Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Have You Seen This Dock?

Passing along a message posted on the NYC Kayaker moderated email list. Hoping that local waterfront and boating enthusiasts will help keep an eye out for the lost dock. One of the local tugboat owners did mention on a related Facebook post that a dock this size is very hard to tow and suggested that it may have just been cut loose - whether it's that or somebody actually stealing it for their own use, this is a really lousy thing to do. Here's the note that accompanied the photo:

The board of Manhattan Community Boathouse requests help in recovering their modular dock.  It was at Pier 96 on the Hudson River and was removed sometime in the past two weeks.  The dock is used at the free kayak programs run at this location by Manhattan Community Boathouse (and previously by DTBH).   The board of MCBH has filed a police report and asks the waterfront community to help find the dock, and the culprit(s) that took it.

If anyone has information, please contact the boathouse at

manhattancommunityboathouse"at" (replace "at" with @ as usual).

Hope they get their dock back soon!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

What's cookin' #2 - all KINDS of stuff (including a Century Egg)

Actually I've been cooking quite a bit - September and the beginning of October got so crazy that I ended up eating out to the point where I was tired of eating out and it's been nice over the last couple of weeks to replenish the refrigerator and freezer. 

Spam musubi was not my only Asian-inspired experiment - weekend before last, I finally made the dried scallop congee (rice porridge) I'd planned to have the night I stayed on Croton Point during my paddle down the Hudson - I'd started out with a really nice visit with friends at the Chelsea Yacht Club, which got me off to a late start, which meant that I got to the Annsville Creek Paddlesports Center fifteen minutes after Bill had shut up shop and headed up to Norrie Point for the Friday night activities he has up there. With nobody to visit at Annsville Creek and a fair distance to travel before I got to my campsite for the night, I lost all my inclination to do all the unpacking I was going to have to do to get the scallops and rice into their soaking containers, so I left 'em bagged up and had round 2 of pasta with sausage, squash, green onions and cheese.

Congee fixin's, delivered by kayak from Waterford, NY.

After Saturday's big swim support across the lower Hudson, I was ready for a day of puttering around at home, and ended up doing 2 projects in the kitchen.

Project 1 was finally making the congee. I was extra-glad that I'd gone with the pasta because this really took a long time to cook down into a nice porridge-y consistency. I still think this could be a good camp dinner but it would need to be on one of the shorter days, not the very longest one!

Only benefit to having it while camping would have been that I would have been eating it in the dark.

In the dark? Yup. You see, I had decided to get extra-fancy with this ten mixed grain rice I'd picked up in Chinatown a while ago. The rice mixture was attractive enough out of the bag (although it did look disconcertingly like birdseed):

But the end result reminded me a lot of the time when I came home from Ithaca with a beautiful homegrown purple cabbage from the garden of the lovely folks who'd put me up for Women Swimmin' 2013, and made it into corned beef and cabbage. Do you know what color corned beef and cabbage turns when made with a beautiful purple cabbage? I didn't, but I found out, and let's just say that if you're looking for a fun dish to make for a Halloween party, that would work well. You could call it Zombie Stew - everything in the pot went this sort of dead blue color. Delicious, if you like corned beef and cabbage (which I do, very much)- but really, really offputting in appearance.

Same story with the congee. Very tasty, and I'm adding it to my winter comfort food cooking list, but next time I'm making it with normal white rice - after an hour and a half on a low slow simmer all of those lovely browns in the rice had just sort of mushed into a dispirited gray. 
Project #2 was much more of an unqualified success - when I'd gone out to the club to collect my gear for the swim, I also decided to collect some basil from the garden even though it was weird picking it in the dark. I didn't strip the bushes, but I got a nice big bag, enough for my annual Pestopalooza!

Never any questions about that. Basil + garlic + pignoli + olive oil = freezable yumminess (I'll add the cheese as I thaw it out for use over the winter). The only thing I'm wondering is whether there were enough leaves left on the basil plants that I might get a Round 2 out of it.

