Thursday, December 06, 2007


This beloved (a bit sarcastic) time of year has come again.  Sleep, Eat, Study, Eat, Study, Eat, Sleep..... Repeat daily (add a bit of procrastination in there whenever possible as well, like right now).  It is however interesting to find out how much was learnt (or not) while going over all the course material.  It often feels like I try to learn a course in <40 hours at the end of the year.  Although I know I would be truly hooped if that was indeed the case.  For those fellow students out there I wish you the best for your exams, just think in less than two weeks it will all be over... well, at least until next term...

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

C. S. Lewis

I was sitting here at my desk looking at my bookshelf and noticed C. S. Lewis' Mere Christianity. I have been flipping through it quickly reading what I had underlined from past read throughs. I totally forgot how much I enjoy Lewis' work. Stack another one up on the to read again list. Often I don't always enjoy re-reading books however for a book like this I will justify it by using a quote Lewis has written in this same book "People need to be reminded more often than they need to be instructed."

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Global Smoothie

I'm excited, I finally have my blender here in Fredericton so I put it to use this evening. I think I have just made one of the best smoothies ever, it's delicious. I call it the global smoothie (despite missing a few key ingredients to be truly global). Basically I was clearing out any fruit that has been sitting around for a few days. If you want to attempt this smoothie here are the basic ingredients

  • Fortified rice milk (vanilla flavored-could use regular or soy milk)
  • Grapes (a couple good handfulls)
  • Kiwi whole (just remove the stems at the ends)
  • Apple (cored)
  • Cranberries (good hand full)
  • Carrot (one good sized)
  • Yogurt (a good splash)
  • Frozen Fruit mix (peaches, mango, wild berries, pineapple... adds a nice chill)
  • Honey (a good squeeze)
  • Flax meal (heaping tablespoon- thickener, adds Omega-3 and has a hint of a nutty flavor)
  • Dragon Fruit (if available- I unfortunately didn't have any)

I just need something from Africa to be truly Global...

What else would make a good smoothie? I know a lot of people like bananas in the mix, but that's not my style. I should try some veggie smoothie.

Sunday, September 23, 2007


I'm not sure how many people have heard about Engineers without Borders (EWB) Canada, but I have been checking out this organization lately to see what it's all about. Overall it looks like a great organization at effectively trying to help those in need around the globe. The organization really emphasizes education here in Canada on what it is like to live in poverty. They do this mainly through public school outreach programs and various events that are generally carried out by its various university chapters. The organization also trys to partner up with countries or other NGOs so that they can send a number of long term (> 14 months) volunteers overseas as well as the short term (4 months) volunteers who come from the various universities involved. For myself I have been learning a lot from the overseas volunteers who have come back to share there experiences (positives and negatives). I may try to get involved occasionally in the school outreach programs.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Season 6

One day remaining then my sixth season as a treeplanter will be complete. (Jon planting a pipeline for the Woodland Caribou Project)

Monday, July 09, 2007

Monkman Provincial Park

This past weekend I had a quick break from treeplanting so went on an incredible hike with a friend from Grande Prairie (Pepper). We booked it over to Monkman Provincial Park in BC. From there we hiked about 21km into the park to an area called the Cascades, which is a series of ten amazing waterfalls. The area somehow is very rarely used, but is simply unbelievably beautiful. The backcountry campsite we stayed at was just off the ledge of a 30 meter waterfall (Brooks Falls) and just across from another cool set of falls (Shire Falls). Another fun feature of this site was that there were numerous Black Morrel mushrooms (which are a delicacy in Japan I have been told) that we picked then sold back in town for $7.50 per/lb. I had a great time and would love to get back there someday when I have a few more days to explore (about 50km total in two full days can be tiring). More photos have been added to my Picasa Photo Gallery. (If you look closely in the photos you will notice the orange Pine trees which have been killed by the pine beetle in the area)

Saturday, June 23, 2007


The planting season keeps passing by quickly.  The only major note of late would be that I purchased a pair of hair trimmers and clipped my hair down to 3/8th of an inch.  I'm starting to wonder why I had kept my hair longer for the past number of years.  Although my longer hair in the past did keep the horse flies and sun off my head and ears.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Pepper, Planting and Paine

