Thursday, July 31, 2008

We did a little shopping...

Today I took Ruth to the airport and went into Halifax to do some shopping for kayak stuff.

Since Ruth did not have to be at the airport until mid-afternoon, I had the morning to do a bit of work on the kayak.

Last night I tipped the kayak over onto its other side, so this morning I could start right in on the remaining glue work to do.

I finished gluing the forward bulkhead and installed the second thigh brace.

That was pretty much it.

We went into town in Ruth's car, and I brought Dobby along. Dobby had terrible farts, we had to keep opening the windows to let the smell out! After dropping Ruth off at the airport, I drove into Halifax to do my shopping. I started at Mountain Equipment and bought various cords and buckles for the deck rigging, and also a PFD, a paddle, a Thermorest seat pad, a skirt and a cockpit cover. All told it came to almost $400. Then I went out to Home Depot to buy some nuts and bolts.

It was around 4.30pm by the time I got to Home Depot and I had not had lunch. So by the time I found the aisle where the nuts and bolts were, I was pretty much done it. I stared at the huge wall of packets of various sizes of nuts and bolts and it all looked too daunting, I had no idea where to begin, and no heart at all for the search. So I turned around and walked out! I just couldn't do it!

I also remembered that there was one more part that I had to get at The Trail Shop in downtown Halifax so I decided to go back there. Besides, there was a Canadian Tire across the road from The Trail Shop, I was hoping it would be less daunting. I had brought a couple of buns along on the trip and a bottle of water. But Dobby drank all of the water and still wanted more, I only had a couple of sips. At least I got the buns.

As soon as I got into Canadian Tire I went up to a cashier and said I needed help and she called a woman to help me with the nuts and bolts. Basically, I just handed over my samples to her and said, This is what I want, can you help me find them. She did the search.

The wall of nuts and bolts in Canadian Tire was a little smaller than the one in Home Depot so it was a little easier, and this woman was fairly familiar with the stock so she knew where to look. Even so, because the selection was smaller, they did not have everything I needed. But I was very grateful for what she was able to find, I really was beyond being able to do it myself. Kind of brain dead at that point.

Finally, around 6.30pm I left to go home. Knowing that Dobby was thirsty (and I was too!) I thought I would stop at Carolyn's in Wolfville for water. Carolyn's cats made it clear that Dobby could not come in the house so I got water and brought it outdoors for him. I was going to put him back in the car but first I had to straighten out the blanket on the back seat for him, and I had left his leash on him but let him loose while I did that. Dobby decided he needed to poop, right now, on the sidewalk. Also on the leash. Also, he had the runs.


Finally I got everything cleaned up and Dobby back in the car. Carolyn said she was going to the Grand Pre Winery for Martini Night and did I want to come with. I said, God knows I could do with a bit of alcohol right now but I really should get Dobby home. Then she said that Matt Anderson had been in town the night before playing with the Hupman Brothers and the Hupmans were going to play at Martini Night, so maybe Matt would be there too. Have I mentioned how I feel about Matt Anderson?

So I left Dobby in the car and went with Carolyn in her car to the Winery. They have a lovely outdoor patio surrounded by grapevines, on a little hill overlooking Grand Pre. It was really quite nice, especially when the stars came out. Unfortunately Matt Anderson was not there. I really felt disappointed that I had missed him the night before. And now felt guilty about leaving Dobby alone in the car after a long day cooped up while I ran around shopping.

We finally got home around midnight. Poor old Dobby. And tomorrow I have to go looking for the hardware I couldn't get in the City.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Filleting the bulkheads

I've been starting the days with walks with the dogs, it's nice to see how much fun they have together. Max and Dobby especially. Max is maybe a quarter of the size of Dobby but nevertheless they are well matched in energy and temperament.

Moose doesn't play with them but he appears to enjoy Dobby's company too. On days when he is too lazy to go for a walk, the sight of Dobby will change his mind.

I figured the best way to fillet the bulkheads (strips of thickened epoxy around both sides of each bulkhead) was to tip the kayak on its side again. It's easier to reach inside the kayak when the openings are on the side than when they are on top. I brought a flashlight and a headlamp to be able to see clearly inside the kayak.

So once again I tipped the kayak sideways and strapped it in place with the tie-downs. I was able to fillet all of both sides of the rear bulkhead and half of both sides of the forward bulkhead.

I also glued one thigh brace in on the kayak side now at the bottom.

