Open Letter to Governments

Dear Municipal, Provincial, and Federal, Governments,

 

After the event last night, I felt that I must write something about the conduct of our government.  This isn’t just about #elbowgate which trended directly after incident.  I am proud to be Canadian.  Canada is Open Letter to Governments traditionally, polite, kind, and reserved.  I have not seen this lately.    This open letter is about how the government acts as a whole.  All governments, municipal, provincial and federal.

After watching the video, I noted that the NDP MP’s were blocking the Conservative whip from getting through to delay to vote.  Then the Prime Minister angrily walks across the floor to grab the whip from the group and pull him out, accidently elbowing a female NDP MP in the process.  Keyword here is accidentally.  What the Prime Minister did is unacceptable, he should in no way have grabbed the whip physically and moved him.  However, at the same time it’s also unacceptable for the NDP MP’s to be trying to block another person physically.  They should equally be ashamed of their actions.  The video didn’t portray upstanding professionals, it portrayed childish behaviour on all parts.  The opposition parties continued to attack the Prime Minister on his behaviour during his apology without acknowledging their actions as well were not becoming of professionals. Unfortunately, a historic apology was made the same morning as the incident that was overshadowed by an event blown out of proportion.

The rise in attack ads seems to be very prominent as of late as well.  I have three children. How do I explain to them that making fun of others or straight out insulting people is unacceptable when the leaders of our country are doing it on a regular basis?  I would love if one of these parties would come and explain why this is acceptable behaviour to my children.  How do they explain it to their own children that they can go to work, insult people and act unprofessional?

I have thought about taking my kids to go see a debate live.  However, I don’t know if I would like to expose them to this behaviour that I see exhibited regularly by our members of government.  I have heard of teachers that have quit taking classes to see debates because of this behaviour as well.  My parents raised me to be respectful and generous to others. Didn’t yours?  This should be a wake up call for governments that how they behave isn’t appropriate, but instead they are too involved with yelling, insulting and being rude to anyone that doesn’t agree with them.

I’m not picking sides or a preference for an individual party in this letter. I am directing this at all politicians.  You are not just the leaders of our country, you are the inspiration for a lot of young people.  Please learn from your mistakes.  Act your age.  Be role models. You are the face of Canada.  You were voted in to represent all of us.  Act appropriately.

 

Sincerely

Matthew Thompson

Stand Up Strawberry Planter

Stand Up Strawberry Planter

Keeping in tune with the “I have very little space in my tiny yard and thus I have to build my garden up” routine, I decided to build a stand up strawberry planter. I started with some fence boards I picked up from my trusty home depot.  Yes they’re pressure treated.

IMG_5371

I wanted more of a crown thing at the top so I cut it pointy.  I used a mitre saw for this at 45 degree angles in case you’re wondering.

 

Standup Strawberry planter

I then cut holes all the way up and down the boards, leaving about an inch and a half on the edges.  Note the lady bug visitor I had. I couldn’t get him/her to fly away or crawl off for a while.  But here is your lady bug interlude.

IMG_5377

Finished boards ready for staining.  Aren’t they exciting looking?IMG_5378

I have a brown and red theme in my back yard.  Note the birdhouse is alternating of those colours.  The birds told me this is their favourite colour scheme.  I assure you I speak bird. IMG_5379

Once dried I laid them down and spread out some fancy landscape cloth.  I stapled them to one end to start with.IMG_5380

 

I measured the total amount of interior space needed and cut the fabric.IMG_5381

Not only did I staple the fabric in but I also included some pieces of wood to help screw the boards together.
IMG_5382

Finished product.  To install I dug a hole and put it in. Then filled up the top with dirt.  Once I pick up some strawberry plants I’ll show a couple shots of it in action.  The fabric allows me to just cut a hole and input the plant. Easy peezy.    IMG_5383

I’m hoping I can make jam later on in the year.

 

Stand Up Potato Planter

Stand Up Potato Planter

Spring has come early here in Saskatchewan. I’ve been steadily scouring the internet for ideas on what to do with my garden this fall.  Upon encountering several posts on stand up potato planters I decided to try my hand at one since I have limited space in my teeny yard.   This is the area I choose to set it up. Right smack dab between my rhubarb leaf bird bath and my trellis that grows beans and tomatoes.

IMG_5354

I am a big believer in reusing things I have.  For instance I do a lot with pallets and thus I had some spears leftover that I didn’t know what to do with.  Hammered into the ground they became an excellent frame.

