Friday, July 31, 2009

A Curse For Rosie




No, not directed at her. Except insofar as she asked for it. Today, over there on Smokey Mountain Breakdown, she said:

It now occurs to me we need a wider range of curses. Something to use when the Old Testament is just overkill.

She came up with some good ones, and asked readers for more, and although I'm not personally a very original curser, well, I knew I had an excellent Irish curse for her here at home, hand-lettered by my old friend Am (one of the first friends I ever made in NYC & the one who got me into Irish music) in her beautiful Gaelic-style calligraphy. I keep it on the refrigerator door, where I'm sure everyone who sees it thinks sure, 'tis some charmin' Irish blessing I'm wishin' on all those who visit my abode.

Heh. Not quite. Translated from the Gaelic, it actually says, "May an escaped elephant jump on your car".

Think that's just the sort of curse Rosie's looking for. Far short of anything involving eternal torment, demons, pitchforks, or anything too over-the-top, yet still quite solidly satisfying.

As to the reason she was looking for a milder shade of curse - well, I'm not telling that story, 'cause she already told it better. And if you have any good ones yourself, well, she'd probably love to hear 'em!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Dying for Pesto?


So with the exception of the tomatoes, which got a little behind schedule with the cool & rainy first part of the summer but are finally beginning to ripen, the garden's been doing great this year. There's the basil last weekend, the lighter green stuff, shortly before I pillaged it for the purpose of pesto. I made the first batch of the summer this weekend.

For regular cooking, I've gotten into the habit of keeping a bottle of that pre-minced garlic in the fridge. For the pesto, though, I decided to get fresh. I totally forgot that the bottled stuff loses some feistiness in the processing. I also forgot how much a bag of basil that looks to be an amount the size of a small HAYSTACK when first emptied out into a bowl to be washed shrinks once it's been run through the handy-dandy twenty-dollar Black & Decker electric minichopper that I bought somewhere around the time I was making my third batch of pesto.

So the pesto came out to be a bit on the, er, shall we say, assertive side. I do like garlic, but this was a bit ridiculous & I wanted to add some more basil to the mix to even things out. I wanted to do that soon so I could get most of the batch into the freezer before it got too old.

Now I live in NYC and that means that I could have just bought a bunch of basil at any one of half a dozen stores I pass on my regular commute home - but NO, this is my Super-Dee-Dooper Halfway-Homegrown Semi-Organic Pesto di Canarsie so the basil has to be basil I grew myself if at ALL possible (I let myself off the grow-it-myself hook for the garlic, olive oil, pignoli & parmigiano, hence "halfway" and "semi").

I'd ended up working a 14 hour day or so yesterday, just got going on a project that I wanted to finish & put away. Today I was kind of tired so I decided to give myself a break & leave shortly after 6, tackle the next big ugly project tomorrow.

I decided to go out & get the basil. I didn't even think to check the forecast. What a maroon! I got to the club in a light drizzle. I started picking. The sky to the west started grumbling. I picked faster. The rumbles got louder.

I finally decided it was time to go -- only I was a little too late. I walked the half-mile to the bus stop right smack in the middle of this!



& I was thinking, as the lightning flashes got brighter and brighter & the thunder got louder and louder -

"Boy, am I ever gonna feel DUMB if I get hit by lightning because I absolutely, positively HAD to go pick basil tonight."

btw, at least according to the one-mississippi method (which is totally, completely, scientifically accurate, right?), the lightning never really got all that close. But it was definitely some dramatic weather to be out in!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Speaker Series at the Waterfront Museum


Just a quick post tonight to mention a speaker series that the Waterfront Museum in Red Hook is hosting in honor of the quadricentennial of Henry Hudson's voyage up the river that now bears his name. I'm a bit late, sorry, afraid it's halfway through, but there are still some left!



I actually found out about these via PortSide New York - this is the waterfront organization that's based on the Mary Whalen, the retired tanker whose 70th birthday party I had the distinct pleasure of attending last December (boy, that was a good day). There are big plans afoot for the ship, and this Thursday, July 30th, you can hear about both her history and her future from PortSide's director Carolina Salguero and designer Tim Ventimiglia.

I won't be able to make that one because I'm having yet another official week of being chained to my cubicle scrambling to get things done, but it sounds interesting - hope I at least get to hear about it secondhand through one of the other local waterfront blogs.



