Thursday, July 24, 2014

Halifax and Another Hard Promise

Table of Contents

 ["Thumbs up at 7:30 AM, June 9, 2014"]

Four weeks ago today I arrived home safely - but a bit numb in the hinder parts - after a stirring, 4,800-kilomtre-long motorcycle trip to the East Coast. Since then I have gradually returned to my productive routine (whatever that is, but it includes writing, woodworking, getting under foot in the kitchen), all the while sensing that my travels very much affect me deeply while I work and play.

I also feel that, though the lowest of the trip's low points make me suddenly shake my head in disbelief at odd moments during the day as much as the highest of high points ("How could that be?" I ask myself. "How could those things happen like that!?"), I wouldn't change a thing about my 18 days on the road.

Wait, maybe one thing. I'd add a few more heavy spanners to the bag I want to throw at an anonymous municipal worker in Tatamagouche.

["Coming and going. Good days and bad days. Such is life"]

Short Stories from the East Coast Trip, 2014

1. Pack Your Bags

2. I Could Live Here

3. Stinking Bag of Spanners

4. Paul Langevin, RCNVR

5. The Heart of the Matter

[On my way to the ever-lovely Tatamagouche"]

Coming soon - Pack Your Bags

Photos GH

Motorcycle Miles

Favourite Photos

["South of Kirby, on my way to Newtonville, June 2014"]

I'm not a lifelong motorcyclist. I started riding in 1991 for a couple of years, and took a 15-year hiatus before buying my second bike. That being said, I have over ten million photos taken during motorcycle rides. Gotta say, I like them all.

Link to Motorcycle Miles

Link to East Coast - Favourite Photos

Photo GH

The Workshop

Just Before Lockup

 ["Second coats today, and a photo in better light"]

Yesterday, by about 5:45 PM, I was ready to shake the dust off, put workshop tools away and head indoors for supper. I felt I had accomplished a good deal. I had painted both doors for outdoor libraries (I know, they look like mango-coloured windows), stacked up a third pile of birdhouse stock, and started the lengthy assembly process for the first of two Rietveld chairs.

["Thirteen birdhouses. I still think I need two more piles"]

Just before lockup I noticed a male cardinal at my feeder. It flew to the fence when I pulled a camera from my back pocket.

["Come on, come on. Turn around, turn around"]

All in all, I enjoyed another very good day.

Link to The Workshop

Photos GH

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The Workshop

Piles of Piles

I need to get ready for an upcoming craft show (Art in the Park, Strathroy), held in early August, so dust is flying in the shop. I stacked up a pile of stock on Monday, completed another stack (of five birdhouses) yesterday, and made a start at a third pile - of sturdy rustic houses from the oldest barn board I've used in a long time.

Nice stuff, I say. Due to my habit of covering older stacks with newer stacks of rescued (or purchased) lumber in my storage shed, these boards have been hiding from me for quite some time. (I'm pretty sure I rescued this rich brown barn board from Dorchester's landfill site three or four years ago! )

Stand back. More dust is on my agenda today.

Link to The Workshop

Photos GH

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Workshop

Oh Yeah, Stack 'Em Up!

["Rescued cedar two by fours make my day"]

Tomorrow I start three more 'little free libraries' from rescued lumber. Very cool!

Link to The Workshop

Photo GH

The Workshop

Stack 'Em Up!

In conclusion, doors - that look like windows - for two libraries are now painted, ready for top coats. The snake - for signage - is also ready for more action.

And finally, I'm finally getting around to building stacks of birdhouses. Only 19 more to go.

Link to The Workshop

Photos GH


Conservation Quiz Answer

What happened to the California couple who scaled back their watering during the states's drought?

All is revealed in the photo below:

Three things. 1. The correct answer to yesterday's quiz was 'D'. (We have a winner and a California committee is - right now - determining if there will be a prize or not.)

2. If you live in California and are under emergency orders to conserve water it is still okay to water your lawn. In fact, you'll be slapped w warnings if you don't. Similarly, in Canada, if you hear the water level in the Great Lakes is declining, one should continue to water lawns thoroughly, wash cars with lots of soap (then rinse), fill swimming pools right to the top, take lengthy showers, flush twice, and stock up on bottled water. Everything's fine. We'll just create more fresh water.

And 3, the news clip left me with questions. Are there other barriers to conservation of vital and limited resources, e.g., water, fossil fuels, peace on earth? Do such barriers constitute a Catch-22 or Catch-44?

Link to Conservation

Photo of London Free Press news clip by GH

Monday, July 21, 2014

WW2: Recommended Reading

The Second World War: A Military History

By Gordon Corrigan

I'm just getting started with this book but I like it already. Details to follow.

