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Powered by Cow Plops?

There is Gold in them thar Cow Plops!!!

At least that is what this National Film Board short seems to suggest, where an inventor has come up with a good way to extract methane from cow plops, which is usable with cars and such.

The description of the short does it justice:

This short film presents Mr. Bate, an inventor who discovers a substitute for gasoline in barnyard manure. Even though he fits the classic mould of single-minded know-how and practical dreamer, his discovery is tried and tested. He demonstrates how his homemade digester does turn manure into potent methane gas that powers his auto. And for good measure, he demonstrates his latest sustainable invention – a bicycle powered by the bumps on the road.

Now that is what I call a GREEN solution to a problem. Given we need cows anyhow, why not use their DUNG for fun?

Bate’s Car: Sweet as a Nut and Cow Plops?


Should I Drive or use Mass Transit ?

Mass Transit?

That is one of the big questions I continue to have to ruminate on. Do I take a car or bus?

In my previous job, there really was no reason to take the bus because:

  • It took 4 times the time to take the bus as it did in a car
  • The Bus did not run often enough and did not cover the times I might need to come and go to work
  • Parking for my car was free
Microsoft Canada

Variable Changes

With a new job the financial variables have changed and it now I might again look at the transit equation again:

  • Parking now costs money no matter where I put my car (varying costs but none are very cheap).Parking is free for me, but only if I managed to not get a parking ticket and it is much farther away
  • The amount of time to get to work by car is now only 1/2 the estimated bus time1/4 of the time, my office moved
  • The transit tax write off comes into the equation as wellunfortunately that is no longer part of the equation

To bus or not to bus, that will be the question, but for now I will drive.


That is another interesting point to consider for this trip. Straight biking to work while excellent for the health can be is dangerous in traffic (some of the route has bike paths but not all of it), and I am not sure whether there are showers at work (I do sweat a great deal)there are showers at work, but biking in Ottawa is lethal. The electronic bike is an interesting idea I have been looking at, but whether I can recharge at work is another interesting question to think about.

Car Pooling?

I do know someone at my job who I might be able to car pool with, which might be an excellent choice as well. I have previously car pooled which works well if the people car pooling all work the same hours, which can be tricky, but the more interesting question is how do you arrange to compensate folks for car pools?

Car for Now

For now, thanks to the systemically flawed mass transit system in Ottawa, I will continue to drive, but if the Light Rail system starts functioning, I will revisit this decision.


Basement Clean Outs Lead to Treasures

This was written before Marie Condo and her fabulous ideas of clutter, but still topical to me. Here is Marie’s book on Amazon.

So we spent a long weekend moving and adding furniture to our basement. We also attempted to clean out some accumulated clutter over the past years.

A few things that I learned:

  • If you find a box that has not been opened ( you can tell because it has the packing tape from your move on the top ), do NOT open it. Do not open if you are attempting to de-clutter. As soon as you open a box, it will cause you to rationalize why you kept it, and it will create more clutter. The amount of chaos will be at a 6:1 ratio (i.e. six new boxes will be made from this one box)). You can peek inside to ensure it isn’t a box of gold, but if you look closely, you are finished!
  • There are treasures in your basement for charitable organizations:
    • I found three old sets of glasses that I took to my church. They recycled them, and someone else had glasses.
    • My old TV went to the Salvation Army, not the landfill site.
    • A lot of arts and crafts supplies will go to the Salvation Army. Hopefully, they can make some money on that.
    • A great deal of baby clothing and paraphernalia were donated to the next generation in my wife’s family.
  • Shelves can be helpful for storage, as long as it is for storage and not clutter. We shall see what comes of these shelves, but they need to be attached to the wall.
  • Clutter will cost money in the future.

The spiders that lived in my basement are very upset. They now live in the garage thanks to a vacuum blitz, but some insects must be moved in the name of de-cluttering.

I spoke with another person who de-cluttered, but they did so after their basement flooded. They had to throw out many treasures because they were ruined. My advice would be to de-clutter now. Don’t let mother nature or the forces of nature force you to do it.

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Earth Day: Another Idea

Written many years ago. I no longer compost, I use the Green Bin program from my city. I still tune my small engines, but now during the Pandemic cloth bags are now a big no-no. Happy Belated Earth Day.


My wife and I have started composting again. We also use the compost in our garden so it is a money-saving thing as well (don’t need as many expensive fertilizers or have to buy top soil). Sometimes we forget about our kitchen bucket, but eventually, either the smell or the fruit flies will remind us the bucket needs to be emptied.

We always end our composting year by throwing our Jack-O-Lanterns in there for the winter (the bins we use are at the bottom of the backyard and are not accessible in the wintertime).

Tune Your Small Engines

I had Hunter Power Equipmentcome over to do an end of season tune-up for my 20 year old snowblower. They did service on it about 5 years ago, and after that, it ran better than when I first bought it, and now it is ready to keep blowing snow for many years more (and do it in a much less toxic fashion). A tuned engine especially on a snowblower or a lawnmower is a very good thing (the amount of pollutants from small engines are a major contributor to the Smog issues of the world).

I also am not buying a new snowblower, which is a frugal thing in my mind too!

Cloth Grocery Bags

This is starting to annoy me, since I keep forgetting to bring the darn bags to the store and either end up buying another cloth bag, or have to purchase the plastic bags.

A good friend brought up an excellent point that most real shoppers have already thought about which is what to do about the meat that you purchase. If you buy meat, normally you put it in an extra plastic bag to keep it from leaking, but now with cloth bags, meat blood or fluids will now leak onto your cloth bag. This means the shopper in the know will either:

  1. Wash their cloth grocery bags often
  2. Designate one or two cloth bags as the “meat” bags and wash them very often
  3. Use the plastic bags in the vegetable department to wrap the meat up in.

Does anybody care to comment on this one?


Death and Taxes

The Big Killers Are…

Stats Canada came out with a survey that pointed out that:

In 2005, the three leading causes of death in Canada were cancer, heart disease and stroke. These three causes of death were responsible for 58% of all deaths in Canada in 2005.

This is not surprising, really, but it does make one take a pause and remember the importance of being in good health, getting exercise and eating well. Financially recognize the importance of having Life Insurance as well.


Do What You Can program starts today to help start getting electronic components OUT of the landfill sites. This has been a good idea since the dawn of new TV technologies. It could mean a great deal of old “tube” TVs filling up our landfill sites with all of the exciting chemicals in them, as well. The program seems free (I haven’t found any cost statement), which is excellent given the last time I tried to be “Green,” it cost me $25 to recycle a CRT for a computer

The Tax Man Cometh

Remember the end of this month (it’s April today, no April Fool’s jokes today), so get your taxes done and in on time. If you owe money, pay at the end of the month, but what are you waiting for if you are OWED money? Do you want to loan the government your money? Tax time only feels like your head is in a vice for a short period, and then it’s over for this year.

No iPod/iPhone Skype in Canada (yet)

My post yesterday was premature. I attempted to get the Skype client for my iPod and found out it is not available in Canada yet.  This is annoying, and if anyone can send me a copy of the client, I’d appreciate it to try things out (anything to lower my phone bills).

Q1 on Markets Ends

Optimistically the markets closed yesterday, with an uptrend which doesn’t mean we are out of the woods, only that there was some buying at the end of the Quarter. It could be significant Mutual Funds doing some “window dressing,” or it might be the start of something good. Only time will tell.

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