Have to check that out as I managed to NOT make it out to the club last weekend. I'm glad I decided to check the garden when I did, though, the tomato plants had one last ripe tomato for me! This one didn't even need to sit - this was an orange variety and it was ready to eat. We'd had a warm spell the week before and I think that was just enough to coax this last one into perfect vine-ripeness and in fact the plant had flowered again -- I don't think that's going anywhere but this was a lovely surprise in October. Also picked a palmful of peppers.

You'd think that this and the spam musubi experiment would've been enough culinary fun for a while, but somehow although I went into last weekend feeling fairly confident that there would be boating, it ended up being A Weekend In The Kitchens (how enchanting, how deliciously droll)!

TQ's taking a few vacation days in here and a weekend together is a rare treat! Saturday was absofreakinlutely gorgeous and we totally should have gone paddling or maybe sailing - but first we slept in, and then since I still had all the fixings, I just had to make spam musubi and eggs for breakfast. Sorry, no pictures this time, just picture two on the leaf plate with a nice heap of scrambled eggs (scrambled in the spam pan with the caramelized spam-shoyu-sugar-and-ginger juice, yummy). By the time that was done, it was feeling somehow too late to pack up for a Jamaica Bay trip, plus we both had odds and ends to do around the house, so he headed home and I headed, yup, back into the kitchen. Round 2 that day was "butterduckennuttercress" soup - I'd had a bunch of watercress left from the congee, I'd thought that would go nicely in butternut squash soup so I'd picked up a squash earlier in the week. I ran to my local greengrocer for a sweet onion and a head of garlice; I roasted the squash, onion, garlic in the dutch oven, thawed out a container of ducken soup, fried up some bacon in the stockpot, sauteed the watercress with the bacon, threw in the soup, pureed the roasted veggies, threw those in - thought that was it and then realized that there was caramelized squash and onion juice all over the bottom of the Dutch oven so I deglazed that and threw that in the stockpot too. Delicious.

Took some of that over to TQ's for dinner and then we watched 3 episodes of Iron Chef - 2 Japanese (an early early Japanese one where the Iron Chef was being a total goofball and everybody on the set was trying to crack everyone else up while cooking their octopi, a later Japanese one where they were being Much More Serious - or maybe it was just the horrible English voiceovers, I would've preferred subtitles) - and then a very strange one from Thailand where they started with some sort of crocodilians (caimans?), the entire critter, toothy head to scaly tail, and finished with these astoundingly gorgeous dishes. All in Thai, no subtitles, but you could pretty much see what was going on the whole time.

The next day TQ made steak and eggs for breakfast and then we just carried on with the culinary theme with a trip to New York Mart, a grocery store in Brooklyn's Chinatown. We came home with bean paste and lup cheong and mirin and char siu sauce mix packets and an assortment of frozen dumplings and I don't remember what all else, and TQ bought himself a wok (he's been wanting one for ages) and I got a small thermos (I discovered my old one had lost its vacuum during the lower harbor swim when I got on the support boat looking forward to some hot tea and it was luke warm) but the main point of the trip was to find some century eggs -- I'm not sure where TQ had read about these but he really wanted to try them and we did indeed find them, plus some salted boiled duck eggs. I ran home to get some white rice and green onions while TQ seasoned the wok, which I broke in with rice with the green onions and the Chinese sausage.

and when that was done TQ got the eggs out. Here's a century egg straight out of the box. 

 Starting to peel. We'd done enough reading to not be surprised by the color. Century eggs are preserved by coating them in a mixture of clay, salt, ashes, and quicklime, which causes this change in appearance. Still strange to see this color -- I can't imagine what we would've thought if we hadn't seen pictures. 

 All peeled, on the plate with the salted egg (which didn't peel nearly as neatly). I was a little disappointed that this one didn't have the snowflake patterns they showed in the picture on the box - that's apparently a hallmark of these eggs but it wasn't very pronounced on this one. 

