welcome the reader to this page. I have come to the conclusion
that some readers have book marked this page and go to it directly. You
may have noticed that I have added visitor counters to a few
pages on this site, and I consistently find that this page gets more
visitors than the home page which would ordinarily be the access
point for a web site visitor.
appreciate the interest in this site and hope that you find things
of interest to you on a continuing basis. I have been making
a few things for my FF Products line but have not yet taken the photos
to post on the site. I have also been maintaining my walking
/ hiking trails and have hosted guests who have appreciated the opportunities
provided by the trails. I have also been busy with other visitors
to Friendly Forest, and my own continuing search for "the face
of my God". ... Perhaps I need to amplify that expression.
many years when people have inquired about what I was going to do with
my retirement years, I would simply reply that I would continue to
seek the face of my God, as I had been doing for the previous part
of my life. That answer usually did not enlighten my inquirer,
so sometimes an explanation was appropriate.
believe the primary human quest is to explore the relationship
each of us has with our Creator, and that building this personal relationship
and coming to know its implications in our lives is "coming to
see the face of God". I also have added that I believe my
next great life adventure is going to be leaving this life and seeing
my God "face to face." When that happens, and my vision
is not limited by my own spiritual shortcomings, I hope to have already
come to know what my God looks like, so that I don't go off looking
for my God / Creator in the "other / wrong" place! Although
that is intended to have a bit of humour to it, it also expresses what
I think is a fundamental truth.
few people have pursued the inquiry and asked what I mean by this. I
explain that I believe my God will look like what God's presence
to me has been during my lifetime, and that from my Christian heritage,
I believe the face of my God is presented to me primarily in the form
of my neighbour, the poor, the weak, the young, the burdened, the one
I have reason to dislike, and the human faces I have not seen because
they have been distant or my limits have prevented me from considering
them my companions on a single journey. I also see the face of
my God in the non-human creation all around me, and during the later
years of my life, in the natural environment of the forests and lands
of where I live. During the past year I believe I have been especially
gifted to come in contact with the face of my God through traditions
and spiritual practices of other cultures and religions, especially
the traditions and spirituality of the Aboriginal peoples of this area.
is my religious conviction that there is only one Creator / God of
all things and all people, and that this God's interaction with humanity
and the rest of creation has been consistently one of loving care. Given
that, it is not surprising to me that the spiritual development of
humans all over this globe and through all time has been similar, and
that when individual experience with Creator is honoured, that
it leads us to expressions of reverence, gratitude, petition and thanksgiving.
in other words, to worship. It is also normal that this worship,
when shared between fellow travellers, shared between fellow worshippers,
that it should create ritual and ceremony that involves the larger
community of humanity sharing its collective experience with God.
time different cultures and traditions have developed, but the forms
of ritual and prayer and ceremony have very substantial and significant
overlaps and similarities. After all, human beings are essentially
unchanged for many thousands of years, and our Creator / God
is forever unchanging, so it is to be expected that we share a similar
cultural and faith evolution.
have come to value the spiritual expressions of the Aboriginal peoples
that I have come to know, and believe that this exposure reveals to
me more facets of the face of God so that my spiritual connections
might be strengthened and enriched.
I have come to be increasingly distressed by is my perceptions that
organized religions seem to have more concern about the power and control
of their religious leaders than they do about supporting and enhancing
the spiritual connections of their membership / believers to
Creator/ God. In so far as this happens, those religious organizations
have nothing to do with what is really important, and just serve as
vehicles for the baser traits and motives of humanity. In so
far as they nurture the spiritual growth of individuals and in so far
as they bring together the collective spiritual riches of individuals,
they serve a good purpose. We can also learn a lot from
the spiritual experiences of other individuals and other peoples.
you have some thoughts or reactions to these ramblings, I would appreciate
AM We have been having very hot and very dry weather here. A
year ago I invested in fire supression equipment to protect the house
and shop areas. Right now, the pond water has dropped so much
that the intake hose does not reach the water . This presents
a problem for which I am trying to find a solution.
went for a walk in the forest during the mid afternoon at the hottest
part of the day. The forest floor crunched underfoot and plant
leaves, especially the understory plants, seemed to have their leaves
at half mast!
