Anything I write that has to do with writing will be in From Pico's Pen, my author's blog. Everything that doesn't fit any of the sites I write on will be here. This is my practice. I could have kept it private and farmed out the good stuff but I found my readers like too much of it to do that. It isn't a diary because there are things I keep to myself but you can learn a great deal about me from the randomness you will find here.

Thursday, 26 February 2015

No Lack of Ideas

My readers may have noticed a big drop off in my production over the past week or two. I can assure you that it has nothing to do with a lack of material. February has socked us repeatedly with blizzards and lesser snowstorms. As a result our Internet service has been spotty at best. My last couple book reviews have posted and by the time I was finished doing the basic promotional posts on social media our Internet croaked for the rest of the time I wasn't at work.

Not going to complain about our provider. They can't fix something when the roads are closed because of the weather. I've gotten the impression that they are doing their best. The spotty connection has been better than what I was expecting.

I did manage to get the March issue of Pico's Cycling - Tales of the Road uploaded and published this week. That's a minor miracles because it has been very difficult to load photos of late. We've topped 1500 page views for the month.

Spring is coming. This weather will only last for so long. With the improved weather I'm looking forward to getting more done.

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Bummed Out a Bit

Decided to use a happier shot of your's truly.

Combination of being too tired and facing too many negatives at one time.

Lost two shifts of work during the latest blizzard, which we can ill afford. Both Brandon and Andrew each lost a shift as well. Andrew and I each would have lost another shift each but I managed to batter my way through the drifts to town. Locals have decided, I must be one of them - I'm crazy.

My shift on my return was probably my least enjoyable so far. Granted I was over tired. The way the shift fell meant either my sleep would get screwed up or Francine's would get screwed up. Grumpy wife means grumpy me too so better I get to be the grumpy one by myself.

There has been one plus with our over abundance of snow. The drift blocking me from entering my wood shop does allow me to shovel the roof off without having to borrow a ladder from the neighbour. On the other hand getting firewood out of the bush has been a chore. Even with the snowshoes I'm getting a lot of snow in my boots.

I have been researching crowd sourcing to possible get my wood turning business off the ground this year. The one site made it all into rocket science. If I had that much time and money on my hands I certainly wouldn't need to pursue this. I found more encouraging information later in the day. I do feel more chipper than I did this morning.

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Another Day Another Blizzard

Well I'm missing my shift today and if the wind doesn't die down Andrew won't make it for his overnight either. I called around noon to see if they were open. When I found out they were I advised them that I would walk down to the road by where we part the van. If it was clear, I'd try to make it in. It wasn't. I don't think I could get down that even with four wheel drive.

I figured it was hopeless before I was a hundred yards from the camp. Francine was on family taxi driver duty and by the time I broke another hundred feet of trail she was within earshot. I yelled for her just to go back. I felt guilty for even having her out in that. Before she got close enough to me to communicate the wind had already blown her off her feet twice. I forged ahead on my snowshoes knowing all I'd accomplish was to confirm we were hopelessly snowed in. By the time I got back the trail I'd stomped out had been erased.

The photo is a shot out the kitchen window. That drift in front of the shop door comes up to my shoulder. I haven't been able to get in there to do any work in awhile. On the bright side that drift will make it easy to reach to shovel the roof off when the storm ends. The bike shelter which is also in the picture is accessible although I'm not sure it would be possible to ride in this even on a Fatbike. If you look closely you can kind of make out the forest which starts right behind all that.

I did make a short video during a lull out in the storm. I'll add it if we can get it loaded up. The Internet isn't very strong right now. Hopefully this will post. While viewing that keep in mind it got a whole lot worse after I came in.

Friday, 13 February 2015

I Miss My Beard

It started out as the low maintenance look. Moustache and goatee were the only places my beard grew thick enough for daily shaving. It suited me and it was easy to take care of. I thought it looked good if I kept it properly trimmed.

My current employment requires me to be clean shaven. Ugh. The lack of facial hair accentuates the lines in my face and makes my expression look more severe. I don't look older. Heck my beard was mostly grey already but it did look more distinguished.

To add insult to injury my work uniform includes a baseball cap. Of all the hats in existence, I look terrible in a baseball cap. I look much better in a cowboy hat or a longshoreman cap. Oh well, I'm hidden back in the kitchen usually hovering over the grill or fryer. Only my co-workers have to see me.