IMG_5355

I acquired some chicken wire with one inch spacing.  I actually didn’t have this laying around but I found some other uses for it later on so I figured it would be useful to have.  I wrapped it around the frame and connected it with zipties that I got for xmas from Santa.  I’m not sure why I got zipties but I did, and they came in useful today.

IMG_5356

Most sites I read used hair as a layer on the outside to hold in the dirt in the middle.  I didn’t have any on hand so I used leftover grass and other plant material I had around my backyard, including a cut up Christmas tree that I used in another post.  I felt this would sufficiently hold the dirt in the middle.  I used seed potatoes in the middle. Four per row.
IMG_5361

My helper today.  He was really good at filling the middle with dirt.IMG_5362

Once I got to the top of the first row of chicken wire I added a second.  I used the zip ties again and zipped it all together.  Then continued layering of dirt, potatoes, dirt, potatoes and so on.IMG_5366

Here is another overview of the project.IMG_5358

Once I reached my desired height of about one metre I zipped the top all down to hold it in.IMG_5367

Final product.  I’ll take some pictures when it sprouts to show you all.IMG_5369                IMG_5370

IMG_5352

More planting!

I had lots of room on my grow table still and dirt and more coffee grounds etc available. I also wanted more tomatoes so I decided it was time to plant some more since it was still -5 outside.
IMG_5350

The two white containers are for wildflowers.  They will look all pretty.  My fiance will like them. She likes that stuff.  I’m more of a “Can I eat it?!?” kind of guy. The individual ones will be for two varieties of tomatoes.  Little cherry ones and huge ones.  The big brown pot is for broccoli.  I’ve never planted broccoli before so this will be an adventure!  Damian was really into it so I decided why not.

 




 

I used my classic Epsom salt, coffee grounds, and eggshell soil mixture.  Hasn’t let me down yet!

IMG_5351

My little helper aiding in the brocoli plantations.  He was super pumped to do this which is awesome.  Hopefully they work out!

 

IMG_5353IMG_5352

IMG-20160402-WA000

The Great Tree Toppling

I had a Elm tree that had died on my property.  Unfortunatly it was about a metre and a half away from my house and the next door neighbours. Thus it needed to be toppled.  After numerous conversations with the City and the Ministry of the Environment to find out the correct procedures to disposal of a elm tree to fight the evil Elm Beetle, we set to work.

This had been on the agenda for approximately two years now.  My buddy Wes and I had joint bought a pole saw in anticipation of this endeavor and were very excited to do this.  We trimmed off a lot of the larger top branches before we toppled the beast.  Notice we cut a triangle out of the one side to aid in toppling in the correct direction.  With a check to make sure my house insurance was up to date, Wes and Jordan  pulled as hard as their little bodies could on the ropes while I did the final cuts.  Here is a video taken by my lovely fiance of the tree actually falling.

And here is me standing on the fallen beast looking all manly and such. I am cursing myself for not wearing plaid.

IMG-20160402-WA000

We had chain saw issues at the end and me being amazing cut the final bit with a hand saw.  Look! I even wore a safety face shield!

It took 7 trips with a truck to get it all out to the disposal site. Here is the final pile with bonus Wes before it got burned and buried.

IMG_20160403_175422

It was an adventure. Now my living room is much brighter and I don’t have to worry about a dead tree falling on my house.

Thank you to Heather Wes, Tara, Amanda, My father (Happy Birthday), Russ, Paul and Jordan for their help on this!

Hiking Aboot

Hiking throughout Saskatchewan

Hey there!  Been a bit.  I’ve been busy with school, a random ArcGIS contract (yes I do that too) and a minor surgery..  It’s okay. I’m fine.  I know you were incredibly concerned.  I will take as many get well gifts as your wanting to give though!

Do you write? Take photos? I discovered this really neat contest that may be up your alley.  Check it out!

World Around The Campfire Contest

I’ve finally done it and joined the twitter.  You can find me @NomaddadMatt.





There has been a lot of hiking as of late.

This is a poor quality photo of me at Sask Landing Provincial Park.  Note the Saskatchewan: Home of the Sasquatch Tshirt

Nice day.  However right after I took this I ended up running the rest of the trail as a blizzard moved in.  I did have a coat. It’s behind the camera.  If you turn around you can see it.IMG_5343

Then I went to Black Strap Provincial Park.  It was a balmy -20 with the windchill this day.   A little chilly.  But I made it.IMG_20160319_102414

Then the last park I was able to hike was the trails at Echo Valley Provincial Park!  I have camped here probably close to 4o times and for some reasons have never actually hiked the trails.  This first shot is a view of Pasqua Lake from the top of the valley.