After that one, there are 3 more in August -

August 13 “NY 400 Holland on the Hudson - The United States & The Netherlands: Two Countries – One Spirit, United by Values, History and a Vision of the future” by Arjan Braamskamp, Economic Officer NY400-Maritime Events - Netherlands Consulate General in New York.

August 20 “My River Chronicles – Rediscovering America on the Hudson” by Jessica DuLong. Join fireboat engineer and author, Jessica DuLong as she shares stories from four centuries of Hudson River history. For more info see: http://www.jessicadulong.com/

August 27 “Restoration and Refit of the 102-year old Tugboat Pegasus” by Captain Pamela Hepburn of the The Tugboat Pegasus Preservation Project and Marine Surveyor Charles Deroko. For more info see: http://www.tugpegasus.org/
For that last one I hope I'll be a little more caught up with my new duties at work - Capt. Pamela's a friend from my Pier 63 days & it's been so much fun watching the restoration of the Pegasus over the years. She's doing a beautiful job & this should be another really interesting talk.

Monday, July 27, 2009

And I Surfski-ed on Saturday!


Yes, I didn't plan it that way, but all the sudden there I was with an obligation-free weekend & I think I used it well! I can't believe my surfski hadn't seen the light of day since last summer, and it's almost the end of July. Sad! I guess it was partly that when it's raining and cold the way it was all the way through June & even into July, the Romany is a more comfortable choice; also just haven't been getting out of work early enough to paddle on weeknights & those 2+ hour, 8 mile, post-work unwind paddles I used to enjoy so much have always been the paddles where I take the surfski. I'm not going as far, I don't need the Full Kit or Provisions or really anything more than lights and one bottle of water (I do use my PFD but that lives at the club). In general, I just end up schlepping a lot less stuff to work & then spending a lot less time getting ready to go.

Weekend paddles, even on my own - especially on my own! - I tend to like to go farther, and I like to have the extra stuff for that, so the Romany ends up being the boat of choice.

Still, this past Saturday, I was happy with just a 5-mile jaunt on the ski!

I didn't even entirely set out to do it - but I took gear with the thought that I might. I think I'd decided to go sailing by Friday. There was a Sailing Committee workday on Saturday, a lot of the Sunfish we were sailing on Sunday had problems that were repairable, but were keeping the boats off the water until they were fixed. Since I wanted to sail on Sunday, I wanted to go help fix up the boats on Saturday. However, being a bit wiped out from yet another very long week, I didn't get going until the afternoon. I was sort of embarrassed at the thought of showing up so late, and I almost didn't go, but then I decided that it wouldn't hurt to see if there was still anything to do, and if there wasn't, well, I'd do a little gardening & take the surfski out for a spin.

So I got to the club I think around 2, I made a good-faith offer to help, many hands were already there & had made light work of the list and...wow, isn't Northern Lights Swiss chard pretty?


Yep, I was way too late to be of any use at all to the dinghy repair efforts, so I gardened for a while. That worked well, as just as I was wrapping up my gardening & starting to think , the clouds started looking ominous over the Paerdegat. The temperature dropped. The wind picked up. At first I thought I might just go home, but then I decided to wait for a while. Sometimes these apocalyptic-looking east coast storm clouds blow themselves out in 5 minutes & that's exactly what this one did - just like Sunday's squall (that's in the Picasa album from yesterday), 5 minutes of more rain than you can believe. Only unlike Sunday, this was a pure rain squall - no thunder & lightning.

Stayed pretty ominous-looking, clouds scudding by overhead, fitful blustery winds, but I decided I'd go on out & just do my usual surfski route - hugging the shore out towards the bridge.

This definitely wasn't the calm conditions I usually like for my first surfski run of the season! I think the forecast had been something like SW winds (right in my face going out) blowing 15-20 knots with gusts to 22 (no thunderstorms though, that was forecast for Sunday). There was a strong ebb that was going directly against the wind & the swell was quite impressive for Jamaica Bay - must've been a whole two and a half feet out towards the channel! Definitely NOT preferred first-time-on-surfski-since-last-summer conditions. But it was hot, I was wearing my lifejacket, I wasn't going anywhere where I wouldn't be in easy swimming distance from shore, so off I went, clawing my way into the wind, crashing through the mighty 2-foot swells & just generally having a fantastic, yarrrr-inducing sort of paddle. Knew I'd be getting home about twice as fast as I went out. Didn't get much past the public launch ramp before I decided it was time to head back; it had taken me a ridiculously long time to get there & although I hadn't gone swimming at all (yay) I'd been thoroughly reminded that keeping your balance on a surfski in any sort of conditions is a WAY better workout than managing the same conditions in a good ol' rock-steady Romany. I was totally feeling the burn & wanted to save something for the Sunday sailing.

