Friday, April 18, 2014

Gord's Journal: Finger painting 4

Still finger painting, but it's time for a little change up!

large town by the sea


iPad GH

Port Bruce Revisited Finale

a wintry breeze cooled my face
my feet were rooted in their place,
and dazzling light from snow and ice
made sun's power more than twice.






Photos GH

Port Bruce Revisited 8

Three views from Port Bruce pier while doing a 180 degree turn.




The north shore is a beautiful place to stand still for a few minutes, even longer.

Coming up: My last and favourite photo in this photo series.

Link to Port Bruce Revisited 7

Photos GH

Bird Watching: "lone dove is back"

Doves usually travel in pairs, and this lone dove may be the one who lost its mate to a hungry cat last year.


I'll watch for it this week and see if it pairs up as the mating season unfolds.

Link to last bit of snow

Photo GH

"Canadian weather - two days later"

Canada is experiencing a funny time of year weather-wise. You'll hear me laughing. I'm used to it.





Snow-covered chalets on Wednesday. Then a detour, to cold beer on Thursday. In the same back yard.

Oh, it's knee-slapper season!

Link to free rent, good neighbours

Photos GH

The Workshop: shadow box treasure 4

Two coats of varnish on the front, dried nicely. Check.

Varnish on the back, dried nicely. Check.

["Nobody sees the back, but I feel it needs to shine anyway"]

["Even old plywood looks better w stain and varnish"]

["I think the back now looks pretty cool"]

Second to last job. Add support hardware, e.g., one very strong wire. Coming up.

Link to shadow box treasure 3

Photos GH

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Port Bruce Revisited 7

ice, geese, gosling, beach - and a 360 degree turn.





Link to Port Bruce Revisited 6

Photos GH

Gord's Journal: Finger painting 3

Grandson Oliver had questions about finger painting 2.

"Where is the city?"

I pointed at the rectangles hugging the shoreline.

"I know," he said. "But where is it?"

'yet again, city by the sea'

"It's beside a large sea, somewhere in Europe."

"Are we in the city?"

I thought for a sec.

"No. We're in a boat, about a mile from shore. Do you like the view?"

"I do."

And I like Ollie.

Finger painting 1

iPad GH

Port Bruce Revisited 6

Next week, when the weather is warmer, I'll tune up my bike and visit Port Bruce again.





I hope a bit of ice will still be hugging the beach.

Port Bruce Revisited 5

Photos GH

The Workshop: "odd jobs"

I might be onto something. And then again...

Shop Project Detour Number 1

While in Fenelon Falls last weekend I drove over to Handley Lumber to pick up 'gray-on-both-sides' barn board and was told to come back in an hour. They'd 'bin busy'.

No problem. I can handle free time. Off to a great flea market/antique store I did go - just blocks away -  and saw something weird, maybe wonderful. After a bit of thinking ("This could be something. This could be...") I bought a tall CD cabinet made from well-aged knotty pine, not because I saw it as a suitable place to store excess CDs but because, after sanding and painting, it could be a pretty groovy six-plex for small songbirds who like communal living on somebody's back deck. Maybe even mine. But we'll see.

[I took it apart; it's now ready to paint"]

So that's a future 'off the beaten path' shop project you'll hear more about in the future. CD Cabinet Commune.

Shop Project Detour Number 2

"I'll come over and check it out, after lunch on Monday," I said to Mrs. King.

She wanted either a birdhouse repair or a new model because a furry buzzhead of a squirrel had done significant damage to the four-plex I'd repaired two times in the past. And when I saw the damage I came to a quick conclusion.


["They ate the front door and went through the wall!"]

"I want to fix it. I could sell you another one but your squirrels might make quick work of it too."

I like odd jobs, fixer-uppers, challenges, and the possibility of defeating a squirrel, even a nasty gang of them, turns my crank.

This type of redo could very likely keep me busy (and motivated) in the shop until I'm 100 years old. Rebuild & Repel Rodents! 

Stay tuned.


Photos GH 

The Workshop: shadow box treasure 3

The stain is called 'Cabernet'. Rich.

The varnish is called 'varnish'. Satin.

["Stand back. Still wet"] 


I'll let it dry in a dust-free shop, then add hardware to the back. Cool.

Q: Gord, how do you get your shop dust-free?

A: I leave.

shadow box treasure 2

Photos GH

Birdhouse London: "I want another one"

"Heykel, you're duplex is ready," I said.

"I saw the photos. Fantastic. Build me a second one," he said.

I got right on it.



["There's space on the bench for one last little doodad"]

Almost done. Then, I'll make the call.

Heykel's tall boy ready to move

Photos GH

Zoom w a View: "free rent, good neighbours"


Lovely ranch-style triplex in Canada will be open for business - for chickadees, finches, sparrows - in less than two weeks.

Live rent free in a good neighbourhood.

Link to Port Bruce Revisited

Photo GH

"squirrels mean work"

Old South is great. Lots of trees. Some small houses very suitable for habitation. Two coffee shops near a hardware store. Less than a 25-minute walk to Milos'. But it's home to three billion squirrels and for a guy with a feeder, squirrels mean work.

