Tuesday, May 31, 2011

PT 3 - Do you support Hudak’s ‘work gang’ election plank?

Alex Hoyos of London thinks PC Leader Hudak’s plan to make 2,700 provincial inmates perform up to 40 hours of mandatory manual labour per week “is just another crazy idea from Hudak.”

And me? What do I think? Two things.

I think Hudak’s intentions might not be half-baked. I think his initiative, however, is.

Hudak’s intentions: No one can look inside the PC leader’s little round head to determine the full extent or purity of his intentions, but if he intends to make prisoners rake leaves or collect garbage instead of play cards in order to better prepare them to re-enter society with useful job skills and more education, then society as a whole will receive a benefit.

If Hudak intends to take any monetary savings connected to his work gangs and make some form of restitution to those who suffered losses as a result of certain crimes, then some citizens will receive a benefit.

["Yup. This outta learn ya."]

But can we attribute such intentions to his initiative to send prisoners to do mandatory work such as “raking leaves, collecting garbage and cleaning graffiti?”

I don’t think so. Though Hudak attributes ‘value’ to the manual labour (“He expects the value of the work... would cover the added cost of security and travel... but would also set aside a $20 million contingency fund in case it doesn’t”) I don’t think the value is in sound education or meaningful job skills that will help anyone in the future.

$20 million spent, in my opinion, on meaningful education and job skills is a sound investment in Ontario’s future. And Hudak’s plan has less to do with investing and more to do with inventing. Or, I should say, re-inventing, i.e., the chain gang.

I’ll let Michael Den Tandt have the last word:

“And of course there's the now obligatory crime wedge issue, whereby right-thinking, law-abiding folks are invited to get mad at the lousy, despicable felons and crooks.

“So the Conservatives would use public money to have convicts, presumably in striped jailhouse outfits or Guantanamo orange, paraded along the boulevards, picking up trash and cutting grass.

“As a campaign platform, it is truly pitiful. It throws the door open to Horwath and the NDP to do something interesting, if they can.”
(May 31, London Free Press)


If you feel Hudak’s plan has some merit, please let me know.

Please click here to read PT 2 - Do you support Hudak’s ‘work gang’ election plank?


Climate Change Concerns: PT 2 Can we afford our present lifestyle?

Economic losses related to weather and climate change increased from $86 billion for 1980 - 89 to $474 billion for 1990 - 99. (pg. 102, Little Green Handbook)

And though I have no numbers for the last, most recent decade, I have to assume global expenses went north.

Ron Nielsen, DSc and author of the Green Handbook asks, “How long can we cope with weather-related economic losses?”

He then answers his own question.

“If global income is substantially greater than the losses, and if it increases at least as fast as the losses, we have nothing to worry about. There will always be enough money to repair the damage. If global income increases more slowly than the losses, it is worthwhile to calculate how long the money will last.”

Okay, someone has to ask, Dr. Nielsen, how long will the money last?

“To estimate this period I have analysed the data for weather-related economic losses and for gross world product (GWP), both expressed in 2001 US dollars. Preliminary examination of the data shows that the prospects are not encouraging, because the losses are increasing much faster than income.

["Let's not put off all our hard work until tomorrow."]

“As we have seen, global weather-related losses per decade incfreased from $86 billion to $474 billion, or 450 per cent, in the last two decades of the 20th century. However, GWP increased from $291 trillion per decade to $386 trillion, or 33 per cent, during the same period. GWP is still greater than the weather-related losses, but the losses are increasing much faster, and in time they might match global income. That would mean global bankruptcy.”

Okay, someone has to ask, if present trends continue, when will the planet be bankrupt?

“Weather-related economic losses can be fitted by using exponential function. The best fit corresponds to a doubling time of 4.42 years. GWP can be fitted using a polynominal function, which increases slowly and has no doubling time. The two calculated curves cross in 2045. If about that time we decide to repair the damage there will be no money left for anything else.”

Thank you, Dr. Nielsen. I’d give you a parting gift but I don’t think I can afford one.

2045. Bankrupt. If alive, I’ll be 95, closing shutters to protect myself from extreme weather and dipping into my birdhouse money on a pretty regular basis.

So, as I ask in the post’s title, can we afford our present lifestyle, knowing that the costs related to extreme weather - some undoubtedly related to climate change - will get higher? Or, can Planet Earth and its inhabitants afford the way humans choose to live?

If we think long-term and have half a wit of concern for those that follow in our deep footprints on Planet Earth (maybe we’ll have changed the name by 2045 to Junk Star Galactica), the answer must be NO.

So, let’s reduce spending, pay down debt, and save money for the tough, thin times ahead.


Please click here for PT 1 Can we afford our present lifestyle?


Cartoon in Progress: “Life’s like that, eh” 11

“The first really heavy rain caught everyone totally by surprise.”



Please click here to view “Life’s like that, eh” 10.


Austerity without Anxiety: Practice does make perfect, eh

The more I practice my wrist shot (once a thing of beauty) the more fear will grow in the hearts of goalies in the 50-plus league. Perhaps everywhere.

And the more I practice austere measures today the more prepared I’ll be for tougher, thinner, pricier times ahead on Planet Earth.

Already I have a few austere habits. (Please follow the ‘Please click here’ links below.) They’re in my genes, eh. I cook my own oatmeal, brew my own coffee, make a Frontier Stew that costs less and tastes better than canned.

Why, I even cut my own hair. I’ve been doing so for almost 20 years, and am on my second set of electric clippers and attachments.

* [“Q: What are the ear plugs for?”: photos by GH]

Total cost in 20 years - about $80 ($35 - $40 per set).

Total savings - 10 - 12 haircuts per year x 20 bucks (incl. tip) = $4,000 - $4,800.

[“I don’t care if Bob thinks I’m square.”]

Truth be told, I also save time by cutting my own hair, and by keeping it so short I’ve stopped using shampoo (more savings). I just give my hair a quick swipe with my face cloth and ordinary soap while nabbing a shower. My wife says she has not noticed any dandruff for 20 years... on me!

Of course, she can’t run her fingers through what’s left of my hair anymore but that’s another story.


Do you cut your own hair? How much have you saved? I bet it’s substantial.

Please click here for more Austerity without Anxiety.

* [“A: My wife uses the ear plugs. She checks the back of my head when I’m done and once nicked my ear when she zipped a spot I’d missed. I screamed like a baby.”]


Monday, May 30, 2011

Climate Change Concerns: Can we afford our present lifestyle?

