Galley Gadgets


Good morning everyone. As any of you who have sailed with me know I love gadgets. Creating new and easy ways of doing things is a fun challenge for me even if I am slow on the uptake. So here is a gadget I have tried before that I felt I should share with the universe. I am sure I am not the first person to think of this but, hey, this works slicker than greased owl droppings and it reeks just enough of red neck that the devil in me just has to laugh.

We buy our peanut butter by the 9 lb. tub. The stuff we buy is that organic, all natural stuff with the hefty layer of oil on top when you open the lid. I have tried inverting the tub every few days to get the oil to work its way through but getting even consistency is still a challenge. Who hasn’t got to the bottom of this kind of a peanut butter tub to find a layer of peanut butter cement? The mother of invention was not necessity. It was laziness as any of you who have tried to hand stir peanut butter will know. If you do not own a cordless drill now is the time to head to the local hardware store and buy one. 12 volts won’t do it. Get the 18 volt model if you can and while you are than get yourself a drill mounted, all metal paint stirrer. No plastic! You can see where this is going, can’t you?

A picture is worth a thousands words so I will not go through the directions on how to do this. I will offer one piece of advice. Do not try to stir the bottom up too early in the mixing process. Gently work you way up and down through the tub. If you have 2 speed drill keep it on the low speed, high torque mode. Don’t ask me how I know this… just take my word for it. Of course you will need to disinfect the paint stirrer first with soap and water and a bleach rinse. The results are smooth as can be and can be transferred to a smaller container for daily use. Thank you George Washington Carver!

Have a great day. Be well. Do good.

P.S. None of the manufacturers of any of these products condone my behavior or the use of their products in the manner described nor did my mother think this was very good idea. These pictures were taken of a trained professional operating in a controlled environment. Try this at home at your own risk.

Crossing Tacks


Good morning everyone. For the first time in a week the weather map issued by the National Weather Service in Portland is not a colorful array of watches, warning and advisories. The No’easter that hit Wednesday was a good one. Good, that is, if you like wild weather. While the schooner was riding in out in the lee of Camden harbor I was out on several calls with the ambulance service and fire department. Just plowing access to peoples houses was a challenge in addition to driving in near blizzard conditions.

Maintenance projects continue here at the global headquarters. I had ripped the bed off of my truck just prior to the storm so when the forecast began to get a better idea of the storm’s impacts a few friends of mine and I were scrambling to get thing put back together. I spent several nights burning the oil late in order to roll the truck out of the shop just a few hours ahead of the snow. Road salt here wreaks havoc on truck frames. The schooner’s trusty 10 year old Chevy deserved another shot of adrenaline to buy 5 more years with a little welding, alot of rust busting, and a few mechanical repairs. For those of you that live near salt water or road salt try applying lanolin based “Fluid Film” liberally to everything that could host rust and corrosion.

Ali and Katie kept the plates spinning here at the Chinese circus in the barn with varnish work being the current focus. Between the two floors of the barn there is always something happening. When I found this picture of two schooners crossing tacks in the east bay it quickly brought to mind the lesson of making progress up wind. First we go this way, then we go that way. Pictures like these remind me of why we do what we do… laying under rusty trucks and sanding our fingertips bare. It is the good work that lets us appreciate the great fortune of sailing in Maine.

Have a great day. Be well. Do good.

Life Lessons

Good morning everyone and a happy new years wish to all of you. We have spent the last two weeks celebrating the holidays and enjoying our first holiday season at home… no traveling out of state. Thankfully friends and family were close at hand and we just soaked in the warmth of companionship. Even our dog, Colby, had company in the form of her brother, Sherman, who visited us for 10 days. Born just a year ago they shared their December 27th birthday together. I know this time of year is filled with resolutions and wishes for health and happiness in the year ahead. With all of the troubles of the world caving in upon us each day it is very difficult not to be distracted from the real work in our lives. But as I have watched Colby I realize how much my year has been enriched by the presence of a dog.

At the risk of repeating some often used clichés these are lessons I learned from Colby:

1) wag your tongue less and your tail more
2) make your love unconditional
3) a small bone is a huge gift
4) naps are very good for you
5) go outside for a walk first thing in the morning and just before you go to bed
6) instinct is like stink… just sniff… if it doesn’t smell right it probably isn’t
7) snuggle up to your friends at every possible chance

So if I have a new years resolution it is to follow the example set by those whose lives are far less complicated. I could do no better than to be more like a dog.

Have a great day. Be well. Do good.

P.S. Gussie, our cat, is not in the slightest offended by this blog. She still rules the roost in no uncertain terms and is loved as equally as Gussie. Dogs love unconditionally. Cats have to think about it.