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Ontario's Wind Power Vs the Duck Curve

Back in February I wrote a post about Ontario's Duck Curve: Solar Power Vs Ontario's Electrical Grid: The Duck Curve.

The Duck Curve is a chart of Ontario's average daily usage of electricity and the supply of electricity, which increasingly has taken on the shape of a duck.

The Duck Curve is caused by the effect of increasing solar production and it creating an abundance of supply during peak sunny times of the day, but zero supply during the rest of the day.

It also doesn't help that demand for electricity is actually growing, which means increased demand during evening and morning hours, especially the 7 PM to 10 PM period when there is zero of solar power coming in to the grid.

To prevent brown outs nuclear power plants need to be running at higher capacity ahead of time to create a surplus of electricity so that we don't have brown outs. This creates inefficiency and wasted electricity during that transition time period.

So what does this have to do with wind power and wind turbines?

Increasing wind turbine electricity production does quite a bit to offset the impacts of solar power.

#1. Wind is More Reliable than Solar - Wind power doesn't rely on the sun and is active 24 hours per day, as long as there is wind, which is pretty much all the time because Ontario is a very windy province.

#2. Lake Effect Wind - It is slightly windier during mornings and evenings near lakes due to changes in temperature and the flow of wind towards and away from lakes during those time periods. The larger the lake, the more profound the effect.

#3. Ontario has quite a few "Great Lakes" that benefit from the Lake Effect Wind. Probably one of the reasons why Ontario is so windy in the first place.

Below is a map of where wind turbines are built in Southern Ontario. As you can see, the lakeshore of Lake Huron has a lot of wind turbines built there for the purpose of benefiting from the Lake Effect Wind coming off Lake Huron.

So is Wind Power a solution to the Duck Curve?

No, not completely.

Yes, it helps to create a surplus of renewable energy.

Yes, it also helps that wind power is slightly stronger during morning and evening changes in temperatures thanks to Lake Effect Wind.

But the amount of electricity being produced at present merely offsets the solar power Duck Curve. The impact is less at present, which means Ontario is reliant upon nuclear power to pick up the slack.

What about Hydro Power?

Ontario also produces a lot of hydro-electric power thanks to our many rivers, lakes and dams. So much so that we call the government run electricity producer "Ontario Hydro", and refer to "hydro poles", "hydro bills", etc.

Well, the truth is that it is possible to offset the Duck Curve using hydro power, by simply shutting down dam turbines and not allowing so much water to flow through them during the middle of the day. Unfortunately, not all dams are equipped with shut off valves as some of them just run on a constant level, with no shut off system available.

If they did, this would allow nuclear power plants to run more at a constant level (which improves cost efficiency). Unfortunately since a shut off system isn't available for many dams (and would require a sizable investment to do), this is seen as a wasteful option as hydro power is basically "free electricity" once the dam has been built. Adding shut off valves would just reduce the amount of free electricity Ontario actually has.

What about Geothermal Power?

Ontario at present has zero geothermal power plants. None. Nada. Not in all of Canada.

Despite being able to produce as much electricity as coal, gas or nuclear, not one single province has taken the bold and decisive step of building a geothermal power plant. (Or refurbishing an old coal or gas plant into a geothermal plant, seeing as they all use the same steam turbines.)

So what does Ontario do with the energy surplus?

Well, it doesn't go completely to waste. We sell it at a discount to Quebec, Manitoba and to the USA. Because of the discount we lose money in the process, but it is still better than sitting on an energy surplus that isn't being used at all.

What we really need is more ways to store electricity efficiency. eg. Like storing electricity inside ionized gas as "ball lightning", a sort of ionized gas battery.

So what about people who live Off the Grid?

Well, hopefully we are using a nice battery system and we are not paying gigantic hydro bills like everyone else. We store our solar, wind (and sometimes even hydro) power in batteries that provide electricity for our off grid homes.

And then we laugh about all the money we are saving while the hosers are paying off "old hydro debts" that were caused by the Ontario government overspending on nuclear.

Why my wife and I buy half a pig every year

The Cost Savings / Financial Cooking Tip

Every year my wife and I buy half a pig from a farmer and pay for the butchering.

My parents buy half a pig, my younger sister and her husband buy half a pig, my older sister and her husband buy half a pig. So two pigs total, bought and butchered.

This process bypasses the normal farmer to butcher to distributor to grocery store routine, cutting out at least two middle men.

This results in a significant price difference.

In 2018 the cost of our half pig was $200.92... for which we get 3 large coolers full of pork, including ribs, sausages, ground pork, roasts, bacon, side pork, etc. If you want any of the meat smoked or extra services, that costs extra.

So a typical pig is going to garner you a little more than 200 lbs of meat. About 210 lbs on average.

So our share of half of pig is about 105 lbs for $200.92, so that is slightly less than $2 CDN per lb of pork.

Compare that to the prices of various kinds of pork you might find in your local grocery store. Like $6 for 1 lb of bacon, or $4 for 1 lb of ribs.

But basically you are looking at savings of roughly half of what it would normally cost you to get the same amount of pork from the grocery store. Or more savings, depending on the prices in your local grocery store.

So as a financial cooking tip goes buying your meat straight from the source saves a lot of money.

Bypassing the Farmer and Butcher

If you raised your own pigs and butchered them yourself, you would save money that way too. But then you run into the problem of how much time requirements are needed to be raising 1 or more pigs. It only really becomes effective for your time if you are raising lots of pigs, feeding them all, and preferably butchering them yourself for maximum profit when selling the pigs to interested 3rd parties.

The amount of time required to do all that becomes truly prohibitive.

