13, 2006 to May 30, 2008
May 30, 2008 Rain today along with
new Saskatoon and Pincherry blossoms creates a wonderful mixture of smells. Newly
opened leaves are still adding their unique resinous smellsto the
fresh air. It is good to be able to have this experience. Sun-up
is before 05:00, and with warmer nights a prolonged time of
morning prayer on the deck makes getting up that early very worth
Last spring a friend gave me three plugs of Sweetgrass
to plant. I am happy to say they survived the winter well and have
taken over the entire bed into which I planted them. I was
also given three iris bulbs to preserve. They too are doing well.
May 23, 2008 A revised proposal
for Chapel furniture has been posted to this site. The prospective
clients are invited to take a look and then get back to me with comments. I
appreciate the comments received a few days ago.
Click here or
on the image below to go to this page.
May 12, 2008 I have been preparing
Eagle Camp site and intend to use it for my Spring Fast soon. Although
the snow is gone, it has been quite cool and while that keeps insects
away, it also slows down the greening of the forest floor. The
latter is an essential factor to reduce the fire risk of this forest
area in the spring. Prior to the forest 'greeing" up in
the spring, the fire hazard is the highest of the entire season.
I have finished another special request project. A
family has asked for 6 small cremation urns to be made with specifications
as to what should be carved on the units. A single cremains will
be divided among the six units. Each is approximately 6 inches
tall, 4 inches wide and 3 inches thick. The two rounder units
are about 6 X 5 X 5 inches. The combined internal capacity is
well over 200 cubic inches, the required size for a single urn.
April 30, 2008 I have posted a page
showing drawings and rough-scaled models of a proposal for pieces of
furniture for a school chapel. This page is intended to be a communication
vehicle for the interested parties. I would invite those
interested parties to look at the page by clicking
here, and then responding to me with further questions or suggestions,
April 28, 2008 This morning I moved
a custom order jewelry chest into the house for final finishing and carving
work. It is still too cold to work in the shop without keeping
the area heated, and as I undertake new work I need to keep the air clean
from dust to permit a proper finish to be created. Although the
work is not yet complete, images can be seen by clicking
April 10, 2008 I have finished constructing
four armoire units. They will be stained and given finish coating
by the client. They will belong to the client's four children
and are intended to be with them as they grow and when they leave home
in later years. The doors are now just empty rail construction
though they are ready to receive painted panels that depict the four
seasons as seen through a window. Click
here to see details of these units.
April 6, 2008 I just returned from
the 2008 annual meeting of the Green Party of Saskatchewan. I
was under the belief that my role as webmaster for www.greenpartysask.ca
was going to be taken over by another person, but right now I am not
sure and will need to confirm that transfer.
I have been busy in the shop making four armoires for the
four children of two friends of mine. I am about a day or two short
of completion and will post photos when they are finished. I(
have finally taken photos of other items I have been working on this
and some of these images can be found on my Recent
Work page, the Custom Work Page
and Sacred Things Page.
Winter still reigns here much to the chagrin of everyone
I meet. I have been going to a lot of funerals over the past month
or so. While each passing is a special event at the end of a life
and a special event for those left behind, I, like most , have
mixed feelings; I applaud their victories and passage to a fuller life
with Creator, but I also feel lessened in my own existence through the
death of those who have been vital in enriching my existence. The
continuation of our hoop journey is inevitable, but just as we rejoice
at new births it is appropriate to mourn our losses as well.
I am beginning to think of my Spring Fast time. I
want to stage it at a time which is selfishly appropriate for me; in
this part of the world we have a glorious time sandwiched between the
hardness of winter and the first serious attacks of mosquitoes that have
survived the winter and are on their own journey of renewal. That
is a great time to be outdoors and to pray about the new things that
are happening on the eath and in my life.
I continue to have some people join me for the Sweat
Ceremony Prayer / Inipi Prayer each month. It is a good way to pray and
many from different traditions seem to have found that it supports their
own prayer life as well. That is a good thing.
March 13, 2008 I have posted some
images of a Canupa Bag / Sacred Pipe Bag that I recently completed. I
have added beaded areas but did not succeed in doing an area of quill
wrapping below the bag area. I have left it so that this can
be done at a later date if I acquire those skills.
