Saturday, November 25, 2006

luxury condo

I found some writing from 1986 and cleaned it up a bit and posted it .It's based on my time on the farm in England

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Child hood memory

A daylight domain of tangled bush and canopy of tree tops through which the high sun of summer filtered through to the mound of fresh dug red loam where a small freckled skinned child busily amused himself by digging and shaping the sandy soil into an impenetrable fortress. The soil was easily shaped because the badgers and foxes who inhabited this overgrown temperate jungle frequently seemed to be improving upon their extensive network of holes and burrows. Charles liked the feel of the fresh dug soil as he scooped it into piles with both hands to build the walls of his castle and unlike pure sand it was not so abrasive as he dug into it with his fingernails in order to clear a tunnel under the castle wall.
A lone Sentry stood guard atop the newly constructed watch tower. The soldier had been obtained from the bottom of a cereal package after breakfast that morning . He had done it while mother was washing up because he had to empty the contents into a large mixing bowl in order to find the pesky prize. The toy was made of plastic and its legs were attached to a platform which Charles promptly cut off with his scout knife. After all how could a soldier do anything constructive while his legs were attached to a flat piece of plastic? With his legs firmly embedded in the sandy soil the soldier looked so much more genuine on guard at the watch tower .

Charles continued to dig , scrape , and shape the red earth , steadily improving upon his fortification. The toy soldier viewed Charles' kingdom from a perfectly defensible vantage
point .
They were on a ledge, on the side of a steep slope, which had been formed by the excavations of badgers and foxes. These lairs were what first attracted Charles to this place and he called it the " Fox Holes ".
The Foxholes were actually in a large pit situated at the intersection of three fields and bordered by almost impenetrable bramble bushes and elderberry overshadowed by aged elm , oak , and sycamore trees. Surrounded by well tilled barley fields and lush grassland the pit had been left to nature, wild, unspoiled, and mysterious enough to attract the attention of a small boy on a day's exploration. From his first discovery Charles claimed this small territory for himself and returned here many times throughout his childhood .

It was a perfect place. On a summers day the the trees filtered the hot suns rays and provided gentle warmth and light. On a cold windy day the air remained calm , Charles could only hear the wind bending the tops of trees which bordered the pit. It was a wild place but not inhospitable, with Charles' activities accompanied by chattering sparrows , and the song of robin, thrush, and nightingale , with the occasional rustling and scratching of small animals in the undergrowth. His exploration was aided by small well trodden paths made by animals criss crossing this overgrown excavation. The bottom was "'fairly flat and close to the centre , the lack of direct sunlight had impeded growth to create a small clearing under the trees. On cold rainy days in spring or fall Charles would build a campfire in the clearing. At first , his attempts at fire making were frustrated by damp wood and lack of experience. However , through trial and error he became an expert at putting together the right combination of dry grass , small twigs and kindling sticks to create a blazing fire with just one strike of a match. It was a natural progression for him to obtain an old cooking pot and cast iron fry pan with which he cooked meals of sausages and baked beans and boiled water for steaming hot cups of tea. Charles could even enjoy that damp English weather while treating himself to such delicious feasts and warming himself by the crackling and spitting fireplace. On days when there were no delicacies to steal from his mother's pantry Charles would go to the potatoe field nearby and take a few potatoes to bake in the open fire. As he became older he played less in the sandy red soil and the fireplace became more the centre of attraction. He gathered together pieces of sandstone which outcropped all over the pit and made a proper circle of stones for his fireplace. Then he made a tripod of sticks from which he could hang his cooking pots . These ideas were picked up from books that he read at home and school. One particularly ambitious project was his attempt to make charcoal. The idea came from a book which described how charcoal burners lived in the Woods of Northern England during the 18th Century and earned their keep by making charcoal. The principal was fairly simple and consisted of piling thin sticks on top of a well stoked fire and then layering sods of damp earth on top to slow down the burning process. Almost all the air had to be excluded from the fire except for a small hole at the bottom of the pile of sod and an outlet hole at the top. The cracks between the squares of sod had to be filled with mud so that oxygen was excluded from the fire. The mound had to be constantly tended to make sure that the fire did not burn too fast. After eight hours of slow burning removal of the sods revealed a small pile of brittle charcoal sticks. Fortunately for Charles there was a small swampy pond nearby where he could obtain the necessary materials for damping down the charcoal burn . On another occasion he made a bow and used the fire to harden and strengthen the points of his arrows. Most of his entertainment was gained from manufacturing these things rather than using them for their purpose.

