable. I have a few of these devices at my house and they have proven to be quite reliable.
Since Bruce didn't have a smart phone at the time, we used a web service called If-This-Then-That or IFTTT.com. This is a web service that does some pretty cool stuff and is worth checking out. We set it up so that Bruce or Deb could send a text message the Bruce's IFTTT account and the WeMo at the cottage would turn on a heater to warm the place up. Smart idea if only Betty-Boop would stop texting "# off" to her son. I can only imagine what he was thinking.
Our beer of the day is James Ready Ale Original Ale. It comes from The James Ready Brewery in St. John New Brunswick. This is actually brewed by Moosehead Brewery.
Episode #072 Tis The Season To Hang Tchotchke, And is it ready for human testing?
It's Christmas time in Muskoka and there's no better time to get all the old skis, snowshoes, and other paraphernalia off the floor, out of the hallway, and up onto the walls where it belongs. We also got to poke fun at Bruce's Dr. Seuss Christmas tree which looks like it's all ready to go back to the shop for repairs. I'm not sure this one can be fixed.
We also followed up on the water purification system and it appears that human testing is in order. Bruce's daughter Cori stepped in and took one for the team by downing several glasses of lake water. It's a good thing Bruce has more than one daughter just in case. After all, what's the use of having kids if you can't put them to good use?
This time our beer of the day is extra yummy because it's in our custom beer tasting glasses from the kottage-tek swag shop. The beer is Boneshaker Unfiltered India Pale Ale from The Amsterdam Brewery in Toronto Ontario. You can find more info at amsterdambeer.com and of course there will be a link to them on our website, kottage-tek.com.
Episode #071 The LED Electric Guitar.
This was an interesting project. Ron Partridge is a friend of mine who plays in Rolling Stones cover bands. He is also sometimes knows as "Ronnie Wood". He approached me with his brand new Galveston clear acrylic electric guitar and together we hatched a scheme to put LED lights into the body of the guitar so it would light up on stage. The challenge was to make it look cool and at the same time, make sure everything including the battery would fit inside the body of the guitar. I came up with a simple circuit consisting of either water clear blue LEDs which are on steady, or a three color chaser consisting of red green and blue LEDs. Both circuits are powered by a small 9 volt transistor radio battery. I also built a small circuit board containing a few transistors, some resistors, and some capacitors which make up the 3 colour chaser fir the red, green, and blue lights. Both the battery and the circuit board all fit into the body of the guitar where the volume knobs and switches are located so there is no unsightly accessory pack hanging off the guitar body. I headed off to Sayal Electronics to pick up some supplies and got to work. For anyone interested, I'll post a schematic drawing of all the circuits on the website. You can download them HERE or just double click on the picture on the right.
This guitar has also already had some work done to it. The pickups have been replaced with Dual Coil Humbuckers also known as Double Humbuckers. These pickups are well known for their clean sound and great sustain. The machine heads were also replaced to make sure that the guitar wouldn't go out of tune while palying onstage. They were replaced with Grover Deluxe Vintage 135 series machine heads. All of the guitar parts and upgrades were sourced from Steve's Music Store in downtown Toronto.
This would work well with either a Marshall JCM600 series stack on the beach or a Peavey Classic 50 on the dock. Either of these amps will make sure you we heard and the LEDs will make sure we are also seen.
Our beer of the day is Headstock IPA. It comes from The Nickel Brook Brewery in Burlington Ontario.
Episode #070 Cottage Life TV visits Kottage-tek
We have been looking forward to this one for a long time. We were visited by a video production crew from Blue Ant Media. They are producing content for the new Cottage Life Television channel. There is going to be a show called "Cottage Cheese" which according to Cottage Life, and I quote, "explores crafty, kitschy, collectibles that people are passionate about in their country and summer homes". They seem to think we are some kind of inventors or something. Go figure!
The crew showed up at 9:00am Sunday morning in a rental car and unpacked a few bags and pelican cases into the cottage. Unfortunately there was no production truck, or trailers for me to play in all day. It was impressive to see how far video production has come along in just a few short years. With the advancement in digital cameras and LED lighting, a production crew can be very small and travel incredibly light. And when you figure that most of the content is recorded digitally to SD cards, the content can quickly be imported onto a MAC or PC and edited. Pretty impressive. They shot mostly with a Canon 5D MKIII and used a Sony PMW-100 XDCAM HD422 for shooting B-roll. Of course any decent production crew has to have at least one Go-Pro Hero camera and they brought along the top of the line. The first place to put the Go-Pro was in the beer fridge. At least now we know the light works! They also sent it down the zip line attached to a toilet plunger that I rigged into a camera dolly. After a long seven hour day, we finally all sat down on the dock for a beer. What else?
Now we know how George Clooney and Brad Pitt feel. Or maybe it's more like Steve Martin and Martin Short!
Here is a list of the equipment the Blue Ant Media crew brought along to shoot this episode for Cottage Cheese.
- Canon 5D MKIII. This was the main work horse camera they used to shoot most of the segment footage.
- Sony PMW-100 XDCAM HD422. This is a professional grade camera which to, my surprise, they only used for shooting "B roll" footage.
- Beachtek DXA-SLR Pro. This is the audio interface they used to connect the two XLR lavalier mics to the Cannon 5D MKIII.
- Edelkrone SliderPlus. This is a camera slider which gives a more professional look to the video.
- GoPro Black. Of course any video crew has to have at least one GoPro "Hero" camera even if it's just for street cred.
- Kino Flo Diva-Lite 400 This is the main light source they used in the cottage. This was mounted to a stand and had a diffuser on it for a nice soft light. The "Diva" part was just for Bruce but don't tell him I said that.
- LitePanels 1X1. This is a small portable LED light panel they used for more confined spaces like in the crawl space. This model is fully dimmable and they used an amber gel on it in the crawl space.
- Manfroto tripods and heads. Of course when shooting video you need an assortment of stands and tripods. Manfroto is often the brand of choice.
- Rhode Videomic Pro. This was their go to mic when one of the lavaliers failed. Ironically, it is the same mic I use. It is a really affordable shotgun mic with a coldshoe mounting.
- Sennheiser G3 wireless lav mic. These are nice and also expensive wireless lavalier type microphones. Unfortunately one of them failed so they switched to the Rhode shotgun mic to finish the shoot.
Our beer of the day is Wizard Wolf Session Ale from Bellwoods Brewery. It was actually a gift from Wes the videographer for Blue Ant Media. This beer is only available at the brewery so if you are in Toronto head on over to 124 Ossington Avenue and try out this or some of their other fine beers.
A special thank you to JEREMIAH FLEMING of podsafeaudio.com for his composition titled "Overnighter" which is the intro and outro music on this episode.
Episode #069 The history of cottaging in Muskoka.