 Sliced, the deep amber color of the yolk comes out - really looked nice. The yolk was a little scary looking and the egg didn't smell too good - we both took a sniff while TQ was peeling it and we both wrinkled our noses at it. But we're both big fans of stinky cheese too, a food that's frequently mentioned in online articles about century eggs, so we don't scare that easy. 

 We got a little silly with the plating after all the prior night's Iron Cheffery. The salted egg had been very messy to peel and the century egg was a little wobbly when slicing but I tried to arrange them and then I put a green onion on the plate and then TQ said "Ha ha!" and added the red pepper garnish. I don't think we're ready for Iron Chef but we were having fun.  

TQ tried his first and then after watching his face relax from a very tentative state as he began to chew to a "well that's not bad" expression, I tried mine. Not bad indeed - somehow, very much like a stinky cheese, the smell that was so unpleasant to the nose didn't translate to an unpleasant taste in the mouth, and I really liked the creamy texture of the yolk. Of course after the first couple of bites I sort of diluted the taste trial by deciding that what would be really good would be to chop up the eggs and mix them in with the sausage-and-green-onion rice - and that combination was really, really good. 
Second course was a few assorted steamed dumplings, but the century egg was really the big experiment of the day. Might have to try them in my next go at congee - they're a very traditional thing to put in there.

So that's what's cookin' - all kinds of things!

Hopefully back to something on the water or at least outside next weekend - but this was good fun.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

What's cookin'?

Spam musubi -- my first try ever! Why did it take me so long?

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Coney Island to Sandy Hook Test Swim with CIBBOWS, 10/18/2014

Preparing for the day at 5:30 am. I'm sharing a small selection of the day's photos here - visit my Flickr for more from the day (with a lot less words) 

I had an interesting adventure yesterday with some of the lovely folks at the Coney Island - Brighton Beach Open Water Swimmers (more commonly known as CIBBOWS). I've served as kayak support for a number of their races along the Coney Island shoreline and I always enjoy volunteering for them, so when I got a message saying that they were looking for kayakers for a special test swim from Coney Island to Sandy Hook, New Jersey, and it turned out that I didn't have anything else planned for the day, I said "Sure!"

When I started doing kayak support for swims (1999 or 2000, not sure exactly), most of the swims were along shorelines, with the biggest one being the Manhattan Island Marathon Swim, a 28.5 mile circumnavigation of Manhattan Island.  Over the last few years, the local swim organizers have been developing a number of new swims. A couple of them were based on historical swims; Rose Pitonof's 1911 swim from East 26th street to the Steeplechase Pier in Coney Island was commemorated in 2011 with the Rose Pitonof Swim, organized by Urban Swim and now an annual event, while the Manhattan Island Foundation's Ederle Swim honors Gertrude Ederle's 1925 achievement in becoming the first woman ever to swim the length of New York's Upper and Lower Harbors, breaking the standing record in the process (the following year she became the first woman to swim the English Channel).

Meanwhile, CIBBOWs continues to run their annual classics, Grimaldo's Mile, (named in honor of the understanding lifeguard who went to bat for the early CIBBOWS crew as they began regularly turning up for open-water swim training at Coney Island, arguing in favor of allowing them to swim outside of the jetties which the lifeguards had previously regarded as the de facto boundaries of the swimming area), and the Aquarium Triple Dip (one mile, five mile, and 10K races with a simultaneous start at the New York Aquarium), while actively developing new swims.

