A Meeting With The Big…


The stage was set the other night, starkly clear, slightly cool, no wind and the moon had set – it was between 4:00 and 4:30 in the am (as Dad used to say). I shut down the diesel and went over to open the valve on the gravity tank. There in the sky was the bright beacon of Venus with a bright Mercury nearby and not too far away the pair of gas giants Saturn and Jupiter were bright and brighter! A little farther to the south Mars was the blood red light in the sky. Really quite breath taking — all of them at once. I can’t say that I have seen Venus brighter. Very cool stuff! First comet NeoWise and now the meeting with the “Big Five”.

We’ve been pretty busy here last few days – the Becketts occupying three cabins and some campers from Toronto. So there was fishing, and teens swimming and fun and games at the beach. We decided to have a pizza day. I needed to fire up the oven to clear the moisture from the masonry anyway. But wait — Joan isn’t here to get the dough ready with her big ass stand mixer! Soooooo The Evil One got several pizza dough recipes from the net and I amalgamated one from them and mixed it up. 18 cups of flour – that’s a pretty big blivot of dough! But I hand kneaded it and then it raised beautifully and was ready to be used later that same afternoon. It made really nice pizzas too. Puffing slightly on cooking and browning nicely as well as cooking through for no doughy texture. Veddy Naice!

When firing the oven for baking pizza I don’t do temperature numbers – I watch the state of carbonization on the inner oven dome surface. Once the dome looses its coating of carbon and appears as clean fire brick I know that the oven it to working temp and away we go! On checking the inner dome I realized that my inspection of the oven for repairs was not thorough. The refractory “keystone” piece at the oculus of the inner dome had deteriorated and fell out. The layer of insulation between the refractory and the outer slip was showing. It did not and would not in the future affect the oven’s performance, but its best to repair these issues before they get worse. A wise man once quipped – “A stitch in time saves nine.” I fixed it today by working some of the ceramics clay that Bob brought up into the gap. I worked a chunk big enough to fill the gap with some water and pushed it into place – then wet my hands and smoothed it even with the dome surface – close any way. After about a weeks drying I’ll refire the oven and set the repair in place (hopefully). If not I’ll trim a piece of fire brick (collected from the dump) and mortar it in place.

Its cool today. Overcast and a brisk north wind. Ten inch waves are attacking the beach and the flag is standing out. Shorts and tee shirt are fine up at the lodge but sweat shirt and pants are more the style at the beach!

so now some pictures.


Firth Lake provides yet another sumptuous repast!


A nice group of fun fishing from the dam.


Lyle presides over and helps with the fileting.


The pizza dough did pretty well – eh?


As with blog policy its always good to leave the reader with a happy boy picture! Kevin loves it here as much as we do.


Light showers adorn…

Already gorgeous lilies. (yeegads!!! Sounds like the beginning of another horrendous haiku!)

It’s a cool day up north – mid to upper 60sF when its drizzling and low 70’s when the sun is out. When I was tending the bonsai and vegetable garden this morn we had a small shower. Not enough to compel anyone as stout hearted as me to go in but a shower none the less. I went over to see the latest openings on the day lilies and was in awe of of how great the blooms looked after a slight mist of rain in the new sun. Its no wonder those models are sprayed with water and have a fan on them! I ran in the lodge and got my camera for some art shots LOL and took some down at the beach of the billowing tall clouds over Firth.


One of the prolific more classic lilies with a deep red in the foreground.


Really big bloom here with ruffled edges – very nice.


One of the three really deep red with yellow center plants. My favorite because of the  yellow/red contrast. Nice sized bloom too.


Really cool lightly colored ruffle edges and contrasting center. Check out the little devils below it.



Here’s a shot of the cute little devils – they like to bloom together – not real showy but they have chutzpa!


I have 3 plants of the white – to super light green lilies this the first to bloom. I think one of the other two puts out a big-ass bloom. This one isn’t small buts dainty.


Check out the clouds at the beach. The clear clean air and the billowing cumulonimbus clouds are fabulous.