The job is appreciated and the employer has been good to us. If I move on to other work, the facial hair will make a come back about as quickly as it will grow.

Thursday, 12 February 2015

Hopping Down the Bunny Trail

Went to chop a dead tree for firewood out of the back of our lot today and found rabbit tracks all over the place. The above picture is showing what is obviously a rabbit trail - almost a rabbit super highway.

I honestly thought the late fall hunters had thinned them out more than that. Several of them had boasted of harvesting them by the dozen. These are all snowshoe hares and they turned white before any snow came. They were sitting ducks for a short period of time. The timing of their coat change is caused by the amount of daylight. When the days get short enough, they turn white. If there was a rabbit in the above picture you probably wouldn't be able to see it anyway.

Our cat Mister hunts the rabbits. That surprises me as well. I've never had a cat that would take on prey that big before. That doesn't stop Mister. He's dined on several of them, much to the chagrin of my wife Francine.

One thing that disappoints me is that the hunters were only interested in them for food. Rabbit fur might not be worth anything to sell in this part of the world. They just skinned them on site and left the fur on the ground like garbage. I'm seriously considering making racks to stretch and dry the skins. If nothing else we could end up making some very warm furry mittens. Just seems like a waste to me.

Just another moment living on the edge of civilization.

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Auto Response

At work yesterday someone thought to slap one of the headsets on me. Great idea. It allowed me to hear the drive thru orders and get them prepared faster than I normally would have been able. I didn't have to wait for the order to be confirmed to know what the customer wanted and whether it was a complete order. I could tell just from what they said. Normally I have to wait for the information to flash up on the kitchen monitors. 

There is a problem with all this though. I used to work for years in a call centre. When the drive thru customer hits the button for the intercom, I get a beep that is exactly the same tone that used to tell me a call was coming through for me to handle. Good thing I have to press a button by my ear for anyone to hear me because I instantly start rolling out my call centre greeting. I had to bite my tongue every time a customer beeped. Old habits are so hard to break.

They didn't forget to tell me how to talk back to anyone. That could have gotten real entertaining because the wrong button would have had me speaking on the intercom outside to the whole world. They gave me the complete run down before confiscating that piece of equipment.

Monday, 9 February 2015

Hmm... Amazon links on Facebook

Not sure how I feel about this.

This morning I posted another book review on my book review website. I immediately submitted the post information through Facebook and other social media sites to let my readers know it is available for reading. I think I've gotten pretty efficient at getting the word out there.

I went back to Facebook a little later to check to see if I got any responses from people. I like to acknowledge when people address me as a writer. When I got there I noticed Facebook advertising the book I just put a review up for in the right hand column. Seems that they are pretty quick to pick up on what I'm doing.

I do have a small plea here. If my reviews inspire you to buy the book through Amazon. Please use my link instead of theirs. Once you've accessed the link you can go to other formats and get the best price for you. Facebook can't get you better prices than I can.  They need the money far less than I do.

Thanks to all my readers who take the time to look at my writing. It is appreciated whether you buy something or not.

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Running and Running

Running like a chicken with my head chopped off it seems. There was no time to post or promote anything last night after the Sabbath. I had work in the evening and it was fairly late by the time I found my way back home to my bed.

My blogging efforts and the Cycling magazine are doing very well this month. I wasn't expecting it to do this well but no complaints from me. I was thinking we might have a challenge to beat last months page view count. At this point we may just blow it away.

I was tickled to get a response from one of the author's I reviewed on my book review site. It was not one of my author friends so it did come as a surprise. He appreciated the review and the criticisms. Always nice to get a bit of validation back for my efforts. I have four book reviews to write. I am looking to grab another book to read because I get a lot of odd breaks waiting for the boys or something else and as a result I'm doing quite a lot of reading. Hate to waste that bit of time.

I have to get this posted and then run out the door for work. After today though the rest of the week shouldn't be quite so hectic - I hope.

Friday, 6 February 2015

Done For the Day

Don't know why but I feel pretty blah. Migraines run in my family but I'm not cursed with those. I do have a headache though.

Not sure what gives. Didn't have a bad day at work even though I forgot my work shoes. Ended up working in my boots. Warm feet shouldn't make my head hurt though.

