Friday, September 24, 2010

Demolition Derby

I'm camping in my dining room!

I can see the basement bedroom thru the hole in the kitchen floor!

Cough, sneeze, choke....dust, smoke, alarms.

Open doors to let smoke out, bring in flies and loose the dog.

Telephone is ringing off the hook as every trade in the construction industry is trying to communicate with each other, and Hubby's home office is vying for talk time. 

The truck scheduled to pick up my bags and boxes of purged junk is late, not coming today, rescheduled.
Haul the stuff out to the curb, haul it back.  It's going to rain.

In all the noise and confusion (can you hear the drills, electric saws, jack hammers?) I am escaping to the web.  It's quite there, entertaining and fun.  Friday Follows are welcome here this week.  Perhaps I will meet new friends, good writers, great photographers, people who can teach me things, or people I can help.  If your blog is all about selling things, count me out.  To be honest, I will not follow back.  My favorite blogs to follow are the ones that talk about life. 

Welcome aboard Steadfast!  Make yourself at home and visit often.  Once the holidays are over, we'll get underway, cross the Gulf Stream and cruise the waters of the Bahamas.  Bring your life jacket and a fishing rod.  The wine's on me.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Dream and Drool

The annual trek to the Newport International Boat Show is one that we look forward to all year.

A quaint town with historic houses, mansions, parks, and SHOPPING, is hard to beat, but when you add in several hundred boats (new and used) it's over the top. 

Usually, we stay aboard Steadfast and go ashore daily for the weekend show.  This year, we were land-lubbers--guests at the Viking Hotel, a Victorian treasure. 


Fun (especially the Hendriks Gin Martinis before supper with friends.)

  We walked our legs off all day at the show, beginning and ending with a hike down and then up the hill between the hotel and the harbour.  So many period houses, cobbled narrow streets, churches and parks.  I had a hard time not tripping over the uneven walkways as I peered thru the camera lens and tried to keep up with Hubby as he marched along.

St. Mary's, founded in 1828.
John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline Lee Bouvier
were married here Sept. 12, 1953.
The church was designated a national shrine in 1968.

Cemetaries date back to 1677!

Built in 1864, the Griswald House now houses the Newport Art Museum. So many of the old homes are now open to the public for a fee, which is the only way to help offset the cost of upkeep and repair.

Of course this a boating blog, but part of the fun is where boating takes you, and all the lovely places you get introduced to along the way.

Now on with the show!!

There was method in our madness, we did have an agenda (express trawlers), but with so much to see, we frequently became distracted and got off course.  The sail boats are always so beautiful, many deserving a tour even though they are not our style. 

"Best in Show" is a case in point...just look at those lines.

Here is the Tern Boatworks display: (check out the link to see "Enigma" under sail.)

Bruce Thompson, from Halifax, Nova Scotia, designed and built this sailboat and you can tell he is  proud to show it off in this prestigious venue.  I just had to include a fellow Canadian and the sleek and slender lines of "Enigma" really caught my imagination.

Newport, RI is still a working harbour.  The distinctive "aroma" of fishing vessels tell you they're present even before you turn to look.  They made for a stark contrast to the pleasure craft gleaming on the adjacent docks.

Gandaff would be intrigued by the name of this boat:  Shadowfax.

"High Tea" with its tender "Tea for Two" was one of my two favorites on offer.  Even though this would not be a boat I would buy, for so many reasons, it is still ADORABLY CUTE.  Built in 1929, refurbished several times over the years with new Volvo engines, vacuflush toilets, upholstery and such, it still plies the waters in grand old style.

My other fav was"Fredrickstad".  This beautifully appointed ship was built as a rescue vessel for Norway fjords over 35 years ago.  With full steel construction, she is classified for ice-bound waters. Fully refurbished, she can cruise anywhere in the world in comfort and safety.  These old lamps are characteristic of the antique furnishings in the main salon.  The galley with the old "farm style" double sink was a delight, the heads were giggle-producing in their ingenuity, especially the porcelain bathtub for midgets and the cabins were the stuff of legend.

