Dawson House in Chesley, Ontario

So far I haven’t found an update for this house. It was put up for sale by the municipality in 2013. I found it on Google Street View but the images are from 2013, so no clue there.

It had been a museum at one time, the Chesley Heritage and Woodworking Museum. Most if it seems to be rental units now. Old buildings tend to deteriorate faster as rental units. (My brother has lived that experience with an old house he bought in Orillia).

Here are images of the Dawson house, in Chesley, from Google Maps. There are stained glass windows still remaining on most of the first floor windows. There is a mysterious bell at one side of the front of the buiding. If the town had to give up on it, there must be a lot of expensive work needed. But, it will be a shame to see this place fall down around itself.

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The Challenges of Saving Lighthouses

This is reposted from Swallowtail Keepers Society blog. The blog is abandoned but the post is worth saving. Far more involved with saving lighthouses than I would have thought. (I did think about the weathering).

Lighthouses are usually located in the face of storms, exposed on several sides to strong winds and sea spray, frequently difficult to get to and challenging to maintain. With lighthouses de-staffed or de-commissioned, budget cuts rampant, and maintenance minimal, it is hard to see these once well-maintained structures deteriorate to a point that they begin to crumble but it is becoming all too common. The magnitude of the maintenance or restoration, and the ability to get to the lighthouse is often overwhelming. We have been fortunate with Swallow Tail that ownership has been transferred, access is challenging but better than many, and through the support of the community and access to various sources of funding, restoration work has been possible.

Unfortunately, in five months, three other lighthouses in the Maritimes have disappeared. Two collapsed during storms, the abandoned Fish Fluke Point on Ross Island decommissioned in 1963 but defied gravity for years (November), and Church Point on St. Mary’s Bay, NS, decommissioned in 1984 (March), and one burned to the ground, the remote fibreglass lighthouse at Point Aconi on Cape Breton Island (February). Fire was always a worry before lights were electrified. Elodie Foster, one of the light keepers at Swallow Tail, died from her injuries after her clothes caught fire while trying to start the burner for the light. More recently, electrical issues may be the cause of some fires because of the heavy salt presence and corrosion of electrical connections. Two electrical issues at Swallow Tail threatened to cause fires last fall and had no one been working in the lighthouse, the problems would have gone unnoticed until it was too late. Vandalism has also been a cause of some fires and has plagued locations such as Partridge Island in Saint John, and may have been the cause of the grass fire at Swallow Tail in April, 2007, which threatened the lighthouse and keepers house. It has prompted some communities to install security cameras. The ones at Swallow Tail can be viewed on the Village of Grand Manan website (www.villageofgrandmanan.com).

Fish Fluke Point lighthouse in better days.  (unknown origin of photo)

Collapsed Fish Fluke Point lighthouse as seen from the air in November 2013.

Church Point lighthouse before collapse. (from CBC.ca)

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Church Point lighthouse after collapse, 27 March 2014. (from CBC.ca)

Point Aconi lighthouse before it and the building beside it, burned to the ground in February, 2014. (from Cape Breton Post)

Collapse was not thought to be an issue at Swallow Tail but once work began last fall, it became apparent that it could have been possible. The lime had eroded out of the mortar, making the mortar crumble. The stone foundation was slowly pancaking, with the stones being pushed outward. The eight guy wires and the massive concrete floor in the equipment room were the only things holding the tower upright with probably only five large stones in the foundation carrying weight. Had any of the guy wires failed, the tower would have begun listing or worse. To fix this, all the stones were removed, one side at a time, and then returned with new mortar between the joints. The large corner stones, too heavy to easily lift, were adjusted back into place. The foundation is now functional again and should last for many more years with minimal maintenance.
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Peter Devine rebuilding stone foundation at Swallow Tail, September 2013.

During this process, it was discovered that the large wooden beam under the front door had completely rotted away. The remains of the beam were removed using a dust pan. Instead of trying to fit a new wooden beam back in a very tight space between the large immovable concrete step, stone foundation and the floor joists, a concrete beam was constructed. One of the 1859 wooden pegs, used to hold the heavy timber structure together, was discovered in the crawl space during the work, looking the same as the day it was made. This was the only spot were the heavy timbers of the lighthouse had completely rotted.

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Rotted timber beam under front entrance, September 2013

New concrete beam to replace rotted timber, September 2013.

