Saturday, May 28, 2011

Memorial Day, Summer breaks out

This weekend is the Memorial Day holiday weekend, Monday off work for most people, celebrated in the US officially to commemorate our troops particularly those who did not come home, and unofficially as the first weekend of summer. It's bracketed in early September by Labor Day, officially an observance of the dignity of labor, but unofficially the end of the summer season.

Blogistas who wonder why on earth I explain this self evident info: we have readers from ten different countries, and they may not all know this, or have any need to remember it! so I slip in the footnotes here and there, just to be polite.

Anyway, around here, since it was a wonderful day, I noticed on my travels that the first strawberries at the local farm were in, so that was an obvious stop before I came home with all the Bad Food we eat to celebrate the holiday.

Handsome Partner loves strawberries above all fruit, and was suitably thrilled when I brought them out, just hulled, rinsed, dashed with sugar, perfect.

Huge and beautiful fruit.

These were ready picked, because my strawberry picking days (in the fields behind the farmstand) are in abeyance at the moment.

The Bad Food is hot dogs, rolls, pickles, relish and potato chips. For us this is the depth of depravity! very enjoyable, too. And we'll have that for lunch tomorrow while watching people leaping around at the French Open tennis.

I do stop to remember the brave forces who, whether they wanted to or not, fought in wars. And I also remember the brave people back home who endured wars and the hardships they brought every day. They were also soldiers even if they didn't have weapons.

The clouds are in their honor and just to celebrate a lovely early summer day.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Ready, set, spin!

This blossom fell off when I was deadheading, so I brought it in and put it on HP's table for him to enjoy close up.

Yes, we know about the lilies of the field, or at any rate the irises of my front yard, and how they don't toil nor spin, though I think the gospel writer might not have been one of the better botanists on the subject of whether plants, which never stop working from seed to compost are not in fact toiling, but I digress.

Because at the lovely Fiber Art and Yarn shop in Cape May, as you may have noticed, I treated myself to a lovely bag of wool top, ready to spin, feels like a cloud, and smells like the friendliest of clean sheep. Duncan approved of this, rolling and drooling like a mad thing all over it until I rescued it. He was born in a field, a feral kitten to feral parents, and I wonder if he had any sheep friends as a kitten.

Anyway, I discovered, all ready to spin, having finished the socks I had down at CM with me, that I had totally forgotten how to spin on the hand spindle. After a few pretty hopeless attempts which did yield some sort of yarn, which will go fine in the current tapestry, but were not what I had in mind, I found a video on YouTube and Megan made it all clear again.

So tomorrow, regardless of the lilies or the irises, I will spin and spin. I love the movement of the hand spindle, and the contemplative frame of mind that happens when you spin, and how you feel as if you're part of a massively long chain of people who've done this for so many centuries. Most of them better than I'm doing it, but they were at it longer.

So this is my early summer spinning, to go with my early summer knitting, and my early summer weaving, and my early summer development of more Unseen Presences, for which see my Beautifulmetaphor blog, this is going in an interesting direction since I posted that. Speaking of new directions, I think I have found and fixed the glerk that was making it hard to leave comments. At any rate I hope my fix worked. You will get a popup thing to write in now, and let's hope you can comment if you would like to.

Monday, May 23, 2011

The Ds. invade CM, Part Two

The evening of Day One was spent partly in enjoying coffee on the balcony

partly in the Ds. wearing part of their shell collection as hats.

The collection is now installed on the round glass table on the patio so that HP can enjoy his shell garden.

Day two required us to go downtown and see the Victorian houses, the Victorian horses and the Victorian carriages, and sample the Victorian Ben and Jerry's Chunky Monkey ice cream, while wandering around in the sun like everyone else, all mad with joy after the long winter and the long cold wet spring, with the first good weather in ages. Everyone smiling and laughing and eating ice cream and sampling fudge and generally doing what you do on The Mall in Cape May.

The fountain was not yet working, so the Ds seized the day and sat in one of the flower things

playing at being bouquets of flowers, while we listened to the violinist

who set up in the shade and played lovely Irish airs happily.

And we noticed several things: one was the arrival of a lone Scots piper in complete regalia, walking up and down in front of the church, pausing only to take a nip of something...

And we saw a wedding carriage all tricked out with ribbons

the horse gleaming in the sun, ribboned and with brasses, and with a driver in a top hat. After a while they trotted off down the street, no doubt to collect THE BRIDE from the reception.

To the Ds intense delight, they saw their first wedding in person. The church doors open onto the mall, and they were wide open so we heard a great rendition of the Schubert Ave Maria by a better than average singer, then the joyous exit music of traditional brides, and she appeared on the church steps

whereupon the piper struck up with Scottish airs

and very good they were, too.

She was so tasteful -- simple ivory embroidered dress, beautiful back detail, small veil, very understated makeup, just perfectly lovely, and I guess there was a bridegroom too, but they were soon mobbed by the guests coming out of the church, and there were only a couple of unfortunate hats.

