Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Bird Watching

String of Bad Luck

The sparrows are eating me out of house and home. I've failed (again) to keep an athletic squirrel from jumping from a nearby spruce bough and onto the roof of my feeder.

And when I opened the study window to get a better shot of the jay... it took off.

Come on!

Link to Bird Watching

Photos GH

The Workshop

Full-on Trim Day

The five 'Harrison Specials' are ready to get all dressed up. I fussed with windows and cedar-strip roof trim yesterday, and I should be able to finish them off today with a wee (free!) birdhouse atop a front bench... i.e., if I don't get selected for a jury down at the London Courthouse later this morning.

["Five wee birdhouses on low front benches. Easy kap-easy"]

["First coat on a colourful triplex. Tonka plane waits in the wings!"]

Methinks my progress will slow down a bit due to civic duty. Such is life.

: )

Link to The Workshop

Photos GH

Family Time

Doug Harrison's 75th

A few Harrisons looked carefully at this photo - of (my uncle and aunt) Roland and Ruth Harrison, parents of (my first cousins) Doug, Gord, Brian and Roland Jr. - on Sunday in Aylmer at Doug Harrison's 75th birthday party.

I was able to establish the location, i.e., in front of Doug and Edith Harrison's house (Roland's brother, and my parents), 19 Washington Avenue, Norwich. Gordie Wayne recognized his father's truck and the logo on the side door, i.e., Norwich Motors Sales. I recalled my family moved into the house when I was in Grade 1, so the date is likely mid-1950. I also mentioned there was no parking on South Court St., so my uncle was taking a risk!

The above photo was snapped on cousin Doug's 75th. My sister Jane is a Harrison beauty, Doug is a Harrison patriarch and I am a Harrison owl (old bird).

: ) Like my hat?

More Family Time photos

Photo by Christina Harrison. A1

Monday, September 1, 2014

Gord's Journal

A Quiet Shop Day. Yah!

Link to Gord's Journal

Expertly produced on Gord's iPad

The Workshop

Still in Progress

 ["The Harrison Special. Not too tall but still roomy"]

Once the second coat dries I'll have a 'full-on trim day' and get the above batch packed up for delivery... to the basement that is, in a banana box. Another sale is coming up soon.

And finally, I'll take a bit of time and splash some primer on a triplex that has been sitting on an upper shelf for about two years. My shop isn't all that big but I can lose stuff for a long time. (I think it's the layer of dust in the back corner that foils me).

["Every piece, except for the two side roofs, is 'rescued lumber'"]

Link to The Workshop

Photos GH

Family Time

Gord vs Gord

Gordie Wayne and Gordie the Younger continue the debate: Which is the cutest of the Gords?

Gordie Wayne's T-shirt proclaims, The man, the myth, the legend.

Gordie the Younger's new 'old' hat (The Stratton, from Chicago, circa 1950s) says something significant about his style. But what?

The debate continues 'til next time we meet.

Link to Family Time

Photo GH

Family Time

Doug Harrison's 75th

Doug and his wife Judy live in the beautiful town of Aylmer and it was in their backyard that a surprise 75th birthday party was held in Doug's honour yesterday. Judy deserves a medal for the time and effort spent preparing such a do.

I learned (first) cousin Doug was named after my dad and - I find this amusing - my dad asked for five dollars for the use of his name. Someone in the crowd said, "Now, there's a Harrison for you." If the debt was not paid at the time I now stand ready to receive said payment on behalf of my father.

I spruced up for the party, acted all calm and composed and mature, but was caught off guard when Sean, one of Doug's four 'all-growed-up' children, stepped between Doug's next younger brother Gordon Wayne Harrison (aka 'Red', 'Whitey') and me, Gordon Arthur Harrison.

"There's two Gord Harrison's here!" says Sean.

Holy cow, I already knew that. We had name tags, eh! I almost hit him with my hat.

Truth be told, fun was had by all.

Link to Family Times  

Photos GH

Sunday, August 31, 2014

The Workshop

In Progress

Two matching swap boxes need signage and a support pole but are moving along well. Another pair waits in the wings.

