Saturday, August 2, 2014


          I haven't posted a Blog for some time because I've been so busy writing articles for The Messenger, including illustrating the cover and designing most of the ads.  This month's issue has full colour on the back and front cover, which I think adds quality and interest to the publication.  I'm not sure if this small publication will still be operating after the September issue because the population in the area drops off quite dramatically.  I've considered expanding the distributing area of The Messenger into parts of Woodstock but the production and distribution of this mini-newspaper would be so costly, I'm not sure the advertisers would pay the sharp increase for the cost of an ad.  However, I may give it a test run in the future if I can get more advertisers within Woodstock and the outlying regions - it is, after all - very new, and a work in progress.
          Being the Editor and flunky as well, I am open to any ideas for the success of this publication on a monthly basis.  Also, I would appreciate any output, negative or positive about the article I wrote New Brunswick - Then and Now".  There is a Letters to the Editor column and I am always looking for comments regarding any of the articles, plus whatever a reader may find interesting and informative.  We enjoy working with the different communities helping to get out their events and learning about possible local content that people would enjoy reading, so let me know what is going on in your part of the woods - cheers, eh! 

Thursday, July 3, 2014


          The second issue of The Messenger has since gone to press and has now been delivered to almost 400 rural homes from Canterbury to Forest City, NB and appears to be enjoyed by many.  Since the recent slayings of three RCMP officers in Moncton, an event that quickly went nation-wide, I drew a pen and ink sketch of a mountie holding a flag at half-mast for the cover.  I also wrote a short article as a tribute to the RCMP, which is as follows:
          On June 4th, 2014, three RCMP constables were killed in Moncton, NB, when they answered their call to duty.  Two other officers were injured by the same lone gunman.
          I can remember, when just as a boy, incidents of this nature, if they even existed, were very rare - tragically - now it seems, they are almost everyday occurrences. 
          LIke many people in positions of authority, there are good ones and bad ones, which is too bad because I believe all police officers should be revered and respected - remember - when they are asked to respond to a call for help or just happen to be there when trouble breaks out, they often put their very lives at risk, which the three RCNP Constables, Gevaudan, Ross and Larche did and doing so, they lost their lives.  Also, their families and friends will be tragically affected by their untimely deaths.
          The times they are troublin', may possibly even get worse, and if so, it's still good to know that in these perilous times, maybe a Mountie just might show up on your doorstep.  He won't be wearin' a crimson-red jacket or ridin' a fine horse like in the olden days, but he'll be there - and that's what counts!
          Production of the third publication of The Messenge,r for the month of August, is already in the works.  Since New Brunswick Day falls on the first Monday of every August, I've just finished writing a short article called New Brunswick - Then and Now and sketched another illustration for the cover.  In the last issue, my wife Sarah wrote an article about Gladys Foster, a long time resident of Fosterville and in the upcoming issue she is already writing about another interesting person.  We look forward to other people writing articles as well and are always on the lookout for photos, poetry or anything else readers may like to submit.  We were amazed by many people who read the ads, which were submitted from the State of Maine and have shown a great interest in what is happening there, such as the CLIC Free Island Picnic, Woodie Wheaton Land Trust events and the delicious meals at First Settler,s Lodge.
          I realize nobody wants to think about winter, especially since last winter was so harsh - my back still aches from shoveling so much snow - but I have to turn my thoughts towards that direction where The Messenger is concerned because I'd like to keep it a monthly publication.  As much as people don't like advertisements, it's an essential segment of The Messenger because the printing and postal costs are constant.  However, that being said, we are still trying to incorporate a good portion of the publication to content that our readers will find interesting and hopefully enjoy, whether their views are the same as others or not. 
          We already have some outlets in Woodstock where The Messenger can be picked up or just read while you enjoy a cup of coffee - mainly the Celtic Fox (O'Toole's Gallery) in Grafton or at the Woodstock Farmer's Market downtown.  If there are any other businesses in the Woodstock area or other areas that would like to be an outlet for The Messenger or perhaps run an advertisement, please feel free to get in touch with us by either sending an email to or or phoning (506-894-2420).  
          To see the whole pdf file of The Messenger click on goldenunicornpublishing       

