Not quite a boat project, but sometimes you gotta do what ya gotta do.
Friday, December 21, 2012
Friday, December 14, 2012
Installed a kayak lift in the garage last night. Brian, my friend that built a kayak with me last winter, found inexpensive bike lifts at Harbor Freight and installed one in his garage some time ago. Seeing how great an idea that was, I decided to copy him. I need to replace the rope straps around the hull with one inch webbing and I'll be happy with it. And once the sawdust and drywall grit wear from my eyes...
Monday, December 10, 2012
Tuesday, November 20, 2012
Monday, November 12, 2012
Saturday morning, I got up before sunrise and drove to Stockton Lake for some kayaking. Originally, I was going to camp out the night before, by myself, but I was pretty tired after finishing my first week at my new job.
I got up to Stockton and the side of the lake I picked to put in at had white caps and a roaring onshore wind. Not willing to put myself under that much danger and exertion, I opted to drive another 15 minutes to a more sheltered area.
I put in at the Aldrich Waterfowl Refuge. The lake, being very low, was little more than a tree stump choked river channel on this arm. I paddled about three and a half miles, out and back, until I gave up struggling to keep myself from holing the boat. I had several "Oh, s--t!" moments of high centering on a log or stump. The water was just too cold to risk going into and I called it early.
I did see the remnants of an old bridge and a lot of birds, herons, great egrets, Canada geese, coots, a few hawks, gulls and a bunch of other waterfowl I couldn't identify. Also saw some raccoon prints in the mud.
It's a neat area, I look forward to checking it out again when the water is higher or the breeze is low enough to easily dodge dead trees in the water.
Wednesday, October 31, 2012
Right after my last grandparent passed, I really got into genealogy and started to research my family's origins. The family I grew up around and identified with most, my mother's side (surnamed Thomas), which came from the British Isles. Specifically Redruth, Cornwall and Cardiff, Wales. Being something of an Anglophile, already, this just seemed a natural extension of my interests. In this, I became interested in aspects of family tradition that were likely lost as my family became more Americanized. Food seemed like an obvious cultural loss. So I started attempting to make some traditional British foods for the fun of it. I usually put my own spin on the recipe, though. Substituting things like carrots for swede (rutabaga), etc.
Anyway, here are a few of the things I've made and eaten. The Brits like them some heavy and hardy foods.
Cornish Pasty. Pronounced "pass-tee" and yes, there's a stripper or burlesque joke in here somewhere, but that's as far as I'm going with it. It's a family(ish) blog. Pasties are meat, potatoes, onions and carrots baked in a short crust. Kind of a homemade potpie flavored Hot Pocket with a history dating back to the Cornish tin mining industry. I've made them several times. They're quite filling. I've eaten three since Sunday, when I made about a dozen.
Perhaps a close cousin to the pasty is the Irish Dingle Pie. Basically the same thing, only in a circular pie shape instead of a half moon. Honestly, the pasty is easier to make. The Dingle Pies require some forethought in rolling out two sets of slightly different sized circles. One set for the bases and one for the caps.
My variation on Yorkshire Rarebit. Similar to Welsh Rarebit, only you add egg and bacon. The cheese sauce you put on your toast has beer and mustard in it. Can't remember the actual recipe at the moment, but it's much better than the simple cheese on toast thing sounds.
Cottage pie, only distinguishable from Shepherds Pie by the filling of ground beef rather than lamb, is a favorite in our house. It's easy to make and you can even use leftover ingredients from your Cornish Pasty endeavors to make it, like I did this past weekend.
Beer Bread. Beer and bread in one awesome package. Need I say more?
Beef and Ale or Stout Stew with Irish Brown Soda Scones or Bread. Probably my favorite to make. It takes about three hours and is best done on a cold and lazy weekend where you don't plan to do much other than hang out around the house.
And on to dessert!
Scottish Shortbread. It can be made in large rounds or cut up into fun shapes using cookie cutters, depending on the occasion.
Finishing where we started, the dessert pasty. These were made with blueberries, mulberries off the tree behind the house, a little sugar and a dab of butter. Simple and they came out great! I've also made them with honey and cinnamon sugar
Food is an great way to feel a cultural connection to a place, even if you've never been there. I'm a VERY picky eater and it's taken some retraining myself to get my head around a few foods. Like when I make Indian curries, Chinese stir-fry, Mexican and SW style foods, etc. I sometimes have to make myself step outside my comfort zone and am, more often than not, pleasantly surprised. But I do need to work on getting more veggies into my meals, I'll admit.