Archive Entries for Aug 11, 2009 to June 25, 2010

 

June 25, 2010  This morning two loons  were engaged in a raucous exchange that never seemed to end.  It was a wonderful morning to be outside just appreciating the beauty of bird song, breeze in trees, gentle  sound of wind chimes and enough wind to keep the mosquitoes away.

I took advantage of these ideal  circumstances to do the "rubbing out" procedure  to the platters and tray to which I had added the poly-resin  coating.

When the poly-resin has cured sufficiently it is  scrubbed down with extra-fine steel wool to add scratches to the  surface.  Then, with water lubricant, and two grades of pumice powder rubbing, still finer scratches are added to the surface.  Finally, with water as the lubricant again, Rottenstone abrasives are used to add the final scratches to re-create a silky matt gloss surface.  To the touch it  is like a smooth silk.  To the eye is is a low lustre finish with a depth to the wood and decoration achieved by the thick layer of poly-resin.  I find that this  saves me a lot of time.  to achieve the same degree of  finish I would have to apply about 16  coats of polyurethane finish.  That is much more time consuming in that it  required drying time and sanding between each coat.  The disadvantage of the poly-resin finish is that it is expensive and  I have to make sure that  emerging air bubbles do not get trapped in the drying resin.  That can be quite a challenge in itself.

Friends, Ina and Elmer were taking down two Box Elder / Manitoba Maple trees from their yard and offered me the blocks of wood.  I received them gratefully and  have taken time this week to turn a few blocks into bowls and a vase.  The green wood  turning on the lathe spits out sap water at  me as I turn it, and when it is turned, I need to dry it strategically to prevent  the splits of "checking" as the wood dries.  A microwave oven can help this process along.  I have found that the drying process usually  results in the piece being somewhat eccentric and  further turning on the lathe is not an option most of the time.  It pays to  do as much as possible in the first instance.  This is one of the pieces;

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Additional images of this piece and of the other pieces can be found on the Recent Work Gallery page of this web site.

June 18, 2010  My home area missed most of the recent heavy rains that have caused flooding in other parts of our Province.  This spring season has defied all of the usual expectations for weather with record rains. 

I have been finishing  some of the wood items I have been making and have also added the decoration to a Serving Tray that I constructed last fall. 

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The outer edges as well as the inner border is red Padauk wood.  The small circles within the border  are aspen dowel and the light wood is birch.  The images are of plants from Friendly Forest in fall colours.  The images were added with wood burning tools (pyrography) and the colour  is with aniline dyes.

June 09, 2010  Some years ago I  started to make wooden crosses which feature a rough cross shape with an opening inside of a stylized  corpus.  I can not claim credit for the  image.  Many years ago something similar, in cast resin, was a product of the Liturgical Press of Collegeville Minnesota.  When I tried to order one of the items for a friend who had seen one in my home, no one at the Liturgical Press even remembered ever having them for sale.  I had promised one to my friend, so I decided to make my own version out of wood.  That first product was seen by others and more requests came my way.  In the intervening years I  have made several hundred of them. 

Initially I made them out of dark hardwoods and used engraving tools to create a rough textured surface.  Later I  found that using spruce lumber from my own forest area worked the best. 

I cut out the outside  on my band saw, and then also cut out the open space.  Once the  piece is finished, I mount a 1.5 inch diameter  sanding drum in my drill press and set it to high speed.  Using the sanding drum I shape out the  body cavity area and shape it  and also round over the outer edges.  Once the basic shape meets my approval, I replace the sanding drum with a 5 inch diameter wire brush and with heavy gloves and close attention, I use the rotating wire brush to  "scrub out" the softer wood grains leaving the hard  grain raised in interesting natural patterns. 

I drill a mounting hole from the back and then bath the entire piece with a dark aniline dye.  I used a dark brown this time.