Interestingly, their public entrant in the "Big Swim" category, the Eight Bridges Swim, is not on their "home turf" at all but is rather a spectacular 120-mile seven-day swim down the Hudson, named after the eight bridges that mark each day's segment, beginning with the Rip Van Winkle Bridge in the Catskills and finishing at the Verrazano Narrows Bridge that marks the southern end of the upper NY Harbor. Still, they must stand by Grimaldo's Chair and look out across the lower harbor and say, "Wouldn't it be neat to swim...there?" The most obvious of those would be Breezy Point, which you're looking straight at when you stand on Brighton Beach and look south; it's temptingly close for an experienced open-water swimmer (5K), the currents are fairly straightforward, the point shelters the waters there, and although you are crossing a channel, it's primarily recreational traffic. The organizers deal with the safety issues by simply not making it a race, but a group swim for members; the number of swimmers is limited and swimmers must choose to join one of three "pods", slow, medium, or fast, with the pace of each pod set by the slowest swimmer and runaways returned to their pods by the jetskiers who form part of the safety escort.

Sandy Hook is the other of the two arms that embrace lower NY Harbor, and so naturally that's another tempting destination from Coney Island. It's a MUCH more complicated venture, though, and they still consider it a test swim, working out the kinks. This one, the swimmers are striking out for a destination that's over 10 kilometers away; on the Coney Island to Sandy Hook version that we did on Saturday, they travel across currents that can be flowing any direction from northeast to due south as the water runs out of the Upper Harbor, Raritan Bay, and Sandy Hook bay, all eventually funneling out of the five and a half mile wide mouth of NY Harbor. As the various flows run into each other and over various shoals and sandbars around Sandy Hook, chaotic wave conditions form (we managed to avoid the worst of them this year but if I heard the story right, last year as they crossed the Romer Shoal they got into some stuff that was so rough that the escort boats had to detour while the kayaks took the swimmers though), and before you even get to that of course you have to cross the Ambrose Channel, which feels a little bit like crossing the runway at JFK - big big craft coming in and out and they can't stop and they aren't going to go around you if you get in their way. All in all, when I first heard about this swim, I had reservations - that wasn't why I didn't go with last year's, I think I had a prior commitment, but it just sounded kind of scary.

The kayakers who have gone came back with stories of a challenging but well-run day, though, so this year I didn't hesitate when I got that email - for all the reasons I just gave, kayaking across the Lower Harbor is a pretty rare occurrence for all but the most ambitious, but it's also spectacular, and to have the chance to take swimmers across? The Manhattan Island Marathon Swim was always one of my favorites to volunteer for back when my boat was in Manhattan just because it's such a feat, and this had the same wow factor to it.

It was a hideously early start - five a.m., and as you can see from the first photo, it really was "oh-dark thirty" - but with the forecast for the day showing a small craft advisory with winds gusting to 25 kts, that actually worked out really well - we'd gone over and been brought back and were back on shore in Brooklyn long before things kicked up. The waves were pretty good-sized when we launched (I don't think I've ever done what I would quite consider a surf launch at Coney Island before but this time I did not turn down a helpful shove out) but either they settled down as the sun came up - or they just stopped seeming so big once I could see 'em. Also may have been a factor of getting used to the boat - clubmate Larry is another big fan of CIBBOWS and volunteers for them a lot (in fact when I was the kayak organizer for the Grimaldo's Mile this year he was a huge help), and sometimes lets me borrow one of his boats when Eri (another frequent CIBBOWS volunteer) isn't; Eri was in fact in on this one and was the one who told me they needed kayakers, but she was volunteering on one of the support boats this time as she's a less experienced paddler and this one needs some really solid skills, so Larry's spare boat was open for me, making the whole thing work. He has 2 Tchaikas, which are really nice little boats that put the lie to the common belief that a sea kayak under sixteen feet long can't keep up, great boat for a small to medium paddler. I'm pushing the limits of that boat at my size but it's worked well enough for me and I expected that that was what I would be paddling, but then Larry told me that one of the footpegs in his spare Tchaika was broken and how would I like to use his newly-acquired Epic 16 instead?

