Wednesday, 12 May 2021

Hemingway and Doves

 


I made this Hemingway image back in the fall.  Yes the quote about hunting men is creepy indeed.  I did enjoy his novels though.

Onto hunting...

When I was a kid I lived in a forest, so I hunted.  My buddy French used to bring his .410 shotgun out on some of his visits.  We'd have to sneak it past my mother, and we'd head out deep into the woods. There was an old abandoned house, and barn out there, and they were full of doves, and pigeons.  We'd also see the occasional rabbit, or partridge. 

One day French started popping a few rounds off, and he was nailing doves, and pigeons.  One fell really close to his feet.  He picked it up and spun it around by the head the body fell to the ground, and he tossed the head into some weeds.  French picked it up and deftly pulled out the two breasts.  He started a fire, and had me repeat the procedure a few more times.  French used an old cast iron pan to fry up about a dozen little dove breasts.  He had also brought what we called Lebanese Bread (sort of like pita bread).  We stuffed the bread full and had a nice hot meal.  I looked over a French, and he said: "damn I was hungry".

Wednesday, 5 May 2021

We Got You


For many years a group of us would travel south from Canada and visit Stowe Vermont.  We'd try to go there in the early fall on the Canadian Thanksgiving Long Weekend/Columbus Day.  The autumn leaves would be out and the trails would be open.  One year we had hiked all day and were really hungry.  We walked into a restaurant, and it was packed.  The hostess said: "We can squeeze you in upstairs".  French agreed, and off we went.  We thanked her and she responded "No problem. It is a squeezy squeezy night".    Years later we still say this funny phrase if we go into a busy restaurant or bar.

The best part was that the upstairs was actually a small private room.  It was perfect.  The waitress said: "Are you Canadian?"  We acknowledged that we were.  She then said: "We got you".  A few minutes later she came back with a table d'hote menu with Canadian Thanksgiving.  We agreed right away, and she promptly brought out a full turkey dinner.  It was magnificent.  We stayed until closing and put a good dent in their keg.  

We kept this tradition up for a few more years.  The place changed owners (actually a couple of times), but we still love to reminisce about that wonderful "squeezy squeezy night".

Stowe Vermont is one of the designs I created of one of my favourite places.


Wednesday, 28 April 2021

Dought

 

The township dump where my friend Bruce works is only open one or twice a week (depending on the season).  He loves nothing more than wandering around and sorting through the modern debris on his days off.  I've told this story before, but he often takes bits and pieces and creates art with it.  The one piece that really made me laugh was the giant teddy bear sitting in a lawn chair wearing a sombrero. He'd occasionally add to his little art installation and make it more elaborate as the summer wore on.  I drove by once and saw several BMW and Mercedes cars parked by the dump taking photos with Bruce's hilarious creation.  I guess it was perfect for selfies.

This past winter someone dropped off a a huge sign.  It was around 9 or ten feet long, and maybe five feet high.  It just had the word DOUBT printed on it.  I can't imagine why?  It sat up against the dump fence for a while.  Then one day Bruce took a role of black duct tape and tore off some strips and taped over the UBT.  He threw me the tape and said "there fixed that 'effin thing". 

I have a sticker collection in my office on an old metal cabinet.  I added this one in a prominent spot.

Wednesday, 21 April 2021

Avril

 

Someone asked me the other day about my first job.  They were very impressed with my answer: ranch hand.  This was really not such a cool job.  I spent most of my time with a wheelbarrow and a shovel.   I was fifteen and making $100 a week. I thought I was rich.  

French worked there as well and that is where he met April.  He'd get to work early and clean up her horse's stall, and wait around to speak (flirt) with her.  French mostly stuck to two key jokes.  He'd call her Avril and tell everyone that she was French like him...she wasn't.  We'd double over laughing when someone would try to start a conversation with her in French.  She'd give us all a dirty look and ride off.   The second joke was he'd call her April May June.  She actually laughed at the one!

A while back we saw this photo online.  It was a pic of a barrel racer.  She'd just won at a local rodeo. The girl looked familiar, but I couldn't place her.  French said: "That is April's daughter".  Spitting image, and her mother's horsemanship skills to boot.  

We did a bit of editing, blew it up and sent our old friend April this poster.

Wednesday, 14 April 2021

Hope

It has been a long year...or so.  My mental health has been up, and really really down over this time.  Amazingly, my friend Rose has stayed positive throughout.  It is hard to fathom how she does it.   Rose and her husband Bruce Fish live in the middle of nowhere.  He operates the township dump, and works for the county doing minor road maintenance, driving the garbage truck, and plowing snow every winter.   They may be the happiest couple I know.

It'll be pouring cold rain, and she'll be helping Bruce sort recycling with a smile on her face.   I've asked her many times: "what's the secret?"  Rose has two standard answers.  Sometimes she'll just say "hope".  Her other answer is the poetic phrase "on eagles wings". 

Last summer we had a rare visit from a bald eagle out at the lake.  Rose smiled bigger than usual when it landed just across the narrows, then took off and flew right over us later in the day.

I made her this graphic and printed her some note cards.  She even wrote me a letter with one; catching me up on family news.

Wednesday, 7 April 2021

Holly the Temple Dog


This is Holly the Pug.   She left us in 2017 after 14 years as the Temple Dog.   One early morning we were out in the backyard and I couldn't see her as she'd wandered off into the forest.  I saw something coming out of the underbrush that was about pug sized.  It was waddling along.  I took a swig of coffee, and mid-sip I saw the tall black and white tail.  I did a legit spit take, and looked for Holly.  Out she came from the forest walking parallel to the skunk!  Thankfully she honed in on me and kept walking slowly, and calmly.  The skunk didn't seem to mind at all and vered off to the compost bin.  I rushed Holly in the backdoor.

It was a funny scene.  Growing up my German Shepherd got grazed by skunk spray, and my current dog (a Dutch Sheepdog/Schapendoes) got sprayed in the face two years ago.   That was a lot less funny.

My wife had me create this Holly Silhouette to remember this fine little dog.  This is an old design, but I've written a lot of my Tired Monk poems in a hot pink Holly the Pug notebook.

Wednesday, 31 March 2021

Well Rooted


One day during the January lockdown Rose was doing a little craft time with the kids.  She handed out some black construction paper, some white water colour paint and some straws.  The kids used the straws to blow the paint around the paper.  They were having the best time.

Soon the adults were doing it as well.  Bruce Fish blew some ones that looked like spindly birch trees.  French used a lot more paint and ended up making one that looked like skull shaped tree.  Rose was not impressed, but he "liked his scary ass skull painting".  He kept it up on his fridge for a while.

We decided to create digital version, and French printed up a Black Hoodie with his art on it.  I called it Well Rooted to be poetic...maybe I should have stuck with scary ass skull.