When this has dried, I set the pieces in the warm sun and then applied a brushing of paste wax and placed it in the sun again to help the  process of allowing the wood to soak up some of the wax.  then, using a stiff shoe polish brush  I polished the  cross surfaces to bring it to a soft lustre.

I made  presentation / gift bags for them out of a dark olive green and  tan yellow suede fabric.  The finished cross on the suede  fabric looks like this:

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Each cross  varies with the grain of the wood, and is uniquely attractive.

I made  cards that explain the image; using this  text:

"He is not here; he is risen as he said ... " Luke

This cross represents both the wood of the cross and the rock of the tomb.  The Christian belief in the resurrection of Jesus  is symbolized by the empty space on the cross and the empty space in the tomb.  Those spaces once held the body of Jesus.  Now it is a space calling us to share in his death if we wish to share in his resurrection.

I have posted images of other recent work on my Recent Work Galley page.

May 30, 2010  Two more birch plates / platters  completed.  They are 16 inch diameters and 1 inch deep.  The stylized landscape with leaves, berries, wheat and sun is a prototype that I was asked to consider making.  The natural grain pattern of that birch plate  lent itself to the prairie landscape  concept.  It would not  always be so with other plates.  The second plate with its wood grain would not have suited  that  kind of landscape  image.

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Fall Harvest - 1

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FF Leaves -2

It has been very cool and raining for several days and indoor work seems to be  in order.  I am usually happier making a mess while being creative in the shop or my house than I am cleaning up the clutter and litter that results from those efforts.  Sometimes I think that my creative efforts are my subconscious  way of justifying not  keeping a neater home and shop area.

On May 23 most of my family was able to gather to celebrate my mother's 95th birthday.  It was good to be able to get together like that.

May 22, 2010   Warmer weather returned and the blossoms that  sat waiting for two weeks also trusted the skies and opened to sun and insects.  A look at Environment Canada's site shows the possibility of snow on Tuesday, along with very cool temperatures.  There are never any assurances  for May weather in our area.

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Over the past weekend I was able to take four days in the forest at Eagle Camp.  The time was  great even if the mosquitoes  decided to make their appearance in good number the same day that I started this spring Fast. 

The new cast iron stove I had brought out to the camp worked  very well and with a fraction of the wood used in the open fire  inside the tipi, the stove made more warmth and lasted longer.  It does not have the romance of the open flames, but  it does not have the smoke  arising from  a fire starting or cooling either.

King is getting really old, and can only walk short distances slowly.  Yet a few weeks ago he managed to chase a visiting bear away from the house.  I guess the bear did not know how  impotent King actually was.

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I planted most of my garden seeds just before I went out to the forest camp and already most have germinated.  While in the garden area I looked toward the house and saw the  willow in full blossom, and the contrasting colours of the prayer flags that  are tied there seemed to make a very special image.

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May 5, 2010   I completed the  final Inipi - Wolf plate.  This one with an aspen leaf border in a more formal ring.  Our scripture study group is winding up for the season.  When summer comes all are too busy with  guests and other summer responsibilities.  For some weeks now we have  been "turfed" from our usual meeting place and have been meeting in the home of a member of our group.  Thanks to the  people of Lutheran Camp Kinaseo for hosting us for the fall, winter and spring season.

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May 2, 2010  After days of dark and wet weather the sun came out again.  I started on another birch wood plate and added image of Wolf.  I have had requests for more of these, and although I  am reluctant to do  multiples of any item, I am changing part of the image and image  setting to give some variations to the basic image.  This is the most recent version in progress, and then completed

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While I was working on this on Saturday I got a call from a friend and neighbour.. a home made lemon pie was on the way.  The  crust and contents made from  basic materials, not packaged mixes, and a wonderful treat.  Here is what it looked like, still warm from the oven:

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I had been using part of the day to make  my own version of French Onion Soup.  So I was able to exchange some of my soup and a cheese  mixture for on top of the soup for the pie.  Later in the season I will return the pie plate with  something else inside.  We have been doing this to our mutual pleasure for a few years now.

