Saturday, September 29, 2007

Before & After PICS of weekend progress

We spent several hours on the boat today. We removed the guard rail, soft top, windshield, rub-rail, rest of cleats & misc things off the back.
I'm too tired to write a novel so pictures may have to do.
The first is a comparison, although not a perfect 'before' shot was captured. I had to use an old photo from the old house and reverse it to make the comparison. Next is the picture of the windshield removal after the soft canvas top was removed.

Big growth in the garden after a week of rain.

Seedlings are getting bigger.

I did a little transplanting late this afternoon between some rain. I should have approx 12 brussel sprout plants, 19 cauliflower heads and plenty of other veggies this winter. Sadly, none of my citrus trees did well with the move and I lost all my fruit early in the season. I'm hoping for a much better yield next year at the new home.

Nice growth on the herbs in the garden. Growing herbs has been new to me and a welcomed surprised of great taste in my cooking. I meant to take the top off my basil plant before it seeded but I was too late. I think that is because all this is so new to me. Still, it is beautiful. Removing the top is suppose to make the plant bushier.

Last but not least, we had some personal achievements this weekend. Somebody, who has been avoiding his bike & the old training wheels, is learning to ride his bike. On day 2, he not only managed to secure his balance & turn, but he has decided to challenge himself with tricks. Look Mom, 1-hand!! Our eldest went from bike to skateboard to rollerblades. (By the way, we found the other 2 helmets after this picture was taken. Safety first.)
Be good to your boat!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

I *can* use powertools!!

Maybe I am more handy than I thought.

Jack has been very busy with his job this week and I have actually finished homeschooling early each day. (Or at least what feels like early since we no longer have daddy interruptions or long lunches.) So, he asked me if I felt comfortable with removing some of the items along the sides of the boat.

I did not think I had it in me, but I managed to remove more than I expected. It was nice to work as the sun went behind the house. The boys rode bikes and I had a 2nd story view of them.
Everything has to be duct taped after it is removed to prevent our near-daily rains from getting into the wood.
I only messed up one thing. It was a rookie mistake that could have been prevented, but thankfully I'm married to a professional who can right my wrong.
I also managed to take the training wheels off a bike and put air in all the tires. I actually changed a lightbulb in a ceiling fan two weeks ago. Wow, maybe I shouldn't tell Jack that I can do all the "honey-do's". Shhhh. I've already got enough chores around the house.
Update on Nikki: There has been no further progress in finding Nikki who was lost at sea Sat afternoon. Last I read, the Coast Guard had covered over 1300 sq mi. Info changes so quickly so here is a link if you care to follow the story. Look at the "Stickies" at the top. Also, there is a link provided if you care to donate to her fund.
(My apologies for copying pictures from that forum. My intent is to get the word out to more folks and put a face with a name. I see that Google has already put my blog on their first page for searches on Nikki. ) Our hearts and prayers go out to Nikki and her family.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007


I had to double-post today. My heart is aching as I read hundreds of posts of people praying and searching for Nikki. It is nearly been 4 full days since Nikki went down for an ordinary dive to spear some fish. She and her dive partner both reached bottom together and then parted ways. That was the last anybody had seen Nikki. The current was fast and many of the divers were found far from the boat. Nikki was the only one that wasn't picked up. From there, a massive call went out to all dive boats, fishermen and the Coast Guard.

Night fell quickly and so the search had to resume Sunday morning. The dive originated in Jupiter, FL but search parties went out from there, Vero and Sebastian inlet. I do not know all the names or boats that participated but I pray that God blesses each one for their valiant efforts to find Nikki alive. Around Sun evening, the CG had stopped their search BUT, .... but the family of divers, spearfishermen and fishermen across the US did not give up hope. Many know her and knew she was a strong swimmer and smart. Nikki is also a psychologist at a Special needs school in Melbourne. I have friends that work with her. They all agree that if anybody could survive a few days in the ocean, it would be her.