Images can be found on the Recent
Work Gallery page. I will also add photos of other leather
and wood work I have been doing over the past few months. With
Winter nearly over my time for quiet reading and leisure time may be
over soon. The winter has been long but recent warm weather and
a bit of snow melt help me to believe in Spring. There is a lot
of snow cover and a lot of water content in that snow. We are
being warned that a quick melt could result in significant flooding
throughout much of north central Saskatchewan. It makes me
glad that I built into a hill and not on low ground.
30, 2007 The year is nearly past. I have had
a good Christmas season with good food and good friends and family. This
morning the sky was clear and we could see in full glory what the
frost and light snow had wrought over the past day and night. I
took a morning hike into the forest, this time starting the trek
to the north along the pond and then into the forest and eventually
back to my starting point and a view of the house nearly hidden
by the trees and frost. Click
here to see the series of thumbnail images of this hike.
23, 2007 Two days after Solstice. I was
able to pray with an Inipi here at Friendly Forest on Solstice. It
was a good day. The moon wil lbe full in a few hours
and it has just risen above the horizon in this part of the world. The
sky was clear and I took the camera on a tripod to get a few images. I
have posted this to the Home Page as well.
AM I will be joined by some friends for some special reflection
and prayer related to the time of the full moon. This is soemthing
a few of us have been doing for some years now, but one of thef ew
times we will have been at the same place to pray together. Nice!
18, 2007 Yesterdday i took my camera on my snow shoe
hike into the forest. It was a dark and foggy day, but made
delightful by all of the companion friends that surrounded me. I
have posted a series of images from this hike. Click
here to go to the page which has thumbnail images of this hike, Come
along and enjoy this gift of our God and Creator of all.
23, 2007 To all EHS
Grads of 1961. I enjoyed meeting with
you yesterday in Saskatoon, and I especially thank Darlene for organizing
the meeting. If you are reading this I hope that you will enjoy
your visit to this web site. I have held back on some areas
but am open to questions from old friends.
delighted to see how great all of you looked, and that reinforced with
me how gifted we have been. It also deepens the sense of loss about
Rosella and Aline who have gone to the other side and left us here. I
always have a warm welcome for any and all of you to see me here at
Friendly Forest. I am easy to find. Gerald
23, 24 are the dates for Evergreen Art and Craft Sale in Prince Albert
at the Exhibition Building. I will have my booth there. My
mother is having medical problems and a change in her situation could suddenly
change mine plans as well. We will see.
19, 2007 Lots more snow over the past few days, and
lots of shovelling.
from the deck at Friendly Forest
large Pileated Woodpecker was hunting in a tree near the house. It
is a large bird about 30 cm long, and can do a lot of damage
to a tree (or a house) if it sets itself out to do so. So far
I have been fortunate that it has left my house alone, though I cannot
say the same for its smaller cousins, the Hairy and the Downy Woodpeckers!
16, 2007 It has been a long time since I last updated
this section of the site. Shortly after the last posting an
election was called in Saskatchewan and my other hat as webmaster
for www.greenpartysask.ca took over and I was scrambling to
keep that site current and functional. Over the course
of a 28 day election period that site had about 12,000 visitors,
and for a political party with no money and little organization,
being able to reach that many citizens with the information they
are seeking is a very important function.
the election was over I managed to get a few days in the shop before
my lathe motor burned out again. I am window-shopping for a replacement
but am not sure what I can afford and what would be wise. I would
love a super machine such as those made by Oneway, but with the increasing
issue of arthritic hands and arms I am not sure whether I should invest
good money (that I really don't have) in one of their units.
also getting ready for the Evergreen Art and Craft sale to be
held in Prince Albert on Nov 23, 24. I have decided to provide
fabric gift bags with my wood items instead of the standard plastic
bags. It is environmentally better and aesthetically more attractive
post a few thumb nail images of recent work. they can also be
found under Recent Work and Turnings under the FFPRO section of this
1, 2007 I have finished making a series of ceremonial
rattles and wood dippers to be used in traditional ceremony / prayer. Already
two of the rattles have been claimed, so I undertook to make a few
more. It is a rather involved process that I follow and I thought
some one else interested might like to see how it was done, for interest,
or to copy or to do a better job. If you have found a better
/more efficient way of doing something like this, please let me know. I
would appreciate the comments. I have posted process comments
and photos as a "Just For Fun' item. Click
here to see the page.