We talked about the history and traditions of cottaging in Muskoka as well as most other places in Canada and even around the world. It seems a lot of people have either lost sight of the meaning of cottaging or have never had it in the first place. And to that end, the rest of us will continue to fight. In fact, maybe this is one of the reasons we do what we do here on Kottage-tek. Not as much the techie stuff, but the tradition of storytelling about the cottage experience. Maybe we listen to too much Garrison Keillor and Stuart McLean but is that really a bad thing?
We told stories about moving the outhouse, cooking on a real wood stove and of course the town pump which we still do today. If that's roughing it, I'll take it any day of the week. Fortunately there has been a lot of documentation of the history and traditions of cottaging and we mentioned 3 books that we are very familiar with and recommend. There is also a rich visual history as well. Everything from the group of seven to YouTube, Flickr and Instagram.
Our beer of the day is Muskoka Harvest Ale. It comes from Muskoka Brewery
A special thank you to JEREMIAH FLEMING of podsafeaudio.com for his composition titled "Overnighter" which is the intro and outro music on this episode.
Episode #068 Water Water Everywhere and now we can drink it!
Bruce finally pulled the trigger on a water purification system. He had Paul Godwin Plumbing located in Lindsay Ontario take care of the project and boy does it make a difference when professionals do the work. Even with me helping! Paul sent a two man crew up with a very well equipped truck. They removed the old 1/2 horse pump and pressure tank from the far end of the crawlspace and then routed the water intakes from both the lake and the barrels down to where we poured a cement pad in the middle of the crawlspace where we can actually stand up. Then they installed a new 3/4 horse pump along with the pressure tank and then connected that to the new filter system.
Three "Big Blue" 20 inch filter canisters and a Greenway GAUV-12H - UV Disinfection System which uses a 35 watt UV lamp to kill bacteria. They also put pressure gauges after each filter canister so we can easily see which one needs replacing. They did all the connections with Cross-linked polyethylene pipe also known as PEX. This type of plumbing uses a slightly flexible polyethylene pipe that has bands that are crimped onto all the fittings and elbows. No more soldering and Teflon tape. There will be a video on YouTube as well as the website so you can actually see the great work these guys did in spite of me. The crew discovered that the the actual UV lamp was missing from the Greenway when they opened the box. They handled the situation brilliantly and we had a replacement bulb the very next day. Full marks go to Paul Godwin Plumbing and his crew for stellar customer service.
Our beer of the day is Sgt Major IPA. It was originally from the scotch Irish brewing company of Ottawa Ontario. The brewery has since been purchased by Kichesippi Beer Company. I can't find anything on their site about St. Major IPA but you can find reviews and info on "Beer Advocate", "rate beer", as well as "The Beer Blog". There will be links to this stuff on our website, kottage-tek.com. Strangely none of them mention how foamy this one is.
A special thank you to JEREMIAH FLEMING of podsafeaudio.com for his composition titled "Overnighter" which is the intro and outro music on this episode.
Episode #067 Bruce you sak of krete!
This time we get into a bit more detail about pouring cement. We covered scribing forms to the uneven rocks which is a handy skill to have. If I do a quick "how-to" video covering this, I'll post it on YouTube.
We also talked about mixing cement. Sakrete is our brand of choice and is readily available almost everywhere. We discussed different kinds of cement and just what makes it concrete. Bruce went with the old wheelbarrow method which was fine considering we only mixed three bags. Anymore and I would have wanted the big boy toys. I would at least a small cement mixer with an electric motor.
Our beer of the day is Hawaian Style IPA. It comes from Spearhead Brewing Company. They actually use pinapple juice in the beer.
Episode #066 Patio stones and cement. All for fresh water
This is the first of several podcasts covering a major project at the cottage. Bruce is finally installing a water purification system so we don't have to keep hauling water from the city or at least the town pump. Because let's face it. You just don't know where the town pump has been do you.
We did a bunch of cleanup in the crawlspace and prepared a place for the installers to set the new pump. We did this by scribing a plywood form to the un-even rock and poured 3 bags of cement. Admittedly mixing only three bags was fine with just the wheelbarrow and a hoe but any more and I would have insisted on using big boy tools. That would have meant at least a cement mixer but I would have gone all the way to the pumper.
Our beer of the day is Hops And Robbers Extra Delicious IPA. It comes from Double Trouble Brewing Co.
Episode #065 Two Bruces and "The Montreal Crew"
After several years of trying to persuade Bruce and Asis to come to the cottage for a few days, The Montreal Crew finally showed up. They imediately jumped in to help with cleaning out the beer fridge. Their years of training and experience pays off as we actually had to re-stock before the visit was over. Other tham that it was lots of good food and time to catch up.
We also would like to announce the grand openning of THE KOTTAGE-TEK SWAG SHOP. Yes you too can dress for success just like us. Or maybe not. Please visit our shop on Cafe Press for a wide selection of T-shirts, sweat shirts, beer glasses, coffee mugs and some great gift ideas for your favorite honey!
The other Bruce is not just a geek but an accomplished model builder. He collects and builds models by Tamiya and Protar amongst others and has developed the skills to make these things look like the real thing. I think it began when he noticed that a model he was building had the wrong spoke patern. Since Bruce has "laced" (spoked) many of his own motorcycle wheels over the years he thought he would fix it on the model so he cut out the plastic spokes and re-laced the model wheels in the right patern with piano wire. Don't ask! You can see more of his work at bikesbybruce.com
Now with the Montreal crew in the house, we had to go to La Belle Province for our beer of the day. We chose their "La Fin Du Monde" which means "The End Of The World". The is an extra strong ale coming in at 9.0 percent alcohol. You can find out more about Unibroue and their other beers at www.unibroue.com. Now who would ever think you would need a corkscrew to open a beer? Well being Kottage-tek, we went with the Channel Lock pliers in stead. The best way to pull a champaign cork out of a beer bottle.
Episode #064 Infrastructure is a pretty big word.
Bruce wants to talk about infrastructure. Thats just a big word for "we didn't really get anything done this time". We talked about the new vanity for the master ensuite bathroom as well as getting a new steel roof. The steel roof may happen but don't hold your breath for the vanity.
We also talked about a little known fact that the Common Loon for which Muskoka is so well known actually migrates south for the winter. They usually collect together in Algonquin Park or on the open waters of Georgian Bay but apparently there have been a lot of them using Six Mile Lake for this.
Episode #063 The 802.11ac Wi-Fi Cordless Extension Cord
This was definitely a real Wi-Fi kind of weekend. First we have a major melt down of the Rogers 3G Internet Hub which gives us internet connectivity in the cottage. It was so hot Bruce almost burnt himself. Once it cooled down, we powered it up and it still worked. Amazing!
And speaking of Wi-Fi, the most recent engineering standard for Wi-Fi was released by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). It is officially called 802.11ac. Yup; that's right, I finally have what I need to invent my latest "Kottage Kreation". Introducing "The 802.11ac Wi-Fi Cordless Extension Cord". The ultimate power accessory for the cottage. I have done two versions. The single outlet receiver is for smaller appliances like lights and radios. The big 4 outlet version can pull 15 amps and is capable of running power tools like a circular saw or demo saw.
