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Thursday, August 19, 2010

8/18/2010 - Yodersaground: bits and pieces

Haven't written much because there really isn't all that much going on. This afternoon I finished building the 14 benches for the wedding. So far I've BBQ'd six pork shoulders which yielded about 18 lbs. of pulled pork. I have 3 more shoulders on the pit right now as well as another three thawing for tomorrow. Couple days ago I made two batches of habanero jelly (16 half-pints) but, for some reason, it didn't set up so we have sweet habanero sauce instead. Actually it's a little easier to use for some things in the un-gelled state, Pectin is weird stuff sometimes. You never quite know if it's going to work or not until it either does or doesn't. You can do everything the same way you always do and every so often it just won't gel. Weird.

We've had guests the last few days. Tuesday, Lulu's cousin Treva came over from Idaho to visit and then last night we had her (Lulu's) youngest brother Jim as well as the next oldest brother, Joe and his daughter Emily from Iowa. Emily is starting her freshman year at Lewis & Clark College in a week or so and Joe was helping her get moved out here.

Lulu's been doing a bunch of work up here to get ready for the wedding: washing windows, cleaning the house, spray-painting the table centerpieces that I built, planting flowers, making hanging flower baskets, tending the yard, etc. The girl is tireless. Today she made bread and baguettes to go with the smoked steelhead spread that she made from the smoked steelhead that Treva's husband Jeff sent over for us from Idaho's Clearwater River.

Now that I've finished the benches, I can use some of my old shop tools for the boat. Awhile ago I built and installed ratlines on both sides of the mast. They work great but they have a couple inches of wood rung sticking out beyond the shrouds both fore and aft. This was so that I'd be able to clamp them to the shrouds with a bolt on both sides of the wire. However, it's obvious to me now that these "stick-outs" are going to foul the lines and chafe the sails. So, I dove in to Brion Toss' "The Rigger's Locker" to see how it's supposed to be done.

The upshot of his article is that the ratline rungs should all be inboard of the shrouds and lashed in place. So, I brought mine home and tomorrow I'll start modifying them so that I can reinstall them correctly.

Cody & Scott have been collecting open cell foam cushions for quite awhile now. The reason they do this is that they wanted to build a "blob". Apparently a blob is a big giant pillow for lounging around in while watching TV, etc. The other day they determined that they had collected enough. Lulu made the fabric enclosure per their specs. They had spent many many hours cutting the foam into cubes roughly 2-4 inches on a side using scissors. The night they decided to fill the "blob case" they still had some foam left to cut. As they were struggling away with their scissors I asked them why they didn't use a knife instead. "Oh, we tried that but it doesn't work very well." Unconvinced, I went out in the kitchen, got one of their hopelessly dull knives, sharpened it up using my favorite knife sharpener, and went back out in the living room where they were cutting the foam up. Putting almost no pressure on the knife, just letting the edge do the work, I sliced through the 4" thick pad like it was soft butter. Scott's eyes got very wide and then he wanted to try it. He was having so much fun slicing through the foam instead of trying to force the scissors through that pretty soon we had 3 more knives sharpened up and Cody and Lulu were slicing away as well. Hopefully Scott and Cody both will remember the value of a good sharp knife after we're gone.

Now, I'm a terrible knife sharpener. I CANNOT keep a constant angle when trying to sharpen a knife on a whetstone. That's why I resort to one of these:

I'm sure real cutlery aficionados will eschew my sharpener choice because it is pretty hard on blades. But, for a no-talent sharpener like me, it sure does a great job of putting an edge on even the most far-gone knife. And I'd rather have a few mediocre knives with sharp edges (maybe not finely honed, but sharp nevertheless) than a couple of great knives that I can't keep sharp using a whetstone.

Anyhoo, they finally got the blob case filled up and it's now a major presence in the living room:

It's very comfortable but it's kind of tough to climb out of and it really does fill up the living room.

Enough bits and pieces for today because Treva's cutting up the baguette so we'll be having that with steelhead spread here shortly and I need both hands free for scarfing.


Anonymous said...

Damm if that doesn't look like a Trident Weustoff Knife.... I am with you Steve... A sharp knife that last a few less of the 50 years they are made for is worth having a sharp edge! I bet it feels nice to be able to spread (not the smoked salmon) your woodworking projects out in your shop!

Jay and Judy's blog said...

A sharp knife is an essential tool, however I have found that when cutting foam of any type an electric knife will give a cleaner edge and is much faster.

Steve and Lulu said...

Speaking of knife sharpeners, issue #2, 2010 of DIY Boater magazine gave the Accusharp sharpener (the same one I referred to above) a 9 out of 10 rating in their Tools and Gear review.