Sunday, March 30, 2008

New exterior fixtures and outboard brackets

The brass carriage style lamps on the outside of the floathouse have been bugging me for sometime. I think they are really dated looking. They don't really match wee-floating log cabin either. Plus, they were corroded as all get out at I have neither the patience, time or desire to polish in perpetuity, to get these to a respectable condition. Painting them black was more trouble than they were worth. A couple were damaged too so, knowing what battles to pick, this isn't one of them.

I chose a simpler, slightly more contemporary/ultiltarian fixture. Black and $9.99 each and far more suitable than the $143 brushed pewter ones I was salivating over. I prefer the black/wrought iron-ish accents for a log cabin over 80's-crappy-tire- brass, everyone-and-his-dog-has-one-of-these fixtures. I've re-wired all but the last one. I am tying to put them into metal electrical boxes as prior to this, it was just a bit of wire sticking out of a hole in the log.

Now, whilst hardly fully versed in the electrical code I think that if there is a short in the connection and a fire starts, those logs WILL catch on fire. So into a metal junction box it is all going. Yes, those logs will be re-stained too.

Greig and Bui got busy with our neighbour Wei Tang in fabricating some outboard brackets for the stern of the floathouse. The engine holds though are sprayed with insulation so while Wei Tang was welding on to the back we were concerned the foam would catch fire so Bui was on the garden hose to prevent any combustion. Greig had Bui take out the stern drives. Bui, who will be 15 in June, hasn't quite inherited the old man's inclination for pulling wrenches, but we all have to start somewhere.

It's something I discovered last week myself as I was pulling out a set of seatbelts from a GMC Suburban at the auto wreckers down the road. We recently purchased a newer suburban as we really are tired of taking two vehicles when the kids are around on weekends. Five-passenger vehicles don't cut it when the kids and their friends are about and wanting to go to Watermania. Mind you, I can honestly say I am not entirely jazzed about putting the darn things into the new rig given everything else coming up, but I feel confident it will be more tedious than difficult. I hope.

Friday, March 28, 2008

More boat losers

I've a new blog to keep up to date on and have added them to the boat links.

This too shall pass (aka "boatsareforlosers") have a lovely and burgeoning blog belonging to Lorna and Steve, a couple living on their boat, Peter. Kindred spirits indeed.

AND they are fellow arty types. Real ones, not like yours truly who is a mere poser, schlepping away trying to get bums in seats at a community college.

Here are Lorna's illustrations and Steve's photography.

I look at Lorna's illustrations and wish I could ACTUALLY DRAW. So lovely and charming! Makes me want to sign up for those REAL drawing classes. Alas, past eight grade in small town BC, (pop. 1000), the closest thing I could take to art was drafting. Hey - there were only 17 of us that graduated in high school graduating class in a school of K to 12!

If only there wasn't so much firewood to split. ARRGGH! Swear it is on my LIST.

PS: OOPS!! Here's another... At home on Hendrick.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

One seized starboard engine

Not long after we got the Partnership last year, Greig pulled the seized port engine. It has been on the "round tuit" list to do the starboard one too, but other stuff got in the way.

Oh what a muddy bilge!

Water comes in here through the leg of course - actually on both ones. The one good thing is the boat is a bit nose heavy so it at least gives it some ballast.

However the design flaw is that these just sit way too low and this thing is certainly never going to go out in any kind of real water as it is more a house than boat. Still, you want to be able to move it around.

We're going to do a haul out of this and clean and paint the bottom soon. Greig will remove those legs and weld over the holes and put on some outboard brackets. I am looking forward to cleaning out these spots and painting inside too. I could use the storage space.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Wildlife report

I am trying to get Toby to catch a mouse in my house - at least I think there is only one. I think it was Rhianna's actually.

Mouse six, Toby ZERO!

I really thought Tobs had it cornered in a cupboard last night. I heard a loud bang in the galley after I had gone to bed. I bolted out of bed to check, and carefully pulled out all the pots out of one of the cupboard where Toby was standing vigil. When I got everything out I closed the door on the mouse and Toby.

K-thunk, thunkkety, thunk, swish, swish, k-thunk, swish, swish, thunk, thunk, zip, and out it darted from between the gap in the cupboard and the door to under the stove.

"For cryin' out loud, you're 14 pounds of orange beast," I wailed at him! "What the heck is wrong with you," I said when I had opened the door as he bolted over to the stove.

It’s a wonder Toby can look me in the eye completely without shame. I keep expecting he’ll bring it to bed and present it to me as a gift sometime in the middle of the night. Probably about the same time he tries to snuggle up by my head and sticks his butt in my face too. Mind you, with my luck that mouse will still be alive as he would have failed to actually kill it and think it a new toy. Anyhow, I’ve plugged some of the holes behind the appliances to keep it from going into the bilge but I think it has taken up residence under my oven now.