Another two birdhouses need some paint but should be all trimmed up by mid-week. One more in the wings too.

I'm feeling pretty good about having a good batch of birdhouses and what nots all ready for an upcoming weekend sale at Lambeth Harvest Fest. Three dozen bits n bobs is my target. I'd better go do a 'count 'em up'.

Link to The Workshop

Photos GH

The Workshop

New Model Shined Up!

I am trying to perfect a new birdhouse design, i.e., a single with wee addition for more family space. The roof coverage takes longer to cut, angle properly and assemble but I'll get into the rhythm soon. And a coat of varnish sure shines 'er up, eh?

["I can hardly wait to add distinctive trim"]

I don't find dark poplar very often, but when I do, I'm delighted.

Link to The Workshop

Photos GH

Zoom w a View

Have Shovel. Will Travel

One more wee library delivered, installed, levelled, and now ready for business in a fine neighbourhood in Old East London.

Gabriella (approx. age 9, daughter of the home owners) poked her nose inside the front door of the library and said, "It's perfect."

T'umbs up, I say.

Link to Zoom w a View

Photos GH

Friday, August 29, 2014

Bird Watching

Empty Feeder? Not for Long

The modification to the bird feeder - to keep a squirrel out of the bird seed - worked for one day only!

Not only do the birds like to perch atop the weird arrangement of slats but one squirrel (a particularly athletic fella) has risen to the challenge and now simply jumps onto the roof from a higher branch on my spruce tree!

What do I do now?

Link to Bird Watching

Photos GH

The Workshop

Brand New Design

["Earlier photo shows dusty stock on a shelf under swap boxes"]

Once I went as far as I could for the day with four swap boxes I turned my attention to a dust-covered pile of stock that represented five red cedar birdhouses. I'm glad I did! The last hour of my work day was a treat, partly because the birdhouses were a first-time design.

(Some red cedar fence boards are nice to use but are only about 5" wide, so the interior of a birdhouse would be narrower than I like. So, I drew up a model with a spare room at the side. It makes the roof line fussier but the base is a good size and some results are below).

I quickly assembled two of five birdhouses that will require little paint because the roofs are too lovely to cover with latex. In fact, they are 'lovely lovely' in my opinion.

["Spare room, right side, adds about 2.5 inches to width"]

 ["Find me a prettier old pine roof. It would be a tough job!"]

["Rare lumber in this roof. Know what the wood* is?"]

["The colours range from light green to dark brown. Any ideas?"]

Two coats of marine varnish - and a trim day - will make them shine!

* The wood came from the Dorchester landfill site. I spotted it five years ago and remarked on its weird smell. It is one of the harder soft woods. Poplar. If you can find it, let me know what you think of the aroma.

Link to The Workshop

Photos GH

It Strikes Me Funny

My Neighbour is Taller (but the Wasps are Goners) 3

Yesterday afternoon I hit a wasp/hornets' nest three or four times with bug bomb and by 5 PM all was quiet as the sun began to set in the west. I thought for awhile that one lone sentry still stood guard (valiantly) outside the nest's entrance but once I figured it hadn't moved for four hours I knew it was a goner... just like all the others.

So, my young neighbour, taller than me by a long shop, can rest easy once he gets home for supper. The old pro has done his business.

Have bug bomb. Will Travel.

Link to It Strikes Me Funny

Photos GH

Gord's Journal

And the Wasps are Goners Too!

Link to more of Gord's Journal. His private life is sooooo exciting.

Why, his 'regular routine' alone will wear you thin.

Journal from Gord's trusty iPad

Thursday, August 28, 2014

It Strikes Me Funny

My Neighbour is Taller 2

My neighbour Matt is working today, wasps are active in a shared backyard tree, I found a half-used can of bug spray in the basement, and I felt I should do something.