After I shut down the power I always take a look around at the stars and scan the edges of the bush with my flashlight to see lynx, bear or fox eyes. I also go over and check out the garden and turn the flashlight into the air to watch the little bats swoop down to pick off mosquitoes trying to bite me. Often times they come so close that I can easily hear their wings massaging the air. The other day as I was looking at the stars and planets without any light I noticed a red light through the trees behind the diesel house due west from where I was standing in front of the store. Very odd! It was only about 12 feet up and the light found its way through the trees for me to see. It was 2 to 3 lights or the trees were breaking up the source. Mystifying! I jumped on the 4 wheeler and went down to the beach – went out on the dock and there the culprit was. The red  half moon was setting directly in the bottom of the “pass” that the road goes through the west ridge! The air was so clear that the red moon was bright as could be even at the horizon. Very cool stuff – I think I am seeing Mars every night as there is a bright red planet to the south around 2 am. I’ll have to check it on the web. Its so red that I assume its Mars though.


Last picture is another at the beach of the clouds and the beautiful Canadian Flag stretched by the small nor’westerly. Its a light rainy day but I may still have a drink down by the beach later…

The Cavalcade…

This time its not couches! The Evil One was on her annual get rid of the blue couch jag. So we discussed this year’s possible cavalcade of couches. For those readers new to the blog (HA HA HA HA HA! Like we have new readers – everyone isn’t that bored from staying in – get serious) the cavalcade of couches is this: The Evil One has in her minds eye a list of all the couches in camp and their condition. These ratings and locations are then fed into massive CRAY mainframe computer we keep in the walk in cooler (I found it at the Beauty lake Dump soon after Canada reduced funding to their nuclear arms research and concentrated on producing radioactive medicinal source materials, it’s in constant communication with HAL to help with climate control and the Vaunted anti-snow generator). The data – updated diligently let’s say obsessively daily by the Evil One. The data are then crunched by a super complex algorithm written by none other than the Evil One. Here’s how it works if a nice couch is acquired at the dump or from friends it is entered into the system and in about an hour of computing the “perfect couch placement scenario” (PCPS) is generated. Somehow I think its also maximizes the number of couches to be moved. Thus every couch in camp has to be moved to a new location so that PCPS optimization is reached. This spawns the annual Cavalcade of Couches. What fun! Back breaking fun fun fun. Luckily with this years austerity measures I have unilaterally reduced amperage allotted to the mainframe and slyly diverted The Evil One from moving the blue couch (she had to pee during the discussion and I stealthily exited before unilateral-consensus was achieved. So chalk up another annual event lost or postponed by the covid virus.

In its stead as requested by Mary Colombi I am presenting pictures taken today from around the camp. It has been a partly cloudy day in the upper 70’s low 80’s with a nice breeze so all the pics may not have a bright sunny look to them.

I give you – The Cavalcade of Camp Pictures (taken this morning)


Here is Joan’s forlorn untended garden. It is so awful – the asiatic lilies and bergamot are blooming and some one has blown grass cuttings into the edge of the unkempt bed.


Lilies lilies lilies – they grow like this even when no one grubs around them disturbing their root system.


I particularly like the bergamot – it too is thriving.


The daylilies are just starting and the rugosa roses have just completed the big bloom. I have deadheaded most of them so I’ll get blooms for the remainder of summer. This way the scent of roses permeates the night air when I shut down.


The front of the lodge. I’ve cleared the dead wood and pruned the wild rose and rugosa to a little more symmetry and the ferns are happy happy happy.


The understory of the ostrich fern copse at the front of the lodge. When ever I see this I think that the first medieval cathedral builder that employed a Gothic (high pointed) arch must have passed out on mead in a copse of ferns and had a sudden revelation upon waking in the morning light.


A view toward the lake from the shop. The bat house on cabin 10 is clearly visible. It is housing a really good population of little brown bats. All three of the bat houses up on the lodge are being occupied too. I think I should put up another on on Cabin 10 this year.


A perfect day a fresh nor-westerly and a deserted beach. The red maple trees planted for common area shade have grown about 11″ this year! The grass has been cut and the slow growth period is on us. The lake temp was 78’F this morning (12:30) and there are few if any insects about.


