When you spend long days in the shop, on tasks that don’t require much thought, your mind tends to wander. Since I’m working on boats, that’s where my mind goes, and I often take long mental journeys in boats from the past. Something happened earlier this year that reminded me of the second boat I could actually call my own, and I’ve been thinking of it a lot lately. The first boat was great, too, but it’s the second one that’s really been on my mind lately. Like the first boat, this one I shared with a friend, and that contributed a great deal to all the memories connected with it. Continue reading “Notable Boats: Odin”
I once had a job digging up the bones of dead monks for room and board. The pay wasn’t great, but it was a good job, and I liked it.
On the first day, a portly, pompous Frenchman named Bernard, the foreman, lined off a big grid on the ground with string, making six foot squares separated by one foot borders. Each digger was assigned a square. The job was simple: Dig the six foot square eight feet deep. You could not, however, use a shovel. The only tool you could use to remove 288 cubic feet of dirt was a small mason’s pointing trowel, which you had to supply yourself. Furthermore, you could not dig with the point of the trowel – doing so would be grounds for immediate dismissal. Instead, you had detect and carefully scrape away slight variations in colored layers of dirt with the edge of the trowel, a thin skin of soil at a time, like peeling an onion, scoop that into a pail, then empty it onto a spoil pile 100 feet away. We had three months to finish.
Spent the weekend on more prep work. Though there’s not much to see, a lot got done. Used a round-over bit to take the sharp corners off all the exposed edges on the framing. It’s a small detail, but keeps the wood from splitting and splintering when stuffing gear inside. It also keeps you from getting bit when reaching in to retrieve things. An especially nice touch on grab surfaces, where hands naturally go for carrying or moving a boat. Continue reading “Decked Out and a Swim”
I hope you can hear this. The vagaries of computers and the web makes some things uncertain. But if you can, this is what it sounds like here, right now, tonight. Driving home from work late, just after dark, I rolled down the windows just to listen when passing a wet place in the woods, or a farm pond overgrown.
Nothing sounds more like Spring to me than peepers on the first warm night of the year, the same way calls of geese coursing southward overhead on moonlit nights, plaintive and cacophonous, sound like fall. Minstrels announcing the entrance and exit of a very hard season, with a harmonic flourish.
The week following New Year’s was cold – record breaking cold – so it wasn’t the best time to visit the seashore; but that made it a good time to visit family. My folks now live on an island outside Beaufort, South Carolina, which is about halfway between Savannah and Charleston. When I was growing up we took vacations here every summer, back when the place was still a little wild, so we have a lot of memories scattered around the island. When the last of my siblings left home, my parents sold everything in the suburbs and bought a house there before real estate got crazy. Now my own kids have grown up spending summers there, too, and on lucky occasions like this one our visits overlap with my sister or brother and the girls get to see their cousins. Continue reading “The Road Ends in Water”