Monday came and the search did not stop. Fellow divers sought out other aviation companies & pilots to donate time in the air to search patterns for her. Other people donated through paypal more funds for the search. Dive boats continue to refill their tanks with air and p/u a fresh load of divers. I'm tellin' ya, there is a massive effort out there to find Nikki either on top or below the water. The computer internet has provided excellent communications for people to check new area and possible float patterns.
Yesterday, a diver found Nikki's speargun loaded approx .6 mi north of the dive site. (not a bad sign) A plane spotter found an inflatable chair about 26 mi NE of Port Canaveral that was originally thought to be hers but isn't. (another good sign) The winds have changed for the better that she may be blown closer to shore.

The TV is still running her story, as well as local newpapers.
(click link to video of hope) The Fales family in the video are good friends of mine.

Nikki, we are praying for your safe return home. I grieve each night as the sun falls and I'm aware that you're still floating out there. I'm thankful for the full moon to provide her with light at night. I pray she is using her dive light, shark repellant and knife to eat food from the ocean. I also pray for her family who have been so graceful and hopeful during these days. May they continue to keep their strength and hope.

Father, please bring Nikki back to shore or in the sight of a spotter. Thank you Lord for the massive efforts you've inspired in people to bring her back to dry ground.
In Jesus's name,
PS: This is the last picture of Nikki on her first dive Saturday.

This is the one closest to the autumnal equinox (so I'm told). Here's a homeschooling lesson for the day:

In the days before electric lights, farmers relied on moonlight to help them gather ripening autumn crops. The bright Harvest Moon allowed their work to continue late into the night. Now, post-Edison, we appreciate the Harvest Moon more for its beauty than its utility. Moonrise happens tonight at sunset; look east and enjoy the view! (brussel sprouts)

While our Florida garden isn't even close to harvest, I would imagine that the rest of the US garden are nearing harvest, picking and canning times. We may need to pick a moon in Nov or Dec to harvest by moonlight (ha ha). (sweet bell pepper)

Please remember Nikki Cuomo in your prayers. She is a diver that has been lost 3 days at sea. They are beginning to find her speargun and "sausage" float, but not her. The coast guard had called off the search but in light of new clues, they are back on. Blessings to all those that are volunteering time, money, oxygen tanks and planes for her rescue. Our community has truly pulled together to find Nikki.

Happy Harvesting,

Sunday, September 23, 2007


I can attest to seeing some waste outside our port. It was awful. Secondly, I'd love to see the banning of those silver balloons from all oceanliner cruise boats. I would be a rich woman if I had a dollar for every balloon we came across on a fishing trip.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

One small step for man,
One giant leap for mankind!

We've had an extremely busy past 48 hrs.
Friday, we were blessed to share time with a couple homeschooling families at Kennedy Space Center for the "free" days to Brevard Co residents. We all got there at 9am sharp and our family ended up practically closing out the park at 5 pm.
Jack called me at 4pm to let me know severe weather was heading our way but it took a full 45 min to get done with the bus tour out to the Launch pads. We loved every minute of our trip. We even saw gators and a bald eagle on the bus ride back to the Visitor's Complex.

I put together a couple collages for you to enjoy. My favorite pic of the day was my little man staring at the astronaut uniform behind the glass.
When we got home, we were greeted by this terrible storm. See all those lightening strikes? The red means we were under a tornado warning and I believe one touched down north of us.

We all went to bed exhausted and woke up this morning refreshed, ready to work. I'm so tired that I don't have much to say other than I was "Parts" girl. I organized his shelves for most my time outside. (Must buy bins!)

Jack put in these nice doors at the back of the boat so he could have future access to all those bolts. I helped with creating the template for these cuts. The left side has yet to have the hatch popped in a duct taped (temporarily).

At the end of the day, I got to help on the outside of the boat with the engine bracket removal. Jack was undoing the nuts on the inside of the boat.