Salt corrosion is another challenge, rusting nails so they no longer do their job. When some shingles were removed on the northern side of the bell house, the boards underneath came off as well. This was also an earlier problem with the boathouse and the entire southern wall began to fall off in large pieces as the nails disappeared and that wall had to be rebuilt. The shingles were stripped off the bellhouse, the boards renailed, and new shingles returned. Shingles on some sides of the tower were also falling out because the nails were gone. Face nailing to hold them in place during previous work only complicated the problem with water getting behind the shingles and rotting the wood. Several places on the tower, notably where the windows had been boarded up, were in worse shape than the rest of the lighthouse, even though the boards were only 40 years old compared to over 150. As the rot continued, longer nails were used to hold the shingles which further exacerbated the problem. It was very noticeable while scraping the sides where the problems were located because of the sponginess. Replacing the rotted wood and shingles where required, caulking the nail heads, plus one to two coats of primer and two coats of finish paint will prevent this for a few years. Because of the extreme weather conditions experienced on the point we hope in the future only the paint will suffer and not the wood behind.

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Northern wall of the bell house.  The nails had rusted off and the boards had to be nailed back in place before the shingles could be attached.

Areas on the lighthouse that needed repair because of water penetration causing rot.  The area around the fog horn was because of caulking and flashing failures.  The upper area on the tower was probably because of face nailing shingles allowing water to penetrate.

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Custom blade on paint scraper.

The entire lighthouse and bell house were scraped, primed and received two coats of paint.  The new shingles were primed twice.

Removing the windows in the tower in the 1970s was actually beneficial in many respects since there was little maintenance after the lighthouse was destaffed, but it changed the interior with no natural light or ventilation. Having the opportunity to return the windows to the original locations in the lighthouse was a goal during the restoration but a challenge since everything had to be built from scratch. One window could not be returned because the current fog equipment is located in that spot on the first floor. Windows from an 1849 house in Ontario were donated by the owners, who had once worked at a lighthouse in British Columbia. They were honoured to have them reused at Swallow Tail. The storms and gablets (or dormers) were new construction from mahogany with copper flashing and sills in an attempt to resist the harsh climate. The interior has been completely changed with the additional of natural light and makes it a very pleasant inside.

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Reglazing 1849 windows donated for the lighthouse.  The bottoms had to be cut down to 8 from 12 panes.  New glass was installed in each window.

Window unit – gablet with storm, all new construction.

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Windows restored on the southern side of the lighthouse.

The harsh winter weather stopped work in mid-December at the lighthouse. Work will begin again sometime in April. The windows and interior will be completed including repairing the lathe and plaster and painting, the boardwalk from the keepers house (cabled in place to protect it from the strong winds) will be built, and museum displays installed. We are hoping to have the lighthouse open again this summer. Restoration work could not have been possible without the financial assistance of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, Regional Development Corporation, New Brunswick Built Heritage, Village of Grand Manan, Grand Manan Rotary Club, and generous donations.

Make Your Own Hinterland Who’s Who Spot

If you are Canadian (not too young) you will remember Hinterland Who’s Who on TV. I think this is a great idea for anyone wanting to make their own programs/ videos.

  • Pick a topic (animals if you want to submit it to Hinterland).
  • Do some research.
  • Make your film/ video.

Now you’ve got your own documentary on video.

The same idea can work for urban, rural or any exploring you do. No need to start with something exotic, look into the history of your own home, an interesting place on your own street, or the local park. Start documenting!

Make Your Own HWW Spot

Materials

  • camcorder or digital camera with video and sound recording (optional)
  • video editing software, such as:
    • MAC: iMovie, Final Cut Pro
    • PC: Windows Movie Maker, Adobe Premiere Elements, Adobe Premiere Pro
  • voice recorder

Background

Most Canadians who had television in the 1960s or 1970s will remember it — the haunting strains of a lone flute, the trademark theme of Hinterland Who’s Who. The series of 60-second vignettes was created to educate the public about this country’s native wildlife through excellent film footage, natural sounds, and relaxed narration.

Now, more than 40 years after the series’ introduction, Environment Canada (EC) and the Canadian Wildlife Federation (CWF) have relaunched Hinterland Who’s Who in an effort to connect another generation of Canadians with their natural heritage. The new public-service announcements carry on the classic theme of the original vignettes but also address the need to conserve and protect native species and their habitat.

