Tigger, above, Leo below. Continue reading
Some of Ellen’s family has been visiting us all the past week, hoping for some good beach days. There were a few, not as many as they might have hoped, but they had fun anyway. Adam, Zach’s friend, joined them, left, then nephew Zach, Ellen’s sister Ann, niece Ina and Ellen. Ann’s husband Dave was also here a few days. I, unfortunately, had lots of work to do, so missed some of the fun, but I did get to the beach for a few hours on four of the seven days.
Monday was the best weather, and we did some sand sculptures. That’s me in the back working on a pointed arch, and in the front Ann and the boys built a castle.
Here’s the finished castle, looking quite good.
And the finished arch, with the castle behind it. Nothing very elaborate this time, but I had fun doing this.
Here are Zach and Adam relaxing after all that work.
Ellen and I pose for a picture with Ellen’s camera.
One day was cloudy with a little rain. In the morning, Zach entertained Tigger on the guitar.
Leo was there too, watching from the bookcase.
That day they went to the Zoo, and there were shopping trips, and of course ice cream at Springers in Stone Harbor. Most evenings we played board or card games. Ina made several meals we all enjoyed, including her own pizza, ratatoille and crab cakes. We also got some good sushi take-out.
The crew headed home this morning, the beach vacation is over for another year. It’s a lot quieter, but we enjoyed the company, and hope to see them again soon.
Yesterday was the annual event our cats hate most — bath day. Ellen bathes them this time of year before summer visitors arrive who are allergic to cats. The bathing cuts down on the allergens. This year I made a short video, which you can see below.
Despite their hate for bath day, they behaved remarkably well.
Later we had dinner in Cape May and went for a long walk on the promenade there, along Beach Drive. We hadn’t been there in a while, and the weather was fine, warm but not too humid.
From the west end of the promenade you can look across to the lighthouse in Cape May Point.
A few of the many historic Victorian inns and homes.
We’d heard about a new place serving organic ice cream, and tried it. Quite good, with unusual flavors, though as Ellen said, not better than Springers in Stone Harbor, our favorite local ice cream place. Still, we approve of the organic ingredients. I had blueberry-lavender and Ellen had blackberry-agave. A nice way to finish the outing.
A few minutes ago, our cat Leo was hanging on this screen on our porch meowing, letting me know he had found something unusual. I went over and saw there was a large beetle on the screen, but as I tried to touch it, the beetle made a loud CLICK and dropped to the ground.
It wasn’t moving, playing dead, so I got my camera and a beetle field guide to see if I could find out what it was. Didn’t take too long, as it was featured right on the cover, an Eyed Click-Beetle. The large eye spots are not its real eyes, those are much smaller and right at the front.
Leo was still meowing, he wanted that beetle in the worst way, so I picked it up on a piece of bark and let him have a good sniff. That’s about all he’d probably do if I actually brought the beetle inside and gave it to him, but I wasn’t about to do that anyway.
I left the beetle out in the woods after one more photo, and now Leo’s back to following the chipmunks as they run along the edge of the porch looking for seeds and such. This large beetle, about two inches long, is one I don’t remember seeing before, but the book says they’re common throughout North America. Click!
As often happens, we’ve gone from wintery weather to summer in two days. The temperature here hit 75 degrees in the shade a little while ago. Having caught up with work for the moment, I went out and did some yard cleanup. I also restarted the pond pump that runs the little waterfall and aerates the water, after cleaning out leaves and algae for the last two days. I found one small frog yesterday, don’t see him today, but our large goldfish has made it through another winter with no problem. He’s at least six inches long now. I used to feed him, but gave it up, as I don’t really want to encourage a lot of growth. He gets by fine on what’s naturally in the pond.
Some of the daffodils have been out for over a week, more will open now, I’m sure. I wanted to plant more last fall, but somehow in October it just doesn’t seem appealing.
I did buy a few pansies Saturday, and put them out in pots yesterday, where they’ll brighten up our front walk until it gets too warm for them.
Every spring one or two of these small but charming wildflowers bloom in our yard. Wish I knew what they were, but I can enjoy them as “mystery flowers” all the same. The blossoms are about a half inch across.
ADDED: Found it! A non-native bulb flower originally from alpine Turkey and Greece: Chionodoxa. The resource is HERE. Described as a vigorous self-seeder. Certainly nothing I ever planted, but someone in the area did.
I know this one, grape hyacinth. We planted a few many years ago, and one or two still come up in the lawn. I try not to step on them.
The first of hundreds of dandelions has opened in the driveway. Pretty flowers, but annoying plants.
The cats are quite happy to have the windows open for the first time in months, here’s Tigger on a front windowsill watching me.
They’re also quite happy to have the sliding doors open to the porch, and I’m equally happy to get a break from constantly letting them in and out! They clearly approve of the return of the rockers, obviously intended for their seating pleasure.
Along with all the good news comes the return of tick season. While writing, I found this lone star tick crawling up my arm. Right, nightly tick checks begin today as well!