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The Jump – How to tell a very short story with video

Last weekend the family was out skating and playing out on a frozen pond in rural Saskatchewan. (Don’t worry, I had to spell check that one too). In the midst of our adventure a friend wanted some tips on putting together a video, so we spent a few fun minutes putting together the above story.

This was all filmed with my cellphone, and took maybe 30 minutes to film and edit. Here’s how we did it.

Tell a story

Every movie has to have a story. The better the story (however simple) the better the film. You can go to film something with a story in mind, or you can wait for it to all happen and then edit it into a story. The latter can be more challenging, but equally rewarding.

What’s your theme?

Good stories have a theme – what the story is trying to show or teach. Our story was about overcoming obstacles… ūüėČ Remember, don’t be preachy, let it speak for itself.

What’s your plot?

Your plot is the¬†conflict or struggle that your main character goes through. It’s your tool to show your theme or lesson. This conflict can be internal or external, but it needs to come to a resolution.

In our case the struggle was whether or not our young rider was going to make the jump.

My struggle was whether or not he was going to land on (and break) my new cellphone in the process!

Build the tension

As the story moves forward the tension should increase. Will he make it? Are their new obstacles? Everything should pull us to that final moment when the protagonist concludes the plot.

Structure

Most stories can be split up into¬†a beginning, middle and end and more or less they all follow the same structure. We’re introduced to the character(s), a conflict arises, tension builds, and then finally the conflict resolves in victory or defeat, before we wrap it up. A longer story might have more ups and downs, more conflicts and minor resolutions, but it all ties together in one final conflict and resolution.

Now just add some music

Music can make a story infinitely more interesting. Especially if the story is just a kid going over a jump on a sled.

Choose a piece of music that suits your story or that part of the story. For us, an¬†overdramatic piece that built to a crescendo fits the bill nicely… I also imagine it’s how I would have felt if I were on the sled.

Recording the video

One of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever received was to plan your shots. Think about all the different ways you could capture the story?

Think of everything you can imagine, including crazy ideas. We joked about holding up my son on the sled and recording a shot as if he was flying through the air for 15 seconds or so. If we had the resources to do it, we probably would have… and it could have had a few laughs. We settled for a few less dramatic ones that we recorded on a few runs down the track. We kept about 50% of the footage… which is surprisingly a lot… which leads to another point.

ALWAYS get more than you think you need. You won’t be able to go back and replicate things easily later, so get more than you think you need at the moment. We didn’t get a shot of the sled starting to move, and no one wanted to go back and get the shot. It’s too bad as the story would have flowed a little bit more.

The End

If you made it all the way through this boring little how to, please leave a comment below! Thanks for watching!

How’s that for over analysing 15 seconds of video?

Flying a DIY model aircraft

My nephew is a bit of a wiz when it comes to building and fixing things. He’s an early teen now and has been taking apart, fixing and re-assembling small engines for years.

Recently he started buying components for remote control aircraft online and has been his own air frames. He came over to try his foam board and coroplast spitfire a few weeks ago and I was duly  impressed.

Check out the video and let us know what you think? His next project is a quadcopter that he’s building from scratch.

Happy New Year!

Winter update from Canada

Tonight I’ll be lighting a bbq under my tractor and plowing the snow.

That may sound like a mixed metaphor, but like the featured image above, I’m being entirely transparent.

I looked at my site and wow! It has been a long time since I posted anything. Don’t fear! We’re still around and we’re still busy outdoors.

I wasn’t joking about the tractor. We’ve had really cold weather (close to 20 below (Celsius)) and it takes a toll on the farm machine that I’ve been using to clear my driveway. The problem is that the diesel engine that moves it was designed to work without glow plugs… well at least in summer time.

Lately it’s been so cold that I’ve had to pull out my backing stoves – and on one occasion a personal bbq – to heat up the oil pan enough to get it to crank. Remind me to post a video about that.

Oh, did I mention that today is the anniversary of my wedding to Mrs. Adventure? It is… I don’t know how she’ll feel about me going out to plow¬†snow on our anniversary, but I’m hoping a nice dinner out and the prospect of being able to get the minivan up the hill to our house will be sufficient justification.

The last few months have been preparation for winter at the farm. This is our first winter here and it’s been busy. Between preparing the pigs for the freezer, solving the frozen chicken water problem, getting enough wood to heat the house and clearing out the garage so we can park the cars in it I’ve been running out of free time.

The question I have for you is: What would you like to see from the website next year?

I really appreciate your feedback and would love to hear what you’d like more of and less of.

