Making Sawdust

Good morning everyone. What a beautiful couple of days we have had around here. The sun was just brilliant these last few days and you can really feel the warmth despite the northerly wind. I am starting to think about putting out the maple taps. It won’t be long day before spring is here. Yahoo!

Alex and Elisa finished the large acreage varnish work in the barn this last week. On Friday afternoon we hauled in numerous small pieces, oars, spreaders, ladders, etc. that will be the focus for the next week. Jim Dugan put in a hero’s effort this last week launching our new home page for the web. I know I spent a couple days sitting with him and he spent countless hours that I did not see. It was time for a new look and Jim did a great job simplifying the look of the site and yet adding a little bit of “flash” as well. Let us know what you think. There is more to come so stay tuned.

The exciting news around here was the tuning of the sawmill this weekend that we have just purchased with shipwright friend and former crew Brad. With thirty two acres of woods filled with pine and oak we should be able to justify this mill in short order. The mill was used to saw out most all of the timbers for a small ‚Äúpinkly‚Äù schooner here in Camden. Built by a real ingenious craftsman this mill is homemade but saws quite a straight line when dialed in. We actually brought it here before Christmas. My neighbor down the street dug holes for the concrete piers that keep the mill leveled up just before the frost crept too far into the ground. The Honda engine doesn‚Äôt skip a beat with a sharp blade slicing through the locust log you see here. In this picture Tom is sawing out an eight foot timber to build a ‚Äúlog‚Äù anchor windlass similar to the one aboard Mary Day. That locust should last just a few days shy of forever. We have plans and material on hand to extend the track to about fifty feet. That should be enough to whittle out a stick or two. Brad also just got a lead on a dozen more locust logs. Let’s make some sawdust!
Have a great day. Be well. Do good.

In Shape for Sailing

Good morning everyone. Yesterday was a busy one as usual none of which was made any easier by my truck deciding it needed a vacation. The kids have been very patient with us this week as they are on school vacation and we have a full schedule here in the office. Jen took the kids skiing at the Camden Snow Bowl for the day so they could all blow off some steam.

Back at command central the big event of the day was helping our sail makers, Grant Gambell and Brad Hunter, bring the mainsail over to the village school gym. That basketball court is the only place we can spread out a sail that large. This year we are taking time to have all of the sails surveyed and necessary repairs made. Talk about “keeping it local” Brad is our next door neighbor and the service these 2 fellas provide is beyond comparison. In the past they have dropped their weekend plans to patiently make repairs to sails that I tried to get “one more season out of.”

In looking over the mainsail I realized that it has been through 8 seasons and that is about when we retired the last mainsail. That old cotton canvas mainsail mildewed to death. I can remember seeing constellations of pin holes whenever the sun was behind it. This main, and all of the sails are now made from a synthetic canvas called Oceanus. Aside from some chafed stitching it is in remarkably good condition. The fabric appears to have a number of more seasons to go. Grant will be taking it to his loft to do some touch ups. Brad has already completed a survey and repairs to the staysail, jib and jib topsail. All should be in great shape in time for the sailing season. Remember, shape is everything when it comes to sails and that is why we take them to the gym.

Have a great day. Be well. Do good.

Lunar Gravity

Good morning everyone. Well wasn’t last nite a real treat. I don’t know how many of you stayed up to watch the eclipse but we certainly kept the kids up to see it. Though lunar eclipses are not rare we here in New England don’t see them often. Seems like you have to be in Australia to see the most of them. Perhaps as rare as any part of the event was the fact that we had clear skies on the particular evening in question. The kids were not disappointed.

Some of you might remember that we had a “Transit of Venus Cruise” a few years back. We got the silly glasses and everything so we could look at the shadow of Venus cross the early morning sun low on the horizon. We anchored in a protected little harbor that would give us clear access to the unbroken horizon. All night long the sky was brilliantly clear. I remember getting up several times to check on cloud status. As morning approached the Maine coast worked its magic and fog rolled in from offshore. Oh, you could see a crystal clear sky above us but the horizon in question was obliterated. Waaaah! Such is the “magic” and shrouded mystery of a windjammer cruise. But as you can see, magic is what you make of it and we certainly tried to not disappoint anyone.


