Thursday, July 27, 2017

July 2017 - "On with the show, the show must go on."

July 4th weekend on Cape Cod is known for many wonderful traditions, like family reunions, town parades, clam and lobster bakes with fresh corn from the farm stands, watching fireworks from the beach, movies at the drive-in, playing mini golf, and standing in lines for soft-serve ice cream.  Unfortunately, it's also become synonymous with a constant parade of flashing, whooping, emergency vehicles due to the infusion of thousands of people in a hurry to relax on vacation.  All it takes is one impatient move to edge someone out at a lane merge, or changing one's mind in the middle of a rotary to result in an accident that closes roads for miles and fills the hospital emergency room.  Locals know that the words to remember for summer drivers are "ANTICIPATE" and "PATIENCE". 

The birds get the credit for all the sunflowers.  I've never been able to get them to grow on purpose.

Contrary to most folks, summer's my least favorite season, and I look for ways to uplift my spirit until the cool days of Fall and peace on the roads returns.  I always find solace in my gardens early in the mornings, or after the sun begins its descent.  These days I'm thinning the successes of my "1/2-priced gardens" and spreading the wealth to other areas, including the front bank on the main highway that goes through Cape Cod.  I even find the zen of weeding and deadheading to be relaxing and restorative.  And, just as I'm impulsively prone to moving the furniture and art around inside, so go the gardens as I find out how large the plants grow and how much they spread.  It's an endless dance of color, texture and a lot of water of course.

One of many garden spots at Crosswinds
And, thank you to my beach-addicted friend, who invites me to join her in her few free hours for beach therapy.  This has provided many hours of companionable and therapeutic chatting while digging into the sand with my toes and feeling the sea breeze threatening to take my hat. 
First Encounter Beach-my favorite Eastham spot by the Bay

SHARKS - The Good and Bad News
The National Seashore is doing their part for safety by putting up the now official purple shark flags at the beaches to remind people to stay close to land and away from seals.  At least 150 great whites have either been spotted or beeped transmitters from off of our coast.  
Cisco getting tagged
While all of this adds an element of danger to swimming, especially too far out, I did promise you some good news and here it is:  sharks play a vital role in the health of our oceans' ecosystems, and since the majority of the oxygen we breathe, and much of our protein comes from the ocean, our survival on land is at risk when the health of the ocean declines.  So, thank you Cisco and friends for doing your parts for us landlubbers, and I personally pledge not to crowd you in your home.

Have you ever wondered how sharks get their names?  

There's one named 'Big Papi', named for David Ortiz of the Red Sox, and of course 'Brady', named for Tom Brady of the Patriots.  

'The Rock' was named after actor-wrestler Dwayne Johnson.  

'Luke' was named in memory of a deceased Martha's Vineyard fisherman.  

Curly', 'Chex', 'Lauren' & 'Doty' were all named by Atlantic White Shark Conservancy donors 

'Salty' was named on behalf of the the Cape Cod Salties sportfishing club, which donated money to buy his tag.  

'Katherine' was named for the Falmouth native Katherine Lee Bates, who wrote the song "America The Beautiful".  

'Mr. Frisky' was named for his temperament and 'Riddler' has a question mark shape on the side of his tail.  

'Lynn' was named after the mother of the fisherman who first spotted her in Ocean City, MD and 'James' was named in memory of a man named James Stratton. 

'Sandy' was named in honor of shark biologist, Sanford Moss, and 'Mola' has a patch on his tail that looks like a Mola-Mola, AKA a giant ocean sunfish.  

'Spc B Arsenault' was named in memory of Spc. Brian Arsenault of the 82nd Airborne, who was killed in Afghanistan the day this shark was tagged.  

'Hollywood' liked the camera, hence his name, and 'Lumpy' has a big lump, which may be a result of another shark bite. 

'Gretel' is the first great white shark to be tagged in the northwestern Atlantic Ocean.  She was freed after being trapped for 14 days in a salt pond on Naushon Island.  

'Curly' has a unique notch on her dorsal fin and many scars on her gills. 

'Large Marge' at 17 feet is one of the biggest to be tagged.  

'Miss Alexandra' was named by her tagger, Tyler McAllister, and 'Quoddy' by the videographer named James Hawkins who filmed her.

'Broken Tail' is self-explanatory, as is 'Scar'

It's not mentioned where 'Mary Lee' got her name, but she's said to have her own Twitter account.  

As for critters of another sort, it's not looking good for my hopes of attracting the Painted Bunting as my 2017 new bird of the year.  Despite being spotted at Orleans bird feeders this Spring, my purchase of their favorite millet seed was not enough to lure them to Eastham.  The hummingbirds arrived late this year and in less plentiful numbers, suspected to be more victims of the industry-wide Trump Slump, but the brave Orioles have taken up their slack, necessitating extra grape jelly runs to the Stop & Shop.  This is also in part because the Catbirds have decided this year that they very much like the jelly, too, not to be confused with our friend Chandler's band, The Catbirds.  And, after googling reasons why one should NOT feed raccoons, I finally got Ron's attention with words like Leptospirosis and Giardiasis that convinced him to stop leaving sandwiches every night for our midnight raiders.  There was still one score to be settled though, and that was blaming the downed bird feeder poles on a possum.  A visit from our son, who lives for technical challenges, clearly exposed the culprit on the automatic video recorder within the motion sensor light.  Case solved, raccoon guilty, possum vindicated.   

Click on: The Night Raider  for proof positive.

and, just for fun...

On this note, I say goodbye to July, which passed in a whirlwind of fervent landscaping, creative driving, folding sheets and towels and an unending appreciation for being able to be part of it all and share it with others.

A chance meeting on the beach with our friend, Larry & Paco.
p.s.  Don't try to kiss a macaw unless he knows and really likes you.

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