Later in the day I checked the glue and it was quite solid so I tipped the kayak over onto its other side in preparation for doing the final filleting of the forward bulkhead and gluing in the other thigh brace.

Ruth is going to Ontario for a few days, I offered to drive her to the airport tomorrow, since I need to go to Halifax to buy some kayak stuff. I need the deck rigging and the hatch gaskets, I plan to go to Mountain Equipment and Home Depot, and also The Trail Shop.

While sitting here writing this, Dobby is sleeping in his chair next to me. He started to snore, and he must have been having a dream because then he started to howl. It was the strangest thing, watching this sleeping dog howl.

Tonight I finished the last of my wine and chocolate, obviously I have to go shopping tomorrow!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Barrel back rest and forward bulkhead in place

Dobby is getting used to living at Fritz's house. He is a bit confused, he has moved four times in the past four weeks. But upon arriving here, he immediately picked out "his" chair.

Which used to be Fritz and Carolyn's dog Lassie's chair, and before that, Carolyn's mother's dog Maggie's chair.

Sheila and I took the dogs out in the field behind her house as well as into the woods. Dobby and Max love to chase each other in the tall grass. While passing by the Garden House Moose decided to search for Dobby's bone. He was very systematic, and would not be dissuaded from the search. Sure enough, he eventually found it and proceeded to march home with it. Having established his dominance over Dobby he expected no argument from him and he didn't get one. But I was not about to give up that bone. Sheila wrestled it out of Moose's mouth and I took it back to the Garden House and hid it up on a high shelf.

When Moose was gone, boneless, I gave the bone to Dobby and started work on the kayak. I hope he will hide it better.

After sanding the dowel handles, they are ready to glue to the hatch covers, four to a cover. I fibreglassed both sides of the thigh braces, and added a little bit extra epoxy to the sides that will face outward.

Using a handsaw and the jigsaw, I cut a 28" by 6" strip from the heavy black plastic half barrel that was sitting outside the Garden House, to use as the back rest for the kayak. I measured the back rest on Ruth's kayak to get the dimensions.

Screwing a 2x4 block to the forward bulkhead worked great to get it in place.

I wedged it in place with plywood scraps and tacked it there with thickened epoxy.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Putting in the bulkheads

Last night Sheila and I went down to the beach to watch the sunset, I brought Dobby along. It was nothing special as a sunset, although the fact that there was a sunset at all was nice. Dobby doesn't much like the water, but he thought Sheila had wieners in her pocket and so he paid close attention when she appeared to take something from her pocket and throw it in the water. He even waded out chest-deep to check for floating wieners. It was really just rocks.

Today Nancy and Sheila and I walked the four dogs, Dobby, Moose, Max and Chezzah, Nancy's sheltie. She had not met Dobby before but was familiar with Moose and Max. Dobby attempted to get her to play tag with him but she let him know in no uncertain terms that playing tag with puppies was not her thing. Nancy described the Louisbourg re-enactment that she and her family had attended last week. Re-enactors from all over North America came to participate, in costume and living at the fort in the style of 250 years ago. She said it was very realistic, made you feel like you were really there. And there were thousands of re-enactors there. This is what they do on their vacations, travel around and re-enact various historical events. The next one will be Port Royal's Order of Good Cheer down at Annapolis Royal.

Today I cut hatch handles from a 1" oak dowel, and started epoxying them. I also measured and cut the thigh braces, vertical strips on either side of the cockpit that the back rest will be bolted to, and started fibreglassing them.

I put the rear bulkhead with the whale on it in place and wedged it in place with scraps of plywood. I mixed some thickened epoxy and tacked the bulkhead in place.

I used Mike's electric handsander to sand the rough spots on the deck and hull of the kayak. Mainly hardened drips from epoxying the deck.

I tried to put the forward bulkhead in place but it wouldn't fit, too big. That was strange, I thought I had measured and cut it to fit, and was pretty sure that it used to fit. Anyway, I decided to trim about half an inch of the top sides of the bulkhead, and then it was too small, and because of the distance from the cockpit opening to the location of the bulkhead, I could not hold it upright and wedge it simultaneously.

While I worked Dobby chewed his bone. He hides it somewhere when he is done, I don't know where. But every day when we arrive at the Garden House he retrieves it and every day when we leave it has disappeared.

