Saturday, March 24, 2007

Crabs for Dinner

The other evening, just about dinner time, we set out to harvest the past three days of crab hunting. I say “we,” when in reality it was Mary Ellen who did the harvesting, while J and I did the heavy work – lifting the crab pots out of the water.

Mary Ellen, armed with nothing more than a pink, rubber kitchen glove, fearlessly attacked the vicious blue crab infestation. Braving the slashing claws of the hoard of crabs, Mary Ellen fought a mighty battle. Try as they might, the crabs were no match for her cunning and speed.

One by one, the crabs succumbed to her onslaught and, in no time at all, were adorning the dinner table – all three dozen of them. Crabs, corn-on-the-cob, cole slaw and a fine wine…

There is nothing in the world that is better than eating something you have caught, or grown, or for that matter…purchased!!! Life is good!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

New Dinghy?

…and, err, well, Mary Ellen and I were sitting around thinking about buying a dinghy for the Shenandoah. I mean, we have a 6-man inflatable raft that lives in a plastic box behind the sofa, uninflated, until someone throws it overboard.

But, we were thinking of something a little sportier, something we could jump in for a quick spin to the 7-11 for a bottle of wine. Then we remembered there are no 7-11’s in France, but there are McDonalds! The trouble is they are only in major population centers and sometimes it is miles to get to one. So speed would be an issue.

Sooooo, I did a little research on the net and I think I have found something that might work. There are a couple of hurdles, however, such as the width of the proposed dinghy. The canals are wide enough, but the locks are only 5.10 meters in width. I figure that if we could get this thing going fast enough when we hit the entrance to a lock the sides would bend up and we would slip right in. Then, when we wanted to get out of the lock, just push up the throttles – all eight of them – voila! Power is everything!

There might be a couple of other things that would have to be worked out, such as the European price of a liter of gas, or the noise, or…

We will let you know how we do!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Blue Crabs

One might wonder what a barge Captain does with an adventuress woman in South Carolina when not plying the waterways of France. Well, many things!

Why, just the past two days, we have been stalking the vicious and ever-elusive blue crab of the tidal flats of the Beaufort River.

We went to the local meat market (that would be a real meat market/butcher shop, not a place to pick up chicks) and got some “cheecken” necks and other sundry “cheecken” parts to load into the two crab pots that every God-fearing, South Carolina resident is allowed to own.

Then we placed the two pots in the deepest part of Cowen Creek and laid in wait.

Checking the pots this afternoon, we had cornered 24 of the little buggers trapped in those pots just waitin’ for the steamer. We figure by tomorrow there will be enough of those things to make for some mighty fine eatin’.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Record Snow Falls

Reports of record snow falls in Burgundy do not hinder the average bargeman from that early morning "walk" to the bakery for a freshly baked baguette!

Friday, March 16, 2007

Winter home of the Shenandoah

St. Jean de Losne is this years' winter home for the Shenandoah. St. Jean, or more precisely, St. Usage and the basin where the boat is located, is about thirty miles south of Dijon. The blue arrow points to the exact location at the south end of the Canal du Bourgogne as it empties into the Saone river.

This area is called the "barge capital" of France, mostly because there are two major canals and the Saone river that winds its way south to join the Rhone river and the Mediterranean. In years gone by, it was the mooring place that the commercial barges used while waiting for loads. Due to its' location, they were close to most of central France and the waterways therein. Now days, most of the commercial barges have gone to rust or have been cut up for scrap steel/iron and the area, at least boating wise, is more of a pleasure boating center than anything else. There are four areas nearby where boats of almost any size can be accommodated.

The Shenandoah will stay here until the first week of May due to being hauled out for bottom painting and fitting a new propeller on April 30th. Currently I am in Beaufort, SC enjoying Mary Ellens' company and the warm South Carolina days. We plan to return to France the first week of April.