Procedure

Here are some simple steps to make your Hinterland Who’s Who production a success:

  1. Decide on a Canadian wildlife species on which to make a video.
  2. Research basic elements about that species, including information such as:
    • appearance
    • where it lives in Canada
    • how to conserve the species

    Information on many Canadian species can be found at hww.ca

  3. If possible, take your own footage of your chosen species using a camcorder or digital recording device, or find available footage online.
  4. If possible take pictures of your chosen species, or find available photos online. Make sure you get permission from the photographer first!
  5. Combining all the above information, write a short (60 second) video script that ties the species information and imagery together.
  6. Record all audio and combine all elements together, including HWW music and logo, in video editing software.
  7. Submit your video to hww.ca, and where appropriate, videos will be posted online.

Source: Hinterland Who’s Who – Make Your Own HWW Spot

Historical Highways Society of Ontario 

Gone now except for the web archives. Wish I had found it sooner. They even had events when they met up. I’m not hugely social but I would have gone to at least one to see what more I could be watching for when I see road signs, bridges and such. I do notice somethings myself. No doubt the group members had more historical information and resources (photos too).
historicalhighways

About Us:
The Historical Highways Society of Ontario (H.H.S.O.) is a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation and research of Ontario’s highway heritage. Founded in the Fall of 2003 by the current co-presidents, Josh Anderchek and Cameron Bevers, this group now boasts over twenty members from all parts of Ontario. Through research and documentation, the organization is hoping to preserve the fascinating past of our highways for future generations to enjoy. The group’s research and historical findings will be posted into this website for years to come.

Our Mission Statement:
The H.H.S.O. was created not only to preserve the history of former highways, their routings and changes over time, but to help in continuing the tradition of maintaining our highways viable presence for years to come. This includes being active parts in Public Information Centres for Highway construction, including reconstruction or realignment projects, as well as bringing public awareness to how important it is for our Province to be served with a seamless, high-quality highway system. We also work in suggesting alternatives, and supporting them, in maintaining a historical presence in a highways reconstruction, by having structures restored to there original glamour as close as possible while still maintaining a high standard of public safety.

Source: Historical Highways Society of Ontario – HHSO.ca

Millions Of Houses Left Abandoned This Morning

urbanexplorationasciiartThe Onion (see link below) is satire. You have to look to find the actual note saying so. Many of their posts make you wonder… but you aren’t quite sure. Satire is just a twist on reality.

In this case, I just loved the headline. So true and yet so obvious if you think about it. Most houses are left, locked up and empty, while people go on to start their work day, run errands, take trips and so on. There are easily millions of houses left abandoned every morning. For obvious reasons.

Source: Millions Of Houses Left Abandoned This Morning – The Onion – America’s Finest News Source

Lovely Old Place in Edinburgh, Scotland

at risk edinburgh

 

Found on Buildings at Risk.

Such nice work on this building. I found it with Google Street View for a better look. There are birds on the sides of the building. I hope someone takes care of this place. On Google someone had garbage leaning against one of the main doorways. Tried to get some nice images with Google to show it off. As always, wish I could be there to see it and photograph it myself.

This building also has images of the original owners. I wonder if the families still own the building and know who the faces on it are.atrisk0atrisk1atrisk2atrisk3atrisk4atrisk5atrisk6atrisk7atrisk8atrisk9atrisk10atrisk11atrisk12atrisk13atrisk14atrisk15atrisk16atrisk17atrisk18 Continue reading Lovely Old Place in Edinburgh, Scotland

Mountain Lion Kittens in Santa Monica Mountains

Researchers Find 2 Mountain Lion Kittens in Santa Monica Mountains.

While researchers are happy that the mountain lions are populating the area, the Sierra Nevada Mountains are located in a highly urbanized area. This means the mountain lions may someday find themselves in highways or developments, which could be problematic.

The Santa Monica National Recreation area, however, is suitable for hunting and setting up dens. With these kittens, the count is up to 24 in the habitat.

I can understand why people keep exotic pets, I’d love to keep a mountain lion kitten if it could stay that way and not eat me out of house and home and probably destroy my home pretty much. In the end, keeping wild animals as pets just doesn’t work. They need to be left to roam, grow and be wild. But, this means we need to give them some space. It doesn’t seem people are too willing to do this. All the pet friendly types can only think about keeping them as pets.

