Tuesday, November 26, 2019

2019 - NOVEMBER NEWS & The Prequels #14, November, 2010



Note to readers:  apparently, a November blog from 2017 inadvertently self-published again.  I don't know why, but at least it was somewhat timely, if not intentional.  


About four years ago, after six summers of taking our lives in our hands to turn left on the highway, we decided to inquire about the possibility of getting a stoplight installed.  After all, we reasoned, it was a street that accessed Fort Hill, a popular and well-advertised scenic lookout in the National Seashore, visited by tourists and locals alike, and one of the accesses to the bike trail was right across the highway.  We decided that our best option would be to write to our State Representative and ask the surrounding neighborhoods to do the same.  As we knocked on doors and stuffed mailboxes to accomplish this, we met a few neighbors who had lobbied for a stoplight years before we moved to the neighborhood, but had ultimately given up.  They wished us well and said they would write.  At every event I went to that I would see our Rep, Sarah Peake, I would introduce myself and ask if there was any progress.  The first time she said, "So you're the reason I'm getting all these emails...", but she had her assistant reach out to me with updates.  Long story short, we didn't get the light, but money was approved for a crossing beacon for pedestrians and bikers, and work finally began on it at our corner this month.  Apparently, when you're dealing with the State Department of Transportation, the National Seashore and the town you live in, it takes four years once the money has been approved to get through the amount of bureaucratic red tape to make something happen.  We're hoping the button will be close enough for car passengers to run out and push, but we'll have to wait until April to find out.  What's another five months?



I've always been very fond of Massachusetts, but I just read that it has been ranked the best state to live in, according to a new report by a financial news website 24/7 Wall Street.  The rating was based on a well-educated population a typical household income close to $80,000 a year, which is about $18,000 higher than the national average, a low poverty rate, and an average life expectancy of 80 years.  In case you were wondering, Mississippi ranked last.
   

It was the first weekend in November when I saw two woolly caterpillars on the same day, a harbinger of a harsh winter.  Not a week later, we received our first 'snow', a day of flurries, which if memory serves may be the earliest I can remember.  About a week after that, we awoke to a thin, white covering of snow and have had a couple of 40 degree drops in temperature that had everyone rushing to turn off outdoor water.  Maybe there is something to the wooly caterpillar warnings.  According to The Old Farmer's Almanac, "the woolly bear legend is based on the caterpillar's 13 distinct segments of either rusty brown or black. The wider the brown sections, the milder the coming winter will be. The more black there is, the more severe the winter."



Have you ever wondered what a whale is worth?  I can't say that I have, but I found it interesting that a Marine Conservation Research and Education Organization in Sri Lanka did and came up with a value of $2 million for their blue whales, the largest of all the whales, growing up to 100 feet long and weighing close to 100 tons.  They base this value not only on tourism revenue, which Provincetown can certainly confirm, but also because they're an important part of enabling the ocean to produce more food and store more carbon.  As they swim around the ocean eating food, and then relieving themselves, they move nutrients.  When they die, they take the nutrients and all the carbon they've amassed over a lifetime to the bottom of the ocean.  I guess that's going to put them out of my price range for a pet.   Perhaps a smaller turtle?


Sea turtles are federally protected under the Endangered Species Act; as such, it is illegal to harass sea turtles or transport them without a permit.  
When water temperature dips below 50 degrees in November, the tides are high, and onshore winds are blowing, it's time for volunteers to dress warmly and patrol the beaches on a search and rescue mission to save cold-stunned Kemp's Ridley turtles from freezing to death.  As winter nears, the turtles should be making their way south to warmer waters, but since the late 1970's, some of them have been getting trapped by the hook-shape of Outer Cape Cod and become disoriented and too cold to eat, drink, or swim.  When strong winds blow in from the north or west, they're pushed onto the beach, where hardy volunteers are watching for them and get them to the Wellfleet Audubon Center, to be driven to the New England Aquarium Facility for rehabilitation and ultimately release.  

Instructions for what to do if one finds a cold-stunned turtle on the beach:
1-Move it above high tide
2-C
over with dry seaweed
3-Mark it with obvious debris to make it easy to find
4-Call the Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary hotline


I think I'll just stick to cats.



Somewhere at a desk in Washington, someone who didn't have enough to keep him [or her] busy decided that it would be a good idea to change the exit numbers on all the highways in the country to reflect the distance from the beginning of the route.  So, in other words, instead of nice sequential numbers that everyone has grown accustomed to, they would change to random numbers.   Massachusetts, Delaware and New Hampshire are the only states that haven't begun renumbering, which is supposed to be finished by the beginning of 2022.  Cape Cod is dotted with small towns filled with people who are used to having very vocal town meetings about things they don't like, and they really don't like this at all, even though the old exit numbers would be shown under the new ones for two years.  Cape officials have asked the state to petition for an exemption, arguing that it is unnecessary, expensive and would require the reprinting of thousands of maps, pamphlets, booklets, business cards, stationery, etc. and will confuse tourists.  Exemptions have already been given for four other Massachusetts highways, so hopes are high that the status quo will reign on Olde Cape Cod.
Here's an idea: 
Let's change what we've been teaching kids about Pilgrims and Indians to the truth,
 and count our blessings every day. 
Eastern Standard Time returns us to early darkness.


The Prequels #14, November 2010

The month of November entered with a no-nonsense frost that made the front yard glisten and put an end to our beautiful hydrangea blossoms.  The Golden Rain Tree was true to its name, releasing hundreds of yellow leaves to the driveway.  The furnace woke up, and we’re down to the business of winter chores.  Traffic is mostly sparse except on nice weekends, more restaurants have closed for the season, and my Orleans consignment shop is cutting back hours.  In just another month, we will have completed a year’s cycle, and the early sunset and chilly air feel much like when we began our lives here.  The biggest difference is that when I go out, I’m greeted by people I know and I’m familiar with more of their local references.  I can even give a few directions without sounding like a tongue-tied first grader called upon to answer a question.  Our B&B is becoming an established concern that continues to become known worldwide through our own website and the ones on which we have listed.  Great reviews have been posted online by our guests, which encourage others to take a chance on us.  The months of preparation and practice have paid off in delicious validation, but it has not made us complacent.  We still start each day with a morning latte toast in appreciation for all we’ve accomplished.   A friend asked recently if we were feeling smug, and I replied that we felt too grateful for our amazing serendipitous timing to be smug, a comment certainly apropos for Thanksgiving. 
Barely out of the first week of November, we heard the ‘S’ word for the first time.  That’s right, possible Sleet and/or Snow.  Contrary to the Richmond phenomenon, there was NOT a stampede to the grocery stores to clear the shelves of bread and milk.  Nothing frozen developed either, but it was a wake-up call to finish winterizing and batten down anything in the yard that could sail away.   Right on cue, the brisk winds that pushed us towards our home for the first time last year and shushed us to sleep all winter, marched noisily back into town.   I found out that the roar I sometimes hear in our back yard coming from Fort Hill is not only the wind, but the pounding ocean when the winds are from the Northeast.  With a short drive, it makes for some pretty spectacular viewing from the beach, too.  And, at night, there’s something very soothing about being tucked under the covers and being played to sleep by the creaks and percussion of rattling things, tinkling wind chimes and the throaty whistle of the wind’s stories.  It makes me fall in love with our home all over again.   

