Tuesday, December 31, 2013

New year, new beginning

There are cultures which set aside a day for the forgiveness of debts. 

I imagine that this forgiveness does not extend to financial debts, but perhaps it does.  But it is not the financial debts that are the most troubling.  Instead, it is those debts piled up by insults, slights, comments and actions, whether intentional or not, that we carry around inside of us, much to our detriment.

Unforgiven, these debts eat away at our happiness, and if carried long enough, our very souls.  Eventually they will rule our lives.

I think using the New Year as a marker, as a day of reconciliation in our emotional lives is a good idea.

So here's my New Year's resolution:  To start the new year with a clean slate.  To discard all those emotional debts accumulated over the last year.  To start the New Year Happy!


Sunday, December 29, 2013

The wonder of new batteries

Well, nearly new
Eolian has new batteries. 

We bought them a year and a half ago, when the old ones would no longer hold enough electricity to make Jane's morning latte at anchor.

Last year when I performed my annual battery maintenance, I found that they needed quite a bit of distilled water (harvested from our dehumidifier, natch!).  But since I had never checked them when they were brand new, I didn't know what water level they came with.  So I didn't really know if I was re-filling them, or just filling them.

This year, the first where the initial conditions were known and established as full, I topped off the seven batteries using a cup and a half of water.  That's simply amazing.  In past years with the old batteries, I'd need most of a gallon.

And Jane's morning latte is safe, so all is right with the world!


Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas!

The old curmudgeon down at the end of G Dock extends his hand, and we grasp it. He
covers our hand with his other one and shakes twice, firmly.

And he says, “Merry Christmas t'ye and t'yer family.  Keep 'em close.  And let's all pray for peace.”

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Thru the darkness

Joy, in the darkness.
We made it.

We are on the other side of the Winter Solstice.  It occurred here in Seattle at 09:11 on Saturday (YMMV, depending on your timezone).  The sunrise was at 07:55 and sunset at 16:20 - that's a really short day.  But worse, in true Seattle fashion we have had a heavy cloud cover for quite a while, making even the daylite at noon minimal.  And when the sun does shine, it comes in at this weird very low angle, making the light reddish.  Subliminally, it seems like late evening, even when it is noon.

The Christmas lites we see everywhere add some very needed joy in the darkness.  I don't think it was a coincidence that the early Church fathers put the Christmas celebration in the dead of winter.  More than at any other time of year, we need the joy to counteract the darkness.

Today, the daylite is three seconds longer.  Woo hoo!


Wednesday, December 18, 2013

It's aliiive!

There is froth in there

(Cue maniacal laughter and phony German accent)   Bwa ha ha ha haaaa!  I haf created da life!

Inspired by Valerie's efforts on s/v Letitgo, I have made now two batches of baguettes, and will soon be graduating to the use of a levain.

What's that you ask (rhetorically)?  Why it is a natural leavening, consisting of a culture of yeast and bacteria.  You might have heard it called "starter" or "sourdough starter".

How do you make it?  (Aren't rhetorical questions great?)  It really couldn't be easier.  No really.  You mix flour and water in equal proportions and leave it out on the counter to spoil.  That's it.  Give it a shake once a day or so.  The yeasts and bacteria that are in the air everywhere, that are in every breath we take, and who were here on the Earth long before we were, will colonize the medium. 

But wait - how do you get the right yeast and the right bacteria?  This is one of those rare, rare situations...  No matter which yeasts and which bacteria initially colonize the medium, there will be new arrivals every day.  Eventually, the strongest, fittest ones will survive and dominate, pushing the others towards local extinction.  And in a truly weird twist of nature, no matter where you are in the world, it is these same battle survivor species that are the ones you want.  It's almost as if dandelions were the desirable species for yards.  You'd scrape off your yard, and yes, eventually it'd be carpeted with a beautiful green and yellow display, with no effort on your part.

So in my levain, the early colonists are busy building homes, and the battle is just beginning.  Now that there is life in there, I will periodically dump half of the levain and replace it with fresh flour and water.  The colonists need food, after all.

In a couple of weeks it'll be ready for use in bread making.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

The waiting

The pink flag flies for the third time!

Ah, the waiting.

I've said it before - the waiting is just plain hard.  As a grandparent you are one step removed.  You are not in labor, but you know that someone is, and that person is painfully busy in the process of bringing a new life into the world.  

Now don't get me wrong - the waiting is nothing compared to the labor itself.  Anyone calling the female gender the "weaker sex" has quite clearly never been present at a birth. 

