beach week continues........biking, books

for whatever reason we don't tend to vacation alone as a family very often.  we are always traveling with another family or two.  there may be an occasional day trip or weekend trip where it is just us - but for the most part we are with others.  this week we decided to spend the week down the shore...alone.

the past couple of years i've had myself convinced that i am not a beach person.  i'm more of a mountains kinda girl - prefering leaf litter to sand.  but this week i've come to realize that its not that i don't like the beach - its that cleanup after the beach that i hate.  you see we bring too much stuff onto the beach...and once we get back to the house - i have to take everything out and hose it down and put it back.  then its washing the sand off the boys time.  and dealing with sandy bathing suits time.  sand, sand everywhere! all this made going to the beach the last thing i wanted to do when visiting the shore!!

now this is where my revelation comes in.  after lugging that contraption to the beach - and back home again - and taking it all apart - and hosing it down - and setting it out to dry................i've decided we really didn't use half that stuff.  all we need to bring are 2 chairs (the boys never sit on them), the boogie boards - and an umbrella.  that's it.  oh and a bag that zippers to keep my book sand free! (b/c try as i might...my virgo-ness can't handle all that sand everywhere.........)

blankets and towels - forget about it! jersey sand sticks like glue.  cooler of food and drinks? ok i guess but we don't usually spend all day on the beach and our house is close enough to walk back if we are really that hungry.  sand toys? the boys had a ball with nothing more than a big shovel........of course it helps that the boys are older now...as much as you want to keep them young - at times its so nice when they aren't!  so today i think we are just gonna hit the beach renegade style......everyone carrying what they need - so that mama gets some time she needs.......

one thing however that we do love to do while down the shore is bike. 

this is the first year the boys are confident riding on the road.  at home we don't live in a development so the boys ride on trails.  they don't get much - if any - road time.  down here we are about 10 blocks or so from the beginning of the bike path that leads to the boardwalk.  this year the boys didn't complain once (past years have been brutal) - and they kept up with us the whole time.  we have been riding every day and been a highlight for all of us.

i usually ride behind the others.  i absolutely love seeing my 3 boys together together ahead of me!

and finally - what books did i bring this week?

a little bit of this and little bit of that. 


beach or bay?

how does one choose between the two?

luckily....we don't have to choose. 

3 blocks to one - 3 blocks to the other.......

and us - smack dab in the middle

and we couldn't be any happier


The Lake

A lake is the landscape's most beautiful and expressive feature. It is earth's eye; looking into which the beholder measures the depth of his own nature. ~Henry David Thoreau


back then........i lived in a castle

20 years ago i lived in this castle. 

back then it was called beaver college
 - today its arcadia university.

back then only the senior girls were allowed to put their name into a lottery for the chance to live in the castle
- today any freshman can live there...b/c the seniors prefer the newly built suites on campus

back then this round room of mine in the turret was bustling with activity
- today it is empty b/c students are home for the summer

back then we walked up and down these stairs, plus another set of stairs,
to get to our room on the 3rd floor
- today............well i guess they do the same - an elevator just wouldnt seem right

back then i rarely ventured to the fine arts section of campus
- today i wish i had majored in ANYTHING having to do with fine arts

back then i didn't notice the beauty of these buildings
- today i wish i had time to photograph them more

back then i didn't take the time to look up
- today i couldn't keep my eyes on the ground

back then i was 18 years old and i thought it knew it all
- today i  am 24 years older and realize i don't know anything


oh deer - here we go again!!!

this past winter i wrote this post about the deer and their destructive little ways.......
well - it looks like they've struck again. 

for years we've planted a variety of plants along this walkway leading onto our back patio...and nothing has survived.  year after year we plant - then rip out - then try something new.  until finally - we have a walkway lined with roses and clematis and some other bush i've forgotten the name of......and its pretty and inviting...

but i guess its a little too inviting
esp for the deer that frequently walk our property

because at the end of this walkway - before stepping onto the patio - are 2 planters
which, at this time of the year, are normally filled with beautiful flowers - some standing upright and tall
and others cascading over the edges
a cheerful welcome to our guests............