Sounded great except that one fairly good rule of thumb for kayakers is "Don't try a new boat for the first time for a long trip" - sometimes you'll run into a boat that just doesn't agree with your body type (I've only run into this once but that once, it was profound - the boat was the Anas Acuta - lovely lovely boat, beloved of many paddlers, but I got into one once and within five minutes my hip joints were screaming for mercy) - but given the choice between taking that gamble and dealing with a missing footpeg, I decided to take the gamble, figuring if worse came to absolute worst, I was sort of a spare kayaker for the relay team (they had me and Larry) and bailing out would be an option. Worked out fine, I would say it felt a bit less stable than my Romany, and it took me a little while to get accustomed to the steering (it's got a rudder that is meant to be used, I'm accustomed to ruddering on my surfski but it took a little while to get it through my head that I should steer with the rudder in a decked boat) - anyways, to get back to the point of things, getting settled in the new boat may also have been part of why the waves seemed bigger at first.

The swimmers started from the beach on Coney Island at 6:30 am - the sun was not up yet and the swimmers were wearing lightsticks, but you could barely tell them apart. I got in as close to shore as I could without getting involuntarily surfed back in - still really hard to see but I did manage to guess the right swimmer.

Larry and I were accompanying a three-person relay team - Phyllis was their starting swimmer. It was too early and a little too rough for my camera to focus but it looked pretty neat with Phyllis swimming along with her glowsticks past the Parachute Jump with dawn's early light finally coming up so...

Absolutely gorgeous sunrise, shortly after 7.

Phyllis stroking along smoothly, chasing Larry down the harbor

After an hour and twenty minutes during which Phyllis barely missed a stroke except to sip some water and liquid nutrients, Capri (Polar Bear Princess, the day's race organizer, and the relay team's boat volunteer) called on the radio to let me know that it was time for the switch. Phyllis swam over and boarded the Karen II, and then Spence, our second swimmer, jumped in and set to work. He's a big rangy guy and we moved on towards the Ambrose Channel (see the freighter in the distance?) at a good clip.

Not too long after that, I got a surprise call on the radio that a second swimmer was going to be joining us. It was Shara, who was slated to swim the third leg; it turned out that she had gotten terribly seasick on board the Karen II, the waves weren't crazy but they were enough to set a slow-moving boat to rocking heavily and it was too much for her. I guess she'd consulted with Capri and they decided that she might do better joining Spence in the water. 

Worked like a charm. Within a few minutes she felt well enough to take a few sips from the food bottle I still had from Phyllis. At this point I was VERY glad that the Epic 16 and I were getting along well - Shara is another strong swimmer but she just didn't have big rangy Spence's speed, so Larry took him and I stayed with her. It was actually particularly fun watching her because I think she's one of the happiest-looking swimmers I've ever seen. Don't know if she just has a naturally cheerful swimming face or if she was particularly happy to be off the boat -- could've been the latter because when Capri hailed me on the radio again ten minutes later to ask if she was ready to re-board, she grimaced and said "I don't EVER want to get back on that boat!" -- I relayed the message back and we were given permission to carry on. 

Capri did call her back on board about half an hour before her official start time, and I caught back up with Larry and Spence. Spence was doing an admirable job of closing the distance between himself and the solo swimmers out ahead of us, it wasn't a race but we were still having fun yelling "Go get those guys!" and Spence was having fun trying to catch 'em. We were closing in on the Ambrose Channel when he began to get too cold - I think he had maybe just a couple more minutes in his swim but his teeth were chattering and he decided it was time to get back on the boat. 

Shara was of course very happy to get back in as she'd gotten quite seasick again, and she was closing the distance to the Ambrose Channel quite nicely when, unfortunately for her, we saw three container ships heading north up the channel towards us. After a bit of discussion, the decision was made to pull all three of us onto the Karen II (she was an excellent swim support boat, being a dive boat with a big, sturdy, easy to negotiate swim ladder and a big open back deck with plenty of space for both kayaks) and motor across the channel. 

