• blackberry_mashing

    Making Blackberry Wine

    Monday, April 21, 2014

    Blackberry wine is not only incredibly inexpensive to make, it’s fun, makes a great gift, and is an excellent product to barter with. The recipe below makes a tasty wine and is very hard to mess up. Every September I pick as many blackberries as I can, put them in ziplock baggies, and throw them in the freezer for a rainy day. This winter, rainy days were not as prevalent than in the past, so it wasn’t until last month that I got around to…

  • Circumnavigating Lopez Island

    Circumnavigating Lopez Island

    Monday, April 14, 2014

    Last weekend found me with perfect weather and nothing better to do than circumnavigate Lopez Island. Along the way I met Alan of ArtOfHookie.org, ran aground, hit a log, lost my hat overboard, rescued a lost dog, and had a great time. Friday Winds were forecast on Friday at 12 mph from the southwest and a slack tide. I have a healthy scepticism this time of year that the weather will behave anything like the forecasts. This turned out to be an excellent example of…

  • Lady Fern Fronds

    Foraging: Lady Ferns

    Thursday, April 10, 2014

    My new favorite wild food this year is Lady Fern, and right now it’s just starting to spring out of the ground. This easy to identify, easy to cook, tasty wild treat will be in prime harvesting season for the next two to four weeks. Any of the voluminous field guides on plants in the Northwest will be able to help you competently tell lady fern apart from its sister species. The easiest fern to mistake it for is Bracken Fern, which is also sprouting…

  • debt_freedom_040414

    Debt Freedom

    Friday, April 4, 2014

    For the last six months, I’ve been working hard to get my sailboat safe, fully functional, and livable. I am happy to announce that I have achieved all the goals I set out, and now, as of April 1st, I am officially living aboard full time. Living aboard a boat has been a long-time goal of mine because it is a ‘lily pad’, creating jumping off point for so many more adventures. For instance, I have been greatly inspired by Ken Ilgunas’ book Walden on…

  • A beautiful sunset in the San Juan Islands

    Spring in the San Juan Islands

    Tuesday, March 25, 2014

    As I sat down on the ferry, I looked out the window. Over the space of five seconds, I saw five unique species of bird. Cormorants perched atop the pilings, scanning the water below for an easy meal to swim by. Ever-present pigeons and seagulls lazily flying along the shore. A large, beautiful merganser, a migratory sea bird that will soon head back north. And finally, another black and white migratory waterfowl that I can’t identify yet. On the walk down to the ferry, I…

  • Moored in Eagle Harbor

    Mating on Cypress Island

    Tuesday, March 18, 2014

    As I headed across the opening of the harbor, I was rewarded with the sight of a bald eagle gliding low over the water with a fish clasped in its talons. A couple seagulls were screaming bloody murder, which meant they thought the eagle stole it from them somehow. Shortly after pulling the dingy up to the beach, I crouched down to reset my GPS. At the familiar chirp of a bald eagle, I looked up to see three eagles flying in my directions –…

  • Boat Insulation

    Boat Insulation – Part 3

    Wednesday, March 12, 2014

    I finally finished fiberglassing in the hemlock ‘studs’ that will be used as scaffolding to support the upholstery and insulation. The final step was to mount the insulation and upholstery. Unlike a house, almost nothing on a boat is ‘square’ as the concept of ‘level’ doesn’t really exist on a boat. When trying to retrofit anything in tight quarters, construction become even more difficult. My friend Ken taught me a trick a while ago that greatly helps in boat construction: cardboard stencils. Large cardboard boxes…

  • dangling_main_halyard

    Yee Ha!

