Sunday, November 21, 2010

Veggie Sausage and Kale soup

This is a great soup for a chilly fall day. It was my first experiment with kale in a soup. Turned out pretty well. I think.

  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 medium onions
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 4 cups of McCormick All-vegetable bouillon (chicken flavor)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 can chickpeas
  • 1/2 tsp rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 package Yves Sweet Italian Veggie Sausages
  • 8 carrots
  • 1 bunch kale (approx. 1 lbs)
Saute the onions in half of the olive oil until almost translucent. Add garlic and saute for an additional 2 minutes. Add stock, water, chickpeas, rosemary, salt and pepper. Simmer while you prepare the other ingredients.

Cut the sausage into 1/4" pieces and fry in remaining olive oil until browned. Chop the kale roughly and the carrots into 1/8" slices. Add these ingredients to the stock and simmer for 15 minutes until kale and carrots are cooked.

Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and serve.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Chignecto Loop 2010 Redux

The Chignecto Park Loop is a magnificent hike. It's suggested that it be done in 3-4 days. That seems reasonable. Doing it in 1 day...not so much. Of course I will be back next year to try to better our time.

Lessons learned:
  1. Take less gear. Even if it is pouring rain. Take less gear.
  2. Take half the food that I think necessary. Or end up carrying half out again.
  3. Two hiking poles. One just isn't enough!
  4. Bring a mule to carry us up the last big hill.

Here are the pics.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Winterizing Hughes 29

I've found some great articles that are related to winterizing the Hughes 29. Although they aren't actually specific to the boat, they are specific to the components.

Here are the steps that I've taken to winterize Salammbo. I'd appreciate any comments on things that I could do better.
  1. Pump faucet and toilet dry
  2. Drained fresh water tank and put in antifreeze.
  3. Pump antifreeze through faucet and into the, now closed, drain.
  4. Pump antifreeze through toilet into both onboard tank and external drain
  5. Dump some antifreeze into the bilge (in case water gets in there and freezes)
  6. Change oil in engine (good reference)
  7. Winterize engine (here's a great site)
Supplies used:

  • 5L 10W30 oil
  • 15L plumbing antifreeze
  • Motomaster fogging spray
  • Gas stabilizer 

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

ROAR2 - Rebuild and Mod

A while back I wrote a quick blog entry about my intention to rebuild and modify my Roar2 rowboat. This was a result of two factors. Firstly, the boat was a few years old and there were a few areas of rot around the gunnels and some of the plywood. Secondly, and far more importantly, a great big sheet of ice fell off of my garage roof one winter and crushed a large portion of the boat! (Yes, in retrospect that wasn't the best place to store it...)

So, I decided that I would rebuild and make some modifications at the same time. I had originally planned on putting a cool window in the floor of the boat but I haven't gotten to that yet. You see, I recently purchased a sailboat and I needed a tender quickly so that I could get to it. Thus the window in the floor idea got side-burnered and I focused on just getting my roar2 floating again, with a seat, so that I could get to my new toy.

So, here's what I did to my roar2:

The first problem was that my gunnels were smashed to pieces and a what remained was fairly rotten. I also had some serious rot sections in the hull. So, I took off all of the gunnels and removed the sections of rot from the hull. I replaced that with new plywood and fibreglassed it in place with epoxy and fibreglass tape.

This picture is after the first coat of epoxy and before sanding. You'll see in the next picture that I did this in a few spots.

Next I started with the seat design/installation. I created cardboard templates to get the shape of the hull at the position that I wanted. In retrospect I wish I had saved my forms from when I built her because they would have been perfect for seat sides.

I cut out the basic shape of the seat sides from 3/8" plywood and wired them in place. Once they were secured and positioned properly I put some fibreglass tabs in place to hold it together while I build the rest.

Next I added a top to the seat. I used a piece of 10" laminated pine board for the top of the seat (because I had it).  I cut out a section of the top to use as a storage area. I used a thin blade when cutting out the whole so that I could re-use the cutout section as the seat and still have it fairly tight fitting.

I added a couple of pieces of pine board to the inside of the hole to keep the seat cover from falling through.

Once I had it assembled I fibreglassed inside and outside edges of the seat. to make it waterproof and very strong. It also has the nice affect of adding rigidity to the hull (which it kind of lacked before).

Once the seat was completed I redid the gunnels using 1x1 cedar. I had used spruce before but decided on cedar this time because the stock at the lumber yard looked much better than the spruce.