These trips to the foxholes were not an everyday occurrence for Charles because he was at boarding school during the week and only came home on weekends. Sometimes months would elapse between his visits but this would serve to make his place all the more special to him. As the child grew so did the foxholes change with the time and seasons. Each visit became a new discovery, a new hole and fresh digging , a tree had died and fallen , a young sapling was shooting up beside it. In summer wild strawberries and blackberries could be picked and taken home for pies or , more often , mostly eaten on the way home.
One great attraction for him was the hope of one day seeing a fox or badger out of it's lair. The evidence of their presence was easy to find. In winter tracks in the snow, and in summer paw prints and claw marks in the soft earth and here and there piles of fluff , feathers and thin bones where a bird or rabbit had been caught and eaten. Many times he had stared into the thick undergrowth trying to see where the noises came from but without success. Yes , he did see the occasional rabbit or hare scurry across the clearing but he never spied a fox or badger. Sometimes he wondered to himself why he ever called his place the "Fox Holes ". Then again why would he see anything when so engrossed in tending his fire and building fortresses right next to the badgers den. Sometimes, when engrossed in his activities a particularly loud noise would freeze him in his place and the excitement would send a shiver down his spine.

new job

Working on a condominium high rise this week . No elevator yet , and have to carry our tools up to the eleventh floor , a good way to get in shape . There is a fabulous view of the Detroit sky line and these apartments are selling for $500,000 and up . Today , the heat finally got turned on which makes it a lot more comfortable for working . The general contractor is a bit of a hard ass . why? Because the supply of work is slowing and he can drive a hard bargain .Oh by the way , I figured out some of my posting problems by using Firefox for this blog , now it works much better .

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Monday, November 06, 2006


Living in Windsor Ontario , it's hard to ignore the news from across the river in Detroit because even without cable we pick up all the major tv stations and we have an abundant choice in radio broadcasts . Just lately the campaign for Michigan Governor has become a childish series of negative ads from from both sides stating their respective dishonesty and incompetence . I have yet to hear a concrete policy statement from either DeVoss or Granholm and the campaign for the Senate is much the same .Perhaps the real enemy of the people is discord amongst self serving politicians .

Saturday, November 04, 2006

I lost the menu at the top of my browser for a couple of days , where did it go
I dunno . Anyway , I found it kind of by accident while I was doing something else .
You see , I updated explorer to 7th edition and can't be bothered to read all the info. on it and so I keep clicking by trial and error till something works .I've been reading up on HTML a bit because I now understand it may be helpful when writing my blog but It's kind of distracting me from the actual task of doing my blog .

In 1993 I built a deck for a fellow who owned a computer store and in return he gave me a new 486 p.c. .I set about bringing myself up to speed on my computer and used it for my business and a dial up internet connection .Advances in technology made my pc obsolete after a few years and I never bothered to replace it until a few months ago. So , now I'm learning all over again .
Being stubborn doesn't help . I'm reluctant to call tech support because of the frustration of waiting for my call to be answered and and I don't really want to bother my friends about pc problems .

I know from past experience that many hours are waisted playing around on the internet but this time I want to turn this blog into something positive .

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Not really about drywall

That customer from hell ,
Took some self control to return to job ,
keep my mouth closed , and do what he wanted .

This may not be the end of it because the finish coat of paint
is next and it's going to be a satin finish .

My enemies are a winter sun low in the sky streaming through a picture window , and a 500 watt incandescent lamp held high at night in the the hands of a stressed out home owner who really wants his money's worth .

Our ancestors lived in caves and recorded their experience on the walls using the cracks and fissures as a starting point for their art .
Now perfection is demanded in our dwelling places and I must create walls that are seamless and blemish free . It's just an illusion really and that's my job , to create the illusion of perfection , and unfortunately perfection is in the eye of the beholder .