This is why hunting to me makes a smart / low time requirement alternative. The deer, moose or elk will provide a decent amount of meat, and your only time expenditures is learning how to hunt, and learning how to butcher the deer yourself - which may or may not include learning how to make sausages with a sausage press.

The financial savings / time savings of hunting thus starts to make a lot of sense... But there is still the cost of getting your hunting license and the necessary equipment (firearms, bows, learning how to shoot properly, etc), and the actual hunting tags. So there are additional costs involved.

However hunting deer is so old school... especially when there is something even smarter.

Why not farm deer instead?

The deer feed themselves, you really just need to capture them and fence them in.

Deer farming has been a thing in Ontario for decades (perhaps longer) and when I was in high school I regularly passed a deer farm every time I went to school or whenever my parents when shopping or to visit relatives that took us past the deer farm.

It was just a thing that was there that I saw regularly.

But mention deer farming to city people and it is a bit like trying to explain to them that cows are female, bulls are male, and they are all cattle. They don't know that such things exist, and they don't know the difference between a sow and a boar.

So yes, deer farming is a thing.

The beauty of deer farming is that once you have the deer fenced in with a large enough area, they can graze within the forested regions of your property, there are hopefully no predators getting in through the fences, and the deer basically fend for themselves with respect to feeding themselves and breeding.

The trick to deer farming is you have to know how to manage your livestock. To only eat what you need as opposed of just eating them constantly because you can. So for example only eating the males who lack a mate, or the older males who are past their prime.

Another trick is that you want to prevent inbreeding, which can lead to diseases. So you will want to add new deer once in awhile by trading them with other deer farmers. So there will be some financial costs of trading deer once in awhile if you do decide to prevent an abundance of inbreeding.

Farming Rabbits is Easier

So yeah, if you really want to make your life easier. The solution is rabbits. Very high in protein, very lean. Goes well with fried potatoes.

Fence them in, grow a garden so you have other things to eat with the rabbit meat, any vegetables you don't eat just feed to the rabbits.

Bonus, rabbits also make nice mittens.

Cheap Hydro Electricity for Off Gridders

So you have a stream or river going through your property - or possibly waves on the shore of a lakefront property. How do you turn that untapped hydro energy into electricity for your off grid home?

You could build...

  • An undershot waterwheel.
  • An overshot waterwheel.
  • A hydro turbine.
  • A kinetic energy turbine.

Or you could buy a mini turbine like the one in the following video.

"Blue Freedom" as a company offers a variety of different turbines, including kinetic energy turbines suitable for lakefront waves, so that it creates energy when waves comes in to the shoreline, and again when waves go back out. The constant motion creates electricity, and it only needs the water to be 0.5 meters deep to be fully effective.

The portable version in the video above may be good for charging cellphones/etc, but if you are looking to provide electricity to your Off Grid Home then you would need to buy like 10 or more in order to supply all your needs. So if they are $340 each, you are looking at $3,400 to provide enough electricity for your home.

But is that really cost effective or efficient? Certainly there are cheaper ways to DIY?

On the right is a water turbine generator that you can buy on Amazon.ca for a mere $14.29.

You dam up the river or stream and allow water to flow through pipes attached to the generator.

The generator then produces electricity, and all of the water gets used for energy production.

To preserve small wildlife (minnows, frogs, etc) from going through the pipes and clogging up the turbine you can add grates to the intake pipe so that tadpoles and other small critters cannot get sucked in.

Worried about larger fish that need to be able to travel over the dam?

Just create something akin to a salmon fish ladder or a ramp that allows some of the water to freeflow while 50 to 75% of the flowing water is still used to create electricity.

Don't want to impact the wildlife that much, but still want to save money while being somewhat lazy?

Well there is a cheaper alternative to the Blue Freedom model shown in the video.

$6 CDN on Amazon.ca.

That is ridiculously cheap.

And ridiculous. I am partially doing this because it is FUNNY how much electricity this low cost hydro generator actually produces.

The "Baoblaze Mini Wind & Water Generator Turbine Hydroelectric Generator Micro DC Motor Water Wind Power Parts" also comes with:

" Complete set mini wind turbine generator and hydroelectric generator motor.
Output terminals are easy for led installation. Just plug and go.
Can be used for wind generator as well as water generator. "
  • Output Voltage: 0.05-1.5V DC
  • Output Current: 0.01-0.2mA

It makes you realize that Blue Freedom is basically all logo, brand name, and German guys in fancy suits.

If you just buy the components and build it yourself you can save a tonne of money.

Is it more work than buying the Blue Freedom generator? Yes. But not as much work as building a dam and a method for the fish to traverse the dam.

For the cost of one Blue Freedom Generator ($340 USD) you could get quite a few of the cheaper version. At the current exchange rate that is $436 CDN, so that would be 72 of the little guys.

Now 1.5 volts isn't much, but 72 of them is 108 volts of direct current with 14.4 amps. Place them in the part of the river with the fastest flowing water and you can maximize your results.

Anything over a hundred volts is quite a bit. 600 volts is enough to electrocute someone. 108 volts is actually quite a lot.

amps x volts = watts

So this is 14.4 amps x 108 volts = 1555.2 watts.

Just think of what you can do with 1555 watts.

Back to the dam method...

That larger 12 volt generator (the "SODIAL Water Turbine Generator Micro-Hydroelectric Power DC 12V") is only $14.29.

For the same $436 CDN you could get 30 of the 12 volt generators, producing up to 360 volts of power instead of 108 volts in the above example.

Now I wasn't able to find able to find the amps for the device, but you can best be sure that will be a lot of watts involved. Still not enough to electrocute yourself, but it is still a serious chunk of electricity that would be produced by 30 of those generators.