of the leaves have fallen from the trees. We have been getting
lots of additional rain (not needed) but so far the temperatures have
been moderate. I have most of my winter wood in place and under
cover, and most of the wood needed for winter 2008-2009 split and stacked
and under a tarp to season over the coming year. I have
been taking down mature aspen which are showing signs of dying from
the top, indicating the end of their cycle. I felled one of these large
ones and did not notice that a wind had arisen between the start of
the process and the cutting of the felling wedge. i had a chain
and block and tackle securing the top of the tree to an anchor
tree, but just as I added pull to the system, the rope began to break. By
that time the tree was weakened and it dropped ... the wrong way. One
part of the upper branches caught the edge of my garage roof doing
some damage that will take a few hours to repair. I now have
decided to wait for calm wind and rely only on steel cable and steel
chain to assist in felling trees that are not leaning in the way I
need them to fall.
24, 2007 another walk in the fall forest
birch trees accumulated some debris between their trunks and a cascade
of mushrooms encircled and rose like a set of magnificent stairs. It
nearly makes me believe i in the"Little People".
up of some lichen growing on an old birch tree. The subtle colours
and striking contrasts make this a wonderful abstract.
Ball Mushrooms lay ruptured with their spores spread o in the winds
as a few falling leaves begin the process of becoming food for next
year's generation of mushrooms.
birch tree had a series of large bracket fungi growing out from the
trunk. On top of one such bract was a nest of four puff ball
mushrooms as if crouching in fear of the camera lens.
Spruce stump hosts a colourful array of plants, from feather mosses,
club mosses, lichens and the rich red and purple leaves of the bunch
berry changing the chemistry and colour of its leaves to withstand
the coming cold.
of a spruce on the Sacred Hoop Trail is hosting the beginning of its
own colony of plants. Here we see the delicate spread of the
feather moss growth and the colourful contrast of lichen colonies beginning
to form around the mother spore areas. The dark brown and black
of moulds provide the contrasting background for the more brilliant growths.
05, 2007 It has been a while since I took time to
add a few words here. Spring and Summer are busy months for
all of us, and there did not seem to be any thing of note to add
here in the interim.
completed some custom furniture items and done a bit of turning in
the shop and have a custom order waiting for final instructions. During
several rainy days (and we have had lots of them) I actually did some
cleaning in my shop. My shop, unlike my house, is very cramped
and crowded. Those are dangerous environs for me as I add still
more into the corners. Because cleaning is more difficult in
tight areas it gets done less frequently or less well. Then come
those moments when I am most too annoyed by the accumulated clutter
or i think it might be starting to get dangerous in some manner, and
I will do a rather thorough cleaning.
those who know me that just about becomes a moral crisis. I have
what some call a "depression mentality". No, not a
psychological depression ... the depression of the 1930's in Saskatchewan
where there was great poverty and economic disaster for much of the
population. Although I was not born till after that time, I was
raised in a home where the attitudes of frugality and conservation
were applied in the extreme, and I inherited that attitude. A
tiny piece of wood, a used nail, a tiny bit of paint left in a container,
a small scrap of leather, that broken hacksaw blade, all, and lots
more items, just MIGHT be useful and cannot be thrown out. As
you can imagine, that kind of frugality over a period of time will
lead to a problem of accumulated clutter. But to toss out or
burn those small things seems like a "sin" and imprudent
as there just might be a use for it in the future. I KNOW that
in the future the saved item will be just too small, or have dried
up, or be lost so deeply that I cannot find it anyway when needed,
or some other factor that reaffirms why it was a "waste' item
in the first place. Even into my advancing years I still play
those mental games with myself . And after a long tangent, that
is one reason why cleaning up my shop is often a chore to be avoided
autumn I had a small strip created into the hill beside my house and
a load of top soil delivered. When the weather got better this
spring I started hauling the spent grandfather stones from previous
Inipi ceremonies and cemented them into garden bed rings. I then
excavated the hole within the ring some more and filled
the holes with the rich top soil, I did some test planting this
spring to see how things would grow and with the plan to be diligent
in eliminating the weeds from the soil. I spread gravel between
the beds so I could access the vegetables and herbs even during wet
times. The image above shows the project nearly complete. I
was given a few sweetgrass plugs and I planted them into one bed. They
rooted well and are now sending up new shoots over much of the area
of the bed. If they set successfully here I will use this as
the starter bed for the relocation of additional plugs into the forest
area. There are so few naturally occurring plants that I have
not harvested any. With the depletion or destruction of naturally
occurring areas of sweetgrass I consider this as a conservation effort. I
had also taken a few Prairie Sage plants last summer and brought them
here near my house. This spring they have sent up new shoots
and seem to be doing well. I have been told by one person that plants
used for sacred smudges should not be moved from where they occur naturally. I
do not accept that principle when it applies to sparse or endangered
plants. While the Sage may not be endangered, it is not found in
this forest area, not even along roadsides. I have harvested
sage from roadside ditches further south but have always been concerned
about contamination of the plants or the soil in which they grow; contamination by
field chemicals or road salts and vehicle contamination. I
anyone reading this had another perspective on this issue I would appreciate
hearing from you and understanding your view. I consider other
efforts to restore the bison and wonder how that is different than
an effort to preserve endangered sacred plant species.
