John Dykeman Blog

aimless ramblings of a humble gentleman from Montreal. Urban Gardening, Travel, Flight, Art, Science

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Location: Kirkland, QC, Canada

Sharing some images and thoughts from travel, local area, garden. Family roots in USA.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Weird or different guitar chords

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Mayan Garden in Canada

Companion Planting: Mayan Agriculture in Canada

A few years ago it became fashionable to plant the 'Three Sisters', a method of inter cropping developed by the Mayan's to produce all three of their staple crops on one plot of land.

The basic method used in 'Three Sisters' planting is to plant Corn, Beans, and Squash in the same vegetable patch. The Sweet corn will grow tall and strong and provide a support for the Beans. The Beans grow up the Corn whilst adding Nitrogen to the soil, and the Squash plants spread out around the base and proved a live mulch and spiky protection. A simple and natural way to inter crop your vegetables


Montreal Canada is not a tropical zone for agriculture, having winters that can approach arctic temperatures of -40F (-40C), but blessed with summers that are frost free from early May to mid October. The months from May to September are the prime time for agriculture, as October time is not ideal for plants. In late summer, early autumn, the temperatures at night are becoming colder which produces dampness. This favours insects and rot, so as a consequence, the plants tend to become diseased and cease to be productive.

Montreal summers are warm to hot (10-20 days of 30+C (high 80's+F), with good sunshine and ample rainfall (usually). The southern Quebec region is between 45 and 47 in latitude, resulting in days having sunrise before 5am (Daylight Savings time) and sunset after 8 pm. 

Saturday, May 21, 2016

SEM - Caricature Artist in France, turn of the 19th Century.

SEM (Georges Goursat) caricatures

Georges Goursat was born and raised in an upper-middle-class family from Perigueux.  The wealth inherited from his father at the age of 21 allowed him to sustain a gilded youth.

He had access to high society of France, who were mainly centered in Paris (entertainment, food, drink), and Monte Carlo (racing, betting). SEM, as he signed, produced these lithographs seen here below from our private collection. Some are framed and some are not.

Années Folles (1918–1934)

After the war, Goursat came back to the kind of caricatures that made him famous. In 1919, he published Le Grand Monde à l'envers (High Society upside down).]Around 1923, he published 3 almums under the general title of Le Nouveau Monde (The New World). In 1923, he was made an officer of the Légion d'honneur. In 1929, he was severely impoverished by the  economic crisis. After a heart attack in 1933,mhe died in 1934.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Stevens family ancestors; wreck of White Ship : 1120 AD

Our immigrant ancestor to England, Airard Fitz Stephen was born probably about 1036 and was in command of the ship Mora in the fleet conveying the Norman forces to England in 1066 for the Battle of Hastings. 1 
A son of Airard Fitz Stephen was Thomas Fitz Stephen who died 1120 in the wreck of the White Ship or Blanche Nef, of which he was in Command. It was said to have been the finest ship in the Norman navy. While Dante Gabriel Rossetti is perhaps better known for his somewhat naughty poem entitled "Jenny", he also wrote the "Ballad of the White Ship"2 which is historically accurate. An abstract from it follows: 
"The rowers made good cheer without check; 
The lords and ladies obeyed his beck; 
The night was light and they danced on the deck. 
But at midnight's stroke they cleared the bay. 
And the White Ship furrowed the water-way. 
As white as a lily glimmered she 
Like a ship's fair ghost upon the sea. 
And under the winter star's still throng 
From brown throats, white throats, merry and strong. 
The knights and ladies raised a song; 
A song, - nay a shriek that rent the sky 
Of three hundred living that now must die. 
An instant shriek that sprang to the shock 
As the ship's keel felt the sunken rock. 
Pale Fitz-Stephen stood by the helm 
`Mid all those folk that the waves must whelm; 
A great King's heir for the waves to whelm, 
And the helpless pilot pale at the helm! 
With prayers in vain and curses in vain, 
The White Ship sundered on the mid-main, 
And what were men and what was a ship 
Were toys and splinters in the sea's grip. 
He clutched the yard with panting stare, 
And we looked and knew Fitz-Stephen there. 
He clung, and `What of the prince?' quoth he, 
`Lost, lost' we cried. He cried, `Woe on me!' 
And loosed his hold and sank through the sea." 
-(Dante Gabriel Rossetti) 
1 Strickland's Queens of England, I, 116; Taylor's Mss. 
2 The Poetical Works of Dante Gabriel Rossetti, 192 et seq. 