The Wildlife Report took a new twist this month when while doing my morning stretches, I happened to look out the window, right into the face of a red-tailed hawk, who was using our porch roof as a lookout.  We exchanged greetings, which is to say, I nodded and he gave me a Clint Eastwood stare.  Hawks will allow you to come right up to them and even listen to what you have to say, but they’re not great conversationalists, preferring to keep their focus on a potential meal.  Moments later, after finishing up my exercises, I checked the Hav-A-Heart trap I’d set on the back porch for the latest scurry of marauding squirrels.  What I found instead was a rat (looking an awful lot like the one I’d caught and released across the street the day before), squealing in terror as the hawk was trying to pick up the cage and fly off with him.  It was a good thing I hadn’t chosen the smaller trap.  Then the dilemma of whether to deny the hawk his breakfast, or give the mouse a reprieve presented itself.  Thankfully, Ron came to my rescue, released the rat, which immediately ran under the porch, and life went on with its many agendas. 


The following day, on our way to the beach to see what 30’ seas looked like, we came upon a couple dozen wild turkeys crossing the road.  Now, I know this sounds like the opening to a joke, but there is no punch line, unless, you’re amused by 2 adults noisily gobbling out the car window and calling out Thanksgiving warnings.  If you haven’t tried doing that, you’ve really missed out on some fun.   

In our joy to be out of the middle of the woods and into the sunshine, our new, open yard was somewhat deceptive about how many leaves there would be to rake.  The many large trees around the perimeter of the yard, make waist-high yellow drifts against the fence after gusty nights. This provided the incentive to learn how to utilize another ‘new toy’ left by the former owners.  Put simply, it’s a giant vacuum-mulcher that attaches to the riding lawnmower they also left, and I imagine they were as giddy to leave the machinery to us as we were to leave the care of an in-ground pool in the middle of the woods to our buyers in Richmond.

With the return to Eastern Standard Time and chilly weather, the temptation of sleeping-in has grown too great to resist and it’s amazing how easy it is to justify.  Most mornings we don’t need any reason at all, other than because we can.   A new subscription to the Cape Codder newspaper, which is delivered weekly, is another indication of my willingness to slow down long enough to see what the rest of the Cape is up to.  Inactivity doesn’t come naturally to me, but given the right incentives, like a roaring fire on a raw day, I’m open to giving it a chance. 

With the capture, finally, of Squirrel #35, also came the return of our hopeful winged predator, who sat patiently on the fence waiting for the release.  Not taking any chances of an escape, only to further ravage our bird feeders, Ron took him for a 2nd Chance Ride to the park.  Our tenant, Ellen, who was also enjoying the show from her kitchen window, speculates that what we originally thought was a falcon or a red-tailed hawk, may actually be a juvenile eagle.  We hope to get confirmation soon from the Audubon Center, but have decided, regardless of species, that we’ll call him Iggy.  

We often tell our guests that our friend Ray, who visits almost daily, is our ‘Local Color’.  With 2 big dogs in a red pickup, tall fishing boots and white beard he fills the bill nicely.  To my absolute delight, he told his brother, Paul, who was visiting from Western MA, that we were his local color.  The evolution from newbies to locals made me feel like we’d gotten an A+ on a report card, especially when born and bred Codders  refer to us ‘Wash-ashores’.  Regardless of the pecking order, we’re glad to finally be home.

The Eastham Turnip Festival came and went without me.  I will probably see the winning recipe in the next Cape Codder, but after seeing the infamous  Eastham turnips at the local market for a pricey $4/pound, I frankly lost a little interest.  

The First Thanksgiving and Guest Report:  There’s nothing like the pungent smell of skunk to welcome guests for Thanksgiving.   Once again the traps are loaded and set in the vicinity of the smell, which seems to emanate from the garden area depending on how the wind blows, but no sign of Monsier LePew so far.

Our first holiday guests were Dexter and Lucy from NH, who had spent the day hiking all over the Cape before planning to spend Thanksgiving Day with family in a small town south of Boston.   They decided to stay overnight first and found cozy refuge in the Cottage. The Fort Hill trails at sunrise with the birds became their favorite adventure, according to their Guestbook entry.   Jean and Rich had reserved the Studio for Thanksgiving Day and arrived around noon, staying just long enough to find out how to get into their room before spending the day with family in Eastham.   The subject of whether the first Thanksgiving was in VA or MA always raises controversy, but we were determined to spend our first one here at Crosswinds.  For me, the best part of the holiday is that it doesn’t take long after putting the turkey in the oven for the house to take on a delicious smell.  It’s always a good time to try new recipes.  This year it was glazed carrots with rosemary, ginger and cranberries and the traditional New England Indian Pudding.  We extended invitations to anyone we thought might be alone for the holiday, but as it turned out, we had the turkey to ourselves and we were glad to know that everyone had people who cared enough to spend the day with them.  

Once again, the end of the month has snuck up, bringing us closer to the Winter Solstice and our first year here.    Winter nightlife continues to be a source of rich entertainment, whether it is going to local theatre, having dinner with friends, or catching our musical friends playing the local venues.   The beautiful wildness and peaceful respite of the winter season has returned to the Outer Cape and is waiting for the first cover of white to make winter official. 

