Friday, 25 May 2018

A new family member

A new addition to the Husqvarna family ~ a Chainsaw …

It has taken me a very long time to finally decide upon this acquisition. It was not really something I ever seen myself having, the simple reason being ~ chainsaws scare me …!!!

The back of our house has a very large forest with many trees which have over time, fallen down giving a huge potential for an abundance of kindling for the wood stove and good wood for outside fires.
So after much thought, some coaching from a neighbour, lots of reading and viewing many Youtube videos, I decided that a chainsaw would be a good idea.

The chainsaw which is a Husqvarna 240, 38cc with a 16” bar, now shares my care, attention and cleaning skills with the other Husqvarnas’, see ~

With all sorts of safety equipment and wears, I tried it for the first time today, the freshly cut results can be seen in the photo below ...

Thursday, 17 May 2018

Embrace the weeds and things …..

During my last life in Ontario which interestingly seems a very long time ago, I would spend a lot of time caring for and paying attention to my grass. I had huge amount of pride in the way it appeared, dark green and completely weed free. I would always cut it in a carefully planned way so that from a distance it resembled a well-manicured soccer field.

Fast forward to now, my grass is completely 100% natural, not so green and covered in weeds and things. Today before I gave it the first cut of the season, I stood and looked out at it and thought ~ “my God it looks lovely” ~ so much so, with some pride I have added pictures.

It is amazing how the years change your idea of what is nice or not about your grass …..

The white flowers in the photos are actually Wild Strawberries, see the blog “We have Fragaria Vesca” at ~

Sunday, 6 May 2018


Owned by the unorthodox and perhaps dodgy Brit Charlie Holland, the Schwalbe is now a hapless sight stranded firmly on the rocks at Feltzen South.

During April 2014, Schwalbe, Charlie, his female partner Somporn Chaingmanee and their pet dog where in the Bahamas with a plan to head to Bermuda then onto the UK. On the way Schwalbe encountered 60knot winds and high waves during which they lost the topmast and several pieces of rigging, Blown 1600 nautical miles off course before getting help from the container ship APL Tourmaline who supplied fuel and supplies, they eventually after 32 days made it to Halifax in what Charlie describe as “exceptionally scary experience”.

While docked in Halifax Charlie got a $75000 estimate for repairs to the damaged Schwalbe. Actually having no money and hoping to obtain a work visa, Charlie became a fixture on the Halifax waterfront while his partner was deported by immigration officials. Living on the vessel where he ate, slept and did his laundry, Charlie became a nuisance to the Halifax Waterfront Development Corporation. Having paid no berthing fees, he was eventually asked to up anchor and leave. So avoid further conflict in Halifax Charlie sailed for Lunenburg where he hoped to have repairs made to Schwalbe.

During the stay in Lunenburg, Schwalbe broke free from its mooring in the harbour and drifted across the water to Feltzen South where at high tide, she landed on the rocks and became very well grounded.
To alleviate concerns of pollution the Coast Guard removed all fuels and lubricants from the vessel with the hope of invoicing Charlie for the service, but alas they could not he had done a runner ….

So today much to the dismay of the locals Schwalbe remains at Feltzen South. Charlie on the other hand was eventually tracked down and advised that under the Canadian Shipping Act he still owns the vessel and is responsible its removal, to which he replied that he has no money or insurance coverage and if anyone wants the boat can have it …!!!!

A little history about the Schwalbe ~
She was built in Germany in 1927 with 2.25” oak planks on oak frames. At 57ft on the water line, she is 80ft long overall. Previously used as a fishing vessel, she was cut in half and had an extra 13ft added.

Here is a link to a youtube video of Schwalbe in much better days ~

Lunenburg in the far distance

Wednesday, 2 May 2018

Raising the Wood Shed …

About a year ago I noticed with much aghast the three wooden support beams which sit on 3 x 3 concrete pillars under the wood shed were suffering from creep (for the uneducated creep is ~ “The tendency of a solid material to move slowly or deform permanently under the influence of mechanical stresses”….. At that time thinking it would prevent further deformation, I locally jacked the shed up and carefully placed stacked blocks of wood under the worst deformed locations.
A few weeks after this a significant amount of weight was added when just over three cord of fire wood was moved into the shed, which is equivalent to volume made up from 12’ x 8’ x 4’.

During this past winter as the fire wood was steadily getting depleted, I noticed in some areas of the shed floor were no longer level. From under the shed, further inspection of the three creep affected wooden beams revealed the situation had dangerously deteriorated. The wooden support blocks which I inserted the year before, had with the weight of firewood sunk into the soft ground, creating enough clearance to allow the beams to deform further.

Uneven shed floor

Deformed rear beam

Deformed centre beam

Deformed centre beam

Deformed centre beam, ready to fail

A new and more aggressive approach was now urgently required. The options were 1) To completely dismantle the shed and replace the existing 3” x 3” with 6” x 6” wooden beams or 2) To jack the shed up and then temporarily support it while sliding in new stronger 6” x 6” wooden beams to fit under the existing 10’ beams. The resulting additional height to the shed for each option would be 3” and 6” respectively. The 6” extra height added by option 2 I considered to be far too much, while option 1) the dismantling the shed was certainly not favoured, far too big a job. I then thought why not stay with option 2, but instead of using 6” x 6” wooden beams try to procure 10’ lengths of steel square tubing.
After a prolonged search on inter-web (how did we manage before the web …?), I found a supplier in Dartmouth. I then got a quote for various sizes with delivery and finally decided upon 2½” x 2½” x 3/16” wall thickness ~ 24 hours after placing the order, the nearly 200lb bundle arrived in Pleasantville ~ a fantastic service and all for $248.

Today was jack the wood shed up day, with great help from Lunenburg County’s other Scotsman ~ Alan. Suitably attired in fashionable Green Wellies, armed with heavy jacks, wooden & concrete blocks and hopefully a well thought out plan, the project commenced ….

The stuff

Wullie the Wheel Barrow was also helping

The jacking up of the shed and installation of the temporary supports went very well. It was only after the square the tubes were slid into position that we discovered with much dismay that the jacking process had moved the shed about 2” forward and 4” to the right …!!! This had the result on one side of the shed only with the square tube beams not sitting perfectly on two of the existing concrete pillars. Regardless of how hard I belted the shed with a sledge hammer I could not in any way tempt it into moving any closer to its original position.

Temporary supports in place

Temporary supports in place

Temporary supports in place

Temporary supports in place

After much deliberation, some head scratching and surprisingly no hint of panic, it was unanimously decided to place new supports adjacent to the now almost redundant existing pillars. Fortunately with the weight of the loaded shed, there will be no issue with the new supports sinking into the ground, as they are sitting nicely on the poured concrete which holds the existing pillars in position.

New adjacent supports at the two rear positions

New adjacent supports at the two rear positions

Square tube in position with existing concrete pillars

Square tube in position with new adjacent pillar

Square tube in position with existing concrete pillar

Square tube in position with existing concrete pillar
Due to the extent of deformation with the existing wooden beams, currently they only contact the new square tube beams at their low points, I expect over time with the weight of the fire wood this situation will correct itself.

All issues (I hope) are now solved ……. by those two ~

....... with nice but dirty Green Wellies