Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Here are some carvings I finished earlier this summer but could not show you then because they were both gifts.

This first one was of a old Russian lady I seen in a newspaper article, I called it "Babushka", Russian for grandmother. It was a gift to my wife's sister's family, who has two adopted girls from Russia.

The other was for my wife's other sister's family, her husband has firefighter ties.

They were fun to do, and fun to give away. I've got some great in-laws and it's fun surprising them.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

The Sissies

Dateline 12/20/08, Allendale Michigan. A "severe" winter storm has hit the state leaving us all reeling and stranded in its wake. HA, sissies, look at me in the picture the snow is not even up to my knees, and they call that a storm?

This is going to date me, but I remember the winter of '77, now that was a snow storm. It was a total white out for three days solid, not man nor beast was out in that blow. Ok, so there was some one out; my dad, a co-worker and myself.

You see, my dad was one of those people that believed that if it was a work day it was our responsibility to make it to work, so off we went. The other guy, Bob G., picked us up in his truck and we headed for Hudsonville, at a crawl. M-45 was bad enough but when we got to 48th Ave. the road was completely drifted over, but did that stop us, shoot no we're from Michigan and it's only snow! Now 48th runs north and south and had some large open fields, which made those stretches of road even worse and one of these spots was just before the town of Bauer and that's where we got stuck, right out in the open blizzard. We piled out of the truck and with Dad and me pushing we managed to get moving again, only to break the fan belt, which was kind of a good thing because we had to hang out by a warm fire while the truck was fixed. Oh, we did make it to work that day, a little late, but we made it.

So anyway, the weather people these days seem to be always shouting doom and gloom when a storm heads our way but remember, it can always be worse, and after all we live in Michigan we can take it!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Ho Ho Ho!

I just finished a new carving that I wanted to share with you. Each year I try to do a new Santa, some of them are my own ideas and some are patterns from carving magazines. The one I carved this year is a pattern by Mark Gargac I got in Woodcarving Illustrated. I started with his basic idea and tweaked it to mark it my own. He was a fun one to do and I gained some experience carving beards, hope you like him.

I have some of my Santa carving at Season's Flowers on Chicago Drive in Grandville, this guy is headed there today.

Friday, November 7, 2008


After being on this earth for fifty years I have come to realize what I can and can't do. It has taken a lot of trial and error but there are certain jobs around the house I simply can't do. God has gifted me with me with many talents but one that is not on the list is car mechanic.

Lord knows I've tried, I've fumbled through replacing water pumps and starters, head gaskets, brake pads, thermostats and numerous other parts I couldn't point out on a drawing, only to ask myself, "what am I doing?" Every once in a while someone comes in the store where I work needing help and it soon becomes obvious they have no clue what they are doing and should pay to have someone do the work for them. That's me and cars! The other day the "check engine oil" light came on in my truck,"oops that's not good", I thought, but at the same time I'm thinking "oh no, more car work". As I lay there under the truck the next day it came to me, this is as in depth as I want to get with automobiles, from now on changing oil is as far as it goes, period.

Oh yea, one more thing, my truck has been smelling hot up front, is that bad?

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


What is it about the English language that some words seem to have more meaning than others? I was just thinking that this Saturday is November 1st, October sounds like a fall month but the name November has connotations of lateness, like the year is almost done, and it just sounds cold.

And that got me to thinking are there other words that may have similar connotations? I suppose your own personal history comes into play in a way, for example "home" for me is a warm comforting word, but I had a good upbringing, for others it may be different. Does all this make sense to you or am I just babbling?

Other words that came to mind-

If this makes sense to you see what you can add.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Point of Change

Two weeks ago my wife and I went on a two day color tour up the coast of Michigan. We had planned the trip back in the middle of the summer and tried to guess when the color would be best, as it worked out we were a little off. The weather did not cooperate and the trees were slow in changing, we did see some pretty trees but it was sporadic. At first I was a little bummed we had done all that planning only to see so little color, but the more I thought about it I realized maybe we were seeing something even more special, "The Point of Change".