Since I'm using this as my tender (for now) I also took this opportunity to add a eye to the front of the boat for towing. I basically just took a 3" stainless steel U-Bolt, bent to to the shape of my bow, drilled holes through the bow and epoxied it in place. So far it has worked great. I've towed the boat for around 20km in fairly heavy waves and it has held fine.

This isn't a great picture of the inside of it finished (I'll have to take another and update) but it shows the basic look of the inside with the seat.

This is a swimmers-eye-view of the finished product. I've very happy with the restore. It looks great and it still rows really well. The Roar2 is definitely my favorite choice for rowboats far.

As a tender the roar2 is a little long. I am in the planning stages of a shorter 8 foot tender. That will be my winter project for this year. Stay tuned...

First weekend cruise - Gagetown

Gagetown, NB is a great little community about 30 minutes drive from Fredericton. Since we are anchored at Douglas Harbour in Grand Lake it was about a 2 1/2 hour sail/motor to get to Gagetown.

The route to Gagetown includes several km of wide open lake sailing followed by a narrow river passages through Cambridge Narrows. The entrance to Cambridge Narrows is tight and extends quite a ways into Grand Lake. Check your chart and watch for the buoys and you'll be ok.  The Cambridge Narrows channel is a little too tight for sailing unless the wind is perfect but it is a nice area to motor none the less.

The town of Gagetown has a public wharf with free public moorings. This is a great place to park for the night since there are plenty of amenities within walking distance. The wharf also includes fuel, water and pump out services.

Our first sail on Salammbo was perfect. We had fairly heavy winds in Grand Lake but the boat handled it with ease. I am used to smaller day sailers but Salammbo proved easy to sail, even in heavy wind and I felt in control.  So far so good.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

SALAMMBĂ” - Hughes 29

I am in the process of purchasing a Hughes 29 sailboat named Salammbo. This is my first cruiser and I'm very excited about the process. I've created a page for her and I will document as much as I can about the boat as I learn about her. I've created a static page for documentation purposes and I'll also write ongoing blog entries tagged with Hughes 29.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

36 hr adventure race meal planning - vegetarian

This spreadsheet is the calorie counter I made up to help plan for the Race the Phantom adventure race. It is based on an estimation of burning 250 calories per hour. If that estimation is high I'll be carrying extra weight, if it's low I'll be a little hungry at the end...

Definition: Ass factor

Ass factor [as] [fak-ter]
  1. a measurement of taste as it relates to ass. Ass factors range in severity from 0 to 10 where 0 is tasty and 10 is absolutely nasty. An ass factor of 5 is generally considered to be the transition from palatable to unpalatable.

Origin: The term "ass factor" originated from a hiking trip in Fundy National Park in 2009. The term was adopted by the group to describe the edible wild plants being collected and tasted.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Fruit (flavoured) Smoothy

I tried to make the Groovie Smoothie from Lip Smackin' Vegetarian Backpackin' but the orange crystals that I bought had an ass factor of about 13. The stuff tasted horrible.

Anyways, I modified the recipe to use juice crystals (kool-aid stuff). It tastes pretty good now.

0.4 cups of Vanilla pudding powder
1/2 cup soy milk powder
1 pouch (75 ml) juice crystals (peach is good)

Mix together.

Use 3 tbsp per 1 cup water. Shake and drink.

Calorie count: Approx. 150

Friday, July 2, 2010

Homemade Energy Gel

I found a great recipe for homemade energy gel. I was looking for an energy gel recipe because the stuff is pretty expensive and generally tastes terrible. There really isn't much to them either. So, I figure, with my own recipe I can tweak it to my liking, save some money and even buy organic ingredients!

The original recipe was for a 5 ounce batch. Since I'll need a whole lot more for Race the Phantom I quadrupled the recipe. Luckily I liked the taste! Actually, it really tastes VERY good. Also, I do like the taste of molasses so I added more molasses.

Here is the 20 serving recipe:

12 oz brown rice syrup
6 oz honey
6 oz blackstrap molasses
1 teaspoon sea salt

Just mix all of the ingredients together until smooth. It doesn't get much easier. Place the finished product in a squeeze bottle appropriately sized for the activity. I'm using 250ml bottles for the adventure race.

