A little photographic journey around the northeastern end of the American continent.
I didn’t have a single fire pump for Cee’s challenge, so I went back through seven years of August. From Glocester to Rockport, from Connecticut to Maine … these are the hot, humid, hazy days of late summer in New England.
I always wanted to go camping. All my friends went camping. My brother and sister went camping. I so envied them.
I stayed home. My mother felt camp was where you sent a child that needed “the experience” of “being away” from home (like my clingy sister), or who had a troubled home life (like my brother). Since I didn’t seem to need those experiences and always managed to find something to do, I didn’t need camping.
But I wanted to go. I wanted to swim and be out in the country. All through August, every kid was gone for weeks at a time. It was lonely.
Many years later, I tried to explain it to my mother and I think she finally understood that “camp” wasn’t where you sent psychologically deficient children, but a place for normal kids to have fun. Play games. Learn to swim.
She had never considered that.
I suppose it was a compliment, but if ever I experienced a truly back-handed compliment, that was it.
I sent Owen to camp because I didn’t go. Not only did I send him to camp, but I sent him to the camp to which I would have given an arm and both legs to go. It was a horseback riding camp. He didn’t like it. Too rough and tumble.
We always try to give our kids what we wanted and it almost never works the way we intended it. You just can’t win.
We try so hard and somehow, we manage to get it at least a little wrong. Maybe that’s the way parenthood is. You never stop learning. I still haven’t stopped learning. I don’t think I could stop if I tried.
As a child, I wanted freedom. The less adult interference in my life, the happier I was. The fewer parents around, the more I learned. If you gave me a heap of books and as many horses as I could wrap my legs around, I was in heaven.
That wasn’t what Owen wanted. By the time Kaity was growing up, I didn’t have the money to send her anywhere. And she was more like Owen insofar as she didn’t want to leave home and the idea of being with a bunch of kids she didn’t know was not appealing.
Lucky for her I didn’t have the money to send her anywhere!
Summertime!When all the leaves and trees are green … and the red bird sings, I’ll be blue …
The Jamies were an American singing group
Single Released in 1958
Chart : Peaked at No.26 on The Billboard Hot 100 in 1958
There’s a long, interesting history of “Summertime” and its historic relationship to Fenway Park and the Boston Red Sox. Possibly the oldest tradition in baseball!
Sherm Feller, who wrote Summertime, Summertime was an old pal of Garry’s as well as the public address announcer at Fenway Park for many years. He was known for playing the song regularly over the speakers at the park.
From New Years on, Tom counts down the days until he can start working on the boat to get it ready to go back in the water. It spends its winters shrink wrapped and up on pilings in the parking lot of the marina, squashed together with all the other beached boats.
Shrink wrapped bow of the boat
Shrink wrapped stern of the boat
The first thing we have to do each spring is getting off the shrink-wrap. This involves lots of cutting and rolling of the large sheets of plastic protecting the boat from the winter elements. This usually takes one day, which is not too bad. But it’s not as easy as it sounds.
Tom on the inside during the cutting process
Tom cutting off the shrink wrap
Then comes the cleaning, which is a big production. The bottom has to be painted and the hull has to be waxed and buffed. On a 40-foot boat, that’s a lot of waxing and buffing!
It also has to be over 55 degrees and dry for Tom to be able to do this kind of work and this year the weather has not been cooperating.
We had a few warmer days and he got a lot done, but then it either rained or was too cold for over a week. Tom’s brother came down to help him work on the boat, but they only got one good day out of four. This time of year the weather is always erratic, but it seems to be getting more schizophrenic each year.
The fiberglass and the metal railings on the inside of the boat also have to be cleaned and Tom likes to get this done while the boat is out of the water. That’s because once the boat is in the water, Tom gets lazy and just wants to relax and enjoy it.
My job is the interior cabins on the boat. While it’s still out of the water, I do the annual thorough cleaning. Everything is covered in black soot and dirt and is disgusting. I throw away a garbage bag full of black paper towels. But I persevere and clean every inch of the boat, including the two toilets, the bathroom floors (by hand) and the shower. This is my least favorite day of the year.
Once I’ve cleaned the inside, I take home all the sheets and towels, wash them, bring them back to the boat and make the bed and put the clean towels out.
