Archive for September, 2015

Jays win the Pennant

Tonight the Blue Jays won the pennant as the top team in the American League East.  The last time they did this was in 1993 when we were living in Oakville.

Pat and I are Major Jay Fans.  Well I am a Major Fan… Pat is a Super Major Jay fan.

All summer long we watch almost all the games on TV.    When we lived in Oakville we watched the games in the evening and regularly bought tickets but with kids and soccer practice we did our best.

When we retired out here we have occasionally followed them to games when they travelled west.  Great thing is that most televised games start at 4pm  and it is a rare game where we do not watch.

Now I mention that I am a major fan but Pat is a super Major fan.  Difference is that over the years if the Jays are losing by 5 runs in the later innings I will go off and do something else, Pat will watch to the end of the ninth with true fan hope that they will come back.  She refers to me these evenings as a fair weather fan… and she may well be right.

This summer, after the all star break, there was no instance of abandoning a game.  They have been the best since we watched them in the early nineties.  Tonight they won the pennant and we know they are going all the way.

Having said that we are true fans,  apparently Andra was the only one to actually put money on the table in Las Vegas for the Jays to win the Series.  So she joins us as a real fan.

Hunting for Golf Balls

This last summer the evening tradition was to take the Westies for a walk on the golf course.  Once we were away on hole 6 we could take them off the leash and let them run free.  They chased each other and scooted back and forth and then would ramble along with us.

One of the things they liked to do was nose into the grass and reeds along the ponds.  We followed and started to find golf balls.


This became part of the adventure.  Walk the dogs and search for golf balls.  Always had an excuse when we were met by others…”we are just walking the dogs”.  A very superficial claim because it was obvious many other dog walkers were also picking up balls.

Still by the last few weeks with the Westies it was a rare evening when we did not pick up a dozen balls.  Always with the justification that we stumbled on them while walking the dogs.

Since they went home we have not been on our evening walks.  Major reason is that the Blue Jay games are on but there has been some rain.

Tonight the Jays were rained out in Baltimore and we had a quick dinner and the weather is perfect, so we decided to replicate one of our many walks around the course.  Could not ignore the urge to find golf balls.  It is as if we were children looking for pirate treasure.  But this time I was feeling guilty because we did not have the excuse ..well we are just walking the dogs.

Found another dozen tonight, mainly Callaways and Titleists.  No one on the course to see us, so no reason to feel guilty, but it was nice to have the walking dogs excuse.

Granted I have donated as many golf balls to this course as we have found so morally I am OK.  Pat, on the other hand, just loves the hunt.  Like finding Easter eggs.

With the early darkness, this might be our last evening out.   Pat is thinking we get night lights and go out every night and she does not even golf.

A Very Nice Sunday

Pat and I had a pretty nice day yesterday.

Clear blue skies so we were able to drive topless down to Nanaimo to join our Miata club for a summer ending BBQ.  I ended up on the actual BBQ cooking up 40 hamburgers and 2 dozen hotdogs while Pat pre made salad and fixins.  Great time with our Miata friends but as a result of our early work we were able to slip off before all the cleanup.

We headed off in Nanaimo to a big theater to watch Everest on a big screen in 3D.  Much better than the local theater.  Fabulous movie.

Out of the show at 6:30 with the sun just setting so we drove home with the top down on the coastal road.  As we were driving we noticed hundreds of people lining up on the beaches and realized this was the night for the golden full moon lunar eclipse.  This started over our right shoulder as we were driving along the ocean and we arrived home to see the red moon in all its glory.

Could not spend that much time observing this once in a lifetime view as we had to go in and watch the delayed recording of the Blue Jay game…. where they won… and the recording of the Saskatchewan Rider game… where they also won.

A memorable Sunday.

Concord Grapes

With the warm summer we had a record production of Concord grapes on our pergola.  Beautiful sweet grapes but unfortunately with seeds.  So many grapes we decided to crush them and make jam.

Lots of jars which will more than last the winter.  May have to give some away to the kids.


Concord Grapes - CopyConcord Jam



Protection from Golfers

Last spring we imported two West Highland Terriers to live with us for the summer. They would stay with us for the season with the objective of ridding our yard from an infestation of rabbits.

Somehow in the last 2 years we have gone from a rare sight of a rabbit to dozens.  They swarm up and down the golf course.

Observing the varieties, you realize that these are pets released when the little bunnies got to big.  We had distinct white and black and red rabbits running around but now after a couple of years we have hoards of mottled beige.

We thought that the local deer were horrible on our plants but now we have hundreds of wascally wabbits.  Hence the decision to import a couple of West Highland Terriers to our home.  They are bred to chase and kill rabbits and other rodents.  Their purpose in life.

Unfortunately we went on the discount and apparently acquired a couple of senior citizen Westies.  Good at spotting rabbits, good chasing for 100 meters but never any closure.  Lets face it you do not want the equivalent of 70 year old dogs to do the job of teenagers.

