Friday, March 4, 2016

A MILK WAGON

- a short story by Bevan


There are few things I miss from the 1950's but I often think of the tranquility of that time and horse-drawn milk wagons. 

I remember driving through the city of Victoria (Vancouver Island) on a quiet Sunday and did not see other vehicles on the streets and it was compulsory for shops to remain closed on that day. I was 18 years old at this time and funny as it may seem, I thought it was rather uneventful. The horse-drawn milk wagon was anything but dull and brings back fond memories.



Image: Wikimedia.org

If you happened to gaze out your window at the right time during the early morning, you would probably catch sight of the milk delivery man exiting a horse-drawn wagon and carrying a container which held six to eight bottles of milk. Our family ordered two quarts a day. 


Image: Wikimedia.org


The driver would leave them on our porch then walk down the sidewalk to the next house with horse following him on the edge of the road. I do not recall any whistle or command from the driver to the horse, the animal was familiar with its daily route. How was that for a job? No stress and plenty of exercise!



My friend, Reg Shanks of Brooklands motorcycles, told me a great milk wagon story. He  was returning home from a party early one morning on his motorcycle and was surprised to see a milk wagon on the road ahead of him. It had stopped at an intersection and Reg thought it was a bit slow getting started so he drove around it. As he passed the wagon, he was amazed to see it had no driver. When the horse decided it was time to move forward, Reg thought it rather strange so decided to follow it. As the horse wound its way through the streets, it finally came to a stop outside the city's local dairy. Reg stopped his motorcycle, walked over to the wagon where he found the driver, drunk and lying on the floor on his back. The horse had safely taken his driver to the stables beside the city dairy. 








A Milkmaid Delivers Milk in a Zebra-Driven Carriage, Missouri





Various Modes of Milk Delivery -
all images below from 
Wikimedia.org



























































   




Monday, February 22, 2016

A NEW FRIEND

(a true short story) 
by Bevan 

Rod was a motorcycle enthusiast, a bachelor and animal lover. He had a great affinity for cats but became catless after the one which lived with him passed on. Possibly, the word got out that there was a vacancy, and it was not long before he had a feline visitor. It was obvious the creature had been without accommodation and was hungry. Out came the goodies, which she gobbled up, then found a comfortable spot to sleep. Kitty thought it was the place for her and decided to stay on - it was not long before the cat and its new owner became great friends.


Rod thought of a suitable name for her and in a flash moment of creativity, he named her Lady Ga Ga. As time went on the cat insisted on joining Rod when he went off in his car, she loved going for rides and they quickly became riding companions. 



At one time, Rod took a trip to Alberta. He was accustomed to driving long distances and decided he would be away almost three days. He could leave the cat at home as she was able to come and go through the cat door and would have access to her food. The day which Rod was to leave, Lady Ga Ga must have had a premonition, as she gained access to the car through an open window - there she was, sitting in the passenger's seat waiting for her partner. The words "out of the car Lady" fell on deaf ears, so Rod thought why not, I will take her with me


The journey went well until the return trip when they stopped for a picnic in a rather isolated area. After he packed up and was ready to leave, the cat was missing. He spent the rest of the afternoon calling and searching for her. It became dark and he felt there was no alternative but to leave without the cat. With a heavy heart he headed for home and drove all night. He caught the ferry back to Vancouver island and upon arrival to his home, went straight to bed, exhausted. Try as he might, he could not sleep, he was so worried about his friend. He got up and caught the first morning ferry to the mainland, then drove all the way back to the location where the cat was lost. There was a culvert under the road where they had stopped where Rod had searched before. He checked it out with no luck. It was getting late in the day when he decided to give it one more try. On his last call he thought he heard a muted "meow" coming from across the road. He walked across the road and there she was. It was a glorious reunion and a very very happy trip home. 


A Few Pet Favourites:






Further to Rod's cat story, this short anecdote tells how things can 
be found in the most unlikely of places. 

Rod is a motorcycle collector and enthusiastic of almost anything vintage. He played a major part in the restoration of two rare motorcycles. One was a 1914 Indian, the other a 1936 single cylinder Triumph. Both bikes were missing parts. The Indian had no clutch, missing linkages and pedals. The Triumph was missing something unavailable, a cast aluminium primary cover. As far as every one knew, there was only one similar machine which resided in a museum in England.  One morning Rod was down at the local fisherman's wharf and he happened to look inside a dumpster. 

He spotted a nice old biscuit tin and wondered whether it was worth retrieving. He knew he would probably bruise his ribs by climbing into the dumpster, which he did. He retrieved a very old and beautiful tin. To Rod's surprise when he opened the tin it contained new old stock 1914 Indian parts. There was a clutch and some of the necessary parts to complete the motorbike. 

As for the Triumph, Rod happened to be at a recycling station when a truck with a pile of aluminium scrap drove in and parked next to him. Rod noticed an old primary cover on the top of the heap which he bought from the fellow for $25. Remarkably, it was the original cover from the Triumph.




Friday, September 7, 2012

Richard's West Coast Paddles

- by Michelle

The west coast of British Columbia is a magnificent place to live. We are blessed by its natural landscape of rugged shorelines, jagged snow-capped mountains and green forests. There is no shortage of places to visit where one can find solitude and quietness. When Richard and I venture outdoors for a hike up a trail or to sit quietly by the seaside, we always feel inspired and re-energized by the natural surroundings. We enjoy the soothing sound of quiet rolling waves and glistening waters of summer time, or dramatic crashing waves against the shoreline during winter storms. It is during these winter storms when the tides bring in a bountiful supply of driftwood, a treasure trove of cedar logs. The storms just as easily sweep them away.