The set left dock. Kevin has completed his morning safety inspection and is thinking about a dip in the lake so he can later soak the Evil One’s bedspread. The lake level is just a little high but good for a possible dry spell. I am always fascinated by the multicolored coarse sand and gravel on our beach – so beautiful! All you have to do is go to a mundane mono color beach on the great lakes or ocean. And Kevin says its great digging too!


A view down the beach toward Burnham’s. The farthest white swallow gourd was where this years clutch of three tree swallows were reared. Alas they have left us. We haven’t had a fire yet and the pizza oven hasn’t been fired up either. The Irises are a little trampled by Griffin. You probably got to see him in action during the Firth Lake Concert.


Here is Kevin missing his aunt Joan. Daily he sits pining, trying to imagine perfect stentorian diction wafting toward him on the wind to elicit a fierce burst of barking howls that would intimidate even the antichrist!


I turn to head back – the diesel is now at operating temperature and the water tank has been “burped” so its time to power up for the day. Sorry that the cavalcade of pictures didn’t end with a spectacular shot but hey the QUB court is open for use!


The Tao…

Of Sportsmen’s camp.

You can never get anything done on your list of things to accomplish cause you see things you want to fix on the way! And unexpected pleasures too. I was going to stain the beach chairs and finish the repairs on the pizza oven. The installation of the the rebuilt jet pump (I did the rebuild) and by-pass system for the submersible was completed yesterday. I was only drenched a couple times! So I was going to enjoy the sunny warm day with an easy list today. The Evil one suggested that I sweep out and clean up the showers today on the way. So as I was sweeping out the showers I noticed that there was some rot on the entry way to the shower and the floor under the drainage grate outside of the shower was in shit shape. So I ripped out the floor and sistered some new floor joists and refloored it. I also ripped off the rotting fascia and replaced it and put new tile on it. The tile glue is curing tonight and I will grout it tomorrow.

Needless to say I didn’t get to the easy list. But since we are in conservation mode (no power) I did all the cutting for the lumber with hand tools inclusive of the plywood and paneling pieces. With cross cut and rip saws. This was very fun for me as I was taught by my favorite Uncle Edward how to efficiently, accurately and quickly use a properly set hand saw. It was like he was with me saying “Mark your line jack – no heavier than that on the line – now work the saw down the line – dig the heel of the saw into the line on the downswing eating up the line to direct your cut using a shallow angle – blow the saw dust off or you’ll loose your way – yes yes like that but don’t force the saw let ride on its way it’ll do the work not you – just coax it yeah you got it – no too hard the saw will bind – get a rhythm and follow it….” Yes he was a great man and an artisan in wood. This man made a living as a pattern maker for metal casting forms – this requires a master pattern maker to work in thousandths of an inch in wood! Excess metal on castings require vastly more machining to get them to specification. Aside from this he was a philosopher, cosmologist, naturalist, gentle man and lets just say he was a giant in a land of midgets. He gave me a box of books when I became a “cognizant human being” saying “Read these, if you haven’t already, they will stand you in good stead”. The books included eastern philosophy, atheism, big bang cosmology (before it was accepted) ground breaking science fiction, naturalist methodology, Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring and so many other seminal works. The work proceeded well with my uncle’s help today and it was a delightful time spent with him. Needless to say he is missed some 40+ years after his passing.

As I was finishing the work Janet came past after collecting the plastic from cabin 10 and cleaning. I was informed that she and Kevin would be down at the beach in minutes with a drink. I told her I would soon follow. And I did. Along with a delightful gin and tonic laced nicely with Hendrix Gin. We sat on the beach with no bugs as the slight  northerly breeze came off the lake bringing us life’s air of mother Firth.

Is this heaven?

yeah, I think it is.

This Just In…

During a Camp Zoom Meeting last Friday, Sportsmen’s Camp had a concert on the beach just like Woodstock! Except that there were very few attendees and there was only one headliner artist and that it wasn’t on a farm in New York and that the weather was beautiful and that there were numerous sighting’s of wildlife and well … on second though it maybe shouldn’t be compared to Woodstock. It probably had nothing in common with Woodstock at all but I digress.

The concert will be posted on Facebook this coming Tuesday at 7 PM. “The Evil One” will also host it on the Sportsmen’s Camp Facebook page. It should be viewable after the posting at any time. I will be fabulous and I can state categorically that Baby Shark wasn’t played.