Monday, October 28, 2019

2019 - OCTOBER - WHAT'S OLDE / WHAT'S NEW & THE PREQUELS #13 - October, 2010


Much of early October was spent anticipating, preparing for and enduring Nor'Easters.  The first was a 3-day, windy rain event, but not much more.  Perhaps that made us just a bit complacent when the second rolled in with winds between 70 to 100 mph, causing major power outages.  Even with an automatic generator, 3 days of watching the needle drop on the propane supply did nothing to improve our moods.  We encouraged both our scheduled weekend guests to cancel their reservations and also turned away a handful of people who lost their reservations due to power outages as well.  As luck would have it, our only damage was a lawn chair that took the brunt of a falling branch that covered the length of the Cottage patio.  The many small limbs pruned by the storms are easy enough to deal with, as well as all the leaves which got a rude shove from the winds before they were ready.  And, now we end the month with another bout of rain and wind, which cancelled most of the ferries to the islands and only ripped a door off the garden shed.  It's been an angry, wet month.

Thanks to some wonderful historians, and the local papers who publish their findings, I'm always getting surprises about the adopted area I now call home.  Growing up in Virginia, no child left elementary school without an introduction to Captain John Smith, who commanded the first voyage to Jamestown, Virginia in 1607.  What our history books neglected to mention was that he was feared by many of the natives because he was known to enter villages and put guns to the heads of chiefs demanding food and supplies.  Enter the lovely Pocahontas, daughter of Chief Powhatan [and future Disney star], who saved him from execution by famously placing her head over his neck after her father had captured him. Smith went on to became one of the Jamestown Colony's leaders and was instrumental in exploring and mapping the Chesapeake Bay.  After being injured in a gunpowder explosion, he returned to England for treatment, never to set foot in Virginia again.  THE END.  Well, at least in Virginia schools.  

We now fast forward seven years to 1614.  Cap'n Smith had become a strong advocate for English colonization of America and he was now well enough to make a second voyage, funded by a group of London merchants to explore the northeastern coast of America from Maine to as far south as what is known now as Cape Cod.  To this date, his map and description of the area is the most accurate that has been produced.  On board was a Patuxet tribesman named Squanto, who was best known as a friendly, English speaking liaison between the natives of Southern New England and the English explorers.  Previously kidnapped by one of Captain Smith's associates named Thomas Hunt, he was brought to Spain and sold to local monks, but found his way to London where he was later able to join Smith's party to return to his home on Cape Cod Bay.  Sadly, his whole tribe had been wiped out by then.  While Captain Smith's choice of the name Cape James didn't make the cut, he was at least the first to call the region New England and to name the area where the Pilgrims later settled 'Plimouth'.  Ironically, when the Mayflower voyage was being organized, the Pilgrim Separatists felt that despite Smith's credentials for the job, his personality was too dominant for their low-key approach, and he was passed over for Myles Standish, using the books and map they'd purchased from Smith.  He later wrote that "the Pilgrim's pride and contempt of authority would not allow them to be guided by a commanding person."  [With thanks to Ron Peterson and the Cape Codder Weekly.]


On the subject of Massachusetts natives, the town of Mashpee was the first on Cape Cod to celebrate Indigenous Peoples' Day this year, and Provincetown will be recognizing it in 2020, as opposed to Columbus Day.   
Sagamore Bridge over the Cape Cod Canal
When the Cape Cod Canal was finished in 1914, Cape Cod became an island, necessitating bridges for those without boats to come and go.  Originally, these were drawbridges in the 1920's, and traffic jams were the reason they were replaced with the current elevated Bourne and Sagamore bridges.  85 years later, they're now determined to be functionally obsolete by the Army Corps of Engineers.  After much study and debate, it has finally been decided to replace each with new 6-lane ones, rather than continue to repair the old ones.  Part of the reason is because they fall into the category of being emergency evacuation routes, and logistically it also makes sense to be able to use the old ones while the new ones are being constructed.  But don't adjust your weekend driving times, yet.  The new ones are not likely to be finished until 2040.    
Cape Cod Chronicles #13 – October, 2010
Autumn paints Fort Hill 
Just as September began with guests from VA, so did October.  Friends from Arlington, who attended a wedding in NH, brought the parents of the groom with them for a relaxing post-wedding chill-out.  Unfortunately, our Northern Virginians also brought a 5-day monsoon with them, so touring was foggy, gray and wet.  I think we were more disappointed than they were since we love showing off favorite places on our sandbar.  With the clearing of the rain came delicious, cool breezes and an end to the occasional guilty air conditioning usage.

Surprisingly, as much as I looked forward to fewer people in the Fall and a slower pace, there is a trade-off.  Summer brings interesting guests, more income, and our musician friends play more gigs.  But, I’m also looking forward to less traffic, my favorite cool seasons and time to work on creative projects I’ve set aside. Also, yet to be discovered is what our new B&B can look forward to for off-season business.  After some research, I determined that though our booking agents did a great job for the summer, they were possibly a little out of touch with their suggested off-season rates.  We decided to make them more competitive and within the week received the first booking we’d had since Labor Day.  It felt great, and Martine and Serge, on a weekend getaway from Boston, vowed to be back again, despite the plumbing emergency that prevented them from staying in their chosen room the first night.  We were challenged with an innkeeper’s nightmare of how to quell water flowing uncontrollably from the water heater in their room, and the terror that comes with knowing that their arrival was imminent.  Luckily, our Studio was also available, though it was promised to our friends’ son and his girlfriend from Hawaii for the following evening. Martine and Serge were good sports about switching rooms for the night until the plumber could come the next morning.  But first, we had to remove all the food and flowers that our friends had left in the Studio for their son, and switch the food I’d stocked in the Cottage for our guests.  It’s one of those times you know will be fodder for humorous stories in the future, but at the time, makes you feel like an octopus with an abnormal supply of adrenaline.

Though Martine and Serge were unaware of the significance of the weekend they chose to come, they were excited to learn that they’d arrived on the eve of the annual Wellfleet Oysterfest.  Wellfleet, the next town north of us is known far and wide for the quality of its oysters.  The little town fills up with locals and visitors to celebrate and sample this natural resource.  Local craftsmen display their wares under tents flapping in the stiff sea breezes, bands play, there are oyster shucking contests, cooking classes and of course, long lines to sample seafood of all kinds.  Rickshaws peddled by strong, young thighs and school buses shuttle the crowds from point to point, but it was a perfect Fall day for strolling, too.  For my money, I enjoyed seeing the 38 pound, 200 year old lobster, now stuffed and under plexiglass.  At our kitchen window Sunday night, I noted the steady stream of Oysterfest-ers’ tail lights driving off-Cape in the pitch black, but no headlights approaching, another reminder of the shrinking winter population.  