I am going to experiment with a couple of variations as well this weekend. My plan is to add 1/2 of instant cafe mocha to half of the batch. That will give a bit of a caffeine boost in the middle of the night to keep me awake.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

New Puppy - Avery - Retriever/Terrier cross

After a long hard search on Kijiji we've finally found the perfect puppy for our family. "Avery" is a Retriever/Terrier cross. She is 4 months old and we got her from a woman who was moving out west for work. The woman was heart broken when we picked up Avery. I think I know why.

So far Avery has been a perfect puppy. She is quiet (unless there's something to bark about), sleeps through the night, is already house trained and knows a couple of commands.

It will be interesting to see how big she gets. Right now she is under 20 pounds. I expect her to get a bit bigger but I think she will be closer to terrier size than retriever. We'll see. I'll update once she gets a little bigger.

Monday, April 12, 2010

VFF: Stress fracture

So, since my pain this morning was still pretty bad in my foot I decided to go to the hospital. An x-ray showed an obvious fracture. The doctor described it as a fracture common in soldiers called a "March Fracture".

I found a good post that described:

"Stress fractures often are the result of overuse or repeated impacts on a hard surface. Increasing the amount or intensity of an activity too rapidly is a common cause of a stress fracture, as is using improper equipment. Fatigue of the foot bone(s) caused by repeated overload, as with marching, walking, running or jogging."

This definitely sounds like something that has been caused by over doing it with my FiveFingers. I'm now forced to take 4 to 6 weeks off of training. 

I've decided that my training for the race this summer will have to continue sans VFF. I'll need to pick up a new pair of trail shoes. I'm torn because I am no longer having knee problems but this is obviously a show stopper for the VFFs.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Book review: The end of oil by Paul Roberts

The End of Oil: On the Edge of a Perilous New World
I like to think that I have a clue about global politics. I was shocked at how little I knew about global oil trade and its affect on world politics.The end of Oil is a must read for anybody that has an interest in these types of large issues that push and pull on world economics and politics.

There is also a fair amount of coverage on the environmental impacts of oil. These sections were fairly straight forward. No real surprises in the direct and indirect impact of oil on the environment but there was good overall coverage of the topic.

I definitely recommend this book. It is a good read and an important subject.

VFF: Top of foot pain

I've had my first real problem from barefoot running (in my Vibram Fivefingers). I noticed the other night after a 14k trail run that I had some considerable foot pain on the top of my right foot. I assumed that I had twisted my foot on the run.

After a week of rest I decided to have a go at the Lincoln 5k Road Race. I wore my Fivefingers. I had a good race and felt good about my performance but soon had an even worse onset of pain on the top of my foot.

After a bit of research I have found that top of foot pain is fairly common in barefoot running. I have a feeling that I've gone a little too hard with my VFFs and I'm now paying the price.

I'm going to take a couple of weeks rest and then start back very slowly on short runs. I'll probably stick with my regular shoes for now on longer runs until I feel more confident in my foot strength.

Here are a couple of good links about this problem:

Sunday, March 28, 2010

VFF - Mud & Ice and Rocks oh my

Tonight I gave my Vibram FiveFingers Flow their biggest test yet.  This wasn't an exceptionally long run, at around 13km, but it was the most technical. The route that we took started with 3km of easy trail, progressed up a large hill and then the last half was on hard backwoods trails.

Being New Brunswick in the spring, the terrain for the backwoods section was a mixture of mud, ice, slush, snow, and even some sharp rocks on one section. This was a true all around test of the shoes!

The temperature was around freezing and much of the trail was snow or ice covered. The Flows kept my feet very warm. Several times my feet ended up in streams and slushy puddles but my feet were never cold.

I found the shoes exceptionally good for areas where technical running was required while straddling streams, hopping across rocks or traversing fallen logs.

The only area where the shoes really don't do well is on smooth ice. Several downhill sections were icy and the shoes do not grip well at all in these conditions.

As a result of this muddy run I have to wash my VFF for the first time...but that's just a good sign that they're being used!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Vibram FiveFinger Shoes

I finally bought myself a pair of  Vibram FiveFinger Flow's last month. I was originally going to get a pair of KSO's but changed my mind because I thought the Flows would be better for cold weather running. I am in Canada afterall! I bought them while on a trip to Florida at Fit2Run in Tampa. The sales guy really gave me confidence in the purchase. He's been wearing a pair for 6 months and raved about them.

I've been running for the last few months as training for the upcoming Race the Phantom adventure race.

I don't really expect that I'll be able to run a 36hr adventure race in my FiveFingers but I do hope that they strengthen my feet and calves.  Since the race also has a kayaking section they should come in handy for that section of the race though.

