Friday, May 30, 2014

Motorcycle Miles

Boats and Bikes in Pt. Bruce

Sunday May 25 2014

The more I ride the better the bond - a must-have component for my upcoming East Coast trip - I have with my bike. And because the London/Port Bruce ride is a short, easy, scenic loop that includes lake views, good coffee and French fries, the bike and I know it by heart.

Last Sunday, while I sat at the Corner View Cafe in The Bruce, a steady stream of shiny bikes rolled past my outdoor table. And there were more boats on the river channel and Lake Erie than I could count.

["A rare (at least in my view) Moto Guzzi"]

["A rare 750 Norton Commando"]

["An 850 Commando is featured in the movie 'One Week', filmed chiefly in
Canada, which I viewed - coincidentally - the night before this Sunday ride"]

Head off to Port Bruce on a sunny day. Count boats and bikes and enjoy calorie-free fries.

Link to Motorcycle Miles

Photos GH

East Coast

Tea Break

This bike breaks for tea. 

Image 0520, June 10 2010, 2:30:38

Somewhere sweet on Highway 132, south shore, St. Lawrence River

Link to East Coast

Photo GH

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Inner Space Bucket

A bit of play time inside a paint bucket is my idea of a good time.

Always keep a bucket handy for a ride into space.

Link to Zoom w a View

Photos GH

East Coast

I'm Counting Down

["I've done some math"]

I'm twelve days away from lift off. I haven't packed my bags yet - that's a last minute affair - but my bottle of TUMS is now out of the bathroom cabinet and sitting atop my dresser - nearer my backpack. And I've done some math.

The minimum distance I will travel, to the East Coast and back, is a touch over 4,500 kilometres. However, with the odd detour for lunch, occasional side trip for a scenic view or easy run along the old Trans-Can, and some 'extra yardage' (I get lost from time to time), I'll do many more Ks, say 4,800 in all.

The cost of gasoline, after several careful mathematical computations including Venn diagrams and a base price of $1.40/L, comes out to $350. What with Venn diagrams and that extra yardage, however, I'll say $400. And accommodation (for 13 of 17 nights I'm booked at hostels and Airbnb sites) comes in at $479, say $480. I bear in mind accommodation will run much, much higher if my sister in PEI and son in Fenelon Falls decide to charge me market price for my stay under their roof. Hey, it could happen!

As long as I cook most of my own meals where possible and don't eat and drink the priciest items on restaurant menus when I do indulge myself (e.g., at Isaac's Way in Fredericton; the pork tenderloin en jus d'apricot est sooperb!), I shouldn't break the bank.

Maps filed, motorcycle tuned, piggy bank money counted and rolled. East Coast is looking good at the moment.

Photos from East Coast 2010

 ["The unsinkable S.S. Silver Walnut before final
paint and three coats of spar varnish"]

 [June 10, 2010 at 10:44 A.M. 
"I've left Trois Riviere, and facing NE toward Riviere du Loup. Dark skies!"]

 ["11:18 A.M. June 10. Still on my way to du Loup. No rain yet"]

 ["11:49 A.M. June 10. Skies clear along south shore of St. Lawrence R."]

["Three shots on Highway132 near Kamouraska. No rain that day"]

["Front door of hostel in Riviere du Loup. Beautiful spot!"]

["Front hall of hostel. My room is just up the stairs."]

["I'm in walking shorts and shoes, ready to shop for supper"]

Link to East Coast

Photos by GH

Thursday, May 29, 2014

My Morning Smile

Laundry Vignettes

Yesterday, while hanging laundry to dry on the lines that span our back deck, two thoughts came to me.

["The collection grows"]

I must do something about my growing collection of pajama tops (e.g., the gold and grey shirts above, to mention but a few). I'm hanging onto so many T-shirts that are still too warm and cozy to use as workshop shirts (see spattered blue T) but are not good enough to wear to the coffee shop when I'm meeting up with a higher class of people.

["This just won't do"]

As well, I try to very discreet when hanging my underwear. I hang them only on the second line closest to the house. But it has come to my attention that, though my young neighbours behind me cannot see my UWs (thanks to a protective barrier of T-shirts and towels), my next door neighbours can clearly see the whole collection now that they've moved their BBQ to the raised deck outside their new patio doors.

["Oh, I can just hear what they're saying about my saggy bottoms!"]

Apart from hanging them up with my soggy hockey gear, what's a poor guy to do!?

Cautious Photos by GH

Bird Watching

Chip Chip Chippy

["The cardinals are in there somewhere!"]

Apart from getting the evil eye from Brewer's Blackbirds every once in awhile, bird activity is going as per usual - like a very pleasant routine - at the bird feeder outside my study window. 

Robins are feeding their young and I suspect the cardinals are as well, though I can't see them clearly. The blue spruce is sprouting new growth, making the cardinal's nest almost invisible from every angle. And daily, the pair 'chip chip chip' away - starting at 5:30 A.M. - to let everyone know they are in the 'hood and will protect their space and nest. Busy all day they are.