have been doing a bit of turning and have started to laminate different
woods together for turning blocks, following a pattern I have been
using with my other wood items for some time.
client brought by a large wooden bowl turned from Magnolia wood. It
had developed a stress crack coming in from the outer rim. I
will try to repair it for her using a special glue and using a web
clamp to hold things. I think it should work, but I also know
that pulling a piece of wood in on a crack simply re-establishes the
internal pressure that led to the crack in the first place, and creates
a risk of another crack developing in the future. The finish
seemed to be a thick varathane and that too has developed hairline
cracks in the finish which make it not suitable for use for foods or
things with oil or liquid components. The client will try to
refinish the entire piece. The wood is very attractive and the
bowl is very simple.
have added a few things to our VOTENGA.CA site. I
finally got around to writing a
letter with a few general concerns about where I see Saskatchewan
agriculture going. I have sent these off to various papers but
I do not know if they will be used.
the week I received an invitation to a supper. Some friends from
St. Peter's area had come out for a visit and I was being invited to
join them for supper. I had a very nice evening, and was delighted
when they returned to visit by coming out to Friendly Forest on Friday
on Thursday I hosted a group of young people and their leaders for
a Forest Visit. These fine young people were from Prince Albert,
and spending a bit of time in the forest was intended to be a break
from city summer existence. I would welcome them back at any
time. The forest has been a gift to me and gifts are given
to be shared.
this week I hope to be able to spend some time with another friend
who has agreed to speak with me about what I experienced at a recent
Sundance ceremony at Whapeton. I am at the stage that parallels
the "mystagogia" stage of the Catholic RCIA program where,
after experiencing the mysteries of the sacraments of initiation, the
newly baptized reflect on the experience and try to understand and
absorb the implication of the experience for their future lives. I
trust that my friend Ken will help me to find deeper meanings for myself
in relation to my connection to my Creator / God.
pray for the gift of healing and renewing rain on this land and on
our people. We stand in need, and our need is known. What
we do not know is what other needs our loving Creator is responding
to in our lives and how the continuing dry period is part of that. Perhaps
it is needed for us to better understand the levels of destruction
we have done to Mother Earth, and to motivate us to wake up and do
what we can to help the earth heal from its wounds.
I attended our church services last evening (during the summer we meet
Saturday evening rather than Sunday mornings) I thought of the many
who are in need of healing and prayer.. the many whose lives are overwhelmed
with concerns and difficulties of health and of relationship. I
also prayed that I have the wisdom and courage and generosity to respond
as I am able to some of those needs and so be one of the many hands
of God in my community.
AM at 06:30. I have some bacon on the stove sending the
sweet aromas through the house, and the other things for a breakfast
of pancakes, scrambled eggs and mixed fruit is ready to start cooking. I
am waiting for a second breakfast guest.
the past week I was sorting out from the weekend art show and sale. Generally
the experience was a good one, with reasonable monetary returns. Once
back home I scrambled to unload, unpack, and then get to a custom
project to make two tables for a home. These are oak,
simple design and with a laminate top to suit the situation with
small children in a one-table home. The space was limited so I
have made two units. The larger will remain in place full-time,
while the smaller one will find a home in the living room unless
there is demand for a larger sitting for a meal with guests.
I have also sent
off a larger set
of walnut and birch chess pieces to a customer in Ottawa, and have
made shipping arrangements for the table
/ chest / trunk special order.
I have a guest with
me for a while and there is the regular drop-in company that keeps
things rather busy here in the summer months. Yesterday I was
pleased to welcome a family from Calgary who had come out to visit
their adopted trees in the Forest of Protest.
I have a few people
inquiring about my political campaign. I am not sure what to
make of some of these inquiries. Sometimes I get the impression
that they are expecting me to be spending every minute glad handing
or knocking on doors or kissing babies or something like that. I
am not planning to change who I am for this campaign. I am not
a professional politician, and if that is what it would require to
be that, I never plan to adopt that role.
