Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Seals, Windjammers and Beach Picnics

The glorious days of summer are here in Downeast Maine.  We're off to Fiddle Head Island for a beach picnic, but first, we're taking a side trip to see the seals basking in the sun on the Green Ledges off Western Island.

Aware of our intrusion into their space, the seals shuffled themselves off the ledges and into the water, preparing for whatever might happen next.

We watched quietly, even Nelson didn't make a peep.  Our best efforts to entice them close to the boat met with decided distain.

That was our best viewing of the seals in many years.  Time to move on to the picnic part of our day.

Fiddle Head is connected to Hog Island at low, low water.

Mummy, please carry my "boat" to the water.  I'm going sailing!

Looking for crabs, using Papa Buz' proven method of lifting the seaweed mats with a stick.
Found one!
Oops, he got away.
Boy, they are FAST little beasties.

Oh, look!  There goes a Windjammer, heading out from Buck Harbor.

What an exhausting morning.  Time to head home for naps.See you next time.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Toeing The Line

You tattooed your legs!!!  What the....????

During WWII, the war effort commandeered silk to make parachutes and powder bags.  Nylon was invented by DuPont in 1938 and nylon stockings became the preferred hose, due to the shrink proof and moth proof qualities.  As the war went on, nylon also was commandeered for parachutes, rope and tire production.  Nylon and silk stockings cost an arm and a leg, and became as rare as hens' teeth.  Cotton or rayon hose were a sorry replacement--they bagged at the knees, shrank and were "just not nice".  Many a young lady went dancing in cotton ankle sox and pumps.

Fashion sense demanded more.  

To imitate the look of the black seam of real silk stockings,  my Mum and her sisters took turns standing on the kitchen table to have a line drawn with eyebrow pencil up the length of their legs.  Can you imagine standing still during that ticklish operation?  Did they have to remember not to cross their legs to prevent smudging the lines, or did the line last overnight to make it to work the next day?  Did they hope it didn't rain on their big night out?  Meanwhile, returning servicemen smuggled home their "chutes" for their sisters or their fianc├ęs to make wedding dresses.

These days, the retro look of silk stockings has been taken up a notch.

No, I did not tattoo my legs.  These are nylon stockings, and yes, they still cost an arm and a leg!  The black line starts at the toes and goes alllllllll the way up.

As we were getting ready for the wedding last weekend, my sister commented that it looked as if I had been tattooed.  Almost as soon as I got to the ceremony, people were shocked to see that this 65 year old grandmother had become an "ink junkie".  Too funny!  I didn't really get the reaction I was expecting, but then, I didn't go unnoticed either.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Little By Little, Things Come Together

My goodness!  It's been over a month since my last post.  Back in the day, I used to post three times a week.  Getting lazy, I guess.  The past two months have been a whirlwind of busy for us, opening the cottages, doing battle with the mice, landscaping the torn up property, and MOVING INTO OUR RENOVATED TOWER!!!

You know when you get sideswiped by feelings of wonder?  That is how it is here in our new space.  The outcome has totally surpassed our expectations.  We slowly walk from room to room, taking it all in, saying, "What did we ever do to deserve this???"

Captain B has designed and built a 14 foot harvest table for the new dining room.  No small feat, let me tell you.  He confessed that at the outset, he feared it might be too big a project that would never come to completion.  He beams with pride at his accomplishment now and revels in the well-deserved compliments being showered on him.  Here are the photos:

The first step was building the three sturdy saw horses to support his work.

The leg joints....I love the dowel insets over the screw holes.

Building the frame.  
There are no photos of cutting the fourteen foot timbers because it took two of us to hold them.  Besides, the flying sawdust and wood chips would have been too blurry in the pictures.  And then, there was the fact that we were both coughing and sneezing from the dust!

A great deal of forethought went into the plan to support the length and breadth of the table.  Many brilliant designs were put forth, but in the end, simple and strong carried the day.

No driftwood or beach stone accents were harmed to produce this table.

It took four strong men to carry the table top from the barn to the house.
The final piece-de-resistance was the Deer Isle granite inlay.

The finishing touches....and.....

Ta Da!
We're ready for the feeding of 5000!
And the buying of a dozen new chairs!!!!

The hard work is behind us now and we are ready to play.  The family begins arriving later this week, beginning a summer of delight.  Each day is a gift to be appreciated and I am thankful.

Who knows when I will post again?  I'll see you when I see you.  Until then, let's make each day count for eternity.  Blessings of peace, love, joy and thankful hearts be yours, Dear Readers.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Spring Has Sprung....Finally!

