Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Yea!! Another year of flight school!

The barn swallows are back! It seems we are all in agreement with how much joy we get upon their arrival. They are great at dive-bombing us if we happen upon their space on the breezeway or up on the upper deck. Over time, they seem to become accustomed to us and realize we are relatively harmless.

They are such a joy to watch and they usually have at least two sets of babies (4 each) over the summer season and often we have at minimum 20 birds chirping and dodging about.

The cats will sit at the window and chirp along with them. We do as much as we can to keep the cats from them but cats will be cats.

And to think they fly as far south as South America, is really amazing.

Above is the 2004 Graduating class of Mud Swallow Flight school.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

kerploosh- just call me Aquagirl!

I suppose it was only a matter of time before it happened to me. On Sunday just after noon I finally had a Fraser River baptisimal. And for three years I suppose I have been lucky.

I had just finished showing the engine room on the Bowie to a friend of Rod's. Rod owns a pretty wooden 36 foot Chris Craft like boat called the Hari Mai. He and his wife Faith were hanging out on their boat in the sunshine entertaining another couple. I was loathe to take Rod's friend down there as the cats have been going in there and making a mess. Sigh...boys and their engines.

After, I continued gathering up scrap wood down the docks past one of the neighbours where Greig had been cutting up chunks of wood. While on bended knee I smelt the stuff emanting from my shoe. I stood up took off said shoe and scraped the excess off with a stick. Put my shoe back on and then I couldn't right myself up again.

It was like a slow motion moment from the Matix. I knew I was going in and there was absolutely nothing I could do about it. The river fortunately, was just ebbing on the slack tide so it wasn't running too fast.

Total submersion. As I was submerged it was all I could do to pull myself up as I felt my shoes filling. I had those rubber cotton gardening gloves on and I bobbed up once beside the speedboat tried to scream but I had no breath and down I went again.

I bobbed up again and gulped for some air. I pushed toward the speed boat and managed to grab onto a rope that was coming off the stern and which was connected to the dock. I took hold of the rope and pulled myself against the current to the dock, now managing to scream and hauled a leg onto the swimgrid of the speedboat. Hyperventilating, I hauled my soggy butt up onto the dock where I heaved for what seemed like a few minutes.

So back to the Bowie I trod looking like a drowned rat and panting like crazy to ebb the adrenaline and recover from the shock of the cold river.

"What the hell happened?" Rod hollered over as he saw me traversing the back deck of the Bowie.

"I, " heave "fell," pant "in," heave "the river." Pant, "I, " heave, heave, "guess you," pant, "couldn't" heave, " hear me scream."

"No!! Are you OK?"

"AM now!"

And he and Faith rushed over to check up on me. Bui rushed over to see me as he was doing his homework at the computer. Faith helped me out of my wet clothes and I hit the shower. Thankfully the hot water had recovered from Greig as he had gone to work.

I am sore today though and just fine. I am amazed at how much it took the breath right out of me though more than anything.
Really Mum, I am OK! Please don't freak out!

Apparently that is a good way to clean off the cat doo-do.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Greenport, NY

A couple of weeks ago I heard from gentleman who grew up in Greenport, NY. The Bowie was built by the Greenport Basin and Construction company in Greenport and I had done some tertiary looking about to see if the company was still around but hadn't really thought much about the community.

I thought it would be interesting to post his email to me, as it certainly gave me pause for thought on a couple of things.

Richard writes:
I was doing research on the minesweepers and landing craft built in Greenport, NY, and came across your website.

Well, now, God Bless you! Just when I have had another week of suburbia, traffic and George Dubya, and am wodering where the hell the real world went, I come across people like you. Thank you.

I grew up in Greenport (actually, in nearby Orient, but Greenport was considered "town" and Orient was considered the sticks). I now live in the burbs of Seattle.

I am assembling information on the period in Greenport from the end of World War II up to 1968. American literature has plenty of tales from WWII and plenty of tales during the 60's, but I think there is a great story in what happend to people who survived a depression, then a world war, and now faced this wonderful new world. Greenport today is a yuppie haven for New Yorkers, with no real stores. What few locals are left travel 60 to 70 miles for groceries, yet when I was a young lad in the 50's it had three car dealers, three supermarkets, two shoe stores, etc. Now, if you want some scrimshaw or souvenir seagull carvings made in Mexico, you can get it, but you can't buy a suit or get a new spark plug for your lawn mower.

I digress. As I said, I am constructing a history of sorts about that era. Maybe a novel, who knows? Greenport swelled during the war as people from the south moved there to build the 'sweepers and landing craft, and many remained behind after the war. I am fasciated by the optimism of that era, the culture that begat the pitcher of martinis at the end of the day, and consumerism.

Your website has given me the idea that maybe one of the characters needs to be made of wood and powered by diesels.

I honestly wonder everyday it we should (or I should) be doing what we are doing. Greig never questions it. His single minded focus is inspirational and frustrating as hell. Or maybe it is just obsession. People tell me how brave/patient for "putting up" with it. But I choose to be there so there you have it. We have made huge progress but everyday provides us with fresh new challenges. And those challenges actually come from other people - not so much the boat itself.

To be inspirational to others in any way is hugely supportive. Thank you Richard! And for as many people who probably think we're crazy there are just as many who think we're not. I have to get on perhaps making the Bowie a non-profit organization somehow. I really don't know the first thing about it.

Another task for the "round tuit" list.

Monday, April 03, 2006

spring forward

Here is another photo courtesy of Linda from her Dad's personal photos. Here is the Bowie (PCS 1405) docked in Honolulu. Note the big gun up on the bow. It is the only photo I have ever seen of it with the gun still in place. When you stand beneath inside you can see where it would have sat given the configuration of the roof stringers.

I went on a flury of photography yesterday. I blasted of three rolls of film. I will be posting more progress pictures as I slowly get my act together on it!

I started to strip one of the cabin doors on the weekend. We have an open room at the moment so I am able to spread out the door on a set of saw horses and putter at it. I took a heat gun to the major layers (7) and working with chemical stripper on the last layer. The door appears to be mahogany. The other challenge will be in getting all the paint off the louvered insert. It will look beautiful when it is done though!