Interview with blacksmith Sandra Dunn of Two Smiths

Interview with Blacksmith Sandra Dunn of Two Smiths by Dan Watt (interviewer) and Peter Samuel (cinematographer).

via Interview with blacksmith Sandra Dunn of Two Smiths

To reach Sandra, enroll in a blacksmithing course, or see some of the work Two Smiths has done go to:

Giant Garden Plants an Interview with Yvonne Haug

Giant Garden Plants

And Interview with Yvonne Haug

April 15, 2020

I was invited to join @verddure and was amazed by the clip of the living wall.  I wrote to my cousin Yvonne that she should check out the @verddure Instagram site.  Than I remembered Yvonne’s amazing garden of plentiful and very large vegetables and fruits.  She was kind enough to let me interview her over the Internet.

Yvonne Haug's Garden
I am always so fortunate that my garden thrives. My favourite moment was when my grandson said that his lunch would be what he could harvest for himself. He had sugar snap peas, lettuce and raspberries for lunch that day. That is what makes it all worthwhile.

What got you into growing gardens?

I have always enjoyed being outside and love nature.  It felt like a natural step to grow flowers and vegetables.  In fact my flower garden is mostly perennials to free my time to focus on the vegetable garden. There is nothing like fresh food one grows from seed. While researching my family history, I discovered that my grandmother’s parents owned a greenhouse in Toronto in the early 1900’s, so guess it is in my blood.


Your vegetables are much bigger than the average garden.  Is there a special soil and/or nutrients you use?

I focus on composting.  Every kitchen scrap from my kitchen goes directly into the compost. This includes coffee grounds, tea bags egg shells and vegetable peels (not meat or bones or dairy). Over the past three years I also made “chicken poop tea” from the manure my backyard chickens generously leave in their coop. I actually did an experiment two years ago with my pepper plants.  I used the “tea” on half of the plants and within a week they were six inches taller than the others.  Obviously I gave the rest of the plants a little “drink” after that.

Yvonne Haug's Garden cold frames to prolong season.
Cold Frames to extend the season.


How did you get the raspberries to grow so high?

I make sure I cut back all dead canes every spring.  I also use lots of the fall leaves as mulch and of course top fertilize with compost.  The mulch helps keep moisture in the ground so the raspberries flourish.  

Yvonne Haug's Garden with grandkids gathering

Your cucumbers are the size of zucchinis.  Did you plant the seeds earlier than usual? 

No I planted at the proper time.  Sometimes you just get lucky with weather conditions. I followed the same procedures for all my garden. Compost, water, mulch when possible (a good mulch can be grass clippings). 

Yvonne Haug's Greenhouse plants
No chemicals, just sunshine, rain and compost and of course a little TLC.

Yvonne Haug's Greenhouse plants harvested

When a plant is larger does it change the taste at all?  

Yes, if a zucchini gets too big it no longer tastes tender and nice, but chickens really like to eat those as a treat.  Cucumbers will start to taste bitter if they are allowed to turn yellowish. The same holds for beans, peas, and radishes.  Lettuce will become bitter or “go to seed” once the weather turns hot.  Most greens are best in the spring or early summer.  A second planting can be done late in the summer for a fall crop as the weather cools.

Yvonne Haug's Greenhouse plants the growth
I couldn’t keep ahead of the zucchini. It felt like they were getting bigger as I stood there watching.
Yvonne Haug's Greenhouse plants Tier of tomatoes
The tomato plants grew so tall they were falling over. Some tomatoes were so large, you only needed one slice for a sandwich
Yvonne Haug's Greenhouse plants The Giant Cucumber
A size comparison.
Yvonne Haug's Greenhouse plants grown
Thanks Everyone! Hope you enjoyed this interview.

An Interview with Bill Ashwell, Co-author of a Great New Play called “Dark Sanctuary”

Interview with Bill Ashwell at the Blackwing Café, Cambridge Ontario, September 14, 2019.

Bill Ashwell
Co-author of the Play Noir “Dark Sanctuary”

After seeing the play Dark Sanctuary, co-written by my friend Bill Ashwell I enjoyed it so much that I asked him if I could interview him.  If you want to know more about Bill I’ve included his bio at the end.

I just saw Dark Sanctuary, a play you co-wrote with Steve Robinson, and got so immersed in it I completely lost track of time.  How did you first come up with idea for the play?

  • It came from possibly too many nights watching old film noir movies on TCM: The Big Sleep, Out of the Past, Chinatown

How long did it take to write the play?

  • Once Steve got me off my butt about writing, he and I had a first draft completed in about 3 months.

Because it’s a cloak and dagger play did it take a long time to make it flow properly?

  • In a sense, yes. We had to frequently tweak the characters and the back stories to give more of a sense of their motivations. There had to be a viable reason for Father O’Rourke to support Nicky the way he did. And Detective Widmark needed his own backstory to be what he was.

A lot of social issues are brought up during the play.  Was that intentional or did they implement themselves into the play as it evolved?

  • A bit of both, I think. The issues of Nicky’s homelife and Father O’Rourke’s internal struggles are real and in a sense timeless, so to speak. We just worked them into the story to expand beyond the simple noir-ish stereotypes

Why did you choose to have the play take place in 1952?

  • Simply, it fits with the film noir approach. But really, the time frame isn’t that much of a factor. Just sets the scene.

Some of the actors spoke with an Irish accent.  Was that intentional?

  • Again, it was all in keeping with the story. We wanted the archetypal characters; the kindly priest, the busybody house keeper, the hard-boiled police detective, without dwelling on the stereotypes, simplifying the characters to the point of parody. So the accents fit with the characters and, I suppose, vice versa.

I was very impressed with the choice of actors.  Were they asked or did you have auditions?

  • Mainly auditions. Steve put the call out and we auditioned quite a few local and area actors. I was quite impressed with the depth of talent in this area.

You’ve also written non plays.  Can you tell us about your other writing and if it is available or will be soon?

  • I began writing poetry waaaayy back in the ‘80s, but had no idea what to do with it of how to hone my craft. I stumbled across the Cambridge Writers Collective in 1995, a wonderful group of writers who taught me more about writing than I could have ever imagined. I have been fortunate enough to have had some of my work published and self-published.
  • Poetry taught me to bend the physical rules of writing, that expression of the idea is, in some way, more important than composition. I struggle with rhyming poetry (and don’t get me started on limericks), so free verse poetry became the vehicle by which I could effectively express myself.


Bill Ashwell has been a member of the Cambridge Writers collective (CWC) since 1995.  His poetry and prose have been published in several editions of CWC’s Writers Undercover Anthologies and The Cambridge Wartime Scrapbook.  In 2001 he published Moments of Clarity, a chapbook collection of his poetry.  In 2007 his work was published in the Ascent Aspiration Magazine’s: Aguaterra Anthology of poetry and fiction.  Also in 2007 he was awarded the City of Cambridge’s prestigious Bernice Adams Memorial Award for Communication and Literary Arts.  Bill has also participated in numerous public poetry readings, notably, at the Cambridge Arts Festival, the 2004 Remembrance Day Service at the Galt Cenotaph, and at various local celebrations of the spoken word.

You can reach Bill at: or text him at:  226-218-1242