    Wednesday, March 5, 2014

    Whitecaps danced along to top of the waves as I drove by Rosario Strait on my way to the boat. Today was going to be a real test of my growing skill as a sailor. For the last three days I’d been planning my trip. The weather called for steady 15 mph winds from the NE and slack tide right after work. These would be perfect conditions to sail due west, through Lopez Pass, and into Lopez Sound. I figured I could duck in behind…

  • IMG_2665

    Sasquatch and the Wilderness Trail

    Wednesday, February 26, 2014

    When my brother proposed a camping trip, I jumped at the opportunity. We missed a previously planned trip on the boat, and we hadn’t done anything together since our journey to Alaska. With as much time as I’ve spent in the woods, I’ve never done a multi-day backpacking trip; certainly not in the Pacific Rainforest in the middle of February. The week before the trip was stressful. I knew that if I was not adequately prepared, the trip would be miserable. The two things I…

  • Insulating a Boat Hull Part 2

    Insulating a Boat Hull – Part 2

    Sunday, February 16, 2014

    After identifying the materials that I had at my disposal, the real work began in earnest. The first step was to remove the old vinyl covering that had been glued to the inside of the hull. I’m sure that when the boat was new, this stuff was great, but 20 years later large swaths of it had turned black from mold growth. It felt very healthy to rip this stuff out and douse every square inch of the V-berth with bleach-water. I showed in the…

  • MHCC_article_screenshot

    Leisure Time

    Monday, February 10, 2014

    Over the years, I’ve come to value leisure time as the ultimate value to measure wealth and success. When I was a very young man, I ‘collected’ CEOs. At 21, I was sure I wanted to build a business, sell it, make millions, and then retire in the San Juan Islands. I began to ask CEOs for an interview for an imaginary book ‘I was writing’. I took six months off college to work as the personal assistant to a CEO of a startup software…

  • Rosario Strait Fog

    Who Needs Radar?!

    Saturday, February 1, 2014

    Living on a boat requires a significant downsizing of possessions. Before Christmas I warned my family that I can no longer accept physical gifts, but gift cards will be gladly accepted. I was delighted to receive a gift certificate from my parents for the Rosario Resort on Orcas Island. I set out on an early Saturday morning and the conditions appeared perfect: glassy water, a flood tide, not a breath of wind, and warm sunlight glancing off the nearby islands. No sooner did I poke…

  • Infrastructure Independence

    Infrastructure Independence

    Tuesday, January 21, 2014

    I’m increasingly feeling that I should focus my blog on promoting a lifestyle of … I’m not really sure what to call it. Cruising? Living aboard? Off-grid tiny houses? ‘Infrastructure independence’ is the best phrase that comes to mind. The point is this: I believe the root of ‘the problem’ with our world today exists in our infrastructure. Most people today still live the lifestyle of the industrial age: Income obtained from a single job, paying taxes to a central government. Groceries obtained from a…

  • Bowman Bay Rocks

    Sailing in Solitude

    Sunday, January 12, 2014

    When I set out the water was as placid as a lake. The only ripples were those from my bow cutting through the calm, cold water. This weekend I was headed to Bowman Bay, just west of Deception Pass where Fidalgo and Whidbey islands meet. This is a great little bay with a floating dock, three mooring buoys, and another dock at Rosiaro park on the other side of the bay. It’s a tricky entrance though. The mouth has three rocks, one of which is…

  • debt and murder

    Debt and Murder

    Wednesday, January 1, 2014

    Recently I watched ‘The Green Mile’ staring Tom Hanks and based on a novel by Stephen King. It’s a great movie and I highly recommend it. One of the side stories is of a death-row inmate named Wild Bill who kidnaps two girls from their home and murders them in the woods. He is able to abduct them from their home without awakening the parents because he tells one of them, “If you scream, I’ll kill your sister.” Then he says the same thing to…

blackberry_mashing

Making Blackberry Wine

Blackberry wine is not only incredibly inexpensive to make, it’s fun, makes a great gift, and is an excellent product to barter with. The recipe below makes a tasty wine and is very hard to mess up. Every September I pick as many blackberries as I can, put them in ziplock baggies, and throw them in the freezer for a rainy day. This winter, rainy days were not as prevalent than in the past, so it wasn’t until last month that I got around to…