Last night I wanted to capture the moment in the worst way possible for the kids to remember. I hung out the one of the skylights in the attic where I would be clear of the tall forest surrounding our house. I tried shooting through a binocular optic (Sawyers idea!). I guess I will have to sign up for Jim’s Photography Cruise. Jen finally managed to catch the image you see here. I don’t know if the kids will ever remember seeing the eclipse. Maybe they will remember laying on the attic floor looking up at the sky and hearing Mom read another chapter of Charlie Bone. I was thinking there would be people everywhere huddled together in the cold clear darkness to witness, if not the mystery, at least the magic. The magic is not just in the eclipse but how the gravitational effect of the moon pulled so many of us together.

Have a great day. Be well. Do good.

Tribute to Trees

Good morning everyone. Hope all is well for you folks. We are enjoying another blast of winter here before the rain comes tomorrow. Zero degrees this morning and quiet as can be out in the door yard. I have been feeling like we have turned the corner on winter. I have seen robins and even a catbird yesterday. The days are getting noticeably longer. I walked out to the barn last night to load the wood stove and was struck by the brilliance of the moonlight on the snow, the chill in the air, and how quiet the woods can be. My heart leaps with joy on nights that catch my attention like that. I think I have been spending way too much time inside this past week. I am healing well from last week’s surgery. My mind says go but I can feel it if I overdo myself.

Varnish is the word of the week around here. Varnish, varnish, varnish. This kind of work is unforgiving. Jen and I once had a boat with all bright finished cabin houses. A fella came walking down the dock one day as we were spreading the amber liquid over the acres of mahogany cabin trunks. He pointed out that paint would be a heck of a lot easier. I can’t repeat here what it is I said back to him. Maybe I contained myself and thanked him profusely for his kind words. But I have never been know to take the easy way around much of anything.

Varnish work is one of those things that mirrors the soul of the varnisher. You can’t hurry through it. Poor preparation shows in the results. You can’t cut corners. You can’t go back to change the past. You gently lay it down with the best brush possible and you get what you get. If you missed a spot 2 minutes back you cannot go back and fix it. You just sand it all down and start again. We call those little blemishes holidays. Maybe like Christmas, the anticipation and the reality don’t always match up. The disappointment feels the same. But when right mind meets right technique under the right conditions the outcome allows the nature of the wood to lift our spirits and there is no better tribute to the life of a tree.

Have a great day. Be well. Do good.

A Recipe for Valentine’s Day

Good Afternoon. As Valentine’s Day approaches preparations are in the works. 24 cards for 1st grade, 15 cards for 2nd grade and another half dozen cut, glued and glittered for family. (That made one Capt. slow to recover move a bit faster!) Dinner reservations are set for us to share with friends and flowers sent to mothers (don’t forget yours!). Here is a hors d’oeuvre that I wanted to share that was a big hit last summer on the boat. You know if Barry reads this he might get the hint and make this favorite for me some time. How romantic! Have a wonderful holiday with your loved one!

Shallot & Onion Baked Brie

1 Baby Brie
1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
scallions
shallots
white pepper
white wine

Shave off the top rind of the wheel of brie cheese and set aside. In a small bowl combine:
3 Tbsp. chopped scallions
¼ cup chopped shallots
¼ tsp. white pepper
2 Tbsp. white wine
Spread shallot-onion mixture on the wheel of brie and replace the sliced off top of the cheese back on the wheel. Roll out puff pastry to approx. 1/8” thick. Place the wheel of brie in the middle of the puff pastry and pull up sides and pinch together to enclose the cheese. Turn over and place on a cookie sheet. Bake at 400F for 15-20 minutes. Remove from oven and let stand for 20 minutes before serving. Beware! It’s hot! Serve with crackers and a great bottle of wine! Here are some other suggestions for fillings: pesto with roasted garlic, raspberry salsa, cranberry relish & walnuts, hot pepper jelly. Bon Appetite!

Time and Tide

Good morning everyone. I am healing nicely, at least that’s what the press release says and I am sticking to the story. Believe it if you will. I am way less sore today and am getting ready to go plow from the last 48 hours of flurries and mixed precipitation. This is one of those snow falls that coats everything with a hard crusty rime ice about an inch thick on the wind shield. Add to that a dead battery on the plow truck and you get a challenging morning right off the bat. But Jen managed to jump the plow truck in fine fashion and away we go.

