Monday, October 05, 2015

Putting the bed to bed 2015 (with a look at the club's inaugural boatbuilding project and an odd bird)

Haven't written much about the garden this year, too many other things going on, I guess, but I did have my usual selection of fresh produce. For the second year in a row, the cukes got off to a fine start, then got some sort of mildew and that was it; I suspect that whatever it was is in the soil, so I may give the cukes a break next year and try something else in that corner. The beets never really got going either, not sure why but there weren't enough to bother with. Everything else did fine - there was chard all summer, with enough to freeze at the end (that was last weekend's kitchen project) -

and the "Dragonetti's Mystery Heirloom Pack" did nicely again; Dragonetti's Garden Supply over on the other side of the Paerdegat sells little packs of assorted heirloom tomato seedling- the hitch is that they don't tell you what kind they are, but I haven't gotten one I didn't like yet (is there such a thing as a bad homegrown tomato?), and it's actually kind of fun being surprised. This year's were all orange and flavorful and meaty, delicious caprese material with the basil, which also did very well. This was back in August. 
It wasn't looking like good boating weather this weekend, perfect time to go out to get the rest of what was left. It actually ended up being nicer than the forecast had shown, and there were a couple of folks who came out and did get out in boats, but I stuck with my original plan, would've still been a bit splashy out there and I was all in cotton, so no spontaneous going paddling.

Here's what was left here in early October -- insufficent beets to even bother with, a pepper plant, some peaked-looking tomato plants, some nice lush basil, the permanent onions (which have stealthily been taking up more and more space) and of course a family of blue hippos (thanks Larry! :D).

I owe the other Sebago gardeners for the fact that there was this much left - September was a very dry month and I just didn't have time to get out as much as needed, and at times I was sure Pestopalooza would have to be either cancelled or carried out with store-bought basil, but the Sebago gardeners saved me  - thanks, other Sebago gardeners! 

 There were a few cherry tomatoes left. I'd tried having 3 full-sized-tomato plants last year but decided to go back to cherries for one, just for the instant/continuous gratification factor - the big ones are lovely but you have to wait for them to ripen - cherries can go all summer and look, even on into October! 

 Bag o' basil

 Onions! I thinned them and pushed them back into the corner. I'd pretty much decided before I started in on this that in addition to Pestopalooza, this year I will have onion soup-a-palooza. Didn't quite get to that today, but soon, they're all sliced up and ready for caramelizing. We have been having some good onion soup weather lately. 

 Hot peppers - there are more on the plant so I left that in, hopefully they'll keep ripening. 

 Green and almost-ripe tomatoes - will probably use these in green tomato rice, haven't made that lately and TQ and I like that very much.

 Finished with the gardening, I finished my tea at one of the picnic tables, looking out at the basin and watching an egret having a nice leisurely late-morning preen on the neighboring docks. 

 Also peeked into the boat shed to see how the Point Comfort 23 is coming along. Boatbuilding is a new thing at the club this year - individuals at the club have built some beautiful craft, but with the boatbuilding shed completed, Jim Luton is leading interested club members through the process of building this traditional boat, which, when completed, will be used in place of the 13' Boston Whaler that we currently use as a committee and safety boat. You can read more about the Point Comfort 23 and how she was selected as Sebago's inaugural boatbuilding project at Jim's blog, Small Craft Warning. I wish I could have gotten involved in this but things just haven't work out for me to be able to so far - just too many other fun things to do (and a need for the occasional quiet day at home to recover from all the fun things). Have still been enjoying watching her take shape! 

Sun came out shortly before I left - 

I'd hitched a ride to the club with friends who were stopping by there before heading out for birding, then took the bus home. I'd just missed a bus, so I walked for a bit, as it had turned quite pleasant; as I was walking, I saw a most unusual thing to see in Canarsie! A flock of sparrows flew by, and as they did a startling flash of blue caught my eye. Turned out to be a budgie who'd been accepted into a flock of sparrows (click for detail, as usual). I posted this on Facebook with a note wondering whether a budgie can survive a NY winter - the Quaker parakeets do fine but they build those big communal nests; this guy or maybe gal) had clearly found a friendly flock, but I was curious about how it would do with the cold. 

