Actually, we are in Jersey City, which is on the New Jersey side of the Hudson River, just across from Manhattan. We are anchored at a free anchorage near the Statue of Liberty. We can see her torch from our boat! Why are we STILL here, you say? Weren’t we in a big hurry to beat the cold weather and get south?? Well, yes…..but I had the good fortune to get a paid performance booked in New Jersey on Saturday, and it didn’t make much sense to keep traveling south just to have to turn around and go back north for my gig….and we also wanted to practice our sailing skills and get ourselves really set before heading out onto the ocean. So one day we met a guy named Rene on the docks who had a jacket on saying he was a sailing instructor, and so K. talked to him and asked if he would give us a lesson. All the other sailing schools we had talked to charged $150/hour, which was too high for our wee budget. This guy (I think actually he’s an angel) said he’d take us out with his friends on his sailboat the next day. Sure enough, the next day we got to go out on his big 35 foot sailboat and practice sailing in the New York Harbor. THEN, afterwards, he said “oh, by the way, I have an empty apartment with a big clawfoot bathtub in it that you are welcome to use”. Would we like to take a hot bath?? We JUMPED at that idea, as I had been fantasizing madly for a hot bath for weeks now. So we ended up staying there for a few days, while he has been helping us get some more safety rigging for our boat before we hit the ocean. He has been giving us little sailing lessons, tips and knowledge, advice, and a big discount from a sailing supply store that he has connections with. What a blessing!!
We are, however, starting to chomp at the bit to get out of here. As great as it’s been to get ourselves extra set for our ocean journey, we have been “in limbo” for a few days now and it’s starting to feel weird. Right now we are hoping to leave bright and early Monday morning and experience the unparalleled beauty of the New Jersey coast.
I decided to take a “weaving field trip” into Manhattan and check out some unusual yarn and weaving resources located here.
Oddly enough, both places I visited featured Japanese weaving styles and yarn. First, I went to HABU textiles, where they import exquisite and unusual yarn for both weaving and knitting. Using only natural dyes and materials, HABU has the most outrageous selection of silk, linen so shiny it’s iridescent, luscious merino wools, and even an unusual yarn that is a blend of stainless steel and silk. It was a challenge to not spend a lot of money here! I had to seriously restrain myself and left with only some super fine merino wool yarn and a wee bit of irresistible silk.
naturally dyed silks at Habu
Next, I took the subway to the upper east side and went to the Loop of the Loom, where I met Yukako Satone, the director of this charming yarn store, showroom, and weaving classroom. Loop of the Loom features a Japanese weaving technique called Saori, which isn’t so much a technique as it is a free style approach to weaving. Forget the complex weave structures and rigid rules, Saori weaving is a refreshing embrace of creative expression through yarn. While I was there some local children came in for a class,and it was wonderful to see how easy it was even for them to set up the looms and start weaving in their own style.
children practicing Saori weaving
It was fabulous to get a dose of inspiration of the wide world of weaving that is out there….and I have some new yarn to play with here on the boat! Here is the latest creation from my wee loom:
Here’s the voice logs from our departure from Plattsburgh, NY and our first stop in Burlington, VT. We stayed over in Burlington to wait out a storm. While we were there we had fine artisan pizza, visited the coop, went to West Marine, hung tight through one crazy blow of a storm, and met a few great people.
Catching up with the back log of audio “podcasts” that need to be posted. Here is the first one, from the end of July. It covers a sailing trip on Lake Champlain with our friend Aaron to Valcour Island where we made friends with the local powerboaters.
We’ve been recording audio notes all along, and now we have our podcast audio feed set up. Here is an example entry from our going away party / Lala’s birthday party.