But the bridesmaids were in the traditional green, with the traditional butt bows...

and the Ds were asking why, why, didn't they bring their wedding gear, here they were in beach gear looking like well, tourists, instead of honored guests.

The real wedding guests all climbed into an old fashioned trolley, bride and groom, too, and went off to the reception, from which I guess the horse and carriage would pick them up afterwards. There was only one attempt by a tourist to get a ride on the trolley, not understanding this was not the one he had a ticket for, but he was pacified and sent to the other side of the street where the real trolleys wait.

Horse and carriage is a popular way of trotting around Cape May, and they have to stop at red lights along with the rest of the traffic.

And there's the sightseeing trolley

Then there are those multibikes that entire families climb into

and the parents push like blazes and the kids sort of go through the motions of pedaling.

And there was what I think was an official Coast Guard type speedboat,

which crossed the bay in about three seconds, a blur, much further out than the amateur speedboats, and I wonder if our tax dollar financed it. There were commemorations of the armed forces this weekend, and I wondered if this speedboat was showing its paces. If I were in trouble, I would certainly appreciate being rescued by this thing. You could scarcely go underwater once before it would be there.

And we did go to the harbor, partly to give a shout to the Coast Guard whose station is there and who I think are the least recognized of our military forces, partly to visit the nature center

and partly to see the harbor and pick out what ship we'd have if we could have one

The harbor has wonderful clay under the surface, which the original Indian residents used to make coil pots. I've dug some up to make little pots and beads, and it's a lovely dark greenish gray, very very good for your skin, unlike most clay, and I just air dried it. Not serious clay, just a nice shout out to the long ago clay workers.

Day Three yet to come! even more adventures...stay tuned.

And Day Three was the Yarn Shop!!! in honor of which the Ds. had got to work on the current sock

But the Yarn Shop

was like returning to the maternity ward for the Ds., where, however, the star of the show was Francesca

who was very hospitable to us all, while I invested in a lovely helping of Spanish wool top, ready to spin, time I did some spinning, it's been a while. She is a keen Raveler, too, as are the people in the store, including Marie, and we all agreed Rav. is a Good Thing.

So was the trip, and I was totally rejuvenated and ready to come home and see HP and HS. speaking of shout outs, a huge one to HS who took over completely in my absence, and I came home to a peaceful house, HP perfectly well looked after, looking very cheerful, and the animals happy, the place all in order. Great stuff to be able to trust that all is well like this. Big cheer for HS, please!

The Dollivers invade Cape May, Day One

Just back today after a wonderful, packed, three days at the shore, with the only three days' good weather to be had anywhere in the region, sunburns, even.

The Ds were rendered speechless by the beach and the Atlantic Ocean. Get a look at that, it's HUGE.

Very big for Dollivers. They held hands on the whole trip, just to be sure.

And the whale and dolphin watching boat came by on their first beach visit, to great excitement, see, it says d-o-l -- hey, it's the Dolliver Watching Boat!!

wave, they're watching us here on the beach.

Nice piece of natural sculpture there, too

Next stop the hawkwatch platform, where they craned out to see as much as they could without falling into the marsh

and a new friend, Susan A. took their picture.

Turns out that aside from being an instant Dolliver fan, and a very nice woman indeed, she's an artist, weaves, makes dolls, has worked in clay, you name it, a kindred spirit! and she went so far as to make our portrait, Boud with Dollivers, a first.

What a piece of luck to have met her. Wonderful new friend.

Then a hike to the bird blind, where the Ds were amazed at the sight of a pair of swans with six cygnets, all wound up together like kittens, hard to count, but we think it was six.

We kept at a prudent distance -- you don't want to irritate a pair of swans with young.

At the entrance to Cape May Meadows, next stop, we read the official recognition that this is one of the few last best places!

we all vote for that. And there was the usual obliging bird who sat on a post long enough for a picture.

There's always one for me, every year. Maybe it's the same one. Oh, it's her again. Well, I'm a nice guy, I'll pose. Again.

Also at the meadows, a snowy egret, the kind with the golden feet,

danced about gracefully for a while, and overhead an osprey flew over with a huge fish in his talons. Many hawks and vultures, a glossy ibis in the shallows, and at the edge of the ocean, joy, the piping plovers, rare and protected, are nesting again and succeeding. And a couple of oyster catchers wandering about casually as if they were not the first ones I'd ever seen.

Back at the fort, while we lay around on the balcony,

an energetic mom of three tiny kids organized them into the wading pool,

while a couple of teens read intently in the big pool, maybe finals are coming up.

More adventures to come!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Goodbye, iris and pansies, we're off soon...

The Dollivers finally managed to get their entire wardrobe stuffed into the Big Suitcase, largely by sitting on it, and wanted to show the world their beach gear before climbing into the traveling Bag of Doom. We don't care that it's been raining wall to wall for years, we are going to shine at the shore!

Meanwhile, the iris

and pansies

have been perfectly happy in the rain and wish to wave to us as we leave on our Great Big Annual Trip.