Summer is coming. Travel plans are being made. Back deck lovers will eat many a gourmet hotdog and overloaded cheeseburger.

Burp. Life is good.

Maybe too good.

Planet Earth is becoming a pretty expensive piece of real estate to live upon. Fire-, weather- and climate change-related events are coming with higher price tags than ever before. Should we be reducing our spending and saving for tougher times ahead?

Relatively recently we’ve read about Iceland’s volcanic eruptions delaying travel, fires in Alberta driving entire populations from their towns and homes, tsunamis crippling some parts of Japan, floods burying large parts of Australia, tornados flattening towns like Joplin, Missouri. The heavy personal and financial tolls of international disasters seem to be rising.

From Dec. 23, 2009:

“A report from the Center for Research on Epidemiology of Disasters noted that 224 out of 245 international disasters this year were weather-related, causing $15 billion US in economic damage.”

I think the Center for Research must have only been looking at specific kinds of disasters. According to insurance company records, international losses are staggering.

["We have a long way to go get environmentally fit": Mojo's runner]

This from The Little Green Handbook:

re The probability of global bankruptcy.

“Perhaps the best and the most convincing short-cut to the problems associated with studying the slow process of climate change and extreme weather lies in weather-related economic losses... i.e., the money we have to pay for weather-induced damage. These records are maintained by insurance companies, and it is in their interest to make them reliable.”

“According to Munich Re, global weather-related economic losses increased from $3 billion per year in 1980 to $80 billion per year at the end of the 20th century.”

(That’s an increase of $77 billion per year in 20 years. Pretty steep. Our years spent on the planet are getting dearer as I speak.)

“Losses per decade increased from $86 billion for 1980 - 89 to $474 billion for 1990 - 99.”

Though I have no records of economic losses for the last, most recent decade, and though not all economic losses were climate-change related, I have to assume global expenses went north.

It begs the question? Can Planet Earth and its inhabitants afford the way humans choose to live?

Stay tuned.


Please click here for more Climate Change Concerns.


PT 2 - Do you support Hudak’s ‘work gang’ election plank?

Ontario PC Leader Tim Hudak plans to put 2,700 (approx.) convicted criminals to work for up to 40 hours per week if elected Premier.

Though Hudak thinks it’s the right thing to do and “details on whether inmates would be manacled together to prevent escape have yet to be worked out” (May 27, London Free Press), not everyone agrees whole-heartedly with his work gang idea.

For example, Jim Bradley, Community Safety and Corrections Minister, feels Hudak “will be putting citizens at risk by bringing dangerous criminals into their midst... (i.e.) our parks and our neighbourhoods and our schoolyards and our business districts, where there are kids and families.”

Correctional workers “support the idea of inmates doing work but would prefer the tasks to be meaningful and productive.”

Alex Hoyos, a resident of my own city, says the following in a Letter to the Editor:

“Bad idea... punitive labour for criminals is a thing of the past.”

Among other things he adds, “Forced labour is immoral, guarding the criminals... costs more than the benefits, the risk of a criminal fleeing is many times higher...”

However, he notes he is not against paid or voluntary jobs within prison facilities that provide meaningful occupations, the possibility of earning some money, and opportunities to learn skills for a job outside of prison. And finally he notes, “this is just another crazy idea from Hudak.”

Then there’s an idea from Harrison.

Stay tuned.


Do you think this is another crazy idea from Hudak?

Would you want criminals raking leaves in a park next door to your property?

Please click here for PT 1 Hudak’s ‘work gang’



Austerity without Anxiety: What will $150 buy me?

Based on experience, $150 will buy me 10 motorcycle trips to Port Bruce, including one cuppa Joe at the Beach Hut.

(I know. The Beach Hut burned down a few years ago. What is the new place called?)

It’s not that I have $150 to burn, but I saved at least that much this morning because I didn’t call a plumber to fix a 15-foot length of clogged drain.

$150 buys me 75-plus cups of coffee at The Red Roaster in Wortley Village, but instead of walking to the coffee shop this morning, I chose to get my own hands dirty for a change.

Honestly, I hate getting my hands dirty with black, sticky, stinky, slimy, sludgy goop, but $150 buys me a summer’s worth of hockey with a good bunch of guys.

So, I opened the drain, cleaned as much as I could with a 4-foot-long snake, then realized I needed to call a plumber with better equipment or come up with my own solution.

150 bucks buys me an hour of a plumber’s time ($75 or more just to invite him into the house for coffee) or skate sharpening fees for the rest of my hockey career.

I came up with a pretty nifty plan of my own.

I attached two 8-ft.-long sections of cedar strip with a splint (made from a paint stir stick) and cleaned out the pipe myself in less than an hour. Fifteen minute’s worth of clean up is all I now have on my plate before lunch time.

["Clean up needed. I hate getting my hands dirty but...": photos by Dirty Jeans]

$150 also buys me 15 games of Monday hockey whenever a spare is needed.

At 4:15 today I’ll be playing right wing for a change.


No. I don’t make house calls.

(And, no. I still don't have $150 to burn, but one game of hockey is a pretty good reward for saving a plumber's fee.)


Austere. Frugal. Cheap. Handy. They all work together at times to save us money.

Did you get your hands dirty and save money recently? Let me know.

Please click here to read more Austerity without Anxiety.


Sunday, May 29, 2011

Do you support Hudak’s ‘work gang’ election plank?

“Put crooks to work.” That’s the spirit.

At least that’s the spirit in Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak’s Ontario, if he is elected our next Premier.

What Hudak wants:

He wants 2,700 convicted prisoners (excluding young offenders and inmates awaiting trial) to perform up to 40 hours of mandatory manual labour a week, including “raking leaves, collecting garbage and cleaning graffiti.” (May 27, London Free Press)

[“We’re workin’ on a chain gang”: photo link]

He wants to “end the practice of letting convicted prisoners spend their time watching TV or playing cards.”

What Hudak thinks:

“I just think it’s the right thing to do.”

“It’s time for inmates to give back to society.”

He thinks ‘the value of the work the inmates perform would cover the added cost of security and travel involved in doing it, but would also set aside a $20 million contingency fund in case it doesn’t.’

What do I think? Stay tuned.


What do you think of Hudak’s plan?

Please click here to read deep thoughts from a conservative think-tank.


Family Ties: Rare photo op comes once, twice per year

Company arrived Friday, and my wife and I will have a full house until Monday.