trail maintenance work is well under way. Regular trimming and
removal of deadfall trees is being done, and I am planning some
new trail clearing. I have already done some of that this spring
because former trails have been submerged by the high water. (The pond
is easily 8 feet higher than just two years ago.)
18, 2007 No comment required:
17, 2007 It has been more than one moon since I made
an entry here. It has been a busy month with spring finally
here. I have been working out-of-doors for the main, and am
pleased that my body has responded quite well to the demands that
I put on it.
water in the pond is very high and has drowned out a lot more of the
trees that skirted the pond, and is also threatening the larger
trees that have been around for at least 60 years. That means
this high water is infrequent. It is still rising daily with
the feed from the hills around. there is no direct run-off into
the pond other than the springs that leak water on a continuing basis. A
road that I was able to drive through last summer is now under 2 feet
of water ( about 61 cm) . I just came in from gathering
willows to renew the Initi (Sweat Lodge), and I needed chest waders
to get to what was my walking path of two years ago.
a bit more than a week to create a new path around the south end of
the pond so I could access the Sacred Hoop Trail with dry feet. Now
some sections of that path are threatened by the rising water!
the week of May 7 - 11 I did my annual spring fast. The weather
was good and the bugs had not yet emerged in any numbers. Bear
(actually two of them) has been around and visited my camp but has
not done too much damage. I patched a few holes that claws
made in the tipi door, and his/her night visits were met
by an active challenge by my dog King. When I returned to my
own bed in my house it seemed strange to go to bed without locating
a flashlight and a canister of bear spray near my head where I could
reach them quickly in the night.
the fast I just refrained from solid foods while still drinking water,
tea and some berry juice. My experience in previous years has
shown me that i am subject to severe kidney distress if I do not take
any liquids for that amount of time. From those who have never
undertaken such a fast I get the reaction that it must have been difficult. I
have not found it so. The hunger is minimal and once the body
adjusts to using stored energy, things are really quite normal. It
was a good time to rest and pray.
used this time to renew the Sacred Hoop Trail by 'feeding the forest" and
renewing the prayer flags that mark the gates and the centre.
year I had a local contractor come with a large backhoe to create
a flat strip in the hill beside my house. I wanted to establish
a small outdoor garden. Just before snowfall I had a load of
topsoil delivered. So after my fast I had no excuse to delay
work on that project. The frost had gone out of the ground and
it was no longer muddy. I have been making 6 foot diameter
rings of stone and concrete to crete raised beds for the plants. There
is no natural top-soil in this forest, with just a few inches of loose
litter on top of a clay/rock/gravel base. I have completed four
of the circular beds and have run out of gravel. I will need
to wait till the road bans on heavy trucks is of to get some more gravel
delivered. The soil that I am putting into the beds looks nice
and I will see if it is also relatively weed free.
been reading some very interesting books and have been doing some work
trying to put on paper a reply to a question ; "Can you be a Christian
and at the same time practice Traditional Native Religion?" Beyond
a simple "yes" reply, it gets immediately more complex, and
I am looking for a simple way to express a very important set of considerations. I
may publish what I have done so far to this site and reference it here
in an effort to get feedback on what I have composed. It is a
good thing for me to be doing. Even though I have moved carefully
to integrate what I was learning about Traditional Native prayers and
ceremonies with the connections and ways of praying I already have
found within the Judeo-Christian traditions and within my own
personal contact with my Creator, trying to express things on paper
is forcing me to move some of my personal integration to the brain
and express it in words. That is hard to do.