April 24, 2010   This morning we have snow on the ground again.  This follows unseasonably warm weather for  this area.  Aspen leaves had started to emerge from buds.  This is about a month earlier than usual for our latitude. 

Yesterday morning as I  stood on the deck the frog chorus was in full throat, the geese and ducks were making all sorts of territorial noise and in the distance a few wolves were greeting the morning sun with their howls.  That   comes really close to my idea of paradise.

I took a photo over the pond just after morning prayer time:

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This morning  at about the same time we see this:

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... and this looking down the slope toward the Initi Shelter:

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On Thursday I  finished setting up the Tipi at Eagle Camp and was able to spend a few hours there on Friday morning (April 23).  This spring I obtained a small cast iron stove.  I  added a 4 foot length of pipe and a diffuser rain cap and tried it out.  Although it lacks the  romance of open flames burning from the fire pit in the centre of the tipi, the small stove is much more fuel efficient and  throws more heat.  It will also be much safer as it is not able to throw sparks and  is much easier to control the burn rate of the wood fuel. 

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I have really enjoyed the warm weather we have had over the past  week and have done some good work outside while neglecting the indoor stuff.  Hey, after our winters, what sane person would do otherwise?

April 5, 2010  It is Easter Monday morning.  Yesterday I entertained 13 guests  at my table.  We ranged in age from 7 months to 88 years.  It was great to celebrate Easter in this manner, and the weather cooperated very well.  Just as the final guests were leaving in the evening the sky darkened and lightning  flashed with our first thunderstorm of the season.  Thunderbird is always welcome and as it drives out  what is negative or evil from winter time, it brings cleansing and refreshing rain.  This time the early rain turned to sleet as the temperatures dropped and this morning a few light snow flakes drift from the skies.

A few weeks back I purchased an electric pressure washer.  I have been using it to clean some larger area rugs as well  as cleaning  accumulated grime and algae from my Tipi cover.  We still have some snow and ice on the ground so I have not been able to place these  items on the ground but have used my deck instead.  That works well except for the tipi cover.  It is for an 18 foot tipi which means the bottom edge is  a 56 foot  semi-circle.  By folding and refolding the canvas I was able to wash and dry the  cover.  Now I am anxious to be out in the forest again to set up Eagle Camp for this season.

Two pair of geese are back and are doing their competitions for control of the  best nesting sites.  Friends have seen my wolf neighbours near by.  While I have heard them howl during my morning prayer time, I have not sighted them myself. 

March 28, 2010   Since completing the  wolf face shown below I have had requests from several people to  either sell it to them or to make them one as well.  Each of these images is rather special to me and  no two are exactly alike.  I start with the same outline  sketch but all of the detail is done freehand.  I  start with the eyes and nose parts of the image, and especially with this image, it seems as if Wolf is there looking at me and warning me to do it right, as it is  his/her face I am bringing out of the wood surface.  Each series of wood burning  touches on the wood brings more and more of its face.   It reminds me somewhat of some sculpture that I have done, where the sense is that one is removing  the parts of the wood that are not of the hidden being, and the task is to remove the  excess carefully to not damage the special  being inside.  With the wood burning it is an even stronger sense of this as each stroke brings about part of the finished image, and is irreversible.  A pyrography tip held too long on the wood, or at a temperature too high will mar the wood and can not be erased.  Care  and good fortune are required.

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Inipi Wolf 2

Pyrography on birch wood plate

March 23, 2010  I have completed a plate which was ordered as a wedding gift.  The request was based on an earlier  plate decorated with leaf images from Friendly Forest.  The customer requested the addition of the names of the young couple and the date of their  upcoming wedding.  Go to Wood and Shop  to see the stages of the decoration process.

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March 1, 2010  The Olympics are over and I will admit that I  got caught up in them more than I had expected.  Having a good TV  to see the images  certainly helped.

