Slip-Sliding Away……..Sept. 23, 2011

September by

Whew, I’ve been absent from this site for an unconscionable length of time, haven’t I? May 15th was the last entry. Well I’m back at the keyboard now, with a few tales to tell.

In general I’m pretty much a home-body these days but a visit from a cousin and companion of my early childhood got me out and about in August.

We checked out the Skookumchuck Rapids, a short, powerful and unpredictable stretch of water, capable of flipping a fifty-foot fishing boat or slamming a barge-load of gravel into the islets through which it passes. I’d been through it with the Stray on forays into the inlets in search of logs or played in it with my jetboat, the Stranger.

We took my little two-station peapod rowboat out to Frenchman’s Cove and into Welcome Pass, getting an eyeful of seals and eagles as well as a trio of buzzards taking a brief time out from sky-travel for a little rock time.

We took in the Top of Grouse with it’s grizzly bears and Whistler with its zip-lines, sharing the time with my immediate family daughters and grandchildren.

Had a real comfortable visit with my sister in Kelowna, enjoying some bike riding, some Okanagan Lake time and blue-berry picking. Took the bus to Kamloops and caught the train through the Rockies to Edmonton and watched the B.C. Lions take a round out of a badly depleted Edmonton Eskimo football team.

Anita flew home to London and I to Vancouver and on to the Sunshine Coast.

The trip out of my comfort zone was good overall, but Edmonton was kind of a shocker; the old city worn and faded, floating within a wealth of oil, located in the bend of the North Saskatchewan River, gone to seed, urban renewal seconded to a toxic spread of oversize houses in ugly suburb enclaves spread out across good agricultural land, reeking of capitulation to developers by civic planners.

The Chicken Shack

I have two daughters living within easy traveling distance. One lives on acreage, with animals, the other in the city but wanting just a touch of country in her circumstances. So towards the end of summer I cobbled together from my supply of recycled materials a wee townhouse for two, chickens that is, for her backyard.

 

It is intended to house and provide nesting boxes for, at the most four, hens (more folks might keep backyard chickens if they didn’t think they ‘had’ to have at least a small flock). I keep two myself at home on the Sunshine Coast, for eggs, insect deterrence and to consume organic household waste.

Mine have a long run but for now we’re just providing smallish wings on either side of my daughter’s chicken-shack, fashioned of stucco wire over aluminum poles that used to support a deck-cover on my log-salvage boat.  That should keep the raccoons out.  I saw one big one slip in along the side of the house to scope out the back yard.

You can see from the hinges that the lower half at the front drops down to allow easy cleanout and that the window swings upward and can be latched to allow access to the nests. The roof is a 4’x4′ skylight salvaged from Sechelt’s solid-waste site.  It can be tarped or painted over if overheating looks to be a problem. There’s an outflow vent on the upper side and more than adequate inflow from small access doors on either side at the bottom.

You can see that a little leveling of the left wing is needed.  The two wings are hinged to the fence, allowing them to swing up so the runs can be cleaned.

What else?

Well I’ve done three pages on local politics which I hope will engage readers other than just those of my own community.  After all most of us live in communities of one kind or another that can be assumed, at least in general terms, to share a lot of issues. I’m listing them on the side menus under ‘The Sunshine Side.’

And Bill Buckingham has just finished up a lengthy project and yesterday sent me bed-tracks for five of the 14 songs we laid down a couple of months ago, quantized and arranged with a little percussion and bass. More are on the way.  Some good potential there and for now enough for me to get familiar with so that when I get back into the studio (hopefully soon) righty and lefty (the hands, of course) will come up with something creative between them to add to the mix.

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