While my oldest son, his wife and three children poured in the front door weighted down with luggage, my youngest son entered through the back with his son. Our full clan (minus one daughter-in-law, at work) met in the living room.

["I need to buy a lock for the fridge!": photo GH]

Later, when we walked into Wortley Village for coffee I reached for my camera. This scary mob won’t likely assemble again until Christmas.

By then I should be able to afford some more food!!


Please click here for another rare photograph.


Decluttering: If my wife gets into the act, I’m happy

I should be able to develop the habit of decluttering in 2011 by doing the following:

Fill one cardboard box with the flotsam and jetsam of my cluttered lifestyle every two weeks

Discard the box at the curb on garbage day or take the goods to Goodwill Industries

["Box 4 - my wife is helping me out!": photo GH]

Aim to discard 20 boxes by the end of December.

I made a positive realization the other day. If my wife gets into the habit as well, or at least drops some of her stuff into my cardboard box once in awhile, my job will be easier.

As it is, Box 4 will be a snap. It has to be ready by Wednesday and my wife’s collection of assorted tins will almost fill it.

Decluttering just got easier this week.


Please click here for for news about decluttering.


Friday, May 27, 2011

Austerity Without Anxiety: Experience helps when times are thin

As pretty typical Canadian 13- and 14-year olds in the early 1960s, Gary and Tom and I had the following playthings:


ball gloves

hockey equipment

several other toys hiding under our beds or stored in wooden toy boxes.

So, it’s not like we grew up poor, or did without all the time, with no toys or shiny dimes to call our own.

We also had, as young teens growing up in Norwich, a small village in Oxford County (16 miles south of Woodstock on The King’s Highway 59), quick access to beautiful natural surroundings and endless entertaining activities.

Thanks to a 90-minute school (elementary) lunch hour, the three of us could bike to the Little Otter Creek (usually called ‘the crick’) after gulping down bologna or chicken loaf sandwiches and cold milk and have an hour or more to kill before afternoon classes began.

["Boys on bikes": photo link]

Noon hours at the crick are some of my fondest memories. We caught crayfish, skipped stones and tossed 3-inch fire crackers by the truck load into the water - at just the perfect moment - to create depth-charge-like explosions to scare the rock bass. (Norwich’s rock bass feared fire cracker holidays more than any other, even pan-fry Friday, aka Fryday).

I must have been feeling particularly confident in myself one noon hour because I willingly shared with my two tall alpha male friends (I was more of a short, wiry beta boy) that I had a favourite game at the crick, I’d invented it myself, and asked if they like to try it.

One said, “Sure, you short, wiry beta boy. Have at it.” (Perhaps not Gary or Tom’s exact words, but close enough for now).

I led them to a short, narrow, newly-constructed wooden bridge a ways from our parked bikes and near a bend in the crick. I picked up a 6-foot long branch and two or three short sticks I’d stashed nearby and walked them to the center of the bridge.

“Watch this,” I said.

I threw the sticks upstream and as they returned to me - one, two, three - I used the branch to flip them upstream again. I got all three airborne and back up the crick before they passed under the bridge. The sticks returned to me. I flicked them upstream again.

“Try it,” I said. “It’s tricky.”

Soon Tom and Gary had their own sticks and branches and were trying to knock me off the throne as World Champion Stick Flicker. They realized it was harder than it looked (90% of the time the sticks ended up along the banks of the crick and we had to run fetch them) and didn’t take to the game with as much youthful enthusiasm as I did. But we did return to the bridge at another time to see who could win the battle for the throne. (I believe I am still reigning champ).

["How about a bicycle holiday in Port Bruce, Ontario?": photo GH]

When thin times roll our way in the future (e.g., due to higher fuel prices) and our million and one entertainments, recreations and car-trip holidays get pared back a bit, or a heck of a lot, many will not know what to do with their time. Some will say it’s the government's fault, of course, push the default button and call for lower taxes. (How imaginative is that?)

My recommendation: Practice living under your means as soon as possible.

Me? I’ll be down by the river.


Please click here to read more Austerity Without Anxiety.


Thursday, May 26, 2011

Practice still makes perfect, eh

I came close to scoring a go-ahead goal yesterday. If it had been the winner it would have erased the sting of coughing up a puck earlier in the game, a cough that 10 seconds later resulted in my team dropping behind 3 - 1.

But when a good opportunity presented itself to me, room in the slot was tight, and I couldn’t stretch my stick far enough behind me to put maximum power into my shot. Had it been a bullet - I’m capable of firing the occasional bullet - the goalie would not have grabbed it one millisecond before it reached the top right corner.

Back on the bench I cursed my luck. I thought about practicing my wrist shot on a regular basis as I did when I was as a young boy. Next a sharp memory of a singular incident came to mind.

["Ready for practice": GH circe 1960]

I was taking part in morning hockey practice at the Norwich arena. I was on the ice and firing wrist shots at the side boards. Bang. I collected the puck, making sure I didn’t get whacked by someone else’s shot. Again, bang.

Norwich was and still is a small village with a population of about 1,600 people. As I recall, the number 1,600, painted on signs located at the village boundaries, did not change for decades. The commonly-held belief - back when I was a boy - was that when a baby was born someone would soon die (usually an old person), and visa versa, so the population remained the same year after year.

With only 1,600 people to draw from, most of them adults with jobs and kids with chores, Norwich didn’t usually produce hockey teams that exhibited tons of flash or won many games each season. Not that I felt our teams were made up of left-overs, but after my Bantam team got walloped 20 - 1 by Simcoe, I knew something was out of whack. As well, our coaches didn’t come with years of deep experience or the ability to inspire a bench load of energetic boys with meaningful chalkboard diagrams.

One coach, however, left me with a good lesson.

Bang. I collected the puck.

“Sweep the puck from back here, Gordie,” said coach Dave Moore (a man who, I later learned, was friends with Bobby Hull).

He demonstrated his own wrist shot. Boom. He swept the puck from behind his trailing leg. Boom.

“Reach farther back. That’s it. Let it go,” he said.


Inspired, I found a way to practice my wrist shot at home. I put a few boards in our driveway and fired pucks through the barn door and at the inside wall. My shot improved with practice. I started scoring goals from farther out. My confidence grew.

Too bad I didn’t. I would have loved an NHL career and collecting 7 million bananas a year. And too bad my dad’s chicken coop was on the other side of the barn wall I fired pucks at, because I ended up scaring his hens out of their wits and egg production dropped off. I soon had to practice elsewhere, not as close to home as my own backyard.

