The blog of the design, construction, and launching of the vessels "The Floating Empire", "Tesla's Revenge", and the shantyboat "Dragonfly", floating tinyhomes made from recycled or repurposed materials.
So while we await the new motor controller, we've been doing projects we'd long talked about. My latest, since I still had a piece of somebody's discarded teak hatch cover, was to make a box for our electronics in the galley to try and wrangle the snake farm of power cables, adapters, headphones, battery chargers, and associated detritus.
Turned out rather well, I think.
The box will sit on the galley bench between where we usually sit and house our laptops, phones, etc, when not in use.
More or less it's new home
Big enough for the laptops, and I wired in a power strip to charge 'em.
We also took the time to rack and bottle a new batch of hard cider. 7.89% abv, and some really nice flavors. Decided to leave this one a still scrumpy since we like the tastes so much.
Color's nice too.
Tonight it's rain and another tornado warning until Midnight, but the weather is warmer and spring has finally turned the corner around here.
Does it seem like we're always fiddling about with this boat? That's probably because we're. . .well. . .always fiddling about with this boat. This week while waiting on a new motor controller so we can FINALLY get this thing on the bay, we took a hard look at how we were using the cockpit and decided to make it more useful to us.
So what we finally decided to do was to basically cover over the cockpit forward of the binnacle and cover it with cushions as a larger lounge/summer sleeping area.
Laying out the new cockpit cover. The hatch will provide access to the former forward part of the cockpit for dead storage (also there's some wiring down there to which we'll need access)
Another shot of construction in progress, with the access hatch open.
We also decided that we needed at least some kind of removable table for our dining and imbibing pleasure. Someone at the Marina had thrown out an old teak hatchcover last year, and, being a pack rat, I snagged it on the off chance that we might have a use for it. We used some piano hinge and attached it to the forward part of the binnacle, using a chain to support the forward end so we could do without putting legs under it.
Table from scavenged teak. Doesn't get much better than that.
We hit it with some teak oil this morning, and it popped right up.
You can't beat good wood.
First usage last evening was a rousing success.
As for the new lounging platform, Magellan has thoroughly adopted it. We've covered it for the moment with disused lounge chair cushions, and it's exactly the space we've needed. Later on we may do some more permanent upholstery, but for the moment, it's lovely.
Magellan loves the new space. Good lord this is a big cat.
The spring has hit in earnest this last week, with beautiful days and mild nights. We've taken long walks out a Marshy point, grilled some amazing food, used our little smoker, and, in general, tried to shake this last winter out of our bones. Middle of next week, we should get the new motor controller and wiring harness. Stay tuned.
If you're of a certain age or just a buff of classic film, you remember the scene from "The Graduate" in which a very serious looking adult takes a very young looking Dustin Hoffman aside with "just one word" for him.
Here's the clip if you wanna relive the moment. It's pretty funny. (and no, I don't own this, this is a reference for educational purposes only, so there)
I remember laughing my butt off at the scene, the sheer seriousness of the well intentioned elder, Hoffman's polite but baffled response, and the weird inappropriateness of it all. But lately, I've come to realize that the guys that DID take that message to heart are doing a real number on the waters in which I live, and I find it's not so funny anymore.
It seems every day I'm seeing articles about floating islands of plastic crap in our oceans, of whales washing up dead with fifty or more pounds of plastics in their guts, of MolaMola floating belly up from eating plastic bags ( they mostly feed on jellyfish, so you can see the similarity). We can't take a walk around the river without coming across seagull cadavers. The skin and feathers and bones are rotting away, but the pile of plastic in their guts seems immortal. And, to be perfectly blunt, I'm tired of fishing the crap out of the water.
This crap is everywhere. You know it and I know it.
In response to communities trying to actually. . .I dunno. . .DO something about this, the industry and their pet legislators have scattergunned a plethora of laws designed to make it ILLEGAL to ban plastic crap. My favorite is Florida Republican Rep. Anthony Sabatini's bill which says that “a municipality, county, or other local governmental entity may not
adopt, enforce, or implement any ordinance, rule or law that would
further restrict a food service establishment from distributing
single-use plastic straws to a customer." Great. One wonders how much in contributions he pocketed for that.
So, rather than driving from state to state and punching these legislators (and the lobbyists that hold their leashes) in the face (the wife disapproves for some reason), we decided to do something about it, at least in our own lives. I thought I would give you a small list of some of the things we've been trying, and thus far, it's been no hardship at all.
First of all, we dug out all the cloth carry bags we had accumulated from stores, events, publications, holidays, political campaigns, conventions, LARPs, marine suppliers, orgies, pet stores, boat shows, and shopping centers, cleaned out all the old receipts, candy wrappers, bottle caps, washers, and illegible grocery lists, and actually started USING them. Living on a boat and having limited storage, we tend to do what's often called "market shopping," that is to say we go and buy pretty much what we need for that day or that weekend, use it up, and then go back for more. It's really a great way to keep fresh foods around, to know your grocers, and to get exercise (we walk when we can), but it does have the effect of sending you home with five or more plastic bags every day. Now we come home with none, and it's made the galley a bit more tidy.
Admit it, you've got about 12 of these carrybags stuffed in back of a lazarette somewhere.
We also give preference to things that don't produce waste. Given two products of equal value, if one has a box and a bag and another box and a pouch and a billboard attached to it, and the other is just a bag, we go for the bag. Pretty simple.
Our marina, sadly, doesn't recycle, but an organic grocery we occasionally visit ("Moms" in this case) does have a recycle center. So we dump our remaining recycles in a couple of buckets in the back of the car and dump them whenever we're out that way.
We yell at our favorite bartender when they give us straws (who USES those little things anyway?), we make the inattentive clerks take BACK their bags that we asked them not to give us, and, in general, we make a nuisance of ourselves for the sake of the fish and the birds and the aesthetics of where we live.
It's not a lot, I'll admit. But if we all did it, and if we all refused to put up with shennanagans like those of Rep. Sabatini and company, there would be a lot less of this crap around with which to deal.
Yes, the humans make me correct their spelling. Sad, really.
It's spring, finally, and we're making the boat ready to travel, re-staining and varnishing the wheel house, changing out some cushions, and getting the drive working properly. Hopefully my next missive will come from us out on the water.
Enjoy the Spring
And, dammit, pick that up. You know better.