IMG_20160329_134048

We enjoyed a hot lunch of spicy bacon macaroni and cheese on my Biolite Campstove. This is the first time I’ve ever used it!  It’s a pretty neat debris burner.  The orange part is a fan that pushes air to the fire.  It also has a USB charger that you can charge devices with. However I think it takes a long long time to changeIMG_20160329_115235

I’ll end with a panorama of  Pasqua and Echo Lakes with the bridge in between.

Here is a link to the Biolite stuff on Amazon. They have a lot of different stuff you can do with it. I’d recommend it for day hikes as you don’t need to carry fuel with you.


Eggshell Seed starters

Eggshells as seed starters

I decided to do an update once I got all my seeds ready to go for the grow table I built.  I saved all my eggshells for a couple weeks and even stole some from other people.  When you’re using eggshells for seed starters try to crack them at the end of one end to lop off the top.  Gives you more room for you and the seeds to work with.

Why eggshells?

I like Easter!  Ok that’s not really the reason.  Eggshells are made from CaCO3.  or Calcium Carbonate.  (Geology nerd infobit:  Limestone is too!) So when you add eggshells to your garden they add calcium as well.  If you think about it this way, eggs are little containers for the nourishment of the embryo.  Should be good for other stuff shouldn’t it?  They are also super convenient to use since they’re a container in themselves and you can put them directly in the ground after.

Other ingredients I use:

Epson Salts – I’m not really sure why.   I have read many conflicting reports on these.  Some say they help growth and some say they do nothing.  I add them just in case.  Plus I bought a gigantic container of them a while back and need to use them up.  A little extra Magnesium isn’t a bad thing anyway.

Coffee grounds – We drink a ton of coffee in this house.  Dark roast, medium roast, with honey, with sugar and milk.  Every combination imaginable.  We get a lot of coffee grounds because of it.  This adds Nitrogen to the soil (N for you chemistry nerds)  Some people add the whole filter and everything to their garden.  I just do the grounds and throw the filter in my compost bin.

Soil – I buy the cheap basic stuff as I’m adding in my own stuff to it.  Also because I am a student and really lack money.  (Hey there’s ad’s on the side!  You should click them and feed a starving student)

All the ingredients to start. I used the coffee tin as a shaker to mix my soil mixture.

All the ingredients to start. I used the coffee tin as a shaker to mix my soil mixture.

Starting the soil mixing process. Step one: add soil. I didn't have the time to go out and break down sediment and apply organic matter etc so I bought the soil from a store.

Starting the soil mixing process. Step one: add soil. I didn’t have the time to go out and break down sediment and apply organic matter etc so I bought the soil from a store.

Close up shot of the ground eggshells I'm using. Credit goes to my son Cole for grinding for me. He had never used a mortar and pestle so this was a big deal. I finished the grinding to make it as fine as I could.

Close up shot of the ground eggshells I’m using. Credit goes to my son Cole for grinding for me. He had never used a mortar and pestle so this was a big deal. I finished the grinding to make it as fine as I could.

The addition of the ground up eggshell.

The addition of the ground up eggshell.


Addition of coffee grounds. These were from that afternoons coffee. Kirkland Dark Roast if anyone is interested.

Addition of coffee grounds. These were from that afternoons coffee. Kirkland Dark Roast if anyone is interested or is looking for birthday ideas.

I unfortunately didn't get a picture of me shaking it but I assure you I did. Then I carefully added the mix to each of my egg containers.

I unfortunately didn’t get a picture of me shaking it but I assure you I did. Then I carefully added the mix to each of my egg containers. To make it more pretty feel free to dye the egg shells first.

Another bonus of eggshells is that you can label them. This one will be a cucumber when it grows up I figured you probably couldn't read my writing.

Another bonus of eggshells is that you can label them. This one will be a cucumber when it grows up I figured you probably couldn’t read my writing.

All done! I didn't have enough shells for all the seeds I wanted to start. Hence the generic seed thing. However I also used eggshells for labels for that one too!

All done! I didn’t have enough shells for all the seeds I wanted to start. Hence the generic seed thing. However I also used eggshells for labels for that one too!

The seed starters in action! Look at them go under that light!