Sunday, June 8, 2014


          At this age, in the sunset of my years, one would think that I would take more time to relax and enjoy my rocking chair (yes, I actually have a rocky chair and it is the most comfortable place to sit in the whole house).  But no, I must have pushed the wrong button on my personal time machine and time warped into a part of my life, when I was consumed with earning a living as a commercial artist.  Although I now paint and write, hobbies of sorts, for a great deal of enjoyment, I've always been fascinated by puzzles, like crosswords for instance, something for my wee brain to play with, like a dog and its bone.  Besides self-publishing a couple of books recently, on a two day whim, I put an 8 page mini-newspaper of sorts together called The Messenger and had it directly distributed by Canada Post to approximately 400 homes.  Of course, to publish such an endeavour does cost money and I was prepared to fund the first edition entirely on my own.  But hey, before I knew it, 10 advertisers paid for spots and I had to increase the number of pages to 12.  Besides the fact that over the years, I always enjoyed designing ads, posters and brochures, etc., since my wife Sarah wanted to let people know about her wee, little cafe out in the boonies of Fosterville and we were going to distribute some posters to let people know about it, I thought a little monthly periodical just might be the ticket, and so far, it's been a good idea.  Not only are we able to let people know what we are up to, they are able to do the same for not very much money.
          Since June is notable for celebrating fathers on Father's Day, and not really having anything to promote that day, I quickly wrote an article about my dad.  I wrote the short article (about 400 words), not to just advertise the fact that Father's Day is in June but also as an example of a memorable person that someone else might know and would think it would be interesting enough for other people to read about.  As editor, I'm looking to fill a certain amount of the pages with interesting content; short stories, poetry, photos, artwork, recipes and community events etc., not just advertising, because then just like many other advertising flyers, unless I am searching for a certain thing to purchase; it immediately becomes a source of starting a fire in the winter to keep us warm.  One person already told me that she read the entire Messenger and really enjoyed it, so with that response and others, I feel this little periodical could become a good thing, which people will look forward to receiving once a month. 
         My wife Sarah is also a big part of The Messenger and without her help, especially in the advertising department, I doubt that I could keep this little periodical going on a monthly basis.  Like me, she is an avid writer and especially enjoys writing poetry.  Like I said earlier, The Messenger was put together in a rush, so to help fill some of the content, she wrote this short poem, also as an example for what other people might like to submit.  
          The photo on the front page was submitted by Mike Saunders, a well known retired photographer who resides with his wife Judy, an avid artist, on the shores of East Grand Lake during the summer months.  Because the population in the Fosterville vicinity drops quite dramatically when the harsh winter storms begin approaching, I'm considering only publishing The Messenger bi-monthly during the winter time-period.  However, that being said, we may still continue to keep it a monthly source of reading because we are considering establishing a larger distributing route into Meductic and possibly Debec.  Also, The Messenger can be found in different locations in Woodstock, such as the Woodstock Farmer's Market and O'Toole's Gallery in Grafton. 
           We look forward to hearing any comments about The Messenger and receiving submissions for publication.  To see the complete first issue of The Messenger, just click on this link - cheers, eh!  