This is my ship, I exclaimed!

No it's not, my husband countered.

But why????

The maintenance would be horrific, he replied, and the draft...don't even go there!
Besides, it's too slow for us anyway.

Well, that's what boat shows are for--to dream and drool.  I have tons of photos, but these will have to whet your appetite for more.  Next September, I'll see you there, and we can dream and drool over your favs together, okay?

Sunday, September 19, 2010

How Does It Feel?

Did you see that?  Did you?  He whistled at me!

                               -How do you feel, she asked?

I think he just made my day.

                               -It's the boots.

The boots?

                                -Yeah, men go for babes in boots, was her opinion.

The clerk in the pharmacy remarked on the boots.  The cleaning lady gave them praise.  They do look good with the skinny black pants.  I guess it is the boots.

                                 -She told me a story:  Way back when I was 45, way, way back, I traveled from Poland to Spain on holiday.  I remember perfectly what I was wearing on that particular day.  I had on a white shirt with a little collar and short sleeves.  I was wearing my pearls and matching earrings.  My full skirt swished and swirled around my legs as I walked down the street in my bare feet with sandals.  All of a sudden, I was hearing whistles.  I didn't turn my head, but just kept on walking.  There were more whistles and then men's voices calling out to me.  It made me blush and hurry on.  When I caught up with my sister, she asked what was wrong with me.  I looked funny, she said.  Where I came from, people never did that, it was unheard of.  I wasn't sure if I was insulted or flattered.  Deep down, it felt good--I was turning heads at 45!

Good for you.

                                -Those boots:  I used to wear boots with high heels like those.  I had a pair in black, brown and tan.  Not any more.  Good for you too.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Late Summer Harvest

Here it is, the end of summer and the Niagara Peninsula is in harvest mode. 

Sunday's 50km. bike ride took us thru some pretty areas that I just had to go back and document today with my camera.  When I first saw them on Sunday, they were bowing under the weight of so much fruit.  Today, most of the apples had been picked, but look at these beauties.


On the way to make juice or wine.

The purple ones are called Concord, and the green ones are Niagara Grapes.  Sold this way, in small baskets, they are called "Table Grapes".

It all looks so delicious, nutritious and bursting with vitamin C.

Thanksgiving comes early in Canada and here you can see why.  The snows are hitting Alberta as we speak.  Harvest is all over out west, but the tender fruit belt of southern Ontario is still in full swing.

Pumpkins come next.  Are you ready?

Saturday, September 11, 2010

And Now for Something Completely Different: Philosophy 101

Life putt-putts along in regular rhythm as I mindlessly move from day to day, following routines of laundry, marketing, dog care and household tasks.  Recent movie outings, and exploits trapping wild urban animals have given me reason to pause and think.  I am now considering the multifaceted layers of my personal existence.  Is there more going on than meets the eye of the casual observer, more than can be seen and heard, or even more than all my human senses can apprehend?

Ninety-nine percent of the time, I move thru my days dealing with the here and now in 3D.  I react to what I see, hear and touch and never think about what else exists, never mind what else could be occurring in different realms.  Is this total reality, or an illusion of what is real?

It is easy to forget about earthquakes in Haiti or floods in Pakistan when I am not experiencing it first hand.  It surprises me to realize there are wild critters cavorting around my back yard in the dark while I snuggle under my cozy duvet, blissfully unaware of them.  That people sitting beside me on the bus are sick with worry over their personal dilemmas, financial issues or health problems doesn't reach out and slap me across the face.

The Matrix and Inception:  movies that explore themes of alternate realities push the viewer to question:
What is real?
What is true?
What is illusion?

How facile to self absorb, to remain purposefully unaffected by what cries out to be acknowledged.  The facts are undeniable.  There is more.  The here bleeds into thereNow becomes diffused with eternity.  What is seen is a mere reflection of all that exists invisibly.