15, 2007 It is of interest to me to note my comment
of March 27. From that time till yesterday we have had a cold
return of winter with no melting so snow persists. The geese
are back and defending nesting territory on top of solid ice, but
there are signs that the ice is lifting and may open up if
it stays warm and there is a bit of breeze. During the winter
the ice never became too deep because of the early insulating layer
of snow last fall.
prolonged cold period may have assisted in the removal of water and
the decreased risk of flooding in this area at least.
morning during prayers outside I was joined by the howl of a wolf. It
was not the full pack howl that I recall from last year, but it was
still nice to "hear that wolf is praying at the same time that
I do." I hope I have the same experience more often now
that the weather does encourage me to step outside before sunrise.
been back in the shop for the past week making two limited series of
walnut boxes with birch / padauk insert strips. I had been saving
one particular piece of walnut with rather wild figure in the grain. It
was an area below a large branch and the stress produced a wild shimmering
area. It was a rather large branch and the board also cross-sectioned
that branch to give the oval grain pattern of the branch. To
someone who does not work with wood or uses it only as basic construction
material, what I was excited about would not stir their hearts or imaginations. In
fact, too many people would have rejected that board and tossed it
as defective. Ah, what a creator can do with "defective" parts. I
think that the Creator of all things does that each and every day,
and we should just trust a bit more in what the "eye of God" sees
in each of us and what is being worked on in our lives that is beyond
our limited perceptions. The stress that we experience in our
lives and which we believe is crushing and destroying us might just
be like the pressure on the wood below that branch and it is producing
a wild and beautiful shimmer in our spirits and souls that we cannot
see while we are still within the tree.
better let that one rest there. When analogies / metaphors
are pushed too far they become contrived and lose their impact.
is a glimpse of what I mean. These are clickable to see larger
27, 2007 The weather has changed and the snow is melting
and that not only changes the land but changes the inner spirit too. Our
winters are long and the limitations on activity imposed by snow
and cold can wear the human spirit down over that long stretch.
finally finished the table top with what I am planning to be its final
condition. I am sealing the surface with several layers of varathane
and will probably add some polyresin coating over the actual carved
areas to fill in the depressions so that wiping and cleaning the surface
will be a simple task. I used a wood burning tool and some aniline
dye to 'paint behind' the leaf images, leaving the actual images the
natural wood colours. The result is this: (These are clickable
also finished a custom order for a tabernacle. It is finished
unless the customer requests additional image carving on the sides. The
woods are Birch from Friendly Forest and American Black Walnut.
3, 2007 It is mid morning and I just came in from
a bit of work on a chilly day. I have prepared the wood and
the rocks for this afternoon's Inipi. Everything is so deep
in the snow that I am really glad that last fall I stored the rocks
inside my greenhouse and stacked some wood and covered it with old
sheets of aspenite. At least they are accessible when I want
a funeral service to attend in early afternoon in the City, and when
I return I shall light the fire.
received several special prayer requests for this ceremony and I have
a few intentions of my own that I want to bring to Creator, but most
of all, I want the time to be open to what I am supposed to hear or
see and come to understand deep within my being. That is the
special gift of this kind of ancient prayer.
reader of this page may have noticed, there is a page / hits counter
at the bottom of some of my site pages. I see the numbers going
up so I know there are visitors to these pages, but I rarely receive
any feedback from those that do take a look. It would be great
if a few visitors did take a moment and let me know what brought them
to the page and whether their visit was useful to them.
some reason my bird feeder and the deck was just covered with swarms
of winter birds, greedily feeding on the black sunflower seeds I have
provided. There were three or four species in large numbers,
all feeding at the same time in apparent harmony. In past years
I was aware of very distinct priority feeding rights sorted by species
and by gender as well. The top feeders were the Grey Jays who
were followed in close order by the Blue Jays and the Hairy Woodpeckers. The
Downy Woodpeckers tend to stick to the suet bag and leave the sunflowers
for the others. Then the two species of Grosbeaks with a close
match between the Evening Grosbeaks and the Pine Grosbeaks. Within
the Grosbeaks the mature males are dominant and are followed by the
mature females and the immature males. The Nuthatches seem to
push aside the chickadees and the Red Polls, though the Red Polls and
Chickadees seem to be able to operate together. It is the Chickadees
that remind me when the feeder needs to be restocked, and when I obey
their orders, are the first to announce it to their fellows and all
of the others who are anywhere in the neighbouring trees.