Sunday, June 1, 2014


Blue Moon or Twinkle-Twinkle?
          Over the past many years, I had a few girlfriends and friends that were into stained glass creations, which I sometimes designed but never did any of the actual work of putting it all together like they did.  That being the case, when Sarah, Jessica and I went to visit my daughter Brandi last fall, who lives in Toronto, I visited one of the local stained glass shops and purchased some equipment and supplies; thought I'd give it a try from start to finish.  Any craft looks easy when you watch someone who has been doing it for a long period of time but since I paint and write and am somewhat of a perfectionist when I get creative, I realized that before I would be any good at doing stained glass projects, I would have some problems, which of course I did.  And the funny thing about attempting to do something for the first time is that there is a certain amount of apprehension about whether it will turn out properly and if possibly someone might even like it enough to buy.  Stained glass projects are not exactly inexpensive, so if one is going to continue with that craft, selling some of the pieces is a must as it allows one to purchase more materials; sheets of stained glass, even smaller pieces are quite expensive, depending on the particular type of glass one buys. 
               I haven't decided what the title of my first start to finish stained glass project should be; Blue Moon or Twinkle-Twinkle but either way, it was fun to do.  I got the idea for this stained glass piece from a friend of mine who used to carve small wooden half moons and then hang a small prism from the half-moon's lower point.  Since my friend Sandy Boyd has since died, killed in an auto accident about 10 years ago, I'm leaning more towards Blue Moon and then again, he was a very vibrant artistic man, so perhaps Twinkle-Twinkle is more appropriate.  
          The size of the half-moon stained glass creation is approximately 6" and the star hanging from the upper point on a thin piece of fishing line is a 1" crystal glass prism containing a pinkish tone that was made in Switzerland.   The blue glass is transparent and the whitish glass for the eye and mouth are not so transparent and a patina wasn't applied on the copper foil, everyone seemed to like the silvery look, which I believe is more fitting for this particular piece since the moon mostly appears to be a shiny orb in the night sky.  It's for sale in Sarah's wee coffee shop here at Golden Unicorn Farm and if anyone reading this blog is interested in purchasing it, the price is $50.00 and depending where you live, there could be a shipping charge.  I'm going to start making another one soon, except this one will be a little larger, around 8"in size and it will include a 1" prism star as well (it's actually very beautiful on it's own).
          It's Sunday morning and the sun is shining brightly;small birds singing joyfully can be heard as well - hopefully spring has finally arrived.  I see the wife is up now and the coffee should just be about finished percolating, so it's time for me to head into the house, pour a shot of elephant balls into the hot brew, swirl it around with a spoon and knock it back - cheers, eh!    

Saturday, May 31, 2014


          I'm just turning 73 and depending upon one's view of age; to some, I'm utterly old, aged and decrepit and to others, if they're 90 years of age or older, I'm still on the young side of dying.  As for the way I'm feeling, there are days when I still think I'm just a spry young buck and days when I figure my time has almost run out.  Yesterday, was one of those days when I still felt sort of spry and my time upon this glorious Earth almost came to an end - I suspect elderly old men like myself should refrain from climbing ladders.  
          After arriving home yesterday afternoon, from the Woodstock Farm Market, where Sarah has taken over the little Market Cafe, I decided I had better get the garage door opened before my friend Gerry Ingraham arrived with a load of wood-shavings that I use after I've cleaned out the chicken coop - 72 chickens and one rooster can certainly poop a lot.  Remembering that the remote control door no longer worked properly, it would only go up and down a couple of feet every time I pressed the little button, I knew it would have to be lifted manually. I didn't think it would be much of a problem to remedy; just a matter of attaching a long piece of rope to a metal latch and then pulling the heavy door up and tying it off, so the dang thing wouldn't come down on our heads.  Since the latch is located at the top of the door, I had to climb up about 4' on an 6' ladder to reach it.  However, unsure that just tying a piece of rope to the latch was going to work, I decided to try pulling down on the latch, which had a very short, thin yellow, polyester rope was already attached to it. Steadying myself on the ladder, I applied some pressure to the rope and it looked like it just might work but it would need 2 hands.  So, the ladder seemed to be sturdy enough when I grabbed hold of the rope but what I didn't realize was that the rope hadn't been tied securely to itself, forming a loop, it had only been taped together with some black electrical tape and the glue had dried up, so that short piece of polyester rope was just an accident waiting to happen.  
          If I'd known I was to become a one-man, slap-stick comedy act when I pulled down hard on that blasted hunk of polyester rope, especially with no one watching my antics, I would have just sat down with a cold bottle of beer and waited for my friend Gerry to arrive.  As imagined, when I hauled down with all my strength, the black electrical tape pulled off the end of the rope and as I began to lift off the ladder like Superman doing a backflip off a tall building, I tried to grab hold of the top of the ladder to steady myself.  However, the law of physics being what it is, me and the ladder took to flight.  It all happened so quickly and I was flying to the ground backwards, without any way of breaking my fall, I suddenly felt and heard a loud smack to the backside of my head when I landed in a heap on the floor.  Everything went black for a second or two and I was afraid to move.  Falling 4' feet is not a great height but when the garage is filled with work tables, feed barrels, a snow-blower and other dangerous paraphernalia when one is in flight looking up, rather than looking down, I was a little fearful about getting up.  So, while I was laying on my back, my head ringing like a church bell on Sunday morning, I checked to make sure my legs, arms and neck were still able to move properly.  Except for the growing bump on the back of the head, everything else seemed to be in proper order.
          What I really found amazing was just how comfortable it was laying on the garage dirt floor.  And what was really amazing was when I stood up and looked down to where I'd fallen; the location momentarily took my breath away.  I had landed between a metal work bench and the snow-blower on a bunch of empty feed bags I'd stuffed between them.  When I was flying through the air ass-backwards, my head just missed by mere inches, the steel corner of the table on one side and on the other side, another steel corner of the snow-blower.  The smack I received to the back of the head was from the handle of a snow-shovel, which had been leaning against the snow-blower; how lucky was that?  To me, it was like a mini-miracle, a couple of inches either way and I would have been critically injured or killed.  My wife Sarah was upset with me because she said it most likely would have been a long time before anyone found me and she wasn't too happy either when I said, "But Gerry arrived about 3 minutes after it happened, so I wouldn't have laid there very long and if I was dead, it wouldn't make any difference."
          Amusing or not, after Gerry and I unloaded his half-ton truck, which consisted of 2 huge bags of wood-shavings, I decided it was time for a cold beer - actually, being so grateful that everything ended so well, no trip to the Emergency Room at the hospital, no broken bones and no undertaker needed, I toasted to my good health by knocking back 6 cold beers - cheers, eh!