The loading needed to happen pretty fast; it was quite choppy here and being worried about having one of the steel-pipe rungs come down on Larry's lovely shiny red boat, I decided that instead of manuevering the boat to the ladder, I would just jump out nearby and swim to the ladder (our skipper cracked us up at this point, I told them what I was going to do, I said it was because I was worried about damaging the boat and without a pause he said "Oh, don't worry about my boat!" - the Karen II is a big sturdy vessel and a carbon fiber kayak was about as likely to do damage as an eggshell so we all started laughing and I said "It's Larry's boat I'm worried about!"). Larry followed with a little more elegance and then our captain put the boat in gear and we zipped on across the channel well in advance of the three big container ships. At this point Capri and the captain decided that as long as we were all on board, we would continue on to just past the Romer Shoal light, as the ebb was quite strong and we had already been carried pretty far down towards the mouth of the harbor - with this swim, the concern is being swept out into Atlantic, and we could see large breakers to the south that we definitely didn't want to get mixed up with. Our skipper was great, btw, been running dive boats for a long time (including a 6-year stint with the NYPD scuba division) and knows the Sandy Hook area very well. When we got into those areas I mentioned earlier where the currents get very confusing for one unfamiliar with the area, he gave Capri good clear directions and points of reference to relay to us. Really, really helpful!

Once we passed the lighthouse, we were ready to go again. I decided to jump into the water again to take care of, er, some personal business (there was a head on the boat but I was wearing a Farmer Jane and I was going to have to take off all of my gear and then put it all back on again and it was SO much easier to just jump back in the water) and just have them throw my boat in after me. Unfortunately in the process of scrambling back in, I managed to pull the wrist strap and float off of my camera, so I didn't take too many more pictures after that, but eventually I just couldn't resist the "god rays with swimmer and kayaker" shot. 

As we made the final approach to Sandy Hook, Shara started feeling bad about her teammates sitting on the boat waiting for her while she finished the swim, so she asked me to invite them to join her if they wanted to. Phyllis jumped in right away, Spence waited until we were a little closer, and then the three swam together most of the rest of the way.  

Phyllis had an arm that started to bother her and decided that close was good enough, but Shara and Spence swam on in to the beach together - a successful swim! 

I couldn't resist running off then and catching one of those lovely waves that were sweeping along diagonally to the shore - Epic 16 surfs very nicely - and then I made my way back to the boat for the ride back to Coney Island. Several of us adjourned to Tom's on the Coney Island boardwalk for lunch, and then Eri gave me a ride home - thank goodness for that, after a cheeseburger, fries, and a beer I could barely keep my eyes open there at Tom's and I just couldn't get home fast enough.
And again - repeating in case you missed it at the start - of COURSE I took more pictures than this, too many for a blog post. visit my Flickr album for the full set. 

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Are You Ready For Winter Boating? Find out at New York Kayak Company, Saturday, 10/18/2014

Proxigean Paddle - January 2010, possibly still my coldest paddle ever! 

Well goodness gracious, it's felt like summer again for the last couple of days here in NYC, but the flaming maple tree I see outside of my window every morning says, "Nope, it's still Fall", and (groan) that means winter is right around the corner.

Does that mean the NYC paddling season is coming to an end, though? Nope, no way, no how. A lot of people do hang up their sprayskirts (or move indoors to the various pool sessions) for the winter, but it is absolutely possible to keep going through the entire winter if you have the right gear, skills, and knowledge. Interested, but not sure? This is a great time to find out as outfitters will frequently hold cold-water workshops this time of year.

The first of those that I've heard about this season, as announced on the NYCKayaker moderated email list,  is coming up this Saturday at New York Kayak Company, located on the south side of Pier 40, which is right at the Hudson River end of Houston Street. This one's got an unusual spin as Randy's Kokatat rep is also the area's GoPro rep, so it's going to be a combination winter paddling and GoPro for SUP and kayak workshop. The fun starts at 11 am. Bring your own booties if you want to go swimming. The workshop is free but Randy would appreciate RSVP's at 212-924-1327.