["More work getting a good photo angle"]

["More work digging a new hole, but now I'm ready!"]

All winter I enjoyed watching birds at my feeder outside a study window. But in the early spring squirrels remeasured the distance between my window sill and the feeder roof, recalculated the 'leap for free food' equation and started pestering the heck out of me.

So, last week, when the earth was warm I dug a new hole and replanted the feeder farther from my sill.

"Foil me now!" I say. "Take that, you furry buzzheads!"

Link to snow-felt prose

Photos GH

Bird Watching: "last bit of snow"

Birds outside my window this morning didn't seem to mind the last bit of snow upon the feeder roof.

["As long as the feeder is full, we're happy!"]

 ["Snow isn't a problem. Empty stomach is a problem."]

["Gord, now buzz off so I can eat!"]

I'm one w the birds. Give me my morning coffee and I'll be okay.

PS Mr. Wren was singing his heart out near Carfrae St. during my morning walk

Link to "Johnny or Jenny?"

Photos by GH

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Gord's Journal: Finger painting 2

On Sunday I did a bit of finger painting. It was extremely well received.

This afternoon, I popped the lid on the leftover paints and went at it again.

'again, city by the sea' 


iPad GH

"Bury Me At Sea" 6

“Bury Me At Sea”: A Father’s Final Voyage

A WW2 Navy veteran’s request becomes a son’s great adventure 




Previously on Bury Me At Sea...

Today, though he has been gone for eleven years, (my father and I) are very close and have very much in common. But when he was alive we kept very busy with our own lives, including our homes, hobbies, sports and hundreds of other activities, and very seldom shared serious conversations about important matters. Such is life, my father would say.

About my ‘no worry, no hurry, Dad’ attitude in 2001, I say I got lucky.

As well, I say my mother’s death broke the history of silence between us and helped make the impossible possible.


*  *  *  *  * 


The Impossible Is Possible 




‘Round about 1953, during a Sunday drive on the only south-bound road out of Burgessville, Ontario the family car caught on fire. My mother expressed heated concern about the smoke entering the car so my father pulled over to the side of the road and hit the brakes. Everyone important to me jumped out of the car and, with me, stood safely in a nearby ditch. Dad then popped the hood and smoke flew everywhere.

I was four or five years old at the time and cannot recall how long we stood in the ditch or how we got home. But I do know this - that car ride was the most exciting of my short little life.

The most exciting car ride of my adult life took place during the early months of 2001, not far from Burgessville as well.

[Exciting rides. The car caught on fire near the fiery red tip
of the toothpick. Quaker Street, if drawn on the map, would
run east to west, where the word 'Norwich' appears above.]

My father and I were heading east together on Quaker Street, toward Norwich, and looking at a few of his bluebird houses located on a family farm that was also home to a wee golf course. Conversation was steady, friendly.

[One of Dad's birdhouses on Bertrand's farm, Quaker St.]

And he turned to me and said, “I’ve decided about where I’ll be buried.”

He could have picked a better road before telling me. Quaker Street is very narrow and hilly where we slowly cruised, not a shoulder within miles, just steep-banked ditches. I felt the moment was very dramatic but I sat still in my seat, didn’t white-knuckle the steering wheel and kept the car safely on the road. I just turned my head toward him for a second and nodded.

“I’m going to be buried in Norwich with Edith,” he said. He didn’t go into details.

Surely I said something wise and discerning, like “That’s a good decision, Dad” or “I think you’re doing a really good thing”, but I honestly forget if I even spoke a word.

He couldn’t have picked a better road before telling me. Shortly thereafter we remarked on spectacular snow-covered scenery on the south side of the road where a railroad line from the Norwich Co-op to Woodstock used to be, where his mother used to walk to take meals to his father at the old tile yard. And a minute after that we passed the new Quaker Street cemetery where mother would be at rest in a few months.

With his decision made I felt relief. My family could go ahead confidently with plans for our mother’s interment and I could get final arrangements made related to particular notations and symbolic etchings on a double gravestone. And I found consolation in the knowledge that my mother’s burial wishes had been granted, that she would not be buried alone.

Had I been a wiser, braver son I might very well have turned to my father and asked how he felt about not being buried at sea, or what factors helped him choose the one over the other. But I wasn’t that son. While he was alive we never discussed the matter again.

After his death, however, it came up - and not out of the blue - one more time.

More to follow.

More photos of Doug Harrison's birdhouses at Bertrand's farm.




Please link to Bury Me At Sea 5 

Photos by GH

Strikes Me Funny: snow-felt prose

["I heard its thud"]

Cold-hearted snow
landed this morning early
while I was abed,
ears covered warmly.

   I heard its thud,
   like a hammer hitting a sore toe.
   I heard a neighbour scream
   as he started to shovel snow.

No matter the snow, I thought.
I'll dream of where it's not.


["I'm heading to Halifax. Not a speck of snow!" June, 2010]

"pass the beans and weenies!"

Photos GH