Archive for December, 2007

Last of the Sudol Christmas trees

Thursday, December 20th, 2007

Wagon to Sudol treesLast Saturday I took Jennifer and Fiona, and our boarder Michel, up to the Paddockwood area to get a Christmas tree. Not just any tree, but one of Frank Sudol’s trees.

I first met Frank back in 1988, shortly after I had moved from Edmonton to start a new job with the Canadian Forest Selecting a treeService. He would come into the office to visit with Jim, our Agroforestry guy. Their work-related talk was about private woodlot management, growing Christmas trees, etc., but it didn’t take long to realize that Frank was about a whole lot more than growing trees. Besides being a master wood turner and carver, he built unique custom furniture, had built his own log house, and seemed to have a working knowledge about pretty well any subject you could bring up. Not to speak of his ability to make people laugh.

When we got our 2006 Christmas tree, Frank drove the tractor pulling our wagon into the field, wearing a Santa hat and cracking jokes. A week or so later, I heard that Frank had died suddenly.

This year I read in the local paper that some of his neighbours had volunteered to help his beloved partner Lois to host one final year of Christmas tree sales, so we made the pilgrimage. After the wagon-ride to the plantation (complete with Jingle Bells from Kietha and her kids), final consensus from the girls on which was the best

balsam fir, and the cutting of the tree, we tied the trophy to the roof racks and then trooped into the log house where Lois welcomed our wagon load with hot chocolate and cookies.

All that for only $30.

It’s the end of a tradition for a lot of people around the Prince Albert area. Click here for a nice tribute given at Frank Sudol’s memorial event.

The Dargo

Thursday, December 13th, 2007

Sometime in the mid-1970s my mechanical brother Marv decided to turn his 1963 Dodge car into a truck. When Marv decides to do something, he follows through. I don’t think he had an acetylene torch back then – he must have worn out quite a few hacksaw blades.

The finished product was, in my opinion, very cool (in a backwoodsy way).

The Dargo getting unstuck - 1979

Unfortunately it didn’t have four wheel drive so it wasn’t the most practical truck for the Shell Lake roads.

Manitoba fox hunt

Wednesday, December 12th, 2007

I received this email recently …

Should this sport be stopped in Manitoba before it gets out of hand?

Manitoba Fox Hunt

(source unknown)

I understand that the fox hunt has been banned in the United Kingdom, so I don’t understand why Manitoba can’t ban it.

As far as I know, it isn’t an issue in Saskatchewan. Perhaps because our foxes don’t have opposable thumbs.

Simple faith

Tuesday, December 11th, 2007

Lauralea tagged me with a meme.  I had to look up the word “meme” in a dictionary, but finally figured that it wasn’t like being hit with a SuperPoke on Facebook, so I’ll take a stab at at.

The question is, How would you define simple faith in Christ?”

My short answer is, “Believing/trusting like a child”.

A longer answer would get into heart-response vs. head-response, emotion vs. intellect, right-brain vs. left-brain, the fact that God is love and being a Christian is about relationship more than about theology or doctrine, etc.

Actually this topic is something that I struggle with. I know that Jesus talked about our need to receive the kingdom like a child (Mark 10:13-16), but I also believe that it is important to understand our faith and be capable of explaining it (1 Peter 3:15).

Of course the danger of too much intellectualizing is that in the process of gaining a lot of head knowledge one might lose one’s focus on relationship.

On the other hand I think it is sad to see former believers lose their faith, stating that believing in Jesus Christ is akin to believing in Santa Clause or the Tooth Fairy, after leaving a “simple faith” environment and being exposed to alternative philosophies. Christian apologetics is out of fashion in this postmodern age, and I think that’s a shame.

I like to think that a childlike faith can co-exist with intellectually rigorous apologetics. Unfortunately I’m having a really hard time coming up with a coherent statement explaining how they can be reconciled.

Meanwhile, here’s a paragraph from C.S. Lewis, one of my favourite authors, writer of children’s novels, science fiction, and apologetics and theology for the layman, introducing the fourth part of his book, “Mere Christianity”…

Everyone has warned me not to tell you what I am going to tell you in this last book. They all say ‘the ordinary reader does not want Theology; give him plain practical religion’. I have rejected their advice. I do not think the ordinary reader is such a fool. Theology means ‘the science of God’, and I think any man who wants to think about God at all would like to have the clearest and most accurate ideas about Him which are available. You are not children: why should you be treated like children?

(By the way, I’m not tagging anyone else with this meme … my apologies if anyone thinks that makes me a party-pooper.)

Counting my winter blessings

Tuesday, December 4th, 2007

Winter Blessing #1 – I don’t need to use an outdoor toilet …

… unlike the first 13 years of my life, when we didn’t have indoor plumbing. Sitting on that cold plywood seat was bad enough when it was only slightly frosted, but downright miserable when one of my brothers (who shall remain un-named) had failed to lift the lid.

I hated leaving our bush farm to move to Saskatoon, but I must admit that, when the mercury hit minus 40, I could see at least one upside.

On the other hand, I missed being able to pee on the snow.

A really big moose

Saturday, December 1st, 2007

I thought that Mac, the moose at Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, was big. Mac stands 9.8 metres (32 feet) tall.

However Mac will seem puny compared to Stoorn, a wooden moose to be built in northern Sweden. Standing 45 metres tall, with his front legs in the county of Norrbotten and hind quarters in the county of Vasterbotten, Stoorn will also have a restaurant in his belly, a concert hall that can seat up to 350 people, conference rooms, and a spectacular view over the valleys below from Stoorn’s antlers.


I may not make a special trip to Moose Jaw to see Mac, but I would definitely consider flying to Norrbotten and Vasterbotten to see Stoorn.