Then I have to stock the kitchen. I have to wait until the boat is in the water because the only way onto the boat in the parking lot is by ladder and I don’t want to carry heavy grocery bags up a shaky ladder. Stocking the kitchen is like stocking a house – I have to buy every necessary item in my kitchen, starting from scratch.
I need basics like coffee and tea, salt, pepper and sugar, herbs and spices, condiments like ketchup, mustard, mayo, barbecue sauce, and salad dressings, and items to cook with like butter, oil, vinegar, chicken stock, onions, tomato sauce, etc. Then there’s snack food and company food because people are always stopping by for a drink on the dock. So I need cheese and crackers, chips and dips as well as cookies and other sweets.
Herbs and spices at home
Condiments I have to duplicate for the boat
The other trick in shopping for a boat, is I have to try and find the smallest versions of everything so I can fit it all in my small kitchen.
When the kitchen is stocked, my last job is to clean the deck and the flybridge. That has to be done last because Tom keeps all of his cleaning items strewn all over these areas. It looks like a bomb went off at West Marine. Once he finishes his cleaning and puts everything away, I get to do the final job.
That’s when the boating season officially begins for us.
As our temperature decided to go all the way up to hot and muggy today, this reminded me of my long, painful history of burns and blisters. Ah, the joys of summer at the beach before they invented sunscreen!
It’s sleeting. It’s the followup to the snow that just ended. I’ve heard the freezing rain is next on the agenda and my feet are cold.
My feet are cold all winter. The rest of me is okay, but from the ankles down, permanent frostbite. It seemed like a good day to think about the river and the bridge and fishing along the Blackstone on a warm summer day.
Garry and I took a lot of pictures last summer. I went backward in time and processed a few new ones. It’s not that I don’t like winter. In a lot of ways I do, but it is difficult to do a lot of things. Like, walk up the driveway without falling down.
And although we are careful with our car in the winter, it’s surprising how many people don’t seem to realize how dangerous the ice flying off the top of their cars is to everyone else on the road. Today, on the way to the hospital we had to pass two big trucks while chunks of ice were flying off them. Several big SUVs were carrying a lot of ice and snow too.
Seriously folks. You live in the north and it is winter. Clean your car! If we can do, so can you.
Maybe time for a little dreaming.
The deep green of the trees. The quiet shine of the river. Reflections of the sky and trees. Kids with their fishing poles.
I’m sure I’ll complain about summer, too. I was born to live in the Caribbean. Meanwhile, I’ll relish my memories of warmer days.
As 2019’s first major winter storm closes in, memories of summer seemed in order, not to mention a recipe for one great and classic cake.
Garry wanted pound cake for which I needed eggs. Our half-and-half was going “off.” With pound cake, we obviously will want coffee, hence we need fresh half-and-half. I wanted new pictures; Garry needed a photo airing too.
We accomplished it in one fell swoop (click here for a history of fell swoop), merely by driving around the block.
It’s a dairy farm. Milk, eggs. Sometimes local honey. Today they had homemade jams and organic lip balm. The eggs come from the chickens wandering around the yards and are often fertilized. The milk is from the happiest bunch of cows I’ve ever seen. They loll around the green pasture which lies along the Blackstone River.
There are several pastures. The pasture further down the road has a small creek running through it. They take the cows there in very hot weather so they can wade in the cool stream and graze on the wildflowers and weeds along the banks. It’s shady there. The calves have a pasture of their own and graze together along a hillside on the other side of the barn.
The milk isn’t homogenized or pasteurized, which means it’s very close to half-and-half, but you have to shake it before using because the cream rises to the top.
I splurged on a jar of homemade elderberry jam. They had fresh corn, but I don’t need corn today. Maybe I’ll go back Monday, get some corn then. We don’t eat a lot, so I try not to over-buy things that will spoil and end up getting thrown out.
And we got pictures. I haven’t downloaded most of them yet. These are the first batch.
Here’s my recipe for pound cake. I’ll be baking as soon as the butter softens.
1 pound (3-1/3 cups) flour
1 tablespoon salt
4 sticks softened sweet butter
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (use the real thing)
9 large eggs, lightly beaten.
It makes two cakes in standard loaf pans. I’ll freeze one. We will happily devour the other. I can feel my hips expanding as I write.
The elderberry jam is delicious. And 2 pound-cakes are baking in the oven. The smell is … wow.
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