I had a couple great days off in Grande Prairie earlier this week to get some much needed R&R (Left Top photo: my planting partners side that has been rubbed raw from his planting bags). While in town I was able to chill at a friend's place for the couple days which was wonderful. Thanks again Pepper! Here are a couple pictures of us chilling on the roof of his place watching the sun set over GP. Well back to planting now. (This Satellite Internet that we got set up in camp is cool)

Wednesday, May 30, 2007


I find Gatorade an interesting drink. When I'm out working there seems to be nothing better for getting some energy back and it just tastes good. In town however if I'm just thirsty on any ordinary day I think the stuff is disgusting. The sweet salty taste just is not appealing I may be able to get down a few gulps of the stuff. I guess when the body is in desperate need for the salt and sugar on a hot day somehow the mind is able to make the stuff taste almost divine. There isn't much better (in moderation, although water is some good stuff also).

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Shift 1

For some reason I always forget how tired and worn out I get after the first few shifts of planting. Every day is basically wake up eat, drive, work, drive, shower, eat, 30 minutes of sports on TV followed by sleep. Repeated daily. A few pictures of my first shift at the coal mines we are working at. (A few more photos in my photo gallery.)

Friday, May 04, 2007

Day 1

Day one of planting went well.  Unfortunately as we were quading off the mines it was just starting to snow heavily so needless to say this morning there was a thick blanket of snow with more steadily falling.  So one day of planting one day off.  Hopefully it clears up so we can get back at it in the morning and keep planting for a full shift.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

New Camera

As I was doing a bit of gear hunting around Calgary today I came across a great deal on a camera. The camera (a Canon S3 IS) is one I have been looking at for some time so I went ahead and purchased it. I have to say simply only having 6% tax here in Alberta itself automatically makes everything over 10% less to start with compared to the Island. I'm hoping the camera will work out for me. It would have been great to have last year while I was traveling.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

The Season

A new season of planting starts for me on Thursday morning. I'm just hoping the snow has melted and the ground has thawed were we have to start. I am guessing there will still be some snow lingering since both Lake Louise and Sunshine are still fully opened and its basically May. I should go skiing for the day tomorrow, but doubt it's going to happen.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

My Nephew

Since exams are now over I'm back home relaxing for a number of days before I head back out west for the summer. It's been great to spend some time with my nephew. (Left- Kyler with the North Face coat I got him in Nepal) (Right- Kyler and I trying to fall asleep on the couch-unsuccessfully)

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Nature vs. Cell Phones

I was reading an article talking about the adverse reaction of cell phone radiation on bee colonies. It sounds like a bee will not return to its colony for some time if it senses cell phone radiation. This in turn can destroy the colony if enough workers don't return within a day. If this initial research is correct, we should develop a small device that produces cell phone radiation to destroy unwanted bee nests around the yard. Someone try it out by using your cell phone (I would but don't have one). Let me know if it works. (To read the bee declining population due to cell phone radiation article click)

Friday, April 13, 2007


Today was the last day of classes for the term here at UNB. It feels good to get another term behind me after having a couple semesters off traveling. Quickly thinking back to traveling one year ago today I was hiking around Torres Del Paine, Chile. I would love to be back there right now vs the hours of studying I have been doing and still need to do over the next number of days. I have to say sitting here in a little cubicle in the library for countless hours on end can get monotonous at the best of times. There is a quote I like to remember at times like this "Sometimes I do what I want, other times I do what I have to" (from Gladiator). (Photo of me at the almost mystical Towers of Paine one year ago)

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

My Maps

Google Maps has recently added another great new feature called "My Maps". This setup allows user to enter information onto Google maps such as trip routes, photos or movies of particular places and so on. I quickly plotted the rout I roughly (very roughly) followed while traveling Asia. Also I quickly made one for my route while traveling Latin America. I made these in a couple minutes so don't zoom in and expect the lines to converge on actual places. When I get some time I may put markers on actual spots with attached photos. Until that time try out "My Maps" from Google maps for yourself.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Soy Milk

I don't know if it is something I will stick with for very long, but I recently (about a month ago) switched to Soy Milk. I always remember Soy Milk tasting awful as a kid. However as I was traveling I believe a good amount (if not all) the milk, especially in Asia, I bought was soy milk despite not knowing it at the time (I couldn't read the labels). It's not like I am now totally against normal cow milk for human consumption. I will still use it without any difficulties, however it would not be my first choice. One big advantage of Soy Milk that I enjoy is that it takes much longer to go bad. No more need for that first bite of cereal in the morning to be precautionary due to the possibility of lumpy, sour milk (which happened a couple times before I switched over this term).

