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Polka King strikes it rich

Every now and then good things happen to polka accordion players. I heard on the radio this morning that 81 year old Walter Ostanek, known as Canada’s Polka King, has won a million Canadianos in the London Dream Lottery, a hospital fundraiser. He’s still playing gigs every day of the week with no plans to slow down. I wonder if there is a new accordion on the horizon? Way to go, polka-man.

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Banjo at Sam Smith Park Farmer’s Market

This Saturday, July 16, I’ll be playing some old time clawhammer banjo at the Sam Smith Park Farmer’s Market between 10:00 AM and noon. The market is located by the skating trail in the park. If you’re driving, enter the park by going south from Kipling and Lakeshore. You can’t miss it. Parking is available in the park.

If you’re out at the market Saturday morning, stop by and say hi.


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Enjoying a beautiful day

I started the day by sitting down at the side of the house with a hot-pressed paper block and some pencils to do a drawing.


After drawing-time, I spent a couple hours removing garlic mustard from the forested area at the back of our yard. It’s invasive, and unless we make an effort to rid ourselves of it, the stuff is likely to complete the invasion by abducting us and taking us to its home planet. I removed a lot of garlic mustard today. I know the war is just beginning though, because this nasty weed spreads like the Dickens. Battle stations drawn.

Tuffy P had the day off work today, and we decided to go for a bike ride this afternoon. It was perfect by the lake, not too hot, not too cool.


Tuffy P on the go


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The Alaskan Laundry

The Alaskan Laundry by Brendan Jones is your basic quest story. It’s about a young woman from Philadelphia who is going through some personal struggles, which culminate in a big fight with her father, during which he kicks her out of the house. She decides to get as far away from that situation as possible, and leaves her father (and the family bakery business) and her boyfriend behind when she packs her bag and heads north to Alaska to find herself.

In terms of the story, the main character Tara goes through all kinds of ordeals along the way, meets a bunch of people, and toughens up a lot as she masters various difficult jobs in the commercial fishing industry.

I liked the story and the various oddball characters, but I think what makes this novel successful is the way the author brought remote Alaska to life for me. I felt like I was there, in the hatchery, in the processor and out on the water. I could really visualize the characters and I learned a lot about how the fish we eat get from the ocean to our table. I could feel the lure of the sea, the chance for some fast money in exchange for very hard work, when the fish are in and the season is open.


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Blooms a go-go!

Tuffy P posting today- I went with my good friend CN to see this year’s Garden Tour organized by the Niagara-on-the-Lake Horticultural Society.  12 gardens were part of this year’s tour. We had a great day – beautiful sunshine! Lots of great blooms and veggies to enjoy throughout the day.  Here are some photos to enjoy.  Hats off to the organizers of this year’s tour.

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Little Burnt Potato

Here’s another fiddle tune, this one from Western Canada. It’s Patti Kusturok, one of the best fiddlers in the country. Here she is with some friends, including Calvin Vollrath, another of our best fiddlers, playing Little Burnt Potato as part of her 365 Days of Fiddle Tunes.




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Big John McNeil

This is a tune that came up a couple times when I was at Midwest Banjo Camp. I don’t know if it is a Canadian tune but I think many people, myself included, think it is – maybe because of this version by the late great Graham Townsend.