Sure enough, with the wind & the waves at my back I started moving a lot faster. Not as fast as I expected - the ebb that was making all the swell was strong enough that it would push you back off the wave that you wanted to catch if you didn't seriously pour on the steam - but I did hit takeoff speed a few times, got the ski humming.

Literally, I mean!

when my ski gets moving fast enough - and it's only going fast enough when it's actually hit take-off speed & started surfing - the rudder must begin to vibrate & then the whole ski hums.

Almost sounds like a hum of satisfaction!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

I Went Sailing Today


PHEW! I was really starting to wonder if I was going to get to sail at ALL this summer.

More pictures here: Sebago SailComm Sunday Cruise

Friday, July 24, 2009

Thursday, July 23, 2009

City of Boats Boats and More Boats!

Yes, the City of Water festivities drew an amazing array of boats. Here are a few!

(btw, if you'd rather look at larger pictures, I've also posted it as a gallery on Picasa).

Promising way to start the day, with a schooner sailing by! That's the Pioneer, ordinarily out of the South Street Seaport, and one of 2 schooners that was offering free rides all day.


Red Hook Boaters boats at Valentino Pier ("home port" for them), on their way and headed for Governor's Island.


Hipster eco-art boat. I was told that the story with these boats was that they were made entirely out of found materials and cost almost nothing to build. Looks it too, doesn't it? Think I'll stick with my "boughten" boat.


US Army Corps of Engineers Drift Collection Vessel, the Hayward (thank you Tugster Will for the ID!) at Yankee Pier.


Kayaks on the grass (alas, alas) plus a nice red canoe (woohoo, woohoo) and out on the water, retired fireboat John J. Harvey adn one of the New York Waterways ferries that were bringing people to and from the island all day.


OK, so the art boat didn't sink. And the police barricade oars are a cute touch. I guess. Still, just looks so slapped-together.


Whitehall gig


Notorious G.I.G. (hee hee!)


PUFFIN! :D


6-man (or woman) outrigger canoe from New York Outrigger


Continuing with the tropical theme, here's a guy who actually paddled his stand-up paddleboard down with the gang from Manhattan Kayak Company. I'm impressed!


The Water Pod. More floating eco-artistic-ness, but very thought out and looked like it was put together with a lot of care. Actually made me think "Hm, must be kind of cool to be one of the group on this" (I'd be infinitely too square, I just know it)(next-day note - proof positive that I am too square for the Pod was in the very first comment on this post! :D) . More pictures to come!


My old schooner, the Adirondack. I was so tempted to try to go for a ride, but I know where they dock, I can go buy a ticket any time (or maybe get to tag along for free if they aren't filling up and I know the people who are working that day), and it was my first time ever on Governors Island, and I decided to keep checking out the island intead.


Last shot for tonight - In the foreground, the Swivel, a 40-something tugboat used by GIPEC (the group that runs Governors Island) as a ferry for personnel & the like. Way off in the distance, one of the escort boats sees the Long Island City Boathouse gang safely to the Brooklyn shore. They did a nice job, those escorts!


Links for as many of the operating organizations as I know:
Schooner Pioneer
Red Hook Boaters
Don't know where the art boats are from
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (the Hayward hasn't got her own site)
John J. Harvey
Governor's Island ferries (nice to see they run to Brooklyn now!)
Gigs (Whitehall, "Notorious", and the others) were from Village Community Boathouse and East River C.R.E.W.
The Puffin belongs to my friendsBrian and Karen
New York Outrigger
The group with the stand-up guy was fromManhattan Kayak; if you're curious about those things (they're fun!) Randy at
New York Kayak has occasional tryouts at his shop at Pier 40 over the summer.
Schooner Adirondack!
Swivel doesn't really have a website (I found her description in a PDF document dated 2006, outlining GIPEC's plans for transportation to & from the island), nor do those very helpful escort boats, so I will close with the group of kayaks you may barely be able to make out in the last picture - they were from the Long Island City Community Boathouse - plus one last link to the day's hosts', the Metropolitan Waterfront Association.