Be there or be square!

Lately It Occurs To Me…

What a long strange trip its been!

Yes dear reader we are here at Sportsmen’s Camp. We are open and poised for the crush of business clamoring to stampede into camp overcrowding our facilities. But alas its like a small brown bat flying in massive circles in a well lighted Beaver Stadium.

But there is an upside – I am getting things done and minor improvements that no one will notice. Cool!

So the weather has been ideal. The dragon fly hatch was very successful and the subsequent hot sunny weather provided optimum flight time and appetite. Its a good thing dragon flies don’t have a 7 foot wingspan or we’d be in the menu! The grass when we arrived was suitable for baling and our work was cut out for us there. Everything else looked pretty good. The lake is at nominal levels and temperatures after a spate of low 80’s!

So lets get into some pictures.


Here’s what we saw as we pulled into camp.


Kevin is happy to be back but not impressed with the grass!


The lawn chairs cavorting gleefully at the beach! I thing something unseemly is going on with those two in the foreground!


Ach! Byler get the scythes we got some hay’in todoo!


This is an after shot. Courtesy Janet and Lyle Beckett. Get this – Lyle and RuthAnn’s son Tim has a Husqvarna dealership! (Hearing this is one of the few times I regret not having kids!) Tim gave Lyle a brand new gas weed whip with all the goodies! Lyle has has been busy cleaning up the high grass in camp all week!


My day lilies have just begun to bloom and its going to be a very big year! My 3 year old lilies that I personally hybridized (Ying also participated in some biological artistry one afternoon) are going to bloom this year and I wait on baited breath considering the fabulous results of my crosses! Another exiting (Janet may differ on this) daylily development is that a plant in my two year old class of hybrids is setting buds to bloom! This sort of precociousness is a high quality…..


Some of Joan’s fabulous Asiatic lilies.


My garden, even with the late start, is burgeoning. The Early Girl tomatoes are on track to produce a bushel of the best tasting tomatoes on earth. They get bat guano swept off the patio from under the bat houses only feet away. Perhaps I should move the houses over the garden or vis versa…..


Not to put tooooo fine a point on it or milk it too badly… but — I have at last retrieved my collection of bonsai from their winter quarters in the ostrich fern copse. They fared the winter quite well under the tender care of the ostrich ferns. They didn’t get a lot of light late in the spring but they didn’t dry out and expire either! Here a a couple of this years favorites – feel free to Yay! of Meh! them Andrew.


Eastern white cedar training to be a coastal redwood simile.


Local alder is surprisingly good bonsai material. This choice specimen is only about 7 years old but shows the character and grace of an ancient apple tree in an abandoned Appalachian orchard planted by Johnny Appleseed. Some time its helps to squint your eyes to a blur too.


And here it is the one that everyone has been waiting for….. Meh!

We had a long zoom meeting last eve with most of the Baxter Poczik Colombi clan and had a great time. And there was a Sportsmen’s Camp live aid concert recorded on the beach. Watch for streaming times posted on The Evil One’s facebook page.

Is this heaven? Yeah it has to be…. cause no one is here….but why am I here…Dammit yeah its heaven don’t over-think it.

Bugging Out

Its tough leaving when you are enjoying everyday and see more things to get done every day. Then you get a miserable cold day and you get to “hunker” down inside watching the drizzle and sleet get blown around the house – stoking the wood burning stove as the mercury rises to shorts temperature! Doggies love going out to take care of business and take a cold run over to the public landing then back soaking up the glorious heat in front of the wood stove. I do pretty much the same thing. The Evil One is able to continue cleaning up her tasks inside but I get delayed. Oh well, my back could use a small respite. I also get to take care of some detail things on the kitchen.

DSC00209 (2)

The facing hasn’t yet been applied to the framing in this picture. It still looks pretty good to me and using it daily reminds us of the good decisions The Evil One made for what might seem as small changes.

The Evil one finally finishes her closing list and decides to take off. Cool! Me an Kevy can hang for a couple days and run wild!