Yesterday was full moon and so was my day for the Inipi prayer at Friendly Forest.  It was a super day for many reasons.  The weather was mild, and since it was a Sunday I had also attended  church services in the Village.  Unexpected circumstances prevented  two participants from coming so that left two of us.  My prayer companion is tri-lingual in Dakota, Cree and English, so his prayers were in all three languages.  It was good to hear  Dakota and Cree used within the Initi again.  It was a very good prayer  experience for all of us and I thank Creator for those gifts of connection.

I have added the finish to the plate with the Wolf face.  It brings out the  image - wood contrast  better than the unfinished  surface.

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This week will see me continue to prepare my house for the House Concert guests  on Sunday.  I need to be ready to move furniture around and bring up extra chairs etc.  This is causing me to  want to de-clutter my  living spaces.  That instinct is at war with my  hoarder instincts.  Perhaps there will be a compromise?

February 24, 2010  Since my last post here I reluctantly traded in my 2005 VW Golf TDI on a 2010 version of the same car.  I like the newer version and it still gets me the same fuel efficiency with even more power, but that puts me back into debt to VW Finance.  My rationalization was that I would need to be putting that same kind of money aside to be able to replace the 2005 model at the end of its expected life. This way I have the security of a full warrantee plus a few new luxury features. Time will tell if it was a wise decision.

I have also started back to adding images to some of my turned birch plates.  I just finished a special request piece.  The unfinished wood image is shown here:

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The plate is 14 inches in diameter.

I have also been  working to organize a house concert at Friendly Forest for the first Sunday of March.  I have invited two local musicians to share their talents.  We have invited  about 30 friends to share the evening  of good music after sharing pot-luck desserts.  The one thing we have absolutely no control over is the weather.  I look forward to meeting friends and listening to  good music by Walter Berg and Dan Dyck.

February 6, 2010  I took some time this morning to  do a search of my name using Google.  I found things there I had totally forgotten I had ever written or posted.  Along with the  endless repetition of information on my Green Party candidacy in 2003, there were references to  my work with the Prince Albert Food Charter group, and even old Letters to the Editor that are in the archives of the Prairie Messenger, the Catholic Weekly Newspaper for Saskatchewan.  Some of these letters date back quite a few years.

When I wrote the letters I  was feeling very strongly about the issues, and on reading them back I find that my  thoughts have not changed, nor have the circumstances that I  was "railing" against.

While it seemed a bit  disconcerting that documents that I no longer  had in my own files were still out there in cyberspace,  I also thought that  I should gather them in in some fashion.  What I have done is  added  them to my Soap Box Forum Index.

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While I was working on those pages I also deleted some that  were clearly more dated and some which had been contributed by others who probably had also forgotten  about their authorship of the items.

Clearly it is time for me to do a significant overhaul of my entire web site.  Since you are reading this entry now and perhaps you also check out different parts of this web site, I would appreciate your  comments about what you have seen, what you would  prefer to see, and how you found the navigation experience.

I am still trying to keep the site pages simple and quick to load.  I  vividly recall my many years of  being on a slow "dial up" modem connection and cursing  site developers who  made pages I could never load because of all of the large files they contained.

Use the  contact information  in the  left column on this page or on my Contact Page.

I have also been  considering  updating my vehicle to a 2010 model.  Whether the final  agreements are going to happen will depend on what  I am offered on my present  2005 VW Golf TDI (GLS).  I have been delighted with the  car but  would prefer the security of a warranty again. 

February 3, 2010  It snowed some over the past few days and I decided to take advantage of the  sunny weather to clear the snow from my yard and drive way.

The sun is  higher in the sky and my air lock is beginning to get warmer  with that sun.  Soon on an afternoon like this one I will be able to open the  door to the house and access  the warmth that has been generated that way.

A friend and former member of our community  died a few weeks ago.  The service was held in our village and the community came out in good support of the three  children who were able to make it out.  I have very good memories of  this man and his children as  the children were growing up  here.  Rest in peace, Adrian.

