Saturday, 31 May 2014

Port Dover - 2014 Practice Race

Every year the Port Dover Yacht Club Racing Division holds a practice race the week prior to the racing season start. This is an opportunity for the boats to initiate new crew, remind crew and skippers of the intricacies of sailboat racing and get the Committee Boat "up to speed". This year I am on the Committee Boat, Enigma, on Monday nights, for the Spinnaker races and we acted as Committee boat for the practice night.
Some boats have just been launched and the "kinks" are not yet worked out or work during the off season needs to be "fine tuned". Some missed the race due to work discovered during the launching. A quote: "A boat is a hole in the water you throw money into".
A crew member up Legacy's mast. One of the preseason chores.
The off season is a time of rest and relaxation for a boat owner - NOT. Starting in April and picking up in May, the boatyard has owners working on their boats whenever the weather is co-operative ( and sometimes when it's not). Things need fixing; that broke last year, that have never really worked well, that could be improved. Things need installing; gear that was taken off last year to be fixed during the winter, new electronics or other equipment that's been added. Things need cleaning; that didn't get cleaned last fall, that have never been cleaned, that got dirty over the winter. And then there is always the stuff that worked fine last year and for some reason doesn't work fine this year.

Sails waiting to get loaded on to Legacy. Winter storage (basements, garages etc) are now freed up for summer use.
Motoring out under the 6 o'clock bridge.
Practice night consists of 3 starts for each fleet (Jib and Main, Spinnaker). the last start is actually a race out to a marker and back. The wind on Wednesday night was out of the North East and over 10 knots so there was good wind and the waves were not too bad. Excellent conditions though sometimes the wind gusted and made spinnaker flying more of a challenge than some "rusty" crew wanted.
Kayley, lounging on the Tetrahedron, on our way out to Happy Face
(the central race marker has a happy face painted on it)
As Committee boat, first we head out to Happy Face and determine the wind direction. We then "set the start line" at right angles to the wind and drop the Tetrahedron at the other end. This determines which race marker the boats will head to first. We head back to Happy Face and moor there as the other end of the line. We post this course on large boards over the back of the boat. Next we raise the "come within hale" flag and all the boats sail by announcing their names, sail numbers and which division they are sailing in. Makes for good picture taking opportunities.
Come within hale flag
Flashdancer and Taz
Once we have registered all the boats the flag sequence begins to start the race. Put up the fleet flag, 1 minute later put up the preparatory flag, 3 minutes later take down the prep flag, 1 minute later take down the fleet flag and put up the next fleet's flag. Then do it all again. 6 times that night.
The start line can get quite crowded

and starts can be very entertaining to watch.
The fleets sailed to a race marker and back, some flying their spinnaker.
We recorded the times as they crossed the finish line and then calculated their ranked finish based on each boats handicap (PHRF rating).
It was lovely to be out on the water again and ended with a beautiful sky, followed by food and drinks at the Yacht Club.

And now for the obligatory cat pictures:
This is how much Rasta has grown. He used to curl up inside that coloured square.
He is about 6 months old.
Colour co-ordinated with the rug I am currently working on.
Walking along the door?

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Oshawa - 2014 OHCG Annual meeting and show.

I will start by apologizing for the quality of the photos in this post. My camera battery died so they were all taken with my tablet. That, along with the gymnasium lighting, resulted in pictures that do not accurately reflect the colours of the subject matter.
Last weekend I went, with "hooking friends", to the Ontario Hooking Craft Guild Annual. We go every year, usually taking down and bringing back our guilds rugs and "hanging" the display. This year was no exception and it was a pretty full car with 5 of us, all our luggage, hooking projects to work on and J.J. Ruggers materials to display. Of course it was even fuller coming back as we had all bought wool.

We stayed in the residence at Durham College which worked out very well as the meetings, workshops, vendors and rug show were all within walking distance.

 There was a large display of the completed PanAm rugs. Each participating country will get one.
 J.Js contribution is centre right. It was fascinating to see the different interpretations of the same pattern.
We had two winners (many of the rugs are judged) from our guild. Congratulations to Linda, winner of the beginner award.