In a discussion with
a neighbour the other day I verbalized what I have realized for some
time now. My commitment to the New Green Alliance and a more
Green political future for this land is a major commitment for me. I
am ready to devote four or more years of my relatively short remaining
life expectancy to a public service that will gain me nothing on a
personal level and only stands to benefit future generations and other
peoples' children. Given this very real sacrifice that I am prepared
to make, I particularly resent some of the poor taste "political" jokes
or comments that people make. Perhaps this personal involvement
on my part has awakened me to another dimension of public life and
given me a better appreciation for the fact that not everyone seeks
public office for personal gain or unworthy motives. Anyone with
comments on these musings?
Morning at the beginning of a new month. I have packed my Friendly
Forest Products for the weekend sale at the MacDonald farm site. I
wish I had a few things of other types that I did not get time to make,
but I have a rather good selection of new materials and new kinds of
things that I have been making. And since the sale is featured
as "Recent Work" by the five participating artists, that
is probably appropriate.
During the week a
customer came to pick up a special chest built for his wife's jewellery,
and before he would take it insisted that I sign it as a piece of art. that
was very flattering since the customer is an artist himself.
For anyone who is
interested in coming to the show / sale, it will be at the farm yard
of Myles MacDonald and Meg Shatilla which is located along Highway
# 2, directly west of Hanson's Hill, which is 29 km north of Prince
Albert. Featured are works by Myles MacDonald, Donna Smith, Tim
Moore, Colleen Watson and my own work. The hours are from 12:00
noon till 22:00 for August 2, 3, and 4th.
I have placed images
of a few other items on the Recent Work
Gallery 1 page.
CBC Radio also announced
that Weyerhaeuser is logging to 10 metres of the water of resort lakes
in the north west, and this with the full approval of the government. That
is a serious threat to many people and to the riparian environments
of much of the boreal forests. I have reacted and written
a letter that I submitted to print media.
have reached the point of putting the finish on a custom jewelry chest. I
have also found another section of Green Ash which I am turning. To
see this recent work go to Recent Work
The day will be busy
on several fronts, but before things get too far along I need to take
some time in prayer.
AM. The morning is a great one with fine weather, though a good
long rainy day would also be appreciated. I really should just
take the time to sit back and enjoy what is here, but as usual, I am
driven to go about scurrying to do things that I deem need to be done. It
seems as if I am too afraid to find out that if I did not do these
things the world would not end, and the real nature of my relative
importance / insignificance would be made know to me.
I have my trail clearing
saw repaired and I will get around to doing trail work, and I will
I have several wood
projects on order and I will get them done ...
I have a house to
clean and a green house to weed, and I will get that done..
I have food to prepare
and events to plan for, and I will get them done.
I have a political
campaign to work at, and I will do it..
I have a spirit that
needs to be nourished and I will take time today to pray and speak
to my God/Creator!
Later I will take
some photos of recent work and share them here, but today I am going
to pray. I will pray as well that God / Creator bless you, the
person who has visited this site and is reading this.
the Home page I have featured a photo of the smoke billowing up from
the "Pasture Fire" that took over more than 30,000 ha. a
few weeks back. The photo was from Friendly Forest about 7 km
away from the fire. Later in the evening, as the fire grew the
sky images were even more awesome, but I did not have my camera at
I have been making
some more things in the shop this past week, but have also had to take
time for various errands that could not wait. I have been turning
a few things from green birch, leaving some bark on the items. The
problem is always allowing the items to dry without serious shrink
cracking. I have found that a bit of cracking is OK as the spaces
will close when the whole item has reached a uniform level of dryness. I
did not think that I wanted to use PEG to stabilize the wood and have
the resulting waxy character to the wood.
On Monday I was a
guest of a friend for a wonderful supper. We also had time for
some leisurely walking through a different kind of forest than I have
here at Friendly Forest. Thank you my friend!
On Wednesday I took
a bit of time to go hunting for some wild sage, as there is none growing
in this part of the forest, the sage being more an open, arid land
plant. I headed south and soon began to find traces in the roadside. The
further I went, the more I found, finally discovering three distinct
kinds of wild sage. I offered ritual prayer and tobacco offerings
for the gifts of mother earth, and for a new appreciation for what
I discovered by taking the time and exploring the native plants that
still grow in some unspoiled areas. Since then I have been trying
to dry the plants in a manner that will retain the natural volatile
oils that make the sage so special and fragrant.