Now there is a word of warning though. This standard is dual band which means it runs on both 2.4 GHz and 5.0 GHz. These frequencies are microwave levels so if you are pulling 15 amp of ac power over this then you don't want to stand between the antennas or you just might cook something. It will at least help keep you warm in the winter.
Our beer of the day is Barking Squirrel Lager. It comes from Hop City Brewing Co in Brampton Ontario.
Episode #062 Misting Bruce with a paint gun.
We finished off the re-siding job on the old bunkie. After yesterdays demolision and leveling work we only got the plywood up so today we did the board and batten work over the seams and got to the painting part. We scrapped the old flaking paint off the old cedar siding so we could paint it as well and thanks to Pierre and Mickey we got it done double time.
Bruce originally wanted to roll on the new paint job but I opted for the electric paint gun. It worked for me since I was upwind but Bruce had a different opinion since he was downwind. I misted him like he was in a patio bar in Dallas. Lets see the "Grecian Formula" get that grey out!
This time our beer of the day came from the Grand River Brewery in Cambridge Ontario. It's Pugnacious Pale Ale. You can find more info at Grand River Brewing.
Episode #061 Outsourced labour for residing the old bunkie.
We finally got around to replacing the siding on the old bunkie. We obviously outsourced as much of the labour as posible. Mikey brought his brand new 3 ton farm jack and also loooked for as many excuses as posible to drive his brand new ATV.
Bruce also comes up with an invention of his own. The Vertical Kindling Storrage unit. A true space saver. And with winter coming, it is also timely.
Our beer of the day is Rifleman's Ration beer from The Black Creek Historic Brewery located in Black Creek Pioneer Village. This was released to Commemorate the 200th Anniversary of the War of 1812. This was when British forces, Canadian militia and Mohawks all led by Major General Brock, opened a serious can of Whoop-Ass on the New York militia in Queenston Ontario.
Episode #060 The beer machine that goes BING
After a long and hectic time in several cities we finally get back up to the cottage. In spite of flat tires and dead batteries. Of course the first task at hand is to rename "Sarah from Regina" since she is moving to Barrie. Do you think she will be ok with "BubbaLoo from Barrie"?
Sarah has a major problem with the water pump. The bain of Bruce's existance. Of course what does she do? calls me for tech support and imediately decides thats too complicated so she heads down the road and gets some other guy to fix it for her.
Karen's trip to Peel Memorial Hospital for a minor routine surgery inspires a new Kottage Kreation. now I just gotta find out where I can find one of those medication feeder machine thingies.
Our beer of the day is Stir Stick Stout. It comes from Half Pints Brewing Company in "The PEG" or Winnipeg as its also known. This is a yummy and rich stout with a great coffee flavour to it. Excellent for breakfast.
Episode #059 Hunting with a plate glass window.
Bruce stumbles upon one heck of an efficient way to hunt for food. Plate glass. An unfortunate ruffed grouse crashes into the window and ends up on the dinner plate. Bruce plucks it and harvests the breast for the barbeque.
Bruce also helps Pasquale swap out a fridge at their cottage which goes as smooth as ever. He also entertains the idea of us opening up a brewery in Muskoka again. I say "Bruce, it's been done and we keep them in business!" But he does have some good ideas as usual.
Our beer of the day is Dead Elephant Ale. It comes from Railway City Brewing Company in St. Thomas Ontario. This yummy strong ale is 6.5% alcohol so it's not a working beer. If it was, the work would stop but it's great for happy hour or a late day brew on the dock while watching the sun go down.
Episode #058 We need to flush at least 5 times each night!
Cliff totally looses it this time. It starts within seconds with Cliff deciding to us a microphone instead of headsets and doing a "Double Ender" which Bruce seemed to find rather humorous. The mic of choice is a Yeti from Blue microphones. This is an excellent USB mic for podcasting.
Now the main topic today was how to keep the water intake line from freezing up when the temperature goes below zero for the night. We come up with a few ways to do it including flushing the toilet five times each night. Thats going to take a lot of beers. The mind reels.
Our beer of the day is Crazy Cannuck Pale Ale. Ironically, it comes from Great Lakes Brewery.
Episode #057 The "Newfie Screwdriver"
We had a ton of fun building a new floor deck for the old tin garden shed out back of the cottage. We framed it up with 2 x 6 lumber and leveled it up on some cement deck blocks. When it came time to screw down the plywood onto the frame I caught Bruce and Sarah using the good old "Newfie Screwdriver" to put in the deck screws. I know they were only starting them but I can't let Bruce live this one down. Especially when the old Black & Decker Firestorm was right beside them. Priceless!
We also had to go into Coldwater for supplies and discovered a great new bakery that will be open by the end of November 2011. It's called "Piece of Cake By Rita". We picked up some incredible cinnamon/blueberry sticky buns and a peach pie that was to die for. Make sure you make this a must stop when you are in Coldwater.
Episode #056 Cooking ribs at the cottage
Karen and I get to the cottage just in time for dinner which is BBQ ribs and chicken. I teach Bruce about removing the silver skin membrane on the bone side of the rib rack and it makes for much improved ribs. A big step forward in the culinary arts. And more on the subject of food, people have actually put food in the beer fridge. Have they no shame or common sense? Bruce and The Barns Boys empty it out so Sarah can wash out all the non beer molecules from the inside. Then Bruce refilled it with beer giving us something to do for the rest of the weekend.
Of course we did get to our beer of the day. Ironically, it comes from Muskoka Brewery. It is their Mad Tom Premium Ale, also known as Mad Tom IPA. I first heard about it on Twitter. Just do a search on Twitter for Muskoka, or "Mad Tom". Or you could just visit The Beer Store and pick some up.
Episode #055 "The Fridge of DEATH."
This time we cover the gamut from classic cars like the Corvette and the 1955 Chevy, to Boating Safety, to Rattlesnakes, to Giant Hogweed and finally ended up at "THE FRIDGE OF DEATH". Designed to scare off the suburban city slickers with its dire warnings of impending mortal danger at the doorstep, it also has a magnetic churchkey stuck to it. An indicator of what is to come. And on the subject of a "FRIDGE OF DEATH", Bruce thinks we should open a micro-brewery in the Muskokas. Of course there are already a few nearby like The Flying Monkeys Brewery in Barrie, The Muskoka Brewery in Bracebridge and Creemore Springs Brewery in Creemore. We did come up with some good names for our beers so who knows. I might just dust off the old brew kettle and fire up some of my old recipies. Who knows, Massassauga Mead? Pure venom!
Of course we did get to our beer of the day. Ironically, it comes from Churchkey Brewing Company in Campbellford Ontario. It is their Churchkey Northumberland Ale.
Episode #054 "The Water Garden Beer Chiller Hot Tub."
