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We returned home from vacation two days ago and it was not the best of homecomings.  It began in the morning as we were packing up to leave.  We received a text message from our house/pet sitter letting us know that she had found one of the chickens dead.  Very sad and we fear it may have been the heat.  They do have a window to let in air, but apparently it was intensely hot at home and maybe it was just too much for her.  Because we worried that was the cause we have left the door open and nailed chicken wire over it so they are getting lots of ventilation and fresh air.  Also when we got home we saw that indeed everyone had been suffering through quite a heat wave. Our lawn was turned to brittle yellow crispy stuff and oh, the garden. The melon patch’s big round leaves were like folded up umbrellas.  The basil was shriveled. The corn looked pretty good. But forget the flowers basically anywhere. Paul had bought me a blue hydrangea as a surprise while I was away in Washington and it does not look so great now.  However, after a big drink the melon patch looks perky.  We had a gentle but brief rain today and while I’m not so confident the flowers will bounce back I think the vegetables will be fine. The jury is out on the blackberry bush which had promised to yield a spectacular crop.  The ripening raspberries were all completely dead, though, when we got home.  Oh, and the other bad thing was that our air conditioning wasn’t working! Happily it was up and running again after a few hours.

OK, that was a whole bunch of gloomy stuff. Now, how about the wonderful stuff? First, let me tell you about the number of crazy good fortune coincidences we experienced.

  • Our very first morning at the beach we got on the little tractor that drives you across the hot slippery sand and when we got off a man ran over to Paul and greeted him by his full name.  It turned out to be a friend/former college professor of his. Of all the beaches and days and moments in time, what on earth is the likelihood that these two would run into each other?! To make it even kookier Paul had recently tried to email him but gotten no response–turns out because he was on vacation.  It was his last day at the shore and the beach we were at wasn’t even one he usually went to, though the house he stayed in was just a few streets down from us.

  • Clark loved bringing a bucket of little pirate skeleton toys down to the beach to play with in the sand. The second time we went to the beach we didn’t take the little tractor, but walked the long walk. Somewhere along the way he dropped one of the pieces of this toy set-a tiny plastic ladder.  We told him it was pretty much gone since it was dropped in an unspecified stretch of sand that many people and a tractor went across often.  The next time we went to the beach, on the return walk home I looked down and saw the little ladder sticking up out of the sand!!! (Paul and I were stunned, he accepted this in the manner of a confident 5 year old: why wouldn’t he find the ladder again?)
  • Another time we went to the beach and a lady came over to Paul and said that she had found these little pirate skeleton toys in the sand and noticed Clark playing with them next to her yesterday, so she brought them back to us.
  • And finally…on our last day the water was rough and the waves were coming up quite high on the beach, churning up lots of seaweed.  After one wave receded I looked down at a clump of seaweed and saw….one of the pirate skeletons!!!!!!!!!!  Frankly, I found it all quite unbelievable. It’s not like waves and water and sand are stationary.  They drift, move, have currents.  I couldn’t believe these things kept coming back to us.

We had a terrific relaxing holiday at the beach.  The water was the nicest I’ve ever experienced–cold enough to be refreshing, but warm enough that you could walk right in unhesitatingly.  It definitely would have been handy to have another adult around so that someone could sit with the kids while Paul and I swam, but it worked out ok.  So here’s a final round up of a few favorite vacation photos.


Now that we are back home we are in full planning mode for Clark’s birthday party this weekend.  I’m happy to say he takes a genuine interest in his party and his guests and so many things are planned by him.  Some pirate theme stuff, but with a volcano cake.  He chose several of the menu items and today we put together goody bags.  He carefully chose certain colors for certain people, which I thought was very touching. (“Oh, I know Luke just loves yellow, so let’s give him the yellow glow bracelet.”)

And one final picture, taken at a garden we visited. Not beachy, but I think it’s a good picture so I’ll slap it up here!

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About Sarah

I'm a librarian living with my lovely family in a gorgeous spot of New Jersey, where we raise chickens and love the outdoors. I try to find enough time to indulge all my hobbies-cooking, photography, gardening, sewing, and I write about it all on my book blog & personal blog.

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