For Sam; I was able
to do the rubbing out finish on your chest/table .T the multi-layers
of varnish had cured sufficiently to do the finish work. I will
be in touch with you soon to discuss shipping arrangements.
The skies graced
this area with about 8 mm of rain last night. This came along with
an incredible lightening storm... most of which I missed as I slept
a sound sleep.
I need to get more
work done on this site as well and complete the updated look I started
a few weeks back.
forest received about 2.5 cm of rain over a few days of intermittent
showers. What a gift from the Creator!
The St. Mary High
class of '78 has a 25 year reunion in Prince Albert this weekend. I
was only able to attend the evening social on Friday. It was
great to see the people who came, and I salute the organizers for their
efforts and the positive and friendly spirit in which everyone was
made welcome. Those 25 years probably went faster for me than
it did for most of the class grads, but that is OK... their time will
come. What struck me is that they are a good ten years older
than I was when they were in my biology classes in '78!
I have been making
a few things on my lathe lately. I will post them in Recent
Gallery 4. I need to have more items for a sale at the beginning
of August. I will keep you posted about the sale in later Journal
I have been harvesting
some more Yarrow from Mother Earth, and while it is drying in the house,
the aroma is a gentle reminder of that gift.
know that summer is here when the number of my unexpected visitors
doubles or triples.
Friendly Forest is
a great place to visit, and if I did not live here already, I would
want to visit as well. There is something about the beauty of
a forest and water that draws the human spirit. And when you can enjoy
it without having to pitch a tent and sleep with a rock or a root digging
into your back, and you can step into a hot shower rather than a a
bone chilling dip in a lake or river, and being able to relax indoors
or even in a screen gazebo without having to plaster on the insect
repellant, the enjoyment is enhanced. "Roughing it" is
fine for a while, but doing it full time is not exactly what I appreciate,
... in any season.
I have finally used
a special piece of Mexican Bocote that I have had in my shop for years. I
decided to make
four "tea boxes". When I finished the only pieces
left were the wedge pieces that came from cutting the mitre corners
for the box sides. I need to post new images on my Gallery pages
and will do so soon.. OK, I know I promised that before, but I will
We have had some
rain and are hoping for more. It will not take much more wind
or warmth to make the forests tinder dry again and vulnerable to a
A few days ago I
received the first contribution for our New Green Alliance campaign
fund since I sent out our brochures. I am thankful for that support
though I admit it seems very strange for me to be receiving a contribution
rather than for me to be giving one. This political candidate
thing is still quite strange for me...
A few images
from a forest in blossom:
the visitor will likely have noticed, I am modifying the appearance
of the pages on this web site. I am converting to a cleaner looking
page header and navigation bar. I started to add flash buttons
but took them out in favour of the simple form you see above. This
format takes less file space and will load faster and I think fits
the general appearance of the pages better.
On Friday evening
we finally had some rain here with slightly more than 2.5 cm
or 1 inch. We need much more, but it should reduce the forest
fire hazard for a while. On Wednesday a major fire started just
to the north and east, and driven by a strong south wind it rapidly
became a major fire . If the wind had been from the north this
whole area with many residences would have been under immediate threat. We
thank our Creator/God for the gift of rain and ask for more to
renew the parched earth.
People have noted
that the trees are showing signs of major stress. Many large
spruce trees have already died, those still living are loaded with
cones this year, and the Aspen trees produced a great abundance of
seeds and consequent 'cotton fluff'. Many older, larger birch
trees have died or are dying when ordinarily they would still have
had many more years of growth before maturity. Even smaller plants
are putting out abundant and very early blossoms. I guess it
is Mother Earth's creatures way of preparing for death and a renewal. I
recall advice given to people who want house plants to blossom...
keep them root bound and do not fertilize them... they will be
and will blossom to try to reproduce before they die.
Good news from Regina; the
New Green Alliance has nominated a series
of candidates to contest the next election in that region.