You see, anyone can go out in the fall and see all the nice color, of course you have to be in the right part of the country, but how often do you get to see the time at which the change is actually taking place? A plant grows in your garden and you marvel at the pretty flowers, but have you ever seen it when the seed first breaks free of the soil and sends a shoot in the air, that's what I'm talking about, "The Point of Change". Mari and I were witnessing that point on our color tour and it left an impression on me.

I have always been in awe of God's handiwork in painting the Fall landscape, science can explain how it happens but only God can make it happen! As we drove along admiring the changing scenery it made me think about the point of change God can makes in our lives too.

You see, all who believe in Jesus as their savior were at one time like the green trees, blending in with the world around them. Then God, "who chose us in him before the creation of the world" (Eph. 1:4), touched our hearts, our "Point of Change", and we became the trees that were turning color. We do not change all at once but gradually over time, and the change in our lives is not to draw attention to ourselves but to bring glory to God who brought about that change.

As I looked at the trees I wondered, what color am I, how far along is my color, do I stand out? I have made it a point to be more intentional about my spiritual life and let my colors show!

How about you, are you bringing the glorious color of Jesus to the world around you, or are you just blending in? Are you still green? Get a Bible and read the book of John and ask God to touch your heart too.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

People still do that?

I had this past week off from work and one of the things I wanted to get done was to split and stack a pile of wood I had cut last summer. Now working at a hardware store, and being a tool junkie, one would think I would rent the latest and greatest powered wood splitter, a pull behind with a small diesel motor able to snap a whole tree in one pass. But no, something in my head said to do it the "old fashion" way, (ok, maybe I'm a little bit of a tight wad), so here's what I used.

Yea, I hear what your thinking, "people still do that?" As I got the axe out I was thinking the same thing, "what am I doing, this is going to hurt later, am I to old for this?" But I have to tell you, once I got started it was fun! Sure it took a few swings to get the hang of hitting the metal to wood and not wood handle to wood but I soon had split wood flying every which way. It was very tiring, but it took me back to an earlier time when men needed to do this, when men earned a living by the sweat of their brow...and it made me feel good.

So here's the finished pile, not a lot of firewood but enough to keep the wood shop warm for a winter. And for you guy out there that are thinking, "that's not a splitting axe!" I know, but my last one broke and this was on clearance for less than a new handle, plus it looks cool!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Run Forrest Run!

As I get older I am learning to laugh at things I do that in the past would embarrass me. Well the other day one of those "laughable" times happened.

I was leaving for work one day last week, got down the road and around the corner when I noticed a garbage container sitting by the road. Suddenly I realized "oh no, it's garbage day, I forgot to put out the trash! Quickly I pulled in to a drive way and turned around. As I pulled up to the garage I turned the truck off but left the lights on so I could see what I was doing, (it was still dark out). I got out, grabbed the trash can and turned around to pull it to the road. As I started walking I noticed to my horror that my truck was going to beat me to the road! The truck is a stick shift and I absentmindedly left it in neutral! I was so glad it was early and dark out because the sight of me franticly running down the driveway trying to catch my runaway truck had to be quite a sight. I had visions of my little bomber in the neighbors yard or bent around a tree but luckily I stopped it before any of those things happened.

So I hope you get a good chuckle out of this, and from now on I think I'll have Heather be responsible for trash day.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Fallen Fall

It was a day like all the others that came before it, too much work and too little fun, but this day would prove to be different. The realization didn't take long to set in either, the sleep was hardly gone from my still foggy head. I'd gone thru the motions of getting ready that morning and I was heading out the door. As I stepped outside the cold air hit me in the face like a sledgehammer, it sent my mind reeling, "No, it can't be, not already!" Franticly I fumbled for my cell phone and looked up the date, my worst fears were confirmed, Fall had fell in Michigan.

Yea, I know it's kind of corny, but it felt that way, I am not ready for the summer to be over. I had so many plans for this year, a whole list of things to do. This post is also a bit of a confession as well, at the start of the summer I made promises of things I planned on doing for my improvement too.

Ok, here goes -

Every year I make plans to expand the flower beds in my yard. I love getting out and planting thing and watching them grow. This year I had intended to put in a bed of ornamental grasses in the back yard where the old dog house was. I did get the dog house removed and some weeds pulled, but thats as far as it got. Below you can see the empty spot in the middle of the picture where the grasslands was meant to be.