I have been thinking about tides the last few days. High tide is such a joy. The world is so clean. No messy inter-tidal zone. No bathtub ring. It is much easier to get provisions to the schooner because the ramp is level. For lots of reasons high tide is a joy. High tide also hold the peril of running aground and being stuck for hours, maybe even days. So high tide requires no less attention to lifes direction than low.

And then there is low tide. A whole different critter that uncovers the mess that high tide covers. I am kind of feeling like the mudflats are exposed at the moment. But it is at such times that life shows us what we are truly made of, the very life of life as the Sanskrit Salutation to the Dawn would describe. Forgive me if I have written this before but it is a good reminder.

Look to this day for it is life,
the very life of life.
In its brief course lay all the verities and realities of our existence;
the bliss of growth,
the joy of action,
and the splendor of achievement.
For yesterday is but a dream and tomorrow is only a vision.
But today well lived makes every yesterday a dream of happiness
and every tomorrow a vision of hope.
Look well therefore to this day.

Have a great day. Be well. Do good.

Bitter Pills and Salve for the Soul


Good morning everyone. What does it take to get this captain to slow down? How about hernia surgery? Well it works. Nothing like sitting in pre-op to get you thinking about all sorts of things…friends, family, how beautiful the world is. Now I know a hernia repair is small potatoes in the world of health care. Just the same it is one of those moments that gets your attention. All the pain medications they have given do not take away the feeling of being kicked square in the abdomen by a good size draft horse. Only dreams of being on the bay bring any relief.

God, get me back out on the bay, full sail set and a fair SWly breeze. Can someone take the wheel so I can climb back into the yawl boat hung in its davits and sing a few quiet tunes to the porpoise and the eiders. For lunch, a bowl of fresh lemony ceasar salad chased down with a piece of Mary’s chocolate cake that I squirreled away in the ice box last night. How could it get any better? We sail through dinner unable to help ourselves for the warmth and beauty of the day. Sails are furled as the sun sets and the call of the loons in this secluded cove coax the moon up over the mountains of Acadia. Some guests talk quietly on deck while laughter stirs from the main cabin over a feisty game of cards. And I collapse in my bunk for a good nights sleep, secure in the cocoon of the fo’c’s’l, smelling the salt air from the incoming tide. All is right with the world the salve of sailing heals my soul.

Have a great day. Be well. Do good.

Swimming Anyone?


Good morning everyone. Winter is still here in New England though it seems to be taking a rest these days. We have enjoyed a little bit of a thaw. We still have snow covering our field but it is thinning out in the sunny patches. Mary Day rests comfortably in the harbor, bilges dry, cover intact, waiting for the crew to return.

Another busy week has passed so I will get you up to speed on everything that is happening here at the global headquarters. Jen is putting the finishing touches on year end taxes. Blockfest 2008 is finally finished. The blocks have received quite the massaging. And while we have the off-white paint out we are starting in on the lifeline stanchions, the davits, and a few other miscellaneous parts. Alex asked me last night how we were doing with our pace. We are doing great but in the back of my mind I know that there is never enough time to do it all. Having perfectionist tendencies is a curse. I want to do it all and know we will never have enough time.

There several big projects in the works, one of which we can finally reveal to the world. Visit the homepage to see a PDF of our all new brochure. Not that our old brochure was all that bad but we felt it was time for a new look. With the digital age upon us we realized that the 40lb box of lead plates that comprised the old brochure was limiting. Many thanks to Mimi, Tim and Jim and those of you who granted permission to use your photos. Jen has also revamped our educational program overview in a similar fashion. She amazes me everyday. She spent about 10 days learning Adobe InDesign and putting together a marvelous 22 page document with some great photography that gives potential sail training groups a good picture of what to expect.

Other projects in the barn include replacing the bearings on our tandem axle trailer. We finished that yesterday. That trailer is about to make a road trip on our next big project, all to be revealed in good time. We have been interviewing potential crew and met some great folks in-person and over the phone. We would hire them all if we could. I have been busy on the fire department and ambulance service. I am in the process of getting certified to teach first-aid and CPR to our crew. Around here it is also the season for chimney fires and ice rescue classes. Hope you like the fashion statement. The swimming is actually pretty good. My guess is that most of our guests would enjoy more of our summer ocean temperatures with one of these “Gumby” suits. But what fun would that be? Thanks for the photo Becky… I think.

Have a great day. Be well. Do good.