Even though Matt is taller and in better shape than me for the 'climb, jump and run' (a soon-to-be Olympic event 1/3 similar to the triple jump - but a heck of a lot more exciting - in which two jumps have been replaced by a climb up a step ladder and a quick jump off the upper rung once the wasps' nest has been hit by bug bomb), I had a step-ladder handy and decided to take action.

Grandson Ollie watched from the safety of my study and supplied colourful running commentary, and ominous sound effects.

"Whee-ooo whee-oo whee-oo," he sang.

"What's that noise, Ollie?" asked my wife.

"I'm pretending to be an ambulance," he said.

The kid's a natural, I thought. Then I climbed the step ladder and gave the nest a good shot from a bug bomb.

"Action stations," was announced deep inside the nest, scores of wasps fell into 'defend and attack' position and within the blink of an eye flew in strict and instinctive military formation amongst the tree leaves. I jumped off the ladder and was safely indoors in under three seconds, likely a new North American if not World record. And when the coast was clear I repeated the operation and rushed back indoors without a whiff of a bug bite or bee sting.

Act 2 at 5 PM.

News at 11.

Link to It Strikes Me Funny  

The Workshop

Four Swap Boxes

Today I add hardware to four doors and get on with painting and attaching signage.

Things are moving along well in the shop.

Link to The Workshop

Photos GH

Bird Watching

Hooray! An Empty Feeder!

When a squirrel (especially a singularly-large athletic one that often jumps from a spruce bough and onto the roof of my feeder, then eats all the bird seed) now looks at my bird feeder from its favourite perch it will notice a huge modification to the roof, i.e., a fan-like apparatus that blocks its flight line.

If it looks at the feeder from the fence on my deck it will see the same ingenious 'foil-the-squirrel system'. It will hopefully feel deep disappointment and go back home.

I know how I felt when I looked out the door of my shop yesterday afternoon and didn't see the squirrel sitting down for its five-o'clock meal!

"Yes! Gotchya this time, ya weasel!" I shouted. Then I did three laps in a nearby parking lot.

Link to Bird Watching

Photos GH

It Strikes Me Funny

My Neighbour is Taller

My neighbour Danielle told me she'd spotted a hornet's nest in her backyard maple tree.

"It's very hard to see and it may be directly over your deck." she said.

Ever curious and brave, I ran right out back with my camera and a big stick.

 ["Looks like a cabbage from one angle"]

["Looks like the head of a brontosaurus from another angle"]

Danielle was right. A nest - almost perfectly round from one angle, the size of a good cabbage - hung directly over my barbeque. Not good. It was very active.

But I put my stick down after a bit of a think. My neighbour's husband is much taller than me - yeah, that's it - so I'll see if I can stick him with the job. And I'll watch from inside.

Link to more It Strikes Me Funny

Photos by GH

Zoom w a View

Have Shovel

I was asked to help with the installation of an earlier project from the workshop, i.e., a little tall library. I said 'okee dokee' and started digging. With the help of my old Stanley level I was able to get the post to point starward - exactly - and then attach a sturdy support platform in about 30 minutes.

["No, really. It's perfectly straight. The earth is crooked!"]

I don't usually do installations but now that I feel I actually do a pretty good job I will add the following to my business card: Have Shovel. Will Travel.

Or: I gotta spade. And know how to use it.

: )

Link to more Zoom w a View why don't ya.

Photos GH

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Birdhouse London

Board and Batten Barn

It comes with its own cow!

The barn board I purchase in Fenelon Falls always makes me think of barns - for some reason - so I sketched a wee one recently, a duplex, and finished it off yesterday. All it needs is a wee picket fence in front of the main unit.


   a cow water dish or seed bin

   an authentic tin water sprinkler

   driftwood from PEI

   well-used metal hardware

   cedar shake roof (don't shake it!)

   board and batten finish

   a free birdhouse on a stump

   two metal roofs

   working chimneys (they work for me : )

   unique perches

   rare metal spike as wall ornament (whodda thunk it?)

I'd like to say "and so much more" but I don't think there's much more once the picket fence is attached.

Link to Birdhouse London

Photos GH