New Boat Project

Carl and his Melonseed, St. Michaels


Started a new boat building project, finally. This time a pair of Melonseeds. They should take a year or more to complete, and there will be a lot of posts detailing the process, so to keep all the entries together I created a separate blog category devoted just to that project.

The link appears in the navigation menu at the top. At some point later, all the related photos will be gathered together in a single gallery, but for now they’ll appear in posts as they’re taken.

Little Gifts

North of Monticello

I have a handful of friends and family who I hear from around this time every year. It usually begins with emails, arriving in mid-October, with subject lines like “Has it started yet?” and “Almost Time!” They’re people who, for one reason or another, now live in places where they have no autumn to speak of, no explosion of fall color like we have in Virginia.

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Dream Dogs



Last Fall I began playing with Final Cut Pro. I started out with a bunch of rough footage shot with a cell phone on a trip to NYC, along with some snaps from the same trip.

While playing around with the program, I was listening to some new music from Vector Trio, an improv piece from their Basement Tapes called Dream Dogs. The piece seemed to fit the footage, so I kept replaying it. Before long, I was subconsciously making edits and cuts to fit the music.

Eventually, the two just sort of merged into one thing.


Dream Dogs video



Dreams 99¢

New York Dog Cart


Added a piece written on the road while traveling recently, in the Mostly True section.

I’ve had a lot of nice comments on it, and it’s one I particularly like:


Dreams 99¢


Mid-Atlantic Small Craft Festival 2007

Skipjack, St. Michaels Maryland


Last weekend was the annual festival in St. Michaels, Md., held by the Maritime Museum. I’ve been once before – drove up and back for the day – but this time took gear to camp on the museum grounds for a few days, which is the best way to do it by far. This was the 25th Anniversary of the event, and close to 200 people showed up to celebrate with their handmade boats of virtually every size and  shape. A number of folks drove two days or more each way for three days of serious wooden boat porn.

Rules are scarce and cheating is encouraged.

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Portsmouth Island

Henry Piggot House


South of Ocracoke, across the inlet, is Portsmouth Island and a ghost town of the same name. Though as a community it began and survived alongside Ocracoke for hundreds of years, Portsmouth’s more limited access proved it’s undoing. It was abandoned almost 40 years ago, and came under care and control of the National Park Service. There was never any electrical power on Portsmouth, though a few small generators operated when needed. Mostly the residents continued to live well into the 20th century much as they had in the 18th. Many of the houses are preserved intact, as are a church, a general store, a school, a post office, and the decommissioned life saving station once manned by the Coast Guard. Almost all are open to the public and cared for by volunteers alongside the Park Service, who only seems to provide assistance when funding is available.

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Ocracoke Island

Ocracoke Inlet

The last ferry from Hatteras leaves at midnight. It’s then a forty minute ride through a deep and disturbing darkness to the northern tip of Ocracoke Island.

These are some of the most treacherous waters on the Atlantic Coast. In recent years, the Coast Guard has averaged 10 rescue missions a month in Oregon Inlet just north of here. Charts for the region don’t show channel markers; instead are displayed just warnings such as this:

“Hatteras Inlet is subject to continual change.
Entrance buoys are not charted because they are frequently shifted in position.”

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