I have a couple of shorter events that are coming up that will be a good test for the shoes. A 5k race in April, a 5 hour adventure race later in April, an 8 hour adventure race in June and a 58k run of the Dobson Trail in June. I'll test them at progressively longer distances and see which of these I actually end up wearing them in. 

I've done a few runs in the FiveFingers. All of the posts that I've read say that you should take it easy for a while until your muscles build up. I'm having a hard time with this. Every time that I go out they feel so good that I just want to keep running! I haven't done anything too far with them yet but last time out I did 7k and could hardly walk the next day because my calves were so sore! I really need to pace myself or carry another pair of shoes to throw on after the first 4 or 5 km. I think I should be up to 10k in them by the end of the month and my calves should be able to stop a bullet!

I've had the shoes in a pretty good variety of conditions already. My first run was in Florida on Cocoa beach. The Flows did a good job keeping the sand out. My last run was back in Canada and had a mixture of snow and mud (Oh Canada!). Again, the Flows kept my feet clean and also surprisingly warm. The temperature that night was around 2C. I think I'd be comfortable trying them at -5C for at least a short run.

I'll post more comments as a get more miles on these.

Recipe: Roasted Butternut Squash and Pepper Rigatoni

My son has been taking an interest in cooking lately. We've been experimenting in the kitchen and came up with this good pasta recipe last night. It only took around 20 minutes to prepare and it gave him his first experience with roasting veggies. 

2 Bell Peppers (1 green & 1 red looks good)
3 cloves garlic
1 onion
1 butternut squash
1/2 cup black olives, pitted and sliced
3 tbsp olive oil
1 box Rigatoni
1/3 cup Parmesan Cheese

Slice, coat with oil and roast the peppers until starting to char.

Cube, coat with oil, and roast the squash until tender.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta until tender.

Fry the onion and garlic in olive oil until translucent.

Peel and chop the roasted peppers.

Combine all of the ingredients into a pan and toss. Salt and pepper to taste.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

2006 Jeep Liberty Diesel - Major Service

I thought it might be a good idea to keep a running tally of major service that I have to have done on my Jeep. This might serve as an indication of quality (or not) over time. I haven't been the only owner of my Jeep so this isn't comprehensive but I assume (perhaps naively) that there wouldn't be too much bad that would have happened in the first 75,000km before I bought it.

I'll count major service as anything that doesn't fall under normal wear and tear (tires, brakes, oil).

BAS/ESP censor lightReset Sensor75,000Warranty
Key Stuck in IgnitionReplace shifter assembly and shifter lock cable81,000$480
Check engine light on
P0299, P0401,P2264,P0513,C2202

Replaced Turbocharger, EGR valve and EGR system.  Ended up being 12.5hrs of labour! Luckily I had 64km left on warranty!99,936$700
($5000 covered under warranty!)
Slipped out of gear and never returned...Torque converter was replaced along with a crap load of other parts that were collateral damage. Total transmission rebuild!105,000$2600
Back gate window wouldn't openNew Lift Gate Handle110,000$166
Back seat window wouldn't closeNew Left back window regulator111,000$429
Leaky rear axle & front right wheel bearingNew axle seal and bearing150,000$1200
Little performance...lots of black smokeAnother new turbo180,000FU Jeep...I'm outta here!

Final update: July 2015

After yet another major breakdown, involving the turbo yet again, I have decided not to pay the $6000 that the dealer wanted to fix it. I have traded the jeep (for $2000 trade-in value) for a Subaru. 

The Jeep diesels are getting long in the tooth, so I expect there aren't many being considered for purchase. If you are considering...don't.

I will never buy another Chrysler product. 

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Joke: Another musician joke

This came from a buddy and I thought was gold.
Once I turn on my amp, this…

Turns into this…

My world is way more fun that reality.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Joke: You're a Real Musician When

A funny list I just got in my true!

You're a Real Musician When:
You realize that the cheers from the audience after a particularly
difficult passage are for a sports play on the big screen TV over the
bar, and that in fact, no one is listening to you.

When the gig you drove 200 miles for to make $100, and had to pay for a
hotel room, is later referred to as your "summer tour".

When your most sincere, heartfelt comments are made by people that are
drunk and who won't remember you in the morning.

When you are repeatedly told that the lead singer who can't read, never
practices and has been singing for only six months is "The strongest
part of the band", primarily because she has big tits.