What about now?

The barn in Norwich is gone. I don’t even have a garage here in the city. The basement is carpet and drywall. And though the back laneway might do, good plywood is a 50 bucks a sheet.

Still, I’ll come up with something. The game must go on.


Please click here to read a related matter at Fun and Fitness


Zoom w a View: Favourite photo of the week

As usual, I snapped dozens of photos last week.

I took the following in Port Bruce, Ontario on Sunday while walking toward a birdhouse I spotted moments before parking my own bike.

Digital camera. Faded sepia. Hope you like it.

["Photo by Dusty Jeans"]


Please click here for more Zoom w a View.


Zen and the Art of Lawnmower Maintenance

[“When you want to hurry something, that means you no longer care about it, and want to get on to other things.” pg 24, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance]

4:45 p.m. It started to sprinkle rain while I was cutting grass this afternoon. I continued to work carefully - no thought of running - knew I’d get damp and that my cleanup would take longer.

5:00 p.m. Finished cutting my lawn and the weeds in the shared back laneway. Shirt was sticking to me. I unplugged the electric cord. I bent down, turned the lawnmower onto its side in the rain - no thought of putting it inside The Annex where it is stored - and saw that a deep pad of wet, shredded grass was stuck to every nook and cranny inside the mower’s under carriage.

See, my electric mower, half the mower my retired 3.5 hp Tecumseh gas-powered used to be, needs to be cleaned after every use (Made in China: what a piece of crap) or else its thin metal will rot out within a few years. So I keep a garden trowel with a bad handle just inside the door of The Annex for the scraping and cleaning job.

5:10 p.m. The mower is clean. The clods of grass are spread about the back lane. My lawn mower maintenance job is done.

["I toss clods of grass and saw dust (from a well-maintained workshop) into the back lane.": photos by GH]

I think, it's time for a glass of red wine.


Please click here for “IT STRIKES Again”


The Workshop: Hang a gate, finish the birdhouses

Two unfinished birdhouses sit on the floor of my shop. Been there for a week or more. Other projects on my busy plate squeezed them to the back of the pile.

Because young grand-daughters are coming for a visit (the twins arrive tomorrow, they compete, and they race off in opposite directions at the same time), the job of placing a fence and gates around the edge of my deck became Job 1.

Almost done. One gate needs to be hung.

[Photos by Dusty Jeans]

Another needs a latch and painted top rail. An adjacent portion of fence also still requires a painted top rail. And the rain - constant in this town - is slowing me down.

A handrail to the yard also needs paint.

And the grass needs to be cut, along with the violets and ferns that are marching across my back yard!

(My weekly column touches on dandelions and the marching ferns.)

Soon, hopefully, I can return to my workshop to look for those birdhouses.


Please click here to read more from The Workshop


“IT STRIKES” Again: PT 2 The exciting conclusion of "Cold coffee and hot on the trail of the elusive email"

[This brilliant column was originally published in November, 2002 in The Londoner. You may wish to read PT 1 for context. Go ahead. I’ll wait.]

Cold coffee and hot on the trail of the elusive email

When I picked up the phone I noticed the line was busy. Someone had left a message. I dialed our message-waiting service, punched in the password and went through the process of listening to three new messages. I saved two, erased one, hung up.

I patiently went back to the computer, took a sip of lukewarm coffee and began the task of checking for email again. I was informed that I couldn’t get email - the phone line was busy once more.

While I had been listening to the three phone messages someone else had called, encountered a busy signal on our phone, and left a message.

Back to the phone I went, humbly dragging my feet, coffee in hand.

For a second time I dialed our message service, quickly tapped in the password and went through the process of listening half-heartedly to the latest message.

I made a mental note or two, erased the message, and hung up.

“Call Sears when you have a minute,” I said to Pat, as I shuffled toward the back of the house again.

“What did they want?” Pat asked.

“Something about an item arriving from Montreal,” I said.

“Great. Thanks. By the way, what are you doing?” she asked.

I answered, “I’m getting messages.”

She asked, “Is it easier with the new computer?”

I could have laughed. Or cried.

[Cartoon link]

I was getting a message all right, just not the one I wanted. And by the time I had returned to our computer for the third time to begin the process of collecting email Pat was talking to a lovely lady at Sears.

Shut out again. I took a sip of cold coffee and lowered my head to the keyboard.

I connected with the email service later on the same day when I was in a better mood.

There was no email.


Please click here to read PT 1 Cold coffee and hot on the trail


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Series Of Significance: “Taxes take 41% of pay” Gasp??

The following series of five posts were recently posted separately. They now appear together for your convenience.

PT 1 “Taxes take 41% of pay” Gasp??

[“The average Canadian family spent close to half its income on taxes last year - more than it paid for food, shelter and clothing combined, says a new study...” April 27, London Free Press]

My word. How shall I respond to the latest study from the Fraser Institute, a conservative think-tank?

Shall I clutch my chest over my heart? Shall I fall over and lie face down atop my shag carpet? Shall I curse the government for the terrible predicament (It is a terrible predicament, isn’t it?] that the average Canadian family faces day in and day out for the rest of my life?

No. I’ll do none of those things. Neither should you. Most average Canadians will be just fine, thanks.

Studies that share so little information don’t pass the Harrison Sniff Test.

Though the Fraser Inst. reports that “in 2010, a family with an average income of $72,393 spent 41.3% of its income on taxes,” which may all be well and true, I want to have more information for context, perspective and balance.

For example:

What does the average family receive in return by paying taxes to different levels of government? Is there a concrete benefit to educational, health care, social programs, etc.? Can we put a dollar figure on the value of a good education or health care over the course of an average lifetime? If Canada invested in a dental care program would it the average family actually save money over the long term?

By discussing the benefits to taxation fully, the average Canadian family might see they generally live like kings and queens in a free country.

I’d also like to know the percentage of tax that families pay who earn less than $40,000. And who earn between $40 - $50,000, between $50 - 60,000, and so on, right up to millionaires (the number of Canadian millionaires is growing) and billionaires.

By looking at those figures we might see that the 41% tax rate is about average in Canada. Or we might see that people with higher earnings pay fewer taxes and therefore have a higher percentage of disposable income, and that a fairer taxation system is in order.

With even more information, we might learn that the average Canadian is almost getting the best deal in the world.

And who is the Fraser Institute? How conservative are they anyway?


PT 2 “Taxes take 41% of pay” Gasp??

