Welcome to The Voyage of Windbird . . . and Beyond.  My name is Judy Handley and I live on Cape Cod in Massachusetts.  For six years of my life, my husband Mark and I sailed around the world.  I documented that story, one day at a time, in this blog that was then just called The Voyage of Windbird.  Those daily logs from 2005 to 2011 tell the story of our circumnavigation.  While sailing, my daily logs were sent via Ham radio to the internet to appear on this blog spot each morning.  My son Justin made that happen, and to this day, I don’t understand the process.  But it was like magic.  I would sit in the cockpit each afternoon around 4 pm and summarize the day’s activities.  During the evening when the conditions were just right for sending radio emails, my husband would send the log.  The next morning my son, my daughter, other members of my family and good friends would read the news and know exactly where in the world we were and what fun we were having.  

After almost 6 years of traveling, we sailed into Woods Hole on Cape Cod.  We continued living aboard for the next five years and I wrote about that, adding ‘and Beyond’ to the title of the blog.  Then shortly before Mark’s death in 2016, we sold our beloved Windbird and my travel logs became land logs.  At this point, I had written a daily account for each and every day for 11 years.  I fully intended to end the blog at that point, but when I wrote that news in a log, I got many responses saying that I really needed to keep posting.  At the same time, I realized that I couldn’t stop writing.  Summarizing each day had become a permanent part of my life and I will probably continue writing until I can no longer.  These postings reflect the ordinary, and sometimes the extraordinary, days in my life and I would like to invite you to join me on my journey.

NOTE: Due to Google upgrading Picasa to Google Photos, many of our old photos are now broken.  We are actively working on fixing this – thanks for your patience!

2021 Life Logs, Day 259: Tomatoes

2021 Life Logs, Day 259: Tomatoes
Date: Thursday, September 16, 2021
Weather: Early AM Torrential Rain, Clearing Late Day; High Temp 7, Low Temp 64 degrees F
Location: At Home in The Cottage, East Falmouth, MA

The morning began with one whopper of a thunderstorm and a period of torrential rain. The heavy rain was short-lived, but there was a little rain off and on until almost noon. When the sun came out, I headed to the Falmouth Farmers Market. It opens at noon on Thursdays, and I was there right at noon to pick up tomatoes from Moonlight Rose Farm. There were four boxes of big, red tomatoes waiting for me. While there I ran into a woman that I got to know at the gym during exercise classes pre-Covid. In fact, we both became disillusioned with schedule of classes that were being offered in the fall of 2019, so I think we both ceased coming to classes that fall and I haven’t seen her since. It was great to re-connect and we made plans to go for a walk together next week.

By the time I got home, played a bit with Shadow, and fixed lunch, it was almost 2 o’clock. I worked for the next two hours blanching tomatoes and then peeling and de-seeding them. It took two hours to do 20 pounds of tomatoes. Only 60 pounds of today’s tomatoes to go and then in the morning at 10 am, I pick up 30 more pounds from Carrie at Peach Tree Farm. Plus I have the 12 pounds from my garden. Lots of tomatoes to process.

I had hoped to get one more box done this evening, but just as I was finishing up the first box, I got a text from Heather asking if there was any way I could come get Jonah and take him to soccer practice between here and Hyannis. They have only one car right now as the van is in the shop having a radiator that was leaking fluid repaired and Heather had just found out that Sam needed to go to the doctor to get a referral for x-rays of his ankle. So I dropped everything and went immediately to get Jonah. Tomatoes will have to wait until tomorrow. I estimated it would take me four days to do all these tomatoes and I think I am still on track with that schedule.

Sam hurt his ankle during the first week of soccer practice. It had gotten better, and he played in his first high school game on Tuesday. I found out from Jonah this evening that Sam made a goal in that game. Sam has always played defense, but evidently on Tuesday the coach had him playing offense. Way to go, Sam. I do hope they can quickly sort out what is really wrong with his ankle and get him on the road to recovery.

As always, life is getting in the way of my plans. The plan was to get back to writing next week, but already my calendar for next week is filling up with other activities. I think writing might not start until October. But I will get there.

2021 Life Logs, Day 258: Beach Day

2021 Life Logs, Day 258: Beach Day
Date: Wednesday, September 15, 2021
Weather: Warm, Sunny, Windy; High Temp 80, Low Temp 68 degrees F
Location: At Home in The Cottage, East Falmouth, MA

I cannot remember the last time I went to the beach with another adult just to sit and talk, relax, and read. I did that today with friend Jane Woodin and it was delightful. I am usually accompanied at the beach by Sam, Jonah, and Ollie and I love that. But it was nice to have the day with Jane. We went to Quissett and soaked in the beauty as well as the sunshine. At least I soaked in the sunshine. Jane’s dermatologist has given her marching orders to stay out of the sun, so she sat in the shade. I hope we get more chances to do this again this fall.