This was a ton of fun. When we decided to get rid of the old paddle boat back in Episode #052, I already had plans for the hull portions of the pontoons. I knew I could put them to use and boy did I ever. After I cut up the old paddle boat with my Dewalt DW304PK Reciprocating Saw I had to come up with something to do with the leftovers. I was inspired by the pond tours put on by the Ontario Water Garden Society. I decided to expand on the experience I had gained from water gardening at home so I brought it up to the great white north, kottage-tek style. I used one of the hulls and installed a Laguna PowerJet 200 pump with a Laguna Foam Jet head. I added some local water lillies harvested from the lake and some little rubber duckies and presto, The Kottage-tek Water Garden. The next step was to add some ice and a case of beer. I also tossed in some cans for Bruce and a bottle of Chardonay for the ladies and now I had "The Kottage-tek-Water Garden-Beer-Chiller" We were set for happy hour.
After dinner when things cooled off a bit it was time to throw in the Thermo Pond Heater. This unit is designed to run on 120 volts but I wired it up to 220 for some extra BTUs, and boy did it work. Within a few hours I now had "The Kottage-tek Water Garden Beer Chiller Hot Tub". This is a true multi function installation that everyone will want at their cottage. Forget the mega cottages that form millionaire row on Lake Rosseau. They ain't got nothing on this creation.
Since I was working on a water project and Bruce was just back from the east coast, what could be a more fitting beer of the day than Propeller Extra Special Bitter. It comes from The Propeller Brewing Company in Halifax Nova Scotia. You can find more about them by visiting www.drinkpropeller.ca.
Episode #053 "The "BEER ME" Zip Line.
Another great muskoka week has gone by. We had alot of fun, even the spring cleaning part which Bruce seemed to avoid. We also discovered a major problem at the cottage. Either the dock is too far from the beer fridge, or the beer fridge is too far from the dock. It took a bit of head scratching but we finally came up with a rather creative solution. The Kottage Kreations "Beer Me" Zip Line. And best of all, it works. I even rigged a camera dolly using a toilet plunger so I could take you for a ride with a couple of beers. You have to check out the video on the kottagetek YouTube channel.. There will be links on the kottage-tek.com website. Look for kottage kreations. You know I never thought a clothes line could be so useful and as long as we can keep the women folk happy, we are golden. I should probably start working on the beer can cannon but we just don't like those silver projectile things. Maybe I could fire them at the heron the next time he tries to pilfer our local chipmunk population. Poor little chipmunks. Karen even had names for those little guys. Who would have thought that a great blue heron would come in and eat them like chipmunk nuggets with six mile lake dipping sauce?
This time we tried something really different for our beer of the day. We went way back in time. To a time when life was simple. Back to the pioneer days. We went to the Black Creek Pioneer Village in north Toronto Black Creek Pioneer Village. This is where we found the Black Creek Historic Brewery. Here is where I picked up some Black Creek Pale Ale. A damn fine brew and since it was brewed in a historic village from the 1800's, it is certainly well aged.
First we identify the problem, then build some variables, then solve it once and for all!
This shows how I built the Kottage-tek, Kottage Kreations "Beer-Me" Zip Line.
We also take you for a ride! Seriously!
Episode #052 "A couple of Curmudgeons if you please."
This weekend was really focused on a long overdue spring cleanup. Bruce got to work without a net cleaning the ceiling fans for a change while Sarah concentrated on the kitchen cabinets. Of course Karen, the intrepid gardener with a never give up approach succeeded in firing the old cottage mower to clean up the outside and finished off with a liberal dose of weed-whacker. All this inspired us to extend the spring cleaning to the great outdoors so I broke out my venerable Dewalt DW304PK Reciprocating Saw that I got from Home Depot and proceeded to cut up the old derelict paddle boat that has been beeched by the old bunkie for about three years now. We loaded it into the truck with a bunch of other trash and hauled everything to the municiple dump.
We also replaced the broken pedestal sink in the main bathroom with a shiny new one that he sourced from Canadian Tire. Of course this spawned to trips into MacTier for plumbing supplies. It was on our second trip when we cam across the R.I.D.E. spot check on the only road in and out of town. Maybe not such a bad idea since MacTier has the only L.C.B.O. store for at least 50 miles. Of course we don't drink and drive.
This time we go back yet again to Grand River Brewing. This time we sampled their Curmudgeon IPA. Rather fitting I should think.
Episode #051 "Do we have to go tubing?"
The rain finally stopped and the sun finally came out. What a glorious summer weekend it is turning out to be. We finally get to sit out on the dock and enjoy the beautiful weather. As it turns out, the neighbor's kids are up with a bunch of their friends for the weekend. Tubing anyone? Of course, faced with either saying no or a boat load of bikini clad women you know which way Bruce is going. Time to fire up the boat and break out the water toys. We spent the rest of the afternoon waterskiing and tubing. Hey what could we do?. You have to be neighbourly.
It's probably a good thing Bruce wasn't steering the project. He has trouble just opening the compost bin.
This time around we went all organic and healthy by trying the Nicklebrook Premium Organic Lager brewed by the Better Bitters Brewing Co. We also allowed the Cherry Ale from trafalgar ales and meads another try just to be fair since it got rather excited the last time we tried it. Much better behaved this time.
Episode #050 "Talking Beavers and Keeping the Clean Tag!"
Well we spent most of this episode talking about the Canadian Beaver. Yes we spent half an hour talking beavers and didn't lose our clean tag. Very impressive. It all started when we heard that Environmental Annie was working on a project with a local community college's environmental department. They were planning on installing some beaver baffles into a couple of local beaver dams. This was an effort to control flooding of the regional road and at the same time, allow the beavers to maintain their dams with little impact to them or the environment. Great work Annie.
It's probably a good thing Bruce wasn't steering the project. He has trouble just opening the compost bin.
And yet again I was able to find a brew from a brewery that Bruce has never heard of, Lake of Bays Brewing Company. We sampled their Lake of Bays Pale Ale.
Episode #049 "The BBQ Fleet and Stolen Sleds!"
Bruce has to lie about his age so he can get a part in the remake of Total Recall. Something tells me he ain't gonna get Arnie's part. Of course this just reinforces his belief that he is "The Talent"
We actually got a lot of things done this time. We cleaned the chimney again as well as replaced the door gasket that keeps the air-tight fireplace air-tight. I also give Bruce a lesson on how to clean the glass in the door so you can actually see the fire and enjoy it.
Of course it wasn't all work and no play today. We did take time out to go visit some friends down the cottage road. Strangely we found them all "crouching" around the cottage trying to paint it. These people are always crouching around and really should stand up more. We did score a newish BBQ from them since they had just bought a new one. Unfortunately they didn't let us take the new one. Or the propane tank either.
We also talked about another growing problem in cottage country. Stolen toys such as snowmobiles, ATVs, Boat motors, and power tools. It's nice having winter access so we can enjoy cottage life all year round but it does come at a price. There are fewer people up here keeping an eye on things and the bad guys take advantage of it.
Speaking of being bad, we got into the beer fridge again. This time we sampled yet another entertaining brew from Flying Monkeys Craft Brewery. We sampled their Netherworld Cascadian Dark Ale this time and again they don't disappoint.