Friends in Britain and the deep South have been extolling the delights of spring for some time now.  Easter came and went, and Ontario was still shivering with the daily frosts.  We occupied ourselves with diversions, trying to keep warm.

We decided it was time for the annual hair cuts.

What a transformation!

Everyone was in a jolly mood.

The die-hards bundled up and went golfing....
even in the rain, the wind and the flooded, muddy mess of it all.

You know it's wet when the sand trap has become a water hazard!

It's taken five weeks, but these chocolate bunnies have made way for....

Live rabbits on the lawn.

The flowering trees are now in bloom, just in time for Mothers' Day!

If only every blossom on my cherry tree would yield a red delicacy!

The birds are back.

Gold finches.

Female Cardinal.

House Finch.

Red Wing Black Bird.


The squirrels have become so frustrated by my squirrel-proof bird feeders, they have taken to decimating my tulips for revenge!  Nasty beasts!!!

The garden has been whipped back into shape, after an extremely harsh winter.  I replaced 11 rose bushes that didn't survive.  The trees have burst forth in leaf in the past four days, and the hope for warmer weather seems about to be fulfilled, sooner than later.  AT LAST!  This Snow-Bird, for one, has become climatized to tropical temperatures.  Coming back to Canada before full-on-summer, is a rude awakening.  Still, spring is a joyful, invigorating time of year.  I love it.

How is it where you are?  Has it stopped snowing yet in Alberta?????

Friday, May 2, 2014

Crossing, Dodging, Stepping Up.

Steadfast crossed the Atlantic Gulf Stream in early April, leaving the Bahamas and re-entering US waters.  Captain B uses careful consideration as to when we make our crossings, due largely in part to the whining and complaints from his crew (AKA:  me). This amazing stream/ocean current is a warm, swiftly-moving river of water that ranges from 800 - 1200 meters deep and averages 100 km. wide.  Moving at a speed of 5.6 mph, it is a force to be reckoned with for boats like ours.  Things can get nasty when the wind and current are moving in opposing directions, building turbulent seas and uncomfortable sailing conditions.

From Bimini to the St. Lucie inlet took about 61/2 hours--a pleasant, uneventful crossing under clear skies and calm seas.  Thank you, Captain B.  It was another 2 hours more before we reached our marina.  First we had to clear the inlet in Stuart, Florida.

Florida's Martin County has this one access to the Atlantic Ocean. A conduit between the inland InterCoastal Waterway and the Okeechobee Waterway and the Atlantic Ocean, it is of importance to commercial and pleasure boating traffic, ecological concerns (sea turtles and other species) commerce, public and private dockages.   A Federal inlet, it is usually maintained on a four year schedule by the US Army Corps of Engineers.   Recent active storm seasons and natural water flow have accelerated shoaling in the area, making for serious navigational hazards.  So much so, Tow Boat US keeps a patrol boat there at all times to render immediate assistance and advice as it becomes necessary.  We chatted them up on VHF radio to double check the channel as we picked and dodged our way thru.  Shallow, murky water makes Captain B very nervous.  Between November 2013 and April 2014, federal, state and county money, to the tune of $11million, paid to clear 350,000 cubic yards of sand and debris from the navigational channels and containment basin of this one inlet.

We made it thru and proceeded to the double Roosevelt Bridge on the St. Lucie River.  The new bridge tender is a woman with the cheeriest, merriest, most up-beat personality we've ever heard on the VHF.  Not to paint them with too wide a brush, bridge tenders are notorious for their surly, uncooperative attitudes.  Maybe they burn out and this one was new to the rigours of life on the waterway.  We'll give you an update next season, after she's been on the job for a year or more.

The very last leg of our journey was the lock entering the Okeechobee Waterway.  River Forest Marina lies just west of the lock--Steadfast was almost home.

We took our time approaching, as this lock was under repair.  When we finally made it inside, it looked dubious as to whether or not things were truly working.  It took three tries to get the east gate to completely close.

There were three of us making the westerly passage, a sailboat ahead of Steadfast and one power boat behind us.

Once the east gate was secure, the western gate began to slowly allow gushing water to raise us to the next level on the river.

We "stepped" from this far down, to......

this far up.

Ten minutes later, we pulled into our slip at River Forest Yachting Center.  Home, Sweet Home for Steadfast once more.

The winter boating season for Steadfast is over.  The summer season for Pescatora is about to begin.  Instead of dodging shoals, we will be on the lookout for rock--a much less forgiving encounter if one should happen to come upon such a hazard.

What does this season hold in store for you all?  Any holiday plans, excursions, picnics or parties?  I've heard there will be a wedding or two, some building projects, and maybe an election for Canada (AGAIN!!!!)  Keep the faith.  The best is yet to come.