Mid-Atlantic Small Craft Festival

Detail, Canoe Jewelry


(to start of project)

The first weekend of October is the Mid-Atlantic Small Craft Festival in St. Micheals, Maryland, at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum. I’ve been to four now. On my first visit in 2003 I saw a Melonseed for the first time and knew I wanted one (the same one is still tied up there, owned by one of the Museum volunteers). A year ago I came away so inspired it pushed me to take the plunge. Deciding I couldn’t put it off any longer, I began building these boats and started this blog. Terri and I went again this year, and it was an amazing weekend. I’ve come away newly inspired to finish the boats and get them on the water. Continue reading “Mid-Atlantic Small Craft Festival”

Field Research

Richard Scofield , Boatyard Manager, and
Peter Thatcher, with the Second Oldest Melonseed


(to start of project)

The next phase of construction starts a series of tasks for which there is very little instruction. There’s a lot of latitude in how you go about these things, and every builder seems to approach them in slightly different ways. Like it says on the old explorer maps of The Known World, beyond here there be dragons. It’s a good time to see what other people have done and plan ahead, so I took a day off from work to do a bit of research in St. Michaels, Maryland. Continue reading “Field Research”


 Batteau Anchor and Sweep Oarlock


(to start of project)

Scottsville is over 150 miles from the coast. The western horizon is rumpled by the Blue Ridge and, beyond that, the Alleghenies. It’s a small town of about 500 people, give or take, situated in horse country at the northern edge of what was historically a tobacco growing region. Not exactly the kind of place you’d expect to find a hot bed of traditional boat building. Continue reading “Batteaux”


Coquina Beach


(to start of project)

Seems like ages since I’ve done any more on the boats. Life kind of took over for a while. Last week at least I got to take time off to do a little boat research and recognizance – er, reconnaissance – which is sort of like working on the boats, plus some sailing (Bonus!). Continue reading “Cortez”


Cattails in winter twilight 


(to start of project)

It’s been really cold lately. On Saturday, when I went down to the shop, it was 4 below. I don’t remember it being that cold here. In other parts of the country, New England and the Midwest, it dipped into the -30’s. My folks marveled it was snowing at the beach in South Carolina.

Continue reading “Weather”

Southwest Mountains


There’s a mountain ridge, runs southwest to northeast. It’s where the bad weather comes from, a shoulder against winter. Wet and cold spill over the rim in slow motion, flowing down through the bare tree tops into hollows and coves, where houses are huddled inside by fires to keep warm.

All week the ridgeline has been hidden by low clouds, clear below; clouds that sometimes rain, sometimes mist, later sleet or snow, but never much.

The top of the ridge could be gone. Maybe it will just be changed somehow, and we won’t know what is different, it will just feel different. I saw a fox this morning, and an owl last night. Both had somewhere to go.




8th Lake Adirondacks

8th Lake, Adirondacks

The word has some appropriate origins:


|emˈbärk| begin (a course of action, esp. one that is important or demanding)
ORIGIN mid 16th cent.: from French embarquer, from em- ‘in’ + barque ‘bark, ship.’


I’ve been planning this project for quite some time. Years, in fact. Life intervenes between many a fine notion and it’s fruition. Sometimes that’s a good thing. Big projects begin innocently enough, with an idea or impulse, and before you know it it’s taken root. If you don’t pull some weeds up quickly they drop seed and it’s all over but the mowing, or in this case, rowing.

Continue reading “Embarking”