Before the end of the week we received another request for a room via airbnb.com, our newest online booking aid.  Nola & Bill, an Australian couple on their 3rd week of travel, were making us their last stop after San Francisco, Washington D.C., Vermont, Maine and Boston, before a week in New York City and then home to Perth.  Upon seeing the Cape for their first time, they decided to extend their 3-night reservation to 6.  This involved returning their rental car to Boston after 3 days and taking a bus back, but Bill said the tree swing looked very inviting and they loved the prospect of having walking trails nearby and the availability of bikes, so we volunteered to pick them up in Hyannis from the bus station and help them get around as necessary.  The first evening, we invited them to join us at a local Orleans Café called The Lost Dog, where Chandler’s Philharmonic Band was playing that night.  Over Shrimp Scampi Pizza, Chandler won over 2 new fans.  The following evening, we showed them our favorite store in Chatham and they treated us to dinner at the Squire, where we indulged in our favorite, Mussels Marinara.  Perhaps there is a fine line between being an accommodating innkeeper and going on vacation with your guests, but they were such a fun couple, we made that exception.  We’ve since received a booking for Thanksgiving from a CT family, and one for New Year’s from a couple from a tiny island in the West Indies.  It’s good to be back on track. 

Knowing that Fall colors might not be as prevalent near salt water, I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the growing splashes of oranges, reds and golds along my drives.  Cape Codders are serious gardeners and whether they are native, or cultivated, there are plenty of maples and other colorful varieties to provide a respectable and satisfying amount of leaf-peeping.  I’m also very happy that little cans of pumpkin are reappearing on the grocery shelves after last years disastrous flooding of the crop.  I’ve missed my pumpkin muffins all summer, but Autumn without pumpkin pie would be just too sad to consider. 

Sometimes when our friend, Ray, pulls in his lobster pots, he's also caught stone crabs, which he can’t sell.  We became the beneficiaries of some of his last catch recently and I learned the fine and tedious art of crab picking.  I did get better enough after some practice to consider doing it again, but most of all, I learned to never again complain about the high cost of crabmeat. 

On October 23rd we turned the furnace on to take the chill off the morning for the first time this season, but I quickly found out that there are just as many false starts here as there are in VA.  I’ve learned to put summer clothing away in phases, so as not to be caught short for something to wear when the next warm spell hits.  Blankets are pulled out of trunks and piled on the bed only to be stuffed away again.  Freeze warnings yield to Spring-like conditions and the feeling of déjà vu.  
      
The Critter Report has been on hold for most of the summer, as there seemed to be a respite from them.  However, a very muscular stud of a squirrel discovered our feeders last week and when he invited a friend, it was time to put the traps back in action.  I’ve yet to trap him, but I’ve now added 2 possums (Marty Marsupial, Jr. & Sr.), 6 furry, brown, nameless mice, and a couple of very indignant sparrows to the list.  With the exception of the birds, who receive heartfelt apologies along with their freedom, the others are taken across the street to the edge of the salt marshes and given a stern warning.
On my last walk through Fort Hill, I was surprised to find that the fields of nose-high wildflowers had been given their annual Fall haircut.  They’ve been replaced by the designs of the mowers on rolling, green hills, now devoid of their cover for the wildlife that call it their summer home.  There are still plenty of woods for sheltering critters from the hawks and coyotes, and the hills are now ready for sleds and toboggans.   

Post-Oysterfest, the local entertainment turns to more family oriented activities such as, haunted houses, rummage sales, pot luck dinners, wine and book club nights, art exhibitions, 5K races for charities, senior dance classes, and new plays to attend at the theatres.  But, stay tuned for November’s annual Eastham Turnip Festival which in the past has included turnip bowling, Mr. Turnip Head contests and of course, turnip recipe cook-offs. 
   
Our first Eastham Halloween came with the realization that there are no trick-or-treaters in the neighborhood, so it was a quiet night after a day of surprises.  Our morning began with a rare trip across the bridge to Wareham to snap up a good deal on a bed liner for Ron’s truck.  While we were so far from our end of the Cape, we decided to take advantage of the beautiful day and stop in the town of Sandwich, where we had scones and crumpets at Dunbar’s Tea House and then visited the Sandwich Glass Museum, where we saw a demonstration of glass blowing.  Both are sites we can now recommend to our B&B guests from experience, rather than just a brochure.  With that lovely day, the winds shifting back from the North and the return of the silk camisole under my sweater, our October came to a close.







Monday, September 30, 2019

2019 - SEPTEMBER -Just Like Magic & THE PREQUELS #12 - September, 2010

The sun sets on another summer season at First Encounter Beach
And, just like magic...  

On the last week of August it's as if the plugs gets pulled and much of the traffic drains off of Cape Cod, over the bridge into highway tributaries back from where it came.  Huge weather fronts start to rudely shove the heat and humidity out to sea making room for cooler, dry air from Canada to trickle in to refresh and energize.  Store displays of chrysanthemums and asters replace the once bright annuals, which are looking pretty spent, and it's on to pumpkins and haystacks and scoring the perennial markdowns to tuck into the garden for next Spring's surprises. Now come the retirees, who have waited all summer for this sweet spot of quiet beaches, gentle breezes, store inventory on clearance and the restorative peace and beauty that is Cape Cod all the rest of the year.   
The Sharktivity phone app was busy this summer.

The summer of 2019 was all about the sharks.  New educational signs were posted at every beach, the Sharktivity app for phones was very active alerting people to shark sitings, shark images were on paraphernalia of all kinds for sale, some in better taste than others, and there was the question everyone was asking,"has the increase in shark sitings affected reservations?" Speaking for ourselves, we'd have to say no, our bookings weren't down at all, in fact many guests were eager to know where they could go to see sharks and seals.  But though there were numerous sitings, we had no casualties this year despite the Atlantic White Shark Conservatory spotting over 160 this summer and tagging an additional 19.  
Will he, or won't he?
While people on Nauset Light beach in Eastham were busy taking pictures of some black fins flapping around in the water, I grabbed this moment of indecision about what sea creature it was, and if the surfer would take the chance.  Moments later, he walked by and sheepishly said he'd cut his foot and didn't want to go in the water smelling of blood.  Sounded like a smart choice to me, although we'd pretty much decided they were seals by that time.  Nevertheless, altogether now...what are sharks favorite meal?  

