Sunday, 18 March 2012

I'd Rather be Whittling

This week in boredom prevention...


No, not whistling- I'm already great at that. Whittling wood.

In my final high school year as I was planning for my future, I went through a few phases. For a significant period of time I was convinced that I was going to make a career out of finish carpentry. Needless to say, this didn't pan out but my fervent love for wood and the things people can do with it, is intact.

Each summer, I have what I like to call, my "Summer Project." Last summer, I successfully made two Muskoka chairs. To the right is proof of my handiwork (for all you non-believers). In the spirit of full disclosure, I will tell you that the wood came pre-cut. I know, I'm a fraud. But I still needed my tool belt, and a little elbow grease to finish this piece of work.

This summer, my Summer Project will be learning to whittle wood and eventually craft a beautiful walking stick, or cane if you prefer. In Jamaica, the wood carvings were breathtaking and inspired me to learn how.

Now, is a pretty pathetic website, but I did find a Wood Whittling 101site that proved to be much more informative.

Step 1: Knife- I'm sure I can find one of those lying around, if not Outdoors Oriented will have one to serve my purposes.
Step 2: Wood- yes, that would be essential. After removing three massive trees from our lawn this past year, there is plenty of lumber on the property.
Step 3: Grain- Carve with the grain, got it.
Step 4: Safety/Holding the Knife- Here's where I'm going to have the most trouble, but this is nothing new. Let's just hope I have all ten digits at the end of September.
Step 5: Technique- It says to make a scooping motion. I've done pretty well scooping ice cream  thus far, check!
Step 6: Practice- Now I just need to set up a rocking chair on my porch, get my crazy eyes rolling and start whittling.

I'm not sure if something like this "wizard on post" is in my future, but I sure hope so!

I'm hoping that I can join some kind of whittling group, we can sit on a porch and talk about the good ol' days. If anyone has information on such a group, please let me know.

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Short (muddy) Hills

This week in boredom prevention.

Although it has been a busy post-vaction week and boredom hasn't been an issue, after lots of homework, birthday celebrations and a little failure at music trivia, it was finally sunday-funday. Walking out into the sunshine with some beautiful double digit weather I heard Short Hills Provincial Park calling my name. I packed up my little (actually not little at all), let me rephrase that, my 83 pound truck of a golden retriever, cracked the sunroof and headed for the Hills, the Short Hills.
Despite the four pounds of mud stuck to each of my feet and caked to my hair, it was an absolutely beautiful day. Short Hills Provincial Park, located in the West end of St. Catharines, never disappoints. Filled with short, steep hills and many routes to choose from the park is sure to satisfy your appetite for a Sunday funday hike, or any other day for that matter. After spending my Saturday night in a "lounge" in downtown Toronto (not my ideal setting) the Short Hills fresh air, creeks, trees and meadows were a beautiful sight for sore eyes.

To the left is my Vince man. He has three degrees under his belt and he's only one month shy of a year old. Despite his level of education, he insists on dragging me through knee-deep mud, tricking me into falling into creeks, ensuring that he gets as much mud on himself, my car and my face as possible, but most of all just making my day that much more enjoyable.

For those of you looking for a little something to do on a Sunday funday, I suggest hiking. If the exercise and fresh air don't have you convinced, check out these top ten health benefits of hiking.

So, put away your Sorels, pull out your hiking shoes and get outside! Don't let the lost hour get you down, Happy Spring.

Also, listen to this.

Sunday, 4 March 2012

This week in boredom prevention

Flying home from Jamaica? Yuck. Never mind, let's talk more about my time spent on the island.
Of course we did the usual tourist things like drink pina coladas while watching the sunset, strolling the streets of Montego Bay, eating jerk pork, buying as many trinkets and overproof rum as would fit in our suitcases, and boogie boarding down a river. All activities were exhilerating, and prevented boredom, some of my favourite memories were the times when I knew I was doing something that very few people staying in all-inclusive Jamaican resorts get the opportunity to do.

Although I've been several times before, visiting my Grandmother's elementary school in Falmouth still blows me away. There are 2000 children enrolled in the school, all wear uniforms every day and the backdrop to recess is the ocean. It's staggering to see how different my school experience was to my Grandmother's.

On another one of our ten days, after sipping some seriously tasty rum punch, the gardener at our villa, Robert, offered to take us for a hike. Robert knew of my love for hiking and took us way up the mountain to experience scenery that made my jaw drop. We stood five feet away from wild boar and cows and picked lemons, limes and mangos. In true Jenna fashion, I also insisted on climbing a tree. Robert spent the walk telling us of all the fruit he picks and about the different trees- when they bloom and what the wood was used for. But as I was walking and ooh-ing and ahh-ing at every tree branch I saw, it occurred to me how beautiful our own country is and how much I take it for granted. I also wondered whether someone coming from Jamaica to Canada would do the same gasping at our "exotic" country.

After making lots of friends, and desperately trying to find a way to stay on the island, I am back on Canadian soil. I saw a lot of beautiful scenery, met a few stray dogs, and enjoyed every minute I spent on the island that my Grandmother called home. I could go on and speak to every detail of the trip but I'd rather do that over a few red stripes and a plate of jerk pork (I just hope I didn't meet the poor little porky that I will soon be eating...)

Dear Jamaica, soon come back.