Tomorrow I pick up about a 100 pounds of tomatoes at the Farmer’s Market and will spend the next four days getting those tomatoes processed into marinara sauce and then canned. I am seeing red already.

2021 Life Logs, Day 257: Happy Birthday to Justin + Book Club and Sunset Cruise

2021 Life Logs, Day 257: Happy Birthday to Justin + Book Club and Sunset Cruise
Date: Tuesday, September 14, 2021
Weather: Partly Sunny; High Temp 74, Low Temp 64 degrees F
Location: At Home in The Cottage, East Falmouth, MA

Happy 44th Birthday to Justin.
Jo rented a beach house for the celebration and bought new bikes for the whole family. The celebration started for Justin after work yesterday and continued throughout today. From the photos, it appears the beach house had a pool plus the ocean. I wrote to Jo and said I want to rent this beach house when and if I ever get to fly to Puerto Rico again. It looks like a great place to serve as a home base for a vacation and family visit.

My Newcomers book club met here today. I set up the chairs in Shirley’s yard down by the dock and it provided a beautiful and secluded spot.

As one member wrote to me afterwards, “It was a lovely spot to indulge our love of books, grandchildren, politics, and just being together. What a joyful bunch we are!” None of us really knows each other outside of our book club. We are a truly eclectic group of different political persuasions, but we so enjoy our time together. Initially we chose this group by meeting time. We all wanted a late morning book group and I am so glad I joined.

Then late this afternoon I went on a Newcomers Sunset Cruise on the Island Queen. We started in the Falmouth Harbor, went down the coast to Woods Hole passing Nobska Lighthouse, toured the Great Harbor and saw the Atlantis, a WHOI research vessel, on the dock, went through the ‘Hole” to Buzzards Bay, and then back to Falmouth Harbor. It was wonderful to be out on the water on a lovely evening.

2021 Life Logs, Day 256: Field Trip Planning

2021 Life Logs, Day 256: Field Trip Planning
Date: Monday, September 13, 2021
Weather: Sunny and Warm; High Temp 81, Low Temp 59 degrees F
Location: At Home in The Cottage, East Falmouth, MA

Today was beautiful and warm, but tonight is a bit chilly . . . a reminder that summer is coming to an end. My only activity today was a Newcomers Field Trip Planning Meeting. I love this group. It was started by teachers who decided it was time for adults to enjoy field trips the same as school children. It was so popular that it has evolved to include everyone, not just retired teachers. We meet once a year to decide what field trips we will do during the next year. Different members volunteer to plan the trips, and away we go to experience new places. This coming year I will be co- planning a trip to the Boston Museum of African American History in March and a trip to the Plimoth-Patuxent Plantation in May or June.

Tomorrow my book club meets here in the late morning and tomorrow evening I am going on a Newcomers Sunset Cruise. Perfect weather for these activities. On Wednesday it gets windy and then rain is forecast for Thursday and Friday. I will busy on those days processing tomatoes, so the rain will not interfere with that.

Tonight I had a wonderful, long phone conversation with my friend Linda Stuart who is no longer biking around the world. She and Mike are living near Denver, Colorado, and providing part-time childcare for their only grandchild. Grant is nine months old and is one lucky little boy to have Linda and Mike as grandparents. He loves to play in the water in the pool at their apartment complex and they take him hiking with them.

2021 Life Logs, Day 255: Typical End of Summer Sunday

2021 Life Logs, Day 255: Typical End of Summer Sunday
Date: Sunday, September 12, 2021
Weather: Sunny and Really Windy (25-30 mph); High Temp 75, Low Temp 68 degrees F
Location: At Home in The Cottage, East Falmouth, MA

A soccer game in the morning, food shopping in Hyannis, walk and playtime with Shadow, dinner at the Goldstones. That was today and it was fairly typical of a late summer Sunday once school has started. Jonah is playing soccer with two different leagues this fall, a Falmouth travel team and a Steel United team. He had a Falmouth travel team game yesterday in Swansea which is about an hour away on the border between Rhode Island and Massachusetts. Heather went with him to that game.
Then this morning he had a Steel United game at the Cape Cod Academy between here and Hyannis and I decided to go to that one. I needed to do some shopping at Whole Foods in Hyannis, so this worked out great for me. They played a team from Boston today. In just two weeks the team has improved so much, and they won this game. The field was protected from the strong winds blowing this morning and it was warm and beautiful.