Way back in the spring of 2009, K. continued his successful experimentation with homebrewing by starting a batch of mead, or fermented honey. (Those of you who were at our wedding may remember his first ventures into homebrewing with the most excellent wine that was served there) A year later, he tried the almost finished mead to find that it was too dry and not very good. He added more honey and waited another few months, and the night before we left on our sailing trip, we stayed up late and bottled the mead, so that we could bring a good supply of it on our trip with us. There was enough to make 8 bottles, and so to each bottle we added a different experimental ingredient, such as MORE honey, or ginger, or vanilla, or ginger AND vanilla.
At the time of bottling, K. added a little more yeast to see if a “champagne” result could be achieved. Well, it worked! The finished beverage has a bubbly effervescent head that sings with activity. In fact, so much pressure was building up in the bottles that one of them popped it’s cork on it’s own unexpectedly, and to our extreme delight we had to immediately drink the whole bottle, lest it spill and go to waste!!
The results have been outstanding. Actually, outstanding is an understatement. This mead inspires me to write poetry praising it’s subtle and smooth, sweet and seductive deliciousness. No matter how bad things are, this mead would make them feel better. It has heartwarming powers other drinks only wish they had.
If I wasn’t already madly in love with my husband, I would fall in love with him now just for having made the absolute most marvelous beverage ever. He didn’t invent it of course, as mead is one of the oldest fermented beverages known to mankind, however, this mead is superior to any other that I’ve ever tried.
If you’d like to try some, you’d better come visit us on our boat soon, before we drink it all! Only 6 bottles left!
We made it to New York! The 79th St. city docks are $30 per day, which is probably the cheapest way to stay in the big apple! There is no protection however; we are right on the shore of the Hudson, and all of the wakes from the barges roll our wee boat like it’s a roller coaster ride. So we try to just relax and “weeeeeeeee” enjoy the ride while everything inside crashes from side to side around us.
Spending a few days here visiting friends and enjoying the city before we move on. Hoping to score a few day sails on the ocean before we head down the Jersey coast.
Manhattan is INTENSE after being on the serentity and solitude of the water for weeks. We ate at a Thai restaurant called “LAND” where people were packed in like sardines into a very wee restaurant….everywhere we went there were mobs of people speaking all different languages- such a beautiful diversity of humanity here!
Well, that was an adventure. These guys think THEY”RE on a big adventure, but I just spent a whole week in Fort Edward hanging out in the bushes chasing chipmunks and mice and visiting other people’s houses. That’s the most adventurous thing I’ve ever done in my whole life!
I was getting a bit bored on that boat. I mean, it’s nice and all, but it’s a bit wee, and I needed to stretch my legs a bit, so when they weren’t looking, I hopped on the dock to have a look around. Right away I saw a chipmunk and HAD to chase it, and the next thing I knew, I was in uncharted territory. I thought I would just check things out a bit, so I wandered until it got really dark. I got really spooked by some loud noises, so I hid in the bushes for a LONG time. I think days went by, I’m not sure. I know finally I was getting really hungry so I looked around for food but didn’t find any. Good thing I’m so fat I had some extra fuel to burn!
It was fun roaming around on my own exploring, but the cold rain wasn’t really very fun. Having dogs bark at me scared the crap out of me. Crossing a big street was terrifying! I was starting to miss cuddling on the comfy couch with my brother SlowMo. And food……couldn’t someone just come and feed me when I meow???!?
Finally someone did feed me. I kept going back to her house ‘cuz I knew there would be food there. The next thing I knew I was IN her house (itwas nice and warm in there!) and there were a whole bunch of other cats there who all wanted to check me out and smell my butt. (I think they agreed with my people that my butt stinks.) As always, I tried to make friends with them and play, but some of them weren’t too friendly. Then I got shoved in one of those little boxes and put into a loud moving thing, and the next thing I knew I was back on that boat again, all surrounded by water. Why would anyone want to be surrounded by water?? It’s a little crazy to me but I’m glad to be back with people who pet me all the time and give me food whenever I want. And my brother was really happy to see me too. It’s a bit wee on this boat, but life is pretty good here. I gotta go take another nap.