Now I partially blame my wife for this.  She insists on feeding the Westies every evening.  I think that a couple of starvation days would make them chase to the kill on the rabbits.

Still they have proven to be valuable on protecting us from the evil golfers that go by on the golf course.  They can be sleeping in the living room when some golfers go by on the Par 3 behind us and they go crazy attacking the window.  If we are in the backyard they rush up to the small hedge, put their front paws up on the hedge and bark to send these evil golfers from approaching.  When a golfer does hit a ball near our back hedge, they may jump the hedge and send him on his way.

I cannot tell you how this had given me a feeling of security.

In the afternoon when I am down in the workshop, and the bride is wandering around the living room with full visibility to the golfers going by, and let us face it sometimes the golfers have had a few drinks, and they see this attractive lady, I have been concerned about her being possibly threatened.  Fortunately with the Westies this never could happen.  They bark at every group that goes by and if any evil golfers came towards the house, the barking would become so intense I would rush up from the basement.  Good doggies.

We have two more days with them.  Not sure how we are going to keep ourselves safe from golfers after we return them.

Bad Doggies

We are nearing the end of our life with the Westies.  Days where we take them for a walk in some forest trail and evenings after supper where we walk the golf course where they can occasionally chase rabbits and help us look for lost golf balls.

I put up a little fence on each side of the house to keep the dogs in the back yard.  This was required because they would run around into the front yard and chase old people walking the street.

Seemed to work so we began to trust them that they would stay in the back yard.  It was a common sight to observe a group of golfers come by and the pups would run to the hedge and put their front legs up and bark at the golfers.  Kind of humorous.  But we always knew that if a rabbit was spotted they would run around the hedge and chase onto the golf course.

Despite lots of yelling and frowns that told them that we were very disappointed with them, it did not cure the problem. However in the last month they seemed much better and seldom left the back yard when we let them out for their numerous dilibations.  And believe me these dogs need lots of dilibations.

In the evening on our golf course they have added the opportunity for people to play soccer golf around the course after most players have gone by.  Not a huge success financially for the course but on certain evenings there are soccer coaches bringing their teams around on a fun training exercise.  I would have loved to have had this opportunity with my teams when I was coaching.

Early last evening after supper, while I was temporarily down in the basement, Pat let the dogs out for their dilibations.  As it happened a group of 6 year old kids came by kicking mini soccer balls.  The dogs ran around the hedge and proceeded to chase the girls around in circles while they screamed.  Pat tells me that it was as if the dogs had seen a field of rabbits and chased them all.  Pat  also chasing the dogs around trying to get them to come back to her.  I expect the dogs just thought this was a bit of fun. I wish I had seen it but did get an earful when I came up.

Fortunately the mutts never caught any of the girls and the coach gave Pat a horrible glare.  I came up and put them on long leashes which they realize is some sort of punishment but not sure if they connect the penalty to the action.  It would be nice if they spoke English.  I told them that I was very disappointed in them which was a term that my brother and I would bow our heads to when we were kids, but not sure if it had the same effect.

Still this will be a humourous story to share with their parents when we next get together.



Pumps for The Mathew

This is the part of model building that I enjoy so much.  Making the little components that no one will ever see or know about except me.  I tried to attach a video of the progress but alas the blog only allows me to attach pictures.

Every wooden ship leaks and requires daily if not hourly pumping out.  In the 15th century this was a simple pump that you would find on any farm of the period.  A handle pump concept that exists to this day.

While Ryan and Corrie are never likely to pump the handle up and down, it is good to know that they could if they wanted.    The handle does pump up and down and the door to the cabin swings on tiny hinges, the capstan turns and a unique vertical tiller bar controls the rudder.

Love this stuff.



Golfing With My Brother

Blaine phoned me last week and suggested he travel over to the Island for a few days and maybe we could fit in a couple of rounds of golf.

I always love to spend time with my brother.  He was one of the two groomsmen at our wedding and I cannot remember ever fighting or arguing with him since 1969.  Prior to that when we were youngsters, we had lots of physical contests which because I was older and much bigger I always won.  But that is just background.

Over the years I love to play golf with Blaine.  He is a good player but does not know a single golf joke and that is a fundamental part of the group dynamic of golf guys while waiting for the foursome ahead of you to move on so you can tee off.

Before we started, Blaine mentioned that he had only played one round of golf this year and that was in May, because of their extended vacation.  I thought…OK maybe for the first time I can beat him because I have had at least 15 rounds this summer and we are playing on my home course.

Alas, Blaine shot 84 and I shot 98.  And that was with no mulligans or do-overs.  I was happy with my score but was just as thrilled with his.

He is shorter than I am, has much less hair on his head and cannot tell a joke to save his life, but apparently a much better natural golfer.

Regardless I would play a thousand rounds with him.