[In 2010, a family with an average income of $72,393 spent 41.3% of its income on taxes. Spending on food, clothing and shelter added up to 34% of the family income, the study found (i.e., a new study from conservative think-tank the Fraser Institute). April 27, London Free Press]

When I see a headline like ‘Taxes take 41% of pay’ I don’t gasp, clutch my chest or fall over due to weak knees. I don’t curse our government.

When I read that an average Canadian family pays 41.3% of its income on taxes I feel I need more information. What benefits do I receive for my tax dollars? What does the average family receive? What do the growing number of Canadian millionaires receive? 41.3% might be the bargain of a lifetime.

I’d also like more information about the corporate tax rate. I know it has gone down over the last few years and will go down another 1 - 2 per cent this year or next, thanks to the federal Conservative government.

So, I’d like to know how much revenue will be lost to the government because of the lower corporate tax rate. Will the 41% average family tax rate or beneficial government programs be under pressure because of the decline in corporate tax rate?

How much has the corporate tax rate declined since 2000? Since 1990? Since 1980? Since 1970? And what’s happened to our national debt from 1970 to the present time? Maybe time spent focusing on the average family would be better spent focusing on big business and a fairer, more-productive tax system.

And now that the conservative Fraser Institute has got me thinking about the average family and corporate tax rates, I want to know more about tax rates in other countries.

Do average families in the US or Europe, making $72,393 per year, pay more or less tax than Canadians? What benefits do they receive compared to Canadians? Perhaps we’d see, again, that 41.3% is an absolute bargain. Perhaps we’d see, in order to receive benefits common in other countries, that a slight increase in taxes would provide some very important improvements in our lifestyle.

Oh. Something else. I have some questions about the 34% that the average Canadian family - in the $70 - 75,000 income range - spends on food, clothing and shelter.


PT 3 “Taxes take 41% of pay” Gasp??

[“Taxes have grown over the past 49 years to the point that the government is now the largest expenditure facing a family,” Fraser Institute senior economist Niels Veldhuis said. April 27, London Free Press]

Should we fall down? No.

In spite of the conservative think-tanks findings, offered without the benefit of helpful context, when the average Canadian family (income $72,393) learns it pays 41.3% of that amount in taxes, it may breathe a sigh of relief.

“It’s the best deal on the planet,” some people will say.

“It sounds like a lot, but we’re doing well,” others will say, and say it honestly.

Now, admittedly, 41.3% is more than the average family spends on food, clothing and shelter (those costs come in at 34% of income), but people are getting a lot for their 34%.

For example, in the Food Dept.:

The average Canadian is overweight and wears XL Levis with a stretchy waistband

Canadians make 17 million visits to restaurants per day

Canadians pay one of the lowest amounts for weekly groceries (under 15%), compared to income, in the entire world. The percentage is higher in the US; it stands at 45% in Indonesia

Canadians annually write grocery lists that include millions upon millions of dollars worth of cookies, cola, sugar-covered cereals and snack foods

The average Canadian family would do much for its health - and health care costs - if it spent less on food, cooked more meals at home and walked around the neighbourhood more often after supper.

I’m sure the Fraser think tank would agree.

About the Clothing Dept.:

The average Canadian family has seen the size of closets grow substantially over the years

For example, in my 1930s three-bedroom house, the three closets (one is a hall closet for coats and two vacuum cleaners; one bedroom does not have a closet) are no more than 3 ft. by 4 ft. Modern homes and apartments now often come with one or more walk-in closets, room enough for more clothes and shoes than one person can shake a stick at. Sorry, I digress.

‘Clothes Hog’ and ‘Shoe Hog’ are modern terms and many families hire professional organizers or declutterers to help bring material possessions under some kind of control

The vintage and used-clothing markets have grown substantially in the modern era

The aforementioned 34% likely includes the cost of Nike running shoes for weekend runners at $169 per pair and the expensive NHL jerseys that adorn many fans watching the current hockey playoffs

I would therefore say the average Canadian family is getting by pretty nicely at the moment.

The conservative-minded Fraser Institute may want the average Canadian to feel that government has to be smaller, programs have to be cut, taxes have to be reduced - but I don’t buy their small government, market-first, large lifestyle philosophy.

And about the Shelter Dept.:

The average Canadian is not finding costs related to their homes unbearable because of government spending

For example, in the early 1900s, 800 - 1,000 sq. ft. homes, and smaller, were common. My parents and my four siblings lived in a one and a half storey, seven room house in Norwich for many years. We managed to get along without pitching anyone into the streets.

My wife and I and two sons lived comfortably together in our current home, eight rooms, 1,050 sq. ft., before the boys moved into their own digs. Half of the house, including the basement, is now under-used.

I would estimate that the modern day standard for a house is greater than 2,100 sq. ft., or twice my home’s size.

I would guess furnishings cost in excess of $20,000 per home. And if that includes the latest big-screen TV and finished rec room, I would suspect the high average debt per family ($148 debt for every $100 income) is the result of over-borrowing for items on “the want list” and not the size of the government. Again, I digress.

Now, what about that other 25% that the average Canadian family has left to spend after taxes and life’s essentials?

How are Canadians doing in the transportation, communication, recreation, RRSP and backyard pool departments? Any ideas? Is the government standing in the way of our success, progress, or excess?


PT 4 “Taxes take 41% of pay” Gasp??

[It has become fashionable these days to view government spending as a tremendous burden on society. In fact, spending our money collectively through governments, with their strong emphasis on health care, education and welfare, is the smartest investment we, as a society, can make. Shooting The Hippo, 1995, by Linda McQuaig]

Sixteen years have passed since L. McQuaig’s Shooting the Hippo said the above words. They may still be true.

The average Canadian family may be getting a very good deal for the 41% it pays in taxes, 34% it pays for food, clothing and shelter and the 25% it has left over to spend on whatever it wants.

And what does the average Canadian family want? I’m not sure.

And though Fraser Institute spokesperson, senior economist Niels Veldhuis, says, “Taxes have grown over the past 49 years to the point that the government is now the largest expenditure facing a family” (April 27, London Free Press), he doesn’t say what the average Canadian would actually gain by reducing taxes or the size of government or its programs.

The average Canadian could buy more food I suppose, though we are growing more obese by the day.

We could buy more clothes and more furniture for our home, I suppose. We could upgrade our transportation, communication and recreational choices, I suppose.

But perhaps there’s more benefit to putting money aside for collective choices as opposed to individual choices. More on all of us, others. Less on the individual, me.