Miss Bridgette the Duck is back. “How can you tell it is the same duck,” people ask? Well we just know by the way she tilts her head to the right and
when she comes when she’s called.

Apparently some people are just not convinced by this.

I am trying to identify the different ones that come in. I’ve never really had the time to sit and watch for them really. Recently, we’ve had Barrow’s Golden Eye Ducks about for much of the winter, mostly had males actually and not that many females. What I had thought was a Grebe of some sort is actually a Common Merganser and I 've had a pair hanging around by the float house for two to three weeks with some other Mallard ducks. The Mergansers dive deep like Loons though I can't say I have ever seen Loons down here on the Fraser.

There is a pair of Bald Eagles up in the communciation tower and it is something to hear them calling about. Coming home the other afternoon and we had seen a big one (probably the female) flying about the Mitchell Island off-ramp onto the island. There are two big green spaces on either side of the off ramps there and often Canada Geese are hanging out. I've seen owls occasionally too. Well, that eagle was flying so close to us we just had to stop to watch her.

I had set out a seed ball for some Black Capped Chicadees in front of the galley window on the float house and they were teasing Toby from outside for a few weeks. I think they’ve gone on now as they just aren’t attacking that seed ball like they were. Rhianna had given me a hummingbird feeder last year and tells me they are around. I think I shall set that out soon to try and attract some as I see from that the Rufous Hummingbird should be here now, or at least very soon. I just have never seen the hummers much here in the city like I do in the interior so I am a bit skeptical.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Springing forward

With change being the most consistent thing around here, the spring shuffle is beginning again soon.

Mt. Kleeman, (otherwise known as the boathouse, white elephant, etc.) or moreover, the lovely Grand Banks that lives inside, has sold. Alas, both boat and house are a package deal, though new owner has no use for the boathouse and as it happens, he used to own the
Malacite, one of the charter yachts Greig works on. Greig's boss is interested in the boat house so I am hoping that the boathouse will go north up to the Big Cheese's marina. The Lightship is supposed to be moving - though we don't know when exactly.

We're moving the
Partnership out of the "West end". Alas, I do like it down on this end of the Marina. It is quieter,and less dusty than up by the Bowie. Being at the opposite end is a bit of a drawback sometimes. One benefit is that we're constantly walking up and down the docks which makes us look at how all the other boats are sitting and if pumps are keeping abreast of things, or deadheads that sneak their way in.

The down side is that we are constantly walking up and down the docks and spend more time walking from here to there, forgetting something, walking back...ah, can guess the rest. All in all not the most efficient of arrangements. Plus having some water beneath me will be great as I am tired of sitting on the beach on those low tides.

We've been putting so much time into building docks and trying to make things safer that sometimes I don't think we're getting anywhere. That is until someone comes to visit whom we've not seen in a while and they express how much things have changed. There is an ever-present mountain of stuff that I always see in front of me that I forget to look back at the view from where we've come. I am thankful to friends who remind me.

I am jazzed that winter is ending as, like my father, I am not a fan of the season. I am not to have the heaters or the woodstove running nearly as much. I love this view down the river, though at the low tide it is all mud. Behold my trees in bud, yes Mum and Dad spring is coming but you'll have to wait just a bit longer!

The dredging that was supposed to happen before Christmas never happened. Apparently during the last sounding it appeared to have "cleared itself". Guess any upper river dredging that occurred brought some more water through to do so. Plus, the fish are running so there certainly is no dredging to be had when that is in progress. The spring freshete should be beginning soon.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

The docks, the docks

Its always about the silly docks these days. I suppose now it is almost a year since Jack discovered the water lease was officially bigger than thought. Of course it has taken almost that long to get things relatively settled and anchored into place. And doing this all WITHOUT pilings is a bit of a challenge to day the least.

We had built a bunch of docks last year and with some rather big structures in place the silt seems to be filling in at an exponential rate, thus leaving us with less water under said docks than we anticipated. The foundation logs sit on the mud and the give the surface a twist and a yank and then the planks pop apart.

We also had some substantial vessels show up like Lightship and Mount Kleeman. Mount Kleeman is our nickname for this boathouse that is pretty much that, a big mountain. (You can see the corner of it in the left side of the last photo.)

And whilst far from perfect, they are very navigable and safe and unlikely that my mother-in-law or my own parents will break their blessed body parts trying to cross them. Well, most of them.

That other piece of flotsam with the chairs in the last photo has been pulled out and Mt. Kleeman is now sitting against the dock below.

Close enough now that we can justify hanging a couple of hooks off the side for the giant projector screen Brock gave us that we can sit in the hot tub and maybe watch a movie. Well, that is the idea. A kind of Mitchell Island twist to a drive in theatre. We now just have to scout around and find a projector to mount on the Bowie.

I'll let you know when the first double feature hits.