Tag Archives: hobbies

Woodies share the folk and art of hobby

April 13, 2017

At any given moment, I wonder how many men and women are slogging wearily away at their office desks in government jobs or selling retail or defending clients in court or standing up to speak in the House of Commons while a thought niggles at the backs of their minds.

I imagine it goes something like this:”When I leave this all behind, I can spend all the time I want every day woodworking in my garage.”

Suffice to say the Penders and other Gulf Islands has a sizable share of these dreamers who become the doers known as woodworkers:

Gulf Islands Driftwood — Penders Edition

Wednesday, March 22, 2000

Woodies share the folk and art of hobby

by Tanya Lester

Their roots run through the community like those of the trees from which they glean their materials, yet the Pender Island Shop Craft Guild (SCG) members say there is always something new for them to learn about woodworking.

Close to a decade old and numbering 50 strong, the SCG’s reason for meeting monthly is the same as it was in the beginning.

“We started by saying we can learn from each other and why don’t we get together every once in awhile,” said Bill Bastendorf.

One of their first major projects saw 30 of them gather at Kevin Oke’s place for an old-fashioned barn-raising, which resulted in a studio and a major education in woodworking techniques for everyone involved.

Nowadays some of the more experienced members are teaching small groups of women to become dexterous in the art of woodworking. This is one reason why monthly meetings throughout the winter season often focus on basics such as measuring and use of both power and hand tools.

Bastendorf said that after being taught the basics, the women apprentices continued right on working — from getting plans and buying the lumber to make finished products that won them prizes.

The SCG is a resource to the Pender community in general and has worked on the beautiful community hall, and spruced things up at the Pender Island Golf and Country Club.

For some SCG members, woodworking has become an almost all-consuming hobby. John Fox will often spend eight hours a day on a project if it really interests him, turning his tools off at 4 p.m. only because he knows tiredness can cause an accident.

“The problem with being retired is you don’t get a day off,” joked Fox, who took up woodworking as therapy when he was a management consultant in Calgary.

“You never reach a point that you know it all; it’s a lot of fun and you lose yourself in it,” Bastendorf said.

The retired psychologist first got into woodworking when he was working on his doctorate in southern California. He found that when he needed something like a box to put things in between his front car seats that he would visit a neighbor handy with wood who insisted on teaching Bastendorf how to do it instead of doing it for him.

In the 1950s, this neighbor encouraged Bastendorf in the woodworking craft by selling him a whole set of tools for $100 when they were worth hundreds more.

In turn, Bastendorf loaned these tools to a friend when he went overseas for what was supposed to be a year but turned into 20. When he returned, he got them back.

Terry Bowyer believes his love for woodworking might be in the genes since his father did it before him. “It’s just a very pleasing thing to do,” he said.

Bowyer likes working with cherry wood, which is quite in vogue nowadays (as is walnut, although it used to be oak), but finds it tricky to work with as there are wood grains running “every which way.”

Some of his finest and most innovative work consists of pens made out of broom and bowls that show off natural wood designs for their artistic quality.

Woodworking, according to Fox, can be an art or it can be a folk piece. As an example, he uses two cabinets he has made. One is chunkier in nature, with the nails showing up as they don’t quite match the colour of the finished wood. Fox will somewhat carelessly put the cabinet in the back of his vehicle when taking it somewhere.

The other piece is a streamlined beauty and Fox treats it like the piece of art that it is, and he wraps it in towels before transporting it.

To work on a wood piece in this way takes time.

Fox’ next project is a diningroom set which will take him two years to complete.

If they were trying to make a living from woodwork, the profit would probably work out to 50 cents a piece, but with the hobby group’s support Fox knows he can ask any member’s advice if he gets stuck on some aspect of his creation.

Fox moved to Pender in 1993 and still numbers the “woodies” he first met in the SCG among his base of island friends.

The group’s monthly meetings have ranged from using the chainsaw to guitar making to stained glass and the fundamentals of blacksmithing. This is all available for the grand total of a $5 annual membership….


To read more posts in this blog of articles and other writing on many different topics, go to writingsmall.wordpress.com and tealeaf56.wordpress.com

Tanya works as an intuitive reader who specializes in tea leaf reading, tarot and mediumship. Her web is teareading.wordpress.com and she has pages on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google. Or she can be reached directly by email at tealeaf.56@gmail.com  or text or call 250-538-0086.

Tanya’s books are Confessions of a Tea Leaf Reader and Friends I Never Knew sometimes available from the author and always available at amazon.com  She also penned Dreams and Tricksters besides Women Rights/Writes.  These books are all available in some public libraries.