And that's it for the City of Boats Boats Boats!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Sebago Canoe Club, City of Water Day

Work still being crazy, rather than upload all my City of Water pictures into a gallery that I'll never finish captioning, I'm taking a leaf out of Tugster's book & doing a series of posts on the topic. Today - the clubmates with whom I went, lifted straight from my post yesterday at the Sebago Canoe Club blog.

Preparing to launch at Valentino Pier

Sebago Canoe Club City of Water Day participants, obligatory group shot with Statue of Liberty (sorry we didn't make it there, John, we should do that as a club trip sometime)
In the Buttermilk Channel
At Yankee Pier (where the free boat rides were going on all day)

Sebago Canoe Club participants on Governor's Island
The Saturday-only group leaves around 5:30


Monday, July 20, 2009

City Of Water Kids!

One of the many things I enjoyed about City of Water Day was watching all the kids who were there having an absolutely wonderful time, with nary a beeping blooping box in sight. Instead -

There were stories being told in the old-fashioned way.


You could watch a woodcarver with mallet and chisel, coaxing feathers from wood

There were water bottles in dire need of decor

There were river creatures to meet --

Fresh, sweet cider to be pressed --

Dances that needed dancing,


You could even learn to fish!



And here are the groups that were running each activity, with the exception of the dancing, which was just a spontaneous moment, and the water bottles, where I just plain forgot to see who was running that stand. I'm quite sorry I didn't get them as I thought that was a rather clever way to encourage kids to drink tap water instead of bottled, which is a very simple thing to do for the environment here in NY where our tap water is so good.

Storytelling was by the New York Storytelling Center

The woodcarver was from the South Street Seaport Museum

The river creature display shown above was from The River Project (there were other, similar displays which had a similar effect on the kids)

The apple cider pressing was being run by the Wyckoff Farmhouse Museum

And the fishing lessons were given by I Fish NY.

These were just a fraction of the things to do, too. No bored children there. Maybe a few children cranky from plain old tiredness towards the end of their busy busy outdoor day on the island - but no boredom!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

I'm Gonna Need A Bigger Boat.



Or maybe a smaller sleeping bag. Or at least I would if I ever wanted to do a camping trip any longer than about 2 days, using my own boat. This was a fun experiment, though!

And yes, I think everybody from Sebago had a thoroughly enjoyable City of Water Day - especially me & Laurie, who had an absolutely fantastic paddle from Governor's Island back to Sebago today!

Thanks Roland, Ray, and everybody at the Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance (and other organizations) who worked so hard to make this happen.

MANY MANY pictures to come. Sadly, none of the paddle back to Carnarsie, my 2nd battery sort of stopped working & until I replace that, when the battery dies, it's over - but I sure took plenty on Saturday (and a photogenic festival it was, too)!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Three Firsts!

It just hit me here as I'm packing up to head off to City of Water Day in the morning -

This is actually the first time, in all the years I've owned it, that I am actually going kayak camping using Trusty Romany!

Yes, I think I made some vague mention of "extra fun" being planned for the boaters - that's it! The organizers have managed to arrange camping on the island for the boaters on Saturday night. I think that's going to be almost as much fun as the time some Pier 63 friends with a nice-sized sailboat, the Laissez-Faire, invited me to sail down to the Statue of Liberty with them & spend the night at the anchorage there. That was a truly wonderful weekend. Mmmm mmm.

So tomorrow is the first time EVER that I will be packing up all my own camping gear in my own boat. I've done plenty of kayak camping, but somehow it's always been in somebody else's boat, with somebody else's gear. This is just a one-nighter, so there's not a whole lot of stuff & that sort of makes it a perfect first outing of this sort - I'm going to be very interested in seeing how much space is left in the Romany's hatches once my tent, thermarest & sleeping bag are all in there.

It's also my first visit to Governor's Island, which had a big writeup in the Times today.

And Sunday morning, clubmate Laurie and I will be loading up our boats & paddling back from Governor's Island to Jamaica Bay - first time I will have done that trip in one shot (although I've covered most of the route we'll be paddling as parts of other trips).

It should be a really good weekend. I just hope I have some time to write about it next week!

Friday, July 17, 2009

I Feel Lucky. (Warning - post borders on sappy).

OK, embarrassing confession time here. 'Cause really, what good is a blog that doesn't feature the occasional embarrassing confession?

Here's mine for today:

(takes a deep breath)

(pauses a moment to heighten the drama...)

ok, ok, "once you've cackled, you've got to lay the egg", right? So here it is:

I am a faithful reader of the advice columns of CAROLYN HAX! aaaaaagh!

