Friday, January 6, 2012


Craft-   \’kraft\ noun- an occupation or trade requiring manual dexterity or artistic skill
verb- to make or produce with care, skill or ingenuity –
Merriam Webster Online (
Craft has been an integral part of my life since as far back as I can remember.  Legos, Lincoln Logs, Scale Models, you name it.  Making and fixing things has always challenged and relaxed me, even as a kid.

I eventually moved on to more complex projects.  Sheds, Garages, even a church.  New kitchens, a bathroom remodel.  After High School, I worked for years building single family homes.
I always felt connected to the past and I started an self-education program in Craft.  I studied under masters past and present.

Roy Underhill- The Woodwright’s Shop (TV and Books)Alex Bealer- The Art of BlacksmithingEric Sloane- A Reverence for Wood, A Museum of Early American ToolsC. Keith Wilbur- Homebuilding and Woodworking, Indian Handcrafts


I thank my father for his work ethic, my grandfathers for letting me “putter” in their shops, my uncle Frank for his eclectic book collection, and all my other relatives who were always understanding (even when I wanted to be a 19th cen Mountain Man and trap beaver.)

They were all with me, encouraging me as I learned new skills. Timber-framing and Blacksmithing.  Even more old-school skills like Flintknapping and Hide Tanning.  I fell head over heels for traditional handcrafts. I truly was a Jack-of-All-Trades, Master-of-None.

I currently find myself having traded the “shop” for a cubicle, and the “hearth” for the glow of a
monitor.  I craft virtual buildings in an environment of bits and  bytes.

I still feel connected to those who create something with their hands, and I truly enjoy watching masters ply their craft.

In tribute to my past, here is a link to the past 5 seasons of the Woodwright’s Shop streaming online. (Sorry iPadders, it's Flash video.)

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Self Reliance (circa 1951)

Self Reliance is a theme that I would like to promote here.  While surfing YouTube the other day, I came across this 1950's educational film that fit really well with my own idea of what self reliance should be. I've always loved these old B&W educational films. I know it seems quaint and a little campy, but the message is as valuable today as it was 60 yrs ago.

Laid out in the film are four tenets:
  • Assume Responsibility
  • Be Informed
  • Know where you're going
  • Make your own decisions
How often do we find ourselves following this advice, and what are we giving up when we don't?

Sunday, January 1, 2012

I'm married to a Tough Chik

I didn't know that when I married her. Heck, I don't think she knew that when I married her. But she sure proved it today.

Mara joined Tough Chik's online running community a while back.

Today she got a chance to earn her feathers.

Mara ran in the Fleet Feet New Year's Day Dash at Quaker Steak and Lube in Middleton, WI.

Today's weather at race time was 29 deg F, sustained 25 mph winds (gusting to 35) and a mix of snow and sleet.  The trails, roads and walks were covered in a sheet of glistening ice.

While this may seem more suited to Apollo Ohno, it is indeed the weather in which my beautiful wife ran 5 miles in 49 mins 24 sec.  She amazes me.

Post run celebration was at Quaker Steak and Lube. We watched the Green Bay Packers triumph over the Detroit Lions (even with out Rodgers.)  Race particicpants recieved a free raffle ticket for prizes announced at each quarter.  While we didn't win (even after collecting numerous tickets from those who couldn't stay) we were enamored by one of the prize packages.

It contained the usual swag and gift certificates to local sporting goods stores and bike shops, but the item that caught our eye was an "1hr Introductory Class in Log Rolling (for up to 7 people.)"  Welcome to Wisconsin!!!!

Those Tough Chiks sure know how to ring in the New Year.

Wear your Plaid proudly!

Tempus Fugit

Literally meaning "Time Flees" but most often translated as "Time Flies." Take advantage of every moment you're given this New Year.

Here's on of my favorite Bloggers take on time.

The artificiality of time.

First Post

Years ago, on a particularly cold morning in Canterbury, NH, I wandered into the kitchen wearing fleece PJ bottoms, a flannel shirt and my robe.  My wife looked up at me with a grin and said; "Not many people can pull off that look."  It was then that I realized pants, shirt and robe were all plaid, and all different.

That's kind of me in a nutshell.

I worked at a number of Living History Museums representing craft skills ranging from Blacksmithing to those of an 18th century Infantry Soldier, 16th century Sailor to Pre-European contact Native American skills like hide tanning and flintknapping.  I fished for lobster in the Gulf of Maine, was caretaker for the rigging on the oldest, wooden whaling ship afloat in the world. I've built houses, barns and churches. I was a tree surgeon and I've sold Real Estate and cars. Now I work in a high-tech sector of the Constrcution industry (you can find that alter-ego here.)

In short, this Blog is a place for all the stuff that lives in my head. I have always had eclectic interests and a photographic memory. And while that makes for a great Trivial Pursuit partner, it makes it nearly impossible to pigeonhole my thoughts and experiences.

Like wearing three kinds of plaid at the same time. It might not be pretty...and not everyone will get it... but it's me. I promise, it'll be fun.