Last night a cold front settled down in central Texas. The high yesterday was 92 degrees. The temps today have dropped nearly 50 degrees. A rude awakening.
All but one of my hummingbirds have moved on. This one has spent the day under the eaves out of the rain, sheltered from the north wind, and with its personal supply of nectar. I named her Ellie. I hope she makes it.
I drove down to the coast this week to join Lori and Mike on Trident to work on some boat projects. We sat through a day-long, hands-on class for “Marine Diesel Engine Introduction and Maintenance” which was delivered on-board Trident. I learned a tremendous amount, and now feel like I have a basic understanding of how a diesel engine works, and how some maintenance can be done. At night I dreamt of primary fuel filters, lift pumps, fuel pumps, engine fuel filters, injector pumps, injectors, oil extractors, heat exchangers, impellers, strainers, shut-off valves, stop-cocks, oh, my!
Today, after the lecture part of the class, Lori and Mike performed the following maintenance to Trident: primary fuel filter change, engine fuel filter change, impeller change, oil change, oil filter change, belt tension check, transmission fluid check, heat exchanger coolant check, raw water strainer cleaning). Nine hours of learning and doing. I’m looking forward to opening up Nirvana and seeing if I can identify all the components on her 3 cylinder, 30 HP Yanmar diesel.
Why do they put such big engines in such small places?
The engine and generator are inside this compartment, comically called the engine “room.” There is actually a guy (the teacher) sitting on the generator inside this compartment, pointing to components on the engine behind it.
Lori is changing the primary fuel filter here, reaching through the aft access door to the engine “room.”
A year or two ago, I installed a small water feature under the oaks next to our back patio. It was a small fountain powered by a tiny water pump (4W, 80 gallons per hour). The birds have enjoyed it almost as much as I have.
The first pump lasted about a year. I clean it every few weeks. But one day it just stopped working. No problem. I ordered another pump from amazon and installed it. A week later some varmit pulled the pump out of the water basin, and it ran dry until it melted. 😦
I bought a third pump and the same thing happened; probably by the same damn varmit. 😡
This time, I’ve placed the pump under a rock and added a piece of plastic tubing to carry a stream of water through holes in the rock onto the pebbles below.
We recently celebrated our anniversary. Tonight, we had Lori and Pooh over for dinner and popped open one of our oldies.
It was a bottle from a winery that we visited on our honeymoon – an almost 20 year old chianti that we brought back with us. The cork didn’t leak or budge in the last two decades, so the wine was really pretty good! I am very happy to be able to share it with friends.
TripAdvisor just announced their list of top museums in the world, ranked by their travelers. At #1 is my favorite, the Musee d’Orsay in Paris. I’ve visited Paris on four different trips, and hope to make it a few more before I’m through. And when I do, I will walk through the entire d’Orsay again. It’s beautiful – a restored train station, the Gare d’Orsay, that was built for the 1900 World’s Fair. It opened as the Musee d’Orsay in 1986. Its exhibits are diverse and gorgeous.
Here is a pic from my last visit, it looks just like any other taken of its expansive great hall, around and through which its galleries are placed.
And another pic of the old clock, with a bit of my own artistic treatment (using the Brushstroke app).
I have nurtured this for several years. Though the brutally cold temperature dips appeared to kill it to the ground every winter, it popped up green shoots each spring. But, this is the first year it has flowered for me. While we were out of town for the month of August, I hoped I could keep it and some of our other flowering plants alive with an automated sprinkler. Upon our return, I was so pleased to see that not only did they all survive, but this plant had 2 flower heads ready to bloom. A happy gardener, here. 🙂
I’ve read about an easy do it yourself way to clean up tarnished sterling silver jewelry. I finally got around to trying it today.
– a piece of aluminum foil
– boiling water, 1-2 cups
– baking soda, 1 Tablespoon per cup of boiling water
– some tarnished silver jewelry to clean
Crumple up the foil really well, place in an empty bowl, and nestle each piece of jewelry into the foil so it is making good contact with the foil. This is really important to ensure the electrochemical reaction required to clean the silver.
Boil the water, add baking soda, stir well and then pour into the bowl with jewelry and foil. The chemical reaction to remove the tarnish from the silver will bubble while it’s happening.
Wait 15 minutes or so. Remove jewelry and rinse well.
Tarnish results from silver reacting with sulfur-laden substances in the air, forming black silver sulfide on the surface of the silver. This technique reverses that reaction, causing the sulfur to instead move to the aluminum in the foil.
The next day, we drove to Colleen’s house. She cooked pulled pork, from scratch, and it made for delicious sandwiches. We visited with her, Lee and Jake all night. The next morning we headed to Whidbey Island for a day trip.
The smoke and haze was very bad. But it’s a beautiful destination.
Whidbey Island Distillery makes a nice whiskey, and delicious berry liqueurs. They use a continuous still, homemade – see the copper pipes and tubes in the second picture below.
I walked down to the beach to get a view of the Deception Pass bridge…We popped into the Admiralty Point lighthouse…Then we hopped the ferry to Port Townsend…VERY smoky. This is a shot from the deck of the ferry of the sun setting over the beautiful Olympic Mountains. 🙂
We made an overdue visit to the Pacific Northwest to visit family and friends.
Fires are burning all across the area, and in Canada as well, so smoke was thick everywhere.
A drive up into the Olympic mountains made for a lovely day trip, but you could not really see the mountains, even standing amongst them at 5700′.
Port Townsend is one of my favorite places. I just can’t visit there too many times. We walked through the Maritime Center and watched shipwrights work, and walked the docks where the Wooden Boat Show will be in a few weeks.
The next day we took the ferry to Seattle and spent the day exploring the waterfront, Pike Place Market, and Seattle Center.
I’ve just returned from a week of sailing down the Texas Gulf coast from Galveston to Port Aransas and back. Monte and I joined Mike to crew for Lori on a shakedown cruise on Trident as she prepares for her cruising life later this year. The week flew by, with the drive to the coast, 2 days of boat projects in Kemah, then anchoring overnight off Galveston Island’s Moody Gardens before sailing in the Gulf of Mexico for 450-ish nautical miles roundtrip, including an overnight watch while sailing each way, and a two night stay at Port Aransas Municipal Marina, and back again. It was a fun trip – lots of laughs, sun and wind. The weather was very different from February when we sailed across the Gulf – much calmer seas and weather this time, and MUCH hotter.