Tuesday, January 27, 2015

My Morning Smile - About PEI Snowstorms

Proper Use of an Anchor

If you live in PEI, like my sister, here's an old Navy trick for you to use during the current storm - tie the chain attached to a sturdy anchor around one leg.

Here are photos of an anchor or two that ought to do the job, from Irvine, Scotland.

And if that don't work I say, "Grow yer finger nails really long, in case you need to dig into the ice as the wind blows you out to the mailbox."

: )

Photos GH

Monday, January 26, 2015

Artsy Fartsy 15

Coming Up in June

In June I join a number of crafters and entertainers in Old South for the annual Gathering on the Green. I will set up a gazebo (in case it rains) on a small patch of the Green and attempt to sell a few birdhouses while enjoying good music - put on by local yutes - and $1 hot dogs.

This year I will build a few colourful adobe-style birdhouses on stands in order to 'catch the eye'.

["Last year I hauled this to the Green. SOLD!"]

Link to Artsy Fartsy 14

Photos GH

Birdhouse London

All Finished

I'm getting ready for Spring by building a few red cedar birdhouses.

Seems I use a lot of red paint. Correct.

Link to more finished models at Birdhouse London

Photos GH

The Workshop - New Batch 1

Gray Barnboard

 ["It will look bigger in real life"]

Weekend before last I purchased a small load of gray 'on both sides' barnboard in Fenelon Falls. Now that I've finished eight BHs made from red cedar - all stored on a cozy shelf - I can concentrate on a new batch of seven.

["Next, I will set up the sander; and drill press (for bung holes)"]

Not much to show. The line up doesn't look like much yet and all that was leftover from 3 slats of lumber was a tiny pile of sawdust.

Link to The Workshop

Photos GH

Halifax Trip 9 - Book Cover


Black and White version of Halifax and Another Hard Promise almost finished. Just gotta pick a lovely cover photo. Down to three choices. Rocks. Me on the Rocks. Sackville St. Sailor.


Link to Halifax Trip 8

Photos GH

Sunday, January 25, 2015

The Workshop - Mystery Projects 2

Music and Beer, Man

["I'm ready to sand six western cedar tap handles"]

 Western cedar is a lovely soft wood, so the sanding job didn't take long.

Next. I build a small jig to support the handles while I drill a 1/2-inch wide hole into the base. Then I will add stain and varnish. The client will later add 'stainless steel dual-threaded tap handle inserts' (they remind me of beer kegs for some reason) and get his taps to workin'. I'm expecting an invite : )

I still don't know what the project above is all about (pine barn board, easy to cut and sand) , something to do with musical equipment,, That being said, it was delivered last night and paid for supper. Yummy mystery project, I say.

Link to more from The Workshop

Photos GH

Bird Watching - Drat!

Slow on the Draw

By the time I had my camera ready a lively pair of Blue Jays were gone.

Then sparrows descended upon the feeder like a band of marauding teens.

Lock the fridge!

Link to more Bird Watching

Photo GH

Friday, January 23, 2015

The Workshop - Mystery Projects

New to Me

 ["Tap handles for a craft beer maker"]

["For a local musician who works at a craft beer restaurant"] 

The squirrel nesting boxes took a long time to organize and build. However, in comparison, two jobs now underway should be easy kap-easy and done by the end of the week.

And creative billing is on my mind. E.g., one craft beer per tap handle. And another few from the music man. I think I'm at least owed a night out with good company.

Link to The Workshop

Photos GH

Artsy Fartsy 14

Old Rail Bridge

I like the look. But, I would not want to walk across it.

Link to Artsy Fartsy 13

Photos GH

Birdhouse London

Ready for Tenants

Ready to put into storage until Spring.

Link to Birdhouse London

Photos GH

Birdhouse London


When I finish a batch of birdhouses I usually reveal them on posts entitled 'Birdhouse London'. I occasionally say, "Voila!" The posts are like an archive of finished stuff and one day I'll use a big whack of these photos to produce the fattest 'table top' book ever.

["One free birdhouse is included!"]

Really, the book will be huge!

Link to more Birdhouse London

Photos GH


The Workshop - Squirrel Nesting Boxes

Lovely Signage


Time to make the 'delivery/pickup' phone call.

: )

Link to The Workshop

Photos GH

My Afternoon Walk - Squirrel Bridge

AKA King Street Bridge

I huffed and I puffed and got my 60 minute-walk finished by 3 PM, leaving me three hours to plug away at projects inside the workshop.

["Photo taken from the centre of Squirrel Bridge"]

BTW. I write in the morning, walk after lunch and work in the workshop before supper. Writing, walking, woodworking in the workshop. My life has a certain amount of alliteration, does it not? And a lot of double-yous.

: )

Link to more Afternoon Walks

Photos GH

Dad's Navy Days - Jack Dean, Toronto

A Good Detective

["I'm 96% certain the sailor (centre) in this IWM photo is my father"]

My Dad took part in the Allied invasion of North Africa in November, 1942 and mentioned a few words in his Navy memoirs about who was with him on his landing craft, i.e., Leading Seaman Jack Dean of Toronto and Lt. McDonald, RNR. Like a good detective I've been searching for more information about the Imperial War Museum photo above (found in Assault Landing Craft by B. Lavery) and have tracked down a story by LS Jack Dean, now deceased.

The story appears in From St. Nazaire to Singapore: The Canadian Amphibious War 1941 - 45 Vol. I  and reveals Jack was a member of Combined Operations and trained for the Dieppe raid and invasions of North Africa, Sicily and Italy, as did my father. Some of my father's own stories re WW2 appear in the same book and together the stories make me think that the IWM photo may contain a glimpse of both men.