House is for the birds

February 19, 2016

It is easy to believe that someone who loves animals has a good heart. If the animals are outside the realm of the relatively easy for which to take care, then I think that person is even more attached to the animal(s) she or he has chosen as a companion. The thought also crosses my mind that the person mught a little quirky, in a good way. But then some people think I am quirky for loving to care for dogs and cats. So there you go.

When I did psychic readings at Dare to Dream, a metaphysical shop on Harvey Ave. behind Arby’s, Linda, the owner had two canaries in the store. There is something very uplifting, including in a spiritual way, to enter a shop and here the emphatic heart-felt songs of birds.

They were in a cage, of course, so some shoppers were opposed to this. Linda said that the joy most people derived from the warbling throats of these little yellow creatures enormously outweighed those of the minority who frowned on the canaries’ confinement.

The following is an article about a passionate bird-lover:

Gravelbourg Gazette

Wedsnesday, January 26, 1983

House is for the birds

by Tanya Lester

If you happen to be near John Fink’s house in Lafleche and hear a lot of chirping noises, don’t worry about your ears playing tricks on you.

What you are hearing are the songs of some 15 pairs of canaries.

Mr. Fink started raising canaries two years ago. “I always liked birds and two years ago, at Christmas, my kids bought me one so I thought if I had one I may as well have more,” he said. “To me it is very satisfying. I have something to get up for, and it could develop into a profitable business.”

Mr. Fink, who is retired after working 45 years as a teacher, can also “get up” to the songs of the canaries. He has an intercom in his house which is connected to the room off his garage that houses the canaries in cages. Listening to the intercom can alert him to any problems the canaries might be experiencing as his ear is tuned to calls for help if a baby bird, for example, falls out of the nest. Mr. Fink said the males are the singers.

But Mr. Fink spends much of his time actually out in the canary shed tending to his birds. They are fed carrot tops, apples and dandelions or a cake baked with carrots and eggs. Small pieces of white gravel help the birds digest their food.

Mr. Fink finds the breeding of the birds to be fascinating work.

They are bred to develop better colours, song, posture, and virility. The canaries make their nests out of a type of cotton baton which Mr. Fink puts in their cages. Each canary will lay from two to six eggs that hatch in 13 to 14 days.

When one egg is late, Mr. Fink will remove it and replace it with a “dummy egg” made of plastic until the female bird is finished laying all of her eggs. When she is done laying all the eggs are put back into the nest. Then, the bird will sit on all of the eggs for the same length of time so they will hatch together.

Mr. Fink said this is done so all of the young birds will be the same size for feeding. If one of the young canaries is bigger than the other babies that one will tend to eat the majority of the food which the mother supplies. The others will get weak from under nourishment.

The female canary feeds the babies but if this is not possible then the male adult will take on the responsibility.

Canaries were originally imported from the country that is their namesake — the Canary Islands off the west coast of Africa. The birds became popular in Europe and were sold by peddlers travelling from town to town.

A wild canary is an olive green colour with greyish brown stripes. But in captivity, they are cross-bred to produce yellow, green grey, white, frosted, red orange and marble effects.

Mr. Fink houses his canaries in fairly large cages which include two perches each, and a water and food tray. They are clean birds and like to bath occasionally. Next summer he plans to build on to the housing area so the canaries will be able to go out into a sunlit area. As well, he is starting to breed budgies.

Often when Mr. Fink is travelling, he will stop at the local pet shop in a town and buy new canaries to help develop new colour combinations when bred with the birds he already owns. As a result, his birds are often more brightly coloured but yet lower priced then those found in pet shops. He has learned to raise the birds by reading books and through his own experiences with them.

Mr. Fink had always had a knack for raising birds. When he taught school at Bateman, he converted the old school barn into a chicken coop and raised 300 to 400 chickens a year. “I liked to raise chickens and the closest I can come to chickens in town is (raising) canaries.” Mr. Fink said.

Mr. Fink prefers raising birds over any other type of hobby. “There’s life there,” he said. “If I had some other hobby, there wouldn’t be any life to it.”


You can read more posts from Tanya’s blog at tealeaf56.wordpress.com and writingsmall.wordpress.com

Tanya does psychic readings — tea leaf reading and tarot as well as psychic channeling, mediumship and Russian gypsy card readings–, housesits and writes. She is also a reiki master. To access her services, contact her directly at tealeaf.56@gmail.com or call 250-538-0086 or go to her web: teareading.wordpress.com or pages at Facebook, LinkedIn, Google or Twitter.

Tanya’s book are Confessions of a Tea Leaf Reader (which can be purchased from the author or at amazon.com), Friends I Never Knew, Dreams and Tricksters, and Women Rights/Writes. These book are available in some library systems and the last three are in the Legislative Library of Manitoba.