During 2014 we reach the 100th anniversary of the start of World War 1 and 75th anniversary of the start of World War 2. TVO is running a very interesting five-part series re WW1, second part is on TV tonight at ten. I recommend the television series to all students of history.

Link to WW2: Recommended Reading

Photo GH

Zoom w a View

Water Works

A view from David's Dandy Dock, Fenelon Falls.

Link to more Zoom w a View

Photo GH


Conservation Quiz

The quiz is inspired by a short news clip ('Mixed Message') from The London Free Press, July 18.

Q: Can you finish the sentence?

(From clip)... A couple received a warning that they might -

A. Not be scaling back enough to comply with state expectations

B. Be fined for not scaling back enough to help the state conserve precious supplies of underground water

C. Be jailed if compliance does not occur within week

D. Be fined for creating an eyesore (i.e., dry patches on lawn)

E. Be run out of town on a hot shingle

Link to Motorcycle Miles re conservation

Photo GH

WW2: Recommended Reading

The End... Ian Kershaw

Four hundred pages, felt too long due to a fair bit of repetition. But he does answer his preliminary question well, i.e., what factors caused World War II to go on as long as it did?

Link to WW2: Recommended Reading

Photo GH

The Workshop

Tricky Dicky Window

Once the glue dries I will paint the window for a 'little library', then cut plexiglass and backer boards for it. Fussy, fiddly work!

I will also paint this snake (signage for the library: Trade Books-s-s-s). Easy kap-easy.

I expect a visitor will return today with slates (circa 1860s) and wet saw, in exchange for a swap box. If I can come up w ideas for the slates, this could be a really really good day in the shop.

Link to The Workshop

Photos GH

Zoom w a View

Protective Mother

["Come on, Kids. The guy's a dud"]

From Fenelon Falls. The ducks thought the barley sandwich I was holding was for them. Sadly mistaken.

Link to Zoom w a View

Photos GH

Gord's Journal

Heavy Slates

I like visitors to the shop. Full stop. And especially those who bring items for me to use in some way. 'Rescued lumber' is my strong suit. But slates from the mid-1800s? What's a poor boy to do?

When I see them, and turn them over in my hands, perhaps ideas will form.

What to do w slates? Ideas?

Link to Gord's Journal

Gord's Old iPad

Sunday, July 20, 2014

The Workshop

One Tall Library

 ["Western cedar looks good inside and out"]

A 45-degree peaked roof makes the library look pretty tall when compared to one other model I am doing. As well, the space under the roof is big enough for a reading room... for birds.

["Roof slats overlap to prevent rain from entering the building"]

I thought about adding a birdhouse but gave the idea the thumbs down after only 2 - 3 minutes. Too messy. And do birds actually read?

Now I must work on the front door. All I have to do is remember how the four bits go together!

Link to The Workshop

Photos GH

The Workshop

'Eastern-touch' Library

Western Cedar makes a sturdy 'free library', in my opinion, and with the right touches I should be able to make a new model look like something from the Far East.

This afternoon I will cut a thin cedar slat to look like the Asian Softcover Snake (non-venomous), and voila, East will meet West.

Link to The Workshop

Photos GH

Zoom w a View

No Laundry Today

July has been a weird month. Even when I just think about doing laundry it rains.

Link to Zoom w a View

Photo GH

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Facebook Etiquette: Question 1

Finding My Way

I like the LIKE button.

I especially like it when someone likes a photo or comment of mine. As soon as I receive the like I want to press like myself in return. And surely someone else will like that I liked the like.

Q: Should I press LIKE for likes? 

Q: Shouldn't we all?

Q: But where does it stop?

Photo GH

East Coast - Favourite Photos

Favourite Photo from Day 16

Tuesday, June 24. I am atop the Peace Tower on Parliament Hill. The trip is almost done. I feel like I have been off in all directions but have only two easy rides to go - and one last stop at the War Museum, to meet a WW2 veteran - before I am home.

Link to East Coast - Favourite Photos

Photo GH

East Coast Photo Files - In Conclusion

Trip Day 17 - June 25, 2014

 ["My regal accommodation - the Ottawa Jail on Nicholas St."]

From Ottawa to Fenelon Falls

["My bicycle route to The War Museum, west of downtown"]

I conclude this 'East Coast' series (of photos from my trip to PEI, Halifax) with snaps from Ottawa because as soon as I left the capital on Wednesday, June 25 I was almost home. I subsequently spent one lovely day with my older son, David, on his dock in Fenelon Falls (no need for you to see 400 photos of my twin grand-daughters) before landing home to London to sit - very gratefully - with my patient wife in comfortable chairs on our front porch. She handed me a cold beer and said, "So, tell me about your trip."