 Last night I found information about Jack Dean's family (he has a surviving son, John, in Brighton, Ontario) and if I can connect with him I will pass along this rare WW2 action photo. If he can spot his father then I will be 100% certain that a certain sailor up to his knees in the waters off the coast of Arzeu, N. Africa, is my own father.

Good find, I say.

And now that I have John's phone number I will just give him a call.

Link to more Dad's Navy Day's

Photos GH

Squirrels at the Feeder

I Give Chase

Twice yesterday I had to chase an athletic squirrel away from my bird feeder, once while on the phone. My son wondered what the heck was going on at first when, halfway through a sentence, I yelled, "Hey, get out of there you little rat!"

I've been thinking about buying a slingshot, BB-gun, pellet gun, etc. because tossing stuff out the window and shaking my fist isn't working. Later in the day, during my 'fun and fitness' walk, I saw something that I'd like to add to my arsenal.

Ready. Aim. Fire!

: )

Link to The Workshop

Photos GH

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Zoom w a View

Curved Ice, Flat Roof

So, how does one explain a curved panel if ice attached to a flat roof?

Slow melt?


Link to Zoom w a View

Photos GH

My Afternoon Walk - Dundas Street

Two Buildings, Two Londons

["What's on top of the roof?"]

I walked downtown yesterday to pick up a ticket for an upcoming Knights game and snapped a picture of a unique four-storey walk-up on Dundas Street. I don't like the green paint but I do like the two owl houses on the roof. (Or maybe they're for peregrine falcons).

At any rate, I was reminded of another tall slim four-storey walk-up I spotted while in the other London last October. The brickwork is lovely... and no green paint.

["If offered the top floor, I'd take it"]

Link to My Afternoon Walk

Photos GH

My Morning Smile - Hat Rack 2

Two Hats Fit

["My wife was not impressed"]

We're looking for a new hall tree for the front entranceway and I'm thinking that a silver rhino would do the trick.

"Come on, Sweets," I said. "It can hold two hats and then some."

Debate is ongoing.

But the silver rhino is going nowhere for the time being.

Link to My Morning Smile

Photos GH

The Workshop - Off the Lines

Red Cedar Rolling Off

["The 2014 red cedar model. Lovely, eh!"]

I made several batches of red cedar birdhouses in 2014 - all were lovely, eh - and will do the same this year with one important modification. Can you spot it?

["2015 model: It's base is 1.25 inches wider, therefore 30% roomier!"]

I attached the sides to the outside edge of the face rather than behind it. You may not notice this little shift because I hid the move with strips of cedar, then added a bench and free birdhouse to keep everybody distracted.

["No extra charge for the wee one"]

"Free birdhouse," you say. "WTHeck!"

See what I mean.

Link to more from The Workshop

Photos GH

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Dad's Navy Days - D-Day North Africa

Details in B & W

["Norwich boys. Doug Harrison, left. Buryl McIntyre, right"]

If I study some of my Dad's black and white photos from WW2 long enough - and dig - I sometimes come up with interesting discoveries. Take the one above.

Details: 1941. Halifax. On the grounds of HMCS Stadacona (a Naval base my dad mentions in his WW2 memoirs). Outside Wellington barracks, Mess A (Mess B was a separate building for officers, and it still remains). Some of the details are written on the photo or in Dad's memoirs and some I discovered the hard way, e.g., after motorcycling to Halifax twice and digging deeper.

Side Bar: I can tell Dad is standing outside Mess A because of the round arch over the entrance. Mess B does not (and did not) have the same type of entrance according to many photos housed in a museum file on the grounds of HMCS Stadacona. Details, details.

 ["Wellington Barracks, Mess B (Officers), at HMCS Stadacona, Halifax"]

 ["Mess B has no curved arches over any doorways"]

["Mess A is now gone. Replaced by new quarters and Tim Hortons. Ugh"]

Yesterday I posted a rare photo (from Assault Landing Craft) of men in landing crafts on the beaches outside of Arzeu, North Africa. D-Day. November, 1942. At that time I said I was 95% sure the man in the dark navy uniform is my father.

["I am now 96% certain the man in Navy blue is my father"] 

In his memoirs he writes:

     On November 11, 1942 the Derwentdale dropped anchor off
     Arzew (sic) in North Africa... Our Coxswain was LS (Leading
     Seaman) Jack Dean of Toronto and our officer was Lt. McDonald
     RNR (Royal Navy Reserve). After the 92 hours (an afore-
     mentioned first shift) my officer said, Well done. An excellent
     job, Harrison. Go to Reina Del Pacific and rest."

His memoirs do not provide, of course, enough information to positively identify the sailor as my dad, so yesterday I checked with my sibs. One sister agreed, 100%, that the man is our dad. She mentioned many similarities, including the way he wore his hat. Another saw similarities in the side profile of the face. But three sibs also raised some questions about his stature, the ring on his right hand, the shape of his hand.

["Many details appear here to lead me on a fruitful search"]

The man seems too lean, said one. I replied that Dad's Navy records reveal he weighed under 130 pounds at entry. Did Dad wear a ring on his right hand? I don't know, but I did for many years, during my teens and twenties. And so on.

However, like any good detective I will follow the crumbs. I will look for a picture of the Derwentdale and compare it with the ship in the photo. I will look for links to the other members of Combined Operations aboard the landing craft. I will search for the roll of film that has the above photo upon it.

But thanks to what one sister said about his hat, I now stand at 96%. I mean, look at that jaunty angle!

["Dad didn't want to mess with his wavy red hair"]

Oh yeah, Dad was 'cock of the walk', all right.

Link to Recommended Reading

Photos GH