Sunday, December 27, 2020

Holiday food in quarantine

 So we always manage to make great food, even with one burner (or in this case one burner and a slow cooker), and this holiday was no exception.  We did, however, have a bit of a challenge:  For most of my life, my family has had roast beef and Yorkshire pudding for the holidays, and I kinda wanted it again. . .

. . .but we don't really have an oven, not that can manage the 400 plus degrees that really nice fluffy Yorkshire seems to require.  So after casting around a bit we managed to put together a stack of  cast iron dutch ovens to make a gonzo heat diffuser, pumped waaaaaay too much propane underneath it to heat the thing up, and hoped for the best.

I'm not sure OSHA would approve.  The little pot on top is just warming the gravy

Oh, yes

Happily, it worked out astonishingly well, lovely bottom, fluffy top, and absolutely delicious, as was the slow cooked roast and roasted vegetables.  I think we were both taken aback how well it worked.  Just shows you can manage if you're willing to. . .well. . .experiment.

Winter has finally come to the Chesapeake, with our new gonzo enclosure keeping us a bit warmer from the cold winds and snow.  

Snowy day on the docks.


If I've been a bit absent from posting of late it's because with the pandemic and the winter coming on, there just hasn't been a lot about which to chat.  Will promise to do better next week.  Happy holidays, everyone.


Sunday, December 6, 2020

Things you really need

 I've been meaning to post this for a bit.  Here are a few kind of innocuous things that we've found absolutely necessary as liveaboards.  None are very pricey, but you should really avail yourself of them.

Dockside social distancing at it's best.

First among these, and this seems kinda silly, is a shortie garden hose.  Just a female hose fitting and about three feet of hose with no fitting on the other end.  The reason for this one is simple:  Virtually every Marina north of Georgia turns off their dock water in winter, which means you're gonna have to hump water in containers down the docks to your boat.  Often the only functional faucets in the marina will be too low or weirdly angled for filling a container.  A short hose will help you fix this, letting you easily fill water containers not only at your own marina but when on cruise at a variety of fuel docks and dockside establishments.  You needn't spend much for this: just find someone who is throwing away a food safe hose and cut off the first three feet of it and you're in business.

Next up is this thing:

Got one?  That's about five too few.

This is a deck key.  If you have a boat, the likelihood is that you have some version of this needed to open the deck ports for fuel, water, or waste.  Here's the thing, if you DON'T have one, it's damn near impossible to get these deck plugs open.  If you DO have one, you have about five too few.  Let's get real: things get dropped overboard.  People put stuff like this in their pockets while working and then walk away with it.  Stuff gets buried in the back of a cabinet, and you can't remember WHICH cabinet.  Whatever.  If you're pulling into a fuel dock with a full holding tank (having failed miserably to take our advice on building a composting toilet), an empty gas tank, and no onboard water and you CAN'T find one of these, you may find the folks at the fuel dock are a little less than sanguine about you taking up their dockspace with five boats hovering out in the river while you try to open your deck plugs with a screwdriver and a crab mallet.

We keep about five of these aboard:  one with the tools, one in the silverware drawer (since it's near the companionway), one if the head (since we can hand it out the porthole to whoever is putting in water, and one somewhere or other in my junk tray.  Regardless, ONE of them will be available when we need it.  Nuff said.

  Now as to this thing:

Yes, I know every sailor should know, but too many don't.

This is a marlinspike, and they come with and without the pocketknife (this was just the closest one to where I was sitting).  They come in large and small, in steel and bronze and plastic, and you need one.  Most sailors will know them, but if you don't, the thing is for working rope into useful line, making loops and turk's heads and monkey paws and any manner of marine macrame.  You don't want to have to do any of those things?  Fine.  But you WILL want to get that knot undone.  You know the one I mean, the one that's been under stress and gotten wet and soaked with salt spray and your alternative is to cut the damn thing off.  The marlinspike will let you pry that sucker apart and untie it.  Trust us, you need one.

The list will continue.

This has been, for everyone, a rough fall and winter, and I apologize for the lack of posts this season, but with the pandemic, the freaking endless election, the weather, and. . . well. . .life, things just get in the way.  Hope to do better in the new year.

Magellan takes comfort in difficult times by squashing our greens planter.  No one knows why.

As we approach the winter solstice and a raging plague, Gail and I are, frankly, thankful for living on a boat.  If things got bad, we say, we just raise the main.  Something to think about. But towards the end of December, the light will begin to return, lifting our spirits and hopefully signalling the beginning of a far better year than the last one.

Be safe.

More shortly, I promise.