Sunday, November 10, 2013

I'll Be Back! - Surfski looks likely to rise (or at least float) again. Plus, end of garden season.

"I'll be back!" says my surfski. Woohoo!

 There are lots of workdays at the club this time of year as we're cleaning the boats and putting away the lawn furniture and generally packing things in for the wintertime. Today, I decided it was time to have my own private personal workday.

I set out in the early afternoon. I had 2 main goals for the day - the garden is pretty much played out for the year and it's time to put the bed to bed, and then I also wanted to take a look at the ski. The poor boat had broken 2 seasons ago and although I love this boat, I just somehow had never managed to make the time to attend to it. I just don't do that many trips out there on my own anymore - it's always either for a club activity, or else for a paddle or sail with TQ. In either case, there's generally a ride involved and I just don't like telling someone who's being nice enough to give me a lift home, "Oh, could you maybe wait for half an hour while I do something with my boat?"

And this year, I'd gotten to the point with the ski that I felt like I needed to either fix it already, or suck it up and let her go. Aside from the ridiculousness of paying for indoor storage for a broken boat, there's a sort of new thing going on at the club - we've got so many new members that boat storage is getting close to being an issue. Earlier this year, after a meeting where we discussed how to make sure that new members understand that we're running a club, not a storage facility, I began to feel something of an obligation -- time to "go or get off the pot", if we're running out of space then storing a broken boat is being a dog in the manger.

I was a little worried by the dark clouds that looked to be moving in as I headed out to the club, but I figured that even if it started to pour, I could still work on the surfski in the container. 

Fortunately, except for a few little spits of rain here and there, the clouds passed over without dropping anything, so I was able to accomplish both self-appointed tasks. 
I decided to start with the garden; the clouds were still looming ominously when I arrived at the club so I figured I would start with that & get as much done as I could, and then if it did start to rain I would switch to the boat work.

I went expecting to come home with chard, the last of the basil, and green tomatoes, but there were a couple of fun surprises - this itty bitty beet, which had hidden in a corner:

Plus a couple of actual vine-ripened tomatoes! Totally wasn't expecting that but what a nice thing to find. 

Dramatic skies above the chard. This one's almost worth clicking for detail - it was a good sky and the chard is also about as dramatic as chard gets! :D
I'd come in planning to pick everything except the onions (which overwinter fine), then come home and do some freezing. The remaining basil was looking pretty bedraggled so I stuck with the pick-and-freeze plan for that (haven't frozen yet but will as soon as I finish this post - instead of another full-on pestofest, I'll just chop it up with olive oil and freeze it that way), but chard is very hardy and I decided to only pick some to cook over the week, and leave the rest in the ground. There really isn't all that much left and I think I'll be able to use it all fresh.

End of the gardening session - laid out the stakes and tomato cages to try to discourage our local feral cats from using it as a litterbox. All done!
Oh, and the boat repair? That went GREAT. Almost annoyingly so in fact. A rudder pedal had broken off with half a rivet stuck in the hole by which the pedal is attached. The whole delay in fixing has been that it was stuck in there so good that I thought I was going to need to drill that out and I haven't got a drill.

Now that I was committed to fixing it or letting it go, and had set aside enough time to just sit down and mess around with the boat and my very basic tool kit long enough to decide which it was going to be, it turned out that there was enough of the broken rivet sticking out that after a good soaking with WD-40, a couple of whacks with a small hammer was enough to knock it loose. YAY, but also ARGH -  If I'd had any idea it wasn't going to involve a power tool that I don't own I would have done this right when it broke, year before last!

I was very happy about how simple it turned out to be, but also very annoyed with myself for not even trying before this. The long procrastination had actually caused another issue -- the hinges for the rudder pedals had frozen up. That issue, I had been able to do a little prep work on ahead of time - I'd doused 'em with WD-40 a couple of times over the last couple of weeks and one more soaking today plus some patient persuasion with a pair of pliers cracked those loose.

I didn't re-attach the pedals today, if the hinges freeze up again over the winter it'll be easier to loosen them up again without the pedals on there. But we're pretty much ready to go. Re-wetting was going have to wait until next year anyways because there are a couple of cracks that could do with some epoxy and it's now too cool for epoxy to set, but once it warms up enough to do that next spring, I'm seriously looking forward to getting this boat back in commission! 

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