A body, soul and spirit, I was created to live fully in 3 realms, not just one or two.  It takes an acute awareness and even some discipline to remember that and to live it out day by day.  By the Grace of God and the power of His Holy Spirit, I am endeavouring to live my life with a view to what counts for eternity.

 Do you sometimes feel there should be more to life?  Does your time here on earth seem to be slipping away into nothingness?  Or, are you full to the brim with life here and now, looking forward with joyous expectation to the future and beyond? 

Is there a difference?  What do you say?

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Mainely Boating

Ah the joys of being on the water! 

The salt air, the fresh breeze, the carefree idle of a summer afternoon. 
Gulls, osprey, cormorants, eider ducks. 
Seals, porpoise. 
Fish, shells, beach glass if you're lucky.

  For the past 12 years, two small boats have been nesting in the garage at the Cape, forgotten and forlorn.  Being that Steadfast is "on the hard" hiding from hurricanes, our Maine experience at the end of August this year was a tiny little bit "missing something".  After a few days, Hubby began to hear those two little boats calling his name. 

On day one of their conversation, Hubs pulled the 11foot fiberglass dingy out from the wall, inspected it, gave it a good wash inside and out.

On day two, he pulled off the rotted canvas rub rail, filled the holes with epoxy and sanded down the teak rail.

On day three, we drove to Camden Harbor for lunch with friends and stopped en route at Hamilton Marine Supplies in Searsport .  Hubbs enthused, like a kid in a candy store:

What a great store! 
They cater to commercial as well as recreational boaters.  They have everything

He came away with 30 feet of what it takes to replace the old rub rail.

Day four found one dingy looking smart in new rails and one dory feeling somewhat neglected, hung up on the wall awaiting another day.  Great Grandpa Arno gave this boat to Grandpa Jerry when he was a young lad.  Sometime between Jerry's school and a stint in the Navy during the war, the boat got sold. 

Goodbye, Old Friend. 

Once Grandpa Jerry retired many, many years later, he sought out his old boat and bought it back. 

Hello again, Old Friend. 

Refurbished but seldom used, it has spent the last 2 decades as you see it here. 

Day five dawned bright and glorious.  A perfect day for a launch. 

But what about that engine?

Some of us remember those frustrating times drifting along with Captain's head in the hold, the engine cover off, the kids getting crabby, listening to the futile crank of a worn out engine.

Even though the water pump didn't seem to be completely committed to its job, the 4hp Sailmaster outboard (circa 1970) was deemed operational and lauch was a go.

Muscling that baby into the back of the pickup was a Herculean effort.  I was impressed that we were able to even manage it.  I say we, but really, it was all Hubby's doing.  I stood by, useless, guiding the hulk into position while The Man did all the heavy lifting:  into the truck by the garage, and out of the truck down the road at Sand Beach. 


We were on the water at last.    The old engine did its job grudgingly, protesting loudly its coming out of retirement.  4 to maybe 6 knots top speed.  Two seals popped their heads up to see what all the ear-grating noise was.  Back to home beach for an overnight on the rocky shore above the tide line.   Next day, we recruited  Crew (Elizabeth), bigger and stronger than First Mate (me) to assist with launch and retrieval. 

That's it for boating until the Newport Boat Show, September 16 - 19th, but we take what we can get, right?

What about you?  Did you guys get out on a boat this summer, even a small boat? 

Friday, September 3, 2010

Going Bald

Last summer, we were thrilled to see a mated pair of Bald Eagles at the Cape in Maine. Every evening at cocktail time on Steadfast's back deck, hubby and I watched them circle Weir Cove one last time before sunset.  This latest visit gave us cause for rejoicing when we discovered a second pair!  On our first evening there, a flurry of wings caught our attention as the newest pair flew in, established a perch on the highest tip of a black spruce overlooking the water and prepared to fish.  The incoming tides push fish close to shore and the predatory birds keep watch for the chance at an easy supper. 