Where the Wild Things Are: A Pagan Celebration

Originally posted to ‘BackWash: Where the Wild Things Are’ newsletter, September, 22, 2003.

Tomorrow is the Autumn Equinox. I should be doing something, celebrating the changing seasons. But I’m not. I’ll be at work from 9:00am till 8:30 at night. By the time I’m done I will be too tired to drive myself home. But, I have to do that so I’ll manage somehow. Times like that I’m so glad it’s the car that does all the work!

Anyway, real life does interfere with how Wiccan or Pagan we would like to be. That’s ok, it’s reality. If I was to skip work and the big meeting after work, that would be living in some unreal imaginary world of my own creation. I have to work to make money to pay for my car, my rent and the clothes I wear while I do all those other things. Now and then I even treat myself to a new book, a fancy coffee or a day of window shopping.

It’s ok to live in the real world. It’s ok to miss a Pagan celebration. It would be nicer to not miss it. But, really as long as I’m alive and still on this planet I’m not missing a thing. As I drive I’ll be looking at the darkened forest I drive through on the way home. I’ll be watching for deer and foxes who sometimes show up along the roadside in the evenings. I’ll be listening to the sounds of the night as I drive with the windows down to let in all that cool night air and the scent of crisp Autumn leaves.

You may not light candles, perform rituals or chant pretty rhymes but that doesn’t mean you’re not celebrating along with the rest of the world. It’s what you have in your heart, mind and soul that matters, even if you only express it to yourself. You don’t have to prove how Pagan you are to anyone but you.

Bomb with Love

From The National Post:

The Occupy Toronto movement continued Monday with a handful of protesters gathering outside the Toronto Stock Exchange, and with more joining an afternoon march to Ryerson University.

The goal of the afternoon event is to reach out to students during the university’s social justice week, participants say.

#Occupy Toronto
Occupy Toronto
Occupy Canada
Occupy the Nation
We are the 99 Percent
Occupy Together

So far it hasn’t been violent or dangerous. But, I’m expecting that to change any time. I’m glad to be away from Toronto and just watching through the news coverage.

This new Occupy Movement seems to have no real, solid goal, at least not something anyone can really pin down. I listened to them talking today while they protested in downtown Toronto. “Social injustice” is not defined enough to rate a protest. They also claim they are doing this ‘for the people’ (also generic) and doing this with love. Well, I’m a person and I’m not loving this at all. It’s a gathering rebel mob waiting for a cause.

People are starting to use this cause as a way to market and make money. A public relations firm is beginning to represent them, for free. (Why not, it’s giving them massive free promotion of their business and viral marketing as well). You can buy T-shirts and posters, start your collection of Occupy and 99% merchandise now. Someone is making money from all of this. As a protest against capitalism it is already off track.

Fighting capitalism is not going to work. Capitalism is an economic theory. Pure capitalism does not exist. Just as pure communism never worked, it became muted, changed to suit the reality. I’ve read the 99 Percent site, seen the people who are in financial trouble, desperate. Most are educated, have spent thousands of dollars on university degrees and now they work in a job that doesn’t pay the money they expected to be making. As if having an education is a promise you are set for life and will automatically have a job with prestige and a big pay cheque.

If the cause of the Occupy Movement is “the rich get richer while the poor get poorer” they are foolish. What do they think will be changed? People with a job won’t give it up to someone else. People who have a ‘rich’ lifestyle should not be expected to donate all they have to people who don’t have that same lifestyle. If they have been lucky, inherited or just plain worked their butt off why shouldn’t they have the rewards, the profits? There are always going to be people who have more and people who have less. This isn’t about fair. Don’t be so childish as to think everything has to be fair and equal.

Some change would be lovely, if it could be worked out. It would be great if we could have better health care here in Canada. We pay taxes and have mostly free health care but just try to get a family doctor to start all that health care with. Anyway, yes, things are not perfect. But, who should give up what they have for someone else? It’s like the smoking and non-smoking issue. One person has to stop smoking, to give up their right to pollute (yes, I’m anti-smoking) in order for there to be non-smoking for those who want the right to have no cigarette smoking. This Occupy plan is much the same. Who is going to give up their rights so other people can have what they want?

I’m the 99 Percent and I hope this protest dissipates before it grows larger and more dangerous.