A Pause

It’s been a long time since I posted. Life has a habit of rushing along. The current situation, however, is a good time for a pause to reflect on all that we have to be grateful for.

I’ve kept a copy of this poem in my bedside table since discovering it about a year ago and I think it’s more appropriate now than ever:

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

Wendell Berry, “The Peace of Wild Things”

Yesterday, we had a fresh snowfall transform the landscape. The tulips and daffodils persevere, as do we.

A Wing on the Water

Many boatbuilders and boatbuilding books recommend finishing the sail first when embarking on a sailboat project. The chief reason for doing this is that you’ll want to sail right away when the boat is finished. Sailmaking is a good winter project that can be done indoors and a finished sail sitting around is a great incentive to finish the boat. With this in mind, I bought a sail kit for Blue Moon and sewed it together in less than a week in March. Having all of the pieces laser cut and numbered helps speed up the process!

The sail is made of Dacron fabric and sewn with polyester thread. Grommets along the luff (the forward edge) will allow the sail to be laced onto the mast, a very simple rigging arrangement. I added a pair of grommets two-thirds of the way up the leech (the after edge) to attach a small U.S. flag.

The finished sail, just over 12 feet by 8 feet.

Unfortunately, progress on the boat itself didn’t progress at all this summer. I did remove it from the crate I’d built and Emily and I moved the hull into our very large front porch. This is a great space for working on the boat but one project after another pulled me away from Blue Moon all spring and summer. Maybe I’ll be able to work on it some this winter (fingers crossed).

Workshop Remodel

Zipped up shed exterior.

When we bought our property, there were two outbuildings, one of which I tore down as detailed in an earlier post. For the better part of this year, I’ve been slowly rehabilitating the other structure to use as my woodworking shop and I’m happy to report the exterior is finished.

The shed before its facelift.

This shed was built as a dog kennel in 1980 and still had a series of dog doors on the east side. I don’t know when it last housed dogs but when we first visited the property, two rabbits were living in a hutch in the shed. I later discovered, unpleasantly, that raccoons and mice had been using it as a hotel for a long time. The shed had a memorable odor that is now gone!

I began the remodel by slowly working my way around the building as I had time and resources. I removed the steel siding and replaced it with an engineered wood siding over rigid insulation. The roof is steel and in fine shape but I did replace the brown trim with white and added a new ridge cap. To help keep the shed cooler in the summer, I installed a ridge vent and soffit vents to ventilate what will be an attic space. Gutters will keep water away from the foundation and siding and help fill my small rain barrel.

Since this will be a workshop I wanted plenty of light but my window wish list got pared down when I starting pricing options. In the end, I installed a large window on the south side that replaced a door and two small windows on the north side, plus a nine-light door.

The zen phase of the exterior remodel was priming and painting (two coats of Sherwin Williams “Crabby Apple”) with a brush. I spent several mornings before the heat of the day set in painting and listening to the birds and the wind in the trees.

It’s a relief going into colder weather knowing the shed is zipped up from rain, snow, and animals. This winter I shouldn’t find snow inside like I did last year. While there’s no heat or even electricity in the shed yet, I can still use it as an enclosed work space and I’ve already started on revamping the inside.