Sharks have actually always been around Cape Cod and the stories abound, such as this scare reported in the Cape Codder that took place in the early 1970's when a huge great white was found dead on Corporation Beach in the town of Dennis.  Officials closed the beach wondering how many more of them might be in the bay.  The truth finally came out when a couple of fishermen were having some drinks in a local saloon and confessed that when they came across a Russian fishing fleet anchored just outside the 12-mile limit, they decided to motor out to see them.  Hanging from a gaff off the stern of the vessel was a really large, dead shark, which they decided they wanted, and negotiated a trade of a couple of watches and some cigarettes and brought it aboard their own boat.  Starting home to Plymouth across the bay, the wind came up with enough chop for them to worry that their boat might capsize with the giant shark aboard.  Reluctantly, they tossed it overboard and the carcass eventually drifted onto the beach in Dennis where it not only created a panic, but also an incredibly bad smell.  Eventually, the Harbor Master ordered it to be hauled to the dump.  

Not a shark, or a seal.
Okay, so speaking of wildlife, it's been a long time since I have discovered a new creature in my 'hood, but I got lucky and discovered what turned out to be a woodchuck at Fort Hill.  Not knowing much about them, I gave him, or her some space and sadly never did find out the answer to how much wood they could chuck.  Sorry.  You'll have to find your own and give it a try.  We also had an autumn visit from a quail, who hung around for a couple of days, and not finding what, or whom he was looking for, waddled off.  We haven't seen one of those for several years.
Perhaps he felt that he was being stalked?

The long awaited arrival of Skyler & Jackie
For the last couple of months, I've begun and ended my days looking at the above link to follow the progress of my son's friends from their home in San Francisco as they ride their motorcycles around the perimeter of the United States.  Since Cape Cod is about as perimeter as it gets, they arranged beforehand to make an overnight stop with us.  Of course, any friend of Doug's is always welcome, and it even scored us an extra visit from him so he could be here to welcome them when they arrived, too.  Although theirs was a fleeting visit, it was fun tracking them on the map and delightful to finally meet the intrepid friends.  I must confess that I'm still checking the map daily as they wind north and then west towards home.  I find it utterly amazing that the beginning of their trip took them through searing desert heat, then dodging a hurricane on the east coast, and now in Minnesota, heading into the first blizzard of the season.  What stories and GoPro films they will have of this great adventure!  
Suited up to ride off in the rain.
Visitors occasionally confide that they've always wondered what it would be like to have a B&B.  The nice thing is that they are all different depending on the type of property and the creativity and personality of the hosts.  Our Shoulder Season bookings have continued to be almost as busy as summer so far, and as I was tossing the ingredients for the egg bread that everyone loves into the bread maker, I started wondering how many loaves of bread I've made this year.  It was one of those little random thoughts that seem really important as you think of them and then quickly vanish as something else grabs your attention.  But, that something else turned out to be all the jars of homemade beach plum jelly that I purchase from my friend to go with the bread.  You see, Sue donates all the proceeds to an organization she volunteers for that gives scholarships to women all over the world.  I love being a part of that while giving our guests a taste of a local delicacy at the same time.  So yes, I counted, and for the period January 1 through the end of September, my bread maker and I made 70 loaves of bread accompanied by 70 jars of delicious Eastham Beach Plum jelly.  But that led to the realization that, in addition to my own bed, I've stripped and made up 70 beds, did about 150 loads of laundry and made countless trips to the grocery store to ensure that we offered the freshest foods for breakfasts.  Meanwhile, to go along with those 70 loaves of breads and all the rest, Ron has vacuumed and cleaned 210 rooms [3 for each suite] until they sparkle.  And, that is only the basics of what it's like to welcome guests and help them to have a great time while they're here. Please, hold your applause, there's still three more months to finish the year.  
The loaf of bread that started the numbers game.
Hurricane Dorian put a damper on the annual 3-day Eastham Windmill Weekend this year, cancelling the popular sand castle competition at the beach.  But, by the time our usual shift rolled around at the raffle ticket table on Sunday, the sun was shining, the musicians were playing, the booths were all full of information and goodies for sale, and the parade marched proudly up Route 6.  I certainly couldn't guess how many raffle tickets I've sold in the last several years, but how many times I've won something is easy - zero!  
Eastham boasts the oldest windmill on Cape Cod in our town green.
But, the best part of September was playing tourist with Doug during his visit.  Just like the thousands who came all summer long, we walked the Fort Hill trails, explored the beaches and even climbed a light house.  Sometimes you need a little reminder that there are other things to do besides chores.  
A beach 'love note' left behind.
Cape Chronicles - #12 – September, 2010
A brief, but fun visit with VA friends started the month off pleasantly.  We were happy that Ellis, former teacher-extraordinaire of my son, Doug, decided to include us in a not so on-the-way stop on their way back from Canada.  They just happened to be here on the last night that the ChandlerTravis Philharmonic were playing in Wellfleet for the season, and having had rave reviews from everyone else we introduced to his indescribable style of music, we decided to keep with tradition and let Chan help us entertain.  After treating us to a delicious dinner, they left the following morning to race Hurricane Earl to Martha’s Vineyard, to make another stop to see friends.  

September then rolled in on the back of Earl, the Hurricane.  The doomsday weather forecast caused us to hear from concerned friends and family from as far as the West Coast to see what we were doing to prepare, but as it turned out, there were bigger storms last winter than the likes of Earl.  The desperately needed rain was welcomed with a party atmosphere and one observer noted that there were more people coming over the canal to the Cape than leaving.  Of course once Earl fizzled there were accusations of over-reaction by the authorities, but we all know that the slightest change could have made the difference between a disaster and much ado about nothing.  The only intelligent thing to do is to pick up the little stuff in the yard, make sure there’s drinking water and candles and wait for whatever comes. What did come were our first honeymooners, Filipo & Chiara from Italy.  They were a little apprehensive about the forecast, but since they don’t have hurricanes in Italy, they were also a little curious.   Except for a bit of a cloudy day and a good rainy night, the weather was gorgeous and they extended their intended 3-night stay to a 4th.  
  
