Friday, August 31, 2007

Bread, Finally!

(Alan, this one's for you)

We finally did it!

This Sunday, we made bread in our bread oven. We have made pizza and flatbread, but now we have baked honest-to-goodness bread in it.

We had intended to bake fococcia for our music brunch that morning,

but only a few people were able to come and each one brought so much food, we couldn't imagine making any more. So that afternoon, I made more dough and then we called some friends.

"We've got bread. What can you bring?"

"We'll bring the biggest zucchini ever and fry it up."

"Sounds like dinner to me!"

We set up the backyard baking extravaganza, baking the fococcia breads first with caramelized onions, heirloom tomatoes, and fresh chevre.

Then Bryan scraped out the coals, we let the oven rest (to redistribute the heat evenly), and in went ciabatta!

When we couldn't resist the terrible urge to peek any longer, we declared it done.

Happy Bread Eaters!

Day 4

July 8, 2007
We moved slowly away from Tolmie. Bryan made coffee and we motored back to Boston Harbor where we arrived just in time to join the Sunday morning brunch.

After breakfast, Hannah and Meira played in the sand while Bryan and I studied the new knot book we bought "for the girls." While the girls introduced themselves to kids on the beach, Bryan and I sat down on a driftwood log and joined the parent's conversation. They shared recommendations for new places to explore and out-of-the-way parks to visit, even getting out their GPS to show us where they live and to check the tides. After ice cream all around, we said "goodbye" and "see you again" and pointed south to Olympia.
None of us wanted our vacation to end, especially since pulling out means all of the work of putting in, only in reverse and without a good sail to look forward to. So we docked at Percival's Landing in the West bay of Budd inlet instead of motoring straight to the boat launch. We walked past our favorite fountain and browsed a used bookstore before getting a late lunch and heading back to the boat. The launch dock was backed up; someone's engine had died and a few people needed help getting in or out. With all the action, we could see why a few liveaboards brought a picnic dinner and Scrabble board down to watch the show. We pulled out without too much trouble, went through the take-down routines and loaded the truck for the trip home. Olympia to Lafayette, our last leg of the journey. It was just long enough to plan the next adventure!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Day 3

July 7, 2007
We left Longbranch after a (back-by-popular-request) breakfast of eggs-in-a-nest. We tried sailing a bit in Drayton Passage, but couldn't catch much wind until we reached Case Inlet. We stopped in at Zittel's Marina for ice and treats and then sailed Southeast to Tolmie State Park. We were able to sail right in to the mooring buoys, but as we pulled up to one, we realized that they were all private. We weren't where we thought we were! We quickly plotted our location and motored North to the right lagoon and the state park buoys. Bryan rowed us to the beach at a very low tide and we enjoyed the wooded trails and the sandy beach. Can you see Meira's Sand Cat?

Tolmie State Park is a treasure. We were astounded by the fields of sand dollars, some packed so tightly we wound our way through them like walking in a maze. We waded out on the tidal flats around tiny crabs and over slippery seaweed.

We spent several hours-no one was counting-wandering, digging, just being together. We watched clam diggers fill their buckets and then gaped while the bent-nose clams they left behind slid out a tentative foot to dig themselves back into their sandy homes. We learned how to walk barefoot on barnacles, what to call those birds we'd seen, and the convenient fact that flip-flops float. We met other families, some also on vacation, others just there for the day. We took a few last pictures-the precious crab claw was duly recorded-and finally paddled back out in the rising tide to Nissa.

We spent the rest of the evening in our cozy cabin, playing Yahtzee and eating macaroni and cheese (unanimously declared the best ever).

Day 2

July 6, 2007
We left Boston Harbor and headed Northwest in Dana's Passage. The weather was warm, but calm, so we only managed to sail for about 15 minutes. But we enjoyed playing with the compass and binoculars to chart our course and measure our progress.

The harbormaster at Filucy Bay was very helpful, finding us an empty private slip for the night since the guest moorage was expected to be rafted 2 deep on this busy holiday weekend. He found the girls a herring net and we stretched out on the dock and peered into a veritable aquarium of invertebrates. Bryan took the girls for a dinghy-paddling lesson while I sent the aroma of fajitas over the water as a fragrant call to dinner.

We took a walk up the road and back, enjoying the quiet island and peaceful evening.

Apparently the marina is not always this peaceful, because when we returned, we found the way blocked by two dutiful guards. After much questioning and pressing of imaginary buttons, "Marvin" and "Grunzella" were allowed to enter.

Here, the guards tell the story in their own words.

Guard Meira:
"There were some guards and the one that's back behind was not scared; he's dialing the number for the person."

Guard Hannah:
"We were taking a walk. We walked down the road and then we turned around and walked back the way we had come. Then Hannah and Meira were the guards that you see in the pictures."

Raise the Main! Set the Jib!

Every year, the girls grow more helpful on the boat. Here, they are working together to raise the jib sail. They are very cooperative about the safety rules, which require life jackets anytime they are in the cockpit and tethered harnesses whenever the sails are up or the water is choppy. But "Swabbie 1" and "Swabbie 2" don't mind.
They love to set the sails and get going, especially if it means heeling or participating in our new family chant.

"Prepare to come about!," one calls.

The rest answer, "Ready about!"

For now, these tacking instructions just let the girls know when to hang on to their crayons down below and give us a good reason to holler, but on a larger or more complicated boat, proper and efficient communication is essential.

Forecast: Blogging Flurries

My silence on this blog does not reflect a lack of notable events in my life. Surprisingly, it does not even reflect a lack of writing. I have just been writing for other venues, so I will now be flooding you with posts cut-and-pasted from other places on my hard drive and augmented with pictures. Here's the first, some pictures from a sailing trip earlier this year and the log from the first day.

July 5, 2007
We arrived in Olympia after a busy morning of packing and a drive up to Washington in the beautiful weather.
While Bryan put up the mast, Hannah and Meira sat in the shade and looked at books. Bryan's mast system has been revised several times over the last few years and he is now able to safely raise or lower the mast without assistance in just 15 minutes.
We loaded the boat, inflated the dinghy, and were ready to go. However, the tide was too low to allow us to launch, so we used the time to relax with cold drinks and locate some ice.
We finally launched without any more trouble about 6:15 PM. After navigating the channel out of Swantown Marina (in the East bay of Budd Inlet) we came upon a large sailboat race-probably more than 20 boats-and had to sail on the outside of the channel markers to stay out of the way.
We had planned to stay in Filucy Bay or Tolmie State Park that night, but due to the late start and our low fuel supply, we decided to stay in Boston Harbor. The guest moorage was full for the night, so we anchored out near the mooring field west of the marina. By now, we were all ready for homemade clam chowder; we ate a whole pot!
The next morning, as we sat at anchor, some kayakers paddled by. Hannah called out, "How are you?" and before they could answer, Meira yelled, "Good!"
We stopped by the fuel dock as we left and walked to the marina for a few minutes to stretch our legs. The girls were fascinated by the "fried egg" jellyfish and the marina employees filleting fish near the marina store.