Hey, I don't like shopping, I pick comfort over fashion every day, I don't own any hairdressing implements that require electricity to operate, and you couldn't pay me enough to go see My Sister's Keeper - one girly self-indulgence, is that too much to ask?

Anyways - I think part of why I like reading Carolyn Hax is that at least once a week, I read something like this - and then I get to spend the rest of the day feeling pretty lucky.

And I'm stopping right there before I write anything else embarrassing. I don't go on about "us" too much 'cause we both embarrass easily. Just couldn't resist one little mushy moment today!

...O
:D/>
.O

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Incredibly Affordable Kayak Storage in Yonkers.

Wow! I can't resist passing this one along! Just posted this afternoon on the NYCKayaker distributed email list*.

Hi: Summer is often the time when a kayaker purchases a boat

So--Just a reminder that there is immediate kayak storage at the new JFK Marina Boathouse in Yonkers!

Lack of affordable storage has long been a bottleneck in the growth of kayaking/human powered boating on the Hudson. Helping to alleviate this problem, the Yonkers Paddling & Rowing Club** now operates a satellite boathouse!


  • Low annual cost of $200.00.
  • Indoor Racks with 24 Hour Access
  • FREE parking
  • Fresh Water
  • Lockers
  • AWESOME view of Hudson River and Palisades (editorial comment - TOTALLY!)
  • Marina Ramp for Launch into a Protected Cove (for beginners) or the Flowing Hudson River (for experienced paddlers)
  • Drive your Car Right to Roll-Up Door and Easily Load Your Kayak
  • Open Also to Canoes and Solo Rowing Shells

(editorial comment#2 - PLUS, chances are very good that you'll end up paddling with the good folks of the YPRC, who rocketh mightily!)

Here's a link to a flyer: _

http://www.yprc.org/KennedyKayakStorageFlyer.pdf

For more information or to schedule a visit, contact the Kennedy Boathouse Captain:

Boyd Adolfsson
Kennedy Boathouse House Captain
914 325 5848
badolfsson@aol.com

*More info about the NYCKayaker list: http://www.hrwa.org/nyckayaker-list/
**More info about the Yonkers Paddling & Rowing Club: http://www.yprc.org/

Frogma Thought for the Day.

The problem with organized kayaking boating* is that it takes so much frickin' organizing. Grmf.

That being said, I expect that Saturday's fun is going to be, oh how shall we put it...well, fun!

Oh, and I should note - you don't need to be a boater at all to participate in said fun, there are ferries from Brooklyn & Manhattan all day. Those of us who are in the organized-boating part of it just get extra fun. Hit that "Saturday's fun" link for all the details!

*I just changed the phrase "organized kayaking" to "organized boating" 'cause there will be rowing gigs, and canoes, and we're even being joined by a motor vessel this year - in fact, the motor vessel is the very one featured in the very last post, the Puffin! Hey, maybe I have a chance to redeem myself as a Puffin photographer!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Birds


One of the really enjoyable things about paddling in Jamaica Bay is watching the various kinds of birds come & go through the seasons. There were more birds than you might think along the Manhattan waterfront, but there it was mostly gulls, cormorants, and Canada geese, all year-round residents. I remember seeing a few brants in the winter, and the terns would turn up in the summer, but the migratory masses are mostly attracted to places with a wilder nature. Being out in Jamaica Bay, I wouldn't say that I've become a birder or anything - but I do notice a lot more avian activity than I ever did on the Hudson.

My fish post the other day seemed to go over nicely, and since my last 2 unplanned half-days on the Bay had actually included a bit of birdwatching, thought I'd do a post.

Sad to say, my last half-day paddle prior to yesterday was actually a whole month ago. It was back in that dreary spell we were having but I didn't care, I decided I wanted to go see how the ospreys of Canarsie were doing. There are 2 nest sites within a very short paddle from the Paerdegat. Earlier still in the spring, when TQ & Ilene & I did the unplanned circumnavigation of Jamaica Bay, we'd found that a pair of ospreys had started a nest on the daymark shown above.

By mid-June, they'd clearly decided this wasn't where they wanted to raise their kids. I would never have gotten this close if the place hadn't been deserted - and if there'd been anyone in residence, if I HAD gotten this close, I would have had a couple of very angry birds screaming imprecations at me.

