Busy, lost, and woodworking

It has been quite awhile since I have posted on my blog, basically I have been lost. I barely made it through December due to migraines, which just seemed to blend each day together. My activity on social media came to a standstill, very little Twittering, Instagram, Facebook, and blogging, well no activity there.  The daily news was depressing, so I even ignored it. Did I find it difficult cutting back? Not at all.

During this time I have been busy with life, enjoying woodworking immensely, and yoga. In December, I finished painting the life-size Nutcracker our eldest daughter gave me. It was positioned in the front window, then after Christmas was moved upstairs to the bedroom window. I had really wanted to have it grace the front porch, but I was vetoed by my husband, and son. I think manly because I had wanted them to bolt the base to the porch. Oh well, it look fabulous in the window.

Life-size Nutcracker_unpainted

Life-size Nutcracker_unpainted

Painted Nutcracker

Painted Nutcracker

Nutcracker in the window

Nutcracker in the upstairs window until next Christmas

For Christmas I also made two new wreaths for the front and back doors.

Back door wreath

Back door wreath

wreath front door

Wreath front door

In January we celebrated Bear’s 6th birthday; this means a hat, and a peanut butter sandwich.

Bear's 6th Birthday

Bear’s 6th Birthday

Woodworking has also kept me quite busy. During the past few months, I’ve completed the construction of a bedside table for my husband, and two new dog dish stands for Bear and Cocoa.

Bedside table

Bedside table

Bear enjoying his new dog dish stand

Bear enjoying his new dog dish stand

Side view of dog dish

Side view of dog dish

My latest project is a cribbage board for middle child. She had asked me to make one for her, so that she can teach her boyfriend to play.  For the board I cut, planed, and joined together walnut and pine (sadly I did not enough walnut for an entire board). Next, I used the band-saw to make the top curve, then I routered the top edge, and bottom. I  printed out a template for the holes. Using an awl, I punched a hole so the drill would be able to grab, and drill down. Two hundred holes were quite easy to do, it was just very time-consuming, but with persistence I was able to drill all 200 in two and a half hours.

Cribbage board before shaping

Cribbage board before shaping

Cribbage board after shaping

Cribbage board after shaping

Top sides of cribbage board

Top sides of cribbage board

Bottom of cribbage board

Bottom of cribbage board

Cribbage board_face

Cribbage board_face

Since I did not create a slot on the bottom of the cribbage board for the pegs, I am constructing a base for it to sit on. The base will have a place for the cards, and the pegs. It will be attached to the top with magnets and a wooden dowel, so it can swivel. I should have this completed in my next class, then it is just sanding, any touch-ups needed, and finally staining.

Until next time…

Bayfront park January 2018

Bayfront park January 2018

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Canoeing to Burnt Island Lake, Algonquin Provincial Park

Panorama view of our campsite

For our 30th wedding anniversary this year, the only gift I wanted was for the two of us to spend time together, away from everything. Thus we chose to go camping in the back country of Algonquin Provincial Park Thanksgiving weekend.

After checking with our adult children that they didn’t mind us going away for Thanksgiving, we left Hamilton at 7:15 am. As we were driving towards Algonquin, my husband decided that we should add an extra day to our trip to avoid the traffic coming home.

Once we arrived at Canoe Lake, we then changed our destination from Little Doe Lake to Burnt Island Lake since there were just too many bear warnings for the first area. We are quite prepared with our cans of Bear Spray, plus we keep a clean camp site and make sure our food is always in a barrel tied high up in the trees. (The one exception is my cream, which is in a thermos, in a thermal bag, tied in the water).

Food barrel tied high in trees.

Food barrel tied high in trees.

Keeping my cream cold in the water

Keeping my cream cold in the water

Matt and I ready to embark

Matt and I ready to embark.

