Jack’s Walk

Early morning at the park ©voyager, all rights reserved

Tomorrow I’m going to be having my last 6 teeth removed and 2 dental implants inserted. It was supposed to be sleep surgery, but the Dr. won’t take the risk because of the combination of drugs that I take so I’ll be awake, which sucks. I will get nitrous oxide and I have some marijuana oil for before and after which the Dr. says will be fine by him. I’ve been told to expect a few bad days post-op which could mean a bad week or two factoring in my fibro. Why am I telling you all of this?

Well, Jack and I have decided to take a virtual vacation. Starting tomorrow until August 19/19 Jack’s Walk won’t be here. You’ll just have to guess what the Bubba and I are up to. Tree Tuesday will also be absent for the next 2 weeks, but Fungi Friday will be here and so will the daily books. Next week the books will feature a few of Caine’s favourite artists and I know you won’t want to miss that. Giliell will also be back from holiday next week and I know she has lots to share from her vacation in Spain. Those are all good reasons to keep tuning us in.

Jack and old, toothless me will see you soon.


The Art of Book Design: Are We a Stupid People, by One of Them

Charles Joseph Weld-Blundell. Are We a Stupid People, by One of Them. London; Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co. Ltd., 1908.

A book of commentary about the social and moral conditions in Britain at the turn of the last century.


Cover photo via: Nemfrog

The book is available to read at The Internet Archive

Jack’s Walk

Milkweed ©voyager, all rights reserved

Poor Jack didn’t get out for a walk this morning. I turned off the A/C last night and opened the windows and by this morning the house was filled with humidity. I get this weird ataxia that puts me into slow motion and makes it feel like I’m moving through jello and high humidity is one of the things that can set it off. It took me a while just to get out of bed and I couldn’t make my hands work and I was feeling very frustrated. The jello wouldn’t lift even after the A/C cleared the house. I managed to get to pool therapy at noon and that really helped a lot, but by the time I got home it was too hot for Jack to go out. I promised to take him for a nice stroll around the neighbourhood after supper, but he isn’t bothered by the missing morning outing. At least that’s what he says – maybe he’s just being kind.



How To Travel With Grown-Ups

Actually, I’m looking for the opposite in advice, but now I’m reminded of this book (cover illustration here, for some reason doesn’t show up at the link), which was a regular childhood read – less for the text (which, if I remember, was quite sensible), more for the illustrations, which contained a lot of shenanigans and annoyed parents.

Anyway, I was going to make a request to the readership here on ideas on travelling by car in Finland with three children and a tent, but I’ve been outvoted, and it looks like we’re going to try for Poland (the Tatra Mountains, to be precise!) sometime in August. It’s much farther but also much cheaper (so I’ve been explained to).

But what the hell, I’m curious now and I still want some answers for future planning: what is worth seeing in Finland? How might you plan a(n affordable) trip with a timeline of 3 – 4 days? With a small flock of children that need (a) entertainment (castles, animals, food and such are good) and (b) activity (anything that can be climbed is a bonus, this category includes trees, mountains, large rocks, etc.)? Google insists on showing me All the Interesting Things and I don’t have a good grasp of distance and travel time way up North.

(Also any advice on Poland is great, too, although we have a few experts available on location here.)

Not the Tatra Mountains, obviously. © rq, all rights reserved.

(The thematic choice, obviously.)

Jack’s Walk

Going in circles ©voyager, all rights reserved

The weather’s turned hot and humid again so Jack and I are back to early morning walks and let’s just say that early morning is not my best time. Jack doesn’t care about the time, though, so I decided the river was a good choice because Jack can frolic and I can sit and drink coffee and watch him. That’s what I call win – win. The water was a bit muddy, but Jack came out smelling fine(ish) and the towels were wet, but not dirty so he didn’t even need a hosing down at home. That’s a win – win – win. Not bad for dishwasher of a day.

Poor Spider Didn’t Stand a Chance

When watering my citruses today, a movement caught my eye in one of the bowls. A tiny black parasitic wasp in a struggle with a spider twice its size. I did not have my camera with me and of course, I could not go and get it, so I snapped at least a few pictures with my phone. I assume the wasp has won and laid the spider aside for afters because it has left it lay there all limp and motionless, danced around a bit and then left.

Pictures below the fold – content warning spiders and predation.

[Read more…]

Eucalyptus Flowers

Lofty has sent us the happiest little flowers I’ve ever seen.

Winter is also the time for some of our eucalyptus to flower. Most do it way up in the sky and usually you only know by the carpet of spent pale yellow flowers on the ground underneath the tree. This one however (a street tree) offered its flowers at eye level for my camera to snap at. The size of the flowers is around 25mm or 1″ long.

Eucalyptus Flowers, ©Lofty, all rights reserved

My first Commission – Part 4 – Welcome to Knifemaker’s Hell

I really wish my first customer has chosen a knife with simpler geometry. For future projects of this kind, I will have to make some more attachments for my belt grinder, because it is woefully inadequate for the concave false edge. I messed that up several times already and quite a few times I got frightened that I will have to start all over again. Whether I manage to correct the slight flaws that are in there remains to be seen, my guess would be no. It will cut alright, but it won’t be perfect no matter what I do. Grrr.

This weekend I have spent with grinding as much time as I could – approx 4 hours each day. More is not possible, at least not for me. Grinding on belt grinder is for me very mentally tiring, because I have to concentrate a lot more than I had to when grinding manually. Because whilst grinding on the belt grinder is quicker, it is also possible to make mistakes quicker.

At this point, I should be finished with polishing, but I am unfortunately not even halfway through. Mainly I have myself to blame for this. If you remember, when writing about the kitchen knives I mentioned that after the first grind with the magnetic jig I went back to freehand in order to be able to alternate the angle of attack to get a flatter and more even grind. Well, I forgot to do that with these two knives and I ground them both up to 120 grit ceramic belt on the jig. The result was ever so slightly wavy grind that I had to correct now that the blades are hardened. So I had to start all over at 40 grit and work my way up, sweating profusely whenever my hand slipped slightly. But at least one thing is clear now – whatever misgivings I had about the blades being perhaps not hardened properly, I do not have them anymore. They are extremely hard and tough to grind, which is why it took me so long to get to 150 grit today, which is the point at which I had to call it quits.

Still a long way to go. © Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

I estimate I will need about ten more hours overall, on and off the belt grinder, before I can call these two blades finished. That means at least one more weekend. At least. It also means more than double the time that I think it should have taken me. When I am done with this and with the kitchen knives, I will probably make a batch of these blades as an exercise, I must get the muscle memory and experience and know-how to do a proper job in a reasonable time, I cannot dick around with one blade for months on end anymore.

The Art of Book Design: The Swedish Fairy Book

Klara Stroebe, ed. Translated by Frederick Martens. Illustrations by George W. Hood. The Swedish Fairy Book, New York, Frederick A. Stokes, 1921.

I really enjoyed Pasakas, the Latvian book of fairy tales sent in by rq, so I thought I’d check out some other foreign tales. There are a myriad of Swedish fairy tale books, but this edition caught  my eye. In the preface to the book the author tells us that,

 There has been no attempt to “rewrite” these charming folk-and fairy-tales in the translation. They have been faithfully narrated in the simple, naive manner which their traditional rendering demands.

The tales might be traditional, but the artwork isn’t. The cover art and interior plates are all rendered in soft, flowing watercolors more typical of the art nouveau period than the Medieval period. Enjoy! [Read more…]