The pair at the Canarsie Pol pier had also begun and abandoned a nest - but they just decided that the piling was more to their liking than the custom-built osprey platform.

After that, I had a string of weekends out of town. They were all fun - a family gathering in Michigan, the Hudson River Greenland Festival, and then a great 4th (well, great except the bus ride out, which was unbelievably rotten) with TQ (the photo of doe I posted the other day was on the shore of Mahoning Creek Lake, one of 2 places we paddled) but it was awfully nice to finally just have a whole weekend in Brooklyn this weekend!

July 12th - I was quite surprised to still see a brant hanging out in the Dead Horse Bay area (the bay's grim name is due to the fact that at one time there was a slaughterhouse in the area). These are usually winter birds. Also strange to see a brant alone, and quiet - usually they travel in huge flocks, and they are constantly telling each other what's going on in a voice that goes hrrnk, hrrnk. They are much quieter than their cousins, the Canada geese, but en masse, you can hear them all over the bay in the wintertime. I wonder if this one was unwell when the rest of the brant bunch headed north, or if maybe there are a few brants who, like an awful lot of Canada geese, have taken to blowing off that whole migration thing.

Looked pretty lonely without a bunch of other brants around, though.
Here's a much more usual summer bird - a black skimmer. This section of beach has a small sandbar that's slightly higher than the rest of the beach & so holds extensive shallow pools of water. As the tide goes out, a lot of little fish are trapped in there & the skimmers just love it! btw, any video wizards out there? I have a question for you, see note at the end please!


I made a really exciting first spotting on my way out to the beach, too - paddling along, and then I spotted it - a compact, cheerfully rounded shape that I've been looking for ever since I discovered that it's frequently spotted in Jamaica Bay...

I veered off toward it - it mirrored my turn & came towards me - and sure enough,

It

Was

A

PUFFIN!



And wouldn't you know the camera lens would have water blobs all over it from the spray & nothing handy to clean it off when I FINALLY actually ran into Karen & Brian! The Puffin nests in Mill Basin, the next basin over from the Paerdegat, and we must cross paths a dozen times or more over a summer (well, less this summer since I'm hardly getting out) but this was the first time They were on their way back to Mill Basin after a week-long trip up the Hudson (and back down again of course). Sounds like they had a very nice trip. I'm actually quite bummed about the water blobs, because it was a gorgeous day, there were some really nice pictures of them behind the water blobs & it's always sort of fun to get a picture of your own boat from a perspective other that on deck or at the dock. Ah well, I will just have to get out a little more often.

Anyhow, that's it for the birds for today. Hope you liked 'em!

And here's my question for any passing video-savvy person who might stumble upon this & be willing to help! I thought it would be really cool to see that black skimmer slowed down a bit. I'd gotten QuickTime Pro after inadvertently filming a video clip with the camera held the wrong way (oops) so I figured I could probably do this. I'm not very good with it yet but I follow instructions well, so I Googled "QuickTime slow motion" (is that an oxymoron?). Found just the thing I was looking for and without too much trouble, I got the skimmer to skim at half-speed. And it IS really cool! You can actually see him snapping up the fish as he goes -- not the fish themselves, they're tiny, but you can clearly see the snapping of the beak. You can see it at full speed too but it's so fast it looks like his head is just flickering. I really would have loved to share it here, but for some reason, when I upload it to YouTube or Flickr, the edits get lost & the clip reverts to the original 12 second one! :(

Thursday, July 09, 2009

The garden needed, and got, some attention!

Definitely. Here was the situation when I got to Sebago around 6:45 -



After an hour plus of concentrated work weeding, pulling out the sugar-snap peas (they had lots of peas ready for picking or beyond, but were at the end of the line), and staking:

From How Does My Garden Grow?

I get a lot of produce out of my little 4x6 plot. The key, I think, is making anything that can go vertical, go vertical - that does take a little attention, though. Having had no attention for several weeks now, everything had gone rampaging off on the horizontal plane & the slow-motion wrestling match for survival was well underway, with the cucumbers bidding fair to come out the winner. Holy cow, they were THRIVING, tendrils running off to every corner of the garden - if I'd just left things alone I think I could have had enough of a crop to sell!

However, I'd rather have some tomatoes too. Maybe the tomato plants will be more interesting in making tomatoes now that they aren't being strangled by runaway cucumbers...

or just plained squashed by a giant runaway crazy 2nd-year chard plant!