Have a happy holiday and see you next year… unless I manage to find time to post my tractor video!

P.S. Did you know that I went on a blog related trip to Indiana Dunes in October? Stay tuned for that this spring.

 

 

 

5 Great Trips to survive the US election

Rioting, looting, violence, marshal law, ¬†I’m sure you’re worried what will be the fallout of November 2016. I’m sorry to say I actually have no advice on what to do about Black Friday Sales. However, if you want to hide from US politics for a little while, here are 5 Great (longer) Canadian trips that will help you escape and have a relaxing a-political time.

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  1. Canoe Bowron Lakes – This 117 km (miles will cease to exist after the election so you better get up to speed on what a km is) canoe and portage route in Central British Columbia will keep you away from noise and political slogans. We took our youngest kids on this route in 2013 and had a blast. Take a look at our report here.Blowdown Lake
  2. Stein Valley Traverse – Up for some hiking? This 8-day through hike in BC hardly gets any attention. Route finding skills are a must, weather is fickle, fishing is supposedly great and chances of encountering politicians is approximately 0. Also, a hand cable car – how cool is that?NLW GrosMorne6 tango7174

     

  3. ¬†Gros Morne, Newfoundland – This UNESCO world heritage site offers amazing views. Spend a few days here and you’ll imagine yourself in a different time and place… one where your only vote is whether to go backcountry backpacking or kayak the fjords. Yes, Canada has fjords.Great divide trail map

     

  4. The Great Divide Trail, Alberta – This 1200 km trail traverses the continental divide between British Columbia and Alberta. You’ll need great route finding skills for this one and you’ll have to be fairly self-sufficient. This is no walk in President’s Park, but imagine leaving everything behind so you can reevaluate what’s really important to you.
    The Avalon Peninsula of Newfoundland 15:22, 14 April 2005, by Jcmurphy
    The Avalon Peninsula of Newfoundland
    15:22, 14 April 2005, by Jcmurphy
  5. East Coast Trail, Newfoundland and Labrador – Lighthouses, puffins, icebergs and whales… oh my. This ain’t Kansas. 265 kilometres of Eastern Canadian seashore await you. Lose yourself in the beauty of nature. Oh, and no “Vote for…” lawn signs!

Canada is a great place to visit, with many, many Great Canadian Adventures where you can take a vacation from the busy-ness and politics of life. Come visit wherever you want, just leave the politics at the door :).

P.S. I’d love to hear your trips for surviving any election, so please leave comments down below.

 

 

Father Son Fishing Trip at Murtle Lake [Video]

For years I’ve been hoping to get out on a multi-day canoeing/fishing trip in the back country. We managed it finally and this is the result.

Get out and make memories that will last.

Murtle Lake 2016 – Lightning, Fish and Food

Last year we introduced ourselves to the fantastic and unpredictable lake known as Murtle Lake. This year we went back with high expectations and good food… It did not disappoint.

Never trust the forecast when you head up there. A week before, the weather reports stated solid rain. What awaited us was a mix of sun, rain, wind and lightning.

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Despite that, we caught lots of fish, went swimming and the kids had a blast.

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We even took some first time canoe trippers. They got the easy boat, while we pushed the tanker along. Despite their best efforts they managed to stay afloat!

 

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We returned to our favourite camp site. We recommend you avoid it… because… reasons… good reasons that have nothing to do with popularity.

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And oh the food. From cedar smoked trout to donuts to bacon, egg and salsa burritos, we ate like kings, queens, princes and princesses.

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Check out the video for more details and amazing lightning storms, but be warned. you may see us next year!

Farm Updates: August 2016 – Apples, Pigs, and more

Wonder what has been keeping us busy? Check out this video update and give us your feedback.

The Pigs are getting fantastically large. The chickens still lay 12 egss a day (and sometimes a double yolker). The plums and apples are ripe. The hay is cut and we’re tired out.

A taste of what makes farmers tough #farmlife

You wait for the perfect window – at least 3 days – enough time to cut, rake, pile and then bale it… Then, when you see the perfect window where sunny skies and hot days are forecast you make the leap, hoping the forecast stays true.

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In those 3-4 days¬†rain can ruin over 3-4 months work. It can rot the hay, or at least lower the quality to the point that an $8 bale of timothy is only worth $5. When you’re looking at 300 – 400 bales, that’s¬†a significant¬†loss… which is bigger when you consider that most small acreage owners are contracting the work out and giving away¬†a cut or at least paying an hourly rate to the farmer doing the work.