Fortunately Mary, one of the same birder friends who'd given me a ride to the club in the morning, saw this and answered,

"The funny thing about Budgies is that when they escape, they quite often link up with House Sparrows. I heard that the reason is they, like House Sparrows, are not from here, have no migration path, no where to go, and nothing much to do. Don't worry too much. Seed eaters (budgies, sparrows, etc) can survive the winter. It's the insectivores who run out of food. Birds, whether migratory or not, can die from the cold, but it's mainly because of inadequate nutrition. If the food source either runs out or becomes unavailable (like the river freezes or the insects huddle down), the birds will not be able to survive. Seed eaters are better able to winter over."

So that was an interesting thing to learn, and it was fun seeing this bird - boy, this is not a shade of blue you usually see on a bird around here, it was quite startling to see it flash by! 

Then home for Pestopalooza 2015, and now I've got my winter pesto supply all stashed away in the freezer. Nice to have that all wrapped up (or bagged up, as the case actually is). And to have had another nice day at the club.

Thursday, October 01, 2015

just yer basic paddle - Jamaica Bay, 9/5/15

Ha, this has been lurking in drafts since September 5th - September was not a good month for blogging for me, tons going on, somehow I uploaded these pictures and never came back to them, so here they are now. Nothing particularly exciting about this paddle, but sometimes a less-momentous paddle is just what the doctor ordered, and this was a good one.

Solo paddle - yes, against suggested practices, but sometimes you just want to be out there on your own time, at your own pace. It was a lovely summer day with a little bit of a breeze. Paddling gear fit in the little bag (suddenly it's that medium bag time of year now, I love summer when the gear fits in the little bag). I didn't roll, that's one thing I won't do without a friend or two around, but I did splash around bracing a lot. The water was lovely. Then the breeze picked up a little bit, and I got a little cool, so I stopped splashing around and paddled harder and then I warmed up again. Summer's good that way.

I went around Canarsie Pol and Ruffle Bar and then back to the club. Nine miles at a moderate pace.

There were flocks of oystercatchers wheet-wheet-wheeting around, and I was surprised by the osprey - I thought you could tell when the ospreys are in by the absence of cormorants on the derelict pier beside the platform, but the pier was lined with cormorants. Earlier in the season the ospreys would chase them off, now there seems to be a truce. Perhaps the territoriality settles down once the youngsters have flown. Summer birds, they'll be heading south soon.

I went to the marsh in Ruffle Bar, where it was quiet and egrets were fishing while schools of small fish ruffled the smooth surface of the water.

Paddled back enjoying the view of the city skyline in the clear air, indulged in my standard low-key schadenfreude while paddling under the bridge over the basin -- is it bad that I enjoy being on the water in my boat even more when I can see people sitting in a traffic jam?

Probably finished off the day with a few cherry tomatoes and chit-chat at the club, 'cause that's how it goes in the summertime.

Yeah, just yer basic paddle, but so nice to have this. 

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Beginning of Lunar Eclipse, 9/27/2015

It's a pretty cloudy night here in NYC, but I did get some nice looks at tonight's Super Moon, Harvest Moon, Fourth In A Tetrad Lunar Eclipse. It was about here before a big cloud discouraged me and sent me back inside to fold laundry for a while; fortunately when I was done I decided to go back out and at that point it was fully eclipsed, deep red, and then one last look outside just now let me see the moon coming out from the other side of the shadow.  Glad the clouds cooperated as much as they did and glad I gave getting a shot a shot - wasn't sure I would get anything but using a parked SUV (fortunately not one of those vehicles with the hair-trigger alarm) to steady the camera worked pretty well. 

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Norwegian Sea Stories and Bluegrass in Red Hook, Thursday, 9/24 - NOW FREE!

9/23 a.m. update - Carolina just contacted me and asked me to add that the concert is now FREE! Not sure what angel made this happen, and please do still register through Eventbrite (link further down), but - it's free! Donations to PortSide NewYork can still be made at the door or on their website, it's a good organization to support.
Helloooooo again from the usual September work madness! Got a backlog of things I want to post about but I'm gonna skip over those right now in favor of a quick lunch-hour sharing of a press release from my friend Carolina over at PortSide NewYork. They're hosting a terrific-sounding event featuring the NYC premier of Norwegian bluegrass Paradise Mountain Boys, who are generously donating this concert to support the organization, on Thursday night - sorry I didn't give a little more notice!

