Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Ready for winter to be over

Springtime in Alberta. Barley a week since the 3 foot drifts on our lawn melted, now we get snow all day. Thinking I should move south. 

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Levi's 501 Jeans

It's nice to see that a company will still stand behind it's product. I bought a pair of these 501's (which are fairly on the hipster side for me) and was quite happy with them. I live the classic look of a dark denim, the fit and the button fly that I always used to insist on as a kid. After a few days of wear, I blew out the crotch while running around my parents farm yard. I mean completely blew it out: from the crotch to the knee. I tweeted Levi's, got a contact number and started the return process. Without question, I received this nice new pair via FedEx. Good on ya Levi's.

Sunday, January 05, 2014

Things that last - Red Wing 8138

I've made commitment in my life to purchase only things I (for the most part) need and for all purchases to buy the best that I can afford. Buy things that will last for years. For my tools at work, this means Snap-on. For knives or guns, it is buying ones that will last my lifetime and be passed down to my sons. And for foot-wear, ones that will give me years of service, can be repaired, re-soled and re-conditioned. These Red Wing 8138s represent this type of purchase. They aren't cheap, but over the course of the 10-15 years that most people say these should last for, they work out to be great value. Quality usually works that way. Don't be taken with the latest and greatest gimmicks, the flashy and new. Think about your purchases and go for quality. Here's to at least 10 years with these boots.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Neighbourhood Shred

With the new snow boards from Grandpa and Gran, waiting for two weeks until their first board lesson just didn't seam doable. So we crossed the street to the sledding hill and gave the new boards a whirl. Temps above freezing were an added bonus. And, it was a good excuse to snap a few pictures on my new (3rd time I've bought this camera) Fuji X100. Maybe I won't sell this one in a few months...









Friday, December 13, 2013

the weakest link

Minus 30 Celsius will test a car. If it passes, you will come out knowing what the weak points of your vehicle are. I learned my starter isn't all what it once was. A little Friday evening swap-er-oni-ru. There is a satisfaction that comes from getting your hands dirty, fixing stuff
and making things last.

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

2013 Alberta Blizzard




Living in northern climates can really test your metal sometimes. We're just seeing the last of a winter blizzard that's kept me unable to drive to work, and kept me busy shoveling, snow blowing and pushing out stuck neighbors. Sometimes the snow from my blower was so thick and the wind blowing it right into my face making it so I couldn't even breathe. It was like being stuck under water, but with snow and -17C. Most of the work is done, highways still closed and the fireplace is on. Time to hunker down and enjoy it.












what's this? A blog post? weird

Well, with all good intentions, I want to keep this blog going strong. Or maybe rather, bring it back front he dead to it's somewhat alive state. Blogging seems to have changed from when I first started. Other bloggers have slowed down. Some have gone away completely. Another thing that has changed for me is that I no longer have an office job. I gave that all up to get back on the tools. I'm glad I made the change. Having a journeyman Millwright ticket, I'm now enrolled as a heavy duty mechanic apprentice as well. My employer is pretty darn radical and I thought if I'm putting in hours there, I might as well have them go to another licensed trade. Right now in Alberta, a journeyman ticket affords a very comfortable life, and I can provide for me, my wife and 4 kids on just my income. Nothing wrong with a little dirt under the nails.

Anyway, I'm just going to drop some pictures of the major things that have occupied my time for the last few months.

I've taken an interest in knife making. I have a few down, one that I use regularly, that a few more in the works. My next step with this project is to build a 2" X 72" belt grinder. I've been bevelling my knives with a file by hand and it is a slow, tiring process. But, it's good for the body now and then to be tired from work.



video


I've been out hunting the last two years, but not having anyone experienced take me, I'm learning it all on the fly. This year I finally bagged my first deer. It wasn't a big animal by any means, but for a first and with my bow, I'm happy with it. I also wanted to do everything myself with the harvesting of this animal. Field dressing, skinning and butchering. With all the work that I've put into getting this meat to our table, I think very differently about the value of having meat to eat. When it's not just going out and picking up a plastic wrapped tray and the grocer. Wasting it seems so much more terrible. I think more people would value the cost of meet if they were more involved with the harvesting of it. It's fun to have my two oldest boys learn this with me too. Good father & son time.

(funny how when I actually got my deer I wasn't wearing any camo for have any of my fancy hunting gear and hadn't planned on hunting at all. Kind of makes me wonder how much of the hunting world is just consumeristic mumbo jumbo.)

