Simple Garden Variety Bench

I’ve been making myself a simple bench to use outside my apartment. I used solid poplar slabs for the 5 board bench and already have it constructed. Now all I need us to rout the edges round so that I can finish sand the whole thing. Then comes Provincial Gel Stain and finally Polyurethane to weatherproof it. I haven’t photographed the final bench yet but I’m including a very similar video of its general style and appearance below. I built it in one afternoon using a simple Japanese “Z” hand saw, a Kreg K5 pocket hole jig and a battery powered 12V Bosch drill to fasten it all together. It’s incredibly strong, slim & good looking.

I prefer to use hand tools for this simple project even though I have a great table saw and Incra Cross-cut miter sled. Hand tools are easier to clean and provide valuable exercise for the half a dozen cuts I needed for this bench. I will follow up with a proper photo when I get completely finished.

Bosch 12-Volt 3_8 in Cordless Drill

Kreg K5 Pocket Hole Jig

Z Saw

Old Masters Provincial Gel Stain


Share Your World – May 28, 2018

Share Your World – May 28, 2018

If you were to pack a basket for picnic lunch, what would be in your basket?

I love cold baked chicken, no coating please. I’d add deli potato salad and a big garlic pickle cut up into spears. I’d add an ice cold container of iced tea with Splenda for my sweetener. Sounds good to me! πŸ™‚

On a vacation what you would require in any place that you sleep?

Number one on the list would be quiet. I’m NOT a party animal so I’d get away from hotels and motels that cater to the party crowd. Usually I travel by car or motorcycle so I’m dead tired when I settle in for a night’s sleep. I want a comfortable bed, clean sheets and a comfy pillow. I fall asleep really quickly so a nice strong shower is always relaxing. By strong I’m referring to decent water pressure. Nature takes care of the rest.

If you were to buy a new house/apartment what is the top three items on your wish list?

If money were not a consideration isolation would be a top priority, I’d have a nice, big, yurt home built with a generous deck and great outdoor scenery.

I’s like my new home to be within 5 miles of a shopping area for groceries and necessities. The rest would be delivered to my door by and/or UPS, USPS or FedEx.

I would avoid an apartment at all cost as that usually indicated close proximity neighbors, something I could do without in retirement. I’d want an additional structure large enough to set up a decent woodworking shop so I could build most of my own furniture.

What did you appreciate or what made you smile this past week?

On this Memorial Day weekend I appreciate the sacrifices given by our military enlisted. Having served our country during the Vietnam era I appreciate the sacrifices made.

I’m also grateful for a successful 2nd eye surgery and reports of 20/20 vision without the need for glasses. As the eyes heal I’m getting more accustomed to not wearing glasses. I now have better vision than at any time in my life.

New Bench Picture

During my walk down my sidewalk yesterday I managed to capture yet another addition to my Bench collection. It’s been a minor hobby throughout my photographic life as I’ve collected dozens of bench photos in many states and locations. It’s kind of a hobby within a hobby. This is Kathy’s bench listed about 4 or 5 apartments down the sidewalk from me. It’s certainly one of the nicest, fanciest benches I’ve seen so it’s a worthy addition to my collection.

Kathy's Bench


My last surgery check up showed a 20/20 improvement in my eyes, the best results ever. I still needed to run my own test by grabbing my camera this morning and heading outside to shoot some flower photos in my housing community. I wanted to see if I still have what it takes to capture some quality photographs. Let me know if I did well!

