I was reading an article last night about smoking rates in Canada and how the distribution varies across the land. I remember spending a couple weeks in Quebec and it struck me how many people I saw smoking. Now that I see the data (see graphic), I can understand why. In 1966, 41% of Canadians 15 years or older were smoking; it’s dropped now to just under 20%.
I found a nice plan for a Shaker-style step the other day and as I had a few hours to kill tonight due to the raining (no cutting the lawn!), I decided to build it. The step only has five pieces so is nice and simple to assemble. I made it out of a piece of knotty pine and was going to stain it but didn’t as I figured it kind of looks clean and nice in an Ikea kind of way. Next up – a breadbox for Josée or may that patio storage box.
Many of you know I’m a big fan of Kiva. We’ve been using the site for a couple years now and have nearly 125 loans funded, all around the world. Click here to see more about our loan portfolio (gender/geographical breakdown, economic sector and so on). You can meet a few of my borrowers below! If you like the idea, consider setting up your own ‘min-bank’ where you get to choose to whom you lend, where and how much. Right now, Kiva is offering a free $25 starter loan to new users; no cost, no obligation, no hidden agenda – just enjoy helping people start and manage small businesses which in turn help support their families. To learn more just click here. Cheers and enjoy!
The most famous astronaut since the days of Aldrin and Armstrong, Canadian Chris Hadfield, is heading home! Before he left the ISS, he did a version of David Bowie’s classic, Space Oddity. If being a spaceman wasn’t cool enough, now he’s a rock star as well! Enjoy
The Romans really had it figured out – hot and cold baths in which to soothe their conquest-induced aches and pains. I guess having an army of slaves to boil water and make steam helped as well. At our previous house, we had a hot-tub installed, mostly to help Josée with her many soccer related injuries. I must admit that I actually used it a lot more than I figured I would. Well, after many months of delay, we decided to get another one. We’ll use it now and then if/when we turn this house into a vacation rental, the tub will be an added attraction. Stop by sometime for a soak!
We have two beautiful ponds in the back, one of which remains full all year. Surrounding the ponds are a variety of trees, some of which are quite big. Last fall, we had a large alder partially drop so I decided to pull it out with Bob and buck it up before it fell on us. After clearing an area, I decided to take part of the tree which wasn’t rotten and turn it into a bench; we now have a nice area, dappled with sunshine in the later afternoon, from which we can sit and watch our pond. Now I just need a fishing pole now except the herons take care of most everything!
Our chicken coop is affectionately known as the Hen Hilton. Coined by Manuel one hot and dusty summer day, the nickname stuck, its usage directly proportionate to the size of the ongoing project. Recently, my trustee helper and I decided to re-work the wire run, expanding it a little and re-setting the posts. I was hooking up the augur to Bob when I remembered (somewhat unfortunately) the old house siding (kept because one just never knows when blue vinyl siding may come in handy) and thought now (why not – we never have much going on) might be time to re-fit the coop and clean up the original, rather dilapidated, Hen Hilton.
As with most renovations, it took on a life of its own, moving from quick siding job to include new fascia, a hand-crafted English Oak (er, West Coast cedar) door, enlarged and modernized run area, renovated kitchen cum eating area and some fancy white lattice to cap things off. I hope these hens produce at accelerated pace – at this rate, we’re going to need to sell more eggs to pay for this project. I’ll add a few more of the final completed look when I’m back at my desk!
I had a nice Christmas break but like many, if I don’t leave home, I keep finding small projects on which to work. Over Christmas, I had a few key things to go. First off, was to create a weight for the back of the truck, a vehicle useless beyond belief in even the thinnest snowfall. A few measurements and some concrete later, I had a block weighing about 190kg ready for action. Luckily, the form I constructed was accurate enough to allow Bob’s warped fork-lift arms under, enabling me to lift it into the truck; now I just need some snow to test it. The address sign was something I started before Panama trip but figured it was time to dust off the router and get ‘er done. It’s gorilla-glued to a rock at the front of the house – so far, so good. Finally, I cleared out a path through the blackberries to the pond, hauled out a few storm-snapped trees, bucked them for firewood and then took the trunk of one alder to make a bench. By late spring, I figure most of the bushes will grow back and we’ll have a nice little sitting area to watch life on the pond.
Last year (it seems like yesterday), was a tough one from a loss perspective; our first pig, Monty died early in the year while in the spring, we had to say goodbye to our Great Dane, Jack. As any pet owner knows, it is hard to lose a pet but eventually the pain eases and by late 2012, we were ready to start looking to add to our family.
Eventually, Josée found our new addition at a house in Courtenay. The mother dog was a Blue Tick Hound and the father a Great Dane / Mastiff cross. You can see some of the hound in her head profile / ears; some of the colouring of an English Mastiff and some of the big legs of both Danes and Mastiffs.
Josée asked me to come up with a name. Here is the stream of thought process: hounds…deep South (perhaps incorrectly)…Dukes of Hazzard…Daisy Duke. So, we call her Daisy. Here she is!