Archives for category: Boats


We’ve just returned from a first visit as house guests at a beautiful friend’s circa-1923 lodge and garden in Gulfport, Florida. These few bits of advice helped us wise up and fit in fast:
1. For a few dollars, you can buy a pair of aqua shoes to wear in the water. They protect your feet from the sharp edges of broken shells, for example.
2. Sunny Florida is also often windy. It’s good to have a hat that ties underneath the chin, especially for boating. The Gulfport marina was celebrating its Funday, so we were invited on a private yacht cruise with hot dogs and iced tea afterwards. I learned this tip the hard way; my mauve hat with the wide brim is now bobbing up and down on its way back to China.
3. The way to swim in the ocean waves is to proceed sideways, parallel to the shore. It is much more exhausting if you try to let the tide push or carry you. Try it and you will be amazed!
4. Keep your eyes open for manatees bathing below the surface in a quiet stream while you are kayaking, pelicans fly overhead and an egret watches from shore.
5. Florida wild life often shares the same inner premises as people in a way not seen or tolerated in northern cities. A possum nonchalantly passed through the semi-open patio of a trattoria as we ate appetizers. The black non poisonous snake lurking around the mansion court’s garbage bin is regarded as a valuable guardian who keeps the rodent and beetle population down.

6. The northerner who moves in with cans of pesticide is looked at askance as someone needing to be educated. It is important to keep the delicate natural world in balance. Wasps and bees don’t just sting, they are also pollinators, some of them super and endangered. “If you don’t bother it, it won’t bother you,” is the motto to

7. Little gheckos, something like lizards, are everywhere so learn to love them! Fortunately they are cute, charm a lot of people and eat annoying small insects. It’s upsetting if they die from pesticides aimed at other targets.
We thoroughly enjoyed our first extended visit to Florida and look forward to returning some day soon.

Happy Reading from


Step 1: Make the stems for the bow and stern, cutting them lengthwise. Soak them for a week (in an eaves trough), replace the cold water with hot water, take the stems out and bend them.

Step 2: Make hull out of  two 4″ x 8′ sheets of 1/8″ marine plywood, cut them and glue them along a somewhat diagonal lap joint, attach stems and make gunwales Two very young daughters can steady it all.

Step 3: Add seats and one rib in the middle to shape the gunwales and fix the cross-section. Slit ‘darts’ along the top of the hull and drill holes, then lace the hull to the gunwales and pull the hull in.

Step 4: Fit the ‘darts’, abut them, and sew them closed with nylon string.

Step 5: Seal the darts and holes with fiberglass and polyester.

Step 6: Cover sewn canoe with fiberglass on the outside. Add thwarts, drill and lace seats.

Step 7: Add a ‘cap’ on top of the inside and outside gunwales. Fasten it with wooden pegs driven into drilled holes.

Step 8: Get your son to try the canoe.

The campus love story and need for a down payment that preceded this project are written up in last week’s blog.

Thank you for dropping by. This blog for all lovers of life and language aims to be useful and entertain. Topics vary from how to build a canoe to how my mom moved from “prince to preacher and fog to bog” as a war bride after world war one. Writing advice is squeezed in between. Find out more about A Book of Kells: Growing Up in an Ego Void,  Kathleen’s Cariole Ride and Eating at Church on Amazon,  Goodreads or my website.

Happy Reading from Cozy Book Basics!