With the minor inconvenience of Earl, Labor Day Weekend provided perfect weather for the final hurrah before the start of school.  Our friends in the C. T. Philharmonic drew the last spot on the calendar to close out the Monday night concerts on Eastham’s Windmill Green.  It was my first time attending one and it felt very cozy sitting on lawn chairs wrapped in a blanket under the stars with neighbors, friends and pets, listening to our favorite local boys, who also just happen to be extraordinary musicians.  It was a great close to a very busy and first exciting summer on the Cape.
Our upstairs tenant, Ginny, assured me that once Labor Day comes it’s as if someone turns a switch and the heat is gone.  I won’t say we haven’t had a few hot afternoons, but for the most part, the fight has gone out of the hottest summer on record.  It has allowed me to return to my walks on Ft. Hill, which continues to wear new costumes for each season.  The gentle lavenders, blues and pinks have mellowed into golden sprays of blossoms, bright red vines, luscious purple berries and stalks and fluffy seedpods bursting with next year’s beginnings.  There are fewer bunny picnics going on and the hawks keep a keen watch from the tops of the trees.  The red wing blackbirds with their ‘tweedle-dee’ choruses are nowhere to be seen or heard.  And, the sun is setting noticeably earlier in this third act of nature’s best play.  
        
The weekend following Labor Day is Eastham’s annual Windmill Weekend.  As with almost any other public gathering, there are the inevitable tents around Windmill Green selling mostly local arts, crafts and seafood delicacies, but the scope of this 3-day festival has a little something for everyone, including a sand castle contest and lots of prizes donated by local merchants for the very popular raffles.  Our tickets didn‘t yield any prizes, and I felt a little resentful about the 100 gallons of free oil going to someone who lived in NY, but for my money, nothing beat the parade. This was nothing like the annual Tobacco Parade that used to close Broad Street in Richmond every Fall with convertibles carrying “Princesses” from various VA localities vying to be Miss Tobacco Queen.  Let’s face it, between Women’s Lib and the American Cancer Society, this parade was doomed.  Eastham had a gleaming red, vintage fire engine with Smokey the Bear which gave way to giant military vehicles with their vintage marchers in uniform, the Coast Guard, bag pipers, girl-and-boy scout troops, flute players on unicycles, vintage cars, dogs on leashes and then came the floats.  There was the elementary school dressed as pilgrims, the middle school jazz band  (Louie Louie, of course), the high school music department, cheerleaders, various local merchants, the Library, the Elks, the Historical Society, the Lower Cape Concert Band, a drum & fife band, the Grand Marshall and Lady Liberty herself, in a flag-adorned red jeep, bringing up the rear with a sign on the back that said “Historic and Beautiful Eastham, see you next year!”  And, they will!
Always looking for good-time small venues to play, Chandler also has an arrangement with the Captain of the Viking Princess in Provincetown to play sunset cruises on the bay, and we decided to splurge a little and jump aboard for the last one of the season.  It could have been a long jump since we were just in time to watch them sailing off into the sunset.  Hoping for a miracle, Ron searched his cell phone for the number of the Captain, with whom he’d reserved a spot earlier, and made a very hopeful call.  It worked, and round about they came to pick up the two frantically waving stragglers.  Of course when you make a grand entrance, you have to be prepared to become a “remember-when joke”, but it was well worth it to be entertained as we watched the sun go down and the lights of Provincetown harbor twinkle on one by one with friends and friendly strangers. 

The following day found us at a benefit in Wellfleet, mostly to see another band that Chandler started this year called the Catbirds, whom I hadn’t had a chance to see yet.  Their gigs tend to be past my bedtime, so I took advantage of the beautiful afternoon in Wellfleet Harbor to hear them at a waking hour.  We were also surprised by a performance of The Elbows, a band that plays and acts out vintage children’s songs, and those old songs have never sounded so good or so fun.  

The Guest Report has become practically non-existent, as expected.  While the Fall will continue to be popular getaway times for some, the return to school is as if someone pulled the plug and 75% of the population returned to the other side of the bridge.  We did have one couple from NYC stop for the night on the way to seeing a friend do the last performance of a play at the W.H.A.T.  (Wellfleet Harbor Actor’s Theatre)  But, visitors are now looking for places to stay after Labor Day who don’t shut down for the winter, and it’s not uncommon to have people stop and ask to look around for future trips.   I just love it when they ask what it’s like in the Winter…don’t get me started!

I saw three wild turkeys on Cemetery Road the other crisp Fall day.  Irony? 
It’s turned into a great first consignment season, learning what will probably sell and what’s best left at the Free Shops for someone else.  I made enough to make a reasonable contribution to the monthly budget, but also had so much fun treasure hunting it should be illegal.  In acknowledgement of the success of my favorite hobby/part-time job, Ron removed the back seats in our Honda Element to make loading larger items easier. (And to save the leather from the abuse!)  Let’s see, that’s money, fun and validation!  I’m now acquainted with Lou at the Chatham free shop who does magic tricks.  There’s also a volunteer at the Dennis free shop I call The Bi-polar Lady.  One never know if she’s going to compliment us on our hats or threaten to call the police because we looked at something wrong.  My favorite new place is the Brewster free shop, where the volunteers greet you warmly when you arrive, offer you bags to carry your treasures and thank you for coming.  In the winter, they have a big fire going in a woodstove.

Every day is a new opportunity to learn something, and we mastered a big lesson in water management this summer.  Eastham doesn’t have town water, so we all have wells.  Great, no water bill you might say, but one makes up for that paying higher home insurance because there aren’t any fire hydrants.  That’s another story.  At some point this summer, our delicious, fresh water started smelling metallic and everything it touched began turning yellow.  Not a good look for guests, not to mention our new, white bathroom fixtures.  We wracked our brains, at first thinking that in Ron’s quest to make the lawn look like a golf course for visitors, we were running the well dry.  We consulted a well expert who gave us the good news:  we didn’t need a new well, we needed to have all the fancy water filtration tanks in the basement serviced.  Within days of adding the necessary salt to one of them to change the polarity, which would remove the iron, which is in great abundance here, we dodged a very watery bullet.  Perhaps next month we will learn how to use the leaf collecting attachment on the riding lawnmower.  Look out, bunnies!

My Cape Cod Chronicles are now on Facebook.  I’m not exactly sure why, but my sons assure me that this is a crucial part of being alive in 2010, so they are now there under ‘Notes’ for anyone who knows how to access my page.  One way is the direct link: http://www.facebook.com/notes.php?id=1348610239&notes_tab=app_2347471856 .  An easier way is to google facebook and search for Andrea Lea Daniels.  The Lea is critical since there apparently are hundreds of women with my name, otherwise. 

Though it’s now officially Fall, with pumpkins and mums in place, we are closing the month with the air conditioner going.  September 30th, aside from being my sister’s birthday, is a muggy, clammy day, but big winds and tides are on the way to clear summer out and bring gorgeous Fall weather, just in time for more guests from VA.  Pam has specially ordered sweater-weather, and we are happy to oblige.   May there be frost on your pumpkin, hot cider in your mugs and clear, sunny days.    

