Saturday, May 29, 2010

In which we visit a Pirate ship you will certainly recognize

Johnny Depp made her famous outside of her home waters.

But The Curse of the Black Pearl wasn't this ship's first time on the big screen.
The Hawaiian Chieftain and the Lady Washington are visiting our local harbour!

(I put my bum where Captain Jack Sparrow put HIS bum!)
Truly, Jim looks at home behind the wheel.
Now, if only we could cast off lines and raise the sails!
We weren't the only Pirates on board.
This kid had a very special sword--it makes clanging noises when you swing it around. (jealous!)
The topsail ketch Hawaiian Chieftain is a replica of a typical European merchant trader of the turn of the nineteenth century. Her hull shape and rigging are similar to those of Spanish explorer's ships used in the expeditions of the late 18th century along the Washington, Oregon, and California coasts. Built of steel in Hawaii in 1988 and originally designed for cargo trade among the Hawaiian Islands, her design was influenced by the early colonial passenger and coastal packets that carried on coastal trade along the Atlantic coastal cities and towns.
Launched on March 7, 1989, the Lady Washington was built in Aberdeen, Washington by Grays Harbor Historical Seaport Authority. The new Lady Washington is a full-scale reproduction of the original Lady Washington. Built in the British Colony of Massachusetts in the 1750's, the original vessel carried freight between colonial ports until the American Revolutionary War, when she became an American privateer. In 1787, after the war, she was given a major refit to prepare her for a unprecedented trading voyage around Cape Horn. In 1788, she became the first American vessel to make landfall on the west coast of North America.

A pioneer in Pan-Pacific trade, she was the first American ship to visit Honolulu, Hong Kong and Japan. Lady Washington opened the black pearl and sandalwood trade between Hawaii and the Orient when King Kamehameha became a partner in the ship.

The modern Lady Washington was thoroughly researched by historians and constructed by skilled shipwrights. She was launched as part of the 1989 Washington State Centennial celebration.

(I learned this from the Grays Harbor Historical Seaport website, but the crew of both tall ships were wonderfully informative and answered all of our questions)

Tall rigging on a tall ship.
Lines neatly coiled around belaying pins.
Belaying pins are also useful for subduing zombies, should the need arise.

The Lady W's ship bell (visible under Jack Sparrow's elbow in the photo at the top of the page).

Replica of a period map. Note that California is pictured as a small island!

The sounding lead--drop this over the side to measure the depth. There's a little indentation on the bottom of the sounding lead that sailors would smear with something sticky so that the lead would bring up bits of the sea bottom. That way they could know what was below them, be it rocks, sand, shells or coral.

Ship's anchor.

A brick...of tea! The large brick is sufficient to make 5,000 cups of tea.
The smaller brick (inside the little pouches) weigh about 2.5 ounces, make about 300 cups of tea, and was used as currency--the small brick was a sailor's wage for 6 months aboard ship.

We bought a small brick to take home. It's delicious!

Rear swivel gun. The cork keeps the barrel dry.

A little bit of nautical music, and some footage of the Lady Washington in action!

Life. Is. Good.
(especially for pirates!)

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

In which Spring springs, and we try to dodge the Tomato Curse once again

The blueberries are growing!

Strawberries, too!

And cherries...

...and plums...
...and pears!
Elsewhere in the yard, all the purple flowers are blooming:Chives.

Rhododendron bushes in the foothills near the Farm grow taller than I can reach when I'm on Fiddle's back!
This bush, located behind the woodshed and receiving no tending whatsoever, is nearly as tall as the woodshed roof. You can understand why this is the Swampland State Flower!

Not everything is so easy to care for, unfortunately.

Down in the vegetable garden, we needed to replace the fence to keep Twelve out of the tomatoes. The old fence was meant to be temporary, and it lasted 6 months longer than I had originally planned!

Jim started by sharpening fenceposts...
...then he handed me the chainsaw and I got to practice my chainsawing skills. The Husquevarna saw is actually a bit too big and heavy for me, but the "lady" chainsaw needs some tinkering, so I muscled the big saw around and made fence points.

The garden posts, ready to set.

We thought it would take a long time, but it was a beautiful day and all three of us worked on the project--we got it finished in a single afternoon!

You can't see the single line of chickenwire in the photo, but it's sufficient to keep Twelve outside. We'll add another topline of chickenwire later this week.
Yukky hay makes good mulch for the paths between planting beds.

Normally I don't use mulch, because it is an excellent habitat for slugs -- bleh! -- but having the garden full of slug-eating chickens over the winter has pretty much eliminated the slug danger.

I hope.
Climb, peas!
Climb, tomatoes!

Jim planted the tomatoes again this year, because we had plenty of rain over the winter and we are determined to outrun the Tomato Curse. Therefore, I've done nothing to the tomato plants except take photos of them.

Wish us luck--it worked last year. Fingers crossed, right?

Monday, May 24, 2010

In which Fiddle and I are a tow vehicle for a young horse friend

Today was Mateo's first experience on a proper Swampland trail ride.

The day didn't start smoothly for Mateo and Jennifer: he refused to load into the trailer. Sigh. Have we all been there? Did we all hate that part? Aren't we all glad when our horses finally learn how to put on their adult horsie pants and get into the dang trailer like civilized beasties?

Fee and I were already at the trailhead when Jennifer called to say that they would be late. No problem, said I. I was dressed for rainfall (oh yeah), and took Fiddle out for a quick speed-loop to get her settled down.

We were returning to the trailhead just as I got the call from Jennifer that the "miracle" had happened and her horse was in the trailer. Hooray!

When they arrived, Mateo was very, very nervous. He was pretty sure that the group of trail riders leaving the trailhead as they pulled up were leaving him All Alone for the Wolves.

Finally, Fiddle nickered to him and he settled down. I was still really glad when Jennifer grabbed her helmet and strapped it down tightly. Goooooooood girl! No brain-injuries wanted here, thanks!

We headed out on the trail. I chose a "baby loop" that I had used for Fiddle--can it be less than 3 years ago? The trail is about 3 miles long, and has some uphills, some downhills, some deep mud, a big creek crossing, two wooden bridges, and some nice twisty-turny trail through a 3-year-old clearcut.

Mateo got stuck on the downhill. Fiddle and I waited at the bottom while Jennifer tightened her cinch and walked him down the steepest part of the hill, past the broken waterbar that seems to freak out young horses. Fiddle hated that thing for years.

When we got to the creek, Fee and I waded in, and waited patiently with the camera ready for Mateo's first big water-crossing.

He was incredulous.
Walk in that? Are you kidding? That is sooooooo dangerous!
Fiddle called to him quietly, trying to reassure him. He couldn't believe that she would just stand there in the middle of the creek and not lead him back to his trailer!

See, this stuff is not for walking.
This stuff is for drinking. Not the same.

If not forward, perhaps backwards?

Finally, Fee and I waded back across the creek, and I took hold of the leadrope. With Fiddle leading, me pulling, and Jennifer cueing with her feet, Mateo finally went in the water.

Oh, hey. Lookit me. How the heck did I get here?

On the trail back to the parking lot, we let him use the bridge to cross the creek. He liked that much better.
I was so proud of them! He's going to be an awesome trail horse.

I was also very proud of Fiddle. Once she understood the assignment "take care of the baby", she did well.

Okay, she pinned her ears at him a couple of times, and I had to poke her with my spur to remind her to have good manners.

But she also let him walk right beside her and even right behind her when he got nervous. That's big progress for Miss Gigantor!

Life is good, you know.