Sunday, May 18, 2014


          It seems that some of the people who read this blog were somewhat curious what I meant when I wrote about "elephant balls".  Well, let me tell you, there's just nothing like a hot mug of coffee on a Sunday morning, especially when it's fortified with a double shot of Amarula Cream.  I was first introduced to this delicious tasting liquor at my brother's 60th birthday party, which lasted for 3 days, about 4 years ago.  A mutual friend of ours (Mark) invited me into his motor home for a good-morning-coffee, which he called "elephant balls".   He apparently likes this drink so much, he buys it by the case, so lucky for me, I spent quite a lot of time visiting Mark; there just wasn't enough coffee-breaks in the day.  From what I understand, elephants have been known to get drunk munching on the marula fruit, once it becomes fermented.  I have an idea how much I would have to consume in order to become somewhat tipsy -, but an elephant - I suspect a 45 gal. drum filled with Amarula Cream might suffice and then again, maybe not.  Hard to imagine a drunken elephant staggering around the African plains and leaning against trees would not be a good idea either; more than likely knock them down.  Can you imagine the hangover an elephant would have the next morning; talk about a mind boggling headache - makes my head throb just thinking about it.  Unfortunately, this Sunday morning (today) when I went to the liquor cupboard to accent my coffee, I discovered the bottle was empty - maybe like my friend Mark, I should consider buying it by the case - I wonder if it costs a little less then?
           Sarah opened up our little coffee shop in Fosterville this long rainy weekend, which was odd because we kept hearing on the radio, how sunny it was but it must have been somewhere else in New Brunswick.  Quite a few people came in over the past two days but I expect the weather was somewhat of a detriment because not as many showed up as they did this time last year.  However, the Community Centre held a bacon and eggs breakfast by donation yesterday, so I'm sure that would be another reason for the lack of customers.  But that's the way it goes here, one never really knows how many people will grace our doorstep on any given day; some days there's hardly a soul and others, there's sometimes a line.  
          I had a couple of black flies buzzing around my face a couple evenings ago; must be scouts reconnoitering for the impending hoard that will soon be attacking in full force.  Time to don the mosquito netting and arm myself with a fly-swatter or wear a turbocharged fan on my head to blow the pesty insects away.  Oh well, not too much I can do about them and at least it's basically warm again; there isn't any snow to shovel. 
          Tomorrow is a holiday but to me, it just seems like any other day.  Although I don't have a regular job, it doesn't mean I don't have jobs to do.  However, that being said, if it's still pouring rain, instead of doing some of the outside chores, I do believe I'll do some spring cleaning in my studio, like put a lot of stuff away and washing the floor, including the stairway - tramped in a lot of chicken shit and mud over the course of the winter.  I'm so pleased that I'm able to let the chickens out now; their coop stays so much cleaner and drier too, so I don't have to clean it quite as often as during the winter and, they are laying a lot more eggs.  
          Lately, I've had a real itch; an itching to get a little creative once again.  It's been almost a year since my painting juices were flowing with ideas and it will be good to pick up a brush once again.  Although, that being said, my wife Sarah and daughter Jessica have just put dibs on my last two blank canvases; seems the creative mood is catchy; but that's a good thing isn't it?  However, I have a large painting that I started several years back that I should finish.  I've put a helluva lot of time into it and I'd hate to die before it's done and have someone else attempt to complete it - I have a hard time rolling over now and I expect it's even harder when I'm lying 6' under, if I didn't like the way they finished painting it.  Guess it's time to attempt to sidestep the raindrops and head into the house - I can't enjoy my "elephant balls" but I do believe a Caesar is in order - cheers, eh!           