The seed starters in action! Look at them go under that light!

 

Pallet wood TP dispenser

Pallet Toilet Paper Dispenser

 

I didn’t have a toilet paper holder in my main downstairs bathroom.  Thus the outhouse TP dispenser was commissioned.  Not sure if I can commission myself to make something but hey I did!  I built it to hold one of the larger toilet paper rolls and two spares in the bottom.  It was an exciting time.  The child was excited to have toilet paper in a holder instead of just on the counter.

Hey look pallet wood! This is the two sides and the back all cuts to the appropriate sizes

Hey look pallet wood! This is the two sides and the back all cuts to the appropriate sizes

I cut the back two pieces at an angle.

I cut the back two pieces at an angle.

Cutting the boards for the bar that holds the toilet paper. I drilled a hole and cut the rest out with a jigsaw.

Cutting the boards for the bar that holds the toilet paper. I drilled a hole and cut the rest out with a jigsaw.

IMG_5248

 

 

Finished toilet paper bar holder holders?

Finished toilet paper bar holder holders?

FInished the backs and sides. Completed. Put together and all that jazz.

Finished the backs and sides. Completed. Put together and all that jazz.

Adding the bottom. It was starting to come together now!

Adding the bottom. It was starting to come together now!

Sizing the door to make sure the size is good. I cut out a crescent with a jig saw too to make it an authentic outhouse door! Although I've never really seen an outhouse with one. Also wouldn't that enable people to look in? Seems kind of impractical thinking about it now.

Sizing the door to make sure the size is good. I cut out a crescent with a jig saw too to make it an authentic outhouse door! Although I’ve never really seen an outhouse with one. Also wouldn’t that enable people to look in? Seems kind of impractical thinking about it now.

Added the shelf under the roll. I measured out the height of two rolls of toilet paper and placed it there.

Added the shelf under the roll. I measured out the height of two rolls of toilet paper and placed it there.

Guess who's ready for staining?!? Note the door and top are on the left side there...

Guess who’s ready for staining?!? Note the door and top are on the left side there…

IMG_5260 IMG_5261 IMG_5262

Staining is occurring obviously.

 

Finished product. I didn't stain the holder bar for the toilet paper. It's hidden anyways.

Finished product. I didn’t stain the holder bar for the toilet paper. It’s hidden anyways.

The little outhouse in action!

The little outhouse in action!

IMG_5265 IMG_5266

Finished product.

Log container

Log secret container

I decided to see what I could make from my beautiful Christmas tree after I was all done with it.  My first two goals were candle holders and a little container with a swing top.

This is my tree. It was hanging out in the yard for a week or two by this point. The first order of business was to strip all the branches from it.

This is my tree. It was hanging out in the yard for a week or two by this point. The first order of business was to strip all the branches from it.

 

I considered using my reciprocating saw to strip it, only to find out my batteries were all dead. So I went manly man and used my favourite axe.

I considered using my reciprocating saw to strip it, only to find out my batteries were all dead. So I went manly man and used my favourite axe.

The stripping is completed. I now have a pole, and a pile of branches.

The stripping is completed. I now have a pole, and a pile of branches.




I chopped the trunk up in bits and pieces. Ideally it would be best to let it air dry naturally. However, I am lazy so I cooked my wood in my oven. I set it on my lowest setting which was 170F convection bake. They were in there for several hours. My roommates said my house smelled amazing afterwards!

I chopped the trunk up in bits and pieces. Ideally it would be best to let it air dry naturally. However, I am lazy so I cooked my wood in my oven. I set it on my lowest setting which was 170F convection bake. They were in there for several hours. My roommates said my house smelled amazing afterwards!

 

For the container I had cut a thin piece and a thick piece that fit together. You know, for the lid and base. I had two separate designs for the hinge so I made two prototypes.

For the container I had cut a thin piece and a thick piece that fit together. You know, for the lid and base. I had two separate designs for the hinge so I made two prototypes.

 

 

For my first hinge design I didn't want any of it showing on the top. My attempt to line up the hole for the dowel was to stick a small nail through the top and drill a hole through those holes. It worked okay but didn't like up as well as I would have liked.

For my first hinge design I didn’t want any of it showing on the top. My attempt to line up the hole for the dowel was to stick a small nail through the top and drill a hole through those holes. It worked okay but didn’t like up as well as I would have liked.

 

 

My second design was much simpler. I just put both pieces together and drilled a hole straight down through both of them.