Using an electric shaver while my wife drives down country roads wasn't a good idea though. The batteries were full or it would have been a failure. Running the thing all over my face for awhile gave pretty random results. I looked worse than when I started. The job was done before getting work though so we are all good.

Anyway I want to start my Sabbath's rest early. I'm beat.

Thursday, 5 February 2015

Advertising Baby Steps

This is something that I wanted to accomplish since I found out I was able to create Amazon affiliate stores focused on specific items. I created the stores with great enthusiasm and then didn't like any of the display options.

Just adding each store to the website table of contents looked virtually invisible to me. I put a lot of effort into finding advertising for products that I though my readership would appreciate. It doesn't do anyone any good if it can't be easily noticed though.

Creating my own graphics is not completely beyond me but I did appreciate Brandon's assistance and the opinions of the rest of the family. Both ads created today are displayed in this post. I'm open to opinions and comments. Feedback will help me tailor the site so that it is not only interesting but useful.

All my Amazon affiliate advertisements are tied together in my account. I get six percent of all sales when I make four or more sales in a month. If I get less it is only four percent. At this point, I haven't sold a thing but then again my stores were pretty much invisible.

I hope to add a third store to one of my other sites but because I want to pick and choose products useful to a writer, it's a little more complicated to put together. Not sure what else I can do with all this. I'm just pleased to have been able to put this much together. Hopefully it will help pay back some of the time that I've put into this.

Incidentally the ads show on and

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

I Got My Chainsaw

I couldn't get a good Texas Chainsaw Massacre pose down, so this one'll have to do. Thanks to Brandon for running outside to take this shot for me. I won't be using the saw till later today that's why I'm not wearing all my safety gear. It isn't running either.

Until I actually started using chainsaws, I found them a little intimidating.  Now this machine and I have become good friends. It's been a workhorse this winter. I've gotten considerably better at sharpening the chain too. It only pulls a little to one side now. Considering that I don't have a vice to put it in while I sharpen with just a basic guide, I'm doing pretty good.

I love this machine and am doing my best to take good care of it. Chain gets touched up after every use. I keep the chain oil reservoir full. In fact I'm more likely to run out of fuel while working than I am to run out of chain lube. It sleeps inside with the family. One of the best purchases I've made since moving into the bush.

While I work this song by The Band Perry runs through my head. What can I say? I try to have a good time whatever I'm doing.

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Keeping It Between the Ditches

Well our third blizzard of the week is past. It hit Sackville about six o'clock last evening.  I finished work at nine so I had to drive home through the first part of it. Thankfully the wind really didn't pick up that strong until later. If it had I would have spent the night in town.

The road leading up to our place isn't very high priority so it wasn't ploughed at all yet. There were places were the road didn't really look any different than the field next to it. I know the route well and is long as I didn't run into anything real deep, I was fine.

Nobody else on the road so I'll I had to worry about was keeping it between the ditches and maintain enough momentum to get through the forming drifts. I got home without any real difficulty. The last half kilometre is by snowshoe. That was not pleasant but there was a warm place at the end of it all.

I'm sure my readers are getting sick of me writing about the weather as much as I'm looking forward to an upturn in the climate. I'll write other stuff tomorrow - promise.

Monday, 2 February 2015

Enough Already!

We are bracing for our third blizzard in the past week. After this one I think we should be done with winter. Nova Scotia Sam says there will be more winter coming because said varmint saw his shadow. I think we should lynch him. I don't care that his prediction success is the best of all ground hogs in North America. His success rate stands at 42%, which makes me wonder why we put any stock in that nonsense anyway.

Brandon will be home before this one hits. Andrew isn't scheduled to work till tomorrow night. The only one who could potentially get caught out in this one is me. I'll be taking the snowshoes with me to work. I'll probably need them. We'd beaten a path through the deep snow that is hard enough to walk on but chances are I won't be able to see where it is by the time I make the trek home tonight. Off the path the snow on the roadway is deep. I should bring my winter coveralls as well.

We'll be warm an snug though. I managed to cut down two dead trees yesterday and get enough firewood in the camp to hold us until the weather clears again. I'm running well ahead of the heating problem and have a few free days this week to put me even further ahead again. Plenty of dead dry seasoned wood out there. Just have to expend the time and effort to go get it.

Second storm knocked us off line. I'm hoping that won't happen with the coming one. My online work suffers whenever that takes a hit. Thankfully it only took two days for them to get it fixed this time around.