Friday, December 26, 2014


Living on Fruitcake

It's that happy time of year! Two loaves of gluten-free fruitcake were baked in mid-November, then soaked in brandy and orange liqueur and left to age in the refrigerator.

Finally, last week we opened the first loaf, and sliced our way to heaven. We've been living on fruitcake ever since. Let's see...a slice or two for breakfast (I count this as a serving of fruit) with coffee. Then an afternoon snack with a nice cup of tea, and finally a piece at bedtime to help us dream the night away.

We've baked fruitcake each year no matter where we were currently cruising. Of course, there was no such thing available throughout Latin America. Because we love a little touch of tradition (and a liquor soaked cake) we've had to make our own. We think ours are so good that we continued this year even though we are in the US state where a famous brand is made.

This year's cake has local Georgian pecans, walnuts, candied cherries, coconut, fresh orange and tangerine peel, raisins, and candied papaya and pineapple. We learned to use the tropical candied fruits while in Central America and now we prefer them. Yummy!


While we were traveling cross-country this past summer/fall we had a caretaker come onto the boat and run the diesel engine and generator occasionally to keep them in good shape. Good plan, but we got bad news. The last time he ran the big Perkins 6-cylinder 354 engine it started to overheat so he shut it down to prevent damage.

Well, it took Jonesy several days to disassemble this monster in our bilge and to haul out the big, heavy chunks of engine that were suspected of causing the problem. The photo above shows what is left of the engine today. The "head" is at the machine shop being inspected, getting a "valve job" including new valves and springs. Nope, this area of the engine wasn't where the problem started.
Road-trip Bryce Canyon - before we knew about the engine

It turns out the failure was in the "heat exchanger". The actual casting had failed. It had corroded to the point where it developed a hole that allowed the coolant to enter the exhaust port and end up in the combustion chamber!! BAD. We (I mean Jonesy... I knit) hauled the 100-lb chunk of metal out of the bilge and boat, up the steep dock ramp, to the car, wrapped it up and shipped it via UPS to Massachusetts. There was a slim possibility that it could be refurbished.

Nope again. So we've had to wire transfer $4000 to buy a used & refurbished heat exchanger.  Sometime next week we'll be able to pick up the head at the machine shop and receive the heat exchanger here at the marina. Then the fun part begins.

We are very grateful that the engine failed while it was sitting in a marina - and not at sea or at some of the very remote places we've traveled in the last 8 years! This past couple of months we've entertained ourselves with remembering where we traveled by Niki Wiki and where would have been the worst place to have this failure. The best place? Actually, right here in Brunswick Georgia.

Life is good.

Wednesday, December 03, 2014



Here's a new sock design of mine. The St. Augustine Socks pattern is now available on Ravelry. Yes, these were developed way back before I began my current sock knitting duldrums phase. No, I haven't yet finished the second sock.

Anyway, the pattern is written in FOUR different sizes"
St. Augustine, Florida is a beautiful and historic city where we moored the boat for a few weeks back in May/June as I knit these socks. Spanish moss can be seen gracefully hanging from the branches of the old trees which inspired the cables on these socks. Snaking cables and ribbing run down the sides of the leg and knit/pull textured diamonds are on the back of the leg and run from the cuff to the begining of the toe.  The sock is worked cuff-down to the toe and features the heel flap and gusset construction method.

Here's a view of the diamond knit/purl motif that runs down the front and back of the leg.


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