Yep, I hadn't done it by the time I took the "after" picture tonight, but after a little more gardening, I decided it was time to end the science experiment tonight.

It was a fun experiment. At the end of last season, I'd left a couple of chard roots in the ground over the winter, out of pure curiousity. One made it through. It dwindled back to a couple of little tiny leaves that never quite seemed to die; No matter what rottenness the winter threw at 'em, they just hunkered down and stayed at least partly green. Here they were on the day when I got the bed cleaned up & ready for the season:

As you can see, the biggest of the 3 little over-winter leaves got halfway frozen - but they never quite got nipped all the way & by this time (mid-March), it was already starting to perk up & get back to growing.

It started like a normal chard plant, and provided me with some of the first pickings of the year. Eventually, though, it bolted, just like lettuce when the weather turns warm - only it got a WHOLE lot bigger than any rambunctious Romaine!



I had a lot of fun watching this thing go rocketing off, but tonight I discovered that there was a volunteer tomato plant that was fighting to exist in the same space. I let the tomato win.

No ripe tomatoes yet, although plenty on the way, but the pickings were GOOD tonight!

I had a fine "mess" of beet greens & green onions for dinner tonight! Simply sauteed in olive & sesame oils, with a little butter thrown in. Delicious!

Aiea Ladies Kick A Little Car Thief Okole.

Fun story from my hometown!

How Does My Garden Grow?

I have no idea! Haven't seen it for 2 weeks. Last visit, things were running a little wild, but the sugar snap peas were delicious.

Checking in tonight if all goes well at work today.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Fail Blog Fail

That's not a fail!

Good thing there were 20 kayakers there to set them straight.

....O
:D/>
.O

(er, of course taking yet another swing at the poor Fail Bloggers a year and a half after the original post, instead of actually blogging tonight, might just = Blog Fail)

Correction to yesterday's post -

Unsurprisingly, for a post written on a lunch hour I probably should have spent working, I managed to foul up a bit!

Here is Sweet Bluesette.

Instead, I'd accidentally dropped in the link to the Pacific Islander post in which Pandabonium made the startling announcement that he & K were sailing a 14-foot dinghy across the Pacific.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Review of a New Sailing Blog!

photo most egregiously swiped without permission from Pandabonium!

Jumping in on one of Tillerman's Group Writing Assignments!

OK, very busy at work so I have to keep it short & sweet almost to the point of cheating. Actually I wasn't planning on posting until tonight if at all, but Tillerman's review of a kayak excursion in Maine oops make that Massachusetts inspired me.

So here's my short & sweet review!

I can't remember how I first found his blog, but I've been reading Pandabonium's Pacific Islander for a long time. He's from Hawaii, he now lives in Japan, and his blog is primarily a thoroughly enjoyable series of photos & writing of the adventures he, his lovely wife "K", and Momo the Wonder Dog share in those islands. There are occasional snippets of Hawaii, either from the days when Pandabonium lived there, or of his family (kids & grandkids) who are still there.

His blog has been in the non-boat-blog section of my pathetically neglected blogroll for ages.

Then one day, I went to his blog to see what interesting bit of life in Japan he or Momo (yes, the dog occasionally posts too) had chosen to share and read the following:

K and I have decided to sail an open 14 foot sailboat across the Pacific Ocean from California to Japan!

I just about fell off my chair.

But within a few more sentences, things were cleared up:

Besides, our boat will be sitting on a trailer and tucked away on a very large ship for the whole voyage. We'll not have to leave home until it arrives.

This was the first of a few posts in which Pandabonium shared the story of how he & K came to buy a boat.

It was a long time from the time when the order was placed to the time that sailing was even imminent, but finally it was time to find a club and start sailing (yay!).

And so in June, it came to pass that Pandabonium started a new blog, Sweet Bluesette, named after their new blue Lido 14, which was in turn named after the song.

I've been thoroughly enjoying following that new blog as he chronicles the fun he & K (no Momo on this one, I did mention in a comment at some point that she'd look adorable in a puppy pfd but I'd missed the bit where Pandabonium mentioned that the wonder dog is a wonder land dog, not a wonder seadog) are having with their sweet little dinghy!

Which, btw, is very much like the picture of the sailboat I'd love to get if I had money & time for it - Sunfish and Lasers and Force 5's & the like are all tons of fun but if I were to get a sailboat, I guess I'd really like one that I could singlehand if I wanted to, but was a little more comfortable for taking friends along.