I first became aware of Mike Wood when he and his then partner Cam ordered one of the Millennium Editions of the Superstar Performer Cards. What with the coconut bra, grass skirt and long hair my first impression when I saw the card was that that blonde was a girl!
Not so … and by the time I started brewing, we’d bumped into each other at festivals and other gigs, collaborated on my annual trading card design and become really good friends I mean how can you not like a guy who builds a show around launching a cabbage from a catapult and catching it on a spike encrusted helmet that he wears on his head?
Favorite line from his show?
“Ladies and gentlemen, I’ll have you know that I built this catapult myself with the information I gleaned from my first two years of first year engineering!”
What I love so much about Mike is that his brain seems to have an endless number of closets in which he keeps the most fascinating information about topics I’ve never ever considered. He’ll go to a thrift store and rummage trough the old records looking for classic “Cheese Cake Album Covers” from the 50s and 60s. He’ll then stroll by the “used cutlery” area and check for actual “Silver-ware” which he’ll buy and throw into the milk crate of silver that he plans to take in for salvage. The fact that he’s a gifted comedian AND a mining engineer sort of says it all!
Then of course there’s his ability to take a whim and pursue it to the Nth degree. During his time working in London, England for a hedge fund, he decided it would be nice to have a little herb garden just outside the kitchen. All seemed to be going well until he discovered that snails were eating his herbs. Each night he’d go out and carefully pick off the snails so his herbs could survive. Then, after a bit of research, he discovered that this particular breed of snail was the very same that The French use for escargot. So what’s Mike do? He researches how to raise snails so he can have a dinner party and feast on them once he’s fattened them up. But it gets betterâ€¦ Not only did he decided to eat them he decided to embarrass them first. Working with a designer friend he posed the snails with small plastic figurines as though they were actually animals from the Old West and took it to the point of creating a website called The Snail Ranch.
During his time in England, Mike also started keeping bees. Yet another side interest that caught his attention and he decided to pursue. Upon his return to Canada, his interest in bees lead him to work for a commercial honey operator in Manitoba and start his own boutique honey business, Knotty Coppertop Honey. All of this was percolating when in 2016 I made it to the Waterloo Busker’s Festival. Mike wasn’t performing at the festival that year, but lives close enough that he came to visit myself and a bunch of other friends who were performing there that year.
Tell me more about bees and beekeeping Mike, I think I’d like to get into it.”Bee colonies are like an angry aquarium. Mostly you just leave them alone to do their thing, but every so often you need to guide the process a little bit. Until you’re ready to commit the time to managing things, I wouldn’t recommend it, but short term, here’s a one litre mason jar full of honey that you can use to brew with.”