Pat Lawson also won in the Wide Cut category. Congratulations Pat!
Designed and hooked by Pat Lawson

Pat also designed and hooked this rug, of the Hamilton industrial skyline,
entered into the Theme competition. 

Vendors sell wool and yarn, dyed or as is, and various essentials for rug hooking. The 2 shots below are from Debbie Morrison's booth where there were wonderful frames, hooks and other wood products as well as crocheted items.

Hooks of all sizes and shapes. We each have preferences and different shaped hands. Some beautifully
coloured woods with exposed grains.

Artfully displayed

There were numerous workshops and seminars offered. These are materials from one I took on
hooking scrolls with dip dyed wool. I will post the finished piece when it is done.
Some years the rug display isn't that inspiring, maybe its the rugs, maybe it's my frame of mind, but this year I thoroughly enjoyed it and found it difficult to choose the best (for the Rowan Award, voted on by the members).

Lifelike. Can't you just see his tail flicking?

And this one just made me smile, he has such a happy smile on his face.
This was my choice for the Rowan Award.

Thursday, 22 May 2014

The only thing missing, is George.

It's been nearly 6 months since George passed away.
I had a busy and productive day today. I attached the little trailer to the SUV and drove into Port Dover and got a half yard of triple mix. Dropped half off at Si and Dan's and loaded the rest into the vegetable gardens at home. They look great and ready for planting next week so I had a glass of wine in the hot tub to congratulate myself. I was sitting there watching the humming birds eat from the feeder about 6 feet away, orioles about 8 feet away and thought what a good life I have. Then it struck me that the only thing missing is George.
 People keep asking me if I will stay here but George and I set up a great retirement. We set up everything we needed at the cottage. At this point I seem to be financially secure. I have family and friends who I love and spend lots of time with. Interests and activities to keep me busy. Yep, the only thing missing is George.
 Needless to say, there were some tears in the hot tub. I'm entitled, it's been nearly 6 months and my blog has been mostly upbeat but the only thing missing, is George.

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Long Point - Victoria Day weekend 2014

As is customary, Christine and her friends came to the cottage for the long weekend. In preparation I got some of the deck furniture out of the garage and purchased a new patio dining set as the old one was cracked and too heavy for me to manage.
Rasta being his usual helpful self, during the patio table
The weather was not wonderful. Cool, windy and often cloudy. However we walked on the beach and to the bird banding station.
Eve and Danielle watching a bird being banded through the window. Even the birds
were unimpressed by the weather, very few were in the nets but we saw a black and
white warbler, magnolia warbler and american redstart. 
Last years blog post shows a warm weekend with sunbathing and kayaking. In contrast, this year, we spent most of the time inside, only going out to walk, run, bike ride or soak in the hot tub. Although there was a "polar bear plunge" but I failed to witness it or there would have been pictures. So it was a weekend of game playing (Seven wonders, Settlers, Rummy, Spot-it and a group game of Newlywed Game even though we only had one newlywed couple among us - interestingly the newest couple won and the non-couple did pretty well too)

Rasta wasn't so much into the game playing as he was into the abundance of knees to lie on and hands
to stroke or play with him.
We had hoped that Two and Rasta would learn to get along but any closer than this and
it was open warfare. There were periods of hissing and chasing interspersed with
 "sending them to their rooms". To no avail - they parted enemies.
What is so nice about having Chris' friends visit every year is that they have it down to a fine art. All of the meals are taken care of, they know their way around the kitchen and the cottage in general, its great to catch up on their lives each year and this year they were very helpful with the heavy chores like digging out the basement window, carrying heavy chairs and uncovering the last vegetable garden. We also celebrated Christine's birthday a week early and she plans another party for next week.