So how do you even use 30 of those generators? You would need a fairly big dam, or perhaps a series of smaller dams along the river. A small stream would not be enough, you would need at least a large fast flowering stream or a small river.

Thus it really comes back to the idea of real estate. If you want to produce hydro electricity on your property, you really need to find land that has fast flowing water on it (or lots of slow moving water that can be made faster by building a dam).

Plus what would you even do with 360 volts of electricity? That is so much you will never be able to use it all.

How does hydro power compare to solar or wind power?

Well lets check Amazon.ca again...

A small 400 watt (12 volt) wind turbine will cost you $365 CDN.

A larger 3000 watt (48 volt) wind turbine will cost you $1799 CDN.

The "Renogy 200W 12V Polycrystalline Solar Bundle Kit" will cost you $423 CDN (but does come with a kit of other goodies, so that is nice. Unfortunately solar really works at peak efficiency a few hours of the day.

The Solar Tech Canada "1060 Watt 4 X 265 Solar Panel + CE certified 60 Amp LCD Screen Display Intelligent Charge Controller with USB charging Station" will cost you $1,569 CDN + $377.14 shipping, so $1946.14 CDN total.

But price isn't the only factor here. The real question is how many volts and watts are you getting for your investment?

But do any of the above systems provide up to 360 volts of electricity? Nope, none.

The first turbine only provides up to 12 volts, and only when the wind is sufficient.

The second turbine costs over 4 times more than the hydro dam solution, but only a maximum of 48 volts instead of 360 volts. To get the equivalent using the hydro generators you would only need to buy 4 generators for $57.16.

The first solar panel "200W 12V" has less watts than the similarly priced wind turbine, mostly because it is producing half the amps. So in reality it produces half the power of the wind turbine, but costs slightly more.

The 4 solar panel set costs roughly $150 more than the similarly priced wind turbine, but produces roughly one third the watts. It costs roughly 5 times more than the cheaper solar panel kit and produces 5 times the watts, but it is ultimately still more expensive and produces less than the wind turbine.

Clearly from this price analysis, wind turbines are two to three times better than solar panels.

And hydro produces way more than both, but requires some extra work to get that dam in place. (It is easier if the beavers build the dam for you, then all you need is to find some real estate that has a beaver dam.)

Even the ridiculous "72 Baoblaze Minis" solution produces more electricity than the wind turbines or solar panels. And I only did that calculation because it was funny.

The Downsides of Solar, Wind and Hydro

So solar power really works during the day, and only when it is sunny.

Wind power works 24/7, but only when it is windy enough to reach full capacity.

Hydro power is pretty constant, but can be a problem if the river freezes during the winter, and follows the assumption that it rains regularly so that the river or stream does not dry up.

But in terms of costs and the amount of electricity being produced, hydro is very hard to beat.

Just 10 of the 12 volt generators, producing up to 120 volts, at a cost of $142.90 produces more electricity than any of the above 4 wind and solar examples. (And more power than the "72 Baoblaze Minis".)

So there really is no contest in terms of price and the amount of electricity being produced. Hydro is King.

Don't Tell Anyone You Are Building a Residential Dam

Or better yet, buy a place with an existing beaver dam.

So here is the thing: The government doesn't like it when you start building residential dams to make your own electricity. You can also upset your neighbours who live upstream or downstream if they notice changes in water levels. So the best solution is to keep your dam a secret and disguise how you get your electricity.

eg. Hide the dam under some old logs and other debris so it just looks like a natural logjam.

With the beaver dam solution you are using an existing dam and then adding pipes to help drain or partially drain the beaver dam. You then add grates so the beavers cannot mess with your intake pipes.

I wrote about this back in May in the post How to turn a Beaver Dam into a source of Electricity.

Even if you do go for the rather novel beaver dam solution, don't tell anyone about it. Jealous neighbours and upset government officials can get their underwear in a knot about just about anything, so the less they know the better.

It isn't illegal, but people can still give you grief if they see you doing something they wish they had thought of first. Hence why so many Off Gridders value their privacy.

Sixty-Two uses for a Bandana

There are many ways to use the average bandana.

#1. Better than an Archery Wrist Sling

Back in April I used a bandana to teach a teenager with no fingers how to shoot a bow.

We tried using a normal wrist sling attached to the bow, but determined that the wrist sling was not enough to hold the bow in place. The wrist sling worked fine to prevent him from dropping the bow, but he needed more than that as the bow still had too much range of motion and was not steady enough to be shot.

Instead we looped a bandana around the bow (where one's fingers would normally go) and then tied the bandana to his wrist. He was then able to brace the bow on his palm with no worry of dropping it and was able to hold it steady because the bandana prevented it from moving from his palm.

For his drawing hand he was able to pull the bowstring underneath the arrow (like someone doing 3 fingers under would) and release the bowstring after aiming.

A friend / fellow archer afterwards texted me to tell me they were really impressed I had dared to even teach him, as many other archery instructors would have simply refused to even try. He also complimented the teenager's courage, for he was one very brave young man to be learning in front of an audience of other archers despite his hindrance.

#2. Baby Diaper

Hopefully you never have to do this, but it is possible to fold a bandana and use it as a diaper for a baby.

I haven't had to do this yet, and hopefully never will, but it is a possible usage.

60 More Uses for a Bandana

Is Bowfishing and Spearfishing more merciful than regular fishing?

So I was on Facebook and saw someone post about the following book: "Carp Fishing in Canada", by Tony Benham and Fritz Vatter.

So I naturally asked:

"Does it have a section on bowfishing for carp?"