year's dominant squirrel has figured out how to get into the feeder
tray, and when he is there all the birds just wait their turn at the
28, 2007 I have done a halt to my work on the
table top while I figure out what I will do for a final finish to
the carving project. Here is an image of the surface as it
5, 2007 It is a month since I last made an entry here. That
is a reasonable indication that not much different has been happening
at Friendly Forest. I have been reading a whole slew of books
and watching some DVD's that I had and had not previously viewed. I
also fell victim to a rotten winter cold / flu that reminded me that
I am not very good at being sick nor am I good to be around when
I am sick. I was not alone in my misery as a lot of other people
had the same or similar affliction over the past while.
been doing some carving on my table top, but taking it agonizingly
slow. I find that I cannot do it well under artificial light
and that the natural shadow cast from the window in daylight gives
me the best visibility for the carving. Pushing a knife
into a shadow is NOT a smart thing to do on a project like this. Since
I cannot tilt and twist the table top to get a good angle, I am best
off to wait for the light to be right. That gives me ample excuses
to dawdle over other things. I could really get used to being
retired if I let this continue. I know I will get going soon
now that my health has improved a great deal. With longer daylight
hours my spirits are being lightened as well. Getting an email
from friends enjoying the sun in Mexico makes me thinK (momentarily)
that maybe I am living in the wrong place. Then, just as quickly, I
know that I am in the right place for me, and a long cold winter is
part of the total package.
2 was full moon again, and this time the sky was clear and the moon
was in glorious power. As we crawled out of the Sweat Lodge the
full moon was lined up directly to the East and lined up with the Fire
Pit and the mound altar and the entrance of the Lodge. My exit
from that area and back into the house did not take long. The
thermometer was around minus 30 degrees Celsius, and the
heat the body had absorbed from the rocks soon dissipates in those
temperatures. It was a good time to pray, and I thank all whose
prayers were joined to mine that day and evening.
are times when I contemplate the bounty of gifts that I have received
here and I am overwhelmed with that knowledge. Why me and why
not someone else? So many people are born to this earth who have
not a fraction of the gifts that I have here, and they are as worthy
as I. The best I can figure is that I have been given the greater
challenge to care for and share this greater abundance of gift from
Creator. That is a journey that needs perpetual clarification
and insight, and for that I continue to pray as well.
7, 2007 The Christmas period is officially
over with this date, and I presume things will return to another
kind of normal around Friendly Forest. I have enjoyed good
food and good company over these past weeks, but never did it become
a frantic or frenetic time.
3 was Full Moon again, and I was able to experience that time with
my special pattern of events. The weather was incredibly mild
for a period of time and there even was a bit of above freezing temperature. It
has turned colder and we have had some more snow with more predicted. My
snow-shoe trek this afternoon was enjoyable even though I was
breaking some new trail in deep snow. The forest is crisscrossed
with deer tracks as they browse the young branches throughout the forest. They
even are now crossing the pond during the day time. That would
suggest they are relaxing after the early winter hunting season.
left my shop closed over this period, though I have followed up on
my plan to carve on the new table top I made. I have just begun,
and though I know (or think I know) what I am doing, I had a
visitor comment that I was wrecking the table by cutting into its surface. I
will proceed with my confidence that I know what I am doing. It
will be a slow process as getting into proper position to do the detailed
carving requires a certain discovery of new body posture and position.
been reading some interesting books as well, and watching a few videos
that I had purchased two years ago and never got to watch. Hey,
if I don't watch it I will be acting as if I have really retired!
16, 2006 A winter storm is just about blown out ...
or at least it seems that way at the moment. I had to make
a delivery this afternoon, and also had to get some groceries from
the city. While there I had been asked to stop by to see another
friend who had come down from the North. He had some caribou
meat for me. I thought it might be a package or two, but was
delighted to receive a good sized tub of fresh meat. This friend
had hunted recently and I was being invited to share in the good
fortune of the hunters. My house guest of the past months was
also able to head back to be with his family for the Christmas period. He
was really looking forward to this return home.
nearly at winter solstice, and I, like many Canadians, am looking forward
to the return of Father Wi.