At the beginning of the summer I made a promise to my self that I was going to get more exercise, (it was also one of my first blogs.) I fixed up my old 10 speed bike and was riding at least two days a week, at first. Then the old Schwinn started to show it's age when the rear derailer cable broke. Yes I know, bikes can be fixed, I could have ridden Andy's bike, I FAILED OK! There, I said it, good intentions and broken promises.

There were other things I had planned but I won't get into them here, you get the idea. You are probably by this point wondering what could have kept me so busy for almost five full months so that I had no time for the other things. I had a list, you see, all the plans neatly lined up in a nice column, but one plan one little word had to be the center of attention, that menace was "kitchen". Those of you that visit my wifes Blog, (marislittlecorner.blogspot.com), know what I'm talking about, for the rest of you it's still too painful for me to talk about. Redoing that room took away my whole summer, whoosh gone! Ok, it did need it and it turned out great, and oh yea, the wife is happy too.

So I du-know, wasted summer? I don't think so, different than what I planned, yea maybe. There's always next year. Yea, I can see it now...

Monday, September 15, 2008

Tastes Like Chicken?

I've been out of school for many years now, many many years, and I think I enjoy learning now a lot more than I did then. I like watching the Discovery and History channels as well as reading about science and history.

One of the curious things I learned some time ago was about certain habits of the praying mantis. At the time I thought, oooookay that's gross and tucked it away some where in my head. Well last week I came face to face with this particular action in progress. What was it you say?

It happened like this.

It was a day like many many other. I was at the store working when I had to got out the back door for some task or other. This door faces east and the brick was being warmed by the sun. I finished my business and headed inside when to my horror what did I see on the side of the building but two praying mantis. Now this in itself was not the frightening part for there were several mantis scattered on the brick, but what these two were doing... oh the humanity.

You see, one of the facts I learned and stored away was about the mating habits of the praying mantis, after they do the hokey pokey the larger female grabs hold of the smaller male and makes a feast of him! There before my eyes was large green and brown mantis with a partly eaten male in her claws! My thoughts immediately went to the other mantis guys on the wall. "RUN", I thought, "She's not that attractive". I don't know if any of them fell for her wiles but I did wonder, do they taste like chicken?

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

This has gone far enough!

Ok, here we are in the kitchen re-do, week 592, (or something like that), I've been slaving my life away trying to finish that room so my future grandchildren won't have to and now it's finally happened. Getting a huge scar on the top of my head was bad enough but now I have to deal with the repercussions of this.

The other night I started scraping the old linoleum off from the floor, using a scraper on the end of a long handle. It was coming off but some parts needed a little more pressure and by the time I was done and took my gloves off what was on my thumb? Yea, you got it, a great big blood blister.

Hideous isn't it. No more hand modeling for me, I'm doomed to a life of menial labor. Thank goodness the kitchen is almost done, this has gone far enough!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

An update on my sanity, er, the tile job.

I thought you might like to see that I have over come in the battle with the tile back splash. They put up a good fight, cracking every time I looked at them funny, (I know, that's the only way I can look, funny) but in the end I emerged as the victor. Here are a few pictures.

I still have to put on the sealer after it has dried for a few days, and caulk the edges, but the worst is done. Now on to the floor!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Ok, this is getting old.

It's been awhile since I posted so I thought maybe I'd let you all know what's been occupying all my time.

If you've read my wife's Blog (marislittlecorner.blogspot.com) at all you know that we've been fixing up our kitchen. The re-do started back in the early 1800's, at least it feels that way, with the floor cabinets being changed to make room for a dishwasher, something we never had. The painting was next, walls and cabinets,which included stripping wallpaper, sanding the cabinets then priming and two coats of paint. Funny, writing it makes it sound so quick and easy but it was not! After the paint came new laminate on the counter then the new sink and faucet went in, with new plumbing to hook up the dishwasher, which is now running praise be!