Sunday, August 25, 2019

2019 - AUGUST-Where DO All the Teaspoons Go? & THE PREQUELS #11 - August, 2010

No matter where you are, water's not far - Orleans Town Cove

Only on Cape Cod could you read this sentence in the newspaper:  "A Brown Booby hitched a ride on a Provincetown whale watch boat two different days this week."


This is a Brown Booby, just in case you were wondering.
I will never quite get used to becoming part of the sightseeing as I look up from my gardening to find cars full of people crawling slowly down the street with eyes fixed on our yard and what I'm doing. Should I at least be wearing a Welcome to Cape Cod t-shirt?  Should I give them the Cape Codder bent-arm salute? [see below] Or, is pretending not to see someone staring at you when you're covered in dirt and throwing weeds reasonable etiquette?  I'm still not sure after ten years.  One morning this month, we woke to the sight of an old, converted school bus parked on the street in front of our mailbox.  Not wanting to seem like a campground to our incoming guests for the weekend, we debated whether to call the police or the National Parks Service to assist them in finding a more appropriate resting spot.  I ultimately decided to just walk over to see what was going on and told Ron if I wasn't back in five minutes to come look for me.  It turned out to be two young men on a camping adventure from upstate New York, and when their camper overheated, they stopped and walked to the nearest gas station to buy some coolant, which they were adding when I approached.  We had a nice chat and they were soon on their way, hopefully telling their friends at home how friendly the people on Cape Cod are.    
The Cape Cod Salute
Okay, the thing about summer traffic on Cape Cod...YES, here we go again...is not just that it's like Boston rush hour all day, especially when it's not a good beach day, but that it's predictably UN-predictable.  Vacationers have their own code of driving ethics I call "Hey, I'm not from around here" [that's the polite version] that seems to free them from employing the common sense they would hopefully use at home.  C'mon, we've all done it...you don't know where you're going and the scenery is new and enticing, maybe you've never even seen a rotary before, or your country even drives on the other side of the road, or it's just plain hot and you're tired of people honking and glaring at you and you want to find your hotel room.  We get it!  So we drive defensively in the summer when we have to go out at all, watching for the most common errors, anticipating the worst, letting people go in front of us, hoping they'll do the same for someone else.  We must not be unique for a beach resort, but it was a survival skill I had to learn when my car and I washed ashore.  

The vegetable garden is waning, but not before it provided this little green duck to the collection of oddball veggies I've grown:  


The 'cucumber duck'.
With immigrants becoming a major part of current news, I thought I would share a little Cape Cod immigrant history that I just read about in the Cape Codder, written by Don Wilding.  Our nation tends to forget that just because a ship full of pilgrims arrived on Cape Cod 400 years ago and formed a settlement in Plymouth, that to the native tribes already here those Mayflower pilgrims were considered unwelcome immigrants.  But, they weren't even the first ones.  

Many writings tell of visits from Norsemen over 1000 years ago, such as in 1004, when Thorvald Eriksson was stranded at Provincetown, although he referred to it as 'Checquocket'.  There are also tales of Viking visits to our town of Eastham, which they called 'Wonderstrand'. There is evidence of Portuguese fishermen landing on the Outer Cape a couple of hundred years before the Pilgrims.  Italian explorer Giovanni da Verrazzano is often credited with discovering Cape Cod Bay near the end of the 15th century.  Bartholomew Gosnold is given credit for coining the name ' Cape Cod' during his voyages in 1602 and research shows that before Gosnold the name was 'Cabo de Baxos', which is Castilian Spanish for 'Cape of the Shoals'.  

A local historian, Perry Strassburger, was quoted in 1948 as saying, "I offered a 16-pound ham to anyone who could lead me to a New England authentic Norse relic.  No one claimed the ham, so my family and I ate it."  

It must be very difficult to be an explorer these days.  It seems all the good spots have already been claimed and named, and there still doesn't seem to be much mutual respect for either the people who got there first or the ones seeking a better life.     
It's little surprises like these that make up for all the petty annoyances.  



Cape Chronicles #11 – August, 2010
Halfway through High Season

An early-August Canadian high pressure system brought some relief to much of the nation, including the Cape, knocking temperatures back to what used to be considered balmy.  While I still favor the crisp, dry air I’ve grown so fond of, our B&B guests continually write in our guest books about the perfect beach weather they’ve come here to enjoy.   Having reached the mid-point of high season, the Cape is at full capacity and we are turning away weekend weather-watchers who hope to book at the last minute.   Had we been able to purchase our home a summer earlier, we might have suffered through a chilly, rainy summer with fewer bookings, so we celebrate our timing and keep the grumbling about heat and traffic to a bare minimum. 

The Guest Report:
On a happy note this month is the arrival of both of our sons for a visit.  They’re probably the only visitors we have who come just to see us and not Cape Cod.  We enjoyed dinner and mini-golf at Arnold's and the visits were all too quick for us, as are all treasured times.
   
As one travels around here, it’s impossible not to notice that 9 out of 10 people are wearing something pertaining either to Cape Cod or the Red Sox.   And, it’s not just tourists.  Locals also sport the T-shirts, caps, hoodies, etc. that proclaim their approval of where they are.   You can tell locals by the more specific logos of the local establishments they patronize, i.e. Mid-Cape Hardware and Ron’s personal favorite, Fisherman’s Supply t-shirts (In Cod we Trust).  Regardless of the variety of the uniform, it seems to say, “We’re here by choice and really happy about it”.

Our August Eastham Chamber of Commerce meeting was hosted by Nauset Kennels and Ben & Jerry’s, a combo we couldn’t resist attending—animals and ice cream.  It’s always interesting to meet business owners, compare notes and catch up on seasonal gossip. 

It had to happen sooner or later, and we had our first disgruntled guests this month, although through no fault of our own.   They were told, by our rental agents that we were right off of a main road, but after checking in, from NYC, no less, they said they couldn’t stand all the road noise.   After 2 days, they relocated themselves to what they hoped would be a quieter retreat from the New York hustle-bustle that had them so frazzled.  Before them, a couple from CT enjoyed a fabulous week in the same unit.   Richard, a retired engineer, said he was in heaven just relaxing while Delores attended one of the conference classes. 

A mom and 16 year-old daughter from the Boston area, enjoyed their 1st trip to the Cape to visit with friends.  I particularly appreciated their testimonial on our website, in which they described us as friendly, helpful, but unobtrusive.  It reassured me that we had found a good balance.

