At this point I would like you to know that my referral to adoring fans is made in jest as I know that the only real reason anyone reads this is because they are either sat on the throne reading on a tablet or phone awaiting movement from your bowels - or you probably know me from being related or having had the displeasure to spend time with me at work sometime in the past - Either way is great and I apologise. I also hope that this drivel will help those of you still struggling with your bowels.
Anyway, as normal I have started waffling so lets get on with this so that I can get other things done...
THE CHRISTMAS TREE - ICE, LAWN OR GARDEN TOWER OF DOOOOOOOOOOOM....
So a couple of years ago when me and Buffy were just little adults, we lived in Wolseley and just across the road from our apartment in winter a very nice man built a wall. This wall was made of ice and lit up at night. It was made of blocks of ice created with balloons, boxes and all sorts of cool interesting shapes. I decided that we should build our own thing when we get our own place.
You can still see the photos of Wolseley Wall here
Now, unfortunately it looks like the nice man doesn't make his wall any more, but that's cool because we have started our own construction to please the eyes of passing grumpy Canadians, brightening their day and bringing hope into their lives of dull dull drudgery and white white snow. (Yes, we have a lot of snow at the moment.)
It all started back in August when we began to collect milk cartons, plastic bottles and everything else we use for bringing drinks, food and stuff into the house. The garage was half filled with these in anti...........................cipation of the coming winter and the joys of being able to freeze coloured water outside. Finally, in November the temperature matched my plans and we began...
|They will fit like this...|
|.. and a few levels up look like this...|
Food colouring was bought and finally a start was made - the first few cartons were placed outside with their contents. It took a couple of days to freeze and then with a bucket of warm water and a long thin knife the ice blocks were quite easily removed from the cartons.....
I also wanted a nice firm platform so a couple of pieces of used plywood were laid on top of patted down snow. I left this for a couple of days to help it bed in and eventually it was ready to begin the build...
The first few blocks were nicely coloured and after a quick shave of the rough edges I placed them into position...
|I should have left it like this!!|
So a few days later and our garden was a mess - Filled with bottles and cartons freezing over a couple of nights. One problem I didn't anticipate was the weakness of the cartons. With a little bit of freezing the water inside obviously expanded and started to burst through the cartons. This isn't a problem for ice blocks as they were still good to use, but the cartons were not re-usable. This meant that I had to find a new source for cartons. So, on my days off work I went out with a couple of shopping bags and had some lovely walks down back alleys finding used cartons in dumpsters and recycling bins. This was actually a lot of fun and I estimate that I probably found 60-70 cartons doing this dumpster diving.
|Adding the second layer.|
The method - melt ice in cartons slightly, use straight edged knife to create a gap between the ice and the inside of the carton - shake carton over a pile of snow to remove ice block. Do this twice and then take both new blocks to the build location in the front garden, whilst two more cartons are defrosting in the warm water - repeat until I have enough blocks. Then build, trimming the blocks with the serrated knife to create flat bottoms and sides so that they fit together.
This was time consuming, but in what has been a beautiful start to winter with temperatures above freezing it has been very pleasant - albeit a little stressful as I thought a one point my creation might melt away. Luckily it didn't.
Here's a few more photos of the progress....
And so it continued on every day off work for just about a month. There were times of frustration when blocks were dropped and shattered on the ice, but I decided to reuse these to decorate the front fence on our garden. I also started to freeze ice in foil trays - these were ideal for awkward little areas where I didn't want to waste a big block on filling a small gap.
I also experimented with balloons - these turned out great but weirdly the colour never took properly in a balloon and we ended up with clear balls of ice..
|Made from a balloon and a coke bottle!|
The structure grew and people started to stop and chat as they passed - what was I building and why? I didn't really have an answer. The kids would pass and try to steal the 'ice' jewels' that sat on the garden fence.
|It kept growing...|
|Ice jewels from broken blocks in a balloon made ice ball|
So, a few days ago it started to get tricky. The blocks were too big to fit as the structure grew taller and thinner. I had to start chopping the blocks in half and then fitting them together This was time consuming and took me ages, but worked out great in the end. Luckily, it is now a little colder and using old snow and a kettle of cold water, its easy to cut the blocks to size and shape, use snow as mortar to hold them together and then pour cold water on them. This freezes the snow and creates a really strong structure. I also fitted lights inside the growing tower. These are held in place with lolly sticks which are frozen between the blocks as they are put in place. I wasn't messing around now!!
It continued to grow even more....
Now it is bigger than me - That's not saying much, but it is just under 7 feet tall. I completed it by 'snow glueing' three shaped pieces of ice together and then shaving then to a point. This was then placed atop the structure with me standing on tip toes so I could reach!!! I call it 'The Pinnacle'.
|Putting them together|
|Yes, it is a bit phallic!!|
As anyone here in Winnipeg knows, we now have a large covering of snow - getting of for 18 inches or more now, so that means there is plenty to go around. It also means that when I have time off work this winter I have a lot to do. I have plans to create more stuff in the garden with ice and snow. I have started to pile the snow up and will start the build soon..... keep an eye out for updates....
Me, Stef and Pat had a great day out a couple of weekends ago - Traipsing through the snowy woods in search of the ideal Christmas trees for our houses. Booze was drunk (Can I call Sour puss 'booze'?) Trees were chopped and axes were thrown as well as being used to open bottles.. It was a good afternoon of craziness though and a lot of fun - culminating in a truck full of trees and a load of empty bottles!! I just wish I had more photos to show you!!
|Opening the booze - with an axe!|
|Chopping shit down!!|
|Packing the truck!|
So that's it for now. If you are still on the throne after all this - you should probably see a doctor!!