Mike came by and suggested that I screw the bulkhead to a 2x4 block to hold it upright and slide it into place and then wedge it. I will do that tomorrow.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

A bit of a break

Yesterday I went down to the Valley to do some shopping. I took Dobby with me, but since I forgot to pack his leash I couldn't let him out of the truck. I felt bad about that, it was a hot muggy day there. I had quite a list that involved running around to New Minas and Wolfville, but one of the items on my list was quite elusive. Closed cell foam weatherstripping. That is for making a watertight seal on the hatch covers of the kayak. Mike used it on Ruth's kayak which he built in 2000, but apparently they don't sell the stuff anymore, or not around here anyway. I went to three different places and no one had it.

One place had it but on a rigid linear backing so I wouldn't be able to bend it to fit around a kayak hatch opening. Fellow in that store said he didn't know where I might be able to find what I was looking for, then suggested a store in Canning that might have it. He also pointed out some foam used to insulate pipes and wondered if I'd be able to cut that to fit the hatches. At $0.79 apiece, it certainly is worth a try, but I don't think it's going to work.

I decided not to go to Canning to track down the store he mentioned, save that for another day. I was hot and tired and so apparently was Dobby, I just wanted to go home. Returning to the Harbour it was cold and foggy there, what a difference!

For the rest of the day I was in some kind of funk, just couldn't get up the energy to do anything. Sheila asked, Did you see the sunset? Not even, I sat with my back to the window reading a book about the Great Sealing Disaster of 1914 in Newfoundland (unless you're into tragic misery, you don't want to know). I did however have a glass of wine and sit in the hot tub after dark. But I'd been fiddling with the buttons on the tub the last time I used it, and apparently I reduced the temperature to a couple of degrees below comfortable. So there I am, sitting in a big tepid puddle in the dark, drinking my wine real fast so I can get the heck out of there!

Today is a gorgeous sunny day though, the view of the Bay is fantastic, and I had a great time running the dogs with Sheila. They sure do enjoy their time together! This afternoon I hope to accomplish a bit on the kayak.

I've cleaned up the house and done a laundery in anticipation of the owners returning today from Cape Breton. So this will be the last post for a few days, bye bye to daily internet access.

The computer here is upstairs under a skylight.

I have the skylight open and I lift my eyes above the computer monitor to see Cape Split in the Bay of Fundy.

There's a bit of mist out there, and a thin line of fog up the middle of the Bay.

It must be low tide, I can see the rocky beach around the tip of the Cape.

I sure will miss this view!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Whale burning

Today I burned my humpback whale onto the rear bulkhead. I practiced first on a spare piece of plywood, and when I thought I understood how to do it, I tackled the bulkhead. First I went over all the lines with a penknife, to make grooves that the woodburner would follow. Then I did the actual burning.

I propped the bulkhead up where it will eventually be glued so I could take a picture of what it will look like in the kayak. The backrest will partially obscure it when it is installed.

To keep Dobby busy I brought along his bone, which I had been storing in the freezer. It was partially thawed when I gave it to him, he was a bit tentative with it at first.

I saw Mike drive by in his "new" truck. When I was finished burning the whale I went back to his place to get some measurements off of Ruth's kayak for placing the thigh braces and back rest. I packed up Dobby's bone so he could chew on that while I talked to Mike. Well, he wasn't keen on giving it up. I gave it back to him when we got to Mike's, but I guess he was worried I would take it away from him again, so he went into the woods and buried it!

Mike saw him skulking off with his bone and mentioned it, I followed Dobby and found the burial spot, a pile of fresh dirt. So I went and got a spade and tried to dig it up again, but could not find it. Maybe I was mistaken? But no, after I stopped digging, Dobby came in and dug up the bone himself. And since I had found the spot so easily I guess he decided he needed a better burial spot so he tried going further into the woods to rebury the bone. I called him back and retrieved the bone. Sorry Dobby, I've got other plans for your bone!

On our morning dog walk, Sheila and I took the dogs to their favourite swimming hole, well, Moose's favourite swimming hole, Max only wades and Dobby won't go in at all.

Then we went out to the tall grass field behind Sheila's house where Dobby chased Max round and round. Moose no longer joins the game, he's content to watch from the sidelines.

The grass is so tall that Dobby can't see Max, so he makes these hilarious leaps in the air to get a view over the grass. Very funny to watch, his ears stand straight up.

Sheila took this picture of Dobby in the tall grass.

I made another list of things remaining to be done on the kayak. If I am diligent I could possibly be finished by next Friday. Kind of doubt it though. According to my list I was supposed to burn the whale on the bulkhead and then epoxy it, but I just didn't feel like doing any epoxying today so technically I am already behind on the schedule.

