Project #1: Molcajete
I've written before about molcajetes although, in those cases I was referring to a restaurant offering. A molcajete is actually the bowl or mortar of a mortar and pestle. The pestle is a tejolote. The restaurant offerings are soups that are served boiling hot in a preheated molcajete which then retains its heat and keeps things boiling for a long time after it hits your table. But, a molcajete's first job is to grind food up. They are used for making all manner of things but seem to be primarily used for making salsas and guacamole. It's said grinding the seeds of the tomatoes, peppers, etc. releases flavors not found any other way. A blender just doesn't do it. After doing some reading about them, we decided that we really owed it to ourselves to get one and try it out. They're fairly easy to find in Mazatlán and are also fairly cheap, costing about 1/2 of what they go for in the States.
Molcajetes are traditionally made from basalt. They are hand-carved from this volcanic rock. This creates a bowl that is nice and rough for grinding but is also prone to release sand and grit as the equally rough tejolote is rubbed over the interior surface of the molcajete. Since no one wants sand and grit in their salsa or guacamole, the new molcajete has to be seasoned before it's used. Since that's quite a process and, since I took pictures during the process, the details will have to wait for another blog. But, as of now, our molcajete has been seasoned and is just waiting to make its first batch of salsa.
Project #2: Lifelines
While we were getting the new diesel jug carriers installed, I had a good chance to look closely at our lifelines. I wasn't particularly happy with what I saw. The plastic-coated stainless steel lifelines are probably as old as the boat (36 years last month). The coating was cracked and broken in lots of places and I spotted some hairline cracks in some of the end fittings. Besides, they didn't fit with the jug carriers the way I want and, as currently configured, as soon as the gates are opened, the remaining lifeline goes sloppily slack. I decided I needed to fix this.
It worked out well that Lulu was going up to the US because none of what I needed for the lifelines is available in Mazatlán, at least as far as I can ascertain. So, Lulu brought me back a bag full of new cable and lots of fittings and the tools to install them. More on all that, with photos, when I'm finished. I got started today for whatever that's worth.
Not really a full-fledged party, but yesterday we had a nice little dock potluck. Steve (s/v My Vice) and Merick (s/v Spica) went to see the shrimp ladies and bought something like 3 kilos of large, cleaned shrimp and a kilo of lobster tails to share with the rest of the dock. Steve had just bought a new Weber portable gas grill and was anxious to use it. Everybody brought something to share. There was a rice dish, a really good salad, and some sausage hors d'ouvres. Lulu made a potato salad and I made a green chile hominy casserole that I got from the pages of the Homesick Texan. Steve and Merick skewered the shrimp along with hunks of green, red, and yellow bell peppers as well as onions. It was an excellent feast and everyone got full long before the food was gone. We're in a really small marina so it's easy to have this sort of thing without feeling like you're excluding anyone. Next on the agenda: Mike and Melissa on s/v Tortue are planning a corned beef and cabbage spread for Saint Paddy's Day.
Our dockage is paid up through the end of March. We're hoping to head back over to the Sea of Cortez sometime in the last week or so of March. I've started watching the weather sites just to see if I can get a handle on any patterns that are happening. Right now, we're undecided as to whether or not to go to La Paz. There's really nothing there we need, at least at the moment. We'll see Keith and Kay (s/v Chamisa) somewhere in the Sea so it's not super important to go to LP to see them. However, Mike and Melissa from the Little Cunning Plan are blog followers and planning to be in La Paz in early April and it would be fun to meet them. On the other hand, we can save SO much money by bypassing La Paz. Just not too many places to spend money up in the islands. Oh, what to do, what to do? I'm sure we won't really know what our final decision is until we are actually underway and getting close enough to have to decide. After all, it's just not that important right now, is it?