Episode #048 "Surviving The Storms"
It was a dark and stormy night! Ok enough plagiarism already, but that best describes this weekend. The torrential rains caused a lot of damage by washing away a lot of gravel. We spent most of the time repairing the water damage to the driveway and walkways around the cottage. Of course the weather chased us inside so we spent the evening watching movies courtesy of the Asus O'play.
And yet again I was able to find a brew from a brewery that Bruce has never heard of, Grand River Brewing. We sampled their Galt Knife Old Style. They say it has the aroma of cookies? Would that be Oreos or Digestives? Personally I prefer Chips Ahoy.
Episode #047 "The Touring Troy Bilt"
Bruce certainly earns "turkey of the day" for starting a two stroke snowblower in the dining room. Brilliant! Even opening the doors didn't help since the wind was blowing into the cottage rather than out. At least we know the smoke detectors are in fine working order. Bruce did redeem himself though by pulling the trigger on a real sweet Troy-Bilt snow blower at Canadian Tire's Midland store. It's got all the toys including heated handle grips and a joystick control for the chute. TroyBuilt 24" 208cc.
Of course I'm never one to leave well enough alone and I was inspired to create one of my best projects to date. The "Touring Troy-Bilt". I used a toboggan, a couple of Ikea chairs, and two toilet plungers from the Home Hardware store in Coldwater. I assembled it all with nylon zip ties, hitched it to the back of the Troy-Bilt and voila the Touring-Troy-Bilt. A real go-to-town machine for the winter. No need to wait for the OPP to open the roads after the lake effect snow finally stops. Simply drop your honey on the jump seat, fire up the auger, throw it into high gear and head into town. Just remember, if you are heading into town make sure its hot cocoa in those cup holders. Remember, don't drink and drive. Not even a snow blower.
Make sure you check out our YouTube channel at youtube.com/kottagetek.
I was able once again to find a brew from a brewery that Bruce has never heard of. The The Barley Days Brewery. We sampled their Wind & Sail Dark Ale. Its full of nutty goodness with a core of dark chocolate flavor. A great winter warmer.
Episode #046 "Pipi the septic sucking truck"
Well Pipi showed up today with his septic sucking truck. The biggest baddest shopvac on the cottage road. It took him less than half an hour to empty the whole septic tank and get it ready for us to fill again.
This episodes list of bevvies became quite lengthy. I started out with a red wine from KWV Wineries in south africa called Cafe Culture Pinotage. Then we failed to try the Cherry ale from Trafalgar Ales and Meads. We finally settled down with a Lemon Tea beer from Mill Street Brewpub. THis would be a great beer for a really hot summer day on the dock after an afternoon of waterskiing and tubing.
Episode #045 "Finally WiFi at the cottage"
We finally get internet access at the cottage thanks to the Rogers 3G wireless hub/router. Its a NetComm 3G10WVR unit that encorporates a 3G wireless modem, a 2 port 10/100 switch, and a wireless access point. It also has a USB port for sharing periferals on the lan. It works pretty good up here and we have enough bandwidth to be able to use Skype for making long distance phone calls.
It was an interesting wildelife weekend as well. Karen was able to resusitate a chickadee that flew into the glass railings on the deck. Then Bruce and I rescued a crawfish that had become trapped in an empty can of budweiser.
This episode's beer has a real kick. It is Rigor Mortis Abt from Brasserie Dieu Du Ciel. a 10.5% brew from a micro brewery and brewpub located in St Jerome Quebec.
Episode #044 "Breathing fire into the Stihl dragon"
Well its firewood hunting season and I have to say thanks to Rick at CVR Motors in Valois Bay, Montreal for fixing me up with a sweet deal on a Stihl chainsaw. This MS-260 is definitely the best chainsaw I have ever used.
Bruce actually had to buy firewood this year and we talked about just what is a bush cord and a face cord. We also cut some windfall trees on the crown land and realized just how importand a good wheelbarrow can be. Thats why it wins "tool of the day".
Our beer of the day is a good one. Stuart's Natural Session Ale from Scotch Irish Brewing. And such a cute puppy on the label!
Episode #043 "Painting the floors"
First we hear about Sarah from Regina's experiences with a sump pump and learn how important it is to actually tighten the hose clamps!
Then Bruce gats his favourite masseuse to come up to the cottage and help him paint the floors a lovely royal blue. How much latex paint can you add to high adhesion primer without ruining it? Easy answer. Less than the masseuse did. So after all that work it looks like it will have to be done all over again. Maybe I'll be busy that weekend.
Hmmmmm. Apparently Sarah isn't a plumber either. Do I see a trend here? Time to get a lawyer to rotate my tires!
I have been looking for this one for a long time and finally found it. Yes you heard right, 10W30 Brown Ale by The Neustadt Springs Brewery. This was the best oil change ever. This one may convince us to get lubricated more often!
Episode #042 "The octagonal picnic table"
We finally got around to replacing the old rotten octagonal picnic table. Unfortunately Bruce decided to build it ourselves. Too frugal to buy hadware, he uses "The Mother Theressa of Tools", Liquid Wrench to salvage the existing nuts and bolts.
Of course Bruce decides he wants a table that has more corners than a NASCAR racetrack and it doesn't help that his chopsaw doesn't cut square either. We finally get through the project thanks to a ton of deck screws and a fridge full of beer. I guess not all was lost after all!
This time we took a drive out to Creemore Ontario. Well actually I just went to the local LCBO. We sampled the Kellerbier from Creemore Springs Brewery. Another winner from rural Ontario.
Episode #041 "The 5 O'clock Beaver"
It has been a big weekend for wildlife outside the cottage. Foxes, porcupines, wild turkeys, gophers, muskrats and chipmunks. Even carpenter ants! Of course this raises the subject of the 5-o'clock beaver. Yes, it was a real beaver. Honest!
Now Bruce is worried that the muskrat is building a nest in his floating dock. Time to turn up the music and send an obvious eviction notice!
We went all the way to the east coast for our "beer of the episode" this time. Specifically to the The Pump House Brewery in Moncton New Brunswick. We tried their Pump House Blueberry Ale and it was delicious. A true breakfast beer. The only thing missing is a bit of maple syrup.
Episode #040 "Feeding The Septic Field"
You know we are off to a good start when we bump into each other in the Coldwater Beer Store. Mind you Bruce thinks he killed the septic field last weekend so we will need everything we can to feed the system this weekend. Including a box of Septonic.
Bruce also put in the water intake as well as the floating dock all by himsekf last weekend. A good thing as well because I don't think I could have taken the sight of him wearing Sarah's wetsuit.
We went back to our old friends at the Trafalgar Brewery in Oakville again. This time we had their "Left Coast Ale" from Trafalgar Ales and Meads. These guys just seem to have a nack for keeping us happy-happy-happy.