When you are pleased that the pay for the gig, when looked at hourly
from the time you leave your house to when you return meets minimum

When someone comes up to you to tell you how much they love your
playing, because they didn't think anyone played those things anymore.

You get to the gig to find out that nothing is comped, and you're
charged $10 to park.

When someone seeks you out to complement your playing as the "best sax
player they have ever heard", and you're the trumpet player.

When you realize that a small piece of equipment- such as a wireless
mike you need- will take months of weekly gigs to pay for.

When you have to add $30 or $40 out of your pocket to find a sub, cause
no one will cover you for what you are paid.

You aren't offended when all of the young wedding guests leave after
the second set to dance to the DJ at a club down the street.

When you are told that you must play until the very end of when you
were contracted for, when your only audience is the bartender, and
you're being paid 40 or 50 bucks for the night.

When the bandleader or club owner wants to pay you in food or drinks,
and you have $100,000 in school loans to pay off for that music degree.

When the guy collecting money at the door for the band's performance
makes twice over the course of the evening what you do as one of the
band members.

When as a member of a blues band you no longer even pretend to smile
when asked to play "Free Bird".

When you know that other musicians who routinely claim they don't work
for less than $100 a night only work a few times a year.

When people who are drunk tell you that what you are doing is
absolutely great and the best thing thing they have ever seen or heard,
but refuse to pay more than $5 at the door.

When someone calling the cops for noise is a good thing. You get to go
home early and you still get paid.

When you realize that asking women out that you meet on gigs doesn't
work, because now they know you're a musician.

When you get invited to play the same gig the following year, which
means that you don't have tear down after this year's gig.

When you have, for several years, been paid the same amount for a gig,
but are afraid to say anything about it for fear that you might lose
the gig.

When you spend more on the bar tab than you get paid for the gig.

When you finally have to resort to playing Proud Mary in order to get
the audience dancing.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Review: 2006 Jeep Liberty Diesel

The week before Christmas our 2003 Subaru Legacy bit the dust. It had yet another head gasket go and the water pump needed replacing. I was sick of the (expensive) problems that it was giving me and didn't want to sink another $2500 into a car that was only worth probably $5000 (it had high KMs)

After a very quick search (I wanted a vehicle to drive before xmas) I settled on a 2006 Jeep Liberty Diesel at Summit Dodge in Fredericton.

I had a few basic criteria in mind when I started shopping. I needed something that was relatively rugged because we do occasionally venture into off-road situations. I also needed something that would pull my utility trailer. ("The gypsy wagon" as I call it) Other than that I didn't really have much preference.

I didn't expect to land on a Jeep. I have always had a soft spot for the Jeep Wrangler's but I knew that they weren't going to be practical for our family at this point. Out of curiosity I pulled into the dealer's lot with the expectation of looking at a few Wrangler's. So, what pulled me to this Liberty? Diesel.  (and the price was good)

There are very few Diesel Jeep Liberty out there. This might not sound like a selling point but the ones that do exist get very good reviews. They were only manufactured in North America for a few years and only a limited number were made. They just didn't catch on with the public. I've heard great things about the reliability of diesels and the better fuel mileage they get. So, I test drove this one, fell in love with the tractor-like diesel sound and signed the papers.

I have only had the Jeep for a month so far but I still really like it. I've had it off road a couple of times in some minor dirt and it handled really well. It is also very good in the snow. I've had my fully loaded utility trailer behind it and it was wonderful. With my Subaru, it handled the trailer but you could definitely feel it. With the Jeep, you can't tell the trailer is behind.

I did have a couple of hiccups in the first week. I had a BAS/ESP censor light come on after a couple of days and my CD player was acting up. I took it to the dealer, they reset two sensors, and I haven't had a problem since.

The only other (expected) downfall I've noticed is the fuel mileage. The Jeep definitely doesn't get great mileage. I haven't gotten a good working average from it yet but I will post that.

My intention is to update this blog post regularly, as required, with updates on the reliability and driveability of the vehicle. If you have any questions or comments about the vehicle please post below and I'll do my best to respond. I'm not a mechanic or professional test driver but I'll definitely give you an answer from a layman's perspective.

Here is a table that I'll use to track average mileages. I'll track and update this periodically as I remember to...

TypeMPGL/100km Trips Sampled
Highway19.711.9 3
City16.414.6 3
Average18.113.3 6
Advertised: Highway27mpgCity 22mpg