Being fed up with Blogger's crappy spam filter and equally fed up with its CAPTCHA program that requires you to interpret words that are barely readable and which, by the way, apparently are readable by spambots as evidenced by the fact that a couple of spam comments got through even after I turned the word recognition program back on, I've decided to follow Tate and Dani's (s/v Sundowner) advice and switch my blog over to Wordpress. I've already migrated all the existing blogs (except this one) over. I also tried to send all the comments over but only got the ones through January 2012 before Wordpress just quit moving them. Or something. Now, I'm working on getting the new site looking like I want it to and I'm not devoting huge amounts of time to it yet so it could take a week or two. One of the coolest features of Wordpress is that you'll have the option to enter your e-mail address and get notified of any new posts. No more running to the Yodersafloat site only to be disappointed when all you see is the same thing you saw yesterday, and the day before, and the day before that....
If you want to take a look at what's there so far, and maybe get your bookmarks adjusted, the new site is at www.yodersafloat.wordpress.com (didn't see that coming, did you?). Even after I make the move, I'll maintain this site and include a link to the new site and maybe even an automatic redirect. The worst thing about the move is that I suspect I'll lose all that information on my ClustRMap. I'll include a ClustRMap on the new site but I doubt I can migrate the statistics across. Be a shame to look at a naked map for awhile.
Water Filter Followup
I replaced the 50 micron filter in the pre-tank filter with a charcoal element. Did this primarily to keep any chlorine that might be in the dock water from entering our aluminum tank. I've been drinking more water lately and, after going through a charcoal filter, a ceramic filter, a colloidal silver element, and finally another charcoal filter, I've got to say, it tastes pretty darn good and looks crystal clear in my recycled bottles as well. To the folks who've asked or wondered why we don't just run dock water through our reverse osmosis watermaker, there are a couple reasons. First, we'd have to be really sure of our charcoal filter since chlorine is anathema to RO membranes. You could ruin a $500 membrane really quickly if you screw up. Also, a membrane only has so many gallons that it's good for. I'd rather save mine for filtering salt out of sea water and, thus, save myself from having to schlep water of unknown quality in jerry jugs back to the boat when we're anchored out and not tied up to a dock. And finally, RO watermakers are incredibly inefficient in their use of water. Our Spectra Ventura 150 makes 6.5 gallons of water per hour. But, for every 6.5 gallons going to our tank, 90 gallons goes to waste. Now, when the waste stream is a concentrated salt brine going back into the ocean, that's one thing. But when the waste stream is made up almost entirely of what had been drinking water, well, I just can't be that wasteful. I mean, geez!, what next? Going to flush your toilet with drinking water? I mean, REALLY!
You've heard me complain before about how hard it is to get good sausage in Mexico. Well, that's not really fair. After all, they have lots of different kinds of chorizo and that's good sausage. But it's not what I want all the time. On a pizza, I want Italian sausage (maybe chorizo sometimes, but...), for breakfast, I want sweet, sage-y sausage (again, maybe chorizo sometimes). Well forget it. There's a guy in La Paz who sells these concoctions but he seems to think they're made of filet pignon (clever, neh?) or something for as much money as he wants. Well I finally decided to take the pig by the snout and make my own. Conveniently located right next door to our favorite produce stand is a little carniceria (butcher shop). I stopped in and asked for a half kilo of cerdo molido (ground pork). Then I scoured the internet for good sausage recipes and found several to try. I must say that so far, both the Italian and the breakfast sausages have been successes. Oh, they could both use some minor spice tweaking but my fist efforts at both were quite tasty. Maybe we've overcome another minor Mexican obstacle.
After Steve (My Vice) bought his new Weber, he consented to sell us his old Cobb Cooker. I was planning to buy one of these when we were in the States this summer but now I don't have to. And, for the price of cleaning it up a little, we saved a ton of money. Don't know about the Cobb? Check out their website. I'll report on it later in the season after I've had a chance to use it a few times.
Okay, there's probably something I'm leaving out but I think that's enough to chew on for a couple days.
Buenas noches, amigos.