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Trade Craft

The new episode of The Agency Podcast is now available. Listen right here or find us where all the cool kids get their podcasts (and the other places too)

This Week:
Dads in restaurants
Cleaning chopsticks
Napkin Money
Breaking Down Top Gun Maverick
The Dambusters
Top Secret Sewing
Comedians in Cars
Public Realm Paradise
The Honourable Schoolboy
Street Festivals…..
…..and more. Please enjoy the episode.

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The Garden Tour

The opening flower toss at Nadia’s garden

Last Saturday, 34 Long Branch addresses opened their gardens to the public for the day. The Long Branch Garden Tour was back after a 2-year pandemic hiatus. Gardeners around our community spent long hours out in the garden before Saturday, getting everything just so.

People started coming just after 10 AM and we were talking to visitors all day. In early afternoon, my buddy Ted came by and we played a few tunes in the back yard. Nephew Luke, Steph and the kids came by too, and Luke even sat in on gut-bucket bass.

George, our Newfoundland adds class to the band
Steph, Luke and the kids came down from Stouffville for the tour!

We enjoyed many visitors – it was steady all day. People were really enjoying the tour, and there were some very good gardeners in attendance. One person identified a problem with our Shishigashira Japanese Maple, which turned out to be spider mites. We took action the day after the tour, by spraying the leaves vigorously with a garden hose. We’ll do this every couple days for a while and that will hopefully keep the bugs at bay without using any poisons.

Having another garden tour in our community was particularly sweet after avoiding interaction with other people for so long. The weather was perfect and lots of people came by on bicycles – what a great way to experience the garden tour!

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Ho! The West

The new episode of The Agency Podcast is now available. Listen right here or find it at all the good podcast places.

This week:
Slow West (by request)
Scallops in the Comfort Food Diner
Sewing stories
Listener mail
Email The Agents anytime – share your dreams.

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Breakfast Television on Twenty Seventh Street

In the front yard with Frankie Flowers

The Long Branch Garden Tour is back! It will take place Saturday June 25, 10-4, rain or shine. We were very fortunate to host the fabulous Frankie “Flowers” from Breakfast Television this morning – he did his weather updates from our garden and generously promoted the garden tour. This will be great publicity for the garden tour and we really appreciate the visit from BT.

The real star of the show this morning was our big boy George, who made friends and managed to find his way into just about every hit. As they say, the camera loves him!

If you’re in the Toronto area on June 25, come on down to Long Branch. We’re located in the bottom left corner of your Toronto map – any further west and you’ll stumble into Mississauga. There are over 30 gardens to visit and the tour is free. Get your map online or at Long Branch businesses or at participating gardens on the day of the tour.

There are several good places to grab lunch right along Lake Shore Blvd W. in our community. You will also find bicycle rentals along Lake Shore in Long Branch. Bicycle is a great way to go between gardens. If you’re driving, don’t worry there is plenty of parking. And when you get to our place on Twenty Seventh Street, be sure to say hi to our Newfie-dogs George and Ruby!

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Play Till Ya Die

The new episode of The Agency Podcast is now available. Listen right here or find it at all the best podcast places.

This week: The agents watch three music documentaries. The first, Dave Grohl’s WHAT DRIVES US about life on the road of bands in vans. The next music focused documentary is MARY J. BLIGE: MY LIFE about the 25th anniversary tour celebrating Blige’s phenomenal album “My Life.” And third the music doc-based work is a series set in Virginia of a competition to cast a gospel choir by Bishop Ezekiel Wiliams and co-produced by his nephew Pharrell Williams, called VOICES OF FIRE.

Please let us know what you think. Have you seen these docs? Whats your favourite music documentary? We’re also interested in your dreams. Would you like to come on the podcast and tell us about one of your dreams? Email us anytime.

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Buck Fever Rag

Buck Fever Rag was written by the late great Reg Hill. Mr. Hill was the fiddler in Mac Beattie’s Ottawa Valley Melodiers, but he also had several great solo recordings. I’d bet dollars to donuts the scrub-board player on the Reg Hill cut is Mac Beattie himself. This tune stopped me in my tracks when I heard it, and it’s one of the tunes that helped convince me to try to learn some Canadian Old Time fiddle.

I’ve been working on fiddling Buck Fever Rag. Wow, what a trip. It’s full of double shuffle bowing and it’s a hoot to play, even though I stumble around a lot. Part of learning a tune, at least for me, is listening to how various fiddlers attack it. Above, it’s Patti Kusturok as part of her 2015 round of 365 days of fiddle tunes. Below, it’s Charlie Walden, with Patt Plunkett, Kathy Hirsch and Jennifer Jeffries, wearing Hillbilly Diaspora hats.

Here’s another great fiddler, Ivan Hicks…

I’m going to go way overboard here and post one more. I enjoy the videos Ashley Giles has posted with her dad on accordion. She has a lot of fun with her version and the accordion bass is perfect. As a bonus she adds on Bowing the Strings, another tune chock full of double-shuffle bowing.

Here’s another old fave featuring Reg Hill – Old Tyme Fiddler’s Dream…..

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Marmalade Sandwiches

This week:
Listener mail
Bob’s Burgers – the movie
Paddington 2 – almost perfect
John le Carré’s final novel
Poor Koko

Email The Agents anytime.
Listen right here or find the latest episode at all the good podcast places.

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Deer at Thomson Memorial Park

Today marked the last in the current series of nature walks from the Toronto District School Board, and led by naturalist Miles Hearn. We met up at 8:00 this morning at Thomson Memorial Park, which is at Brimley Rd and Lawrence Ave E in Scarborough. I had no idea this gem of a woodland park existed. Thomson Park is well used, but still there is room for deer. The one I photographed stood still and watched our group for some time. I thought I briefly saw a second deer, but I only photographed this one.

Eastern Kingbird
Virginia Waterleaf in flower

Song Sparrow

I’m planning on rejoining the TDSB nature walks for the fall session. They’re fun and informative. Miles Hearn, who leads all these walks, is super-knowledgeable.

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A Game Called Go

The Agents watch The Surrounding Game, a documentary about aspiring Go game players vying for professional Go player status. They also talk about some food, art, government grants, their email account… And more about Go.

Listen right here or find it at all the best podcast places. Email The Agents anytime.