This is a blog featuring my personal stories of food, gardening, yachting, photography, travel and life.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Another Yacht Update

I got an e-mail this afternoon from my boat broker explaining that our 32 foot Bayliner was sitting in the B & J fiberglass repair shop and that the inner core wood of the transom and a couple of other specific places had been replaced and the fiberglassers were about ready to start their part of the job. He wondered if I would like to have them fill in some of the other holes and a couple of other places that needed fixing on the hull? I called the shop and arranged to come down immediately.

When I arrived I found our boat balanced on jacks and looming above the shop floor. Her lines below and above the waterline are so beautiful. I met the owner of the shop who took me around to the transom to show me the work underway. All of a sudden another face rose up from behind the transom. He introduced himself as the current owner of the boat, Jim.
We hit it off well and had a wonderful conversation about the boat and boating in general that went on for some time.

Meanwhile, the shop owner climbed into the boat and started count
ing holes, mostly screw holes from previously removed parts of the boat. In all we counted 28 unnecessary holes needing patching as well as a couple of other spots needing attention. I agreed to have these spots fixed while the boat was still in the shop which would significantly reduce the cost of having it done. The timeline for the work is for it to be finished by August 12th so that our surveyor can finish checking out the boat and sign off on the completed work.

We may also need to do a couple of things below the waterline that the surveyor may find or suggest while it is still out. Then we'll put it back in the water and head off on a sea trial. If all goes well the boat should finally, officially be ours around the week of the 17th.
We still need to change out the batteries which are barely functioning and there is a long laundry list of other items on the survey which will need to be done a little at a time. Nothing else that absolutely must be done before we even think of taking her out.

We have also signed up for the Coast Guard Auxiliary boating classes which run two nights a week for 6 weeks in September and October. Along with that I have requested that the boat be inspected by the Coast Guard so I can have a list of their recommendations for making her a safe boat. When those items are taken care of the boat receives a sticker for its window an
d we will have crossed another hurdle. Money? Yes, it is costing us that, but in the end we will have a boat that will not only function at its best but will look darn good sitting in the water.

Our plans for the not too distant future include adding a propane BBQ mountable on the aft rail, a couple of crab and shrimp pots, a winch for hauling in the pots, some basic fishing gear, a second anchor, more life jackets (PFD's), and to fix a couple of nav lights currently not working. Other than that my winter plans are to remove certain exterior corroded engine parts so they can be cleaned and repainted, replace a couple of engine hoses, really anything needing work on the twins. If those engines aren't maintained and kept looking bright and shiny, we can't depend on them living out a full and healthy life which should easily be another 19,000 hours.

So, lots of work, money, time, love and we should expect years of fun for the family exploring the San Juans, the Canadian Gulf Islands and ports further south and or north. Who knows, maybe Alaska?!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Wow, It's Hot!

We set all sorts of records for heat this week in Bellingham--the highest high and the highest low temps ever. That is a tough thing to experience in a region that isn't known for its high temperatures and where few homes have air conditioners. But this week has been a definite exception to the general rule that it seldom gets really hot. Oh, it can get warm here, but generally B'hamsters usually start whining when the temp gets up to about 80 for any length of time (and that isn't usually longer than a few days a summer). So things got pretty outrageous around here when the temperature soared to 100 degrees yesterday afternoon. It'd been in the 90's for several days before that and will be for another couple more. Despite these torturous temps B'hamsters are taking it mostly in stride. The parks near our rivers and lakes were packed. The pool at our swim and racket club was as well. The stores were devoid of fans and wall air conditioners.

It has become a bit of a game to share ideas for how to stay cool on Facebook and other social sites. I shared my favorite which I discovered worked very well when we were touring China a few summers ago. It was soooo hot and I simply don't do well at all in the heat. There were few opportunities to escape it besides our tour bus and the hotel room. So I took to wetting a hand towel with the coldest water I could find, then rolling it up and draping it across my neck. I was absolutely amazed at the difference it made. I became much easier to live with and genuinely felt several degrees cooler. I re-soaked the towel every chance I could. I would drink most of a bottle of ice cold water and carefully pour the rest over my towel to re-energize its cooling ability.

For Leslie and I, the past several days have found us in our swim and racket club's pool along with a few other neighbors and kids. Early mornings the pool is pretty empty and good for swimming laps. Afternoons are more like a block party which isn't bad either since most everyone is respectful of others space and gets along fine. The kids frolick in the shallow end and the older folks sort of wallow in the deep end moving a little to and fro but mostly just static, trying to cool down. The temp is supposed to be on its way down though it will still be 92 today. The most important thing is that the night time temperature will get back down into the 60's again which at least allows for a more comfortable nights sleep.

The upside of the higher temps has been that my tomatoes have really been loving the heat. I have never had ripe tomatoes in my garden in July. I have already picked a half dozen delicious tomatoes over the past few days. Oh, man are they delicious. It isn't hard to figure out what to do with them. We bought the fixins for caprese salads at the farmer's market on Saturday and have been enjoying those for lunch the last few days. Is there a person alive who still doesn't know how to prepare these delicious summertime treats? Well, here is the recipe for anyone who might have missed it.


Caprese Salad

1 vine ripened tomato
1 or 2
Bocachelli mozzarella cheese balls
a sprig of fresh basil
Kalamata olives
Extra Virgin Olive Oil

salt and pepper

Cut thick slices of tomato and place on a plate. Place slices of the mozzarella on top of the tomato slice followed by a large leaf of basil. Sprinkle with olive oil and salt and pepper.
Place a few Kalamata olives on the plate if you have them. Of course the creative chef will see opportunities for adding and changing the ingredients with the availability of the ingredients but there you have it. The classic Caprese. Enjoy!

Everything else in the garden is producing more and quicker. So what with the pool available and the garden exploding with produce I guess I really can't complain much about Mr. Sun. Still, I won't complain when the marine layer forces its way back ashore and drives our temps back down to into the more moderate 60's and 70's.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Thanks Fred & Peggy

Our friends Fred and Peggy decided to take us out for happy hour at Scotty Brown's here in B'ham to celebrate Leslie having recently been awarded the Washington State American Choral Director's Association's (ACDA) Leadership Award. We ordered mojitos and several appetizers including yam fries, calamari and a hot artichoke dip served with pita bread.

Next we stopped off at Haggen's for a couple of items Fred needed to make the dessert he had in mind.

He had been given a bottle of Muscat Canelli dessert wine and had the idea of serving it with a fresh baked baguette, a wedge of pungent Oregonzola from Oregon's Rogue Creamery and a jar of Bonne Maman peach preserves.

It was a simple combination but was paired perfectly with the delicious sweetness of the wine. A thick slice of baguette, a nice slice of bleu cheese and peach preserves slathered liberally over the bread. Delicious! Thanks Fred and Peggy!