Ireland Recap Day 6: The Pounding Drizzle of Killarney

We knew this day would come. We packed and prepared and understood that Ireland is green for a reason: rain. This actually gave us a good excuse to lounge around the castle, as one does in Ireland, before hitting the bricks for Killarney. Ballyseede Castle, like the Old Ground hotel, had a traditional Irish breakfast set in a very elegant dining room. We returned to our rooms and finished packing and getting ready to travel again.

Ireland Recap Day 5: Ballyseede Castle & The Dingle Peninsula

The morning of Day 5 was the closing of the chapter on Ennis and the start of the adventure in Tralee. We spent the morning having our traditional Irish fare one last time at the Old Ground Hotel and figured out directions to Tralee and the Ballyseede Castle Hotel. It would be a long drive taking us back through Shannon and Limerick to Tralee and the edge of the Dingle Peninsula. The driving in Ireland was getting very easy at this point.

Ireland Recap Day 4: Ennis Franciscan Friary

Having spent every day driving, we opted to spend the morning in Ennis taking in some of the local attractions since this was our last full day before moving on to Tralee on Sunday. Feeling energized after breakfast we set out on a walk around the town. In the heart of Ennis is incredible ruins of a 13th century Franciscan Friary. Founded by the O'Briens, it has numerous 15/16th century sculptures carved in the local hard limestone. In it's glory days it was a flourishing community with 375 friars and 600 students.

Ireland Recap Day 3: The Burren and Cliffs of Moher

The next morning, after a very good night of sleeping prompted by our long day out on Inis Mor, we had our traditional Irish breakfast and loaded up the van for a drive out on The Burren. The Burren is an expanse of land located in County Clare which varies widely in terrain and appearance. From a wind washed wasteland of limestone to lush and rich pastures and forests, there are many sites and attractions to fill a day.

Ireland Recap Day 2: Aran Islands & County Galway

We woke a little early on Thursday (both out of choice and our brains still not processing local time correctly) to get a good start on the road to Rossaveel where we could catch a ferry to Inis Mor. Our travel package included breakfast at every location we were staying, so we headed to the main restaurant in the Old Ground hotel to load up on good food. The traditional Irish breakfast, which you can get at almost any hotel and B&B, usually consists of enough meat to provide you with a lot of energy for the day and clog your arteries at the same time.

Ireland Recap Day 1: Ennis County Clare

After a year of planning and anticipating we finally began our travel to Ireland. We picked up Dave & Stephanie and proceeded to Detroit Metro Airport on Tuesday the 17th. Our flight departed on time to Chicago where we rendezvoused with Anne and Roger who were connecting from Baltimore. The flight from Chicago to Dublin is approximately eight hours with a few hours layover before a short hop to the Shannon airport. My plan was to get as much sleep on the plane as possible so I would be bright eyed and bushy tailed when we arrived at Shannon the next day at 10:00 AM.

Grand Openings are bad for you...

Jen and I planned a trip into town on Saturday for some home supplies (see previous post) and also to attend the Woodcraft store Grand Opening. I received a gift certificate for Christmas and wanted to acquire a nice sharpening stone. They had all sorts of demos and manufacturer reps on hand to talk about products. I was given a demonstration by a gentleman from DMT on their diamond sharp system. I eventually decided on the Aligner system (keeps the blade at a constant angle, I know, some Eagle Scout...) which comes with a couple of nice starter stones.

winter in northwest ohio

And time for that age old tradition all homeowners know and love: the thawing of pipes in sub-freezing temperatures. What's that? You never had to deal with that loathsome task?

A rare December Rainbow

at least for northwest ohio...a double rainbow at that...photos snapped by Jen and poorly assembled by myself...

oh, and welcome back Discovery at 5:32pm today!

Woodcraft

Toledo now has a WoodCraft Store! My only problem is that they opened before Christmas when I have no mad cash for projects. They will be organizing classes as well...I'm hoping for a class on wood turning on the lathe.

Astronomy Stuff

With the massive solar storm recently, the aurora borealis was very visible down in northwest ohio last night. Jen and I were listening to the news last night and the local meteorologist said they should be vi sable. I immediately got up and went to the backyard hoping to see it, but could not see over all the "light pollution". I did see two meteors in the time of 45 seconds though so I ran back in to get Jen. She also concluded that "light pollution" was to great to see anything. Then suddenly the "light pollution" turned a very pronounced shade of green and started forming the telltale curtain effect.

The right work environment makes all the difference

I have been playing on the scroll saw this weekend, and realized my legs and back were aching after a short period of time. I hunted around for a chair/stool and had nothing of the right size, and really did not have a good ergonomic setup for lengthy projects. While out shopping today, I came across an unfinished 36in stool at Michaels crafts. This turned out to be the perfect height for having the saw on my work bench. This weekends projects were exercises in stack cutting and realizing the limitations of the stock I was using. Anyhow, the first project is a book rack for the top of the piano. I still have to cut the slats and base, but the ends are done (pine stock). The second project was a prototype for a penguin ornament. It didn't turn out like I wanted, cutting ovals is a pain in the ass. I might redesign the framing into a jagged style edge to mimic icebergs...the material I used was hardboard which didn't saw too well, but it's just a prototype...

Extra Super Long Weekend In Review: mini vacation edition

We took a few days off work and went to Baltimore for the weekend...

Thursday: We'll begin with Thursday night at the monthly installment of the OhNo Writers meeting. I know the weekend officially begins on Friday, but since I took a vacation day it seems appropriate enough. Thursday night was a lot of fun as always. Jen and I decided to kick off the weekend proper by getting for Chinese for dinner. We stopped at FuYi in Holland which has a sushi bar as well. This was our first time there and I was pleased with the quality and cost of the sushi (of which I had far, far too much...but it was unlimited for a fixed price...how could I not?), and Jen enjoyed her shrimp entree as well. The writers meeting was entertaining as always, with the usual suspects (sans Sara...we hope you're feeling better). We left a little earlier then usual, but that was good since we still needed to pack for the trip.

Another installment of: It Came From the Shop

When we last left our novice woodworker, he was learning the subtleties of the scroll-saw....

I wanted to work on something different this weekend (last weekend was the rocking bunny), so I thought I would get some practice in on the scroll-saw. I wanted to try cutting a few ornaments and a stacked Halloween decoration pattern from one of my magazines. First, here are the results. Saturday I worked a bit on some simple bunny ornaments. The stock I used was birch plywood, which was probably not the best choice since it splinters if you look at it wrong, but I had a lot of scrap pieces. I cut down 8 equal sized pieces and nailed them together to try my hand at stack cutting. I only broke one blade, but learned stack cutting is a physically demanding operation since you really have to keep a firm grasp in the work or it gets away from you.

Rocking Bunny

Straight from the woodshop, I give you...


Rocking Bunny!

This will be a gift for our niece Oona. I adapted it from a pattern I found in a children's toy book for a rocking horse. I used pine as the primary construction material with birch dowels for the handle and foot rests. Tools used: table saw, compound miter saw, scroll saw, jig saw, orbital sander, and drill.

Todo: apply finish and get birch balls for caps on the handle and foot rests.