A couple from New Hampshire followed them with an adorable 1 year old with an irresistible, toothless grin.   We enjoyed watching him toddle around in the front yard while Dad took pictures.     

In a very labor-intensive weekend for us, we then broke most innkeeper rules and agreed to rent to a couple for a single night.   It was her first trip to the Cape and they thoroughly enjoyed the getaway.   With a little extra work for us this year, we hope these favors will pay off in the future with repeat visits.

A couple from Western MA brought their bicycles and kayaks and made the most of a weekend visiting friends in Truro and getting more exercise in 2 days than I probably have all year.  Their friends in Truro convinced them that winter was a lovely time to visit, and when I showed them the gas fireplace in the Cottage, they seemed to agree that it would be a great idea.

A couple from Philadelphia came for a weekend to attend a wedding of friends in Provincetown.  We didn’t see much of them, but they wrote that they had a great time.

Another couple came to attend one of the conferences and relax.  They borrowed our bikes and also took advantage of the walking trails in Fort Hill.

A single man from Silver Springs, MD, who also came for a conference spent a day in Nantucket visiting a museum named for one of his ancestors, and went whale watching another afternoon.   An avid gardener, he was thrilled with the variety of landscaping and the birds and butterflies it attracts. 

Just as we thought our Studio was going to be vacant for one of the nicest weekends all summer, we got a knock on the door at 8:30 p.m. from a couple from Montreal who saw our Vacancy sign.  With the help of our trusty English-to-French translator, we negotiated past the ‘no pet’ policy to make an exception for their little dog, Mineaux, and again achieved full house.  They spent the next day and well into the night in Provincetown, getting sunburned and enjoying the sights.   They made an excellent choice, as P’town is very dog-friendly, and I’m sure Mineaux made many new friends.  Sadly, he left his footprints behind on the rug which would not come out, and that is the last time we'll break our own no pets policy.

A woman from Winston-Salem, NC made a late decision to attend a conference and got lucky finding room with us.   A friend from Albany joined her for a couple of days.

Our last guest in August, was our 'phantom guest'.  We never actually saw her.  Her parents, who were staying down the street at the very upscale Fort Hill B&B, paid for their daughter’s 2-night stay in our Cottage and picked up the keys.  I’m sure they spent most of their time out together and we only hope she enjoyed her room.  
  
The Wildlife Report:
Ron’s newest ‘pet’ is Eric the Red, a tiny, very hyperactive, red squirrel.  We actually caught him in the Have-A-Heart trap once, but Ron released him because he has a notion that red squirrels will keep the gray ones away.   I don’t know if that’s true since we haven’t seen any grays in awhile anyway, but he’s certainly a lively addition to the outdoor menagerie.   The hummingbirds continue to call us their summer home, which is quite a compliment since many people say they never see them anymore.   A new mosquito magnet is keeping the bugs at bay.  And, the new flower garden I’m cultivating has been host to some tiny frogs who leap out of the way as I weed.

  
The Garden Report:
We were sitting on our back porch with our friend, Ray, when squinting at the tall trees across the street he announced that they were starting to turn color.  I thought he was surely mistaken, but as I drove down Route 28 to Chatham the next day, I saw 2 maples that had not only started, but were mostly a rich, golden-orange color.   At the post office, I overheard a conversation about whether it was going to be a warm Fall, or a cold one.  Though we are still mid-summer, there is a subtle shift to the inevitable transition, which seems to respect the calendar more so up here. The Golden Rain Tree in the front yard, which holds the swing, is full of pale greenish-white, Asian-looking seedpods.   The tall purple plumes in the cottage courtyard have been a welcoming sentry through most of July and August.  Garden centers are having sales to move out their stock, of which I am taking advantage as I continue to build a perennial garden around the perimeter of what used to be a doggy yard.  Ron has coaxed a carpet of green grass to cover the bare patches in the middle, and by next Spring we hope to have created yet another lovely spot to enjoy. 

Consigning Women:
As promised, the tourist season has fueled a surge in buying at the consignment shops and my inventory is thankfully beginning to thin, especially on cloudy days when the shops replace the beach as entertainment.  I have learned quite a bit about what is likely to sell in the shop and what doesn’t, although it’s by no means a true science.    As a result, a friend and I held an end of season yard sale to clear out our surplus and make room for new collectibles.  With few exceptions, if it didn’t sell, it returned to the Treasure Chest Free Shop in an endless recycling loop.
  
I attended my first annual meeting of the Orleans Community Exchange, where I volunteer and consign.  There is nothing quite so entertaining as small town politics and I was not disappointed.   The purpose of the meeting was to vote on the By-Laws, which a committee had been working on all summer and to elect a new Board.  The meeting began with the Board declining to approve the submitted By-Laws, which led to an animated discussion, followed by the resignation of the entire Board, followed by an impassioned plea from one of the members to keep the goal of raising money for local scholarships in mind instead of petty personal issues.  The nominating committee then reported that nobody wished to run for next year’s Board, so nominations were taken from the floor, and a new Board was appointed anyway.   One of the members once told me that if you didn’t come to the annual meeting, you could find yourself appointed as a Board Member, and I thought she was joking.   It was an intense 2 hours which put a nearly 70 year old institution dangerously close to closing, but then rallied thanks to some cool heads and well-spoken members. 

It doesn’t take much to back traffic up, and the collision of 2 mini-vans Sunday at the corner of the next road up from us had the roads crawling along for hours.  Thankfully, I only had a few blocks to crawl, and I took the opportunity to actually see what was down each driveway; who had a water view,  a house built in the 1700’s, and garden-peeping.   The roads are so curvy, it’s impossible to see very much detail while driving, or you could easily end up off the road.  Perhaps that was the cause of this collision.  And speaking of road-running, I am proud to report that after eight months of following written instructions, I had a major breakthrough this month.  While taking the more scenic route into Chatham instead of the boring but supposedly quicker Mid-Cape highway, I suddenly felt my brain synapses firing overtime as I began to make connections between the cross streets.  I finally started connecting many dots between where I am and where I want to be and what’s in the middle.  It was a proud moment.

Once again, the season and activities are about to shift.  It still feels very much like summer, but there’s a finality in the air as schools are about to start, taking a huge part of the population off of the rotaries and back home to process their pictures and share vacation memories with their friends.  I’m looking forward to autumn surprises on the Cape and more time to explore.
Another luscious sunset at First Encounter Beach in Eastham