Episode #039 "The Wireless Pepper Mill"
Bruce and Cliff have to walk the cottage road begging for tools in order to get an early start on fixing the crib for the dock. "Please sir, can I have a 3/4 inch spade bit, a spade bit extension, and an 18 volt cordless drill with removable chuck?" The project went much smoother with the water level still low than it usually goes when they wait till the crib is under water. Power tools aren't supposed to be used that way apparently.
Of course since they have borrowed tools to play with, Cliff builds a new kitchen gadget just in time for BBQ season. This is the high tech high performance way to season a bunch of steaks on the grill. And with two battery packs there will be no stopping us.
After the last episode we decided to go back to our old reliable friends at Trafalgar Ales and Meads in Oakville. This time we tried their Oak Aged Rye Premium Ale and it did not disappoint.
Episode #038 "The Potato Cannon"
Cliff builds a potato cannon, but not just any potato cannon. It uses a combustion chamber recirculation fan and a more high tech fuel than hairspray. Thanks to a Pentium 4 cpu fan and a can of spray ether, this baby packs quite a punch and Cliff is already planning the thanksgiving dinner.
Of course we couldn't build something like this without paying homage to The Royal Canadian Air Farce and their "Chicken Cannon". A true inspiration.
For this episode we tried something different. Lug Tread from Beau's All Natural Brewing Company located in Vanleek Hill Ontario. Not one of our favorites but you may like it. If you do try it, tell us what you think.
Episode #037 "WiFi media stream for the Mousey-Spa"
Bruce finally came off his annual detoxification just in time to get re-toxified. This was courtesy of our usual Beer of the Day of course. We are also experiencing the earliest taste of summer ever up in cottage country. The ice is barely off the lake and there is already a fire ban
On the tech side we setup video surveillance on the mouse spa and even gave it a wireless video stream so if you are in the neighborhood look for the mousespa SSID and point you media player to IP address 192.168.1.50 port 22300.
For this episode we go back to one of our favorite breweries, Great Lakes Brewery. We sampled their Orange Peel Ale.
Episode #036 "Merry Christmas from Kottage-tek.com"
A belated merry Christmas from Bruce and myself as well as all the gang at the cottage. Both Karen and Deb joined us this time. Karen did another amazing Christmas tree and we also did some outdoor decorating. Bruce finally gave up on his rather flacid lifter-poker-stick which obviously needs some development work.
We also talked about the story behind "Survival Dude" as well as what he has been up to. We will have to do some follow-up.
We sampled a few bevies this time, a Winter Ale from Great Lakes Brewery and Boris' Bio from the Karlsbrau brewery in Saverne France. We also tried a liqueur from Denmark called Aquavit. If you really want to know more, go check out Wikipedia.org. I'm having nothing to do with this stuff.
Episode #035 "Smoke on the Wahta?"
This was mostly a finish getting ready for winter kind of weekend. We completed filling the kindling box thanks to the women folk which we are still paying for. We also closed up the crawlspace with some wire mesh on the vents, and Bruce re-engineered the old mousey spa to revision 3.0.
We also went for a drive through the Wahta Mohawk Reserve on our way to Bala ontario and nothing says late fall colors like all the indian smokes signs at almost every driveway. The best of which is "Smoke on The Wahta". Seriously! Of course Shack 11 is still running. Life is good.
This time we did some double duty with some Cameron's brews. Namely Cameron's Cream Ale and Cameron's Dark 266. THis is one of our favorite micro breweries located in Oakville Ontario. You can find out more at www.cameronsbrewing.com.
Episode #034 "The Women Folk!"
Cliff builds a bench for the back hall so we can sit down when we return from partying with the Barns Boys late at night
We also get a visit from Mr. Plow and make arrangements to have the road plowed this winter. This also provides a break from helping "The Women Folk" fill the kindling box.
This time we are drinking Hop Nuveau 2009 from the Trafalgar Brewing Company. You can find out more at alesandmeads.com.
Episode #033 "Flying Monkeys?"
Cliff gets out the big boy tools to build a ski rack for the back hall. Several years too late but better late than never. Five pair on the wall should go along way toward keeping the back hall a bit more organized.
Meanwhile the Mousey Spa undergoes a major upgrade and Cliff is teaching the chipmunks to fetch beers.
This time we are drinking Hoptical Illusion Almost Pale Ale from the old Robert Simpson Brewery which has been renamed "The Flying Monkey Craft Brewery". You can find out more at robertsimpsonbrewery.com. Unfortunately the site is showing "Under Construction" but I am sure they will re-direct when done. If they don't, we will so stay tuned.
Episode #032 "I Find it Shocking!"
Bill whip gets a shock from the lake of all things while standin in his boathouse. THis could cause a problem. We still can't quite figure out what the electrician snafu’d to make that happen, but it does earn him the turkey of the day. Maybe if he had the simple circuit tester, the tool of the day, he could have wired the place correctly from the start.
I also plug my friends website, bikesbybruce.com. and Bruce puts out an open invitation to the other Bruce to get together for a beer. What else? This is getting complicated.
This time we are drinking Georgian Bay Dipper from The Hockley Valley Brewing Co. You can find out more at hockleybeer.ca. Finally, Best to drink when cold but to do when warm.
Episode #031 "Floating Foundations and Bonfires."
One of the neighbours couldn't get a building permit for a garage so he is building a boathouse 15 feet from the shore. At least he is building it on a floating foundation. There was an ingenious way to drop trees as well using a backhoe and a chainssaw. Hey Thats cheating! Maybe we will drag all that brush out onto the lake once it freezes and use it to build a signal file.
This time we are drinking Pumkin Ale from the Great Lakes Brewery. You can find out more at greatlakesbeer.com Finally, desert for the liquid diet.
Episode #030 "High Speed at the Cottage!"
They boys celebrate Cliff's birthday at the cottage once again. It also marks the begining of "flourecent orange" season which was rung in by the sound of a pump action shotgun on the cottage road at 7:00am..
Of course the big story is high speed internet at the cottage. This time is is courtesy of a Rogers Rocket Stick. Of course all the canadian ISP's have similar products but Cliff seems to be puting the Rogers' kids through university.
This time we are drinking Hockley Stout from the Hockley Valley Brewing Co. You can find out more at www.hockleybeer.ca
Episode #029 "Dropping the big oak tree!"
It was a bit short and quiet this time because Bruce and Cliff have been doing a lot of driving lately but they finally get up north. Bruce had to rely on a few Rock Stars and I don't mean the Mic Jaggar or David Bowe type.
Bruce finally let Cliff drop the big sixty foot oak tree that has been threatening the cottage, the bunkie, and several power lines for years. Cliff had to take down the power line running from the cottage to the bunkie but we won't need that till next summer. We spent the rest of the weekend cutting it up and splitting it for firewood.
This time we are drinking Taps Red Cream Ale from Niagara Falls Ontario. You can find out more at www.tapsbeer.ca
Episode #028 "Helicopters and a flying dock."