Tomorrow afternoon, we should be able to easily remove the swim step and handle. We'll push the lines back in the boat and removed those other fittings. Then, Jack can begin sanding and painting the back. Yahoo!! Progress!! This is a giant leap for mankind,.... um, I mean us.
Have a wonderful weekend,

Wednesday, September 19, 2007


Jack went to a boat salvage yard today to look for hatches to put in the inside wall of the transom. Right now, it is a single hatch (for the battery switch) which won't allow him access to all sorts of bolts on the sides. Many Mako restorations include plenty of custom features that just make more sense now. Adding access to areas is a fairly easy and common fix.

Jack found two hatches at Flounder Pounder's salvage yard. They do need a little loving but otherwise, they're good to use and a fraction of the cost of new. Once installed, they will stay there for good.
Our fish box (seen above) actually is a place of storage for marine items in our garage. It is beautiful but not practical for keeping fish fresh. There is no insulation in the sides so ice melts rather quickly and fish meat spoils. We found it cumbersome to have right in the back, where we want to be fishing. We like having our long, portable, insulated cooler instead.
The item in yellow is a bag of disposable work suits. This is to keep the fiberglass shards off of Jack's exposed flesh.
Less exciting, there were 2 bags of fiberglass cloth, disposable brushes and epoxies, etc.
We talked tonight about creating a "punch list" which sounds no different than a to-do list with a spot to either make checks or put in dates as goals. I'll probably help him with that tomorrow night.
Happy Fishing y'all!
PS: Please, somebody catch a fish for me. I'm starting to have withdrawls.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Rain prevented us from getting work done on the boat itself, so Jack removed the livewell (tank that holds live fish) and worked on its cosmetic problems.

He not only filled holes, but he repaired broken fiberglass areas. A surprise [NOT] was the dead shrimp caught up in the side area. This is a design flaw which will be corrected.
Also, this morning, Jack woke up to some pretty infected knuckles. We have been disinfecting and cleaning out multiple times today. He wore a glove while working on the livewell too. What he didn't do was wear long sleeves while sanding the fiberglass and all those thousands of tiny particles ended up in his forearms which now feel pricked everytime he moves. Make sure you wear a mask if you're going to work around these fiberglass particles. I wore one just to change over laundry.
Here is Daddy's helper today. I was busy with schooling and house chores, so Jack had our boxer, Jackson, for entertainment. No, we did not name him that.... it's coincidence.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Some new vocabulary for the novice/ mechanic wife:

Transom - Back end of the boat. Must stay dry (interior) to be worthy of holding engine.
Fittings - Anything round that goes through the boat or attaches to something else. Usually doesn't cost much to replace, so no freak-out necessary.

Engine - That big black thing hanging off the end of the boat.

Engine Bracket - The piece that holds the engine to the boat transom (silver on our boat)

Powerhead - Big head-like part of the outboard engine

Foot - lower part of the engine where the propeller attaches

Propeller - Shiny pin-wheel thingy that spins at the bottom of the foot. Don't touch.

Steer Shaft - Long silver rod that connects the foot to the powerhead and spins the propeller in the water.

Wet wood - Not good, but not bad. Possibly salvageable.

Worm wood - When the transom's wood gets so bad that it turns into a mush and has to be replaced. It is as bad as it sounds.

Trim tab - Evens the boat out when moving fast (called "on plane"). They sit on the bottom of the transom.

Ouch - Time to get the bandaids, peroxide and neosporin out. This is usually accompanied by lots of grunts, groans, red face covered in sweat and then blood appearing somewhere on the body.
Renee (SteppinHeavenward) talked today about how wonderful her hubby was to watch their 9 children and change out her gauze when she was konked out by pain meds for her wisdom teeth removal. Love is different in different homes. Jack only asked me to do 1 thing today with the boat. I had to hold the wrench in place while he placed torque (twisting) pressure on the end of it. I did my job pretty well, but he ended up raking his knuckles into the backside of a screw. Not just once, but twice. It looked so painful. He didn't once complain that I let the wrench slip a little. And then after I nursed him back to complete health, I cooked him a big vegan dinner. It was a terrible flop but he ate it. (new recipe)
Back to the boat...... for reasons too complicated to repeat at 11 pm, Jack took the foot of our engine over to the local boat shop to have the steer shaft shortened from 30" to 25". The goal is to take the engine off the extra brackets that raised it up and make the length work better in the water. A better solution is to have the engine at the right length in the first place and remove the extra heigth. I can explain this better once I have an "after" photo to compare. For those of you who love physics, it may be understandable to you.
Happy Boating,

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Engine OFF!!!