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Many of the farmers in the area were caught with a surprise storm – later advertising “rained on” hay for $3 off the going rate), some caught out twice.¬†This is why farmer’s advice for cutting hay used to (and sometimes still does) include prayer.

When you’re running a hobby farm you often can’t justify purchasing on the equipment needed to hay a field. It’s over¬†$20000 for even old farm machinery to cut, condition and bale, so you usually settle for a crop share (60/40) or an hourly rate (we were quoted¬†$120 an hour for operator, time and equipment maintenance). There are pros and cons to each method. If the farmer is getting a cut, he’s motivated to prioritise your field. If he’s getting paid by the hour and your hay gets rained on before being baled then you’ll need to get the hay flipped again and that can be a couple hours more of his time.

Our hay was delayed a month before cutting due to the farmer’s baler breaking down and an unseasonably wet June. There was no window of time long enough to cut, dry and bale until last Thursday, when¬†the forecast cleared for a good 2 weeks of sun. That’s when our guy arrived and set to work cutting.

And that’s also about when the forecast changed – promising rain a week down the road. That’s ok, with only overcast skies we still had a few days of buffer. But, as all good stories go, on Monday morning the forecast changed again – thunderstorms that afternoon. The hay on one field was ready, so our guy set to work baling¬†it and I took the rest of the day off work to collect some pallets and start collecting the bales when they were ready.

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We worked all afternoon with the whole family. The oldest two stuffed bales into our lawn tractor’s trailer while we went around in my dad’s pickup truck and a trailer wondering – and praying – that we would get it done on time. The younger two… went for hay rides.

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We slowly ate away at the more than 300 bales, stopping for water breaks and dinner. At around 9:30, as it got dark my brother showed up as a surprise and we were more than happy for his help. As they say, many hands make light work.

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As night wore on we could see the lightning flashing to the north, and yet, stars shone overhead. It looked like the storm had been diverted and we would make it.

Near 11:30, with our arms and legs sore from chucking hay first into the trailer and then onto the growing pile in our pole barn we counted down the last 10 of the 50 lb bales.

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Sweaty and tired we packed in the last of the 300+ bales, having moved over¬†15000 lbs¬†of grass. We were exhausted, but¬†very thankful to have got the hay in dry, counting one field down and the other one needing only a few more days to dry… and a forecast of good weather.

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Post Script:

I woke up this morning to the following forecast:

Thunderstorms are expected to develop across the Southern Interior today and there is the potential for some of these storms to become severe. The main concern is heavy downpours however large hail and strong winds gusts are also possible.

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Mr & Mrs Adventure Hike the Monashees

With 4 kids and a handful of pets –¬†it’s easy to confuse which is which – spending time with one’s spouse is easily (and often) relegated to the back burner. Gfor that reason that we decided to make an impromptu escape for some misadventures with Mrs. Adventure.

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I think this is the first time we’ve ever actually gone hiking with just the two of us. Our first backpacking trip involved our 1-year-old, and while it was an awesome memory, it involved diapers and baby food and a lot of extra gear. This time we only brought the minimal gear and just relaxed… after a gruelling hike.

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Well gruelling for some. I find backpacking to be incredibly therapeutic. The steady progress of one foot after another up hill or down in a wild environment offers many distractions and in this case opportunities to talk, think and just relax.

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The lower elevation area of the Monashee mountain range is very similar to the coast Рhumid and green with wild ginger lining the many streams and creeks.

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The abundance of moss and presence of rocks and raised boardwalks (no photo sorry) makes the first 5 km (from the trailhead to Spectrum Lake) slippery in places. In late June we were entertained with plenty of birdsong and chattering squirrels.

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Water levels are still high, offering many places to refill your water bottles – and great photo opportunities!

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Once you pass Spectrum the trail changes from “Easy” to “Difficult”. This is due to a combination of the 2000+ foot elevation gain¬†and¬†narrow, overgrown trail. At one place we found a rope to help navigate a steep slope down to a creek crossing.

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One of the nice things about the crossing is that the trail opens up and offers some great views.

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At Little Peter’s lake the trail levels out. There’s still a lot of snow pack that makes the river exiting the lake quite the site. There’s a good bridge crossing as you move on towards Big Peter’s lake – our destination for the day.

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This was the new bridge. Check out the video above to see what remained of the wooden crossing.

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The trail to Big Peters was buried under snow – 3-4 feet in some places. With GPS and only 1 or 2 distractions we managed to find all the trail markers and get to Big Peters in about an hour.

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We navigated the 10 miles (16 km) in about 5 1/2 hours and had the lake to ourselves. Although there was evidence of a few day trippers from Little Peters, no one else spent the night there.