My General Electric wall oven, installed some 20 years ago, works fine, but over the years the plastic knobs on the timer and clock have become brittle and have broken.  Sometimes the buzzer mechanism would go off without  warning and I  was having increasing difficulty finding out how to  stop the irritating buzz.  Last week it  started to buzz and nothing I tried would work to  stop the noise.  The only way I could  get some peace was to  turn off the breaker in the breaker panel.  I took the control plate off and saw a mass of wires and no wiring scheme.  I  did not want to  disconnect  a wrong wire and create a bigger problem so I called an appliance repair shop.  The charges  to come out here  were  high .. over $150 or $160 just to come out here.  The only alternative was to wait  till there was another service call in the area and then share the cost of  travel.  After more than a week I decided to take another look myself.  Once I had the  panel opened I found a  browned and crispy  paper which had the wiring scheme.  I handled it gently and made a copy on my copy machine.  Well, it was  schematic, not diagrammatic and did not help me enough to give me confidence.  But I did see a small unit that looked like a  coil magnet ... clocks don't need magnets, but buzzers probably did, so I thought I might  pull one black wire out of that  coil.  It worked, and nothing else  on the stove or oven seemed to be affected.  I taped off the end of the pulled wire and reassembled the  panel and put the breaker back on.  The  simple pleasure of using the oven or the stove without the  irritating sound of the buzzer became one of the simple pleasures of the day.  There are so many other simple things that we take for granted and ignore and so deprive ourselves of great satisfaction and even joy.  We need to stop and look  and listen and then  just smile  at what delights us.

January 20, 2010  My four-footed friend King has made a bit of a comeback for which I am very grateful.  I hope that he is able to have comfort and dignity during these final  times before his passage to the other side.  I have made some modifications to my home to help him maintain  footing  when he is able to stand, and I try to be there to assist when he needs it. 

Later this week I will be hosting some young friends who are coming to our community for the funeral of their father.  He was a good man and I appreciated him as a friend when he was alive.  I am pleased to be able to  be of some support to his children at this time.  I have known them since they were children. 

There are times when I  take up a cause in which I believe strongly, and currently I have  undertaken  such a cause within my own church.  I believe that  all Christians are called to be prophets, and that means seeing things with a new set of eyes.  It is not  acceptable that we  perceive and respond to our community as if we were just a secular society.  In our church we are to be a community / family of believers dedicated to living out the teachings of the head of our community.  That  can, and often does, mean that we do things differently and from different values.  The Sermon on the Mount / the Beatitudes, call us to  see with new eyes, to live  in contradiction to the teachings and wisdom of the world.  Surely we should do so within our own Christian communities as well.  Enough said.  I will see where things go and I hope that I will be able to speak the truth in charity.

Another  pyrography effort:

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January 16, 2010  If you read this page and have been to Friendly Forest over the past 12 years, you will likely remember my  canine companion "King".  This morning he did not accompany me up the stairs  when I got up.  A short while later I heard a bump and went to investigate.  I found my friend  on the floor, unable to stand  and clearly struggling to breathe.  While he seems to have stabilized  somewhat I must face the prospect that  he may have started on his journey to Creator on the other side.  If you knew him and he gave you delight in being who he was, I would request that you ask Creator to  be supportive and gentle with  this  wonderful  being he  brought to life and who he brought to be  my best friend here at Friendly Forest.  He might still regain strength and  be with me for a while longer, but  even if that were so, it will be borrowed time.  We owe so much to so many, and  I know how much I owe to this friend and to Wayne who  made sure that King would find a home with me when Wayne himself  went to the other side.

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January 6, 2010  It is a new calendar year and when I just typed in the date I still made it as 2009  before I corrected it.

I have been  turning more  large plates / platters in birch wood to serve as a canvas for  more pyrography efforts.  This morning I completed a set of four  images; eagle, bison, bear and wolf (my spirit helpers).  I decided to use a simple board as a practice piece.  I hope to get better but I am still pleased with what I have made as my first effort.  I have added images of several stages in this process on my Wood and Shop page.  I am sure that there are better ways of doing this and that I will learn some of those better ways.  For now, however, this is what I am able to produce.