That takes us to the present, and todays fiasco, tiling the backsplash. With every step came a new set of problems, this one involves three outlets in the backsplash. This morning I started lying out and cutting the 13" square tiles to fit the space on the wall. This went quite well thanks to a nice big wet saw and I was done by noon. After lunch I thought, "all I have to do is cut three little outlet holes and I can put up the tiles, I'll be done by supper!" Ha! Should have seen it coming.

Well, several dull and broken bits, four cracked tiles and a few more years off my life and the outlet holes still are not cut. Yea, this is getting old.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Chuck Who?

Sunday's for me are a day of rest, time off from work to be able to go to church and relax at home.

Well this past Sunday was not as restful as I would have liked. Oh, it started off nice enough, a good service at church , a good meal at home, I was even alone since my wife and daughter were at work . But shortly after noon the piece and quiet came to an end. I was all relaxed sitting in my chair watching TV when I heard a light scratching on the front door, which was right behind me. I ignored it at first thinking that it was probably the cat, excited that the neighbor cats were outside. But the noise kept up and was getting louder so, getting annoyed with our cat, I got out of the chair with the intent of swatting her away from the door. When I stood up and turned around what should be staring at me thru the full length glass screen door but a woodchuck! Yes, I said WOODCHUCK, Marmota Monax, just like the furry little devil in the picture above. Now what this rabid little beast was trying to do I don't know, maybe trying to beat up his reflection or break in and chew my legs off, only he could tell you, but I new he was NOT coming inside. Soon he bored with his frantic scratching and waddled off the steps and around the corner of the house out of sight, whew! my bony legs were safe!

Now, unlike my wife who is the perfect blogger, I was so startled that I never thought to grab a camera, (a gun did cross my mind), so unfortunately I have no pictures of Chucky but I do give this warning - if your door bell rings and you see this face staring in the window

close the blinds, turn of the lights and be real quiet, maybe he'll go away.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

"All I Vont Is a Little Blood"

Those of you that know me know that I love to spend time in my yard. This is the time of the year that all the work pays off and you get to enjoy the view, the flowers blooming, the beds you planted filling in nicely, all that stuff. There is work to do, the normal weeding and dead heading, (cutting the old flower heads off, I'm not beheading neighbors), also I normally try to put in a new bed each year.

Well this year has been a struggle. I had great plans to put in a planting of different grasses. I got the old dog house out of the way, killed the weeds and then came to a screeching halt. You see , we have this kitchen project going on. It started out as a paint job and is turning into a generational burden, my children's children will still be working on it.
So the inside work goes on and the outside waits.

But now a new evil lurks keeping me from my beloved gardening, Vampires. Yes, those blood sucking menaces that hide in the shadows. Ok, so they're not wearing capes and sleeping in coffins they're mosquitoes, but they are trying to drain me of my life's fluid, so much so that outdoor work is almost impossible, just a walk around the yard has to be done at a brisk pace so as not to lose a pint or two to those leaches of the air.

So life goes on, as humans we learn to adjust, to fit into our surroundings. Me, I think I'll take up Bonsai.

Monday, June 23, 2008


Several years ago I was down in Dallas for work when one of our Reps. took us to a restaurant called Texas de Brazil. If you've never been to one they have the best food. We had this "all you can eat" course thing where they keep bringing you meat until you stop them. The meats are on a long skewers and they just slide it off on your plate. They were all different, pork, chicken, various cuts of steak. There were a few of the selections that had bacon wrapped around them and boy were they good!

Since then I've always wanted to try grilling some bacon wrapped steak, well today was the day! I started by cutting up steak into small pieces,wrapped them with the bacon and shoved in two of those metal pokers then tossed em on the grill.

The grilling was a little tricky, you have to cook it long
enough to get the bacon done all the way but being careful of flare ups. The results are worth the effort, (of course anything with bacon on it has to be good), they were mmmm good. Next I have to try bacon wrapped chicken!

Here's the way they turned out, looks good eh?

Friday, June 20, 2008

Whew! This is work!

Ok, I've decided that even though my birth certificate can prove that I'm 50, I'm going to fight it, after all there is a young guy inside of me and he doesn't want to live in a old man's body!