Perfectly natural question. After all, bowfishing and spearfishing for carp are popular and increasingly popular.

Ho boy...

One person responds that "Probably not. It's likely written by someone who enjoys and respects these fish."

As if to imply that people who are into bowfishing and spearfishing somehow don't respect the fish... which they totally do respect them.

So I pointed out that if the book doesn't have a chapter on bowfishing and spearfishing, then it is really not a complete guide is it? After all people who are into bowfishing and spearfishing are pretty enthusiastic about the sport, and thus qualify as a "sport enthusiast".

Next someone else says that "bowfishing is not a sporting way to target fish."

To which I respond that bowfishing and spearfishing is actually more merciful, because you kill the fish quickly as opposed to letting it slowly die while gasping for breath.

At least with bowfishing and spearfishing the fish dies instantly (or near instantly). Anything is better than a slow torturous death.

At which point they say their group promotes catch and release... At which point I explain that I eat every fish I catch, and I jokingly refer to catch and release as torturing a fish while taking a selfie with it, before tossing it back in the water. Traumatizing the poor fish for life.

And at that point the Admin realized he was losing this argument and banned me from the group.

So yeah.

He had no sense of humour.

If the admin of TUFA (Toronto Urban Fishing Ambassadors) cannot win an argument, he just bans people from the group. Some ambassador all right. The people in the group are prejudiced against bowfishing and spearfishing, and the admins of such a group should be setting an example for other fishermen that ALL fishermen are welcome, including sporting enthusiasts of bowfishing and spearfishing.

So instead I have contacted a different Toronto Fishing Club (there are soooo many available) and asked the admin of the club if the group has any prejudices against certain types of fishermen and whether they allow ALL fishermen to join their group.

To anyone curious about this, the individuals in TUFA who have a hatred against bowfishing are Chay Mullin and Howard Shin. Quite the pair of "ambassadors" spreading their hate against a merciful sport.


So now I really want to know.

Is there a chapter in the book above about bowfishing and spearfishing? Because if there is not, clearly the authors need to write chapters on those topics so that they are being inclusive of ALL types of fishermen, who are likewise "sport enthusiasts".

This whole argument that bowfishing is "not sporting enough" is utter nonsense.
  1. You have to go out there and FIND the carp. Just finding them can often be a challenge.
  2. You have to get a good angle and close the distance to be able to shoot them accurately.
  3. You have to actually shoot them, which is complicated by the water's refraction of light making it look like the carp is in a more shallow position than it actually is.
  4. Plus the arrow's trajectory can be slowed by the depth of the water, and even altered by the speed of the current (if any), which is made worse because carp like to spawn near fast flowing water.

So there is a "sporting challenge" to it. And you really have to be an enthusiast to be wading out there in boots to shoot the fish, or to rent/buy and transport a boat to get a better angle to do so. Shooting from the edge of the water or a dock is not usually an option when it comes to carp spawning.


I like both kinds of fishing. But I will admit when the poor fish is gasping to breath, I do want to its suffering faster. To me, the merciful thing to do is to make the suffering as brief as possible. Some fishermen prefer to club the fish in the head, some prefer a knife. Either way works.

So is bowfishing and spearfishing more merciful?

Absolutely it is.

But if you quickly kill the fish with a club or knife, you can make regular fishing more merciful.

And this business of people posing for selfies while torturing and traumatizing the fish, well, I guess that is up to personal opinion. Not my thing. To each their own.

Behead the fish, clean it, fillet it, eat it later fried in batter. That is my thing.

Fitting and Adjusting the Draw Length of a Compound Bow


Can you give me a call to discuss fitting a compound bow.

Stephen C.


Hello Stephen!

Fitting a compound bow? By that I am going to guess you are talking about adjusting it to your draw length.

If you are buying a new compound bow in a store, they usually adjust it to your draw length in the store.

If it is an used compound bow, then it helps to have the manual handy, but it is still possible to adjust it without the manual by changing the position of the cables (and sometimes pins) on the cams. A measure of experience in making such adjustments also helps.

If you are looking for me to help you adjust the bow to your draw length, that is a feat best done in person and not over the phone.

There are YouTube videos about how to adjust the draw length / fitting compound bows if you want to attempt to do this on your own.

If you meant something else by fitting, please elaborate.

If you have any questions please feel free to ask.

Have a good weekend and happy shooting!

Burd's Family Fishing on Father's Day

Happy Belated Father's Day to everyone!

I think I may have broken my fishing curse - I have the worst luck fishing. Ignoring bowfishing, I haven't caught a fish in decades.

The following video can be found on my youtube channel "Project Gridless". Please subscribe if you want to see more videos like this in the future.

So for Father's Day the wife, our (almost) 1 year old son Richard and I came to a trout farm called Burd's Family Fishing. Just north of Toronto in the town of Stouffville it is conveniently close to Toronto and you are practically guaranteed to catch something.

Burd's Family Fishing
13077 ON-48, Whitchurch-Stouffville, ON L4A 7X3

So full disclosure, I suck at fishing. So much so I think I might be cursed. I felt like if I went here then at least I should be guaranteed to at least see fish, and maybe MAYBE break the curse.

For the first 45 minutes or so the curse was in full power. Sit and wait, just nibbles. Damn fish kept nibbling my worms and not taking the hook. Lost 2 worms just from fish that just nibbled on them.

My wife suggested I try further west, and so I go and you can literally see a giant school of trout swimming around there. So I cast to their location and within minutes I get a big bite.

