Recuperating Mentally & Spiritually

Within the past 6 weeks I’ve changed my life in an effort to cope. First I changed churches from Pleasant Street CRC in Whitinsville, MA to The Vineyard of Hopkinsville, MA. I had been a member of a Vineyard denomination church when I lived in Aiken, SC almost 20 years ago. I loved that church as it quickly become one giant family. Everybody is going in the same direction and looks after each other. They generally set up shop in the poorest neighborhood in town and open their doors to all. The Vineyard denomination is extremely evangelistic in their faith, seeking the unsaved and welcoming them to meet Jesus Christ. The first service I attended at the Vineyard of Hopkinsville I knew I was home.

Next I pulled out of my local Senior Center for a sabbatical of sorts. I wanted the center to settle down a bit after our director, Marsha Patrillo, retired, leaving us without leadership until the town to decide on a replacement. The center seemed to turn very clickish with the senior ladies withdrawing to small groups, letting outsiders fend for themselves. I was obviously an outsider, even after being there for over two years. After all, I was a man, a dying breed in senior circles.

I’ve discovered I’m healing both spiritually and mentally since isolating myself from stressful conditions. I’m happier and healthier as a result. I may decide to return to the Senior Center after a new director has been there a while.


Pleasure From Basic Hand Tools

As a lifelong woodworker I’ve built simple projects in an hour or an heirloom rocking cradle out of solid red oak that took me a week. Which tools I utilize depends on the situation, project and my mood. Admittedly I’m not as adept at using hand tools for the bigger, more complex projects but there’s a lot of pleasure gleaned from just using hand tools for a complete project.

Using hand tools is quieter and creates less sawdust than using power saws, routers or sanders. Living in a very small apartment as I do makes it mandatory to be respectfully quiet to the neighbors closest to me so especially in Winter months I rely heavily on my hand tools.

It’s taken me years to build up my tool collection whether they be powered or hand tools. I can be a very patient woodworker when it comes to saving my money for a quality tool rather than buying cheaper, more affordable ones. Right now I’m building up my Lie-Nielsen beveled chisel collection. Each chisel in my set costs more than an entire set of hardware store or big box store chisels. I feel it’s worth the wait, buying one or two chisels a month and getting exactly what I want. Once the complete set is mine I’m use them to build a nice chisel case to store and display them.

Hand tools with edges need to be sharp to get the most out of them. I’ve assembled a fine set of sharpening tools over the past 2-3 years, buying DMT Diamond stones and Veritas and Lie-Nielsen honing guides for my chisels and bench plane blades. These too are an important investment that may wind up in my will when the time comes.  LOL

My woodworking has always been about enjoying the hobby. I could never make a living at it because I love it too much. That would make sense yo someone who is passionate about fine craftsmanship or any hobby worth doing.

So the game continues as I await the first two Lie-Nielsen chisels. My Stanley 750 Sweetheart chisel set is still getting used and holds a prized place in my tool collection. I’m simply moving the quality up a bunch to what I consider some of the finest hand tools available at any price. Thanks Lie-Nielsen for being there and making what you do. 🙂

Lie-Nielsen Bevel Chisels

Open Letter To YouTube

I am sick & tired of seeing YouTube videos showing idiots killing birds and squirrels with pellet guns or 22 caliber rifles. Mankind is the only animal on earth that kills for pleasure. These are SICK individuals that need to be locked up before they join the ranks of mass killers that shoot up kindergartens and schools. Stop them NOW YouTube!!!!!

American Goldfinch

I have lots of American Goldfinches in my neck of the woods. They fly down to my thistle feeder and enjoy a snack without fear that some nut job with an air rifle will shoot them.

Female American Goldfinch 01

Female American Goldfinch 02

Male American Goldfinch 03

Pink Day Lilies

Al’s flower garden next door to me is blooming with the onset of Summer. His day lilies are in full bloom so I snapped a shot of a pair of pink ones. It’s fun to watch the different species come up all during the growing season. He’s already had old fashioned bleeding hear and tulips. Next will come the gladiolas.

Two Pink Blossoms

Helping Other Photographers

Up front I want to acknowledge that I am not a birder, one who is adept at identifying specific bird species. I do have a limited knowledge of the birds I have photographed and identified. One such bird is the red headed male pochard, found at the Oregon Zoo near where I lived for 10 years. The zoo had an exhibit representing birds of the Northwest that included red headed male pochard ducks.

These ducks display a brilliant red head during mating season to attract the more drab colored females. In the off season the male’s plumage turns a dark brown instead of red. This can be seen in the collection of photographs I took throughout the year. I helped a fellow National Geographic photographer correctly identify their shot of a male pochard.

Male Red Headed Pochard

Share Your World – June 18, 2018

Share Your World – June 18, 2018

You can have an unlimited supply of one thing for the rest of your life, what is it? Sushi? Scotch Tape?

Good Healthy Teeth – I’m down to one crowned back tooth that does all the chewing for me. I can’t imagine what it would be like to have a complete set of healthy teeth again!

Teleportation or flying?

Teleportation for sure. I’d ask to have 25 pounds of fat left behind until I get handsome again. This could take a while……. LOL

Would you rather live where it only snows or the temperature never falls below 100 degrees?

Bring on that snow. You can only take off so many clothes to be comfortable in hot weather but you can add a lot of warm clothes until you get it just right! 🙂

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

I was grateful for Father’s day and my church. One happens once a year but church lasts forever.

And The Quality Goes Higher….

I’m starting to get more familiar with my surroundings, my new eyes and the birds that live in my housing community. I only need spend 15 minutes sitting outside in my lawn chair to grab shots like the one below. I was hoping my cardinals would return today as it’s sunny and warm. I’d prefer a little overcast light so the contrast wouldn’t be so harsh but I’ll take what I was able to get today. The photo below is the best cardinal portrait I’ve ever taken. It’s a work in progress. 🙂

Male Cardinal 03