The Christmas and New Year period have  been  wonderful around here.  It is beautiful and we have had some fresh snow.  Still I can walk my forest trails without the help of snowshoes.  I have had guests and enjoyed our times together immensely ... as did King.  King  has reached the conclusion that guests mean additional access to  food and treats.  He is usually correct in that assumption.  Once guests have departed, he settles right back  and stops  agitating for those treats.

I will post images of the completed  animal images here.  Eagle was from a pattern by Sue Walters.  The other three I made working from a photograph of the animal.

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December 22, 2009  Solstice is past and final preparations for the Christmas celebration are  nearly completed here.  I have a few phone calls to make yet but all my letters are off.  I have created a generic Christmas letter again to spare me repeating  general information on each letter.  I am adding it here as a PDF document for anyone who may have missed getting  a letter.  A few addresses may now be obsolete.  I have also added images to two more plates;

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December 19, 2009  It has been foggy and hoar frost is forming  everywhere.  The frosty outlines of everything distracts  my attention from the dark of our winter days as we near Solstice.

This morning I started to make line images of some animals.  I want these to apply to wood for wood burning / pyrography.  I started with  full photographs and then traced the major tonal areas onto parchment paper.  At first I made a temporary light box by placing a sheet of plate glass over a laundry basket.  I had placed a desk lamp into the basket and turned the bulb upward.  Then, with image and paper taped into position so they would not move, I traced  the outlines for Wolf.  Later in the morning I  also did some  by taping the sheets onto the window.  The regular and somewhat brighter light from outside made the task easier.  I then  took these tracings to my scanner and  made jpeg images for my file.  By flipping the image horizontally I will be able to make my transfer sheet that corresponds to the full scale image that I started with.  The  outline will  be the guide for the initial line burning, and the full tonal photo image will guide the shading work with the pyrography tool.

I also took a few images of the  frosty morning.  Here are a few images:

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December 17, 2009  The bitter cold  has ended for the time being and seasonable temperatures seem nearly balmy!  I have tried my hand at adding one of Sue Thomas'   wildlife images to a birch plate using pyrography.  It was my first effort  with an animal image and I am pleased with the result.  I am also pleased that I had some experience using the pyrography tools  on simpler subject matter.  Here is what this efforts looks like:

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I am trying to complete Christmas messages to friends and family and am using regular mail.  However, if time runs short I may resort to electronic mail for some as well.  If you have followed this  journal over the past year, there is not much new in my letter.

December 13, 2009  The temperatures have continued to be very cold with wind chills of  minus 52 degrees the other evening.  Nice to be able to stay indoors and work on other things.

I have  finished a few other  items and today finished one of the large birch plates.  I will show the finished item here but  am also showing the  stages of the  design completion on  my  Wood and Shop  page.

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I have started on my generic Christmas letter and hope to get  them sent soon.  I have also been busy  doing some tasks for our "Helping Hands" project.  We  are trying to support local families who are experiencing tight budget problems at this time.  Our community has been generous  and at this time we have identified 16 local families to get this support.  It is  very satisfying to be able to help this process happen.

December 8, 2009  Winter has come with  temperatures in the minus 30's.  This has given me ample reason to stay indoors to work on things here.  I am "rubbing out" the three tray bottoms and have the  platters to do yet.  I am finishing three birch boxes and am using colour to add to the impact of the simple boxes. 

I have assembled  three sets of napkins and napkin rings and am still making the fabric bags for my finished wood items.

Click on the link to go to my Recent Work 1 page to see  the latest items I am making.

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November 30, 2009   This morning as I  stood on my deck overlooking the pond at Friendly Forest, sending my  heart and mind  upward in morning prayer time, I was struck by the sounds coming from the pond. 