My second design was much simpler. I just put both pieces together and drilled a hole straight down through both of them.

 

Time to cut the storage area part. My forstner bits were vacationing at a friends house for a bit so I was left to use my spade bits and my 30 year old drill press.

Time to cut the storage area part. My forstner bits were vacationing at a friends house for a bit so I was left to use my spade bits and my 30 year old drill press.

 

I included this picture to show just how much saw dust came off this project. No.. I'm not wearing a glove. Just throwing this out there but if you combine sawdust, some wax and a muffin wrapper you can make some awesome firestarters. I sense another blog entry in the works...

I included this picture to show just how much saw dust came off this project. No.. I’m not wearing a glove. Just throwing this out there but if you combine sawdust, some wax and a muffin wrapper you can make some awesome firestarters. I sense another blog entry in the works…

 

I am just focusing on the second hinge design now. It worked the best and looked the sleekest.

I am just focusing on the second hinge design now. It worked the best and looked the sleekest.

 

Finished project. The top swings completely around using a dowel. Final sanding is all that's needed.

Finished project. The top swings completely around using a dowel. Final sanding is all that’s needed.

 

Finished candle holder.

Finished candle holder. Probably better than Batman could make. On second thought, no probably not.

Grow Table

Basic Grow Table

This is an adaptation of an old grow table I had.  It’s not hydroponics or anything and just basically has a grow light.  But it was effective.  I altered it and put it back together so I can start my garden indoors soon.  I apologize I used my phone camera instead of my camera camera.  Turns out it’s slightly fuzzy:(  I have learned a lesson!

 

After I chopped the legs off. The plan was to add another shelf as well.

After I chopped the legs off. The plan was to add another shelf as well.

These are the main supports I started with from my old grow table. I needed to put it in a space about a foot shorter so I had to cut off the legs.

These are the main supports I started with from my old grow table. I needed to put it in a space about a foot shorter so I had to cut off the legs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This was the old top. I kept it the same. Cut a hole for the light in the middle. Two two by fours frame the top.

This was the old top. I kept it the same. Cut a hole for the light in the middle. Two two by fours frame the top.

I started with the bottom frame. This was kind of hard to do by myself. However I was successful! Cause I am amazing.

I started with the bottom frame. This was kind of hard to do by myself. However I was successful! Cause I am amazing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bottom two boards attached to the sides. This was by far the hardest part of the whole endeavor

Bottom two boards attached to the sides. This was by far the hardest part of the whole endeavor

Complete bottom frame. I win!

Complete bottom frame. I win!

Top added. It fit on perfectly.

Top added. It fit on perfectly.

 

Total structural frame

Total structural frame together.

Sorry for the blurry flurry. Shaky hand sometimes. Notice I used pallet wood for some of it? It's free and easy to acquire. I use it regularly for a lot of projects.

Sorry for the blurry flurry. Shaky hand sometimes. Notice I used pallet wood for some of it? It’s free and easy to acquire. I use it regularly for a lot of projects. This is where I’m adding the shelf.

 

Complete shelf support.

Complete shelf support.

 

I opted to stretch mesh over for the shelf. I hope that it will let light through to the bottom shelf. It seems pretty stable. We shall see how it works when I get plants ready. The larger ones will probably be on the bottom stable shelf but the top will be good for the starters.

I opted to stretch mesh over for the shelf. I hope that it will let light through to the bottom shelf. It seems pretty stable. We shall see how it works when I get plants ready. The larger ones will probably be on the bottom stable shelf but the top will be good for the starters.

After I stretched the screen and stapled it I used wood glue to further strengthen it. I ran a bead down the sides and smoothed it with a Popsicle stick. Arts and craft time at its best.

After I stretched the screen and stapled it I used wood glue to further strengthen it. I ran a bead down the sides and smoothed it with a Popsicle stick. Arts and craft time at its best.

Finished with the glue. Added the bottom shelf in as well.

Finished with the glue. Added the bottom shelf in as well.

 

 

 

These are the specs off the light I use for my plants.

These are the specs off the light I use for my plants.  I’ll add a better picture in a bit.

Completed with light on top. It is sort of under the stairs to my basement. Hence why I needed to knock it down some. Now I just need to figure out what I want to plant in my garden this year!

Completed with light on top. It is sort of under the stairs to my basement. Hence why I needed to knock it down some. Now I just need to figure out what I want to plant in my garden this year!