This is the work that Jack did Friday. I helped a little but mostly I worked inside the house until the hoist work. Honestly the whole hoist thing scares me, but we survived.

No matter what we did, we could not join the engine to the stand when the top bar was at the top. I've heard it said that it is better to let the mind rest and it will subconciously fix (or work)the problem when you're relaxing. So, we stopped, ate and Jack went to bed. He was up at 1am and his brain had solved the issue. Amazingly, nobody in the whole house heard the drilling or hammering. God is good, all the time! I woke up to the engine being on the stand but at a lowered position.

I failed to mention earlier that when removing an engine and restoring a boat, one needs entertainment and good music. We really appreciated having the big guy come out and hang out with mom and dad. My younger son came and went but heat really isn't his thing. I'm sure that as the project moves into the fall, they'll both be enjoying their bikes again.
Feel free to click on the pictures to make them bigger. I don't suppose many viewers are interested in the engine removal, but it is Step 1. That big silver bracket hanging off the back is Step 2. It also has to be moved via the hoist. I have to go now and do that with Jack.
Happy Fishing,

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Here is a collage of my fall garden. Top left is the day I put in the dirt and young herb plants that I bought. Look at how much they're grown in 3 wks. I'm getting my rows of baby carrots and brussel sprouts.
On the right side of the garden (now expanded), I have a tomato section. My cherry tomatoes are from seeds that I've used for the past several years. I call them hurricane tomatos because a friend got them in her yard back during Hurricane Andrew. I got them in 2002 or 3, but after the 2004 hurricanes, I found them transplanted all around my yard and around the corner. If it weren't for those plants, I would have lost my next generation. Anyhow, they do make a fantastic salad tomato since they're so small and sweet.
My onions are up and I'm still turning grown in the new section. I'd be done if it weren't for all these afternoon t-storms.
Happy Fishing and Gardening,

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

9/12/07 Heavy Equipment....

Keeps showing up here daily. I'm afraid that we're going to have a boat in pieces very soon.

The CFOA (Central FL Offshore Anglers) ladies & juniors club tournament is Saturday. I kept the 3x5 card reminder on the mirror, right in front of the fawcett knobs. I don't suppose my hint to fish in the tournament was bold enough. Maybe I should have taped it up where he looks at his face. :o) I even asked if his friend John was going to fish the tourney and he said he didn't know. My guess is that I'll have to wait 'til next year to get in on some tournament action. Jack has boat makeover on the brain. Well, at least my Mom and Dad probably got some fishing action in tonight where they live. I'll have to live vicariously through them.

Did anybody notice that rainy, round thing spinning in the Atlantic? (I'm not going to be the first to say it.)

Happy Fishing,

Monday, September 10, 2007

My 201st post!!!!

This morning, I honored Bro Moseley. Let's go ahead and honor Florida this afternoon. I laughed so hard at these. I believe I fit into most if not all of these stereotypes.

You know you're a Floridian if.... ..
Socks are only for bowling...
You never use an umbrella because you know the rain will be over in five minutes...
A good parking place has nothing to do with distance from the store, but everything to do with shade...
Your winter coat is made of denim...
You can tell the difference between fire ant bites and mosquito bites...
You're younger than thirty but some of your friends are over 65...
Anything under 70 is chilly...
You pass on the right and honk at the elderly,
but pull over for a funeral...