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Sunday River

This weekend as I mentioned in my last post I was away to Sunday River for a quick ski weekend. The weather was great and the conditions were fabulous (considering it is the spring). The only thing that was missing was a bit of sun screen on my face so I would not have burnt as badly. (Pictures of me, Ben & Lee-Anne with Mt. Washington behind and Lee-Anne at the Jordan Bowl)

Friday, March 30, 2007

Sunday River

Despite my doubts that I would be making it out skiing this season it looks like I finally will. This weekend I'm heading down to Sunday River with Ben & Lee-Anne. Hopefully the conditions will be good.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

My Car

Well the inevitable has finally happened!  My car decided it wanted a vacation of its own on Saturday night, so as me and a couple friends were about to drive home she wouldn't start.  All three of us there were Mechanical Engineers, but unfortunately we were not able to deduce the issue (plus it was dark and I had no tools with the car). Thankfully I have CAA so I was able to get it towed to a garage so I can let it sit for a couple days till I have some free time to play with it.  I'm hoping I can get it going, but knowing my limited mechanic experience I do have my doubts (especially when it comes to putting the parts back together).  Thankfully my car was able to hold out till spring so it's actually now lovely to walk about.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Picasa Web Albums

I was in my Picasa Web Albums (the online site that I store my photos and videos) a couple days ago and noticed they had upgraded to 1GB of free space (vs. 250MB previously).  Not only that they now have a search feature so you can search other peoples photos.  I am not sure why it took this long to get these new features up and running, but I am glad they finally did.

iPod (i for imitation)

Initially when I bought my mp3/mp4 player (1GB ipod nano knock off) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia I thought I got such a great deal.  Unfortunately I was not looking at the long run cost analysis.  I quickly learnt that the battery typically last for only 4-5 hours of music or  1.5-2 hours in video, photo or game mode (which meant while traveling I had to be really selective of the times I wanted to use it as to not drain the built in battery).  Recently I have ran (literally) into another unfortunate flaw.  When I go running with it the shock of running cause it to randomly turn off.  In all reality I should realize when I purchase inferior goods they will rarely compare to the original, hence they are a faction of the cost.  I think I did realize this but the price was just too enticing.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Blue Like Jazz

I finished "Blue Like Jazz" on my flight to Ontario last week. For those who have not heard of the book it is described as "nonreligious thoughts on Christian spirituality", basically the journey of faith of the author. Originally I was very skeptical of the book after a number of pages, however I was recommended this title by a number of well respected friends so I stuck to it. Which I am thankful for because after a few chapter I started to get into it and could hardly put it down. Much like any book, I may not be in exact cahoots with the author, but he had a lot of good things to say and think about (for Christians and non alike).

Thursday, March 15, 2007


This past week I was able to spend some time up in Ontario visiting friends. I got to see Noel in action working with Everyday Publications. We also did the tourist thing and visited Niagara then spent some time up in Toronto. In Toronto we also had a fun visit with the Nathan, Celeste
and their crazy cat Betsey. On Sunday I made my way up to Ottawa to visit with Jess and see the sights of Ottawa. When I was actually looking for Jess' place I met up with another friend (Derick) who was walking on the other side of the road to the University. For those going to Port Colburn to visit Noel don't forget to go view the prize attraction of the town, the shrinking mill. Thanks to everyone who let me couch hop.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Study Break

I am back at University again trying to get my head back into study mode after a wonderful study break of visiting with family and friends.  It was good to be able to spend a bit of time with my niece and nephew (and their parents of course).  My trip to Ontario was also lots of fun.  When I get some free time I may try to post a few pictures.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Fuel Prices

I suppose it is one of those little quirks of mine, but before I go on most road trips I typically check out the fuel prices online to find the cheapest spot to fill up my car. I do realize it's not a lot of money in most cases (a few cents per litre), but for some reason it's almost a game for me to find the cheapest spot to refuel. I can't explain exactly why that is, but I do know I will be as happy as a button when I have a full tank of fuel heading into NS tomorrow since gasoline is over 10 cents more per litre there than here in Fredericton.