Here's Randy's full announcement: 

When: Saturday, October 18th at 11 AM

Where: New York Kayak Co. at Pier 40

What: Tom Harsh represents Kokatat and Go Pro. This Saturday he will be coming to New York Kayak Co. to discuss how to dress for off season paddling. As days grow shorter and temps fall, Kokatat makes it easy to manage challenges to safety, comfort and performance. Tom Will also be presenting an Introduction to Go Pro for SUP and Kayak.

Join us to see and feel the apparel, and hear what Tom has to say about dressing for maximum enjoyment of your off season paddling opportunities. Topics will include strategies for avoiding hypothermia, proper layering, and material selection. We will examine the differences between various wet and dry items and how to select the garments that best suit both your off season paddling goals and budget.

Have you ever worn a dry suit? This is your chance to not only try one on, but people who BRING THEIR OWN IMMERSION FOOTWEAR and sign a waiver can see what its like to go for a short swim in a dry suit - it’s really fun! Additionally, attendees will receive10% off all Kokatat items - even our over-stock dry suits, jackets and PFDs here at the shop that are already on sale! We are overstocked in size small for both men and women - so if that’s your size, now is the time to get a dry suit! In addition to dry suits made for kayaking, we have lighter paddling suits specially made for SUP and surf ski paddling, and a few made specially for kayak fishing.

This is also a great opportunity to learn how to use a Go Pro. We can combine the demos so you can take a camera into the water.

Apparel discussion will begin promptly at 11, and Go Pro will start at 12. Please spread the word and call the number below to reserve your spot today. Hope you can join us!

Randall Henriksen 
New York Kayak Co. 
Pier 40, Hudson River Park

Winter Paddling is Fun. Penguin Hats Optional.

Monday, October 13, 2014

The Last Caprese

Thought it was all over but the green tomato cookery and Pestopalooza (the annual day when I make all of the basil that's left from the garden into pesto for the winter), but the garden had a nice surprise for me when we went surfing weekend before last -- two tomatoes had actually managed to turn red! I brought them home and let them ripen a little more and they were a nice treat for dinner tonight. Didn't make it out to the club this weekend due to a cleaning fit (I don't get those often and the place was such a sty after an insanely busy September and early October that I felt like I'd better run with it) plus maybe a touch of a cold, so no fresh basil, but I had a little dried from the garden & sprinkled that on.

Maybe not as flavorsome as midsummer but not bad for October.

Have to get out to the club this weekend to get the basil, and the green tomatoes and the hot peppers (at least they're supposed to be hot, haven't actually tried one yet) that finally came in just at the end of the season.

I didn't do much garden blogging this year, it was actually a sort of frustrating summer. The cucumber vine shrivelled up and died after about three cukes; the tomatoes went for quality instead of quantity, what did ripen was delicious but there just weren't many. Next year I have to go back to including a cherry tomato, those used to self-seed and I'd let one or two of the volunteers grow. Sandy stopped the natural recurrence and I didn't think of restarting them, but it's so nice to have those to nibble on while you're waiting for the big ones to be ready.

The chard did OK, and I did get the herb bucket restarted. I used to have a huge rosemary bush with thyme and sage that would overwinter, again Sandy killed those, I replanted in 2013 but managed to kill them but this year the little replacements I planted in the spring have made it to fall.

The one success story this year (aside from the onions, which are basically indestructible) was the beets. This was sort of funny -- I love beets and I try to grow them every year. Up until this year, I'd always carefully thinned them, and with maybe 3 square feet of my 4x6 plot that just means not many beets, but last year I was looking at sailing committee co-chair Holly's garden and noticed that she had a beautiful crop of beets and they were all growing right on top of each other! She's a good gardener and I asked her about it and she said she'd just planted and then let them fight it out among themselves, so that's what I did this year, and it worked pretty well. 