So where is this going? Well I've been told for awhile now that I should be getting some exercise, and yes I know it's good for me, but it's just tough after being on my feet all day to go out and take a brisk walk, uh- uh no fun. So last week I was cleaning up the garage and noticed my old bike hanging in the rafters, I thought, yea, I could do that, so down it came. I cleaned it up, put new tubes and tires on it and took it for a spin. It still works, and you know what, so do I!

So here I am, a middle aged man bent over a 1970's Schwinn 10 speed peddling my heart out, getting my exercise a couple days a week and I've found out something...Whew! This is work!

(Ok, so that's not me in the picture but he looks better on a bike!)

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Buried Another One

I believe everyone should have a hobby, unrelated to their vocation, that they can enjoy and use to unwind from daily life. I have a couple hobbies one of which I can do only part of the year which is gardening, or maybe landscaping would be a better term since I use not only flowers but also trees, bushes, hardscapes, etc. I love planning and planting things then waiting to see how they all look when their grown.

Recently my two sisters, yes that's them in the picture, gave me a rose for my birthday. I've never worked with roses before so K & D where a great help picking out the right one for me and even helping to plant it, (they have green thumbs too). I can't wait to see it grow and flower, when it does I'll be sure to post some pic's. Thanks Ladies.

It doesn't look like much now but just wait.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

No Gray Hair

Only four more days, to my birthday that is. Now most years I look forward to my B-day, my family treats me even more special, presents, all that stuff, but this year is different, you see next Monday I turn 50. Yes I said 50, one half of a century! How did I suddenly become that old! Just yesterday I was a spry young thing raising a gaggle of little ones and then, Wham! I'm getting an AARP application in the mail. It just shouldn't happen that fast!

During my immense life time I have had only one other time when a birthday affected me this way. The year I turned 33 I had my third child and bought a huge Buick station wagon all within a months time, that had me feeling old but nothing like this.

But I am trying to look on the bright side, I still have my health, no one has tried to help me across the street yet, and so far, no gray hair. Ok, so I have no hair, but it's the thought that counts. So we'll see what Monday brings, good or bad here I come.

Monday, May 26, 2008

The Self Made Man

One of my favorite past times is carving, more specifically, caricature carving. I enjoy taking a block of wood and turning it into a piece of art. I've been a woodworker for years building mainly furniture, and while I still like doing that, there is not a lot of new styles you can do that some one hasn't done already. That's what I like about carving, I'm free to express my self in the piece, I don't have to follow a set of plans just the picture that I've developed I my head. This love I have for carving is part of why I gave the name "By His Hands" to my blog, I love making things with my hands, but the other reason is that I have been created by and saved by the hands of God.
But I digress, my latest carving is one that was rumbling around in my head for awhile and is called "Self Made Man", I think you'll see why in the
picture. I hop
e you like it.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Come on man, think!

Have you ever done something and afterwards thought, I should have seen that coming? Well, it was my turn today.
It all started with the kitchen re-do going on at our house. Today I was attempting to hang one last wall cabinet and it wasn't fitting quit right. Well, trying to hold it up on the wall while look to see what the problem was wasn't working, so...I had a good idea, well it seemed so at the time. This idea was to prop the cabinet up with a board underneath then stand back to see what was keeping it from going in all the way. So I put the cabinet up, put the prop in place, on the counter top, (yea you see it coming don't you), once I took my hand off the cabinet it took off like a rocket, right for my head. Now the good Lord has blessed me in many ways, a wonderful family, nice house, good job, but one blessing I did not get was a full cushion of hair. There was nothing between the sharp edge of the open heavy cabinet to stop its fall but my poor bald head. Have you ever seen how much a cut head can bleed? I did once the dizziness wore off.
So, looking back maybe a slippery counter top doesn't make such a good support, and maybe a man my age should have help with heavy jobs. Yea come on man, think!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Can't believe I'm doing this!

It seems that everyone these days is a Blogger. I had no intention of ever joining their ranks but here I am, starting my own site. The main reason for this change is not so that my voice can be heard, but so that when I comment on my sons blog I am not known as "anonymous". Now to most of you that may seem like a crazy idea but it means a lot to me, and who knows, I my just let my voice be heard now and then as well. As I get more into this I share my info an maybe some of my history, stay tuned.