Vintage Trunk

Last summer we bought a circa 1900 steamer trunk made by L. McBrine and Co. – rather unique having drawers. It was in pretty rough shape, especially the interior with torn and stained fabric.

Since I was repurposing it to use in our living room for my knick knacks I didn’t go for a full restore.  The first step was to strip off the exterior canvas to get down to the pine wood to refinish.

The material inside was attached with wallpaper paste. I soaked the material with water which helped with the removal. I then had to scrape the paste off the wood and then sand. I sealed everything with varathane and gave it all a wax.

I loaded up the drawers with all my goodies and put some of my favourites on display.



When I was an early teen our next door neighbour, a British Colonel in his last days, gave me his banjo. Apparently he had played classical music on the banjo – a little hard to imagine.  Unfortunately I never heard him play but it was a well used banjo. While I tried playing for a while my true love was guitar so the banjo went into storage. Last month I decided to pull it out and see if my preferences had changed at all. The banjo wasn’t in great shape so I did a little restoration work.

The first problem was the skin had split so I ordered a new goat skin to replace the old one.

A new life skill of soaking and stretching the goat skin, a bit of swearing, some spit and polish,
new strings and bridge and it was ready to go

The banjo was made by  J. E. Dallas in London, England between 1893 and 1914.


The restored banjo along with some of my other instruments. My Simon & Patrick acoustic, a 1928 National Triolian Resophonic guitar – the original National guitar, a mandolin c. 1930, a very old classic guitar that someone put steel strings on and needs restoring soon, a hunting horn and an old autoharp.

Winter Eggs

Despite the short daylight hours and colder weather our four new Aracuna chickens are outdoing themselves with their egg production. Even the two older girls living in the “Mini-Coop” in the orchard are laying. So…usually five to six eggs a day in lovely pastel colours. The Aracuna’s in shades of blue and green and the Blue Sumatra/Rhode Island Red mix producing brown eggs.

New Door

For years now I had planned to repair the door to my workshop but I came to realize that the poor old door was too far gone to save. It had fallen victim to a momma bear that was very intent on getting into the workshop and the freezer we used to keep there. In the process she destroyed the octagonal window and removed the bottom panel of the door. Just before Christmas I built the new door and restored the old hardware.

Pieces of the new door with the old door in the background


The new door

The restored door knob

Salvaging a Photo Op

A couple of posts ago I published  “A Walk in the Fall.”  It was an unusual photo in that I usually try not to do much photo manipulation with my work other than what I would normally do in a darkroom. A bit of cropping, exposure corrections, colour balance, etc. With the “Walk in the Fall” photo I couldn’t resist the opportunity to capture the the beautiful mist and sky even though I knew I had to remove a fairly major power line (shown in today’s photo).  Twenty minutes work with ON1 Photo Raw 2018 (I no longer use Photoshop) and I managed to get a pleasing result. Sometimes it pays not to put unnecessary restrictions on oneself.