Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Kayak Deck Carlins

laminating the deck carlins from two thin off-cut strips

Laminating the deck carlins from two thin off-cut strips of wood. They should go in place easier this way and be stronger than single pieces by themselves. The only glue we're using in the kayaks is for the scarfs in the ribs to bypass knots and here in the laminated carlins.

I made a simple jig/form for the deck carlins by measuring out the frames from their centerlines and marking off where the carlin notches fall. Then I tacked in some nails and bent a strip of wood around them, marking the curve with a pencil. I then screwed down blocks of wood at each contact point along the frame, at the correct angle (lined up with the pencil marks).

An old closet door makes a great work surface.

Irish Session Music at Galloway Station

Dancing to the Irish Session at Galloway Station

With St. David's Day, St. Perran's Day and St. Patrick's Day just around the corner (three Saintly Celtic holidays, in order, Wales, Cornwall and Ireland, all in March), we decided to hit up our local Monday night Celtic Session to let the kiddo dance it up and let mom and dad relax with a pint while watching said kid dance.

Back when my wife and I were still just the two of us, we'd spend nearly every Monday evening at Galloway Station, listening to the the traditional Irish/Celtic session band play and knocking back a couple of pints of stout. She was hesitant initially, but luckily caved to my cultural and historical geekiness and taste in black beer.

We had to drop out a bit, when the wee lass was born, but since the indoor smoking ban and the kiddo being less of a handful in public, we're able to make an occasional foray back into having a social life. Which is very nice, let me tell you.

So, Iechyd da! And sláinte! To your health!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Grapefruit Wine Update

The homebrew grapefruit wine is drinking pretty good now.

Broke open another grapefruit wine last night. It's considerably more drinkable now and came out mildly carbonated. Which makes it feel a little more like a grapefruit champagne. I probably won't make this one again, but I do have a two gallon batch of apple cider scheduled to start brewing sometime this weekend. I may make it three, if I happen to hit up the grocery store between here and tomorrow evening.

Friday, February 17, 2012

A little more kayak progress.

started lashing the frame of one boat last night

Last night, after wrestling the gunwales and chines back onto the kayak frames, we got to try our hands at lashing the a boat together. I broke the lashing on the first attempt, but that gave us a good idea of how much pulling pressure to apply to them. After that, it was a bit easier to manage.

I'm pretty excited to see everything going together, finally. It's a very interesting style of construction.

started lashing the frame of one boat last night

started lashing the frame of one boat last night

Monday, February 13, 2012

Intermediate Survival Class

Sunday, I attended the Intermediate Survival Class put on by Ozark Adventures in conjunction with Hiking the Ozarks and Satori Adventures and Expeditions . I won't be able to make the Advanced class next month. Just too much going on. But I hope to make the April Advanced 2 class.

Intermediate Survival Class

In the Intermediate Class, we learned some basic navigation rules, natural cordage (rope) construction, napping stone for an improvised cutting edge, a few items on wild foraged edibles, as well as how to make a simple fish trap and a Paiute deadfall.

Intermediate Survival Class

Intermediate Survival Class

Intermediate Survival Class

Photo Feb 12, 2 29 41 PM_s

Intermediate Survival Class

Intermediate Survival Class

Intermediate Survival Class

Being better at "hands on" learning than listening, I decided to attempt some cordage before heading out for the practical exercises.

Intermediate Survival Class

Then it was down to Busiek State Forest to apply what we'd learned in class.

The fish trap, normally you'd make this a little bigger and further out in the stream. It works a lot like the crab traps I used to use in the canal behind the house I grew up in, in Florida. Fish swim into a funnel-like opening in the stick enclosure, get confused and can't get back out.

Intermediate Survival Class

Intermediate Survival Class

Natural cordage that I made for our deadfall trap. While breaking sticks for our fish trap, strips of bark peeled off. I hung on to them and used them to make this.

Intermediate Survival Class

The Paiute deadfall. Again, not quite "to size", but it got the basic mechanics down to learn the construction. In a situation where I would use one of these, I'd take more time to find a larger, flatter, easier to balance stone and do some finer tuning on the sticks. The way we made this, it wasn't quite as easy to trigger as it should have been. But next time.

Intermediate Survival Class

Intermediate Survival Class

Monday, February 6, 2012

Springfield Lake/Greater Ozarks Audubon Trail Hike

I've often been of the opinion, if it's close to town, less than four miles long and has paved trails, then it's not worth walking it. But, yesterday morning, having just a couple of free hours, I drove about ten minutes from my house to the nature trail at Springfield Lake boathouse. I was pleasantly surprised.

With the winter weather hovering in the upper 30's at 10 in the morning, I didn't have any problem with a crowd. One of the best things about hiking when it's cold out is that you don't have to contend with a constant stream of people while you're trying to enjoy getting away from them. Bugs and poisonous plants are mostly a non-issue, as well.

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Photo Feb 05, 10 34 10 AM_s

Photo Feb 05, 10 34 31 AM_s

I started the trail at the boathouse, heading counterclockwise around the loop. The trail immediately heads up a small incline to a nice overlook above the lake. I'd been curious about the spot since I last paddled my outrigger canoe through the area and saw a handful of people waving down to me.

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A heron was fishing in the near-freezing water below us. Photo Feb 05, 10 39 40 AM_s

Photo Feb 05, 10 40 33 AM_s

From the lake, the trail winds up through a dense wood bordering a fairly nice neighborhood. Since it's still leaf-off, an occasional house can be seen in the background. But they didn't detract too much from the experience. There was a slight hum from machinery and traffic present that you don't hear when further out of town.

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One thing I really liked about this trail were the markers on select trees to tell you what species they were. I'm quite ignorant when it comes to tree and plant identification. A lack of skill that I'm trying to make up for.

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Every wood needs a large creepy oak. At least I think this is an oak.

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There was quite a bit of elevation change for a nature trail. If someone fairly out of shape walked it, they might have a rough go of it until they got back down to lake level, along the James River Greenway portion of the trail.

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Photo Feb 05, 11 03 33 AM_s

Possibly wild onion.

Photo Feb 05, 10 55 56 AM_s

I had forgotten Maggie's collar and only brought her leash and harness, so there were no jingling tags to announce our presence as we walked through the wood. Maggie is fairly surefooted and makes very little noise heading down the trail. We managed to get within 15 yards of this large deer. I'm guessing a buck by it's size, but it didn't have antlers. I don't know what time of year they grow and lose them. At one point, it just seemed to pose for me. Maggie eventually growled at it and it snorted it's discontent, crapped and ran off.

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Patches of fern dotted the densely wooded spots.

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Luckily the power plant wasn't always in view.

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Prickly pear cactus.

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Maggie, attempting to flush a chipmunk that had recently hid itself in a clump of leaves toward the center of the pic.

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Photo Feb 05, 11 44 00 AM (HDR)_s

Either bluebirds or indigo buntings kept flitting from tree to tree ahead of us, along the last stretch back to the car.

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Maggs, after our little 2.5 mile walk in the woods. She hopped in the car and was out like a light for the short drive home.

Photo Feb 05, 12 03 54 PM_s