I guess they don't read the instructions they come with. Shhhh, don't tell!
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Saturday, October 11, 2014

The Internet Is Cool #2 - OOH SHINY, With Another ID

OK, not sure this is quite as cool to most of my boatblogging friends as the unsolicited tugboat ID (that was really neat, especially the article the ID led to), but I got a kick out of it! 

One cool thing about being at Oak Beach on a Sunday morning, as TQ and I were a couple of weeks ago for our tides and currents and surf zone classes, is that it happens to be THE meeting place for all the classic car buffs in the area. There used to be a club here, the Oak Beach Inn, and according to what I was told at one time the car buffs used to come here to go there, and when the inn burned down they just kept coming.

I'd forgotten that it was Sundays and that it was so big - we'd had a cavalcade of bikers through on Saturday (fundraising ride for medical research of some sort, I think it was - oh those awful bikers, NOT) and I'd thought that was it but when TQ and I got there on Sunday we were almost embarrassed to drive in in Mighty Taurus (who has been a darned good yakwagon for years, but still...). Fortunately we did have a couple of slick machines strapped to the roof to distract from the vehicle.

We actually ended up having a pretty nice lineup of boats up on the lawn later when the rest of the gang arrived, some of the car and bike folks came up to say hi and check them out. That was fun. The vehicles were different but I think the spirits were kind of similar - obsessively in love with our respective traveller's hobbies.

TQ and I were early enough and still organized enough from the day before that I had some time to walk around and admire.

I wouldn't call myself a car buff, but I do find nice cars, and especially old cars, to be very pleasing to the eye.

I like the colors,

I like the lines,

I like the way the owners

like to make 'em shine!

And I liked this one because it looked just like a big red robot face! :D
And that's where the internet ID came in! I don't think of TQ as particularly a car buff but he's totally a guy kinda guy and it turned out he was really glad I'd taken all of these pictures - he was the head instructor this day so he had a little more prep to do than I did and didn't end up having a chance to go check out the cars and was happy that I had pictures for him. I think half the fun for him was ID'ing the cars -- I was taking pictures because "oooh shiny", didn't even cross my mind to ask what kind they were! Anyways, he was doing really well until we got to the shiny red robot face car. You can see the badge on the photo but it was hard to make out the details, even in the full-sized version. TQ was working his way through the list of zoomy cars (Ferrari? Nope. Bugatti? Nope? etcetera etcetera) without any luck. Thinking back I don't know if he was REALLY stumped (he said he was but I bet he would've gone back to look more sometime), but he took a break for a minute and at that point I decided I would try one of my groups on Facebook. It's a group of friends from Hawaii, but there are a few notable car buffs on there and I suspected one of them would be able to sort this out for me.

I think I specifically addressed it to the lady who works with her husband in professional racing but another friend there nailed it in about a second. Literally. I uploaded the picture and the question and hit "post" and my fingers were barely leaving the keyboard when I heard the "beep" indicating his response. Dodge Viper, he even specified the year, and a second later he posted a confirming picture and this was all before TQ came back into the living room, a minute or two after he'd walked out! He was impressed. The Viper picture kicked off a fun FB discussion among the car fans, I joined in later with more pictures from the morning and the gang enjoyed them. 

More from the day: Anybody need some muscle?

Shiny bikes with the shiny cars

Taking a wild guess, here, I think it's a Chevy? Maybe?

Trans-Am twins - the owners were taking the same pictures as I did here, they got such a kick out of seeing these two side by side. 

And my favorite car of the morning, just for the sheer outrageous hot-roddery of all -- here's this guy again!

Willy's FC Coupe according to my car-savvy friends

Particularly cool - apparently when you win at the Adirondack Nationals, they make a Hot Wheels version of your car. Don't know if this was actually the winner (it was 2002, plenty of time to add flames and stuff to the paint job), but the way they have it displayed here I sort of bet it was. 
And the next time I find myself at a car thing, maybe I won't be so shy about asking questions.