Friday, January 29, 2010

January in Halifax Harbor ...

For the most part, it's been cold, sometimes rainy, and lately, thank God, warming.  So cold, however, that we watched the freezing waters kill hundreds upon hundreds of fish - tropical fish, needle fish, mullets (by the scores), snook and other game fish.  One of our neighbors took advantage of the early part of the freeze to harvest some snook which were freezing but not yet quite dead.  This was a good thing for him, since he's a carpenter and been out of work for most of the month.  But the sight of dead fish floating around the marina was really disheartening.

I'd hoped to get a lot of work done on the boat, particularly re-doing the exterior varnish, but the weather has just not cooperated.  So I've done a few little things in preparation for our leaving for the Keys the end of the month.  I got the dinghy down to run the engine and check it out, hooked up our new Honda generator and made sure it ran and charged the batteries, cleaned water strainers here and there, and defrosted the refrigerator/freezer.  I also bought some lines, deck hardware (snap shackles and such) and a spare 3.0 gpm fresh water pump, all of which I found at the local Marine Surplus store - prices always way below West Marine, often by 50%.  But most of our time has been spent indulging ourselves Netflix movies in the evenings and reading good books.

We particularly enjoyed Gail Collins, When Everything ChangedIt's a wonderfully written account of the feminist movement in America, and we highly recommend it even though her conclusion seems a bit tame.  Pen took the time to write her about it, which was a fun thing to do.  Another writer we both love is Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat, Pray, Love, which we'd both read a year or more ago).  Pen read Stern Men, a solid novel about lobster fishermen in Maine, and we both read The Last American Man, which is the true story of Eustice Conway, who from the time he was 17 years old has lived life as though he were "Davy fucking Crockett."  It was really a fascinating book, and Gilbert is such a fine writer that we were both riveted by it.  Pen also discovered Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace with Marriage, her sequel to Eat, Pray, Love, and we both think it is well worth the read.  These, along with some novels by David Baldacci and Lee Childs, both great mystery/adventure writers, have occupied many hours.

We've done lots of good cooking and eating as well, and in the evenings when one of us is preparing dinner, the other reads aloud a bit of Julie Child's memoir My Life in France, while we each enjoy a cocktailIt is a perfect accompaniment to meal preparation, and we're about half way through it.  And, I think our cooking is becoming more creative and the results more scrumptious.  Who knew that drying mushrooms first and then cooking them in oil over a high heat and not crowding them would lead to the most delicious ones ever.  Do this for every dish you have in which you'll add mushrooms ... the results are wonderful.

Speaking of food, the past week has seen a lot of time devoted to going through our ship's stores and making up or provisioning list.  On Tuesday, we finished off purchasing all the canned and dried goods, most of the liquor and wine, along with condiments and household stuff.  Yesterday we purchased meats which we vacuum packed and have frozen in the freezer at Pen's house (Erin still lets us drop by once and a while).  Today we visited the Mandala Bookstore, owned by Pen's dear friend Victor Newman, who kindly gave us a big discount on our purchases.  Sadly, he is selling the business and in four months when we return it may not be there at all.  What a loss for Daytona Beach.


Blogger said...

Hey Piano MAN, I hope your tooth is back where it should be. I just had one taken out! Regarding mushrooms, google Alton Brown and mushrooms, he came to same conclusion. best regards!

6:02 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Jim, Your language in this post is offensive, don't forget this is the internet, your website is available to all. As a lover of English I believe that it's possible to find wonderfully descriptive language that does not consist of foul swear words. Dig deep my brother and find more expressive less offensive language to express your wonderful thoughts and adventure. Please accept this feedback in the goodness that it's given. Diane Southworth, Website Follower & Fan

1:26 AM  

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