This weekend I had an awesome opportunity to spent the weekend with a master carver (Rick Wolcott) and five other carvers in turner valley.

The course started on Friday night with Rick handing use a blank that he had already bandsawed out for us. In other courses we would have done the rough work, but this weekend Rick wanted us to focus on the carving inself.

After adding some pencil lines to orient our carving I started working on adding some depth to the feahers.

The class was held in a double wide garage that had be designed for numerous types of artisan work.

After a great weekend he double raven was completed. There are enought elements in it that I should be able to transfer the skills that I learned into any west coast Salish piece that I wish to carve. Now the challenge will be to come up with the ideas!

For the whole carving only two types of knives were used. A pull knife and a bent knife. I was fortunate enough that I took a course earlier in the month where I made both of them.


Eyes Wide Open

Owl monkey

Originally uploaded by 5GnCDN

After being silent for a while I’ve decide to return to blogging. I’ve thought about starting up other blogs, under different names, but really that’d be a pain in the butt.

I also thought about what I want to teach my son as he grows up in a digital world, a world where crap happens. This last thought is the one that I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about late at night as I rock him back to sleep.

In the whole scheme of things I forgot that sticks, stones, fists and other hard objects can break bones and really hurt you, but words are just that, words.

You have to give them power for them to hurt you.

I gave a lot of words power. That was a mistake on my part, a good lesson to relearn.

So there it is.

Look for more posts in the future.

Douglas Fir Trail

What it should look like


The Douglas Fir Trail is beautiful in the summer and fall and treacherous in the winter and spring due to huge ice flows that cover the stairs. Dogwood and violets are some of the shady summer wildflowers you’ll see on this trek. It is a birders paradise so bring your binoculars. At dusk in the Fall I saw three Great-horned Owls fly across the path in front of me and then the coyotes started to howl. A wilderness trek in the heart of the city!

~From The Best Walks in Calgary:


After Nan checked out this trail with her Mom a couple of weeks ago, she suggested that we check it out on Saturday. Saturday was a hot, summer day, perfect weather for a walk in the woods.

We walked to the bike path along the Bow from our house and headed upstream. At the first opportunity we cut across the train tracks from checking out the flora and fauna in the Riparian zone, into the willows and long grass along the slopes of the bow.

The trail should have moved into and through the Eastern most stand of Douglas Fir trees, but for some slumping reasons. We caught up with the trail again about halfway through, where it had been re-routed.
The trail blocked by snow fence

Following it up through the cool shade of the Douglas Firs, the trail breaks open to an incredible view up the Bow river valley.


At this point in the trail we decided that we’d head back. Ignoring the signs this time, we thought that washout… It’s not raining, so we don’t have to worry about any immediate danger. How bad could it be?
Danger Wash Out

The trail was decimated. The rout perilous. 50+ year old trees knocked down, as the soil beneath their roots slumped away, and reformed into clay.

Trail no longer

Bridges are twisted and moved in places the trail is completely gone, leaving one only to guess where to go next. I don’t think that it’ll be open for a while. Which is too bad. It was a little piece of the quiet and smells of the mountains, within walking distance of out house.

I have not written a practical blog in a while, but I am pleased, by our new “Solar Blocker 5000 2000″ (the name at this point is under review :)) that I thought I would.

In our awesome apartment apartment we have a massive skylight (5′ X 8′). In the winter, spring and fall it is a god send. It most definitely wards off the the Seasonal Affective Disorder in the winter when it is minus 20. in the fall, and spring with the later light we are able to eat and enjoy our kitchen space with out the use of lights. It allows us to be green as possible.

In the Summer however, it turns this little piece of heaven for most of the year, turns our little 2 bedroom into a fiery inferno. Taking matters into my own hands and with some help from, a few eyes, spindles, hooks, wire, string and  a wonder product called Reflectix.

The 7th level of hell has turned into a warm summer afternoon. So I would like to share my conversion with the rest of you.

Determining Square:


Checking one before cutting the rest of the supports:

Dry fit

Using the master to cut mark the rest for cutting:

Who needs a measuring tape?

Marking for the drill hole:

It is hard to drill on a round spindle so a flat side was cut:

Cutting a flat

A nail was put into all the the holes on one end. Then then other end holes were checked to see if they line up.

Checking for the line up.

Marking where to drill for the eyes:


Drilling the rest of the pilot holes for “Eyes”

At the end of my reach

Clipping in one side of the support wire:

Clipping the wire

Making sure the supports are evenly spaced. Layout of supports:


Finished Project:


At this point it is completely retractable, for those rainy days.