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The solitude, sunsets, and views were ours to enjoy.

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It was hard to believe at times that we could just relax and that it was just the two of us.

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The next day we headed back to the trailhead, happy for the time away, in wonder at the beauty of these remaining wild places and thankful for all the blessing we have.

If you’re ever in the Okanagan, check out the gem that is the Monashees.

June Farm Updates – Video

Well, you’ve heard that we’re doing a little hobby farming on the side. If you want to see a bit about what we’re up to then take a look at the video above.

Oh, and it was a Double-yolker. Don’t miss are awesome ’70s carpet in the bottom corner of the photo.

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It’s a nice break from the day job and the kids love it. All the best to you and yours!

Farm Life Updates: Chickens before Eggs and other projects

Things have been busy over the last few weeks at the farm. We’re still in setup mode, and a lot of work is still needed to be done. The kids have been staying involved, which is great. They’ve taken on the tasks with excitement and are happy to announce, “yay, we’re farm kids now”.

I’m note sure where that came from, but the hobby farm has definitely helped them stay positive and motivated and healthy. They hardly spend any time indoors. Here’s a round up of some of our projects.

Pool Project

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We’ve had an incredibly hot spring, so much so that they’ve already started haying the fields and cherries are expected a few weeks early. As a result, Ms. Adventure took it upon herself to hand dig a flat surface for an above ground pool.

To ensure things were done correctly, and no debris would get into the pool, she arranged for a company to come in to knock down a tree. For $50 and breakfast on the porch the job was done. Now I have to pick up a chainsaw to process our firewood.

Chickens!

Chickenhouse

A few months ago we ordered a dozen chickens, which meant we had to build a house and run for them. We looked at a lot of plans and then custom designed two tractors – a mobile coup and a mobile run that we can move around. The benefit of this is that the chickens can graze on the grass and fertilize the ground at the same time.

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The kids helped with building it. This little guy did all the nailing and gluing on the chicken feeder and even brought it to the chicken house in his farm truck.

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Oh, and here’s a bug.

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The nesting boxes can be accessed from the outside so egg collection should be painless and efficient!

Launch Time

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One of our guy has taking to reading books on historical war machines. This is a period accurate? catapult which functions using a torsion spring.

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And it quickly escalated into this. We’re hoping to build a proper trebuchet, and maybe even entering the fall pumpkin launching competition.

Coming Soon

As things slow down, we’ll be heading out on adventures of the non-domestic variety, so stick around if you want to see camping, hiking and fishing!

Update: Buying the Farm

The last month or two have brought a lot of changes for the Adventure family.¬†Did you miss us? Probably not, but in case you did, here’s a little update.

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We Bought the Farm!

In the past two months we were blessed to sell our house and purchase a small farm. Our family of six had outgrown our 3-bedroom home and small backyard and we were very thankful to find an older home with more space to grow.

Mrs. Adventure has started work on the gardening, pruning the unmaintained fruit trees and planting raspberry canes. We’d like to be as self-sufficient as possible, so a big garden is being¬†planned.

My job, when recovery permits, will be to finish a bedroom for one of the kids, planning the pens for chicken and pigs and then fencing in the aforementioned gardens.

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Health

Recovery? A little over a month ago I was eating some quinoa when I felt a crunch, followed by intense pain. It appeared that I had bitten down on a rock. Unbeknownst to me, the rock had broken a root on my molar (one that had recently been crowned).

Thinking the pain was just stress due to other things (see below) I ignored it until my next check up. I explained the pain, the dentist took a photo. She found the “root” of the¬†matter¬†(the broken root) and noted that there was an infection.

Two days later I had surgery where she removed the mola along with a wisdom tooth and festering cyst that had formed underneath it. After much tutting from the dentist I was informed that the law could have easily broken if I hadn’t shown up when I did. After scraping out the inside of my jaw, a bone graft was put in and I was stitched up. I was warned of a risk of nerve damage, given a prescription and sent on my way with a washing list of “dos and do nots”.

I’ve now been given warning to eat soft foods for 6 weeks, followed by 3 months of no physical activity like wrestling with the kids (or I risk breaking the jaw completely). All told it will take a whole year for the bone to heal.

It’s fantastic to live at a time when these things can be treated so readily. Thanks Doc!

Life Pro Tip: never ignore dental pain.

Let the Adventure Begin

If you’d like to hear more about these domestic adventures (and less dental adventures) then please let us know. If you have suggestions, we’d love to hear them.