Mike says I should start reading the tide tables to pick a good launch date. I will want to launch about an hour before high tide. With the new moon coming up the tides will be higher too.

It was just as hot today as yesterday but there was a breeze. A storm coming in. But the storm did not arrive until dinner time, the day was mostly hot and windy. The chickens were funny this morning, one was sitting on some eggs and another was sitting on top of her. I reached in and pulled the eggs out from under both of them.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

May I draw your attention to...

I would like to bring your attention to my list of "Blogs I read" on the right. I've recently added one, A Life Worth Sustaining. This is a new blog, started by a friend of mine in Tennessee, Geoffrey. He's a good writer and he has very interesting things to say. And he writes (and posts) poetry! Now that I admire, I couldn't write a poem to save my life.

I think all the blogs on that list are worth taking a peak at, although I haven't read many of them very recently because getting on the web for extended periods of reading is difficult these days. Right now I read Geoffrey's, Gretel's, and when I can Time Goes By.

Hot dog

I went into the City today to buy some more epoxy. I also stopped in Canning to buy more propane for the stove here, that ran out too.

And raspberries.

And green tomatoes.

Guy in front of me in the checkout line-up asked if I was going to ripen them. I said, No, not going to wait that long, I love green tomatoes. He was puzzled. How do you cook them? Fried? Yup, fried green tomatoes. With onions. Hmmm, he said, I'll try it.

Dobby didn't much like the ride in the truck, it was hot. Now he is collapsed, sleeping. And not even climbing on the couch, the floor is cooler.

I got a woodburning set from Mike and if I'm not too tired I'll start burning the whale into the bulkhead tonight. With this heat though, I might just have to have a cold glass of wine instead.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Give a dog a bone

This morning the broody hen was still sitting on the eggs, but later in the day I checked back and she had left them to get quite cold.

So I think she's given up on the idea of motherhood.

And if she hasn't, too bad, because I took them.

Gave two to Dobby, hardboiled two for a potato salad, and fried two for dinner.

Aren't they cute? The chickens I mean.

I took the soup bone Mike gave me to the Garden House to occupy Dobby while I worked with the epoxy.

He was so quiet that a couple of times I had to check to make sure he was still there.

The bone completely took over his attention.

While Dobby chewed on his bone outside, I glued the upper coaming onto the kayak.

I have run out of epoxy again. I will have to go back to Halifax to get some more, probably on Friday. Discussed it with Mike, to see if there is anything else I should pick up in the City. He said he was going in on the weekend and would pick up a couple of things for me at Mountain Equipment. But I will have to pick up the epoxy, Lee Valley will be out of his way.

The day started out damp and misty but cleared as time went on. By afternoon it was not exactly sunny, but as close to it as it has gotten all week. I took Dobby for a walk around the perimeter of the hayfield surrounding the house.

We saw a turtle in the field.

Beside the barn is a pond with trout in it, but the water is murky and I have not seen them. Mike suggested I wear polaroid sunglasses to look so I did and sure enough I saw one huge trout surface to catch an insect. I probably would have seen it without the sunglasses, I just happened to be looking at the right moment.

I moved the turtle over to the weeds by the pond, thinking he might be better off closer to the water.

In the evening the sun showed up briefly just as it was setting. The view from the north facing windows was magnificent: the sunset over the Bay with Cape Split off in the distance. After dark the stars came out and I decided to take advantage of the hot tub on the rear deck, to lie there in the warm water and admire the Milky Way.

They don't call this place the Baxter's Harbour Hilton for nothing!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Kayak progress

Yesterday I removed the clamps from the glued coaming and then glued and clamped the hatch lips into the hatch openings on the kayak.

Today I unclamped the lips and epoxied the edges of the upper coaming pieces and the hatch covers.

Now I can put the hatch covers in the hatch openings.

The coaming is starting to take shape, the hatches can now be covered.

It's starting to look like a kayak.

I fibreglassed the back side of the bulkhead with the whale on it.

There was a tropical storm passing by Nova Scotia today, the South Shore got lots of rain (over 150 mm in some places) but it did not rain here until supper time.

Dobby got to play with Max and Moose, and later I rode down to the Harbour with him.

The tide was in, the Harbour was full of water and all the boats were afloat.

First time I've seen them afloat, usually I see them lying on the bottom.

