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What Makes a Handful?

"You sure have your hands full!" said the older woman in Target, watching me try to corral four independent-thinking and adventur...

Monday, August 31, 2009

Autumn is in the Air

I suppose we all have to admit at some point that summer is really over.

The air is noticeably cooler today, and I'm watching for that shift in the light when it changes from summer's gold to just a bit more silvery during the day.

Some of the leaves are already giving in. I think I can hear them shout "Geronimo!" as they let go every now and then.

Last week, before sickness set in, we visited our garden spot again, and I found a wonderful fall surprise at the back edge, near the fence, mostly hidden under its own huge leaves and not a few gigantic weeds. Our first--and quite impressive--fall pumpkin!

Bill suggested that I enter it in the Mountain State Fair. I don't know if it's a prizewinner, but it surely is lovely, and just the suggestion from my husband--who has seen a lot of fine produce in his day--that anything I grew might be worth putting on display is a prize in itself.

Jill always has had a thing for gigantic orange vegetables. Last year, she hauled a huge candy-roaster around with her until I pried it from her pudgy arms and stewed it in the crockpot. She continued to enjoy it all winter long, just in a different context.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Oh Yes, He Is the Pater Familias

They call him "Daddy."

An Image from the Island

For some reason I can't quite put my finger on, this image really struck me.

I don't know this boy, but the little red wagon at the edge of the waves on the open, empty beach gives me such a feeling of serene expectancy. What is he thinking, sitting there all alone?

I don't know, but I do know I can relate. I wanted to pull my own wagon up beside him and just sit quietly, staring out at the sea until he might feel comfortable enough to tell me what was on his mind.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Sunrise to Sunset, Day 4 at Harbor Island

Jane and I greeted the morning about an hour before dawn. We hit the beach early to look for loggerhead hatchlings and watch the sun rise. The beach was all ours, and while we didn't see any baby turtles on their way to the water, we are pretty sure we saw several who had just made it to the rising surf speed on their way a few split seconds before we were close enough to get a very good look.

One nest is labeled to "go" tonight, so our plan is to get the entire family up at 5:00am and try again. Not sure how well I'll be able to focus at that hour...

We spent the rest of the morning and early afternoon puttering around Beaufort, a charming, historic Southern town offering art galleries, non-chain restaurants, boats on the waterfront, candy stores, old-fashioned ice cream parlors, sportsman's outfitters, furniture and book stores where the staff take time to get to know you still. Each girl took a turn at the gumball machine in the Sweet Shoppe, and Emma came away the winner. A gumball stamped "winner" earns a free ice cream cone. Strawberry today.

After an afternoon nap, we tried crabbing at Johnson Creek, the waterway that runs between Harbor Island and Hunting Island. Bill's awfully proud of his catch--four feisty blues.

Dinner! Not a whole lot to go around, but it still beats PB&J.

A dramatic sky over the Creek before we head in for the night.

We made our last rounds stopping by the lagoon on Harbor Island where birds of all types roost for the night. (Sorry for the blurry shot--not a steady enough hand to hold the camera after dusk.)

And then we walked home on the beach, catching this view of the last few rays of sunlight silhouetting the oceanfront houses before calling it a night.

And as we crossed the boardwalk to close our day, I had to think of Annie Dillard's closing thoughts in Pilgrim at Tinker Creek. My right foot said "Glory" and my left foot said "Amen."

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Keeping it Simple

Keeping it simple. That ought to be what vacation is all about, right?

That's just what we did today. We spent the entire morning exploring the beach while the tide fell again.

Emma found a large sand dollar.

It was fun to watch it bury itself in the sand.

Jane also found sand dollars. They were quite a bit smaller. More like 50-cent pieces, really.

And Miriam, always the brave one, nearly tackled this quick-moving baby horseshoe crab.

We saw the dolphins briefly today, but not up close. Dolphins and seagulls follow these shrimp boats. (Actually, as you can see, people do too, to get photos like these.)

We also spent some time building a sand complex. It has a high-rise apartment building, a sunken courtyard commons area, and a field of picnic tables for all its inhabitants, in addition to one modest castle.

In the afternoon we spent some time in the pool and walking on the beach at high tide. The bigger girls did some body surfing, but the little ones were a bit timid of the crashing waves.

I tried to encourage Jill by saying something along the lines of, "It's just the ocean making waves," as if it was something a mountain girl might see any old day. Miriam, always curious, wanted to know why. "Why is it doing that, Mommy?"

So, this homeschool mom saw an immediate opportunity. I launched into a discourse about the gravitational pull of the moon, the rotation of the earth, the topography of the ocean floor, temperatures, currents, jet streams... and I saw those bright, green eyes glass over. Her little shoulders slumped, and she sighed heavily. "But MOMMY," she interrupted with complete exasperation, and then, waving her little hand, "Is it saying 'Hi-yo!' to me?"

Oh. Of course. "Yes. Yes, I'm sure it is."

Keeping it simple.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Almost Free Meat from Schwan's!

If you have never been a customer of Schwan's, you can register at their website now and get up to $10 worth of free food with free shipping. It's open to the first 500,000 new customers between now and the end of September.

I just registered and ordered 8 quarter pound all-beef burgers. The regular prices is $9.99. (This out to be really good meat, in my opinion, at that regular retail price.) It is scheduled for delivery to our door on Saturday. I had to pay only 2 cents for sales tax. Two pounds of beef for 2 cents is not too bad!

Here's the link:



UPDATE to this entry: I did receive my free 2 pounds of beef burgers from Schwan's, but it wasn't a perfect transaction. After placing my order, I received an email with a date for delivery. It said I (or someone) had to be there to receive it all day, as it was impossible to narrow the delivery window. So, I stayed home, missed a swimming opp with Bill and the girls, but the delivery never came. I called, and found it had been rescheduled to a date when we would be out of town. I finally got the date changed again, and it did arrive early in the morning when we were already going to be home. A catalog also came with it. Honestly, the prices are quite high. The only way I see myself ever ordering again is if there's a major closeout or promotion. But I'm still glad for what will amount to 2 free entrees for our family.