wore out one of my old pair of snow shoes. One of the rims had
cracked some years ago and I had patched it so it still
worked. This time I neglected to re-varnish the webbing, and
one of my feet finally ripped through the weakened web. It
is not worth trying to repair in a good manner, and I have largely
given up the idea of making a pair from scratch. Instead I did
some web searching and then went to purchase a pair of "modern" snow
shoes .. all aluminium and rubber and "nyteck", whatever
that is. They are noisy and do not have the same grip in soft
powder snow as the old fashioned ones, but they are lighter and the
bindings are much better. The romance of the old wooden and gut webbed
shoes is not there, but I don't think I could even find that old style
anywhere today. The old pair that I wore out were about 40 years
old, and had served me very well .
finally getting my mind around to the fact that Christmas is only a
week away. I will keep things simple. I have a good stock
of food and with a bit of preparation should be ready for any guests
that might have the time to visit. I purchased a relatively
large poinsettia arrangement and it adds a good splash of colour. That
is about all I plan to do for decorations. Last year I did nothing
and did not miss it at all. A simple glance out of any of my
windows or at my fire in the stove is a much more beautiful vision
than on any card or than what any decorations could evoke. I
cannot improve on what Creator has provided as a feast for my eyes.
24, 2006 Today and tomorrow I am showing Friendly
Forest Products at Prince Albert's Evergreen Craft and Art Show. I
set up this morning with very welcome help from a friend. My
back has been giving me problems for the past few days and his help
in lifting was really a God send for me today.
took a photo out of my house window for a new Home Page image and also
captured a Hairy Woodpecker having a meal at my suet bag hanging on
my clothes line.
adding new images of recent work into the appropriate FFPRO Gallery
files, having just begun with the "Useful Items Gallery".
been going to way too many funerals lately.
13, 2006 It has been a while since I added a few lines
here. I have finally added product images to Recent
Work Page 4 . That was from photos I took about a month
ago, and I have new work since which needs to be loaded as well. I
am spending more time in the shop getting some items done for Evergreen,
the juried Art show in Prince Albert on November 24, 25.
biggest (literally) thing I have done is finally finish a new top for
my table. I made it from birch and it measures 11 feet X 39 X
1 3/4 inches. For the time being I have put it on the trestle
base I hade used for the other table. To overcome the things
I was dissatisfied with about the other top, I cut the birch and laminated
strips to reduce the possibility of warping of boards. I also
drilled 1/2 inch diameter holes from the ends of the slab and inserted a
steel rod a few inches from the ends of the full slab and two rods
near the centre of the slab. The steel does not show as the outside
boards cover the ends of the rod. I have allowed room for
wood contraction or expansion so it should slide over the rods while
the rods keep the wood from warping. At least that is my plan. I
had first planned to insert wooden splines, using a hard wood such
as African Wenge, but then determined that the single drilled hole
would be less of a compromise of the integrity of the boards and would
provide proportionally greater strength, especially as a rod is
less prone to bending than a flat piece of equal volume. The
rod is a tight fit in the hole, and I hope it is not too tight. I
did not want play room as it would have partially defeated the stiffening purpose
of the rod.
top is very heavy and I do not have commercial machines to handle it. Consequently
I made it in two long pieces which I drum-sanded in the shop, and then
carried to the house where they were assembled along the centre. I
had help lifting the slabs and repositioning them for the multiple
passes through the sander. Even then they were very heavy and
difficult to manage. The whole top easily weighs about 200 -
used a polyurethane to seal the underside but used a varathane for
the top to keep the natural colour of the wood. With a fair amount
of heartwood in the slab the oil-based polyurethane would have made
it too dark for my liking. As the winter progresses I plan to
do low relief carving on much of the table surface and then coat the
carved areas with a poly resin to make it smoother and easier to wipe
and keep clean. It will still require a lot of work, but the
basic piece is finished and I am delighted with how it looks. The
table will now more easily seat the 12 or 14 guests that I often have
for special feast meals at Friendly Forest.
making some boxes using Congalo Alves and Pauo Ferro woods. The
tiger wood pieces are really varied in appearance, but all have the
oil / wax content that makes gluing tricky. I have used a polyurethane
glue rather than traditional wood glues. In the past, even after
wiping the wood with alcohol just before gluing, some joins were weak
and even came apart after a period of time. There is a lot of
careful finishing work yet to be done, but they should be very attractive.
is definitely here, and I will change the home page image with a more
suitable seasonal image.
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