but not this year.....

the other morning i walked outside and around my house to look at all the flowers and see how things are growing

and to take note of what new blooms have appeared

and instead i find this

and this

and also this

and b/c they obviously weren't enough
the deer strolled onto the patio and nibbled on these too

i must say i am happy i didn't actually PAY for these flowers.  some were given to me by my mil (her first attempt at growing flowers from seed in her new greenhouse) and the others were free seedlings from our csa.  had i paid for them i would have probably been less non-chalant about the situation

....so that's a good thing

for the deer's sake that is 

because unlike the pretty wreaths i made at christmas time last year - the only thing i'll be making from these flowers............

is compost


one farm is good - but two are better............

i am extremely lucky to live in a area full of not only farms - but organic farms - right in my neighborhood.  if you want to be part of a csa - there are many from which to choose.  i chose this one again this year.  i was part of this particular csa years ago but stopped once an organic farm opened up a mile down my street...but that farm has since closed its market - so back to this one it is.  it is about a 30 minute drive from my house. 

while i do have a small veggie garden at home i wanted to join a csa to get the items i normally wouldn't grow at home - like kholrabi - and garlic scapes - both of which are delicious.

the farm itself is beautiful and in a very scenic area - making the drive very peaceful and meditative...even with the boys in the back seat......

there is something soothing about walking around a working farm
watching the animals
hearing the sounds of the tractor
seeing the tools ready to be grabbed and used

the pick up shed is right by the parking area.  besides the produce found inside the shed, there are pick your own produce/flowers and herbs available too.

this year i split a 1/2 share with a friend.  while the bounty is small
the feeling i get from pick up day is huge

remember the organic farm i mentioned? the one a mile away? well even though it is closed year round - they open for strawberry season....and to sell their own organic asparagus which is the most unbelieveable asparagus you'll ever taste in your lifetime.

  this past tuesday i picked right around 8lbs of strawberries.

i made freezer jam and ice cream for the first time ever and both were divine!  the rest was bagged and frozen.  hopefully i'll get out there again next week before the season ends.

because when the world hands you strawberries
there is too many good things to make...... 


fresh cut friday

for whatever reason i let my peony blooms die on the plant every year.  this year i was determined not to do that.  they are so big and beautiful that i felt they should be enjoyed inside as well as outside!  so i cut a bunch of them for the kitchen.

this one flower was huge and deserved its only display.

peonies are very messy flowers..........

after the first round of cuts - i left the others alone
to be enjoyed from afar........


how to change a tiger into a wolf........

step one:  find a tiger

step two: strip him of his stripes
but be careful he may not like it

step three: offer him a new cap

and neckerchief

then stand back

and admire the transformation into a wolf


a quick stop in sedona

my husband and i were lucky enough to have some free time at the end our trip so we rented a car and made the trek to sedona to see the red rocks and visit a vortex site.  since our day trip was really much shorter than a day - we first went to the airport vortex trail for a quick hike.  we were both hoping for some of the energy to enter us and our lives.

the views were spectacular.  the power of the vortex is supposed to be so strong that it twists the branches of juniper trees.  we found one of the trees in the picture above.

  you can see other signs of the power of all that energy along the trail.

the terrain of the trail was easy enough but i was on edge most of the time b/c i was wearing flip flops and white pants....not planning ahead before we left.  being uneasy the whole time did take away from the experience for me and that bummed me out a bit.  when will i get to this spot again in my lifetime?  but i tried to soak in as much as possible anyway.

along the trail you can spot stacking rocks - or medicine wheels generally left after meditation

i really enjoyed looking for them

and i even made my own as a thank you to such a spiritual place

on our way out of town we stopped at the chapel of the holy cross - a church built right into the rocks

how can you not feel spiritual with a view like that behind the altar

sedona was the perfect place for a thelma and louise moment....

well thats if we were getting ready to plunge over a cliff
holding hands
and if louise was a dude...

oh well - it was a great day
even without the movie star ending