After reeling him in I went back to try and catch fish #2, but we were running low on time and while I did get a few nibbles and I feel certain I could have caught another one now that I knew where they were, alas we had to leave and go visit my Mother-in-Law. So I had to content myself that maybe I have finally broken the curse.

Maybe. We won't know until I go out fishing again sometime.

How much does it cost to stock a fish pond?

Okay so for fun today I decided to research what it would cost to stock a fish pond. Specifically I was looking for rainbow trout, but the prices of other kinds of fish were also of interest.

The problem of course is finding a fish stocking company that actually lists their prices on their website.

Pure Springs Trout and Walleye Farm in Shannonville, Ontario for example on their website (http://puresprings.ca/trout.html) tells you "Price depends on size and quantity, please phone" yada yada... So no help there. Boo! They could at least give you some idea of what the price is.

The Watersmeet Trout Hatchery in Michigan however does list their prices. So nice of them to actually list their prices on their website. So considerate. And they even cover their bases by saying "prices are subject to change due to availability". But at least you have an idea of what the price will be before you phone them.

Watersmeet also had other types of fish availability, but I won't bore you with the details. Suffice to say I liked their website.

So $150 would get you 100 rainbow trout that are 4 to 6 inches long. Then you just let them grow. Or you could get 50 of each size for $537.50, that way you have a wide variety of sizes and they all grow.

Probably should figure out first how big a pond needs to be to support that many fish, and also how much vegetation the pond needs before you decide to stock it.

20 Tips for making your own Fish Pond

1. Fish ponds should be at least 1/2 acre (21,780 sq feet) or more in water surface area. So roughly 150 by 150 feet if you were making a roughly square pond.

2. Make steep slopes to a depth of 4 feet or more. This helps minimize the amount of shallow water around the edge of your pond, which will reduce vegetation that erodes the edge of the shoreline. A shallow water pond (3 feet deep) is ideal for ducks and other waterfowl, but a deep water pond (4 feet or more) is better for fish.

3. The deeper the pond, the more resistant it is to droughts when some of the water will evaporate.

4. Dig the pond on a level plain, ideally a location with a high water table for groundwater. This will dramatically reduce how much water seeps into the ground.

5. Being in a lower area does not guarantee the water table is high. Actually the water table follows the contours of hills, so a higher elevation is often better, and the ground is less likely to be mucky and difficult to work with.

6. Do not excavate a spring, but you could build your pond downhill or nearby a spring.

7. Ground with more clay in it holds water better, so you want the ground surrounding the pond to have at least 20% clay.

8. Get a soil survey. This will tell you how much clay is in the ground, plus they can often tell you how deep the water table is.

9. When digging the pond, don't dig below any layer that is heavy with clay. The moment you go beyond that point it is like pulling the plug on the bathtub, and the water will drain out the bottom.

10. Don't confuse the ground water table with being a spring. 99% of the time you don't have a spring. It is just the ground water table seeping sideways into your new pond.

11. You can also dig test holes to determine where the water table is. It will fill up with water to the point where the water table is, but no further.

12. A deeper test hole can also tell you where the layer with more clay ends, so you have a better idea of how deep you can dig safely.

13. If hiring someone else to dig your pond, get an agreement guaranteeing the depth of the pond itself, not the depth of the hole they dig. The pond will only reach the top of the water table, so if the hole they dig is 15 feet deep, but the water table is 3 feet below the ground, then your pond will only be 12 feet deep. Thus if you want the pond to be 15 feet deep, then the hole would need to be 18 feet deep. It is common to get a written agreement guaranteeing the water depth.

14. Avoid building your pond too close to trees, as leaves and nutrients will end up filling your pond up.

15. Figure out ahead of time where you are going to be excavated dirt from the pond. Avoid putting it anywhere that would effect erosion patterns that could hinder your pond.

16. To prevent erosion and degradation of the water quality, construct a berm / embankment around the pond which is 1 foot tall by 4 feet wide, and have plants on it. The plants will filter surface water and contaminants that would otherwise go downhill and seep into your pond.

17. Do not use pesticides or fertilizers within 100 feet of your pond. Also even at a further distance, never apply pesticides or fertilizers on a windy day. A buffer zone of 100 feet (33.33 yards) of grass around the pond would be ideal.

18. If you have livestock, build a fence around the pond to keep livestock away from your pond.

19. Before building, kill any garlic mustard, glossy buckthorn, or purple loosestrife that is on your property. These invasive species love to clog up ponds and marshlands.

20. Clean the pond of debris or trash regularly.

Personal Note

My parents have a natural duck pond on the property where the ground is low enough that the water table has created a natural pond there, which is sadly rather marshy.

If that pond was dredged out and made deeper using a backhoe, it could be turned in to a fish pond, however there is one big problem... it is surrounded on one side by farmland which has pesticides and fertilizers sprayed on it at least once per year. So even if they were to turn it into a fish pond, they would need to create a 100 foot wide barrier of grass around the pond to keep the water from being spoiled with contaminants.

Plus my parents aren't really into fish, so whatever. Duck pond it will have to stay.

However in the future if I ever own a good amount of land, making a 200 feet wide round-ish pond with another 100 feet of grass around it sounds like a good way to be able to fish whenever I want.

Trout Farms and How to Gut and Cook Trout

Spring and early summer is a good time of the year for trout fishing.

But if you have never done trout fishing, or you have children or friends who have never gone fishing, then Trout Farms are a good place to start.

