Friday, February 22, 2013
Ship-Shape and Ready to Cruise
|Pixie and Ellen Shopping|
Of course that also meant that I needed to continue grocery shopping. One of the fun benefits of living "on the river" is the weekly visit by Esperanza. When the business that she worked for decided not to provide this meat and dairy products delivery service anymore, she put together her own shop in town and continued the personal delivery. This young Guatemalan gal is quite the entrepreneur isn't she? She's extended the offerings to include fresh fruits and vegetables which we all adore. So every Tuesday we hang around the docks in the marina here so we can be first in line to make our selections.
And because we had some extra time, Jonesy also managed to squeeze in some not-so-critical repairs to the boat. We had lost our wind indicator (vane) which sits way up high on top of our mast. How? Friggin' Frigate birds. These "magnificent" big sea birds love to sit up on top of the mast. But their weight has caused the delicate wind indicator to bend. Several times we have paid folks to go up the mast and make repairs. This last time the dang thing just broke right off and disappeared into the sea. Sure, we have electronic wind speed and direction indicators, but simply looking up is a lot easier to quickly grasp the wind direction.
|Man up Mast - Niki Wiki gets a Wind Indicator|
Another pleasure has been being able to spend some time with my friend Teresa and her Read Smocking Machine! Teresa used to make smocked dresses for her daughter many years ago (said kid is now 30-years old) and she has hung onto this precious machine. We set it up and smocked a length of fabric for me to embroider. This will be the yoke of a sundress for my 1-year old niece Ella. The machine saves a bunch of time! Without it I would have to carefully space and hand sew the 8 lines of gathers. Now I can just dive into the embroider which is the fun stuff!
Of course there has been a lot of knitting going on too. Mostly I've been doing mindless knitting of socks for the teenagers in the orphanages of Kazakhstan. But there's also been brain-bashing charting and writing of complicated instructions of new designs for other hand knitters.
|Beautiful young women in Kazakhstan with handknit socks|
|Jonesy's Perkins Punk Necklace|
Off we go! (we hope)
Saturday, February 09, 2013
|New Bow Lettering|
|The Admiral in the shade of a cashew tree|
And...we're still dog-sitting the Admiral. No surprise there. His human, Teresa, is on a sailboat with friends attempting to sail down from Isla Mujeres (Cancun area) Mexico to here in Guatemala and they have had boat and weather issues. See? That's just part of the lifestyle. We really can't say where we'll be exactly when. Just that we'll be somewhere sometime. So for Teresa, our difficulties have made her life more comfortable because Admiral can just stay at the Niki Wiki Adventure Camp for Boat Pets.
As long as we're living in the tropics, I'm enjoying eating the local produce - and planting it too! In this past month I have purchased a cinnamon tree, a root (rhizome) for a turmeric plant, and a piece of rooted cactus plant which produces a lovely fruit called pitaya or dragon fruit. All for about $3US each.
|Baby Cinnamon tree|
My cinnamon tree is doing fabulously! It had been kept for quite some time in heavy shade at the plant store and looked tired. But as soon as it was tucked into the ground in the sunshine at least half of the day it has sprung to life! Of course it will be many years before anyone can harvest some of the branches for bark for seasoning. I probably won't be here (but who knows?) so I'm just leaving a legacy for future cruisers to enjoy.
I'm sure my turmeric plant will recover, but it was a setback. Those dang ants! They are cute as heck marching around in neat little lines as they carry pieces of leaves, but they can be destructive.
My pitcaya cactus hasn't been planted yet. It needs dryer soil than the other plants so I'm trying to find the driest place here. As it's been raining a lot lately, that's been impossible to do. But we've had 2 solid days of sun so I'd better get to to work on that before we leave!
I can't share photos yet of these projects, but I can share my progress on the Eggplant Parmigiana KAL I talked about a prior posting. This is a lace stitch pattern so I can't work on it in a social situation because it does take a tad of concentration. But the Admiral dog has been occupying my lap...all day...everyday, since he came aboard so I have lots of quiet time.
|Spare Fuel Injector Pump cleaned up|
|Good-bye s/v Sunnyside Up!|
One of those neighbors was s/v Sunnyside Up whose cat, Ginger was an attendee at our Cat Session of the Niki Wiki Adventure Camp. Carolyn and Tom have sailed off for adventures in Mexico and beyond with no plans to return to the Rio here. We managed to get a photo of their escape. Good-bye! Save travels!