I have gotten some
time in the shop now that I have the repair parts for my band saw. I
really missed that tool during its down time!
I thought it was time to gather some yarrow plants for drying. I
made a tobacco offering and thanked Mother Earth and God for letting
me share in these gifts, and then I also made sure that I did
not harvest all from the area and instead of pulling them out, cut
them off to leave the chance for a renewed growth later this season. Even
an old codger like me can learn how to do things better and treat
God's gifts with greater respect.
18-06-2003 06:55. Breakfast
is finished and I am about to get going on the tasks of the day. I
need to drive to Prince Albert to meet with a customer who wants a
special table designed, and then to a visit regarding input to
a special door for a chapel room at St. Mary High School. I worked
there as a teacher and principal for a total of 25 years,
and the building is undergoing a major renovation.
Yesterday I had the
pleasure of hosting a group of students and adults from a Saskatoon
school. The group wanted to include Friendly Forest as part of
their spring field trip. The visit brought back my own memories
of taking student groups on nature field trips during my years as a
biology teacher. My dog friend King was super once again. he
genuinely likes people of all ages, and seems to appreciate them even
if they are not seen as a potential source of food or another play-ball
companion. I am quite happy about that good disposition in that
I do not need to worry about the many guests who come to Friendly Forest. Extra
grooming and cleaning up hair from a spring-shedding dog is a small
price to pay for what he brings to this home in the forest.
On Tuesday the pre-election
brochure that I had printed made it into mail boxes of residents
of the Saskatchewan Rivers provincial constituency. My goals were
to let the electors of this area know that the NGA exists, what basic
NGA values are, and that the NGA will be an electoral presence here
in the next election. The brochure also directs the reader
to the WWW.VOTENGA.CA web site
for more information. I have been spending a lot of time creating
the pages for that site and I hope I am giving it the character that
the visitor wants to see in such an information site. any feedback
would be appreciated. If you visit the site and do not find
what you wanted to see, email
me and let me know.
I need to spend some
time in morning prayer before I really get activities off for the
friend recently re-supplied me with sage for smudging, and I really
appreciate the aroma of smoking sage.
9. Again I failed to keep my weekly update. For anyone
who checks regularly, sorry about that.
I have been caring
for a house guest for a bit over two weeks now. He is elderly,
diabetic and needing some degree of regular support. Although
I feel honoured to have him in my home I recognize that with my usual
tight agenda of events and work, some other things are not getting
done. For those who may have been inconvenienced by some delays
on my part, I apologize. However, I know that I have chosen the
better turn and am doing what is really important in our
I have finally completed
the preparation of the pre-election brochure and have it at the
printer now. I hope to get it out for postal distribution later this
week. My inexperience and a clear desire by the printer, Gateway
Quality Press in Prince Albert, to do a very fine job, has resulted
in a few delays. The firm is choosing to use Photoshop to prepare
the printing plates and I had my brochure as Corel Draw files. There
appears to be a problem with converting things over, and I have had
to convert my files to Corel Draw 8 from my original Corel Draw 9 formats,
then find that the resulting files are too large to send to their email
because of server limitations, break the file into smaller components,
and because of Corel Draw 8 refusal to recognize a few font types,
to send on the fonts to the printer's computer, and then finally, to
resent all the graphic elements as original jpeg files. I guess
I will ask more questions before I begin another project and do things
in a manner that saves me the time at the end... for example, keep
ALL the component files for one job in a single folder! The
image files were resident in all sorts of other folders, and I
had to do
a real hunt to find them all, wasting time all along the way.
Our Forest Fringe
Citizens' Coalition has also been involved in trying to get SaskPower
to rectify the problem that resulted in our May 25 fire here. SaskPower
had left their cleared corridors wide open. A car with some young
people had driven down one section near my home and got stuck. The
hot manifold started a fire and the vehicle started on fire and exploded,
setting off an instant large forest fire. If not for a completely
unplanned and fortunate event, we would all have been burned out! A
Sask Environment water bomber returning from a fire run to another
fire near Montreal Lake spotted the fire as it happened and called
in immediate support. With the conditions and the fierce winds
that afternoon, a few more minutes would have made it too late to stop
and we would have been burned out. THANK YOU SASKPOWER FOR
CREATING THE SITUATION THAT NEARLY DROVE ALL OF YOUR OPPOSITION
OUT OF THE FOREST
AND DESTROYED WHAT YOU LEFT OF THIS FORMERLY INTACT FOREST!
