Winter Updates

Photo0067I’d like to thank everyone has messaged me with either concerns, good wishes, or inspirational stories from their own lives.

I have not updated this is a while, my apologies. So here we go!

Seems like a lot of people concerned, and so first off, I have food (I live 11km from Dawson City, and I have a vehicle, other than the one I live in). I am warm, it is usually about 30C in here when I am home, nice and toasty warm! The CO levels… well there aren’t any in here, my CO detector takes a reading every minute, and there are no registered parts per million ever on it.

I have fallen in love with my little homemade wood stove, it has its own Photo0065 personality, and we have been becoming wonderful friends since winter hit. I’ve figured out a great way of getting a 6 hour burn out of it when its -40c outside… First I make sure I have a nice hot bed of coals, then I put “green” spruce on top, then I put dried spruce on top of that, the last to go in are a couple pieces of firekill (spruce forest fire wood, pretty much dead standing really hard dry wood). Then I shut down the stove (close up the flu and damper), and voila! a 6 hour burn, which means a nice nights rest, when I wake up its about +10c in here. I craw ‘outta my duvet blanket, stoke the fire and cuddle up with my dog until it warms back up in here.

I’ve slowly been sealing up drafts, and every once in a while I throw a little more snow around the base of the van… I’m not sure if it does much, but it feels like it does and thats good enough for me!

Photo0066Yukon Winter, its very interesting how fast the human body can adapt to the cold, I’m finding myself a week or two into a cold snap, and already my body is dealing with the cold very nicely. Its dry cold here, so as long as I bundle up, and don’t sweat, its Photo0063pretty warm. There is still so much I need to learn, and I’m thankful that everyone around these parts is so knowledgable and willing to share that knowledge with me.

Until next time,

Oh, and heres a song I’ve been working on, I wrote it in my van a couple weeks go, had the pleasure of playing it at a show I opened for Christine Fellows (if you have a chance click on their name to check out the amazing music they make). The song is written on Banjo, but played with a fiddle bow, plucking with my thumb and “chopping” with the bow. You can check the song out below.
I’d like to thank “Big” Al, who also lives out in Bear Creek, for taking the time to record this at his place with me.

Cuddling Rocks

Its -30C (-22F) and I’ve slowly been sealing up little gaps here and there.
I had to wake up at 4 in the morning to put more wood on, thats only a 6 hour burn… But! its the challenge!

I have about 6 big rocks I keep on top of my stove, thinking that they might create more surface for transferring heat into the air. They also stay warm a while after the fire has gone out. The best use I have found for them is warming up my feet, or throwing into my bed in the morning, they warm me up!

Welcome!

Photo By Dandy Denial
Photo By Dandy Denial

Hello, my name is Cud Eastbound & on june 6th 2014, I set off on an adventure to move to the Yukon.

I packed/gave away everything I owned, released a new album, left Halifax and went westward on a 2 month cross Canada tour, leading me all the way up to Dawson City Yukon.

I toured with my 77 Dodge Camper van, who’s name is “Night Danger” (like those moose signs through northern ontario). Night Danger has been around the continent a few times and I found it was time to find a place for it to rest for good. I’ve made a few modifications, and love living out of the van, so I figured I would try and see if I could survive a Yukon winter by living in my van.

The first challenge was to find a way to efficiently heat my little abode, so before I left Halifax I constructed a wood stove that would fit nice and safely in the back of the van. Second Challenge was to find a way to hold in the heat I would produce to stay warm all winter. I was not keen on using traditional insulation, because at that point I might as well just build a little shack, so I came to the conclusion that straw bales would be my best bet. Once I was finished with the first winter, I could donate the bales to folks who have live stock, or dog sled teams or something.Strawbale3

I was lucky enough to have a friend lend me some land in Bear Creek to try out my project on. (<3 thanks Cat). I have since cleaned up a lot of the dead trees laying around, made the road a little nicer, built a wood shed, an outhouse and wrapped my entire van in 117 Straw bales.Strawbale10

The adventure continues as I try and seal up leaky doors and windows, its a constant learning process. There are many folks helping me out with ideas, labour, time and most important of all support. Thanks to all of you <3

I have to go stoke my wood stove now, its starting to get cold, the ferry is getting pulled out of the water tomorrow, and I am so very excited for my first winter up here in the Northern Yukon.

Plastic

So… the straw bales came quite late in the season and I was planning on mudding “stucco” or “cob” whatever the outisde of the bales. However the temperature dropped too quickly and anything I would have applied to the the bales would have either not stuck, or cured properly.

I decided to purchase house wrap… $70 dollars later and some tuck tape I was in business.
Had some awesome help from friends and we got it all taped up…. Oh before that I used rope and twine to tie all the bales together, so they would not fall down.

Also, I’ve noticed a lot of people concerned about my well being… I’ve been burning wood in my fireplace non stop for 2 months now, and I clean my chimney pipe (in case of creosote build up), I check everything every day. I DO NOT leave my dog in the van, the only time he is there is when I am there with him.
I have a Carbon Monoxide detector (Thanks Diana!)

Last week has been around -25 or colder, I’ve noticed the van is very nice and warm, holds the heat well, except for the floor… as the fire place sucks air, cold air from the outside creeps in along the floor… I fixed that by drilling a 2 inch hole in the side of the van right next to the woodstove, put in a PVC pipe & on/off Valve I was given by Martin (Thanks Martin!).

So, I am still alive and well, I appreciate everyones concerns, comments, outrage and love.

Take care, don’t be shy to send me a message.

Love Cud

Cookin' up some Grayling I caught.
Cookin’ up some Grayling I caught.

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Heat & Safety

Had to rebuild the chimney 2 times, but alas! it is done, and retrofitting the van went well!

I made a platform for the stove to stand on, that is off of the wood floors. I also put metal against the walls, then using aluminium spacers I laid down some more metal about an inch away from the metal on the walls. This way, as the metal heats up the cold air rushing past it and cools it.
The chimney is also tripled walled now, there is the insulated stove pipe, then I put corrugated tin, then a metal casing to hold it all in place as it exits the van window.
For added safety, I started putting down my collection of sings and licence plates, this is just in case an ember or spark flies out of the wood stove, instead of landing on my “hard wood” floors, it will burn out harmlessly on the metal!

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Heat pt 1

my frist time welding, I decided to make a woodstove, and I hauled it in my van on tour from Halifax to Dawson..
I am Pleased to say that it works amazing!
I have not tested it at -50 yet… but I have high hopes!

The design is pretty simple, I created a woodstove that was small enough to fit in my van, but with a twist!
inside the stove, I created another stove… and within the empty spaces I poured in crushed fire brick… the stove is only about 18 inches long by 12X12… but… its packs a mean punch, and so far testing it in my van on frosty nights is proving that it stays warm from 8-10 hours…

I am stoked!!! more about the woodstove to come…
I’ll try and draw my plans (with improvements) soon! <3

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