Of course we spoke mostly about getting up to the cottage this time and some of stranger things that happen en-route, as well as some more creative way to get here. And if you are driving, our tool of the day, the Garmin Nuvi GPS device, can be a godsend. You can find out more at garmin.com.
Oh yeah, we had The Barns Boys in the house again this time. I think they've taken a liking to our beer fridge. I think I'm gonna have to put a custom POI list on my garmin just for all the beer fridges I know about.
This time we are drinking The Devil's Pale Ale brewed in Toronto by The Great Lakes Brewery. You can find out more at greatlakesbeer.com
Episode #027 "Rattlesnakes, hemp beer, and the Barns Boys in the house!"
We briefly consider nude waterskiing at midnight but with just us and The Barns Boys, we quickly decide against it. We take the local kids tubing with the big boat and try a little running of the rapids without a canoe. Of course we wear life jackets. We are crazy not stupid.
I also find a Massassauga Rattlesnake next to the cottage so I go get Environmental Annie who shows me how to dispatch him with a snake stick and a garbage can. Since she actually took a course I consider her a trained professional. And since she is still alive she must be a fairly good one.
Later that evening we hung out next door with The Barns Boy's. They had the Bronx BBQ sparked up and after a few brewskies we let it slip that we had a beer fridge. A mistake I feel we will live to regret.
Most suitably with The Barns Boys in the house we are having Buzz Beer this time. A beer brewed in Toronto by The Cool Beer Co. It is made from from the highest quality B.C. hemp. Is this deja-vu or what? You can find out more at www.coolbeer.com
Episode #026 "Should we break out the sandbags yet?"
The ice has gone and once again there is flooding at the cottage. It is a bit worse than last year but still not bad. We do however, consider sandbagging simply as an excuse to get some cool gas powered toys.
Bruce has of course been doing some acting as an extra on some movies and television shows and boy is it going to his head. He now wants a stand in and a green room for when we do the shows. Maybe we will paint The Barns Boys outhouse green and Bruce can stand-in there for himself. I'm going to have to get an extension for his headset though!
This time we get into some Walkerville Lager and prove our inability to read a label after drinking the contents. It is brewed by the Walkerville Brewing Company of Windsor Ontario. You can find out more at www.walkervillebrew.com
Episode #025 "We can't loose the dish, it's winter!"
It is finally spring in cottage country. The snow has almost completely melted and the ice is starting to disappear on the lake. We got the barns boys to come over and help us finish up the winter beer supply so we could freshen up the beer fridge.
Unfortunately I missed the satellite dish debacle on the ice this year. It's good to know that a dish is more valuable than a 6 year old. "Don't forget to tie the rope to the dish so we don't loose it son"
Of course we switched back to brewskies this time and it was a good one. Dead Guy Ale. One of the Rogue products brewed by the Oregon Brewing Company. You can find out more at rogue.com
Episode #024 "JABBA THE WHAT?..."
Of course it snowed again but this time cliff sparks up the ol' sissy snowblower to clear the deck. Meanwhile, Bruce and "Sarah from Regina" head down to the dock and decide to build a better Jabba the Hudd than Karen did the day before. They did a pretty good job although Jabba seems to have a bit of a drinking problem and appears to have some gender issues as well. Getting a bit lonely are we Bruce? or just channeling the ideal partner?
We also hit on Copyright and copy protection again. Don't get us started!!
We were also quite surprised to see "Old Man Archery" out on the vintage skidoo. Or maybe the lake is haunted, "Old Man Archery" has been dead for 16 years, and that was one heck of a slow and noisy poltergeist.
Of course we did the Vino thing this time. A few argentinians proudly gave their lives as well as their corks. Of course with a review like "If you keep it cold enough you can almost get it down" that was about all they had to give.
We may have to stay with cheap wine now that the big breweries have killed the "buck-a-beer"s
Episode #023 Snow just "BLOWS"
It is still snowing at the cottage. A long winter with record snow fall has made the cottage road almost unpassable. Everytime the road is plowed, it gets narrower. This is the first year that it got so narow that the plow couldn't fit down the road. The solution was to throw a bunch of money at a guy who has a big industrial grade snowblower mounted on a Bobcat. Once he cut back the snowbanks the cottage road could be kept open by the regular truck mounted snowplow.
As for the cottage driveway, Bruce took the small snowblower into the city to get it fixed and was left to shovel the driveway by himself. Of course once I got to the cottage it turns out that the snowblower doesn't need fixing after all. "Thanks for shovelling Bruce but I'll stick with the snowblower."
Bruce also shamelessly plugs his other websites in an effort to make enough money on the internet so he can keep the beer fridge full.
SmallTownToronto.com The place to fine small venues featuring local talent in Toronto.
BruceAHanson.com The home of Bruce's writing.
This time the refreshment of choice came from wine country in Ontario. Specifically "Taps Red Cream Ale" from The Taps Brewery in Niagara The Taps Brewery This one Cliff also found in the deep dark corners his local Ontario Beer Store.
Episode #022 Tempered over burning witches?
It is early spring and Cliff is greeted by a minor flood in the back hall due to a major ice dam on the roof around the skylight. Once Cliff climbed up on the roof and cleared the ice dam the vack hall finally dried out.
This year has been the winter of the generator. A long winter with record snow fall has caused a lot of problems with trees taking down the power lines. We use a portable generator to power the cottage when that happens but their reliabillity has been tested this year. Even the professional installations were not imune to problems this year as Paul found out when his expensive professional unit failed to start due to a missing part.
This time the refreshment of choice comes from the UK. Specifically "Monty Python's Holy Ail" from The Black Sheep Brewery The Black Sheep Brewery This one Cliff also found in the deep dark corners his local Ontario Beer Store.
Episode #021 The bird feeder wars
The barns boys next door have definitely thrown down the gauntlet in the bird feeder wars. The boat winch was a nice touch but they have to get past the whole “fix the rope” thing and move up to steel cable.
We had another of the fine ales from the Robert Simpson Brewery. This time it was the Anti Gravity ale. You can find them in Barrie Ontario or on the web at robertsimpsonbrewery.com. Also available at fine Ontario Beer Stores.
Episode #020 They paved the road two weeks after painting the lines.
Of course we should have voted the municipal road crews as the turkey of the day for paving the road 2 weeks after painting new lines. I guess that was so they would get the paver down the centre of the road instead of driving it through the woods or something. Luckily we only worry about gravel and grading on our part of the private road.
We decided to go with wine instead of beer this time. Cheers to the Robertson Winery. It was a nice well aged shiraz. You can find them just outside of Capetown South Africa or on the web at www.robertsonwinery.co.za.
Episode #019 Log splitters! Man or machine?
Bruce and Cliff cover the full range of ways to split firewood. From high tech gas powered hydraulics to the low tech splitting maul and everything in between including Bruce’s right hand. They even find a foot operated one that is actually slower than an axe!
The brew for this episode was Heritage Premium Lager. You can find it at Heritage brewing in Ottawa Heritage brewing in Ottawa. Available at fine Ontario Beer Stores.