When I walked into Whole Foods there was display of beautiful artichokes. I could not resist. I bought six of them and sent a text to Heather saying I would cook them and bring them over to their house for dinner. I know they are working hard on getting boys to bed earlier now that school has started, so it made more sense to eat at their house. I also made salmon cakes and a chocolate decadence cake for dessert.

I have a few activities scheduled for the next couple of weeks and am going to be spending a good deal of time processing tomatoes into marinara sauce to can. So getting back to writing is getting pushed back for now. But slowly I am getting back into ‘normal’ life mode after Camp Oma. Maybe by the end of September I’ll be back in the groove and ready to write. At least that is the goal.

2021 Life Logs, Day 254: Remembering

2021 Life Logs, Day 254: Remembering
Date: Saturday, September 11, 2021
Weather: Beautiful Day and Evening; High Temp 74, Low Temp 64 degrees F
Location: At Home in The Cottage, East Falmouth, MA

I saw a sign today that said, “Never forget to remember.” It was in reference to 9/11, but it has haunted me all day. What does that mean? Of course, we always want to remember the loss of loved ones and celebrate their lives. We have fought wars for twenty years to make sure the world knows we won’t forget what happened on 9/11. But in the back of my mind, I wonder if that sign carried with it a bit of vindictiveness. I hope I’m just being cynical, and that it meant just what it said. But whatever, thinking about what happened in this country on 9/11, led me to thinking about what happened on January 6. On 9/11, the entire country united. A foreign adversary had attacked us. On January 6, citizens of our own country attacked our nation’s capital. What’s worse? Being attacked from outside or from within? For me it is the latter and in previous times, I would have assumed that everyone would feel the same way. But after January 6, an already divided nation became even more divided. I’m afraid I don’t see a way to put Humpty Dumpty back together again.

I finally just had to clear my mind of all the thoughts of 9/11 and January 6 because, for me, September 11 has a more personal remembrance and I only wanted to be thinking happy thoughts. Mark died five years on this day and certainly never a day goes by that I don’t think of him. I could write a book about all the wonderful things that Mark meant to me. I guess, in fact, I am writing a book that includes those things.
But on this day each year, I invite Heather and family to go out to dinner with me in honor of Mark. Tonight, we went to The Chart Room at Kingman Marine. They have greatly expanded their outdoor seating during Covid, and we definitely wanted to eat outside, not inside. But so did what seemed like a couple of hundred other people. I got there around 5:20, but by the time I got a parking place it was a few minutes later. Then I had to walk from the end of the parking lot to the restaurant which took another bit of time. By the time I got our name on the list, the wait list was already long. I was told it would be an hour to an hour and a half wait. I then started walking back to my car to get my mask that I forgot to bring with me, and while doing that I sent a text to Heather explaining the situation. They were almost there and decided that we would go for it and wait. Lucky for us the wait was a lot shorter than we had been told and we got a great table under an outside tent. The service was very good and while waiting for our dinner to arrive, we got to watch a beautiful sunset. Everyone loved their choices for dinner from Sam’s prime rib to Jonah’s best ever grilled cheese to Ollie’s stuffed quahog and clam chowder. Then in honor of Mark, he who LOVED sweets, we just had to have dessert. Ollie was so taken with his mudslide that he looked like he was worshipping it.

As we walked to our cars after dinner, Sam decided we all needed to go to the beach on the way home to get our toes in the sand. I asked what beach and Heather said it had to be Falmouth Heights. Evidently the night after Mark died, they were driving home from my apartment on the harbor and stopped at Falmouth Heights Beach to look at the beautiful almost full moon. Heather shared that when they were looking up, four-year old Ollie said that he knew Granddad was still out there somewhere and that he would never forget us . . . and we would never forget him. So, yes, it did have to be Falmouth Heights Beach tonight. And just as we arrived, someone was shooting off fireworks. Tonight, it was a bright crescent moon that was up there. Not a full moon, but it was still beautiful. And it is always a good idea to end an evening by digging your toes in the sand.