A little vacation time down south for my wife and I and we're now back into the full swing of the boys hockey schedule and my daughter's dance. Life is busy, but it's good.


Saturday, August 10, 2013

A fly-fishing, mountain-biking mini adventure

Life can be mighty fine in Fernie. The access to amazing trails and rivers. It's almost too easy to get out on little adventures. Ride out of our condo, and boom. Living it up and loving it. We didn't catch any fish which is typical for us as we're new fly-fishermen, but we did have fun. Got a sunburn, wet feet and we smelled of river when we returned home. I'd say it was a good day.

Rode some gorgeous single track looking for a spot to whip our lines.

 With all the flooding, there was quite a bit of debris long the trail and a few sections were washed into the Elk river completely.

 Waded through some slower water to get to the bank we wanted to fish.
 portaging with bicycles...
 While the boy's technique isn't perfect yet, they're getting closer. Important thing, they've got the patience for it. 
 Some rad Albertan with this Ferrari 308 GTB enjoying the mountain roads on a beautiful day. 

This is the way I want to live my life. Feels good.

Thursday, August 08, 2013

Kona Tanuki

Well I didn't really see this happening but it did. And now I have it with me in Fernie. Really diggin this departure from my typically cycling style.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Garage Project

With spring comes the bug to get things in order. A freshening of sorts to go along with with new season. I've had an idea in my head for some time of what I wanted my garage to look like, but never quite had the gumption to get it done. Until now.

I have a lot of tools. I love tools. At work, seeing as I earn a living with my tools, and at home. At home because I hate having to get someone else to do things for me. Change my oil, fix household appliances, build a deck. The thought of me getting someone to do these things for me just doesn't seem to jive. That's just me. It's just how I'm wired. If others prefer to hire these tasks out, good for them. But me, I'm built to use my hands, and I find great satisfaction in it.

All of these tools I had have always been organized in my garage and stored on industrial racking. The problem is, you can see them. It doesn't matter how tidy it is, how lined up everything is, when it's all visible on racking, it looks like just a bunch of junk. My idea of a 'dream garage' was to hide it all from sight and give the appearance of an empty minimalist garage, but still highly functioning for all those satisfying tasks I keep busy with. Not wanting to dump a bunch of cash on pre-made cabinetry, I built my own. It took two weekends but the end result is just how I had wanted it.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Spring time in Alberta

Ian Tyson isn't wrong. We've had a few glimpses of the seasonal change we've been looking forward to, and the bam! More snow. More cold. More ice covered roads on the early morning drive to work.

Monday, February 04, 2013

To the mountains

No better way to celebrate a birthday than ditching work for a few days and enjoying some skiing in the Rockies without the crowds that weekend brings. Slow paced and beauty all around. I like living so close to this.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Homemade Bacon

Keeping my new smoker smoking away, we made our own bacon. Start with fresh pork belly, remove the hair (gross) cure, smoke, remove the skin and it's ready to be cooked up just like store bought bacon. The flavor however, is nothing like store bought bacon. It's amazing! It's the difference between fresh baked homemade bread and white wonder bread. They almost shouldn't be titled with the same word. Well worth the effort, and if you have a smoker and haven't tried bacon yet, you should.

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Jerky

Christmas present from my sweet wife. First batch is smoking away. Can't wait!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

XJ 650: hypoid gear inspection

Early morning garage time while the family sleeps. Inspection reveals minimal wear and everything looks good. 2hrs of elbow grease and it looks new. Bag it, shelf it, one more check off this list.

Friday, December 28, 2012

XJ650: Minimalist Battery Holder

Finally we have some warmer weather (hovering just below freezing) which means I can finally get into the garage again. After an all day family outing, I have a few spare hours this evening to fab up a minimalist battery holder I've been thinking about. 
I already welded up a metal box that I was going to install, but I just wasn't feeling it. I found a leather strap that one of our tenants had left behind in the Rockyford house, and that gave me the idea for this battery holder. The perforated metal I found in a scrap bin while cleaning up my uncle's garage. I think it's going to work and it certainly feels better than what I had previously built.




A few months ago I picked up a MIG welder. It's nice to have a decent welder that isn't flux-core, but I need to do a little TLC to it. It works for now, but certainly not laying down the nicest welds I've done.