Sunday, May 11, 2014


          Sunday morning is here once again.  At this age and having been a long time since I had a job-job, you know the kind I mean; 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, Sunday just seems like any other day of the week.  There was a time, so long ago now, but I still remember those Sundays, when my stepmother would make me scrub myself squeaky-clean, put on my best clothes, give me a dime for the collection plate and send me off with my two sisters to church.  As I sit here, just closing my eyes and feeling the warm sun shining through the window and thinking back to those times, I can almost see the United Church minister dressed in black, wearing a white clerical collar as he leans over the altar looking down at a row of us little boys and girls saying, "It's time to sing, "Jesus loves me!" and hear the soft rumble of people beginning to stand.  In those early years, Sunday School was a must and even then, I had doubt and questions concerning whether there was really a God or not?  My eyes still shut, I drift a little further ahead to when I was about 12 or 13 and my sisters and I went to stay with their grandfolks at New Sarepta, Alberta for our summer holidays. I really enjoyed that summer on their large farm, filling my belly with Saskatoons, riding large workhorses and playing Huckleberry Finn on a small raft I discovered floating at the edge of a large pond.  
          My mother's parents had come from Germany and still had very heavy accents, at times, difficult to understand, especially when they got mad at me.  One day, not sure if it was a Sunday or not, while poling my way across the tea-coloured pond on the dilapidated raft, I noticed a huge black cloud approaching from the west.  Filled with lightning and roaring its discontent, realizing I would most likely soon be caught in a deluge of pelting rain or perhaps even hail, I leaped off the raft and ran towards the safety of the huge barn that was situated a short distance from the house.  Just barely missing the rain, I raced inside the large open doorway and quickly clambered up a wooden ladder to the hay loft.  As I lay in the soft broken bales of hay, looking out a small doorway used for loading the loft with bales of hay and straw, at the almost black sky punctuated with slashes of lightning, listening to the cracks of thunder and pounding rain overhead, I heard a strange moaning sound below me.  After quietly creeping to the edge of the loft, I carefully peered over to see what was making the eerie noises.  Being an inquisitive boy with an imaginative mind, expecting to perhaps see some sort of a monster or wild animal below, I was more than a little taken aback when I saw our grandmother kneeling on the ground, her hands tightly clasped together and pointing towards the heavens.  For someone who believed in God so much, I couldn't and still don't understand why she looked so frightened and frightening at the same time.  However, probably because she was soaking wet, her extremely long black hair containing streaks of grey, which was pasted to her tiny, skinny body and the tears that were streaming down her deeply lined face while she writhed around on the dirt floor, to me, she looked like a witch screaming incantations in German.  The storm blew away in a very short time and as much as I wanted to immediately return to the raft, I waited until I knew I was completely alone.  I never mentioned what I had witnessed to anyone, especially not my sisters, because the last thing they wanted to believe was that their grandmother was a wicked witch. 
          To this day, I'm not sure what I believe about God and have on occasion gone to church to sing the hymns and pray the prayers.  I usually have a good feeling when I come away from a church after mingling with the people; there's something about family that comes to mind.  And speaking of family, this fine Sunday morning, it's time to go into the house and greet my wife, who I'm sure by now has a a hot pot of coffee percolating on the stove.  Yes, there's nothing quite like the aroma of coffee in the morning and adding some "elephant balls" to it, gives coffee a whole new meaning - time to chug one back - cheers, eh!