Here's the press release: 

Norwegian Red Hook WaterStories, a night of bluegrass music and history

Thursday, September 24, 2015 from 7:00 PM to 11:00 PM 
At Atelier Roquette, 63 Commerce Street, Red Hook, Brooklyn, NY 11231

Tickets $15 on sale Event is FREE, please register at Eventbrite.

 Love bluegrass? History buff? Interested in New York City’s waterfront? PortSide NewYork has combined it all in one special night for you! Nestle in a sofa or dance into the night at the NYC premiere of the great bluegrass band Paradise Mountain Boys from Norway - and get yourself a NY WaterStory!

Produced by PortSide NewYork as part of our ongoing Red Hook WaterStories. 

Norwegians were one of the major immigrant groups in Brooklyn from the late 19th to early 20th century. They were a major presence on NYC's working waterfront and on our historic ship, the tanker MARY A. WHALEN. They were first concentrated in Red Hook, Brooklyn. At their peak, there were almost as many Norwegians in Red Hook as there are residents in Red Hook today. 

Hear about the first people to row across the Atlantic, Norwegians in 1896! And how Norwegian seaman stranded in here toughed it out in a Red Hook shanty town until Robert Moses cleared it out. and how Norwegians were a major presence on our historic ship the Mary A. Whalen .

BIO OF BAND PARADISE MOUNTAIN BOYS This is the NYC premier of the Paradise Mountain Boys! The band plays bluegrass the traditional way with all the band members around one microphone. Their six-piece acoustic outfit of mandolin, dobro, banjo, guitar and upright bass has its roots firmly planted in down-home acoustic music found in the Appalachian mountains. Traditional bluegrass and bluegrass gospel, with beautiful harmony singing is their thing. 

Event Schedule:

7:00-7:45pm Ordering of food from local establishments (optional but there's some good food in Red Hook!), followed by three short history talks with slides. Speakers Lars Nilsen of the Norwegian Immigrant Association, Victor Samuelsen of the Norwegian Seaman’s Church, John Weaver of PortSide NewYork. 

8:00-9:45pm bluegrass music by Paradise Mountain Boys from Norway 
9:45-10:30pm time to talk to the historians and band, read history at our ReadingTable, get interviewed at our WaterStories StoryStation, sign up to be interviewed in the future.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Great North River Tugboat Race and Skills Contest, 9/6/2015

Ha ha ha. "Cheerybabble resumes tomorrow", she said on Sunday, completely forgetting about how work gets in the middle of September, ha ha ha.

So I'll just change the order a little bit here and put Sunday of Labor Day Weekend first instead of going in date order. I went through my photos last night and put them up in a Flickr album - didn't caption yet but it's basically the race, the bow-to-bow pushing, the last competitor in the line toss contest, and then the spinach eating contests - didn't get much of the kids but Mandy and I had front-row seats for the adults and as usual, it wasn't pretty, but it was tons of fun!

Album ends with a dog ready for the mascot contest and a sailboat enjoying the quieting river. Click here to visit the album.

Terrific work as always by the Working Harbor Committee. Missed Capt. John Doswell but I know he would've been glad to see all of us out there having another great day celebrating the working boats of NY Harbor.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Boatlift, An Untold Story of 9/11 Resilience

Happy Sunday! I'd planned to go back to my usual kayak cheerybabble today with a trip report from an unfancy but very nice solo paddle in J-Bay I went for on the 5th, but then I saw Tweezerman's comment on my 9/11 post. He mentioned the Boatlift video; I love that video, I loved what the maritime community did that day, and I'm so glad that I was able to play even the small role in those efforts that I did, helping out with the lines when Pier 63's John Krevey called some of the party boat captains who sometimes used his barge as a loading point for parties and offered the barge as an evacuation point. Being able to actually help people was such a good balance for the fearfulness of my underground morning flight from the WTC.

Cheerybabble resumes tomorrow. 

Friday, September 11, 2015

Sept 11

Photo taken from Liberty State Park in Jersey City, 9/11/2012. Remembering of course. We all have stories from the day; here's mine