Well, it was a good one and will lead to more because the journey I'm on - which includes retracing some of my father's steps during WW2 - doesn't come with a neat, final destination. And next time I head off I will invite you along again.

Some photos from along the way (all from Ottawa) that help reveal the highlight of the trip:

["The museum accepted a copy of my father's WW2 memoirs for their collection"]

["A poppy grows on the museum's grass-covered roof"]

["I visited Memorial Hall on Monday after donating father's memoirs"]

["I was invited back on Wednesday to meet a volunteer and WW2 veteran"]

["In Peace Tower: My father participated in the invasions of Sicily and Italy"]

["Wednesday: The veteran was late, perhaps not coming, so I prepared a
note to insert into the last copy of my father's book of WW2 memoirs"]

Paul Langevin arrived just as I was about to sign my name to the note. He noticed the photo of my father on the book and said, "I know Doug." He too served in North Africa, Sicily and Italy, but on a different barge. "But I knew most of the guys ," he said. "There were only 80 of us." (Eighty in the 80th Flotilla? I'll try to find out. My research, related to my dad's Navy days is not complete!)

Not only had he visited with my father (at my parents' house in Norwich) during a Navy reunion but still had a photo from my dad of the large tree that covered the house. He quickly rattled off the names of other veterans, friends of my fathers. I turned to their photos in my dad's book and we both had a glorious walk down memory lane together. 

He was very surprised when I said I had recently received WW2 photographs from another veteran. I mentioned the man's name.

"You know Lloyd?" he asked. "Lloyd is still alive?"

I said, "Yes. He lives in Markham with his wife."

"Where is Markham? How far is it from here?"

I was overwhelmed with Mr. Langevin's energy and enthusiasm, and I promised to send him Lloyd's email address and phone number.  

["My sister says I look pretty emotional in this photo with Paul.
I say emotional, stunned, silenced, and on Cloud Nine"]

I walked to the museum's parking garage shortly after the above photo was taken and looked at my watch. It said 8:30 and I knew it was wrong. It had to be much later in the morning. 

I asked a man for the correct time and he said 11:11.

Pretty darn fitting, I say. 

The way I see it, one search leads to another and another, so I have many roads to travel by motorcycle, bus, car, planes and trains. Why, by the time I'm 105 I'll have quite the collection of stories and photos.

I hope you'll continue to join me along the way.

PS Paul and Lloyd connected by phone last week. Lloyd now wants me to come visit to tell me all about it.

Please link to East Coast Photo Files

Photos GH

Zoom w a View

Flip Side

Yesterday I did an experiment with two thin slices of old cedar. (It had been destined for landfill; I rescued a tonne of it.) First, I took a photo of the weathered side. Looks pretty sad, eh?

Then I flipped over the slices.

This is the wood I am gladly going to be working with for the next several years. Amazing stuff.

I meant AMAZING! Drop by. See me SMILE.

Link to Zoom w a View

Photos GH

The Workshop

Future T'ings

["Two chairs sittin' by the workshop door"]

Once I've made my trip to Copps Lumber - to purchase a large jar of brass screws - I will assemble two Rietveld crate chairs for 'a waiting client'.  I said "the best red cedar and gray barn board combo money can buy," and I meant it. By Tuesday his wallet will be lighter but he will be sitting pretty.

["Cedar wood sittin' pretty"]

Once the chairs are delivered I will start assembling a treasure box (four compartments, lid, three types of cedar, tricky inlay) from the above slats. Lots of fiddly cuts, assembly with glue and hidden nails, and professional-like finishing coats of satin and varnish. (I've got somebody working on my license so I can tack a piece of paper on the wall over the workbench: 'Three-Fingers' Sal says, "By Friday, by Friday," but I know it's just talk).

Busy times in the shop and sweet smells fill the air.

Link to The Workshop

Photos GH

Friday, July 18, 2014

Zoom w a View

Up the Chimney

["Leftover bits - for trim - are on the floor, lower left"]

I try to rescue lumber when and wherever possible, and then use as much of it as I can. That being said., some does have to go up the chimney.

["I can't win them all"]

Link to Zoom w a View

Photos GH

The Workshop

Two Libraries in Good Light

Two 'little free libraries' or 'book trade boxes' are underway in the workshop and I am really happy about how useful old two by fours can be (of western cedar, rescued from a curb one block from my porch). The outside of the wood shows history, the inside reveals colour, aroma, deep value.

["I overlap the roof slats, will silicone the seams, cover w batten"]

My wife saw me sizing up the taller model for more 'inside door trim', noted the affect of the overhead light and suggested I attach a plastic roof. Sky lights aren't my forte but I could try.

["Sky light? What about indoor hydro? Plumbing?"]

What do you think?

Link to The Workshop

Photos GH