I genuinely wish
to thank SaskEnvironment regulators for joining us in urging SaskPower
to take immediate action to prevent future vehicle intrusion and
renewal of fire threat down these cleared areas. At the end of the week
flimsy plastic snow fences have been strung along some of the access
points to provide the indication that the area is supposed to be closed,
but not providing any real barrier. For example, along my property,
the snow fencing is simply slipped over steel rods that serve
as posts. it is very easy to either push it over or to simply
push the fencing down along the rods and then walk or drive over
Bolen has told the SaskEnvironment regulator that they plan to
speed up the installation of the permanent fencing before the full
completion of their construction. After the many previous declarations
we have heard from Mr. Bolen and other SaskPower officials, I guess
we will only know the truth of that promise when things happen
or don't happen as stated. Our four year history with that
Corporation gives us no basis for trust in what they say.
I will try to post
a few images of recent wood work, but I withhold a promise as to when
that will be done.
25 was an interesting day at Friendly Forest. It began with a
fantasy morning of bright sun, perfect temperatures, new blossoms through
the forest, gentle breeze and no bugs in sight. By mid afternoon
I and my neighbours had to evacuate because of a forest fire that came
within 1 kilometre of my home. The images on the Home Page
are thumbnails and will link to a larger image of that day.
I have an elderly
friend staying over as guest. I quickly got him and my dog into
the truck and started the fire pump by my pond to get the sprinklers
going over my buildings, and then we left. When I returned one
time to add more fuel to the gas tank of the pump motor, the helicopter
was scooping water from my pond to drop on the flames nearby. The
photo of the water bomber dropping water is near the end of the
control efforts which were successful.
Unlike many parts
of saskatchewan the area of the northwest including this region
are tinder dry and have been parched for several years. We hope
and pray for rain... lots of it.
have also been busy with the www.votenga.ca site
and preparing some possible pre-election materials at : http://www.votenga.ca/CandidateFolders/RegnitterFiles/PreElectBrochure.htm
have really broken my promise about weekly updates this time! You
may have noticed that the image to the left has changed somewhat. I
took out the distracting stucco cement and gave it a neutral backing. Someone
with a dubious sense of humour might protest by saying that the
background that I removed was the most attractive part of the former
have continued to work on the www.votenga.ca site
and it is coming along to my reasonable satisfaction. I
have actually more work done than is visible at the site. There
are a series of candidate pages that are just about ready to go
but have not been linked yet because I am waiting for some final
about parts of the content.
have also made a trip to Meadow Lake in the north west part of
this region to attend a meeting about the NGA called by a friend and
candidate for the constituency. In doing so I took three
hours one way to get into the constituency next to the one for which
I am a candidate. This is a big territory to cover!
scenery was beautiful, and the unity of geography and economy along
this parkland and forest zone is remarkable. Except
for highway signage, one could easily mistake any particular spot
location several hundred kilometres away.
is Sunday AM. It got cold last night and for a while even snowed. This
morning the sun is out but the thermometer still reads -5 degrees C. I
put the heater on in the green house until the sun has a chance to
warm things up there. I have my tomatoes going strong and
the cucumbers are out of the ground too, so I do not want to lose
the end of this week I will be receiving a guest for a while. This
is an elderly Catholic Priest who is currently in Ontario for some
holiday time, and then is returning here for a final month of ministry
before taking retirement at age 84! We are good friends, and
I have learned to cook for his diabetic condition and he enjoys the
beauty of this country home. it will be a pleasure to have him
here. He is a good and holy man and will bring God's blessings
continue to focus my prayer with a traditional smudge, and that may
generate some interesting discussions too.
Premier of Saskatchewan has decided to not call an election this
spring, so that gives me a bit more time to prepare. This decision
to be a candidate for election is quite a new thing and I am learning
as I go... learning a lot of things!
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