DSC00215 (2)

DSC00210 (2)

It was beautiful and the lake moves right into camp when the docks are away. Then next morning…..DSC00217 (2)YEE GADS! There’s ice on the surface of Bart and Kevin’s favorite drinking source – the mud puddle at the corner of the patio. Time to check the weather forecast! Something evil this way comes Kevin – we gotta bug out tomorrow! We haven’t to this point gotten any appreciable snow but that oversight will be rectified very soon and we have agreed that the event doesn’t have to be witnessed. Besides I have to get home to get my fish  and plants in the house before the Arctic Front hits.

The plan came together quickly and after completing the water shutdown and draining the fluid from the diesel we were ready to roll – at 2 in the afternoon no less! We know in our bones that there is a cold beast just hours behind us but its still hard to get in the car to leave…Do I miss Camp in the winter?   yes*

*That evening 1  1/2 feet of snow showed up.

Like A Hibernating Bear…

The kitchen awakens slowly.

Yes – the kitchen is as Darth Sidious said of the Death Star, “Fully operational.”

All the large shelves et cetera are in place and all that remains is to face the “rough in”, fit the cupboard doors and some finish details edging etc. I have been slowed a little. The facing material for the cabinet bones is down in the shop – white Marlite collected from the dump some 10 years ago. But after The Evil One saw wood grain of the luan paneling I skinned the shelving with, a change of plans has occurred. The architect hasn’t signed off on it yet but I am pretty sure this post production change will be instituted. The impediment is if our supplier (the dump) has the necessary materials. The supplier had two sheets of luan last week – so I won’t know until the Sunday dump run (tomorrow) if the Evil One’s dictates can be fulfilled. I await tomorrow’s dump run anxiously.


You can see the lustrous beauty of the luan panel immediately to the left of the window. I had originally proposed that after I faced the framing of the counter cabinets with the Marlite that the Evil One could paint it with the same green as the window frame and the blue drawers would be painted as well. But I do agree with the Evil One that if the framing is faced with the luan the green of the cabinet doors and drawers will be artistically broken up. (We’ve done this complete kitchen remodel without the help of a designer! for under 400$ca!) The features I like best are the new lights above the work surface and stove (the wires will be consolidated and hidden) and the extensive use of bins in all the sub-counter shelving. I have noticed that as I have progressed beyond 60 years that bending over is something I want to minimize. To this end rather than kneeling down and bending into the shelves rummaging around for a specific pot lid or plastic container and lid in dimly lighted crammed condition a solution must be found. My solution is shelves built to plastic bin dimensions. The elderly decrepit user of the kitchen merely opens the cabinet door places their hand on the counter top then with other hand retrieves the bin from the shelf standing up with the help of the hand on the counter placing the bin on the table or counter at standing height with lots of light. The desired item is located and removed and the lid is put back on the bin and it is replaced. And the bin is completely mouse/squirrel proof – not that any of those rodents are in the lodge or camp! I also made the drawer receivers a completely enclosed box so that the drawers are vermin proof when closed. I was going to face the counter top with formica but the cost was pretty bad (~120$ for 4×8 sheet) and no one in the area had any. But as I was looking about I was directed to some snap in place wood grain flooring that was being closed out. (great price) I was cautioned though by the sales person that “that is not a food-grade preparation surface.” LOL That’s hilarious after I stopped laughing I told him that the original top had linoleum on it for 10 plus years! There is something to be said for putting your own kitchen in. I can assure you that none of the doors will have the “soft close” feature LOL. I am just looking for the “close during the seasonal HEAVING” feature!

Closing of the camp has been progressing slowly given the time spent on the kitchen but it is proceeding nonetheless. We’ve had a great string of weather that ended today. Its drizzly and in the 50’sF today (and probably for the next few). But the wonder of the fall in the north has been show cased in the past few days.


The contrast between the yellow of the poplars and birch and the crystalline blue sky is breathtaking!


Here’s a shot of the aspen covered hill north of Firth, pay no attention the unicorn in the foreground – its a mythical beast and that is just an artifact of some dirt on the lens of the camera.