Friday, 9 May 2014

Long Point - growing in sand, new trees from St Williams Nursery and Ecology Centre

In my posts on "growing in sand" I have yet to mention much about trees. We have been trying to build up the dune between the cottage and the walkway with trees as well as plants. Some of these are transplants: cotton wood poplars from the beach and sumacs from roadside ditches. About 2 out of 10 cottonwoods survive the transplanting process. They have very fine, extensive root structures and it is difficult to get them all or provide them with enough surface to draw sustenance from. We have only been transplanting sumacs for the last 2 years, just a few at a time, but so far they are surviving.
This last winter was very hard on the trees. The wind was strong and frequent, the snow was deep and the critters were hungry. A spring inspection revealed that the apple tree George had planted 2 springs ago had been eaten all the way around the trunk and up about 3 feet (the depth of the snow there). I am told it will not make it.
This apple tree wasn't grown in sand. George had filled a big barrel with top soil and
planted it in that. We had blossoms but no fruit the last 2 years.
This was a High Bush Cranberry. It was about 2ft high but was eaten to the ground
this winter. There are some live shoots coming up so I hope it will recover.
Last weekend I went to the biannual sale at the St Williams Nursery and Ecology Centre (Hwy 24 and Forestry Farm Rd). They are a wholesale nursery and specialize in native species. They grow for the Nature Conservancy and the Windsor Wetland Project among others. George and I went last spring and were amazed at the prices, knowledgeable staff and masses of native species. This year I went with a better understanding of what I needed, hoping to not get caught up in impulse buying. I had limited success. Nurseries do that to me in the spring.
This was my haul from the St Williams Nursery
I bought a Red Oak, a Bur Oak, a Pin Cherry, a Serviceberry, a Prairie Brome and a Prairie Dock. The last 2 are ornamental grasses. I bought Chris a Jack in the Pulpit for her terrarium planter. The whole lot cost me $48 plus tax. I think one tree would have cost me that elsewhere. They are now planted, scattered along the dune and next fall I will get collars to protect them all.
Rasta is recovering nicely from his neutering and de-clawing (just the two between his pads and his thumbs as they were curling under and going to give him trouble). He slept a lot and wanted to be on my lap. He's up and about more now and seems to have had no ill effects (aside from it taking him 5 days to poop which was a little worrying)
Rasta was happy to have Chris to nap with.
He had to help build his new play house.
And try it out.
The domestic cat.

Sunday, 4 May 2014

A-liner for sale.

My apologies to everyone who automatically gets my blog sent to their e-mail but this seemed like the best way to get pictures of the A-Liner available to potential buyers. This way, with my slow internet, I only have to upload the pictures once and then give the blog address out to those who are interested.
Entrance side. The plywood is just to protect the new tires from sun damage.
This is a  2001 A-Liner Expedition. We have had it for two years and used it for a total of about 4 weeks. We tow it with a Toyota RAV4 with no problem. The tongue weight is 700lbs. It has brand new tires that we put on last fall and a sway bar that was installed at the same time (we had planned a 3 month road trip through the States for the winter but that didn't happen).
This is the side opposite the entrance showing the large window over the kitchen area.
Closed up and ready to go. 
It takes 2 people about 5 minutes to put it up or take it down and most of that time is just cranking the legs. There are vidoes on the internet that show how easy and fast the process is.
Directly opposite the door is the "kitchen". There is a 3-way frig, propane stove top and sink.
This area also has the propane furnace, some kitchen storage and to the left a little table that
flips up for more counter space or to eat on while sitting on the couch.

Next to the door is more storage, controls for the air conditioner and another
flip up table.
Dinette at one end that coverts into a small double bed. The two skylights shown open
and two small skylights above (not shown) also open for ventilation. 
Couch at the other end converts into another small double. The large window above opens.
Windows open on both sides and both ends giving great cross ventilation as well as plenty of light. All have curtains on them. There is storage under the couch and the dinette and storage, accessed from outside, also under the dinette.

Storage compartment at the front ( in the interest of full disclosure - this leaks) and propane
cover with one propane tank.
Price $4800 firm. Contact in the comments section of this blog post (leave an e-mail address) to arrange to
see it.
The A-Liner sold on July 20/14 for $4400.