The female cardinal, however, will occasionally - for a second or two - rest atop the fire pot lid below my window just to say hello.

Thumbs up, I say. Keep safe.

Photo by GH

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The Workshop

Make Room!

I like days in the shop when perches - often the last step - are added to birdhouses. Or when cats are tacked onto a bench - again, often the last step - at the front of another birdhouse.

["Methinks the greenish-blue is right on!"]

["I'm jist gettin' me cats all in a row"]

Then I can take a photo and take them to the basement for storage, thereby creating more room for more birdhouses!

Keep busy, I say.

Link to The Workshop

Photos GH

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More Views From the Bucket

Mixing paint in order to get the perfect shade of teal. Bluish-green or greenish-blue will do as well.

Link to Zoom w a View

Photos GH

East Coast

Raring to Go

News update.

While planning for my trip to PEI and Halifax, starting Monday June 9, I've experienced ups and downs.

Downs: 'Skweeks House' and private hostel is not open for business in Kingston anymore. Stink. It was so close to the downtown. Ups: I have settled instead for a dorm room at Queens University at almost three times the price. But I'm still going to Kingston and can still walk downtown for supper.

I have my schedule and itinerary set for June 9 - 26 (see top photo). And I've almost finished the job of printing off maps and confirmation sheets for each town and hostel/Airbnb home in which I'll be staying (second photo). My route to the East Coast in June will be almost the same as it was in 2010, so, with even just a few minor variations - to see dozens of 'new' small towns, to take 100s of 'new' photos - I can almost guarantee I'll have an excellent ride and meet dozens of interesting people.

As well as seeing my oldest sister's new farm and forest in PEI - top priority! - I have several specific, important places to visit in Halifax and Ottawa connected to my Dad's Navy days. Why, the hike to the spot on Pennant Point where I tossed a wooden boat filled with his ashes into the Atlantic in 2010 (cremated remains) will be worth the trip to Halifax alone.

Though there is still more planning and packing to do, the trip is ' a go' and taking shape, and I'm getting pretty excited about it.  

Photos from East Coast 2010

["This wooden boat is on its way to Scotland, via Gulf Stream"]

["Photo taken from my hostel in Trois Riviere. Looks like the hostel"]

["I travelled many miles along south shore the St. Lawrence R."]

["Book rooms well ahead. You never know what's left!"]

Link to East Coast

Photos GH

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Zoom w a View

Latest view from Space?

Yes, Greenland is melting, but not in this photo. I'm just mixing blue, green and white paint in my ever-present workshop bucket.

["This is fun, and way cheaper than a movie"] 

["A super Tsunami is heading for Brazil!"]

Usually, and as it turned out in this case, I am quite happy with the resulting blend. Then, onto a birdhouse or two it goes.

["Yes. That's what I was going for"]

["Send me your wooden spoons!"]

Yup, I like stirring things up.

Link to Zoom w a View

Photos GH

The Workshop

Something Pokey

After a busy day or two in the workshop I'll shake off my hat, wipe my dusty brow and take a break by working on something pokey. That is, nice and easy. People who enjoy puttering or fussing over something without breaking into a sweat will know exactly what I mean.

["What do you see here? One - a busy but tidy shop"]

["Two - a couple of freshened up tree limbs"]

After freshening the paint on a few tree limbs I turned to a couple of small birdhouses.

"I'll add some paint and they'll be better than new," I said to myself.

["Red cedar houses, just waiting for paint"]

["This house looks brighter now." (Golf tees, for perches, dry nearby)]

Five birdhouses on limbs, 'ready to plant in your yard', are now ready for Gathering on the Green.

Link to The Workshop

Photos GH

Friday, May 23, 2014

Zoom w a View

Ring Them Bells

I'll play the song 'Ring Them Bells' on the workshop CD player when I'm draw up plans for a new custom order. (While working with Joe on his new dock last weekend in Fenelon Falls, he said his former neighbour, a retired priest, wants a birdhouse made from the western cedar that came out of the old dock).

["This small bell will soon ring in its own tower"] 

"No problem," I said. "I'll bring it up next visit, early July."

"He'll pay you well," said Joe.

"Okay, sounds good," I said, and started dreaming about a western cedar, log cabin-style, rustic church with a bell tower and million dollar price tag.

I like big dreams to go with my music in the workshop.

Link to Zoom w a View

Photo GH

The Workshop

Busy Times

["Stock for swap box (left) and two duplex/feeders"]

["Stock for three school houses from gray barn board"]

I don't mind keeping busy with birdhouses on cool, gray days. I just select cool, gray barn board from Fenelon Falls, turn the workshop heater on and draw up a few plans. Soon the shop is warmer, dust is flying and stock for several new houses line the shelves.

Today, another cool day, I get the sander out and rev up the hammer.

Link to The Workshop

Photos GH

My Morning Smile

Without any help from me... lawn has produced the best crop in almost thirty years.

Where's me bucket? Where's me dandelion chucker?

Link to My Morning Smile

Photos GH