During this past string of good weather we did get some fishing in. Mike and I went trout fishing on Miller creek – catching a couple beauties on a fun day. Mike, Melissa, Cubby, and Griffy as well as me, Kevin and the Evil One had an afternoon of fishing on Lett. The small pike were biting like crazy and made for a lot of fun. Janet and I also caught two really nice bass as well. All told the day was fun and we had what was probably our last fresh fish dinner of the season. YUM! We weren’t going to take Kevin with us but he raised a big fuss about his daddy leaving so I relented (he’s sooooo not spoiled) and he came along. He had a great time menacing the fish we caught and torturing us with his incessant whining!

DSC00152 (2)

This is why she’s the Evil One!

Answering Buss’s comment we didn’t get any expeditions together for big game pike fishing this fall. But in retrospect the way the small pike (~24″) were biting on Lett I should have taken a couple trolls down the center of the lake on either side of the reef in deep water. (No comments about Mike and Melissa seeing a couple “trolls” in the other boat on the lake please)

In closing we don’t want to leave (and judging from all the things on my to do list we never will) but that time is fast approaching.



Adhering to the stricture of ending the blog on a high note with a happy doggy picture here’s Kevin keeping the beach clear of offensive waterfowl and then the two boys sacking out with mama as the wood stove warms the lodge.

I ask myself – what could be better?



Oh I am The Cook of the Pizza Oven…

and fisherman bold,

and septic drudge of Sportsmen’s Camp,

an electrician bright and water system mite,

and carpenter with a plumbers gig.

First of all let me apologize up front for paraphrasing and butchering one of my favorite poems – The Yarn Of The Nancy Bell. Check it out you’ll love it! By and large I am disgusted by the bullshit romanticism exhibited by poetry but this one doesn’t go there and is a gem.

Fall is here and the invasive red maples are painting the boreal forest scarlet. Along with the colors the camp has a lull and I can attack some projects that require more than my cursory attention. This year’s project is the dreaded rip out the rotten floor and foundation, jack up the walls and rebuild the – wait for it – lodge kitchen! Ye Gads! What fun! Last year I had to lay a piece of plywood in front of the kitchen sink to prevent a mishap. The nice thing about that was that when ever you were working in the kitchen you had a nice bounce to your step! Yeah it was time. The back wall had dropped about and inch in the last year. Yes it was time. All the appliances were moved out and plugged in or piped in elsewhere. All the furniture and cupboards as well as cabinets were also removed. Next on the agenda – remove the floor as well as all it rotted substructure. I ended up with something like this –


There it is in all its glory two walls mysteriously suspended in air and several floor joists having given up the ghost. The good news is that the wall sill plates were all intact and in good shape. It worked sort of like the sacrificial anode on your outboard motor lower unit. The “foundation” timbers rotted away and air circulation was facilitated as the rotted wood collapsed. The walls having tough sheathing of plywood maintained rather rigid dimensions with miraculously little sag. This made warming the lodge last fall a little difficult as a north wind would blow into the under sink cupboards and nearly blow the doors open. The floor was hella cold! So I got my pin jack and bottle jacks and raised the walls until they groaned their discomfort. I then raised them about a 1/4 inch more. Treated timbers were then put under the walls and the missing joists replaced by same. I also notched in cross bracing to prevent any twisting of the new timbers.


That’s a pic before the cross bracing installation. The red cords are the safety fencing tp prevent Bart (blind) falling into the hole in the night. Minimalist yet completely effective! Everything was leveled to existing raises within reason and flooring was applied. As I was fastening the floor panels in place a local ground hog popped up and expressed his dissatisfaction with my workmanship! I told him to mind his business or he might have some future problems with lead poisoning.


The appliances were then moved back in. Of course as with all rebuilds changes are made to reflect the needs of the occupants – The Evil One dictates. She also decided to do away with the yellow color scheme! Actually The Evil one is very easily satisfied with things of this sort. Her overweening specification is that – it works. LOL Its a good thing too as we’ve lived with the yellow in the kitchen for more than 30 years. But hey I thought it was time to spoil her – she picked a nice light green for the new kitchen trim. she painted the window frame before I started on the counter and new sink installation. Here’s a pic of the present state of the kitchen.


Things are coming together nicely. I’ve reconstructed the drawer trunks as an integral box that should prevent mouse incursions completely (as long as the drawer is closed). Prior to the rebuild The Evil One selected one of the cavalcade of kitchen sinks procured from the dump. She wisely selected a nice high quality two basin stainless steel unit. New fixtures and salvaged plumbing connections then facilitated the installation. Get this! You know you’re a master plumber when your last three installations were leak free on the initial trial! Now I just have to spend a little more time on my baiting skills.