You've driven through Yeehaw Junction...
You could swim before you could read...
You have to drive north to get to The South...
You know that no other grocery store can compare to Publix...
Every other house in your neighborhood had blue roofs in 2004-2005...
You've gotten out of school early on Halloween to trick or treat before it got dark..
You know that anything under a Category 3 just isn't worth waking up for...
You dread lovebug season...
You are on a first name basis with the Hurricane list. They aren't Hurricane Charley, Hurricane Frances...
but Charley , Frances , Ivan and Jeanne...

You know what a snowbird is and you hate them...
You know why flamingos are pink...
You think a six-foot alligator is actually pretty average.
You were twelve before you ever saw snow, or you still haven't...
"Down South" means Key West..
"Panhandling" means going to Pensacola..
You think no-one over 70 should be allowed to drive...
Flip-flops are everyday wear...
Shoes are for business meetings and church...
No, wait, flip flops are good for church too, unless it's Easter or Christmas...
Sweet tea can be served at any meal...
An alligator once walked through your neighborhood...
You smirk when a game show's "Grand Prize" is a trip or cruise to Florida...
You measure distance in minutes...
You have a drawer full of bathing suits, and one sweatshirt...
You get annoyed at the tourists who feed seagulls...
All the local festivals are named after a fruit...
A mountain is any hill 100 feet above sea level..
You think everyone from a bigger city has a northern accent...
You know the four seasons really are: almost summer, summer, not summer but really hot, and February...
It's not soda, cola, or pop. it's coke, regardless of brand or flavor,
"What kinda coke you want?"..

Anything under 95 is just warm...
You've hosted a hurricane party...
You go to a theme park for an afternoon, and know when to get on the best rides.
( Space Mountain during the Electric Light Parade!)..

You understand the futility of exterminating cockroaches...
You can pronounce Okeechobee, Kissimmee , Ichnatucknee and Withlacoochee..
You understand why it's better to have a friend with a boat, than have a boat yourself...
Bumper stickers on the pickup in front of you include: various fish, NRA, Nascar and Go Gators...
You were 5 before you realized they made houses without pools...
You were 25 when you first met someone who couldn't swim...
You get angry when people say " Florida isn't really part of the SOUTH."..
You've worn shorts and used the A/C on Christmas...
You know what the "stingray shuffle" is, and why it's important!..
You recognize Miami-Dade as " Northern Cuba "...
You forward this
A true Christian hero
(click here ) has gone home to be with the Lord

Please take a moment to read Renee's Memorial to Brother Moseley. We had only a few short years to get to know him but he used that time to make such a big impression on my heart.

He will be missed. The world will be less bright without him in it.

You see, heroes really do wear cowboy hats.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Here is the goal....
The following project boat pictures were taken from the Classic Mako website. Many Classic Mako owners have form tight-knit groups and have started restoring boats in black and white custom paint jobs. I think this is so clean and classis for the new look.

Neither of these is a perfect fit for us so we'll take variations of each. We love the black stripe down the side. We also agree that we love the little black Mako logo in the front of the bow.
We are having a hard time locating new Mako 248 ID plates. We found a warehouse that sold them but ours were not in stock. They are no longer made either. So, we may have to have it painted onto the back of the boat.
Have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Engine Stand or Stocks for unruly children? LOL

It's an engine stand. Jack finished it today. It should hold that hefty 500 lb engine. Tomorrow, the hoist should be at the house. In the days that follow, there should be an engine mounted here for the next couple months while all the fiberglass is repaired and boat is repainted.

Today was a monumental day for the boys. They became the proud parents of frogs. We raised them from eggs that we found in our pool the first week we moved here. It was a heart-breaker for Lil' Man who fought so deperately against nature to keep his babies. I had to convince him that it was kinder to let them go than to keep them. It seemed so cruel though after months of watching & slight nurturing. I thought they'd never get those back legs, then the front.... but it seems like literally overnight, they transformed. The tail was gone and they hopped out. We have 2 more later-stage tadpoles left to go.

