Saturday, April 16, 2011

Pie and what does it have to do with sailing?

Pies of all sorts seem to be the new food trend in North America, so I thought I would share my favourite pie recipe, just for the hell of it!  I didn't provide a pastry recipe as everyone has their favourite, if you would like a recipe, send me a note.

Sour Cherry Passion Fruit Pie


1 lb fresh sour cherries, pitted OR 1 lb frozen sour cherries
1 tsp. grated ginger
1/2 cup sugar
1 tbsp. vanilla
1 cup passion fruit puree

Cook cherries and sugar until thick.  Add remaining ingredients.  Pour into pie shell and cover with pastry.  Brush with egg wash or with heavy cream (gives a glossy sheen to the pastry)

Bake in a 350 oven until crust is brown, about 40 minutes.

You could wimp out and buy cherry pie filling but I promise you, once you have made this recipe from scratch, you will NEVER EVER want to buy cherry pie filling EVER AGAIN!

So what does this have to do with sailing?  NOTHING.  But cherry pie is my favourite pie and sailing is my favourite pass time.  2 weeks until splash down and the weather this weekend is frightful.  It's cold, rainy and windy - that's the forecast for the next three days.

What, do most non-boat owners want to know, do boaters need to do to get ready for launch?  Well here's my list just for this year, some years it's shorter, some years it's WAY longer:

Power wash hull and deck
Go home and change into dry clothes
Sand bottom
Paint bottom
Resand bottom after realizing your hair was dragging behind you in the fresh paint
Touch up bottom paint
Wax and buff hull
Power wash deck again as the seagulls have used your deck as target practice
Cut out rotten deck bits and fill with epoxy
Reinstall lifelines
See if motor will start
Take motor to fix it guy
Install motor
Scrub out interior of mildew
Hang rudder, attach tiller
Unscrew tiller and reattach pointing into the boat
Install man-overboard pole
Uncover mast
Attach side stays to mast (the lines that hold up the mast)
Purchase new side stays to replace the worn out broken ones (very important that the mast doesn't fall down)
Find the little pieces of plastic that hold the boom on - damn French system!
Find all those little split rings that attach the sidestays to the boat, thus holding up the mast

When the boat is in the water, and the mast is safely standing, here's the next to do list:

Hang boom on those damn French little pieces of plastic
Put on the main sail and realize you forgot all the battens at home
Drive home to get battens
Take off main sail and insert battens
Put main sail back on
Look for sail cover
Go to car to retrieve sail cover
Cover main sail with sail cover
Open fridge and find left over beer from last year, crack the tab, warm but okay, drink
Install all lines, including pole down, cunningham, outhaul etc., which requires a screw driver
Go to Dollar Store to buy new screw driver as the other one rolled off the deck into the lake
Install all split rings on front and back stay, curse that you didn't replenish first aid kit as you need a bandage desperately to stop bleeding after cutting oneself with those *&^^ split rings
Attach boom vang, unattach boomvang, turn it over the correct way and reattach
Attach main sheet, this takes the most time, usually a good hour as one can never remember how those damn lines go through which pulley which way
Spend 2 hours tuning the rig and 30 minutes going back to the dollar store for a pair of needle nose pliers and more bandaids

Now the boat is ready to go!  14 days and counting!  woo hoo.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

It's all Retro!

Today, April 2, 2011 I sold my 7-course renaissance lute.  Many of you may not know what that is so here's a picture:

I bought it about 1991ish from a lute maker here in Toronto, Michael Schreiner, one of his first instruments.  Yes it was a student model but it wasn't cheap.  It is beautiful, a spruce top, flame maple back, ebony fretboard, rosewood neck and tuning pegs.  The sound was quiet, sweet and very introspective.  I love Renaissance music and found a couple of singers that blended with my little lute and it sounded like running your hands across satin.  Mostly I played for myself but I had the pleasure of studying for just a short time with Jakob Lindberg from England.  

Why did I sell it?  I have serious repetitive strain injuries and can't play guitar or lute anymore (that's why cooking was a good artistic substitute for me).  So what is this post about?  Retrospective.  When I posted my ad for the lute online (not expecting to get one offer) I initially was thinking about the money, then as the day wore on and I received several offers within a couple hours of placing the ad I started remembering my time as a musician.

It's funny how a lot of songs, and sayings say to look ahead to the future, forget the past and I think sometimes we forget what we have actually accomplished in our lives.  I have been on planet Earth for just shy of 40 years and I have had the pleasure of eating ice cream with my dad and sister while tied up to the government dock in Port Bruce catching fireflies and sleeping on the boat.  I have had the pleasure of being chased by the herd of cows at my stepdad's farm and being chastized by Grandpa Quick for giving the heard that little work out (apparently not good for beef production).  I remember my first professional guitar, I remember the amazing fun times at Mohawk College as a music student.  Those fun dinners with my Aunt and Uncle and cousins when I lived with them.  The time my grandma picked me up from the bus station in downtown Hamilton and hopping a fence in her granny mumu because she was too lazy to walk around.  The time I had a radio program on McMaster College Radio and kept forgetting to turn the mic off and some of the swear words I would get in trouble for.

The time I drove to Albany, New York for a concert.  The guitar competition in Buffalo where a member of the audience ended selling me the most beautiful sounding guitar I ever owned.  Then meeting Paul, no reason but to play gigs at Starbucks and Chapters at first, then pointing out that parking spot in front of my apartment one night...

The joys of finding new guitar music and being able to take what is on the page and make it into something beautiful and being able to share it with others.

I remember when I had to make the decision to give up playing for good - the tears, the sadness, I remember when we had the privilege of buying the boat and now making new memories with my boating friends and my chef friends. 

Think back on your own lives - I realize how much I have done and really how many opportunities I made for myself, rich and poor - and I'm looking forward to doing much more!

If you are curious about lutes and interesting guitars, check out Michael Schreiner's website or Paul Saunder's website (he fixed all my guitars over the years):