Tuesday, October 24, 2017


Okay, so if seems like we're stalling telling you about the electric motor install and our initial sea trials with said,  . . .well

. . .okay, we're stalling.  We are STILL missing the reversing contactor and the adapter to connect the motor shaft to our drive shaft, and, since the installation will tear up the whole back end of the boat for a couple of days, I'm kinda not wanting to do anything back underneath the cockpit until we can do ALL the stuff.

So we've been doing other things, brewing hard ciders, making meals, and, in general, enjoying what is being a really beautiful fall here on the Middle river.

Filtering a wonderful new batch of pumpkin and apple cider.  Tis the season.
Filled bottles doing a bit of secondary fermentation and carbonation.  Can't wait.
Of course one thing we had to deal with this morning--and it's unusual--was a massively high tide.  This one was weird.  My spouse dragged me out of the sack a little after 7AM saying the water was nearly over the dock.  By the time I pulled on some jeans and got off the VERY high riding boat, the wet stuff had risen above the boards ( in all of about ten minutes) and I was sloshing down the dock checking people's lines, some of which were, due to the boats riding so high, tight as bowstrings. 
Um, surely the wet stuff is supposed to be on the UNDER side of the dock, right?
Half an hour later, it was back below the boards, then an hour later, back above for a few minutes. . . we finally figured out it was being driven by an unseasonable south wind downstream shoving around some heavy rains that were flowing into the bay from PA.

Ah well, living aboard.  Just part of the fun.  I kid, but it IS fun, even stuff like this.

Heard from David, the gentleman who bought our shantyboat "Floating Empire" from us, and found out that he's doing a major rebuild, replacing and adding to the floatation, replacing the side walls, and, in general, doing the stuff that needs to be done to extend the life of our beloved Shanty.  Good on you, Sir.

So here we sit, enjoying the leaves changing, taking trips in our little inflatable kayak, brewing beer and cider. . . .Gail is doing artwork madly (here see Life, Art, Water, her blog) and I'm currently working on two, count em, TWO new novels, one of them a sequel to The Ganymeade Protocol (which has been oft requested).

Livaboard life.  Recommend it.

More later, 


Saturday, October 14, 2017

Pleasant Chores

One of the nicest things about living the way we do is the ability to just diverge into doing. . .well. . .whatever the hell we want to do.  One of the things we've loved doing over the last year or so was making our own hard ciders, beers, gruit, and the like. 

We come to it naturally.  We've both been reenactors, and the ciders and what are commonly called "small beers" (so called because of their relatively low alcohol content and that they are meant to be drunk young) were in eras past something you made in the kitchen with no more equipment than a crock and maybe a jug or bottle or two.  They're fun, they're easy, they're delicious, and they're a WHOLE lot cheaper than popping for a bottle of decent wine or a six pack of craft beer.

Doing an initial straining of an oat stout.
What really strikes me is how common and how easy this all was.  Almost anything can be fermented provided it has sugars.  Oats, Barley, Ginger, Apples, Pears, Pumpkin. . . .what do you have?  You can preserve it by turning it into a drink.  You add water, simmer the must for a bit to break it down and kill off any wild yeast, add a sugar like molasses or raw sugar or honey, pitch your yeast,  and in a few days strain it into a bottle with a bit of sugar and cork.  No elaborate measurement equipment, no computer temperature controls, no anything.  Just a daily drink you made yourself.

This is REAL Ginger beer: Ginger, molasses, lime, allspice, cinnamon. . .you WANT this, trust me.
Everything we do, every single thing that we have control of, makes us more and more in control of our own lives and, correspondingly, more and more happy with the way we're living.

We'll be publishing the receipes for the stuff that's worked for us shortly.  Try em.  You'll be happy you did.

Now if you'll excuse me, I feel the need of a libation.


Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Dragging Wire, Brewing Cider

Made a bit of progress on the multiple projects over the last few days while STILL waiting on parts.  Some of what I've been doing is dragging wire for the control systems that we'll be installing shortly.

New outlet in the cockpit, 2 USB plugs and one 12V DC.
I wired in a new set of outlets for usb and 12V equipment by the binnacle and pulled the wire through to wire in the marine radio aft.  When we pulled the mast we were left with the deck mast step and wires, both of which rather leaked when exposed, so we've built a new box to enclose it and contain a wire race for the solar panels and steaming light.

Staining our little cover for on-deck wiring.

We also found time to make a batch of strawberry and apple cider, which is bloopiing away merrily belowdecks.  Kicking bubbles once every five seconds or so, it's a particularly active batch.  Should be able to rack it off and bottle in a day or so.

Of course in the midst of all this, we both came down with some kind of bug, which has left us with a kind of energy-less day today.  Hopefully a good night's sleep will fix that and we'll be back at the motor install tomorrow.

Until Then.