Monday, February 26, 2007


As the buzz of a new planting season begins yet again it is always easy to imagine, but hard to know what the season will amount to. Especially this year as Ryan McLeod (my crewboss and planter extraordinaire) the man who taught me everything I know about the business and made me the planter that I am has finally thrown in the towel. This season to date sounds like it will be a bit shorter than the past couple years at Little Smokey Forestry Services, however if wanted there are always a few other good companies looking for experienced workers to fill in a few extra weeks of work. It's still the offseason so enough work talk for now.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Your Local Library

Throughout my life I have always enjoyed spending time at libraries and just wandering about the vast wealth of knowledge that is stored row by row, shelf by shelf. Often I just randomly start by picking up a classic book of literature and flip through the pages then browse through some non-fiction to discover how certain processes in nature or engineering work. This has always been something of enjoyment to me. Over the past number of years I have been to a healthy array of libraries especially while treeplanting or traveling North America (for Internet). In evaluation of which library I have enjoyed the most I would have to say it would be the one I visited in Salt Lake City, Utah. It was a beautifully architectured building, it possessed a great variety of books and had high speed internet along with being clean, organized and efficient. Somewhat one the side but also tied into the whole library/reading/Salt Lake City topic (or possibly not) I have been reading a book about the fundamentalist Mormon movement "Under the Banner of Heaven" that I have recently borrowed from the local New Brunswick library. I do quickly have to say that after reading this book I am ever more thankful for the Christian beliefs I have been brought up with and have grown into. When I finish this book in the next couple days I plan on putting up a quick summary. Which I may try to do more often when I finish reading an interesting book.
All in all get out to your local public library, pick up a good book then extend your knowledge by reading it. And if you happen upon a good read that you think I may enjoy, email me and let me know.

Saturday, February 17, 2007


Did you know PEI was the 104th largest Island in the world? 

Google Search

Have you ever tried to Google your name? I know for most people, such as myself, our names are so common there pops up millions of possible pages and we have to add extra search terms to be able to find pages related to ourselves. However, I did a search the other day for my name Jonathan Barrett and surprisingly enough this blog came up on the top of the list. I have since done it again a couple times out of interest's sake and found out that it is typically in the top couple spots of search for Jonathan Barrett (or "Jonathan Barrett") and top of the second page results for Jon Barrett (or "Jon Barrett"). I have to say I liked it better in the past when I had to modify my search with "Jonathan Barrett" PEI (or various other related terms) to get found on google. It limited some of the extremely random page clicks.

Monday, February 12, 2007

One year ago today

I find it interesting looking back at what I was up to a year ago as I was traveling. About this time I was exploring one of my favorite areas of Mexico (the Yucatan, especially around Tulum and Isle de Mujeres). More precisely to the day I had rented a scooter and was motoring around Cozumel. I found out that the place I wanted to stay at (along with everything else up and down the Caribbean coast of Cozumel) was destroyed by the hurricanes so I decided to just sleep on the beach. Needless to say I was glad I had a few things in my pack to make a couple burritos (tortias, re-fried beans, rice and hot sauce - since my lack of supplies on the beaches of the Baja I tried to keep a few staple foods with me). The photo shown is the Caribbean sunrise I woke up to which was incredible.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Crabbe Mtn

I have heard that the conditions at Crabbe have been good of late. Generally bitterly cold, but still good. I will have to try to make it out over the next month or two a couple times.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007


Last night I went to a Toastmasters meeting to see if it is something that I would like to become a part of.  I have to say for a first time guest it was somewhat strange to see how regimented the meeting was carried out (with all the roles and protocols followed - even the use of a mallet).  Getting past that however it was an enjoyable time.  I can't say I learnt too much unfortunately, but I did get voted as the best table talk speaker (don't I feel special- I even got a certificate) for doing a couple short impromptu speeches.  I still have not decided if I will go back again despite having a desire to work on my public speaking abilities.

