Friday, 28 February 2014

Threatened Species

Last weekend a couple of boys were making this snowman right in the middle of the walkway to their home. He was still there when I returned a few days later with my sketchbook.

It's been sunny and cold - no wonder Snowy is smiling.  Lucky for him he's in shadow most of the day, because March is just days away and the weather has to break soon.

Thursday, 27 February 2014

Streetcar Neighbourhood

I continue to be fascinated by the interiors of the blocks here in my "streetcar" neighbourhood of the Glebe in Ottawa.  The term streetcar refers to the era in which it was built.  From the 1920's through the second world war years when people may have had cars, but didn't nescessarily use them to get to work daily as they would walk or take the streetcar.  As a result there are few homes with attached garages.  The garages are usually in the back often accessed by narrow shared lanes between the houses.

So as I walk my dog, or the few blocks to skate on the canal or do errands at the shops on Bank Street, I am continually looking into the gaps between the houses. These lanes offer a glimpse to in interior of the blocks and the interesting back sides of the homes which more often than not have been expanded in one or more stages.  Sort of urban anthropology.

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Cajun Siding

Have you ever had blackened catfish?  Its good - blackened siding is too.

Typical of Bramel's approach to innovation and anything but production methods, the siding at ground level is cedar that has been charred with a torch.  Excess char will be wire brushed or power washed off which leaves a raised grain and hardened surface that will be extremely durable.

The shiplap boards are torched before being fastening on the wall, as doing it in place would be just asking for trouble - the objective is blacked, not flambĂ©.  The guys were joking about bringing hot dogs for lunch tomorrow though.

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Where The Big Trees Live

This is the view from my second floor deck looking into the gap at the end of the block.  The big trees live here in the rear yards, where they have some space, unpaved ground and can thrive.  Many of them were not planted intentionally but as a result of nuts buried by squirrels or simply, blown seeds which as they grew, were not cut out.  These trees create a microclimate in the interiors of the blocks with shade in the summer as well as food and shelter for urban wildlife.

The tree in the sketch is an oak and must stand 15m tall.