A few examples near Toronto

Primrose Trout Farm
595646 Blind Line, Shelburne, ON L0N 1S8

Milford Bay Trout Farm
1224 Hewlitt Rd, Bracebridge, ON P1L 1X4

Linwood Acres Trout Farm
8382 Gilmour Rd, Campbellcroft, ON L0A 1B0
Burd's Family Fishing
13077 ON-48, Whitchurch-Stouffville, ON L4A 7X3

Trout Farms typically charge a small entrance fee and then a fee for every 100 grams of fish you catch. Rates vary on location. Thus while you are paying for it, you are also more likely to actually catch a fish, and this thus makes a good introduction for people who are new to fishing - and not used to the concept of going fishing and perhaps not catching a single bite.

Note - To get your monies worth, in theory it is best to arrive early, catch as many fish as you can, and leave with lots of fish. Sure, it costs you more as per the weight of all the fish you catch, but you only have to pay the entrance fee once. Then you fillet the trouts and keep them in the freezer for whenever you want to eat them.

The video below is from "Outdoor Boys" and shows Luke and the boys fishing at a local trout farm, how to gut a fish, how to fillet a fish, and several different cooking recipes.

Easy Pan Fried Trout Recipe

Makes 6 servings
Cooking time: Varies

2 lbs whole trout fillets
2 Tbsp (30 mL) whole wheat or all-purpose flour
¼ tsp (2 mL) freshly ground pepper
2 Tbsp (30 mL) milk
2 Tbsp (30 mL) canola oil lemon and parsley, optional garnishes
On a plate, mix flour with pepper for dredging the fish.

Place milk in bowl, dip trout in milk and then place on plate to coat with flour on both sides.
In large saucepan, heat canola oil to medium-high. Place fish in pan and fry for approximately 4 – 5 minutes per side or until golden brown.

Allow fish to stand in pan for about 10 minutes before slicing and serving. Garnish with a wedge of lemon.

Goes well with baked potatoes, french fries, and fried/cooked vegetables.

Happy Fishing and Eating!

How to Adjust Draw Weight on a Compound Bow

Someone contacted me recently asking about my various compound bow repair and tuning services.

Tuning Services
  • Adjusting the draw weight.
  • Adjusting the draw length.
  • Cam synchronization.
  • Reinforcing the peep sight (in the event it is loose).
  • Some newer models also allow you to tune the draw cycle to make it smoother or harsher, which effects FPS speed. Scroll to the * at the bottom of this post to learn more.
  • Etc. If I didn't list it here, just ask.
Although it really depends on what the customer needs and what the bow is capable of. All bows have for example a minimum and maximum draw weight / draw length, and you can adjust between the two limitations fairly easily.
It also helps if you have a copy of the owner's manual with respect to changing the draw length/weight, as there are differences between manufacturers and models, but generally speaking there are certain similarities that are common to all compound bows.

A simple task like "adjusting the draw weight" I would argue is something that 70% of the time you probably don't need me for. (It is the other 30% of the time which you do, and that mostly is due to more modern compound bows that allow you to radically change draw weights.)

Below are two such bows:
  • The Bear Cruzer (left), which has an adjustable draw weight of 5 lbs to 70 lbs.
  • The Diamond Infinite Edge (right), which has an adjustable draw weight of 5 lbs to 70 lbs.

The Diamond Infinite Edge model came out in 2013 and it was the first affordable "broad range" compound bow which could be adjusted anywhere from 5 lbs to 70 lbs, and with a draw length that could be adjusted anywhere from 13 inches to 30 inches, with a maximum let off of 75% (actual let off varied on the poundage and draw length).

But attaining that broad range of adjustability meant the cams on the bow are rather complex, and the owner really should have the manual before attempting to adjust it.

The adjustability and the affordable price of the Infinite Edge made it very popular with new archers and old archers who just wanted a super-adjustable bow - that doesn't need a bow press to adjust. That popularity led to huge sales, and this did not go unnoticed by other manufacturers.

The Bear Cruzer model came out in 2015, boasting almost identical stats, but with 1 extra inch of adjustable draw length (12 to 30 inches instead of 13 to 30). As you can see from the photo above comparing the two, they have a lot of similarities.

Also in 2015, Diamond came out with the Infinite Edge Pro model and improved upon their design, giving the new version a maximum let off of 80%.

Below is a close up image of the cam design of the Infinite Edge Pro:

Looks pretty complicated, right? And this is pretty standard for modern compound bows. Almost all of them now use a complex cam system which requires the owner to be using the owner's manual, or for them to hire someone who is familiar with fixing such things.

Next lets compare the cam system of an older model compound bow, and see how much has changed:

Look how simple that is. Not much complexity, is there? The above cam really only has 3 settings, and they are all for adjusting the draw length. See the following post to learn more.

How to Adjust Draw Weight
Adjusting the Draw Weight on older compound bows, and to a large extent on modern compound bows really comes down to adjusting the limb bolts (shown on the right).

If you want a lighter poundage you turn the bolts counter-clockwise, starting with the top limb bolt and then the lower limb bolt.

If you want a heavier poundage you turn the bolts clockwise, starting with the bottom limb bolt and then the top limb bolt.

I recommend turning either by 1/2 turns or 1 full turn each time, keeping both the top and bottom even in a progressive manner. It takes longer, but it is safer for the bow. Do not turn the top bolt say 5 times or more all at once and then do the same with the bottom bolt. Making sudden rapid changes like that puts extra strain on the bolts, the limbs and the cams. You want to adjust it slowly and safely.

If you think you have reached your desired weight, you can check by drawing back the bow and see how comfortable or hard it feels. (Having the Owner's Manual is handy at this stage for determining the poundage.) You then repeat this process until you reach a draw weight that feels right for you (or measures the desired amount on a bow scale).

If you don't have an Owner's Manual, but you want to be really precise, then you will need a bow scale.

