Monthly Archives: January 2007

Schooner Doughnuts

Wow didn‚Äôt that wind whistle yesterday. Sawyer and I made our Saturday Camden run to the dump, the library (yes, we paid our fine for that overdue book), and rowed out to the schooner just to check the lines for chafe and see that the cover was intact. Right there at the head of Camden those gusty NW winds buffet the schooner right about amidships. There is no swell but that wind….take the butter right off a biscuit. I spent the afternoon hours splitting wood in the North facing wood yard. Brrrr…

So today is a day of rest (not really with the wood pile still waiting but I like the concept). I was inspired by Mary’s doughnut recipe to try my own hand at it. Mary Barney is famous up and down the coast for her baking. Used to be when she lived out on Monhegan Island she would make doughnuts for the fisher men and women on trap day, the first day of their fishing season. She worked 25 summers at the Trailing Ewe and made doughnuts everyday. That’s alot of doughnuts. I work with a fella down at our local volunteer ambulance service that lived on Monhegan for a time while Mary was there. Luke still asks for Mary’s doughnuts. I am trying the chocolate version. Mary learned this recipe from Dint Day, hence Dint’s Doughnuts.

Here is the recipe:
2 Eggs well beaten
1 cup sugared
1 1/2 cups buttermilk or sour milk
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 T oil
nutmeg and ginger
flour, about 4 1/2 cups to make a fairly stiff dough

Mix in order. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Roll out about 1/3rd inch thick.
Cut and fry in deep fat, melted vegetable shortening.

For chocolate doughnuts, omit spices and put in 1/2 cup bakers cocoa
and a splash of vanilla.

Have a great day. And if you happen to see Mary wish her a happy birthday!

Photo of Mary by Jim Dugan

Windjammer Wood

We use a great deal of wood around this place. We heat our house with wood. The barn too. And the cabin for the crew when they arrive in spring. We boil our sap with wood. We have a wood fired sauna. That’s 7 cords in an average year just here at the global headquarters. The schooner uses wood too. The heating system is wood fired. And then there is “Diamond.” That’s the 100 year old Glenwood K cook stove that eats 4.5 cords a summer while Mary, the cook, turns out some of the best food going. I have a few pounds of testimonial. But that is a whole story in itself. The cook stove also heats all the domestic hot water for cleaning and showers.

So this past week we have been processing wood. A Zen affair really, with a modern day hydraulic twist. I can see Thoreau spinning in his grave. If you haven’t read “Henry Hikes to Fitchburg” you really should. We have read it to our kids but that doesn’t stop us from using modern technology in the course of making these traditional sailing vacations happen. Splitting 4 cords of wood takes more than a few hours and when you see how small we make it for “Diamond” you will understand why. Our neighbor Ed delivers most of our wood but we try to thin our own woods a little each year as well. We take Ed’s regular split and split it again (and sometimes again) to get it down to the right size so that Mary can control the heat. We split a year ahead so right now we are working on 2008. The great news here is that the wood is a sustainable local resource, its organic, and we find great comfort in knowing that we have locked in our heating costs for 2008 already. The hydraulic part is of course powered by gas but that allows us to split the larger tougher pieces with knots and twisting grain that we might not be able to use other wise. With the four way splitting head we can do this twice as fast. In all, processing the wood might only require 2 gallons of gas with a tremendous increase in time efficiency. I guess my next venture is to make a wood fired steam splitter.

Gale warnings for the coastal waters here in the wake of a departing low. Hang on Toto!

Windjammer Dreaming

Good Snowy Morning to you all. Ok….let‚Äôs dream!

So this is supposed to be about windjammers and sailing vacations and one family’s “Mom and Pop” odyssey creating windjammer sailing vacations. This time of year is the “creating”. The actual sailing won’t start until Memorial Day Weekend, which may feel a million light years away for you in the snow bank but feels just around the corner for us. This time of year we dream about being out on the bay, setting white canvas sails that fill with the breeze and draw us silently along, passing hundreds of spruce studded bold granite islands, viewing seals and porpoise and eagles (24 in one trip!). Guests take a turn at the wheel, or just snuggle up on deck in the warm afternoon sun reading a favorite book. We sail “down east” to places you just can’t reach by car, away from Route One, away from the hustle and bustle of main street, and put the worries of the world miles behind us before we anchor in a small harbor to get ashore for a walk before supper. Some guests might take a small boat for a row around the harbor after supper while we ready the schooner for the evening, light the oil lamps, set the anchor light, and watch as the stars unveil themselves as darkness falls. Play a round of cards or Scrabble with new friends. Rest comes easy after a day in the salt air. These windjammer days are our warm midwinter dream.

Have a great day! We will be working in the office again and splitting some more firewood, cleaning the shop in anticipation of sanding and painting hatches next week.

Photos by Jim Dugan, photographer and amazing human being. Check out his work at the link provided.

A Chilly Windjammer Morning

0630-55 degrees inside, 12 degrees below zero outside. We were up early awakened more by the chill in the house than a full nights sleep. The wood stove was on it last embers, enough to start the fire again but even the handle on the stove top kettle was cold to the touch. Heating with wood has its moments. The bay is white with sea smoke, a result of warm ocean water (relatively speaking) releasing heat to the chilly Arctic air. It is a magical event to see the vapor being blown up off the bay with only the peaks of the distant islands visible. Today we’ll be in the office, hugging the woodstove, thrashing through the all the year end paper work requirements that comes with running a small business. I guess it comes in handy at a frigid time like this but there are cords of firewood in the door yard waiting to be split and stacked before the pile gets buried in the forecasted snowfall coming tomorrow. No lack of job securty here. Stay warm out there folks!

Winter Windjammer

The deep freeze is finally here this morning. We took the opportunity of yesterday’s warm temps to get on to the boat, knock the snow off the cover, and give her a warm pat on the hull. The ice will set up fast over the next few days. The waterfall outlet of the Megunticook River pours freshwater in to Camden harbor so the top few feet freeze faster due to the lower salinity. The ice doesn’t seem to bother the boat, at least not in the last 45 years. The hay bails in the foreground of the accompanying photograph stop (or at least slow down) the kids sledding in the park.

A Maine Windjammer Year

OK Folks,

So there are some great blogs out there. There is no real reason to read this one unless of course you are interested in what it means to be living the dream. We have this amazing schooner here in Maine and offer sailing vacations all summer long. We meet great people from all over the country and sail through some of the most amazing scenery on the planet. We really are living the dream in so many ways. But have you ever wondered “What do they do all winter long?” What does it take to make your dreams come true, operate your own business, go sailing everyday. Well there is that and so much more. Our hope is to share with you a little bit about our lives operating a Maine Windjammer. Feel free to ask questions and we will do our best to answer them and share our year round schooner odyssey.