Al's Bearded Iris 01

Al's Bearded Iris 02

Jonii's Fuschia 01

New Toy On The Way

Men need their toys like women need their new shoes. Of course most of my purchases are practical but some I simply want. That’s the case with my new computer lap desk that will arrive shortly. At under $40 I didn’t even bother to think of making one myself out of wood. This unit has comfortable memory foam with built in compartments to store the gooseneck LED light that can be powered by batteries or any USB port on my 15″ Apple MacBook Pro laptop. There are pull-out side shelves on either side of the main top that can be used for my Apple Magic Mouse. I look forward to this gadget’s arrival. πŸ™‚

Laptop Lap Desk

Follow Up – My new lap desk arrived ahead of schedule Saturday. It was well packaged and handled by FedEx. There are many different models of lap desk made by Sofia & Sam. My model came with a top surface big enough for my new 15″ Apple McBook Pro similar to the unit shown in the photo above. There’s enough space left on the side to allow me to use my Apple Magic Mouse II. The lap desk has a memory foam cushion that’s very comfortable to use for long periods of time without overheating your legs. When the laptop is combined on the lap desk the overall weight is not too great so that you’re comfortable and confident that your computer isn’t going to slide off or wind up on the floor.

I am completely satisfied with this welcome accessory. The only down side is that the LED gooseneck lamp must remain plugged in to the lap desk as the USB connector is not compatible with the new ports on the 2017 MacBook Pro laptop. There is a USB C adapter available from for around $10.

Flowers Of Spring & Summer

My New England weather patters are improving all the time. There are still plenty of Spring showers around to help prepare the plants for a burst of growth. Spring flowers like Crocus, Daffodils and Tulips are still in their prime season while roses can just now be seen in gardens and shops. Gardening stores are doing a booming business as local flood to get their plants in the ground.

I’ve chosen not to plant a vegetable garden this year but I may pick up some baskets of flowers. I’ll need to go early before the parking spaces are all filled. I don’t much care for crowds milling around furiously. Below is a collection of some of my favorite varieties. My next door neighbor’s flower garden is already showing a lot of Spring varieties in full bloom.


Identifying Birds

Sometimes when I can’t identify a bird species I ask a birder, someone whose passion is precisely identifying birds. That takes time as it requires emailing or chatting with birder/photographers thousands of miles away. There have been times when I come close in my assessment bit don’t know the subtle differences inside of species. There’s a big difference between house sparrows and grey headed sparrows for example. I just do the best I can and let the fur/feathers fly.

Here in New England there are birds everywhere. My back yard is a veritable aviary when it comes to birds. I have finches, bluejays, cardinals, birds of prey, hummingbirds, doves and many forms of sparrows. I love to watch and photograph birds in my home environment. I’m thinking of putting out a few bird feeders to attract them within 10 feet of my front door. It’s a plan!

In the meantime I have birds nesting in the ductwork right outside my door. I see the parents of a nest full of baby birds taking turns fetching building material and food. I pull up a lawn chair and get to work with my 55-200mm zoom lens.

Male House Sparrow 01

Eddie The Eagle

In conversation last week I brought up the true life story of Eddie the Eagle, an infamous athlete from Great Britain who entered the 1988 olympics as a ski jumper. A few days after bringing up this topic I came across a YouTube video clip of a movie made about this historical figure. The other international skiing stars didn’t care much for Eddie as everyone remembers Eddie the Eagle but few remember who actually won the competition that year. πŸ™‚

Share Your World – May 21, 2018

Share Your World – May 21, 2018

What household chore do you absolutely enjoy doing?Β 

I like to go shopping. I do most of my shopping at so it’s really easy to browse the internet for the best deals and then see if Amazon can match or beat them.

Create a sentence with the words β€œneon green” and train”.

The neon green billboard could easily be read from my train compartment.

Other than your cell phone what can you always be found with?

Until last Wednesday I would have said my eyeglasses. Now that I’ve had successful cataract surgery I have no need for spectacles as my new eyes checked in at 20/20 vision for the first time in my life. πŸ™‚

What did you appreciate or what made you smile this past week?

Last weekend included Pentecost Sunday. The sermon at church shared the coming of the Holy Spirit to Christmas as a gift from God for the very first time. As a spirit filled Christian I’ve been blessed to have the Holy Spirit as my constant companion since September 19, 1979 when I asked Jesus to fill my heart with His presence. πŸ™‚