2021 Life Logs, Day 253: Free and Easy Friday

2021 Life Logs, Day 253: Free and Easy Friday
Date: Friday, September 10, 2021
Weather: Sunny; High Temp 77, Low Temp 54 degrees F
Location: At Home in The Cottage, East Falmouth, MA

What a luxury. I gave myself another free and easy day to do nothing but read. I got up and spent my first hour leisurely reading The NYT The Morning on my phone. I check it every day but usually read it in between activities. This morning I sat on the loveseat by my front window, enjoying the morning sun, and reading the news, taking the weekly news quiz, and working the crossword puzzle. I fixed breakfast, took a shower, took Shadow for a long walk, and then got back on that loveseat and read and read and read. I think I will finish the book before bedtime tonight.

Earlier in the year my book club read another book by the same author, Ivan Doig, The Last Bus to Wisdom. Doig is from Washington state and writes about life out West. The current book I am reading is called The Whistling Season. Like the first one, it is a refreshing look at life in earlier times. Nothing earth shattering; just a study of ordinary people living their lives, but so engaging. Much of this book takes place in a one room schoolhouse in Montana at the end of the first decade of the twentieth century. If you want an easy and joyous read, I highly recommend it. And who doesn’t need a joyous read these days?

Tomorrow is September 11 and marks five years since Mark’s death. As we have done most years, I will take the Goldstones to dinner somewhere on the water to celebrate Mark’s life. We are going to try The Chartroom outside, but if it is too crowded, our back-up plan is to order sushi and eat here down by the dock.

2021 Life Logs, Day 252: More Buckets of Rain

2021 Life Logs, Day 252: More Buckets of Rain
Date: Thursday, September 9, 2021
Weather: Rainy Day; High Temp 73, Low Temp 63 degrees F
Location: At Home in The Cottage, East Falmouth, MA

Recently when it rains, it really does pour. It rained on and off all morning and then around 1 pm the skies opened. The soil in my yard is sandy and in my three years here I have never seen sanding water during a rain. But I did today. I basically had to wade to the shed to get a shovel for my neighbor who needed to quickly dig trenches to let water escape the area around his house. It is still raining tonight, but not as hard as earlier in the afternoon. I’m hoping for some sunshine tomorrow.

One thing rainy days are good for is reading. Since my book club is next Tuesday and I just started the book, I read most of the day. I have never been one to curl up with a book on a rainy day, but it was quite enjoyable.

2021 Life Logs, Day 251: First Day of School 2021-22

2021 Life Logs, Day 251: First Day of School 2021-22
Date: Wednesday, September 8, 2021
Weather: Sunny; High Temp 76, Low Temp 63 degrees F
Location: At Home in The Cottage, East Falmouth, MA

Today was the first day of the 2021-22 school year here in Falmouth. Sam off to 9th grade, Jonah in 7th, and Ollie in 4th. I baked after school treats and took them over at the end of the school day. Jonah got home first and reported that he had a good day. Then Ollie arrived and reported that he also had a good day. So far, so good. I then picked Sam up from soccer practice at 5 pm and he said the first day of high school was great, that he loved his geometry teacher, and the ankle he sprained last week has heeled and that he was able to play soccer without a wrap around his ankle. Three for three. Not bad. Hopefully their days were as good as they reported to me.

After I took Sam home from soccer practice, I went to Highfield Hall for a presentation on Creating a Climate for Change through Art and Science. Heather moderated the conversation between artist Joan Lederman and scientist Konrad Hughen from WHOI. It was so interesting to watch the connections being made in real time between Joan’s development as a potter using deep sea sediment and Konrad’s development as geochemist taking core samples from coral. Joan describes herself as an ‘earth citizen’ and after listening to their conversation, I think that describes both Joan and Konrad. And Heather did a fabulous job of helping us identify the art/science connections.
Tomorrow is supposed to be a rainy day. I hope to use the inside time to get some reading done for my book club meeting next week. I just got the book yesterday, so I need to do some fast reading.

2021 Life Logs, Day 250: Goldpebbles’ Guide to Falmouth Beaches

2021 Life Logs, Day 250: Goldpebbles’ Guide to Falmouth Beaches
Date: Tuesday, September 7, 2021
Weather: Sunny; High Temp 76, Low Temp 63 degrees F
Location: At Home in The Cottage, East Falmouth, MA

Today was a Cape Cod beautiful day with clear deep blue skies and lots of sunshine. It could not have been a more perfect day for Sam, Jonah, Ollie, and I to drive around to every public beach in Falmouth as our end of summer celebration. The Goldpebbles came up with a rating system from 0 to 10 based on sand quality, size of the beach area, and number of tourists among many other things. If you are not from Falmouth, this list will mean nothing to you. But for those of you in Falmouth, you might want to do your own rating of our beautiful beaches. Our list does not match Trip Advisor’s 5 Best Beaches in Falmouth List. Our #10 is their #1! Obviously, choice of beach is very personal. I will list our ratings at the end of this log if you are interested in our opinion on Falmouth’s beautiful beaches.