Jesus said, "I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener." John 15:1
We stopped schooling to have a morning seminar in landscaping maintenance. Both boys learned to pull weeds and endure Florida heat. My boys exceeded my expections in being such good helpers. I thought you might like to see one of our Crotans.

The yard looks magnificient! In the afternoon, we took another seminar in horticulture & garden planting. Lil' Man got his cutting flowers planted while my Big Guy and I planted the tomatos (Better boys, Big boys and Cherry toms).

"I planted the seed, but God made it grow." 1 Cor 3:6. Honestly, this verse does not speak of gardens but of one's heart; however, I could not resist using it for these next pictures. We have one more section of garden left to turnover and add fresh garden soil & seeds.
Neither photo is great but at least you get an idea. The left side is primarily herbs, right tomatoes, peppers in the middle, salad bowl stuff in the front. I put out stepping stones but they're not place in the ground yet. I simply did not have enough energy to do any more by 5 pm.

Sorry there are no fish photos, but you'll have to suffer through these restoration & garden photos for the fall. I have waited years to have my own land again and to have a modest garden. It is one of my favorite hobbies, next to fishing.

Happy Fishing to those who can get out,

Monday, September 03, 2007

Happy Labor Day!!!!!

Doesn't everybody's Labor Day start off with a trip to Home Depot?
After we worked for a short while, our tummys were hungry. We have not had any fish for a long while, so it was time to thaw out some of that frozen snapper from a month or so ago. (pictured somewhere below)

Jack's master chef skills were honed in on creating a new blend of seasonings and marinade. Renee, we're going to start conditioning you for when your Ghana boys come home and ask for you to prepare fish. Slow thaw any fish meat. Be careful not to cook the flesh accidentally with warm water. Make a marinade - start with EVOO, spices and whatever you like best. Jack's new recipe is still top secret. ha ha. I can tell you that it has Thyme from our garden chopped into the mixture. We paint on the marinade. (Try this with your little ones.) Coat both sides.
This picture makes it look more yellowy than it truly is. I think you're seeing the golden EVOlive Oil under the flash.

Next, Jack coats the grill with some cooking spray. We put the fillets onto a 450 degree grill. It must be super hot to seer the sides of the fish. Leave for a few minutes.
Be careful when flipping the fish over. Jack uses 2 utensils to move each piece. Also, the oil may cause a quick flame flare-up; however, it should not persist more than a couple seconds.

Cover up grill and let the 2nd side cook a few more minutes. We have large snapper steaks, so those take longer. The boys had the smaller pieces.
Boy, was this delicious!! I rounded out my plate with a bean salad and corn on the cob. The guys also had french fries to add to their plates. I am a fish-eatin' vegan. I believe my Mom called that something like a pesce-vegan. The only meat I eat is fish & seafood. Jack is a vegan that eats meat and dairy and eggs. ha ha.

Anyhow.... enough joking and back to work.

Jack and I labored in different parts of the yard. Here you can see that I expanded my garden doubly. See the darker dirt? That was the original size. I was waiting on Jack to cut my timber when I joked that I could save him the work if he let me continue the garden all the way out 8 feet from the wall. He agreed. Yipee!! I'll be working on that later this week. It will finish approx 8' x 16'.

I love the new timbers. My brussel sprout & carrot seedlings are breaking ground. Yeah!

Jack worked in the garage building this stand to hold his engine once the hoist gets here. It will be the engine's new home for the next couple months. It is not completed yet, but you get the idea.
It should be completed tomorrow. In my next post, I will try to show you pictures of the spider cracks that are coming from the engine mount bracket on the boat. This will require serious attention. The transom (back wall of boat) will need to be checked carefully for any rotting or stress so we can make the adjustments now while things are disassembled. We are also weighing ways to fix the trailer or if we should buy a new one.
I'm afraid this is going to be a long project folks. Now is the best time since the better fishing comes in winter (for bottom fish like snapper & grouper) and spring (for cobia & mahi mahi migrations).
Happy Fishing & Love your boat!