Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Opening Day Bonus - My First Ride in Canarsian


As I'd mentioned in the last post, I'd made a decision to garden rather than paddle. That was a bit of a tough call - if you've been reading this blog for very long, you'll know that I really like traditions like New Year's Day paddles and Escapes from Black Friday (by land or by sea, either one's a million zillion times better than shopping), and the Opening Day paddle is definitely one of those. However, I'd actually gotten out both of the weekends before that, one very short one before the kayak committee potluck on the 7th, and then a 14 mile solo which was my first ever attempt at finding a whale in my kayak. More on that in a trip report later. I didn't find the whale but the long paddle was very satisfying, just what I'd been aching for for weeks, so I wasn't feeling quite as much like I NEEDED to paddle as I sometimes do this time of year.

Saturday was just a perfect day for gardening, and we're getting to the time of year when I really like to get the garden going, so that's what I ended up doing, and that was satisfying too. Anyways, there were plenty of other boats out on the water, nobody organized a paddle but some independent paddlers went out, the CCNY Concrete Canoe Team was practicing sprints near the dock (they look good this year!), and some of the sailors went out. While all of these other things were going on, some club members under the direction of Jim L. (who's both a sailing committee co-chair and the head of the boatbuilding group) went next door to the Diamond Point Yacht Club to put the club's Point Comfort 23 safety boat, Canarsian, back in the water for the season.

After the potluck and general meeting, I was sitting with Barbara, our relatively new membership chair, as she signed up some new members who'd joined us. Sebago's modernized enough that there are now administrative things that can be done on tablets on site, instead of people filling out paper forms and somebody then needing to type all of their info into the club database. Barbara hadn't used the tablet for sign-in before, and although I couldn't really offer to help I did offer to sit with her and offer moral support.

Well, that lasted until somebody came through saying that Patrick was taking Canarsian out for a spin. Boat ride? Out on the water for opening day after all? Heck yeah! Poor Barbara, so much for moral support from me, I was up and grabbing a PFD off the clubhouse rack with apologies, but without a moment's hesitation. 

Because I have seen Canarsian from here...

and from here...

and from here... 

and even from here, back when the boatbuilding group was first putting her together --

But because rides on Canarsian are generally being given on open house type days, when I'm making myself useful helping out with kayak or war canoe trips for our guests, this was my first time seeing Canarsian from HERE! 

A fantastic finish to Opening Day! 

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Spring, have you sprung?

I sure hope so! Feeling cautiously optimistic that Spring might finally be here in earnest after that crazy yo-yo start the season had here in the Northeast, I decided to break with tradition today. It was opening day at Sebago, and that usually means a pre-potluck paddle, but nobody really instigated anything. I could easily have taken on the instigator role myself (and I felt a little guilty that I didn't), but it just seemed like today would be a very convenient day to get my garden plot at the club ready to go for the season. My first stop of the day in Canarsie was therefore at Dragonetti's Florist and Garden Center, over on the other side of the Paerdegat Basin, to pick up some compost; I walked that over to the club on a luggage cart. How's that for urban gardening for you?

I used to clear out the bed in the fall, at the end of the growing season, but a couple of years ago some of my ecologically-minded friends were sharing an article recommending leaving things more or less alone until spring, to provide shelter for beneficial insects like native bees and ladybugs and food for birds. It made enough sense that I've now adopted that practice for my garden. So the above is pretty much the shaggy dried remnants of last year's plants. 

Mostly cleared out

I was so happy to find new growth on the lavender, thyme, and rosemary. We had some harsh weather and also some very up-and-down swings this winter, and although all of these had made it through last winter, they were looking pretty dry the last time I'd looked at them. I was afraid it had all been too much for them, but look at the fresh new growth here on the lavender! Thyme and rosemary are also coming back. 

Compost added, onions and daffodils thinned, and that was it for today - by now the meeting had started, I'd just wanted to finish this up. I forgot to put out the cat discourager sticks, but we don't have as many stray cats as we used to (there used to be a guy that was feeding them in the parking lot of the gym next door, and I think that the gym got new owners a few years back, and they may have asked the guy to cease and desist) so I'll keep my fingers crossed that this doesn't get used as a litter box. 

I actually got seeds during one of the snowstorms we had over the winter. I went to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden and they had these pretty seed packets on display in their gift shop. I just couldn't resist making a nod to warmer weather there in the middle of the snow. I was going to plant the beets and chard today but there was suddenly an opportunity to go out for a boat ride so I did that instead - so even though I wasn't expecting to, I still got to get out on the water on Opening Day. 

And here's the first garden-aided dish of the year - onion soup with the thinned onions, plus white wine and some broth I'd made a couple of weeks ago. In addition to a dinner tonight, this will make a good lunch or two during the week, which is likely to be hectic .

Great start to Earth Day weekend!

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Early Bird? Nope. On-Time Bird. Late Snow.

If you've been reading this blog for a while, or if we're Facebook friends, you've probably seen this guy before. This is The Early Bird, and I was inspired to paint him a few years back when I'd seen my first oystercatcher of the spring a good bit earlier than I ever had before - mid-March or so - and then a couple of days after that, it snowed, and I just couldn't stop thinking of the poor bird out there in the sloppy wet snow, wishing he hadn't been such an early bird. He now reappears on my social media every time I see a spring bird and then it snows.

Snow in mid-March isn't that unusual, but this year spring keeps giving us false starts and then winter comes back for another encore, even though the folks in the northeast and midwest are all yelling "GO HOME, WINTER, YOU'RE DRUNK!"

So we had a bit of a snowstorm in early April and our Jamaica Bay Guardian Don Riepe totally outdid my bummed-out oystercatcher with this magnificent photo of an osprey wondering what is this white stuff doing all over the nest.

Actually the osprey doesn't look nearly as put out as my oystercatcher does, but seriously, this poor guy just flew a very long way starting from someplace warm and sunny only to be greeted with a snowstorm - well, wild animals are tough, but I still can't help feeling a little sorry for them when this happens!

Click here to read a great NY Times article about an osprey tracking project that Don was involved in a few years back. They actually had a blog while it was running, and I absolutely loved following the sea eagle's journey from his wintering grounds in South America back to the nest platform in Jamaica Bay. I was so sorry when it ended!  

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Floral Filler #3 - Forsythia

Blooming quite beautifully at the Sebago Canoe Club.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Fish on Friday!

h/t to Joe at The Horse's Mouth for my stealing of his Friday theme since time immemorial, plus my Hawaiian friend K., whose FB page was where I first saw this and loved it more than I can say. Had to share this for all my mainland friends who are curious about how that neighborhood McPokebowl (possibly spelled with an é) joint stacks up against the real thing. Now you know. Perhaps I owe an apology?

PS - Leonard's...ahhh...SWOON!

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Floral Filler #2 - Incandescent Daffodil

Same day as the cherry blossoms, in front of my building. I got home from the club potluck just when this daffodil was still illuminated by the sun but the shadow of the building had fallen on everything behind. I will admit to upping the contrast but not by a whole lot, the daffodil was shining out like neon! 

Tuesday, April 10, 2018