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Neighbour eager to lend a hand and a shovel
If you happen across Buxton Road this winter, you may notice that the sidewalks on the west side of the street are often cleared even before the city’s s sidewalk snow removal machines have had a chance to get there.
That is because longtime Buxton resident and senior citizen Henry Dueck accomplishes his daily exercise by shoveling everyone’s sidewalk from one end of the block to the other.
Shoveling sidewalks for about 25 houses are all part of his day’s workout.
When asked why he does it, Dueck says: "I guess I started with doing my own and then I realized that the neighbours were busy so I just kept on shoveling and kept on going until I had the whole street done."
Dueck couldn’t shovel for a while because of some hip problems. As a result, he had both hips replaced in the past couple of years. Now he is back in shape and back shoveling. "I don’t always get it done, but I do it when I can."
As part of his doctor’s recommended exercise regime, Dueck takes to the sidewalk with shovel in hand to "get out there and keep them [the hips] mobile." He laughs as he says it is cheaper than getting a gym membership. Over a couple of evenings or days, he gets the sidewalks all shoveled.
When he’s not shoveling, Dueck tends to the ice lantern assembly he has going on, on his back porch. As soon as the thermometer falls sufficiently below 0 C, he begins fashioning ice lanterns and at any given time six to eight ice lanterns are in various stages of production on his back porch. Dueck’s signature ice lanterns can be seen in front and back yards along Buxton and in friends’ yards around the city. So far this season, he has gifted about 100 ice lanterns and more are in the process of being made on his back porch.
Here is how Dueck makes his ice lanterns and what kind of materials are required.
• Two pails, one smaller than the other. The larger pail needs a lid.
• Votive candles on shallow plates or in containers.
1. Cut a round hole in the lid of the larger pail.
2. Fill the smaller pail with rocks as weights.
3. Mostly fill the larger pail with water
4. Insert the smaller pail filled with rocks inside the larger pail. The rocks keep the inner pail from floating once it has been placed in the large pail filled with water. Add more water to the large pail if the water does not reach its upper lip.
5. Leave the pails outside overnight. The lantern will freeze overnight on a good night’s frost.
6. Once the water is frozen, take the ice lantern inside. Remove the rocks from inside the small pail.
7. Pour warm water into the small pail to gently release the frozen lantern. Remove the small pail.
8. Pour warm water around the outside of the large pail to remove from the ice lantern. Once the pails are both removed, the ice can be touched up and repaired with warm water, especially if the base isn’t smooth.
9. Place votive candle on a shallow plastic or glass plate and place in the ice lantern. Light the candle in the evening for a festive walkway decoration.
Helen Lepp Friesen is a Fort Garry-based writer.
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