How to Survive and Enjoy the Winter While Waiting for Boating Season

posted in: Family and Friends | 11

October, November and December are filled with anticipation and holiday events making the weeks fly by. Family and friends, festivities and food all bring joy and happiness during the season. And then comes January……. and February….and March…….. a time for hunkering down, reading, weaving, and binging films and series.

We all know that Al must stay busy during the winter months. Without major boat projects to work on he will get antsy and potentially sell our boat and buy another.  History has proven that is what happens. Our Kadey Krogen 39 is in such good shape that there is little to improve. Just maintenance. I do believe we finally have our last boat so I worry much less about his need to fix/improve/upgrade (“watsonize”) a boat. Winters are now for land projects. Last winter he had the kitchen in Milford to remodel, rescued their front porch in the fall, and this January he built a beautiful wall unit/fireplace surround for the Canton clan.

It became a famaily project on one weekend.
But mostly it was just Papa and Winston, who was usually banished upstairs.
Ta-Da! Finished project and freshly painted walls.
The Milford crew enjoyed the snow on the sand as well as the yard.
The Canton crew got the most snow.
Even the southernmost crew in Delaware had some snow play.

Ever heard of “Ice Cream for Breakfast Day?” How could we, ice cream aficionados that we are, not indulge in this national event? How could we, ice cream aficionados that we are, not have known about this day before???? Never heard of it!! Tall Man’s Ice Cream was the only place near us that celebrated “Ice Cream for Breakfast Day” on February 3rd. Oh yeah, we went!

In the 1960s, Florence Rappaport of New York created Ice Cream for Breakfast Day as a way to chase away cabin fever for her six children due to a winter storm that had blown through the area. The annual celebration caught on as her children grew and shared it on their travels. Today, the day has been observed in Canada, New Zealand, England, South Africa, Israel, and more.
Waffle sundaes topped with fresh strawberries. So yummy at 9:00 in the morning. 😉

Our family Valentine’s Day celebration was a warm day between the January and February snowfalls.

February 10th and the grands are all playing outside in t-shirts!!
I wove a garland of red wool hearts for each of our houses.
Addie and Ceci’s hairdos really celebrated Valentine’s Day in style!
We go on hikes throughout the winter months when we get decent weather. The beach in winter can be a really good place for a hike with a different vibe than in the summer months. On this day, at Hammonasset Beach State Park, we saw driftwood teepees on the beach, reminding us of the grandkids playtime the day before.
Essex is another favorite place for a walk. It’s a nice mix of town, river views, and well, empty docks at this time of year. No boats are there yet in early March!

I discovered the most adorable stop-action film – Marcel the Shell With Shoes On finally arrived on NETFLIX. Marcel is a shell so, of course, I was drawn to it. Al and I watched it and then we decided to watch it again with Caleb and Ceci when they were here overnight. Looking for something fun to do the next day, I thought why not make our own Marcels?

A basement hunt unearthed three perfect shells in my stash of shells, plus googlie eyes, paint, brushes, and wiki sticks for the green surrounding the eye. There were three pairs of Ken doll shoes from my old Barbie doll stuff (yeah, I still have some of it.) that we painted. Worked perfectly.

We had such spontaneous fun!

Creating our Marcels.
We were all delighted with our finished Marcels.

In the midst of all of this fun with family, hikes, and house projects, Al found a new boat project, of course! We have had solar panels on our boats for over 20 years. They are an integral part of the boat’s energy systems, even though the do depend on sunshine in the right direction (“Watsonizing – Let the Sun Shine!) It’s that “right direction” part that often frustrates Al when the solar panels on top of the pilot house are shaded by the bimini on the flybridge.

Back when we spent those two winters in the Bahamas, Al remembered how our friend, Sam, had a solar panel that he moved all around the boat to catch the best rays the sun could provide. “Channeling” Sam, Al researched foldable and stowable solar panels that he could set up in the right position for the sun when the main panels were shaded.

On a sunny day in late February, Al set up a test for the panel to see how it would work. The panel was tilted at a 90 degree angle to the sun. We compared the panel’s output between the 3-foot wire that came with the panel and a 20-foot wire that Al wants to use. Conclusion – There was no significant electrical loss with the 20 foot wire so he will be able to freely move and position the panel around the boat.

And then back to more family time! We made a road trip to Pennsylvania to visit with my sister and sister-in-law (not photos) and then on to Delaware to see Al’s daughter, Alicia and family.

Playing games and an early birthday celebration for Papa.
The whole gang out for dinner. It was wonderful to spend time with our Delaware crew.

Al’s birthday was the week before Easter this year, which was quite early.

Happy Birthday, Papa!!
After the birthday brunch, there was a vigorous egg hunt for the three cousins.

We spent Easter Sunday hiking with friends at Chatfield Hollow State Park.

We were joined by Mary Jo and Dean and George and Patrice.
What a beautiful day.
Both the beavers and the Infrastructure Law have been hard at work on park projects.
Our picnic Easter dinner! 😁

On April 8th, a total solar eclipse, known as the “Great North American Eclipse,” traced a narrow path of totality across 13 U.S. states. It was the first total solar eclipse to move across the continent since 2017 and was the world’s longest land-based solar eclipse in over a decade.

Connecticut was not in the path of totality, but 92% was still something to experience. It was really pretty cool.
There was no way I could ever take a photo of the eclipse, but I appreciate all of the people who did and then shared it on social media. These were photos from people in Connecticut and it is exactly what we saw.

Tim and Amanda trekked across the country from Oregon to the east coast in their camper truck to see the eclipse in its totality in Indiana. We totally enjoyed a visit with them while they passed through Connecticut. We spent a day in Essex at the Safe Harbor Marina for the first in-water boat show in New England for 2024. Half of the proceeds were given to Sails Up 4 Cancer. Their mission statement is “SU4C is a non-profit organization dedicated to funding education, prevention, care, and cure for all types of cancer through the art and enjoyment of sailing.”  Sound like a perfect fit for us since we are sailors and have both had cancer. The show included both sail and power and we had an enjoyable day exploring the boats. We left knowing that we love our boat and did not see anything that would suit us better.

After the boat show, the four us enjoyed watching the sailboat races on the river. There were four different class races running at the same time.
Tim and Amanda with their truck/camper. It is especially well laid out for a tiny space. Notice 7-year-old Addie photo bombing. 😄

And that brings us to the end of April. It’s time to get that boat launched! (Spoiler Alert – We launched on April 29th!)

11 Responses

  1. Susie Marshall

    Sounds like y’all had a nice winter. Love the movie idea. I think we’ll have to borrow it. Have a great boating season.

  2. Jeanne

    You definitely didn’t get bored this winter, despite not being on the boat!

  3. Tom & Sue Sokoloski

    Thanks for sharing. If you can’t do projects with Topsiders on, the next best thing is doing projects with slippers on. Nice set of shelves!

    • watsons

      What sharp eyes you have, Tom! You noticed Al’s slippers.

  4. Lynn Turner Fox

    So fun to read! Thanks god sharing, Michelle. Anchors aweigh!

  5. Ellen

    Yay for you guys…these pictures and your explanations of all your escapades are fabulous (even though I’ve heard about some of them)…much more fun to see them this way! Looking forward to your fun times this summer. Continue to enjoy!

  6. Gwynn Sterken

    Wow, you live a full, family-fun-filled life. Good for you. I enjoy seeing pictures of your family and adventures. Thanks, Gwynn

    • watsons

      Great to hear from you, Gwynn. We don’t travel as far and wide as you and Jim do, but we’re still having fun. We’re lucky that our children and grandchildren aren’t too far away.

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