Ahead there are a few major obstacles to the project’s completion. The weather is turning warm (just as Chris Murphy warned us in an email – he runs the weather channel yaknow. He wanted to make sure we had enough liquor for evening happy hours on the beach.) and Mike and friends will be coming up for the fall fishing extravaganza. As you may have guessed this also entails some late nights and imbibage. We’ll see how things go but I think I should have the kitchen sort of like the state of the death star in the first Star Wars movie – that is (as the evil Emperor would say) “Fully operational.”

Before I go, here are some shots from recent fishing (dinner was delicious), Janet abusing Kevin, a really picturesque shot of gull rock and Bart lounging.





When it comes to producing a successful blog always end up with a picture of a happy boy enjoying doggies out all day, day.

Of Fireweed fluff, Spit on Shillings…

Day lilies, palms on Firth, warm west winds, ripening tomatoes and burgeoning bonsai.

Lately I’ve been confronted by the ugly end of summer and my mind wanders as me and Kevin amble over to start the generator in the morning. But there is undeniable beauty everywhere and I can’t stay down. The fluff from the fireweed is giving  evidence to every puff of wind that buffets Sportsmen’s Camp. It is absolutely fascinating to observe all the minor currents and eddies that convey the little fluffies all over. As we walk to the diesel house in my flips I occasionally inadvertently kick a small pebble forward and I am reminded of a anecdote told to me as a child by my Grandmother Iva – She was in Kenya Africa I believe visiting Masai Mara and she regaled me with the spitting prowess of the Masai women. As a demonstration, shillings would be tossed on the ground and the Masai women would claim the alms by expectorating onto the coins at great distance. She was much impressed by this ability. Apparently this ability was fostered earlier by the women spitting juice chewed from certain herbs onto small lizards that would momentarily disable them for the women to collect them.  Also it was explained to me by Grandmother that the Masai being a very proud yet poor people declined to accept freely given alms but would accept “prizes” collected by skill. This made for fun spirited competitions between the women when the safari would encounter them on one of their foraging forays.

As the diesel is warming to operating conditions I have a set number of tasks to complete, I water and admire my vegetable garden and bonsai collection and perform minor pruning and branch adjustment which I find absolutely captivating (I could do this for hours). Then I admire my three ripening tomatoes. There’s lots of green ones but I may get ripe tomatoes this year! Then I review the latest blooms purveyed by my fabulous collection of Waskowiak hybrids. Then I engage in what I like to refer to as “biological artistry”. I get my collection of sterilized fine paint brushes and cross my favorite blossoms with other blossoms that exhibit the qualities I would like to foster and mingle in the next generation. I am not a true hybridizer though as I do my decisions on the fly and never record the crosses – I don’t like paperwork. My first set of hybrids are beginning to bloom this year – jack’s F1 from three years ago. Only two of the nearly dozen plants will be blooming this year but it is exciting nonetheless. I am now seeing the fruits of my labor – its things like this that make a person want to live forever.

After the diesel is warm and the power is on I walk down to the beach to bring the water system online. I fire up the pump and observe the pressure bubble controller to be sure that the system is pressurized and then walk the beach with my friend and assistant Kevin. Kevin checks the lake out for water temperature and taste as well as wind direction. I am often accosted by guests at this time but I am rarely in a mood for any lengthy conversation other than confidences exchanged between me and my friend Kevin. This morning it was glorious! No one could possibly be down with the impending end of summer witnessing what I saw.


The Canadian Flag stretching on its pole at the behest of a westerly zephyr.


A warm and fragrant wind redolent with cedar and spruce like a gaseous gin and tonic gusting from the weed bed bay.


Kevin after the obligatory lake water tests confirming that all is well with the world as he surveys the surroundings for possible barking targets.


I close with a shot of an Abomination serving as an erstwhile Desert Island for a regal palm tree. It’s odd but it is a boating regulation in Ontario that for safety’s sake all abominations must have a palm tree aboard!

Is this Heaven? — Yeah I think it is.