I am house sitting this week and one of my tasks is to let the chickens out in the morning and put them back in their coop at night. There are five of them, Rhode Island Reds. Quite tame, I can pick them up and pet them.

The last couple of nights they have been putting themselves back in the coop before I get there. They are all lined up on a shelf by the door, I just have to count heads. Tonight one of them was sitting in a nestbox on a half dozen eggs she laid this morning. I saw her sitting there and knew that was what she was up to but I didn't hang around to collect them.

I am supposed to collect the eggs every morning, but she laid them right after I opened the coop in the morning. Now I wonder if I should collect them if she's still there tomorrow. There's no rooster so this is kind of a lost cause for her, but losing a half dozen eggs is no big deal to me either. Decisions, decisions!

My other tasks are to water the flowers and feed the birds. The flowers don't need watering because it is raining every day now, and I think a chipmunk is eating all the seeds I put out for the birds. I see the chipmunk running around with cheek pouches positively bursting.

The chicken coop is far enough away from the house that Dobby doesn't know about it yet. I'm hoping he will remain ignorant. Mike gave me a large frozen soup bone for Dobby, I'll give it to him when I am working on the kayak. Should keep him occupied for awhile.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Dances with whales

While on holiday in PEI, I saw a pewter humpback whale hanging in the window of one of the cottages that I thought looked almost perfect for my kayak, so I traced it.

Apparently, my grandson Tristan told the other kids that I dance with whales. At different times over the few days I was in PEI I had different kids and adults approach me and ask, So how exactly do you dance with a whale? Hmmm, have to think about that one.

A couple of people asked me if I had a name for my kayak and I said that right now, I had no particular affection for the kayak so I hadn't thought about naming it. But maybe I'll call it Dances With Whales.

I have transferred the tracing of the pewter humpback whale to the bulkhead that will be right behind the cockpit seat.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Back to the kayak

So now Dobby is here in Baxter's Harbour with me.

I've introduced him to the Baxter's Harbour beach and the woods.

The first few dogs we ran into were not interested in playing with him but today he met Max the corgi and Moose the chocolate lab.

Max was happy to play with Dobby and very surprisingly so was Moose.

Actually it was quite funny, Moose is a big lumbering brown bear of a dog but he ran after Dobby as if his life depended on it.

Sheila hasn't seen him run like that in years, and I've never seen him run!

He ran so hard and for so long that Sheila finally made him stop to catch his breath, she was afraid he'd have a heart attack.

So the three dogs got quite the run.

We took them into Sheila's hayfield where they ran in circles through the tall grass.

Sheila and I just laughed and laughed.

Sheila thinks it's great, Dobby gives her dogs great exercise, so I think we'll be walking them together regularly.

Today I worked on the kayak for the first time in almost a week.

I sanded some of the hatch lips and coamings that I had glassed before I left. I glued the first layer of coaming to the kayak cockpit.

Dobby thinks kayak building is boring.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Post-vacation post

I was in PEI from the evening of July 15 (Tuesday) to the early morning of July 19 (Saturday).

Had a great time, except for the bugs. At times the mosquitoes and horseflies were so irritating that I just wanted to go home, right now. Phelan woke up wailing several times in the middle of one night, apparently not being able to handle the itching.

You weren't safe, even in the water, you had to keep your eye out for jellyfish and just when you thought you were safe a horsefly would buzz out of nowhere forcing you to dive underwater, jellyfish or no.

But aside from the bugs I had a wonderful time.

The weather was pretty perfect, the company terrific and the scenery marvelous.

We had beach bonfires and built sandcastles, ran the dogs on the beach, and just hung out.

There were five kids ranging in age from 2 to 12 years old and they all got along really well.

The odd bit of bickering over cards ("you cheated!" "did not," "yes you did!" "did not," etc.), an occasional tantrum over ice cream, but other than that they played pretty well together.

One evening the kids put on a play of Anne of Green Gables, directed by Cindy, their grandmother/aunt.

Isaac and Gretel's boxer Dobby got to play with his sister Fiona; his brother Boone was there but due to an injury was not allowed to play with his siblings.

Really too bad, we all felt very sorry for him, confined to the house and having to wear a cone around his neck, while his brother and sister romped along the beach.

On the day we were leaving PEI I asked Isaac and Gretel if I could take Dobby with me and they said Yes; however Tristan was not happy about that. After a bit of negotiating he resigned himself to life without his dog for a couple of weeks.