Down and Dirty

Sorry, not that. I’m talking blacksmithing. You know that hammer and metal thing you thought no one did anymore?

Some people are still doing it. In fact, the craft is enjoying a resurgence in Saskatchewan, as people look for something that doesn’t come from Walmart. Something not digital, something they can hold in their hands. Something they can make themselves.

Dustin Small and the Saskatchewan Blacksmith Guild host a hammer-in every month. Artisans, farriers, and crafters come together to share their knowledge, pound the iron, and pass the skill down to the younger generation.

Fourteen-year-old Jesse Porter prefers to do more with his hands than hold an iPad. Jesse, who has ADHD, attends hammer-ins and finds that working with metal helps him to concentrate.

For M. Craig Campbell, a blacksmith and sculptor, metal is just fun. “With the heat and fire, it’s a phenomenal material, a bit of a chameleon. At 2500 degrees Fahrenheit, it’s buttery soft, almost a liquid.”

What are you doing next Saturday?

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Blackbird

As a species we’ve done our best to wipe each other out, wrecked whole continents of people because they weren’t like us. Didn’t look the same, didn’t think the same, didn’t speak our language.

And yet, despite our millennia of ignorance and arrogance and greed, we haven’t managed to destroy everything…not quite everything. Not yet.

Thanks to people like Katani Julian, a Mi’kmaq language teacher from Nova Scotia, indigenous languages live on.

In celebration of the UN’s International Year of Indigenous Languages, Julian took on the task of translating Paul McCartney’s Blackbird into Mi’kmaq feeling that lyrics like Take these broken wings, and learn to fly resonate with the indigenous experience in Canada. “It’s the type of gentle advice we get from our elders when we feel defeated, when we feel down.”

In the hope that we can learn to not break any more wings, here is Emma Stevens of Eskasoni, Nova Scotia singing Blackbird…

Hearts and Flowers?

Personally, I’m not into the whole Valentine’s Day hoopla. That heart-shaped box was a big deal back in high school, the year I was actually dating someone when February 14th rolled around, but I’m over it now 🙂

I don’t know what the day means to any of you, but I’m betting no one does Valentine’s Day like Paul Lewis. No hackneyed card, or mediocre chocolates for our boy, Paul.

The Victoria, B.C. man, finding a creative use for all the white stuff lying around his backyard, built his girlfriend an igloo.

igloo

The home-made snow house, featuring solar-powered lights, a fire pit, and a bed kept  Paul and Julie warm as they toasted each other over a glass of wine.

And, in case you’re wondering…

Yes, they spent the night outside, inside their bubble of snow 🙂

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Winter Wise

Your walkway is buried under two centimetres of ice, your driveway is a skating rink, and you’re holed up inside waiting for summer.

The snowplow cleared your street by depositing thirty centimetres of frozen slush at the end of your driveway, and you’re booking the first flight to Hawaii.

Endure or escape, those are your only options when Frosty the Ice Man stands in for Mother Nature — or are they?

Cory Hamilton in Saint John, New Brunswick thinks not.

To paraphrase the old proverb, When life hands you lemons… 

When Mother Nature throws down the ice, get your skates out 🙂

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Canadian Rhythm

From the National Film Board of Canada, celebrating 79 years this month, one of it’s most requested classics — The Log Driver’s Waltz

Passing on the smiles 🙂

These days, most of us need all our coordination just to cross the street and the logging industry long ago replaced the dancing loggers with machines, but national consciousness originates in the past.

As my neighbours in Quebec say, “Je me souviens.” (I remember.)

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Summer Sport

Prince Edward Island, home of red-sand beaches, lighthouses and lobsters is embracing the different with a new competitive spectator sport — Lobster Trap Stacking.

Huh?

Competitors carry 15 lobster traps that weigh 41 kilograms (90 pounds) for a distance of nine metres (30 feet) and stack them five tiers high.

lobster-traps-on-p-e-iAll competitors must supply their own gloves and safety boots. The winner is chosen based on speed and the neatness of their stacking. Top prize is  $1,000.

Personally, my idea of a summer spectator sport is sitting at an outdoor cafe, sipping a latte and watching all the beautiful people that seem to emerge with the sunshine, but …

If you happen to be in P.E.I. on July 12th this summer, stop by the Summerside Lobster Carnival and cheer on the trappers 🙂

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A Little Strange

No, I don’t want to know what new stupidity Donald has tweeted. No, thanks, you can fill me in on North Korea later. I just want to go home, pour some bubbles in the bath, and wish the world away for a while.

We’ve all been there, long day, bad day, too many people, too many of the wrong people saying all the wrong things. Home is our refuge, our sanctuary, our safe place — or not.

Last Sunday, a Kingston, Ontario woman got home at 6:15 PM to find a strange woman in her bathtub. A strange naked woman in her bathtub — no water, no towel. A strange naked woman who stayed in her tub until the police showed up.

This naked intruder story has nothing in common with the naked kidnapping story in Episode 1 … pardon? Well, yeah, the naked part.

Strange that or maybe not. We Canadians spend half the year bundled up. Maybe we need a little naked. You know, for summer days, and sleazy strip joints, and yes, the occasional crime.

What can I say? We’re a little strange up here 🙂