It is during our visits to one of the other islands situated along the Sunshine Coast, where my husband and I spend time beachcombing. Richard is always joyful and enthusiastic, especially when surrounded by cedar logs and driftwood on the beach. I cannot help but laugh to myself when I see the expression on Richard’s face when he sets eyes on the miles of strewn logs. Inspiration awakens the artist. From driftwood he has created many masterpieces.




His enthusiasm and creative energy inspired him to build, by himself and without the use of any power tools, two log cottages. The logs were hand carried up very steep hills, one by one, to the building sites. The logs were cut and shaped with an axe, cross-cut saw, adzes, hammer and nails. He single-handedly tore down an old cottage and rebuilt it - again, without power tools. Richard was then nicknamed the ‘human excavator’ and ‘human forklift’ by locals of that island.






One of Richard's creations from cedar logs
(no power tools were used)







Another cottage Richard built by hand


Richard’s talents with driftwood are also seen in his west coast paddles, also hand-crafted from cedar driftwood and inspired by the Coast Salish paddles. I will include a few of them here for viewing. Not only are they beautiful but are also lightweight and glide with ease through the water.




As I said, the tides carry in and also carry out these wonderful gifts along our shorelines. The artist uses his/her imagination and carefully selects pieces from the shore but does not disturb the natural ecosystem by taking all the logs. No power tools or heavy equipment are used. These logs also provide shelter for many sea animals and birds - which we must take care of.

Thank you for viewing our website.














Tuesday, April 3, 2012

A Mini Sewing Kit


I had to add this mini post for this mini gem. This is such a lovely piece that the pictures will speak for themselves. This little sewing kit was given to my father-in-law's mother as a gift from a pioneer lady friend. It travelled up the Oregon Trail during the 1890's. It reminds me of a tiny treasure chest.

























Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Art of Making Do





Image Raphael Tuck and Sons, circa 1905
Tucks "The Handy Craftsman" Child Postcard
Series "Little Men and Women"


Back in the good old days our parents, grandparents and generations long past,  made their own furniture, built their own house without power tools, grew their own vegetables and sewed their clothing. They were innovative, creative and they 'made do'. Many beautiful pieces of hand-crafted furniture, tools and artifacts have withstood the test of time and are now safely kept in the hands of folks who love and appreciate them. It is so easy nowadays to run to a hardware store to pick a tool or item that has been mass produced in a factory. These items have not been held and lovingly created by the craftsman. 

How can our generation pass on to our children, and generations yet to come, knowledge of how to make do? I imagine by setting an example ourselves and by writing these stories. My father and mother-in-law are the inspirators in our family and they have many beautiful examples of how past generations 'made do'. A few objects considered very simple at one time, are now lovingly kept treasures that will never been seen in a modern day store. What has replaced these old humble tools that withstood the test of time - electric gadgets that eventually break down and contribute to a 'throw-away' society. The present generation is becoming accustomed to a throw-away lifestyle and is losing a spirit that inspires creativity and innovation through 'making do'. Michelle

My father-in-law, Bev, would like to share a little story about 'making do' I hope he will contribute more of his creative ideas with us. Thank you Bev. Here is his story.
 
"About twenty years ago I needed a latch for a rather crude cabinet I had fashioned from scrap lumber. I was planning a trip to the hardware store when my wife, Joy, suggested I make one. I took her advice. Today, the latch still works well in spite of it having been used many hundreds of times. From this experience, and also being a tool collector, I developed a respect for those who attempted to make things themselves when they did not have access or money to acquire what they needed. In many cases, their hand-crafted items worked better than the factory produced item. This is a tribute to those craftsmen." Bev




Home made gate hinge



Home made latch


Home made butter mould. Simple and beautiful with screw adjustment
and dovetailed corners - late 1800's



Image by Raphael Tuck and Sons, circa 1910



Iron candle holder hand-crafted by Richard's Uncle, mid-1970's



Rustic piece of furniture made from driftwood
by Michelle's husband Richard



We needed a cabinet in our dining room, 
Richard created this from pine



 
Richard (Michelle's husband) needed some cedar for a building project at his cabin situated
on a remote island (no hardware store there !). Richard made do from the abundant supply
of cedar on the beach for all the building needs.




Richard made do with logs from the beach and built a three-storey log home.
No trees were cut down on the property.




Websites of Interest:








Saturday, March 17, 2012

A McClary and a Bracelet

This is a charming story of two objects that have a Canadian history with a link to the province of Saskatchewan. My father-in-law tells us how his mother acquired these two pieces from a friend of hers. Thank you for visiting us here. Michelle and Bev


Lovely Cree silver bracelet


"What does an early cast iron roaster and a silver bracelet have in common? They were  once owned by a good friend of my mother's, an elderly lady with a story to tell. As a young girl, she fell in love and married a black man. This did not go over well with many of their neighbours in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan. They were both treated as outcasts by most of their community but were accepted with open arms at a Cree Indian settlement where they lived very happily. The lady mentioned to my mother that she wished to part with some of her personal possessions and asked if she would help find a buyer for some of them. My mother purchased from her a beautiful McClary roaster and a lovely silver bracelet that a Cree lady had given to her. She also found a buyer for a fine old coffee grinder and a pair of running shoes that once belonged to her beloved son whom she was so proud of. The running shoes went to a museum.  Her son's name was Harry Jerome"




Old McLary cast iron roaster




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