The national bird and symbol of the United States, the Bald Eagle is a large bird of the sea eagle family.  Not bald in the true sense of the word, its name is derived from "piebald" which means "marked with white".  Eaglets hatch a downy grey colour and turn dark brown by the time they fledge. They develope the white head and tail when they reach maturity around two years of age. 

Bald Eagles are the largest bird of prey in Canada.  Their wingspan is over 2 meters (6 feet) making an impressive sighting for a city dweller like me.  Both sexes are identical in colouration, but the female is significantly larger than the male:  2.7 to 4 kg. for the male and 4.l5 to 6.8 kg. for the female.  Their life span is 25 to 40 years and they mate for life. 

They have no natural enemies, but the crows do gang up on them one at a time to drive them from a favoured roosting tree.   Human interference is what has caused endangerment to this species.  The introduction of DDT in 1947 to its banning in 1972 caused defects in the egg production, fertilization and incubation.  Egg shells became too thin and brittle to withstand nesting.  Even today, most eagle habitats have more adults than juveniles.

Here is an interesting fact that I discovered: if an eagle somehow looses just one feather from one of its wings, an identical feather from the opposite wing will fall out too. The reason for this is to maintain a fine balance.

Have you ever seen a Bald Eagle's nest?  What a sight!  As big as a Queen Size bed, they are 5 feet across, 2 feet high and weigh up to 4000 pounds. They are made from sticks and branches, lined with grasses and moss.  Used year after year by the same pair of birds, the nests continue to grow over time.  At each gestation, an eagle will hatch only two eggs.  Once the eagles are beginning to grow, the stronger and bigger of the two babies will aggressively claim all sustenance, while the weaker of the two will slowly die of starvation.  A true lesson in "survival of the fittest".

Although removed from the Endangered Speices List, many people feel that the plight of the Bald Eagle is still not a happy one.  Loss of habitat, trophy hunting and pollution are all causes for concern.  It was a happy day for us when we discovered the Eagle population at the Cape has doubled in just one year.  Perhaps the tide has turned in that one area and things will continue to improve.

Have you ever seen a Bald Eagle?  Keep your eyes peeled around rivers, lakes and sea shores and you just might get lucky.  If you see what looks like the messiest/ugliest tree house in the world, keep a watch out around dawn and dusk during nesting seasons and again, you might get a glimpse. 

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Getting Ready for Cold Feet Weather

Knitting sox has always been one of my fav things to wile away the hours.  My most favorite part is "turning the heel".  It is quite a satisfying feeling to manipulate four needles in my hands at once, knitting in the round."  When I discovered this amazing book last May, it was a must
have,  no question!

The pattern book shown here is an older one. Mine has 60+ winning designs.  The Knitters' Magazine held a contest for new sock patterns, offering thousands of dollars for prizes.  Almost 300 people from all over the world sent in their creations and the result is this book.
Of course, it was the picture on the cover that caught my eye. 

Poring over this book in bed for three nights in a row, I began to have second thoughts.

This looks really hard!

Finally, I decided to knit the pattern by Nancy Hazen from Kirkland, Wahington, not the pattern for the multicouloured prisms that I so admired.  I figured that if I could manage Nancy's, my ultimate goal would be in reach.  It was a good decision.  First I made a pair for my daughter.  It went so well, was so much fun, and was a hit with every knitter I introduced the pattern to, that I made a second pair for myself.

Piece of Cake!

Done totally in garter stitch, knit completely flat until the toe, heel and cuff are needed, the hardest part is picking up stitches and decreasing. 

First, you start with one little square.

Gradually, you build on one square at a time.

 I really enjoyed showing people the work in progress and having them try to guess what it was.  Nobody could figure it out.  Even when I told them it was a sock, they would shake their heads in disbelief.  You really have to "Think Outside the Sox" to wrap your head around it. 

Voila!  The finished product.  A very handsome pair of sox, if I do say so myself.

How about you?  Do you knit?  Do you do sox? 
What are your favorite projects?