Because there is still no snow cover over the ice, there is no blanket to muffle the sounds that happen as winter progresses.

There were  pings and  slight booms and  crunching sounds as ice sheets  shrank and split and moved against each other a bit  adjusting to the weight.  But there were also sounds of "burping" and "stomach rumbles" that we might be more familiar with from our own digestive systems  trying to deal with a meal that  does not fully agree with our system. 

It made me  think about what interpretation might have been given to these sounds if I did not understand the  expansion of ice as it freezes, the  shrinking of water as it cools to the freezing temperature, the difference in temperatures between the water under the ice and the  colder air above the ice, and the release of  decomposition (digestive) gasses from the pond bottom where  micro-organisms  are busy feeding and recycling  organic matter that has settled to the pond bottom. 

Even though I might understand the natural explanation for these sounds I am able to give it another  comparison as well;  Thunderbird has come to cleanse the land and the hearts and bodies of  the Nations of the earth, and all that is negative, all evil spirits, have been driven before the  wrath  and flash and thunder of this great  and powerful spirit of Creator's  cleansing and healing work.  Evil has been driven into hiding in the waters where it finds refuge.  Here, in the waters where evil has been chased, it rumbles and belches its discontent at being confined within the pond and its inability to contaminate and undo the goodness that Creator  wishes  to reign on the earth.  Although natural science  offers one explanation that applies to the  natural world,  ancient stories also explain what applies to the spiritual world, and the relationship for good that exists between Creator and the creatures that Creator loves.

I had these thoughts as I rotated sun-wise through my meditation prayer ,and as I faced the  home of the West Wind I saw the  nearly-full moon  still above the horizon,   shining brightly with the reflected light of the still hidden sun.  All through the night with its clear skies, the moon has declared the bright and life-giving power of the sun, Creator's first gift to the Nations on the earth.  Although we may not even see it, the life-giving power of Creator is always with us, and we need the light of  full moons to show us  what is,  but is not seen ... that is what we are to be for each other in the night times of our lives.

And so ends this morning's reflection.

November 27, 2009  I have finished  making  the series of serving trays and have  added images to  two more.  Although they still need more work, this is what they look like:

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Although similar, they are not identical.  The Birch and Walnut side walls really differentiate them, and still more from the Padauk-sided one  shown below.

I refer to these two as my "Signature Trays", because the image attempts to communicate both my given name and  a profound lesson  taught by the Sacred Tree.

November 20, 2009  The weather is still holding unusually mild for this time in November.  No complaints from anyone that I have heard. I have been working in the shop on some special orders.  I have completed a custom order table / stool, have completed one  special serving tray with more in progress, and  have made a custom box from Birch wood.  A  patterned , heavy green fabric that I have been using for  gift /presentation bags  has attracted good attention.  Although it adds to my costs it makes a suitable way to present the items.  These bags protect the item finish and can be used as a gift bag. I will take a photo of this and add it to my site  shortly.

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I am also adding these images to my Recent Work Page.

November 11, 2009  While there is still snow on the ground, the weather has temporarily turned  milder and the sun has been out.  I have been making more wood items which are featured  on the Recent Work Page.  Here are two of them.

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For people awaiting promised wood items, I will be making a series of  serving trays and birch wood boxes  as my next-in-line work. 

I have started Karen Armstrong's book, "A Case for God" and believe I will find it all most interesting.  I now have a stack of at least 10 books waiting to be read.  Somehow, while the weather is still decent outside it seems  inappropriate to be sitting indoors  reading books.  However, the nights are  getting much longer  as the sun sinks into the southern hemisphere.

October 31, 2009 The weather is grey and snow has started on this Halloween day.  Anew beaver lodge  has taken form on the pond . 

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I have created a page outlining a grievance I have with SaskTel, a crown corporation which is determined to exhibit the worst  attitudes of corporate greed and disrespect for its customers.  Click here to see the context of my anger and disgust.

