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Fireworks at Big Bear Lake

Staying up in Big Bear on the 4th July provided some reprieve from the fireworks that we usually get at our home. We traveled there soon after the Huntington Beach Parade, taking all backpacking gear, the dogs and our tired feet. Thankfully all the packing had been done previously, all we hoped for was a clear run without any drama on the freeway.

On the 4th it can be, to say the least, busy but to our astonishment it was an easy drive taking only a couple of hours to get there. Many of the travelers had already reach their destination leaving us late revelers a peaceful drive. Continue reading Fireworks at Big Bear Lake

Summer Landscaping

Well, the summer project is underway and this is by no means a small one. The main emphasis is on landscaping my mother-in-laws yard at the mobile home that she now lives in. Her house of near on 40 years was far too big for one person and the stint at the senior living complex was not conducive to “living” so here we are at a scaled down version of her previous home.

Mobile homes have come a long way and this one at barely 10 years old has all that you could get in a regular house except “it’s mobile” you can put it on a trailer and move it to where you want. Anyway, I don’t know too much about mobile homes so I’ll get on and we’ll talk about the plans that we came up with on the yard.

The first priority was she wanted a small raised planter that would give enough ground to plant tomatoes and perennial flowers. The rest would be colored pavers and rock to minimize the amount of maintenance required together with ornamental flower pots. The side of the property would be rock with strategically place pavers, flower pots and an arbor with a gate that would lead to the somewhat private back yard. This was all quickly sketched out on a piece of paper but the details would be left to me and as I have said in previous posts, providing you do have an idea the details will come as the job progresses.

This mobile home was situated on a plot that had an east west aspect, that is, the front was facing west so the sun would stream in the front at late afternoon. The back where the planter will be situated will have sunlight during the first half of the day before falling into shadow. The main concern was not having enough sunlight for the plants but there was little option for anything else, this was the only place it could go. A raised planter would give a little additional light to the plants before succumbing to the late afternoon shadow so we had to decide on how tall it would be. Continue reading Summer Landscaping

Planning For New Year, 2007

As we stare 2006 in the face, now is the time to reflect and contemplate what changes will make a difference for the coming year, 2007.

For me 2006 has been one of the busiest years that I can remember for a long time. My involvement in the automotive industry as Sculpting Manager has left little free time this year to fully immerse myself into my hobby of carving Welsh Lovespoons so the output has been significantly down, even the partially carved spoons that I have spoken about languish in the garage craving for attention. So, in an effort to bring a perspective to this coming year end, what is the plan for the New Year.

I tend to plan BIG, but then I remember I have two children under the age of five which instantly deflates the grandeur of the scheme leaving me with a few scrapes of an idea that I would like to accomplish, therefore let’s plot it out for all to see. Continue reading Planning For New Year, 2007

Santa Ana Winds Reward

The first winds of the fall season took full effect on Wednesday 18th October at my place of work, not that they were the strongest winds that I have encountered but the California Pepper tree that was planted in the grass median did not fair well. The fact that it had been planted over an existing foundation left very little room for the root system to drive deep to secure a sturdy foothold and the constant watering of the surrounding grass only made for the underlying soil to turn to mush. This was quite evident by the way the surface roots were flexing and it was only a matter of time before this superb tree would fall to the ground. The supporting poles that had been placed for that same said reason last year had already cracked at the base and to add additional poles would have been futile considering the stability of the under soil.

As I pulled into the parking lot that day I had an inkling that today would be the day that it would fall. The root system was more prominent than usual, probably due to the prevailing winds and I thought to myself that it would not be possible to save this tree if it fell, the weight would be too great to lift and support it back in place. I made a mental note to myself, when it does eventually fall I would have some of the cuttings for my carving projects, when the chain saw is called to reduce this tree to logs. Continue reading Santa Ana Winds Reward

Discovering More Time

If I had to start my blog again image, courtesy of

Darren Rowse of latest group writing project has stimulated both seasoned blogger and novice blogger to delve into the heart of the matter and question “What if I had to start my blog over again.” Now this very question will place doubt in the most seasoned veteran because the very existence of our blog is being questioned. Is it the right subject, the right niche, do people find the content amusing or educational. Is the design appealing or down right boring. These many questions are racing through my mind/our minds when several days ago this was not even an issue, well not in a sense where it was at the forefront of any current discussion. Continue reading Discovering More Time

Clark Foam is Still Available!!

Much to the surfing world’s dismay Clark Foam shut its door for good last December without the real story ever surfacing. Gordon Clark the owner, just said it was environmental issues coupled with labor and safety code regulations.

Now those people who were employees or extremely close friends of the company, they had the distinction of wearing the Clark Foam T-shirts, unavailable to the rest of the world making them very exclusive. Today we find that these rights have been gained by a Capistrano Beach, long time surfing entrepreneur Allan Seymore.

This famed blue and white T-shirt worn by the few is now being made available through retail surfing stores only. For those in the know this represents the end of an era, an icon from the past. Still, the exclusivity of the shirt is with the surfing community with no intention of it being available outside your local surf shop. Like I said Clark Foam is still available be it only as a T-shirt!!!

Postage Increases on Sunday!

If you still tend to send your bills by mail like I do, don’t forget, Sunday 8th January 2006, the rate will increase by 2 cents to 39 cents for first class mail. For every ounce after that it will be an additional 24 cents.

When you think about it, it’s still a great deal, when you can send a letter from California to New York for 39 cents! I’m sure there will be the usual moaning about the increase but this is the first since 2002. Profit must have slowed down especially with the energy prices going through the roof. You still have to transport the mail somehow.

If you are sending mail Internationally as I do, the rate is also affected on Sunday so be sure to check the rates out. My airmail cost to the UK has gone from 80 cents to 84 cents for the first ounce so several sheets of 2 cent stamps are going to fill the void until I get the new airmail and first class stamps.

Happy New year

Here we are at the beginning of another year and of course we should set ourselves some sort of New Years resolution. Ideally I would like to begin by improving the amount of posts that I make during this year, not meaningless posts but posts of substance that may be viewed more than once by people such as yourselves who may be reading this article right now. Continue reading Happy New year

Surfboard Aftermath

Since the announcement of Clark Foam closure, the surfing world has been sent into panic with bulk buying of surfboards with the Clark floatation core. Prices have increased by 20 percent and some surf shops are limiting customers to a one board purchase only. Professional surfers are now going easy on their own personal boards to ensure that their livelihood doesn’t suddenly come to an abrupt end. Surf shops are enjoying the sudden surge of buying at a premium price but once the stock is gone, what’s next.

Who will take up the slack you may well ask with this humongous void being left to be filled. Maybe it will be Walker Foam, a long time competitor and now possibly the leading maker to fill Clark’s boots. Other possible candidates are Just Foam of San Clemente and Maxi Wetland of South Africa, who ever it is, they have some mighty big shoes to fill.

Either way, there is a big lesson to be learnt here, never put all your eggs in one basket, you never know what’s around the corner.