Archive for November, 2012

A thousand words

Monday, November 19th, 2012

… Or perhaps just take a picture?

We’ve been taking a course on photography at school.  Its all very interesting stuff.  The instructor, in addition to being an accomplished professional photographer, is also one of those urban-explorer types.  He’s been showing us some excellent photographs he has taken of some very cool places.

I don’t think I’ll ever have the artistic ‘eye’ for taking pictures that one would mistake for being a professionals – but I still think I got something out of it.  Hopefully my photography will improve as a result.

One thing is for sure, I’ve got to start carrying a camera around with me, instead of just my iPhone.


Photo of my class, taken by Jonathan Castillino (our photography instructor)

As you can see from this group photo, its far better than anything I could take.  My class mates and I all agreed, this is one of the best group photos any of us had been in … we thought it would make a great album cover.

Friends, fire & metal

Sunday, November 18th, 2012

A couple of my friends from school have been helping me re-shingle the roof on my house.  One of them had been asking me about my gas forge.  And so, after cleaning up tools and such after a day of roofing, we decided to fire it up so they could try their hand at some smithing.


Good times!  We’ll definitely have to do more of this type of thing.


Ahh, finally – blacksmithing!

Friday, November 9th, 2012

I think, perhaps, some of them finally understand…

tf-img-097My poor class mates, have had to hear me drone on and on about blacksmithing on too many occasions.  But only one of them had ever smacked at hot metal before, so I don’t think any of the others could appreciate my enthusiasm.  That is until yesterday and today.  We’ve just had two days of Intro to Architectural Metals and a basic blacksmithing course.

As someone with a bit of experience (not to mention having extra equipment to loan the school), I had the privilege of assisting our instructor, Lloyd Johnston, for the two day blacksmithing course.

Overall, I’m very happy.  The course was very time-constrained, and so the other students only got a taste of coal smoke – but we’ll be having more later in the year.  A number of them seem really pumped, and have asked if they can do some extra-cirricular smithing with me in the meantime.

The instructor, Lloyd, was fantastic, and I learned a lot from him in a short time span.  I hope he’ll be the one the school brings back in the spring for our next session.  Two days was far too short.

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Hurricanes & Ivy

Thursday, November 1st, 2012

My wife & I are in the middle of a bunch of renovations on our house. Currently, we’re in the process of having our roof replaced (re-shingled). The old shingles have been stripped, some of the decking has been replaced, roofing felt/membrane is down, new flashing is installed, and probably 2/3 of the new shingles are on.  And so, of course, despite a long-range weather forecast of good/clear weather – a F#@%KING HURRICANE has just passed through Niagara.

Okay, to be fair it wasn’t an actual hurricane – it is the remnant weather system of what was a hurricane further south and a few days ago.  But still. It was sustained, torrential, heavily wind-driven rain that lasted far, far too long.

We did manage to get the roof tarped in advance of the storm hitting. And when the wind began ripping at those tarps, we were able to get someone out to re-secure them and add a couple more.  But nevertheless, the rain found it’s way in.


And while sitting up in my attic in the middle of the night, moving around large tubs to catch the steady streams of water coming in, and wondering if the trembling roof deck would rip off – I was struck by something… No, not lightening.

I was struck with the realization that ivy is an evil plant.  This house must have had ivy on it at some time in the past.  Not only growing ‘on’ it – but apparently also growing in it.  That nasty plant had grown right through the asbestos siding, and into the attic.  It had grown several feet into the attic.  I’d estimate that some of it had stretched well over 10 feet into the attic space (from the wall where it came in).

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