I have finally taken photos of recent work and have posted  to my Recent Work 1 web page.  Here are a few thumbnail images:

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October 13, 2009  Thanksgiving  day was like most in the past two weeks, cold, snowing and wet!  That was what it was like outside.  However, inside with a warm house, good food and wonderful friends, Thanksgiving day was  just great! 

I was able to host ten friends.  Although roads were wet they did not prevent anyone from coming.  Now to deal with leftovers.  My planning did take that into account, and the best parts are able to be frozen for  meals later in the year.

With the outside so cold and wet and white it seemed like a good time to do some shop work.  I worked at making a platter with lid.  I added leaves as a decorative top, using a wood burner tool.  I still need to finish the wood however.  The inside will be finished with a poly-resin finish to make it food safe and essentially waterproof as well.  That will darken the wood and give it a rich amber colour, but to keep the outside a blonder colour I have been considering using a varathane finish.

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The wood is birch and the handle is black walnut.  The lower portion is 16 inches in diameter, and the lid is 14 inches in diameter.  The white ceramic bowl is  4" in diameter and is for  dip / relish / etc.

 

October 7, 2009  The weather has changed;  it is wet and cold with snow predicted later today and  for the next few days!  I have taken a few moments in the shop over the past weeks and produced a few turned pieces:

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These are made from a few pieces of spalting birch wood.  The vase necks are Wenge and Walnut.

In August I made a purchase of a wonderful art piece by artist John Giesser of Big River .  It is an eagle carved from two moose antlers.  I love the piece and thank John for sharing his gift with me.  Following are a few images of this sculpture.  It presents a new  perspective from all angles ... the mark of a great sculpture.

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September 20, 2009   Summer has been late and seems to be merging with the Fall season.  We have not yet had a frost.  That is nearly a month later than normal for this area.  I am not complaining.  Here are a few  Sunday morning images:

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Dolgo crab apples ready to be picked and processed.

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A clear sky at 06:00 is clouding over.  In a few minutes there was thunder and rain, providing me with an excuse to not work outside today.

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Pin cherries that have escaped the birds and squirrels.  I guess there have been too many other  treats available this summer.  The  berry and nut crops have been good.

I have just finished a custom order trestle-style table.  It  is a shorter version of my own dining table.  I will post an image  later when I have  added the final coat of varathane varnish.

August 11, 2009  This morning I made a trip out to Big River Taxidermy and met with  John Giesser, the owner.  We had a very good and interesting visit and I came home with one of his  art works.  Thank you John for your hospitality and for sharing that  wonderful piece with me.

I have also finally finished the purpleheart table that had been commissioned some months ago.

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It was designed for a special location in the new owner's home.  Although I really dislike working with that wood, I drudgingly admit that it is a good looking wood when it is all said and done.  I now have a few other things I have promised and  still have to complete.

I have had the pleasure of good friends stopping by during the summer.  It gives me an excuse to not do some unpleasant chores and to just enjoy friends and pretend to be really retired.

I had a really wonderful time  praying  at the Whapeton Sundance in July.  I am thankful that this spiritual community is open to allowing  people from different backgrounds to come to pray with them like this.  While I have not been called to actually participate as a dancer, I go to support those who do with my prayers, and also join my petitions to Creator "so that the people might live."

My second dog Elmo is having a few weeks of holidays from me and this place.  His former "master" / friend had some time off and was able to  take Elmo back for a while.  I am sure both will be enjoying that time a great deal.

Over the past year or so I have been finding more and more people who are sincerely interested in knowing more about  traditional First Nations ways of praying.  They have not been so fortunate as I, to have  been found by  teachers who have helped me in learning about this way of life and of prayer.  It makes me realize just how fortunate I have been in this regard.   

If a visitor to this site does want to know more  about what I have come to understand about some elements  of this spiritual tradition and are unable to find an elder  for yourself, and are unable to come out here in person, get hold of me with an inquiry and perhaps I might be able to direct you to others or point to a few answers and support your own enquiry with my prayers as well.

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