Monday, February 05, 2007

David Suzuki

I was able to attend a David Suzuki lecture yesterday as he is traveling across Canada on his "If you were prime minister" tour (he is trying to educate Canadians to support a government that is greener).  It was an interesting speech, some of which I obviously may not agree with, but overall very informative.  I do like the Nature Challenge that he puts out (it is similar to the one ton challenge the Canadian government produced).  The Nature Challenge gives 10 simple ways to reduce our footprint.  As Believers I feel it is our privilege to responsibly care for that which God has given us dominion over.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Wisdom Teeth

  I'm definitely no dentist, but I think I may need my wisdom teeth pulled (at least the top ones).  They have been giving me this dull pain in that general back molar area of my mouth on occasion (and unfortunately for me the occasions seem to be growing more frequent).  I really don't know maybe that dull sensation is normal when they are coming in and I don't need them removed.  I have been reading up on it and there has been a study produced saying 60% of removals are unnecessary.   Also I found out they are called wisdom teeth because they normally come in later in life when we are supposedly wiser.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007


  For those who may not realize this I have been back to University now for three weeks.  I have to say I expected the transition from traveling to be a bit challenging, but thankfully it has been going smoothly enough to date.  It's great how the mind after a bit of refreshing can get back most of which was though to be lost.  I have really been enjoying living close to the university.  This morning I timed it to be 150 seconds from my front steps to the side doors of the main engineering building.  Which is great since it has been unbelievably cold many mornings of late.  I live on the main level of a house with my cousin and another guy.  Thankfully they both can cook some capital meals, because my specialty has been hamburger helper (other than the maple glazed salmon I was able to whip up the other week).  Maybe I will stick to washing the dishes.  I do have to say there is no doubt that our place looks like a bachelor pad with blankets for curtains, covers on both of the couches, lots of meat and microwavables in the freezer and needless to say a few dishes lingering around the sink.  If anyone is ever in town or has some time while passing through look me up.

Friday, January 26, 2007


Picasa has recently enabled the uploading of videos. Due to space that videos consume I have been uploading them on my secondary picasa web account. There are a few videos now posted with the possibility of a few more to come. To view click Jon's Video Gallery. There is also a link to the right under the same heading for future viewings.

Thursday, January 25, 2007


I was playing around with a slideshow feature (from myspace) with a few old photos from the past year.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

GE ecomagination

I find desalination an interesting topic/field so I have been putting a bit of research into it. While studying what I could online I have found out that GE has been investing greatly into this field for obvious reasons. I know GE has had some serious ecologically damaging habits in the past, but it at least appears that they are trying to change that for their future. Which on their part is a wise business move. Below is a link to a commercial they produced that I have to say I enjoyed (quite humorous - fishing for fresh water).
ecomagination commercial
Also if you are interested in a few of their ecomagination projects click the following link:
ecomagination projects

Monday, January 22, 2007

The Pond

After a year in the absence I was able to get back out on the pond Saturday night.  Despite the bitter cold it felt great to get back on the blades.  I thought that I would feel a bit rusty after such a break from the sport, but once I laced up, it felt like I had never left.  The ice surface is only a few minute walk from my place here in Fredericton as well which makes it ever so convenient to get rid of some steam after doing a bit of school work (ok, maybe when I am trying to procrastinate from my classwork).

Thursday, January 11, 2007


It seems like I will have to set aside my passport for a short while now as I embark on a few months of scholastic activity.  Which reminds me I need to send away for a new passport since the one I have now does not have a free page. A quick side story about this issue while traveling that I found Interesting was when I entered China they did not give me a full page Travel Visa in my passport as is typical (instead they issued me a travel permit for Tibet and the rest of China on an 8x10 piece of paper I had to carry on my person)  If they had put a visa in my passport I would have not had enough space for my Russian Visa which would have severely hindered my Trans-Siberian trip along with my flight from Moscow to NYC.


I have to say I enjoy a few of the new features that blogger has implemented for making the template layout much more user friendly compared to beta.  However in the change over from blogger beta there seemed to be a few issues with some of my old post/comments.  The code is a bit different now also for editing in HTML.  Some day I may get around to tinkering with it again.  Until that day.