I use a 100 lb digital bow scale from Allen. I use it both for adjusting draw weights on compounds, but also for the tillering process when I am making longbows and flatbows. When tillering a bow, it is very handy to have.

Costs about $32 CDN on Amazon.ca. (This is just info, not a paid promotion. Notice the lack of links.)

Simply turn it on, attach the hook like you would a mechanical release, and then pull back until you reach the let off point.

The scale then tells you the peak poundage that was reached during the draw cycle (or change the settings and it will tell you the holding weight).

So yes, if you really want to measure the precise poundage then you will want a digital scale. (Also works well for weighing babies and toddlers who don't want to stand still.)

So what do you need a Compound Bow Repairman for then?

Honestly, most of what I do is NOT tuning. I can certainly do it if the customer needs me to, but repair work is usually things like:

  • Reassembling a compound bow that has been dryfired and is now in pieces.
  • Restringing a compound bow that has been dryfired and the string and/or cables fell off.
  • Replacing parts that are broken, bent or otherwise damaged.
  • Etc.

I also find that some places refuse to do certain types of repair work and try to sell the customer a new bow instead. They see an older (possibly vintage) compound bow, they think it will be too hard to repair, and they don't want to bother trying to repair it when they could just sell you a new compound bow instead (and get a commission).

In my case, I typically don't sell compound bows. I will sometimes buy compound bows for parts, or buy compound bows, repair them and then sell them, but most of the time my "stock of compound bows" is limited to my personal bows that are not for sale. So there is no motivation for me to sell a customer a brand new compound bow, because I don't sell such things.

I also really enjoy the process of fixing compound bows, especially older / vintage models. So to me part of the fun is taking something old and broken, and fixing it again. (Often I also clean it too, so it looks shiny and new-ish in photos and when I give it back to the customer.)

I don't know of anyone (anywhere!) who is into repairing vintage compound bows.

So do you need me to adjust the draw weight on your compound bow?

If it is an older model, you can probably do it yourself just by adjusting the bolts.

If it is a modern model with a larger variance in the draw weight, you probably need to read the owner's manual or you will need a repairman like myself. You can certainly try to adjust it yourself using just the limb bolts. If the variance in draw weights is comparatively small (say 40 to 60 lbs, instead of 5 to 70), then you probably won't need me at all.

* Adjusting the Draw Cycle

So you might have noticed that way up at the top I mentioned that some new compound bows (mostly that came out within the last 2-3 years) also have an option to adjust the draw cycle of the bow. This adjustment allows the archer to choose between.

  • A harsher draw cycle and a harder wall before reaching the let off, which stores more kinetic energy and offers more FPS speed.
  • A smoother draw cycle and softer wall before reaching the let off, which offers more user comfort and less FPS speed.

Thus the archer can perhaps start with a smoother draw cycle and a lower poundage, and as their strength grows they can adjust the settings so that it becomes harsher / faster as they progressively get stronger.

People with shoulder and/or back problems may also wish to use the smoother settings.

The compound bows that currently offer this feature typically cost $1,000 CDN or more, and it is a particular type of person who spends that much on a compound in the first place. Typically, such a person also buys a new compound every year or every two years, and their old compounds end up collecting dust in a closet or in a case waiting for the day when its owner might be struck by the thought of "Hey, I should shoot that old Hoyt or Matthews sometime."

Adjusting the Draw Cycle on one of these modern compound bows is no more complicated than adjusting the draw length - provided of course that you have the owner's manual.

Never, ever throw away the owner's manual.

Sometimes you can find a copy of an owner's manual online, but there is no guarantee you can find it. So please don't throw them out.

Two Ways to make a Barbed Arrowhead, Greek and Hupa

African Barbed Arrowhead
There are a variety of ways to make a barbed arrowhead, which are useful for both hunting and for warfare - and of course, fishing. Lest we forget fishing.

Below are two videos demonstrating the traditional Hupa method, and also the Greek method using bronze casting. Both have their advantages and disadvantages.

There are lots of methods out there for making arrowheads - some people reuse old spoons for example, or nails, or any number of things that can be reworked, melted, cast, hammered, bent, and later sharpened into a good working arrowhead.

eg. Just take tinsnips and the some lids from metal cans and you can make some nice flat arrowheads very easily. Sharpen and they are good to use. (Somewhat disposable, but hey, they are also plentiful and easy to make.)

How to start a fire with a flint and steel kit

Trivia Question:

Which is harder, flint or steel?

Watch the following video from Townends to get the answer.

You can buy flint and steel kits on Amazon, or if you are smart you can collect your own materials for considerably less cost.

Wilderness Solutions Flint and Steel Kit - $28.95 (includes shipping)

Primitive Fire Deluxe Flint and Steel Kit - $32

Myself, I already have everything I need.

Years ago I bought flint arrowheads. So I have those handy if I need them. That plus a steel knife and some suitable tinder, and I am good to go. eg. Pine sap makes very good tinder for starting a fire.

eg. Watch the following video from Coalcracker Bushcraft on how to use pine sap as tinder. Plus, pine sap is suitable tinder when everything else is wet because it is so oily it repels water.

How to use an Adze, and how to make your own

So I have been meaning to post more woodworking posts and videos on here, and with the plethora of woodworking videos available on YouTube there are certainly a lot of options. Anything by Roy Underhill of the Woodwright's Shop is definitely at the top of my list, as he tends to emphasize old school hand tools that don't require any electricity.

And for off gridders, anything that doesn't use electricity is definitely the thing to get.

However I could not find any Roy Underhill videos demonstrating how to use an adze (or how to make one). They exist, and I know this because I have watched them, but I cannot seem to find them right now.