Circumnavigating Lopez Island

Circumnavigating Lopez Island

Last weekend found me with perfect weather and nothing better to do than circumnavigate Lopez Island. Along the way I met Alan of ArtOfHookie.org, ran aground, hit a log, lost my hat overboard, rescued a lost dog, and had a great time. Friday Winds were forecast on Friday at 12 mph from the southwest and a slack tide. I have a healthy scepticism this time of year that the weather will behave anything like the forecasts. This turned out to be an excellent example of…

Lady Fern Fronds

Foraging: Lady Ferns

My new favorite wild food this year is Lady Fern, and right now it’s just starting to spring out of the ground. This easy to identify, easy to cook, tasty wild treat will be in prime harvesting season for the next two to four weeks. Any of the voluminous field guides on plants in the Northwest will be able to help you competently tell lady fern apart from its sister species. The easiest fern to mistake it for is Bracken Fern, which is also sprouting…

debt_freedom_040414

Debt Freedom

For the last six months, I’ve been working hard to get my sailboat safe, fully functional, and livable. I am happy to announce that I have achieved all the goals I set out, and now, as of April 1st, I am officially living aboard full time. Living aboard a boat has been a long-time goal of mine because it is a ‘lily pad’, creating jumping off point for so many more adventures. For instance, I have been greatly inspired by Ken Ilgunas’ book Walden on…

A beautiful sunset in the San Juan Islands

Spring in the San Juan Islands

As I sat down on the ferry, I looked out the window. Over the space of five seconds, I saw five unique species of bird. Cormorants perched atop the pilings, scanning the water below for an easy meal to swim by. Ever-present pigeons and seagulls lazily flying along the shore. A large, beautiful merganser, a migratory sea bird that will soon head back north. And finally, another black and white migratory waterfowl that I can’t identify yet. On the walk down to the ferry, I…

Moored in Eagle Harbor

Mating on Cypress Island

As I headed across the opening of the harbor, I was rewarded with the sight of a bald eagle gliding low over the water with a fish clasped in its talons. A couple seagulls were screaming bloody murder, which meant they thought the eagle stole it from them somehow. Shortly after pulling the dingy up to the beach, I crouched down to reset my GPS. At the familiar chirp of a bald eagle, I looked up to see three eagles flying in my directions –…

Boat Insulation

Boat Insulation – Part 3

I finally finished fiberglassing in the hemlock ‘studs’ that will be used as scaffolding to support the upholstery and insulation. The final step was to mount the insulation and upholstery. Unlike a house, almost nothing on a boat is ‘square’ as the concept of ‘level’ doesn’t really exist on a boat. When trying to retrofit anything in tight quarters, construction become even more difficult. My friend Ken taught me a trick a while ago that greatly helps in boat construction: cardboard stencils. Large cardboard boxes…

dangling_main_halyard

Yee Ha!

Whitecaps danced along to top of the waves as I drove by Rosario Strait on my way to the boat. Today was going to be a real test of my growing skill as a sailor. For the last three days I’d been planning my trip. The weather called for steady 15 mph winds from the NE and slack tide right after work. These would be perfect conditions to sail due west, through Lopez Pass, and into Lopez Sound. I figured I could duck in behind…

IMG_2665

Sasquatch and the Wilderness Trail

When my brother proposed a camping trip, I jumped at the opportunity. We missed a previously planned trip on the boat, and we hadn’t done anything together since our journey to Alaska. With as much time as I’ve spent in the woods, I’ve never done a multi-day backpacking trip; certainly not in the Pacific Rainforest in the middle of February. The week before the trip was stressful. I knew that if I was not adequately prepared, the trip would be miserable. The two things I…

Insulating a Boat Hull Part 2

Insulating a Boat Hull – Part 2

After identifying the materials that I had at my disposal, the real work began in earnest. The first step was to remove the old vinyl covering that had been glued to the inside of the hull. I’m sure that when the boat was new, this stuff was great, but 20 years later large swaths of it had turned black from mold growth. It felt very healthy to rip this stuff out and douse every square inch of the V-berth with bleach-water. I showed in the…

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