I don’t know if Canadians will ever find out.

The more elitist organizations, such as the conservative Fraser Institute, propose fewer taxes and smaller government (without context, and usually for the elite’s overall benefit - what might that be? - and not the average Canadian’s), the more likely the average Canadian will, unknowingly, lean toward the goals of the elite.

And what are the goals of the elite?

“In many ways, what the elite wants now is to lower citizen’s expectations of what they can count on from society, to roll back the frontiers of government - to return to an earlier focus on enforcing more narrowly defined legal and political rights. It wants to wean us away from the notion of government as provider and equalizer, and re-establish the discipline of the marketplace in meting out those sorts of rewards where they are “earned.” Under the harsher discipline of the marketplace, we would have no automatic “rights” or “entitlements:” all we would have is whatever we could get by selling our services to those with the money to pay us.

“Presented this way, the new ideology might not sound appealing to most members of society; so it is rarely presented this way. Rather, proponents of rolling back government have focused on finding fault with the system of extended rights that we’ve come to enjoy, or presenting ordinary citizens as victims of an excessive tax burden apparently caused by government largesse.”
pg. 7, Shooting the Hippo

Are ordinary citizens in Canada, e.g., the average Canadian family, victims of excessive taxes?

I don’t think so. The average family is growing big and strong on 34% of its income (maybe too big and strong) and has 25% leftover to buy additional stuff that will one day clutter up a big house and garage in the burbs.

Instead of worrying or questioning the size of government, we should ask for a lot more information from the Fraser Institute. They paint wild pictures and make claims that are completely unsubstantiated.

Perhaps we should even read Shooting the Hippo by Linda McQuaig so we’re better equipped to recognize a pile of guff when it appears in the news.


PT 5 “Taxes take 41% of pay” Gasp??

[The notion that a consensus existed on cutting social spending was misleading. If anything, a consensus appeared to exist not to cut social spending. An Angus Reid poll, taken in late April 1993... found that almost 80 per cent of Canadians opposed any funding cuts to medicare, and almost 90 per cent opposed any funding cuts to education. pg 34, L. McQuaig, Shooting the Hippo]

Yesterday I said, “And what does the average Canadian family want? If you’re an average Canadian let me know.”

I said that because senior economist Niels Veldhuis (Fraser Institute) says, “Taxes have grown over the past 49 years to the point that the government is now the largest expenditure facing a family” (April 27, London Free Press), perhaps hoping the average Canadian would fall for his line of guff, clutch his chest and demand smaller government and fewer taxes and reduced social programs.

I’m pretty sure that’s what the elite want, but I believe their goals in 2011 differ greatly from those of the average working stiff (even though I referred to a 1993 poll).

Kevin O’Leary, seen nightly on the Lang and O’Leary Exchange (CBC TV), is on record for saying he supports a corporate tax rate of 0 per cent.

0 per cent. Of course, he’s a millionaire, he can afford private education for any children he might have now or in the future, he can afford private health care wherever he can find it, he can afford to let corporations (he’s the head of a business empire) get away with zero taxes. Why, he’d absolutely frickin’ love it!

What he doesn’t say is that the tax rate (all taxes) of the average Canadian family (41% on income of $72, 393) will likely rise substantially three seconds after he gets his wish.

O’Leary would love small government, lower taxes, fewer social benefits. O’Canadians want something else.

As mentioned earlier, 80 per cent of Canadians are opposed to any funding cuts to medicare, and almost 90 per cent are opposed to any funding cuts to education.

From Shooting the Hippo:

This fits with the results of polls done by Environics. Dasko (pollster) said that support for social programs remains strong... the public supported the idea of reforming - rather than cutting - social programs. “People think there are inefficiencies and abuses in social programs and strongly feel that those should be ferreted out,” said Dasko.

Dasko also notes that while the public supports the idea of reforming programs, it is not primarily motivated by a desire to save money... the goal of ending inefficiencies ranked above the goal of saving money. Interestingly, however, the polling showed that people suspect that the government’s main motivation in overhauling the programs is to save money. (pg. 34)

Canadian readers are welcome to say the following:

Times have changed

McQuaig was referring to old news, e.g., polls from the 1990s

This is 2011. Liberals are out. Conservatives are in. Canadians want real change.

I have to ask. What kind of change does the average Canadian want?

Does the average Canadian family want a 39% tax rate, instead of 41%, and reduced government services (e.g., related to medicare and education) as a result?

Does the average Canadian feel that, in spite of what the Fraser Institute says, he is surviving in a satisfactory or excellent manner and doesn’t need to live by the same goals as the elite?

If you’re an average Canadian, let me know.

(Mr. O’Leary. No need to write).


Please click here to read another Series of Significance


It Strikes Me Funny: Are we like the grasshopper or the ant?

[ “One summer day a grasshopper was singing and chirping and hopping about.  He was having a wonderful time.  He saw an ant who was busy gathering and storing grain for the winter...” The Ant and the Grasshopper, an Aesop Fable retold by Rose Owens]

Big, tough questions have been on my mind lately. I see big, tough times coming in the next 10, 20, 30 years (the rest of my life, I guess) and beyond, and many North Americans easily squander now what will be precious in the future.

One example: Though fuel prices are near record highs, road trips are at the top of many holiday lists. Staycations are at the bottom.

Big, tough questions: Are we more like the grasshopper or the ant?

And, who survived the winter?


Please click here to read thoughts related to staycations.


“IT STRIKES” Again: Cold coffee and hot on the trail of the elusive email

[The column that follows was originally published in November, 2002 in The Londoner. Why start with such a long title? Because - at the time - I could.]

Cold coffee and hot on the trail of the elusive email

My younger son Paul purchased a new computer recently.

He phoned from Toronto to express his delight with its many features.

“Dad, I can integrate complex information, morpg instantly from one graphic design to another and synthesize over-complicated processes in milli-seconds,” he enthused, almost coming through the phone to illustrate the point.

I encouraged him with, “It sounds fantastic! Especially the part about synthetics. It’ll last forever. I still have a pair of polyester pants from the 60s. Ah, but can it make a decent cup of coffee?”

I was joking, of course, though not by much.

Came his sly, snake-like reply, “Do you want ‘caf’ or ‘decaf’?”

He went on to explain his other computer was now for sale and soon had me convinced I couldn’t live without it.

He was willing to throw in two pounds of Viennese decaf, free delivery and setup to sweeten the deal.

