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

The Workshop

Four Swap Boxes

One 'little library' just left the building. So, I need to now finish off four swaps... in a hurry, because the to-do list ain't gettin' shorter!

Note to self - dust off the bicycle, pick up four packs of hinges at Copps.

Link to The Workshop

Photo GH

It Strikes Me Funny

The Old Dusty Hat Came Back

My wife has said more than once I should get a new hat for the workshop. When I couldn't find it the other day I thought she had taken matters into her own hands and I said as much. She denied any crime against me and my hat. (I later found it under a well-worn dusty flannel shirt beside the back door).

Admittedly, the old hat looks like it has seen better days. And so it has. However, a new one would soon get just as grimy and dusty, so why spend money when I can keep a bit of sun and dust off what's left of my hair with a model that feels like home?

It also feels right for me. Past some kind of due date.

What do you hang onto that's seen better days?

Link to It Strikes Me Funny

Photo GH

Bird Watching

Not My Best Side

I hoped the jay would turn around but it focussed on a squirrel running atop a nearby fence.

"Psst. Psst. Turn around," I said.

Nothing but tail feathers!

Link to more Bird Watching

Photos GH

Monday, August 25, 2014

The Workshop

Little Library


Today I arrange pick up/delivery for a very solid wee library, tidy up the work bench, and then move on to another colourful project.

I'm enjoying dusty times in the shop.

Link to The Workshop

Photos GH

Gord's Journal

A Good Time

re August 24: A jolly good time was had by all at Jazz Fest in Wortley Village. A rocking trio could be found in the housewares department at Home Hardware and Soul Sausage played to a rapt audience outside the local garage.

More groups of musicians dotted the happy landscape. It was definitely a toe-tappin' day.

Link to Gord's Journal

Photos GH

Sunday, August 24, 2014

The Workshop

Progress Continues at Good Pace

The hardware is on the door (which now opens and closes smoothly on brass hinges), marine varnish has been applied to the roof and rare western cedar boards have been prepared for 'the 'full-on trim package'.

["I like using 'old reliable' door closers"]

["Only the best. Western cedar trim, most is centuries old"]

["Roof is trimmed out, ready for second coat of varnish"]

Jazz Festival in Wortley Village this PM may slow me down for two hours but I'll soon be back at it.

Link to The Workshop

Photos GH