The invasion by William the Conquerer in 1066AD was carried out by sea crossing, led by Thomas FitzStephen's father Stephen FitzAirard, who captained the MORA, lead ship in the invasion. In the Bayeaux Tapestry, it is the boat with the light standard afixed to the main mast. (far right in the image below).

Monday, March 7, 2016

Views from Quebec City (only walled city in North America)

Quebec City in Canada (Province of Quebec) is one of the oldest continually settled European colonies in North America (outside of Mexico). This town has been fought over for centuries and was French for about 1.5 centuries. In 1763 the Treaty of Paris ceded this part of North America to English Empire (French decided to keep Martinique and Guadeloupe since the sugar trade (powered by African Slaves) was more lucrative.) The French also keep St. Pierre and Miquelon because of access to rich fishing grounds on the Grand Banks. To the French, Quebec was 'quelques arpents de neiges' (several acres of snow) according to the French philosopher Voltaire (Cogno, ergo sum) (I think, therefore I am) was his famous revelation. Obviously he didn't think much of Quebec, otherwise he would have argued to keep it.....since it also was access to MidWest US up to and including Minnesota. Quebec has maintained its distinct French identity thru the centuries partly because of the Quebec Act by Lord Dorchester which allowed the King's subjects in British North America to maintain their religion (primarily if not exclusively Roman Catholic) and language, and manner of laws (based on Civil Law, making it the only jurisdiction in North America (other than Louisiana or Louisiane, which was also French, but sold to US by Napoleon to raise money for wars with the British Empire).

Wrought Iron gates outside the former semainaire (university Laval)
(La Fabrique) in old town Quebec City.

Tourist shopping street (narrowest street in North America)

Cannons to fight off the French, or English or Americans. In the background (the green ....appears Cap Diamant (Cape Diamond) which occupies the highest point above the Fleuve St Laurent (St Lawrence River....a Fleuve is a major river that empties to the sea: there is tide water in Quebec City of up to 10 feet upon occasion)
This site contains the Fortress of Quebec, a British styled redoubt, fortress that is fortified with earthen and stone perimeter into which is built the quarters for small army contingent, including a dwelling for the Lieutenant Governor of Quebec, the Viceroy representative of the Queen of Canada (presently Queen Elizabeth II).

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Autumn in Canada

As autumn moves into Canada and summer is a memory, the flora and fauna change. 

Farmer's field in a suburb of Montreal provides good content for illustrating this concept.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

part timers pop/rock band . .

Fundraiser for William (autistic nephew, 22 years old) See above reference.

 practice in basement, Alex (guitar)

 Family photos

Anthony's 50th The Partimers V2

Godin Acousticaster....sounds and feels like a Telecaster. Hollow body

PART TIMERS Band in Concert in St-Eustache/Deux -Montagnes for Charity event

'Dykeman Corner' with three guitars, two keyboards, harmonicas, vocal Mic

playing some lead guitar in early 2008 before the Part Timers.

Part Timers band is 6 person band with 2 guitarists, 1 bassist, drummer, female lead vocalist and one generalist (me) doing guitar, keyboards, harmonica and vocals.

One guitar player is versatile acoustic, electric (drummer when needed...we are part timers), and does great lead and back up vocals.

Band is doing charity work now, (we are not the charity) and some other non-paid work.

Next gig is Dollard -des -Ormeaux QC at Civic Center, for Sept 12, 2015.

Set up for PART TIMERS

The BAND Version 1

Previous session at 60th anniversary of Dina and Norman Dykeman
Music provided by Dykeman Family bands including:
John and Richard

 Jan 2016: Autism Spaghetti night charity event. New songs, more harmonica, more keyboards, less cowbell. New drummer Daniel.

 Guest singer for DANIEL (Elton John song)