["Thanks for the computer, Paul." "Thanks for the money, Dad.": circa 1995]

I usually enjoy using our “new “ computer now, but still fumble, fuss and fume over complications that arise when involved with modern machinery.

I went to collect email recently to see if there was a response to an order I had placed at “The Wee Tartan Shop” in Port Perry. I could have telephoned but thought if I could save a long-distance charge it would go toward paying for email service.

["Long titles - because I could": photos GH]

When I went to download email the computer politely informed me that I couldn’t receive mail because the modem could not connect with our email service. Our phone was already in use.

I placed my hot coffee carefully beside the mousepad and went to see if Pat was using the phone. No, she was writing a letter and sipping a mug of Viennese decaf.

When I picked up the phone I noticed the line was busy. Someone had left a message. I dialed our message-waiting service, punched in the password and went through the process of listening to three new messages. I saved two, erased one, hung up.


Tune in tomorrow for the darn exciting conclusion

Please click here for more “IT STRIKES” Again.


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Live Small: PT 3 The Titanic. Homework. Staycations.

According to me and the newspaper there are at least four reasons why the idea of staycation gives off a negative vibe.

Staycation is linked to the following;

higher gas prices

the recent recession

financial difficulties, e.g., losing a job

and mom and dad zipping up their old tent in your back yard.

However, as I said earlier, in spite of these things, there are some positive things to be said about the staycation. (I'm sure of it).

For example, those that think long-term will appreciate the value of conserving finite resources, such as fuel, for the future and limiting their carbon footprint to those actions that are 100% necessary today.

Long-term thinkers may be in the minority in 2011 but their numbers will grow in line with rising fuel prices.

Just not this year. According to a recent news report, “Americans will cut other expenses rather than forsake holidays this Memorial day weekend... the latest indication that near-record $4-a-gallon gasoline is having limited impact on demand.” (Travel group AAA forecast, May 20, London Free Press)

Admittedly, holidays are important, but some look forward to staying off busy roads and sleeping (perhaps dreaming) in their backyard.

["I dream about sleeping in The Annex": photo GH]

Jan Hunter, The Stay-Cationist, envisions “gazing at beautiful displays of colour (i.e., in her garden), and leisurely relaxing with whatever summer refreshment I chose to grasp firmly in my hand.” (May 19, The Londoner)

Though her intent may not be to save money (she may also dream about her next back yard project), she wants - at the very least - to enjoy the fruits of her own labour.

Staycation can also mean the following to some:

save money (See! A positive side for me!)

one week at a cottage rental, instead of two

visit with neighbours in the ‘hood

pay down debt

explore immediate surroundings more fully

camp within a one-day bike ride of home

get some practice “doing without, cutting back” before the tough times ahead

hike to a local campground

or, trade houses with a friend.

The possibilities are more numerous, I bet. Why, putting a positive spin on staycation is probably right up your alley.

Let me know about the positive side of your last staycation, or next one.

I’m home right now (just steps from my own comfortable back deck). And I’m listening.


Please click here to read Pt 2 The Titanic. Homework. Staycations.


Cartoon in Progress: “Life’s like that, eh?” 10

Life’s like that, eh?

“Albert heard, because of his big ears, he had little hope of getting a date with Louise.”



Please click here to view “Life’s like that, eh?” 9


Monday, May 23, 2011

Austerity Without Anxiety: Declutter box 4 - ready

In my case, ‘austerity without anxiety’ can also mean ‘I’m cheap and calm about it at the same time’ and ‘I’m frugal and proud of it.’

Though I’m still happy to pay a reasonably high price for a quality product (I don’t have anything in mind!), some of my best purchases are the ones I never made.

Though I’m content to do without many material goods (E.g.: “Why buy an e-reader when I have access to millions of free books at the library?”), I’m embarrassed to say I recently sent 3 boxes of used goods to a second-hand store and now can’t remember much that I sent away.

["Declutter box 4 - ready for action": photo by GH]

Stuff. Gone. That’s it.

And why did I buy the stuff in the first place? Habit? Because I had the money at the time? Misdirected desire?

Declutter box 4 - it’s a big one - is ready to receive more stuff. Soon to be gone. And I have no desire to replace anything that leaves, except for the cardboard box.

Are you decluttering?

A week after you remove something from the house, do you miss it? Even think about it?


Please click here for more Austerity Without Anxiety.


I Ask You: “Who’s down there?”

My 20-month-old twin grand-daughters are visiting soon and to keep them from falling off the deck - face first into the ferns, violets and irises - I’m building a fence at the deck’s edge.

While cutting cedar and pressure-treated posts I spotted a pair of holes - like owl’s eyes - staring back at me from a piece of scrap.

An identical pair stared back at me from a post already in place. And upon closer examination, I found a single hole on the outside of the post.

Something - not someone - had drilled one hole on the outside of the post but had drilled twin passageways inside the post.

["Like owl's eyes - staring back at me": photos by GH]

I ask you: Who or what is down there?

Any ideas?


Please click here for more I Ask You.


Zoom w a View: Ferns will rule the world one day

The grass is growing faster than I can mow. Last week I went from cutting it every three days to every 30 minutes.

And the ferns in our back yard are getting greedy for space. They want the entire yard.

Still, I love this time of year.

[Photos by Dusty Jeans]


Please click here for more Zoom w a View.


Saturday, May 21, 2011

Cartoon in Progress: “Life’s like that, eh” 9

After receiving the award Harry just wanted to say, “If only my friends could see me now!” But he had no friends.


Please click here to view “Life’s like that, eh” 8


It Strikes Me Funny: “What’s going on out there?”

[41 Across - snoozing, 6 letters. Friday’s Crossword, London Free Press]

At 6:30 this morning, coffee on the brew, I picked up Friday’s half-finished crossword puzzle and Muddypaws (a children’s book) in my left hand and a pen in my right from the kitchen counter.

As I filled in the answer for 41 Across, the paper and book slipped out of my hand, hit the edge of the counter and a spoon and fell to the floor.

A loud slap, knock and rattle travelled down a short hallway and into the bedroom.

["41 Across - snoozing": photo GH]

Seconds later my wife rolled over and said, “What’s going on out there?”

“Sorry, I dropped a book,” I said.

Then I finished filling in the answer. A-s-l-e-e-p.

Not anymore, I thought.


Please click here for more It Strikes Me Funny.


Live Small: Pt 2 The Titanic. Homework. Staycations.

