Do A Barrel Roll

Friday was a day of yard work. My daughter even helped me set up a couple of planters and some new drainage.

I picked up a couple of half whiskey barrels on sale. Our daughter drilled some drainage holes for me. Afterwards we placed them on either side of our carport. We put some styrofoam about half full followed by some drainage stones and soil.

I dug up a couple of ferns and some vines we had in our yard and transplanted them into the pots. My daughter and I removed the downspouts and set up something different.

My daughter and I cleaned up some old chains and spray painted them gloss black. We hung the chains from the copper spouts and into the planters. We added some stones on top of the soil to help keep the dirt from washing away. Having the chains go from the downspouts will help to drain the water from our roof and keep the pine needles from clogging up the drainage. The final result also changed the look of our home tremendously.

As a small celebration, I enjoyed some “Barrel of Sunshine” afterwords. Having a shot helped me to appreciate the hard work being done all day. I’m excited to possibly try this in other areas of our home.

How is your garden growing these days? Ever plant a whiskey barrel before? Let me know in the comments.

Do A Barrel Roll

Friday was a day of yard work. My daughter helped me set up a couple of planters and some new drainage.

I picked up a couple of half whiskey barrels on sale. Our daughter drilled some drainage holes for me. Afterwards we placed them on either side of our carport. We put some styrofoam about half full followed by some drainage stones and soil.

I dug up a couple of ferns and some vines we had in our yard and transplanted them into the pots. My daughter and I removed the downspouts and set up something different.

My daughter and I cleaned up some old chains and spray painted them gloss black. We hung the chains from the copper spouts and into the planters. We added some stones on top of the soil to help keep the dirt from washing away. Having the chains go from the downspouts will help to drain the water from our roof and keep the pine needles from clogging up the drainage. The final result also changed the look of our home tremendously.

As a small celebration, I enjoyed some “Barrel of Sunshine” afterwards. Having a shot helped me to appreciate the hard work being done all day. I’m excited to possibly try this in other areas of our home.

How is your garden growing these days? Ever plant a whiskey barrel before?

Dad and Darwin Bike Barntson

My wife and I got our Honda Element serviced and back on the road today. Since it was my day off, I decided that I was going to take the car for a bit of a longer drive to work the engine back in. I asked our middle child if she wanted to come with me. So we packed our bikes into the Element and headed to Barnston Island.

We parked by the “ferry” and unloaded our bikes. We packed a couple of water bottles, donned the sunscreen and made our way to the 9.8km bike ride. (Took us 1hr and 4min to complete btw.)

The ferry ride is essentially a tugboat and barge that brought about 5 or 6 cars across with us. Once we got across the water, we took a right and planned our trip. This little island has one road that loops around. Okay- the plan was easy. So we waited for the four cars to go past us and we began our ride.

We went about a quarter of the way before our first pause. We stopped in some shade on the side of the road. We dismounted and chugged back some water. While we were there, the first car in about twenty minutes was driving up to us and slowed down. A kind elderly man rolled down his window and asked how we were doing. I told him we were just stopping for some water. He smiled and drove off. Our only interaction with the residents was very kind and super friendly.

At around the halfway point, we were in direct sun with hardly any shade available. We stopped to get the obligatory photo of the Golden Ears Bridge. The same bridge we went over yesterday on our way to Golden Ears Park for our hike.

Once we returned to the end of the route, we were out of drinking water and feeling the heat. On the ferry, it was just us and another family of cyclists. Back on the mainland- we packed up our bikes into the Honda Element and cranked the AC to cool off.

We had a great ride and I would recommend this bike loop- it’s easy to get around.

If you know of any other family friendly rides, let me know! We are always on the look out for adventures.

Father’s Day 

I’m always writing about my kids.  They’re pretty fantastic little humans.  If it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t be able to celebrate today as a father.  (Go figure.)  Instead of blathering on about my children (again) I’d like to share a single story about my father today.

My father and I.


My father was a hard worker.  He put in long hours at the office, and in his free time he went golfing.  He was transferred from city to city- so he uprooted his family every few years.  Providing an income and a home for his wife and kids was about the extent of his fatherly duties.  In his mind, that was his only responsibilities when it came to raising my sister and I.

“FATHER OF THE YEAR”

Years ago, we lived in Edmonton near a couple of large dirt hills.  In the winter, the neighborhood kids would drag their sleds over and we spent hours speeding down the hills.  In the summer, we spent hours riding our BMX bikes down.  

I was five years old the first summer we lived there.  A group of us walked our bikes to the top of the hill.  The other kids took turns riding down.  That side of the dirt hill had a smooth, gradual slope.  Each of them went a couple of times before realizing I was still at the top with my bike.  I stood with my bike between my legs and was terrified to try riding down the hill.  Then the peer pressure and taunting began.  

I started to walk backwards with my bike wishing to crawl into a corner.  I wasn’t ready to be a daredevil and race down that hill.  I was so scared, I just wanted to go home.  I was still walking backwards and turned away from the other boys quickly.  Soon I was heading straight down the backside of the dirt hill.  My feet dragged behind me trying to slow myself down.  I gripped the handlebars with all my might and tried to steer.  About halfway down- I lost control.

The bottom of the hill hit me fast.  Bloody and bruised, I picked up my bike and hobbled towards my backyard.  From the top of the hill the other kids were screaming out my name, but I didn’t turn around.  My goal was to get home.  I needed my mommy. I was nearly at our gate when my father burst out of the kitchen and down the porch stairs.  I saw him and that’s when I began to cry.  I dropped my bike and ran to him with my arms spread out.

I’d love to tell you that he lifted me up and hugged me.  That he held me tight and whispered that everything was ok.  It would be a fantastic end to a horrible experience for a battered and bruised child.  I’m crying as I write this- because that never happened.

He grabbed my little arm with great force and spun me around throwing me back at my bike.  He made me pick up the bike. He grabbed my arm again and dragged me and the bike back to our home.  As I sobbed he hurled insults at me.  I struggled to break free from his hand, but his grip was firm.  We got to our home and he finally let me go. I ran and hid in the bathroom, terrified of what would happen next.  An eternity must have passed.  I finally gained control over my breathing and looked at myself in the mirror.  Fat lip and bruises on my cheek.  All covered in a mix of blood, dirt and the tears of a scared little boy.  Thanks dad for being there.

To this day, I refer to my dad as an asshole, because that’s how I remember him.  Everyone else thought he was the funniest, nicest guy around.  He was dark and regretted having children.  Trust me- he told me enough times.  

My father gave me a name.


He died before I married and had children of my own.  From his parenting, I take from him many things.  Like how to cook, do home repairs, and drink beer.  From his lack of parenting skills I vowed to be there 100% for my children.  I made promises to never miss a birthday or a special event.  Work would never come between me and watching my children succeed.  Anger would never keep me from pausing for a moment to listen to my children and hug them when they need it.  

In my eyes- I’m the better father than he ever could have been.  He’s been dead for over fifteen years.  But the memories of a frightened child, thirty five years ago, will never forget him.