As we drove from Woods Hole back to Falmouth, we drove by Nobska Lighthouse where we stopped to enjoy the beautiful view. It is not a beach, but I could not drive by without stopping. We had to end our tour by 2:30 pm so we could get Sam home and ready for his 3 pm soccer practice, so we had to move on, but it was a fun stop.

When I got home, I ended the day by finally canning the marinara sauce I made from the San Marzano tomatoes from my garden. Last week I canned 4 pints from 5.5 pounds. This week I got 10 pints from 11 pounds, a little better. But every pint is precious this year. I usually buy about 100 pounds of organic sauce tomatoes from Carrie at Peach Tree Farm in Falmouth but this year she has none. Tomorrow I need to do some research to see if I can buy more somewhere. I can this sauce for Heather and family as they go through a pint per week during the year—14 down and 42 to go.

Tomorrow is first day of school. All three boys are going to new schools. Sam is going to high school, Jonah is going to middle school, and Ollie is off to a new neighborhood elementary school. Here’s hoping they all have a good first day of school.

Now for the Goldpebbles’ Guide to Falmouth Beaches . . .

Menauhant Beach on Nantucket Sound #1–Our adopted home base with a huge beach area divided in half by a channel leading into huge Bourne Pond, lots of parking, a sand bar, and a beautiful view across to Martha’s Vineyard. The only negative was sand quality.

Wood Neck Beach and Little Sippewissett Marsh on Buzzards Bay #2—This was a tough decision for the boys and for me. We all LOVE Wood Neck, so it vacillated between #1 and #2. As we left there, Sam stopped to reflect on just how good it made him feel just being at Wood Neck. The boys love the ocean side at low tide when you have to walk out very far over sand flats to get to the ocean. It is beautiful. They love the lazy river that flows from the marsh into the ocean as the tide goes out. And the marsh offers hours of exploration. Sam is right. This is a very special spot on Planet Earth.

Quissett Beach in Quissett Harbor off Buzzards Bay #3—A walk to The Knob, paths through the woods with great climbing trees, a rocky part of the beach perfect for building rock cairns, very little beach but dogs are allow on a leash, a view of one of the most quintessential harbors in New England, and former summer home of Windbird.

Chapoquoit Beach on Buzzards Bay and Chapoquoit Marsh on West Falmouth Harbor #4—t beach is known as “Chappy” and has become smaller and smaller over the past few years. It is long and narrow and soccer players love to go there after prime beach time to kick soccer balls. Across the street is the Chapoquoit Marsh which is alive with armies of fiddler crabs and a view of beautiful West Falmouth Harbor. The boys ran through the marsh today like wild deer. We haven’t been to the marsh there for three or four years, so it was wonderful to get reacquainted.

Stony Beach in Woods Hole on Buzzards Bay #5—Along time favorite of the Goldpebbles from the days when they attended the Woods Hole Preschool and when Windbird spent two summers in Eel Pond. Stony beach is small and stony until you get a few feet out into the water. It is mostly populated by families with Woods Hole connections. The two jetties offer great opportunities for crabbing and at low tide there is sandbar that kids love to swim out to. There is also a big rock out in the water that older kids climb and jump off. And it is a short walk into the village.

Surf Drive Beach on Nantucket Sounds #6—The boys discovered this beach after moving to Grasmere Drive. It is just over 2 miles to this beach. We sometimes meet Heather and Jed there for a quick dip at the end of a busy day so the boys have labeled it the “Quick Dip Beach”.

Bristol Beach on Nantucket Sound #7—Big beach close to town. The negative is that it is populated by tourists that rent homes in the area for the summer, but it is less crowded than adjacent Falmouth Heights Beach.

Falmouth Heights Beach on Nantucket Sound #8—Less than 2 miles from Grasmere Drive and a beautiful beach, BUT too many tourists for the Goldpebbles.

Megansett Beach in Megansett Harbor off Buzzards Bay #9—Small beach that doesn’t have anything to lure you there unless you live close by. It does have a great pier that older kids jump off of at high tide and has lots of critters to explore that live under the pier.

Old Silver Beach on Buzzards Bay #10—Best sand of any of the Falmouth beaches, but just too crowded to suit the Goldpebbles.