[“Surging gas prices are likely to deter Canadians from making long car trips this summer, but most are still planning to get away, albeit closer to home...” May 18, London Free Press]

There are reasons why ‘staycation’ emits a negative vibe.

The word, a recent addition to reputable dictionaries everywhere, is linked to ‘recession’ and ‘the high price of gas.’ (And to scary family memories; see Pt 1.)

Other factors link staycation to the dark side of any word list.

["Will I pitch a tent beside The Annex?": photo GH]

In the news article quoted above, I read the following:

Tony Pollard, president of the Hotel Association of Canada, said... Of those saying they had no holiday plans, 49% cited financial difficulties, such as losing a job (42% cited high fuel costs as the reason for their lack of vacation plans).

It would be tough to drum up enthusiasm for a “let’s stay close to home” vacation after losing a job, wouldn’t it?

Besides the four factors listed (i.e., gas prices, recession, financial difficulties, mom and dad in a tent in your back yard), there may be other reasons too why staycation gives off a negative vibe.

However, in spite of those things, there are some positive things to be said about the staycation.

More to follow.


Please click here to read Pt 1 The Titanic. Homework. Staycations.


Austerity Without Anxiety: Baby in the house

[Due to Avon company's reliance on its direct-selling business model, earning potential and satisfaction of its Representatives and maintaining its business model are essential for the company's success in global markets. Net revenue increased 6.4% to $10.8 billion in 2010]

I haven’t spent a dime on Avon products in a long time. It seems they can easily do without my money.

And I can do without the smell of musk behind my ears.

["The musk goes back a long way!": photo by GH]

How did I get the bottle of aftershave lotion? Not Sure. My wife likely bought it for me 15 - 20 years ago as a Christmas gift. Since I don't use it anymore, I still have a lifetime supply of musk perfume left in the bottle.

Now I use only soap in the shower, dry off, then slap on some baby powder for the day.

My wife says I smell great. And that’s good enough for me.

Have you dropped essences or other cosmetics from your shopping cart? Let me know.


Please click here for more Austerity Without Anxiety.

PS a recent visitor loved my new “old” duckies.


Friday, May 20, 2011

Live Small: Pt 1 The Titanic. Homework. Staycations.

[“The high gas prices are likely to continue the staycation trend seen since the recession, where Canadians spend their vacations on day trips and attractions closer to home. The trend became so popular that the word entered the Oxford English Dictionary for the first time last year.” May 18, London Free Press]

Certain words will likely never evoke a positive vibe.

Take for example, Titanic, homework and staycations.

“Want a ride on my new boat?”

“What’s it called?”

“The Titanic II.”

“Maybe after you break it in.”

As well, when will you ever hear this exchange?

A mother says, “Sure, Billy, you can go to the movies, just finish your homework first.”

“Oh, excellent. I forgot about that essay and two hours of algebra. Thanks for the helpful reminder, Mom.”

["Anyone want to cycle to Pt. Bruce for some camping?": photo GH]

And the word staycation doesn’t light up many conversations because it is linked to hard-hitting words like ‘recession,’ phrases like ‘the high gas prices’ and jarring changes to the tableau of family memories.

Why, years ago, interested family members once commonly stood at the dock and waved hankies as relatives sailed off to Europe on the Queen Elizabeth II, and called out, “Have a great vacation. Don’t forget to send us a postcard. Watch out for ice bergs. Ha Ha!”

Today, many grown and worried children now stand in the edge of their back deck as their parents, in the back half of the yard, zip up the flaps on their Woodsman 3-man-tent under cloudy skies, and call out, “Have a great staycation. Phone us on your cell in the morning if you want coffee. And the back door is open if you need the bathroom.”

That being said, staycations in Canada - and elsewhere - will take on a more positive feel when conservation of finite resources is regarded or valued more highly, but that day is likely a long way off.

For now, however, the staycation will keep its somewhat negative image because of its connection to the most recent recession and high fuel costs.

Other factors play a role too.

Stay tuned.


Please click here for more Live Small.


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Decluttering: The new habit is forming but...

Declutter Box 3 will be delivered to the Good Will today on my way to a 50-plus hockey game. I think someone will be impressed with this boxful of my old stuff, especially the electric drill.

The original chuck is still taped to the electric cord!

On my way home from the drop off center I’ll pick up another box or two. The new habit of decluttering is forming, a couple of rooms are a lot tidier than when I started, but I need to place empty boxes in prominent locations (e.g., beside the door to my study, beside my exercise bike) to remind me of my cleanup goals.

[“Next up. Camping gear”: photos GH]

I face a real challenge in the room I’m tackling next - a basement storage room/workshop. It needs a thorough cleaning, and it’s piled high with old beer-making equipment and camping gear that once cost a lot of money.

Some hard choices ahead.


Please click here for more about decluttering.


Fun and Fitness: “What do you do with the extra miles?”

I used to say, “I want to live until I’m 87.” But I’ve been doing so well riding 100-plus miles per week on my exercise bike and collecting ‘extra’ miles (375 - that’s an NR, new record), I think I can upgrade that comment.

Here goes: I want to live until I’m 90 years old. That gives me 5 years of gravy.

(Definition - gravy: If I live until I’m 85 I will draw my pension for as many years as I contributed to it. Every year past that is ‘gravy.’ : ) Thick beef gravy.)

Recently I was asked, “What do you do with the extra miles?”

Good question. And the answer is... not much. If I’m away for the weekend, don’t get in my last ride or two of the week and complete less than 100 miles, I subtract the difference from the extra miles and remind myself that it’s okay to miss 100 every once in awhile. So, the extra miles act as a bank. When I’m short on miles I make a withdrawal.

The question got me thinking. Since I’m collecting extra miles so often, perhaps I should raise my goal to 110 miles per week. I’m already doing it now, but can I do it for the next two years?

Or until I’m 90?


Please click here for more Fun and Fitness.



Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Workshop: “I could live here”

If I was a chickadee I’d check out the floor plan of the General Store.

["Barn board duplex with light blue wash"]

["Coca Cola at 10 cents a bottle. Good deal!": photos GH]

Nice digs, I’d say.

Antiques are right next door in case I need any furnishings.

["Rescued hemlock took the wash well. The radio works!"]

What tunes are on the old radio? Rockin’ Robin? Cool.

If I was a chickadee, I’d move right in.


Astute chickadees might appreciate that I used only rescued lumber too.

Please click here for more (and earlier photos of the above houses) from The Workshop.