Episode #018 Never use a chainsaw on a ladder unless your name is Cliff!
Cliff finally drops the big dead tree behind the old bunkie. "I don’t recommend using a chainsaw while on a ladder tied to a tree and I’m not a trained professional but I do have a lot of experience cutting down trees and hey what the heck, we were at the cottage where; if a tree falls on the Bunkie everyone would hear Bruce’s insurance agent scream"
We also toasted another propeller during the final cruise of the season. That’s 3 or 4 this season.
The brew for this episode was Cool Beer. You can find it at The Cool Beer Brewing Company.
No this isn't a joke. It really is "Cool Beer". Available at fine Ontario Beer Stores.
Episode #017 Its garden art baby!
One of the neighbors takes apart a sofa bed and can't remember how to put it back together. After both him and Bruce give up, they call in local technical support. With a bit of wrangling and a few beers the sofa bed is ready for nap time. Then we drink our way down the cottage road.
Bruce and Cliff find The Barns Boys in a bit of a dilema. They seem have two axes stuck in a big red oak log. Since it shows no sign of splitting, Cliff throws in a third and calls it "Garden Art".
Episode #016 Time for new shutters for the screen porch.
Tired of hauling large flimsy shutters from behind the Bunkie in the fall and back in the spring, Cliff makes and installs new shutters for the screen porch. He also power washes the deck.
Episode #015 Is that a motor drive vanity mirror? Or just a “scamwhat” from huckster alley!
Bruce and Cliff work on fixing the side view mirror that Bruce sheared off. They also think they have finally come up with a way to monetize this podcasting thing.
Episode #014 The cottage water system. More to come.
Bruce and Cliff talk about the water system at the cottage. Of course the grand finally is the @#*%& pump (aka the septic pump)
We had a lot of audio problems that were eventually traced to a barley malt overload combined with a hair trigger mute button. I apologize for the quality of this one but we didn't just want to call this "the lost episode" and pretend it was accidentally deleted like so many other podcasts do.
Episode #013 Emptying the beer fridge. Again!
Bruce and Cliff celebrate 20 years at the cottage by trying to emptying the seemingly bottomless beer fridge. Again. They find 12 different brands of beer representing 8 different breweries
A special mention to The Nagara Brewing Company for making Gritstone Premium Ale.
Episode #012 We are off to MacTeir wearing bug shirts and Muskol cologne.
It's bug season in the muskokas and this year it is a triple threat. The mosquitoes have come in early to help out the black flies, and they have both called in air support from the horse flies. THe usual bug repellants only seem th make the bugs angry until Bruce diggs out the Super Muskol. CLiff finally gives up on chemistry and resorts to a bug shirt so he can burn off a tank of gas in the kottage mower. The bug shirt seems to be a pretty good look for kottage country, so Bruce and Cliff decide to head into town for Saturday night.
Bruce almost drowns trying to fix the floats on the water intake line. Luckily the neighbors were up and helped him out. He went diving alone and didn't take his diving knife.
Episode #011 Going green, or so I thought.
Cliff thinks Bruce has installed an environmentally friendly roof but Bruce declares the gutters need cleaning again. This time the boys decide not to wait till the snow falls before climbing up onto the roof. The power washer seems like the perfect tool for cleaning the gutters but the weels pose a bit of a problem.
The boys also help a nubie learn to waterski.
Episode #010 You Will Always Find Them in the Kitchen.
Bruce cooks up some fettuccini Bolognese and a wicked Caesar salad while Cliff practices his new skills making the vodka martinis.
The newest trick at the cottage is using frozen grapes to keep the drinks cold. Wow! A high fiber martini!
Episode #009 Flooding at the Cottage, and a Frozen Septic Tank.
Bruce and Cliff discuss how to recover from a frozen septic tank. Unfortunately it requires using Bruce’s virgin ice fishing auger.
After a cold and snowy winter the lake level has come up earlier and higher than ever. Cliff is determined to have is morning coffee on the dock even though it’s a foot under water.
Episode #008 Motorizing the Floating Dock.
Cliff is in the dog house for taking the boat to the marina for winter storage without taking the water line out of the lake. Since the paddle boat really isn't up to the task Cliff and Bruce hang a vintage Evinrude 18hp outboard on the end of the floating dock and it's anchors away.
Fortunately it is too cold for waterskiing. The dock is also too slow.
Bruce also gets to play with “The Wild Thing”
Episode #007 The Mouse Spa and the Cottage Closet
Bruce gets mad at Cliff because he seems to have an aversion to cleaning out the "Mouse Spa".
The Mouse Spa is of course the ultimate in mouse traps and usually has a good collection of smelly things in it. No wonder Cliff hates cleaning this out.
Bruce and Cliff also face the ultimate storage device, - The kottage crawl space.
A tip of the hat to Trafalgar Ales & Meads for being the flavor of choice on this episode.
Episode #006 The Christmas Moose
The Christmas Moose arrives at the kottage. Or is that really Cliff evolving into an old fart?
He is seldom seen by humans and prefers being active under the cover of darkness. His haunting call is often heard echoing through the woods.
Happy birthday dude. It's all downhill from here.
Episode #005 Sweeping the chimney and visiting Frantic Frank's xmas party
Bruce and Cliff worked on the annual ritual of cleaning the chimney for the wood stove. This year they actually decided to climb on the roof for this task before the snow came. What a brilliant concept.
They also visited "Frantic Frank" and "Environmental Anne" who help initiate Cliff into his official old-fart-phase.
A special thank you to circuitcellar.com for the schematics and explanation on how to build your own chimney alarm.
Episode #004 WiMAX at the cottage? Not without a postal code you don't!
Bruce and Cliff finally managed to kill the chainsaw but not before running without a chain brake for most of the morning. They also continued the saga of hi-speed internet at the cottage. This time it's WiMAX. Or so they were hoping. Apparently it requires a postal code to work properly.
They also visited "Frantic Frank the squirrel blaster" who has been shooting up the screen porch again. Now the mosquitoes are going to get in.
A special thank you to Trafalgar Ales & Meads for being the flavor of choice on this episode.
Bruce and Cliff replace a hot water heater full of sand with a new one full of hot water. What a concept!
They also started to lay in some firewood for the winter and succeeded in almost killing the chainsaw. Who needs an emergency brake anyway?
Oh, did I mention they also worked on emptying the beer fridge again?.
Bruce visits some friends (john and Kim) on Pike Lake in northern Ontario and gets recruited to haul aggregate down a 50 foot slope. Then he gets to mix cement and pour new footings under John and Kim's cottage. It shouldn't be too hard to figure out who "John and Kim" really are since there can't be too many cottages on Pike Lake with new footings and an empty beer fridge. Happy hunting.
I think I'm glad I missed this one. I would have been too tempted to turn John and Kim's septic pump into a cement pump.
Building a dock is one thing. Installing a floating dock is another. Marrying the two technologies can open a real can of worms.