Saturday, February 02, 2013
|The Admiral's Dog Sweater|
The critical part for the engine repair is in Florida at the freight forwarding service. It should arrive any day now. That's good news. Jonesy can flail around in the bilge and subdue that bad water pump in short order. But, wait...there's more.
The radar system started misbehaving. We called in a specialist (yes, here in Guatemala there are actually independent folks who can diagnose electronics problems). We need parts. Oh...there's no actual replacement parts available. The factory has a 2-,month backorder as our equipment is obsolete at 6 years old. He suggested that Jonesy update the software for the electronic chart plotter while he was at it. Ooops. Now the chart plotter is dead. Again, no replacement parts (i.e. circuit boards) are available. That is a show stopper.
|Cup Holders & New Outboard Cover|
The radar we can do without this season as we are day-hopping for the most part (or had planned to do so). But navigational charts? Those are absolutely necessary. Especially because we will be in areas we've never sailed and Belize has hundreds of reefs and atolls. So we are investigating solution for the chart plotter. Stuck in paradise again.
But, there has been some progress made in other areas. Check out our river transportation launcha. See our new cup holders? One is that black circle on Jonesy's seat there. Not only are we styling now, we can stow our water/beverage cans and bottles for the hot ride back to the marina after walking and shopping.
|Happy, Styling Jonesy|
|Hunky Chunky Cables Socks|
Finally the first of the month rolled around and I can share with you two new designs of mine that have been released. First up is my Hunky Chunky Cables Socks for the Six Sox Knitalong Yahoo Group as their Feb/Mar 2013 sock pattern. These socks have a single big cable running down both the front and the back of the socks. Wouldn't you feel special wearing these with your open-backed shoes or sandals?
The knitting technique is intarsia-in-the-round which will make some less-adventurous knitters go running about screaming obscenities and poking people with sharp sticks. But then, knitters could also use these socks to impress and amaze other knitters. Only other knitters would be able to grasp the challenge of these socks. So if you are ready to accept the assignment go get your pattern while it is free only during February and March 2013 on the Yahoo group.
|Chunky Cable down the back too|
For the Holiday Mystery Gifts Yahoo Group I've shared my new little holiday Teddy Bear Ornament. You can either download the pattern from Ravelry for $3US, or grab it for free only during the month of February 2013 on the group. I think it would be fun to make one of these little 4 1/2" tall ornaments with self-patterning sock yarn too! It is knit flat on 2 needles then seamed and stuffed.
For a girly version you could tie a ribbon around the neck or add a lace frilly skirt with a wide piece of purchased lace trim! My mind runs wild with the possibilities...guess what I'll be knitting for the next few months. Yep, more Christmas ornaments. I mean, who wouldn't want to decorate their tree, office, home, packages, backpacks, etc. with personalized handknit cuties?
|Teddy Bear Ornament|
Now, at the top of this post I featured the boat dog that I've been pet-sitting. He's proudly wearing his new sweater as he poses on the bow of our boat. What? You thought I would have a little dog onboard for weeks and NOT knit him a special little sweater? Of course I would and I did. I also wrote up the pattern which is now being tested for errors. It will be released to the Holiday Mystery Gifts group next month. I know, I'm spoiling some of the "mystery" but I'm so in love with this little dog and had to share.
The sweater is knit flat in one piece with no seams! The two front straps criss-cross over the dog's chest and are brought back under the legs and button up to the side of the back piece. It's really easy to knit and easy to get on a dog. Not that that was a problem with Admiral. He loves getting dressed - and even posed for his photo session. What a hoot!
Yes. Admiral needs a sweater even down here in Guatemala. It has been rather chilly with temps in the 60's and light to heavy rain. It's damp and gray. Admiral gets chilled. Amazinginly he's taught himself how to pull his little blanket up over himself! We are having so much fun with him.
So, our ship's stores here in the galley are stocked with staples for our cruising season and the freezer has layers of meat. It's not like any of it will go to waste as we still have to eat. It just means that when we finally get our issues sorted out I'll have to restock. We've taken down and stowed the larger of our two big ShadeTree awnings over the boat so we're exposed to the tropical sun (if it ever reappears). The watermaker has been unpickled in preparation for going out to sea (so no dock water) thus Jonesy now has to run it every couple of days. We're all ready, set,...and now stay.