Annie Leonabelle Salnick
But finally, at 20:09 December 13, the waiting was over.  After 30 hours of labor, Kaci & Adam gave life to their first child and our third grandchild - please welcome Annie Leonabelle Salnick!  Annie has a displacement of 7 pounds 3 ounces and an LOA of 20 inches.  With that displacement/LOA ratio she should be fast!


Wednesday, December 11, 2013


New addition!
There's a new addition to Eolian's Christmas decorations this year:  that Christmas tree on the bow pulpit!   We got it a couple of years ago in the after-Christmas clearance sales for $5, I think.  There was a surprise when I turned it on for the first time... It slowly (or quickly!  adjustable!) changes from white to blue and back again.  Cool!  Goes with the blue lites strung up the forestay, across the triatic and down to the mizzen boom.

And that brings us to the frustration.

Before I strung those blue lites up again this year, I plugged them in to check them.  There was only one segment in the first strand that was lit - all but one of the segments were dark.  And there were dark segments in the second and third strands as well.  So I painstakingly went thru, LED by LED, to look for problems.  What I found was discouraging. 

It seems that these particular LEDs have leads made of iron.  I am not familiar with the manufacturing process for LEDs, but one would suspect that those intended for use in an outdoor environment would not use tiny, fine, iron wires.  Nevertheless, these did.  That pile of bulbs represents hours of fingernail-tearing work in the cold, pulling hundreds of bulbs.  The failures all had leads which had disintegrated into rust powder.  And perhaps not surprisingly, the fixtures themselves are only vaguely waterproof.  I suppose I am getting my just deserts for buying the cheapest lite strands I could find.

So, after I finally had all the segments glowing once more, I strung them up.


One segment went out (it's near the mizzen mast). 

Friday, December 6, 2013

Hosting a cruiser in your home

On the Sail Magazine website there was a recent posting giving advice on how to host a cruiser in your home. 
Congratulations on your decision to host a visiting cruiser in your home. I’m sure you’re excited to reconnect and hear stories from his or her exotic life afloat. Be warned, though, that even a short time away from the cruising life can be difficult for a cruiser. Luckily, with a little foresight, it shouldn’t be hard to ease his or her transition to your landlubbing life, and turn the visit into a rewarding experience...
If you are in a position to do this, I highly recommend you read the article - it will help you make things more comfortable for both you and your cruiser.

(And a shout-out to Livia on s/v Estrellita 5.10b, currently in Tahiti, who saw this before I did!)

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Stitch 'n glue

Step 1: one side and one end glued

We're doing a little stich n' glue construction here aboard Eolian.  Well, maybe not so much stitch, but plenty of glue for sure.  These are gingerbread houses under construction here.  The glue is powdered sugar with just enough water to make it barely fluid.  (If you should decide to try this, beware - it takes less water than you might think, and the slightest additional amount will make the "mortar" too runny.) 

We are making three of them - one each for Hazel and Eliza (Ken and Erica's children).   We are also making one for Monkey  - Adam and Kaci's child, due any day now! - called "Monkey" because the gender will be a surprise - how great is that?  We have both the blue and pink flags at the ready.  (How's that for a sneaky way to announce an impending addition to the crew of Eolian?)

Step 2: Assemble with more mortar

Step 3: Call in the roofers

Step 4: ... and the decorators
This was really fun to watch!  Hazel (standing) is 3½ and did a wonderful job of decorating.  But Eliza, at 2, was much more interested in eating the decorations.  In fact, the construction manager's primary responsibility was to keep enough marshmallows in front of Eliza that she could be persuaded to actually put the occasional one on the house.

Ta da!
I wonder if they will make it to Christmas...

 Monkey's didn't make it - Rainier The Raider did some counter surfing and left behind only the paper plate foundation...


Sunday, December 1, 2013

Cold weather's a comin'

Here's something that you probably don't think about when you're living ashore...  The weather forecast has some decidedly cold (by Seattle standards, anyway) weather coming next week.  Below freezing.  So cold that water turns into... a solid!

And our water tanks are very low.  Murphy says that we will run out of water aboard when the water hose on the dock is frozen solid.  And when I am taking a shower.  Murphy is such an SOB.

So this afternoor, while it is still warm (54°) outside, I filled our tanks.  We now have 300+ gallons of water aboard, where Murphy can't get at it.

Crap - I can't believe I just said that.  Now our water pump will probably fail.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...