So we will have to make do.

So the first video is from Scott Wunder from "WunderWoods" who demonstrating how to use an adze.

The second video further below is how to make a stone adze using stone age materials. Clearly that design can be adapted to metal if someone wanted to.

Adzes can also be used for hollowing out a log into a bowl. So the third video below covers that topic.

Last xmas I got a small adze as a gift and in the future I will be using it for bowlmaking - and possibly for trimming wood off a stave during bowmaking too, but we shall see. I will try to remember to make a video of the process.

How to Build a Log Cabin, Timelapse + Longer Video

First, lets watch the timelapse video of how this guy built his own log cabin.

All videos are from the youtube channel "My Self Reliance".

Next to my commentary before we continue to the longer videos below:

  1. If it was me building it, I would have liked to have made it bigger. Mostly because I have a wife and a kid and we would want the extra space.
  2. When I lived in South Korea I got the pleasure of visiting and sleeping in a Traditional Korean log cabin - which was AMAZING. It was so cool inside, and it was very easy to sleep there. No bugs or insects either. Clearly there is something to be learned from their traditional building techniques.
  3. If I didn't make it bigger, I would have at least designed it in a way that it can be modified and expanded in the future easily.
But whatever! This is his place, not mine. Maybe he doesn't have a wife/kids. Or maybe he does, but they don't like mosquitoes. Whatever. His choice, his freedom to do as he pleases.

I checked. He does have a wife and a dog. And kids. And apparently he has since built cabins, so he now has plenty of space.

In this 2nd video here is his guide to buying cheap off grid land... and talks about many of the legal issues about building a log cabin on off grid land, which can be hassle for many people. Many of the pitfalls can be rather discouraging, but it is important to know what you are getting into.

The next video: How to build a log cabin for free.

And the last video: A 1 hour video from 2017 on how to build a log cabin.

If life in a log cabin interests you, please check out his other videos on "My Self Reliance". I found them to be very informative.

How to Buy and Flip Off Grid Homes in Ontario

Six Steps to Buying and Selling an Off Grid Home for a Profit

#1. Research potential homes to buy.

You are looking for homes that have the following features:
  • No electricity, not attached to Ontario's electrical grid.
  • No water/sewage or self-sufficient water/sewage.
  • Relative easy to repair / beautify.
  • Cheap, but will be desirable once you've fixed everything and turned it into an off grid marvel.
  • The real estate prices in the region should be on the upswing.

#2. Determine your costs and time requirements.
  • Calculate how much time and money will be needed to add a solar array/wind turbine and battery system.
  • Calculate how much time and money will be needed to add an off grid septic system and to provide water, water filtration and a water heating system.
  • Calculate how much time and money will be needed to make any necessary repairs and to beautify the property to bring in potential buyers. This might include buying flowers, plants, repairing the driveway, any number of things.
  • Calculate how much time and money will be needed to add various features that would increase the value of the property. eg. Adding an outdoor hot tub, a pool, a greenhouse or other features.
#3. Add up all costs and time requirements and add 30%.

Expect costs to end up being more than you expect. Same goes with time requirements.

For example you might be buying a place that you think requires $40,000 worth of costs to increase its Off Grid value, plus a 100 days of labour to make all the necessary changes. But that is only because you are low-balling everything. You are thinking that is the minimum amount of money and time you need.

Instead you probably need at least $52,000 and 130 days of labour to complete the tasks.

You also need to determine how much is your time worth. Is your labour worth $20 per hour? If so then 130 days of labour, at 8 hours per day is 1,040 hours. So your time should be worth at least $20,800.

Thus if you spend $52,000 improving the property and $20,800 worth of your time, your end goal is to sell the property for at least $72,800 more than whatever you paid for it.

So if you paid $200,000 for the property your goal should be to sell it for $273,000 or more.

If you paid $10,000 for the property, you want to be selling it for $83,000 or more.

#4. Determine if Buying a particular property is worth the financial risk.

Some properties might be worth the risk, others might require a lot more time and money to make a sale. Ideally you want to buy a property, improve it dramatically, and then sell it quickly for a profit.

Then you take the money you made and start planning your next purchase. Another off grid property that is down on its luck that you can improve and then sell for a profit.

Always Remember the Following Principle: Sell for a profit.

If a particular property seems too risky, unlikely to be sold for a profit for the amount of work required, then you should consider all your options and choose a different property.

#5. Buy the property which offers the most potential for a quick profit with the least financial risk.

Then all you need to do is accomplish your goals and stay within budget in terms of time requirements and the amount of money spent on materials.

#6. Get Ready to Sell.

During the whole process your end goal is to sell the property, so every step along the way should be geared towards that goal.

One way to improve your chances would be to make a series of YouTube videos about the process of repairing the property. Lots of photography is good too, which you then promote on a website.

When it eventually comes time to sell you might already have several potential buyers interested in the property and thus not have to advertise much via the local real estate brokers. Quality photographs and videos can do a lot to draw in potential buyers, especially buyers who are specifically looking for an off grid home which doesn't require any additional work and they just need to move in.

Then you count your profits and go back to step #1. Repeat the process with the added knowledge of what worked, what didn't work, and what helped to make the most profit.

Some house flippers are only looking to do some gardening, landscaping, swap out the old windows, and maybe a new paint job before they flip a house. But you don't have to be limited by such narrowly focused goals. A lot more profit can be made if you put in the extra effort.

New solar panels, a wind turbine, a battery system, a better water and septic system - giving the new buyers more electricity and more access to clean water is valuable to the tech savvy buyers of today who like their hot showers.

New windows, a paint job and some gardening/landscaping.

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