I Drill Without Anaesthetic and You Be Fine!

Last evening I went to the dentist and he told me that he was going to "drill a lot today" and that he would not give me local anaesthetic for it. He said it in a very reassuring manner and put his hand on my shoulder as he broke the news to me. I think he was using Jedi mind tricks on me. He was going to take out the temporary filling from my root canal, prepare the top for a more permanent filling and in time a crown.

But he wasn't kidding and yet I was becalmed and he drilled and shaped and removed material (a.k.a. my bloody tooth) and the nice lady stuck tubes in my mouth and suctioned out my maxillary salivary glands' hard-won spitty products and sent them down the sink.

Now I have a more permanent tooth, nicely formed, rounded and very comfortable to my tongue - and in a few months I can return, and the dentist will trim a ridge around it, measure it for a porcelain crown and then I'll have a porcelain crown that should last me until I am at one with the universe. I was in no pain for the evening and I am pleased. Finally.

Next dental moves: In a few months, a porcelain crown mentioned above, and then a porcelain veneer on my front tooth - to return the one that looks like a pirate's tooth to a normal person's tooth.



Bushcraft and Outdoors Blogs That I'm Reading These Days

Here are a few blogs related to the outdoors that I have been reading recently - please drop by and check them out!
Pablo’s Woodlife: Wildlife, Tracking and Bushcraft
A journal to record observations, thoughts and notes about nature, tracking and bushcraft. Pablo has just gone through a major redesign and the site looks great. He has more fun in the outdoors than I do... lucky fellow!

The Roundrock Journal is about a little bit of forest on the edge of the Missouri Ozarks... great reading and nice photographs of flora.

Woodcraft in Poland covers subjects as various as wood carving, survival and preparedness, bushcraft, camping, tracking, nature, knives and tools, primitive skills, Polish history and culture and anything else that comes to his English teacher mind. Sam is going through a redesign of his site too.

Going Prepared. Storl describes the blog as being about "having fun in the outdoors, without the “I need to escape from this place immediately” mentality. The site is about always being prepared enough to never make it to the survival stage. There are always exceptions to the rule, however, so I will also talk about what to do when your gear fails or when you end up in a place unprepared." It contains great resources.

As The Crow Flies offers stories about the Journeys of Crow. Very funny at times, insightful and short and sweet - I highly recommend dropping by to read it. She lives in a small cabin in the mountains somewhere... :-)

And last but not least today, make sure you drop by Tim Smith's The Jack Mountain Bushcraft Blog. Wise, fun, and learned posts on outdoors, bushcraft and topics like experiential education techniques. Brilliant and highly recommended.
Note that you can subscribe to all of these for free using a Feed Reader like Google Reader. Best darn thing I ever did in the blogosphere - getting on to Google Reader.



Sketches from Sitting on a Sofa in Germany

Christine was my good friend in University of Toronto years and years ago from Picton, Ontario. During or after school she went to Paraguay and then ended up in Malawi and did some development work and then Arne came along and he was studying his PhD in cultural anthropology and after some awkward and wonderful evenings they figured they should become a unit, and get married and now they're in Germany and they are going to do some things - Arne will teach at a university and Christine will do something and I don't know what.

Christine draws pictures and uses them to narrate her posts. I like it. Please drop by and leave compliments at her blog.

I am thinking about sketching a little and I might borrow her technique. We'll see.



First Springtime Walk in the Valley

Last evening I went for a walk in the valley. The willow tree guarding the entrance is just now showing early leaves.

I haven't seen the valley since it was covered in snow, and it's strange how different places look familiar, and how I remember pathways differently without the covering.

The field looks different. There were deer hoof prints all around in the mud.

The violets were big.

The horsetail is coming up.

It is also know as Bottle-brush, Equisetum arvense, Horse Willow, Paddock Pipes, Pewterwort, Scouring rush, Shave grass, and Toadpipe.

Horsetail (Equisetum arvense), an herbal remedy dating back to at least ancient Roman and Greek medicine, was used traditionally to stop bleeding, heal ulcers and wounds, and treat tuberculosis and kidney problems. The name Equisetum is derived from the Latin roots equus, meaning "horse," and seta, meaning "bristle."

Horsetail is a descendent of huge, tree-like plants that thrived 400 million years ago during the Paleozoic era. A close relative of the fern, horsetail is a non-flowering weed found throughout parts of Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and North America. The plant is a perennial (returns each year) with hollow stems and shoots that look like asparagus. As the plant dries, silica crystals that form in the stems and branches give the plant a scratching effect, thus accounting for its historic use in polishing metal, particularly pewter.

The flowering berry-like clusters appear to be buds.

These are catkins. They appear prior to the leaves, and are a mechanism to allow pollenization via the wind.

I think these are (sorry for the blurry pictures) Pilosella aurantiaca - variously known as Fox-and-cubs, Orange Hawkweed, Tawny Hawkweed, Devil's Paintbrush, and Grim-the-collier.

Large dock leaves are beginning to grow.



Sitting in the Sun

In lieu of planning and writing and fixing and cleaning and phoning and e-mailing and sorting and implementing and resolving and investigating and documenting and responding, today I am going to just sit in the sun and watch and listen and sniff.

Thank you,

Monty (dictated)

Backyard Flowers and Foods - Monty and his Rat

The weather is brilliant outside. After a long walk in the park this morning, Monty sat in the backyard and spent some quality time with Ratty, his stuffed rat.

I have been walking around over the past couple of days brandishing a sharp knife cutting out conical plugs of soil that encase the leaves and budding stalks and tap roots of Dandelions from my backyard, as I have promised myself not to allow any of the varmints to populate my lawn this year.

One appears to have missed my efforts, and avoided the sharp carbon steel blade of defeat.

While I was taking a photo of the Dandelion, I saw my first Plantain in the yard.

I leave them alone.

I respect the plantain because it is low key and edible.

I've still got to figure it out, but I think I also have Purslane in the yard - I ate a leaf or two and it tastes like Purslane is supposed to taste like.

I need to make a more positive identification though before I eat anymore.

Perhaps inspired by the single Dandelion, a single Daffodil has emerged and is basking in the sunlight beside the shed.

Now I'm not sure what the plant below is - it has leaves like a Dandelion, and a segmented, succulent looking stalk topped with little white flowers.


I can't find it in my edible plants book - it looks more like a medicinal plant.

I shall consult my medicinal plant book.

Buds on the Purple Sandtree Cherry are emerging, contesting with a nest of caterpillars.

While I poke around the backyard with my camera and Dandelion-knife, Monty just snuffles in the grass and watches the world move on by.



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