We left Canoe Lake at 12:30 p.m., arriving at the first of four portages at 1:45 p.m. Our itinerary went as follows: Canoe Lake to first portage to Joe Lake, then Joe Lake to the East Arm, then to Joe Lake; we avoided the second portage into Lost Joe Lake since the water was high enough to paddle through the river; the next portage was from Lost Joe Lake to Baby Joe Lake, where I proceeded to fall trying to get back into the canoe (the lake was not deep enough for us to sit in and paddle, I walked well hubby pulled the canoe through the river); soaking wet from the waist down and with sore knees since I fell onto rocks, we headed towards the portage to Burnt Island Lake, at this point we had to do the portage since there is a dam between the two lakes.  Once in Burnt Island Lake we found a campsite around 5:15 pm. We had spent approximately five hours in the water.

Day two: We awoke around 7 a.m. with a drizzle of rain. Erect second tarp beside the tent, so we do not get wet from the rain. Our daily was spent lazily by the fire playing scrabble and cribbage. There was quite a violent rain and wind storm Saturday night, apparently the remnant of Hurricane Nate. The tarp over our tent did an excellent job of keeping our tent dry. Once the tarp would fill with water, it poured off each side. Around 5 a.m., there was one last huge wind gust that made one of our ropes snap, but this was easily fixed. Another day of relaxation, until I picked up the bear spray and accidentally sprayed myself in the eye. I had neglected to put the safety back on the can after going to the toilet. It sprayed forward, but then there was a back-wind. Thankfully we always have a jug of water on hand, so Matt quickly jumped up with the water, and flushed my left eye.  The rest of the day was again spent just relaxing and enjoying the view and silence.

Our two cans of bear spray

Our two cans of bear spray

Day three: Was shorts and t-shirts. We did some fishing and took lots of pictures. In the afternoon we went for a canoe ride, where I became so involved with picture-taking I didn’t realized I was moving back in my seat, only to fall backwards into the canoe. It hurt, and I couldn’t right myself back into the seat. Matt paddled back to the campsite so he could remove me from the canoe. (I tend to be the comic relief).

Laying down in the canoe because I fell backwards.

Laying down in the canoe because I fell backwards. Please ignore the rat’s nest of a hairdo I have.

Day four: Monday, another day of tuning out and enjoying nature.

Day five: We packed up our campsite and started the paddle back home.

Over the five days, we snapped, between the two of us, with our Nikon’s and phones over 1000 pictures. Here are a select few:

Tip of the canoe

I couldn’t get enough of the sunsets in Algonquin:

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Our daily view:

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Selfie

Selfie

Red merganser resting on the warmth of the rock

Red merganser resting on the warmth of the rock

 

red breasted merganser having a stretch

Red breasted merganser having a stretch

 

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Canoeing in Cootes Paradise

Last weekend my husband and I finally had an opportunity to put everything aside and take the canoe out for a paddle. We are lucky enough to live in a city where Lake Ontario, Hamilton Harbour, and Cootes Paradise are only a 10 to 15 minute drive from home, as long as you hit all the green lights of course.

Cootes Paradise, managed by the Royal Botanical Gardens, is an amazing place for birding, amphibians and reptiles. The marsh is quite large, and a perfect setting for canoeing, kayaking, and fishing. Starting at the Princess Point canoe launch we travelled east along the edge of the marsh, north parallel to the highway, west past Hickory Island, Rat Island, then south before turning east to head towards Cockpit Island eventually ending back at the canoe launch. In total, my husband paddled 7.58 kilometres.

Swan with foot in the air

We thought this swan was quite comical with it’s foot in the air.

Turtles catching some sunlight.

Turtles catching some sunlight.

A heron taking flight

A heron taking flight.

In this part of the marsh, there must have been a hundred swans. It was lovely how they parted allowing us to paddle through the centre of them.

In this part of the marsh, there must have been a hundred swans. It was lovely how they parted allowing us to paddle through the centre of them.

A red-tailed hawk with a dinner.

A red-tailed hawk with a dinner.

Ducks on a log

Ducks on a log.

Crane

A crane.

Comerants in a tree.

Comerants in a tree.

Black Crowned Heron

Black crowned heron.

Belted Kingfisher

Belted Kingfisher

Lily pad flower

The required snapshot of a lily pad flower.

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