Tuesday, January 19, 2021

2021 - Off to a Great Start

 2021 started with a flourish of enthusiasm:

My first shop project of the year (decluttering and organizing) is underway. This is what I started with:

Progress has been made but not enough to share...

My perpetual resolution (intent) to improve my Health and Fitness got a boost with our new recumbent exercise bike and twice daily workouts.

Both of these -but not my enthusiasm - have been paused for another Health and Fitness reason. Cataract surgery last Thursday and post-op instructions (no bending over for more than a moment or so, and no strenuous activities (specifically no cardio workouts - I asked...) until this week's follow up appointment have me "resting soft tissue" for the time being.

I should be able to get back to exercising and the shop until the following Thursday (surgery on the second eye). Fortunately, these are temporary interruptions - and based on the results of the first surgery, I'm going to be very happy with the overall outcome. 

Saturday, January 2, 2021


For many years I have not followed the pretty common practice of making New Year's Resolutions because whenever I did make Resolutions, I did not succeed at keeping them or seeing them through. A few weeks ago I decided to give Resolutions another try. 

Now, I know, Resolutions (like goals and targets) are most likely to succeed if they are specific (quantified, measurable, achievable). But as my list of Resolutions grew, I realized that very few on the list  are specific. I also know the list should be short...

Realizing the shortcomings of my List of Resolutions, here it is:

  • Plan Better
  • Fret Less
  • Do More:    
    •     Sailing (day sails, boat camping, exploring)
    •     Exercise (to improve physical and mental health)
    •     Woodworking (to improve skills and results)
    •     Cooking and Baking (try new recipes; expand our food horizons)
    •     Communication (with children, siblings, family and friends) 
    •     Reading (more & more meaningful books; learn)

Yes, some of these can be quantified and measurable - but I'm not assigning numbers to them right now. I am also not listing a number of goals that fit within these generalized categories. 

How will I know if I've kept my Resolutions? To paraphrase U.S. Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart, "I'll know it when I see it."

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

2020 In Review

Looking back on 2020, it seemed to me I did more planning, fretting, and "getting ready to get ready" than I did any doing. But that isn't necessarily true. Despite, or perhaps because of,  the extraordinary circumstances of 2020, we accomplished a good bit on Gardens of Fenwick. In roughly chronologic order here's what we got done:

Name Boards 

New Hinged Tiller

Hand-painted Registration Numbers

New Running Rigging

New Splicing Skills: Soft Shackles and Continuous Loops

Main Mast Lever Lift (Concept drawing. Seems I don't have an as-built-and-installed photos)

Boat Stands

Lazy Jacks

Mizzen Mast Slot & Plug

SUP Paddles

Two-Piece Kayak Paddle

Outboard Seats

"Front Row" Viewing Platform (at the west side of our place) and Two (newly built) Adirondack Chairs

Les Cheneaux Islands Get Away

Stove Box

Cooking & Baking Experimenting: Taking inspiration from the Great British Baking Show, we tried new recipes for Breads and Clangers. From exploring the Internet, we've begun playing with Curries. And in a moment of weakness, I decided to bake Fruitcake, which turned out nicely.

We are looking forward to 2021! 

Monday, December 7, 2020

Book Stack

Small Craft Advisor has been sharing photos of readers' collections of boat related books. Thought I'd share my Stack with SCA but due to 'technical difficulties' I wasn't able to attach a photo to an email to SCA. 

So, here it is: my Book Stack:

Not as large a collection as some - but I forgot to include my Swallows & Amazons series and Good Little Ship (the story of Arthur Ransome's own boat). 

That thicker black book near the bottom of the stack is Dutton's Navigation and Piloting, acquired when I attended the USCG Academy in the late 60s. When I left the Academy, for some inexplicable reason, I kept Dutton's and left Bowditch's The American Practical Navigator. Over the years I've thought about that choice - and wish I had both books.

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Stove Box?

 Whatever happened to the stove box I described in over a month ago? 

It has been finished. Nothing great about it, just a simple, functional, plywood box to hold a camp stove, a base for the stove and a couple propane cylinders. 

Some refinements to think about over the winter months: wind screens and a tie-down to hold it in place while underway. 

Shouldn't have taken 4-and-a-half weeks to complete.

Monday, November 9, 2020


Mistakes... I've made a few...

Mistakes are often bad, and sometimes they are life-threatening or career-ending. I'm not talking about catastrophic types of mistakes. 

Sometimes mistakes are just annoying and pretty much harmless. Sometimes simple mistakes can cascade into a series of mistakes, increasing the annoyance and interfering with progress. For example, yesterday, while changing the blade in my table saw...

  • Mistake #1: Not keeping the base of the table saw clean of sawdust. 
  • Mistake #2: Dropping the retaining washer into the sawdust.
  • Mistake #3: Trying to use a magnet to retrieve the washer.
  • Mistake #4: Setting the magnet on top of the cast iron saw.

So, to set things right, I had to figure out how to get the magnet off the table (success involved a 4x4 and a 5-lb sledge hammer), find the washer, install the blade (without repeating Mistake #2!), and clean out the base of the table saw.

I got it all done but the series of mistakes took up an inordinate amount of time. Catastrophic? No. Annoying? Yes. Interfering with the project at hand? Yes. 

Sometimes, though, you get to laugh at yourself - and that's a good thing.

Thursday, October 29, 2020

Galley Gear and Stove Boxes

Thought about a new camp stove, new cookware & dishes and an elaborate Galley Box to hold it all and a bunch of provisions.  But, we are new to boat camping and, as fun as shopping can be, we want to figure things out before such a spending spree. What we think we need/want for starters is a way to boil water and prepare simple one-pot meals.

We have a two-burner propane camp stove that works well but takes a lot of space. We have a one-burner propane camp stove that works well but seems too larger to stow nicely... except that it breaks down into three components and doesn't need a huge amount of storage space. 

We have a 9" x 12" x 13" plywood box I built and used years ago for camp dishes, utensils, a small cook pan, and a kettle.

This box is a good start, but I soon realized the single burner stove, even broken down, takes up enough of the box that we need something more for the other gear.

But, when I set about making a mock-up it occurred to me that I have a box that fits the cooking/eating gear pretty well. So, I shifted the focus a bit and mocked up a box just for the stove.

The photo shows the stove box mock-up sitting on top of the gear box but that is just one possibility. 

The interior dimensions for the stove box are pretty well settled. Construction details need to be worked out. I've got some 1/4" Baltic Birch ply on hand so the new stove box should be completed soon. Using this ply, I'll paint it to match the interior color of Gardens. Maybe I'll paint the gear box, too.