2018 Life Logs, Day 227—Exploring New Places

2018 Life Logs, Day 227—Exploring New Places
Date: Wednesday, August 15, 2018
Weather: Another Beautiful Day; High 82, Low 71 F
Location: At Home in the Cottage, East Falmouth, MA

Karen Baranowski started vacationing on the Cape over 35 years ago. Her husband, Peter, vacationed here with family from the time he was a little boy. Three years ago they decided to move here permanently in retirement and they brought with them years of knowledge of great places to explore. This morning Karen picked me up to take me on a little explore. Earlier she tried to tell me about all their special haunts, but when I looked very confused, she decided it was better to do a show and tell rather than just tell. I am a visual learner! Our first stop was a little roadside park that I have driven past many times. It is a public playground attached to a public water park. It is tiny, but a great stop to cool down on the way to or from other activities. Our second stop was at the Sandwich State Fish Hatchery which has been operating for more than a hundred years. They breed and feed the local trout—Rainbow, Tiger, Brown, and Brook—and then stock all the local ponds. It costs nothing to walk around and look through the netting at the trout in all stages of development. The netting covers the holding tanks to keep birds of prey from catching the trout before they can be released. There is fish food to buy and you can feed the fish through the netting causing quite a fish frenzy. From the Sandwich Fish Hatchery, we drove to the Sandwich Boardwalk. This is a very long boardwalk which winds through the marsh, over inlet areas, and out to the beach at the east end of the Cape Cod Canal where it enters the Cape Cod Bay. Or you can jump from the bridge and ride the tide out to sea. Beautiful area. Karen also showed me the various access points to the bike path that runs along the canal and pointed out all the good places to eat in the area.

From Sandwich, we went west to Bourne where we drove across a mile-long manmade causeway to Mashnee Island. It was an island until 1939 when a dredging operation was launched to straighten out the Cape Cod Canal to make it easier for barges to navigate. There are beaches on both side of the causeway and there are very few people who use the beaches because you aren’t allowed to park on the causeway. But Karen showed me where to park and then walk or ride a bike out to the beaches. From Mashnee, we headed south to the Little Bay Conservation Area. For those of you familiar with the Cape, this is just south of Monument Beach. The Conservation Area has wonderful walking trails and access to Monk’s Cove. This is a truly beautiful, protected spot for swimming and snorkeling. Plus, it has great kayak access. What a gem. I can’t wait to go there with the Goldpebbles.

Tomorrow afternoon I’m going sailing on Pooh with Bruce and Jane Woodin and after that adventure, I’ll spend my time preparing for a Friday dinner party that I am hosting here at the cottage. My Newcomers Dining-In Group arrives at 4 pm for late afternoon kayaking, followed by an outdoor lobster dinner. At this point, it looks like the rain will hold off until the early hours of Saturday morning so that we can enjoy our evening under the stars. Sure hope that forecast doesn’t change.

2018 Life Logs, Day 226—Recycling Bricks

2018 Life Logs, Day 226—Recycling Bricks
Date: Tuesday, August 14, 2018
Weather: Beautiful Day; High 85, Low 70 F
Location: At Home in the Cottage, East Falmouth, MA

My day started with a lovely breakfast date with Jane Woodin at the Village Café in West Falmouth. We sat at a picnic table outside and it was delightful—good food and good company. Jane has recovered from her earlier health issues and she looks great. It was so nice to catch up on what has been happening in both of our lives during this busy summer. When I got home, I did some gardening work and then I spent the rest of the afternoon and early evening recycling old bricks. I used a hand cart to get old bricks sitting on a side deck at Shirley’s over to my side yard to use them to lay a small brick patio to be the home of my grill and few other things. There were enough bricks to keep going, so I built a brick patio on the other side of the back steps for my trash and recycling cans. I could only move about 15 bricks at a time and they were heavy. I remembered to take a ‘before’ photo when I first started the job, but I forgot until after dark to take the ‘after’ photo. I am exhausted tonight, but I feel good about getting this job done. It has been on my to do list all summer and now it is done. Yeah! And at the end of the day, I went to Heather and Jed’s to feed the guinea pigs. While I was there, I walked down to the garden to check on things and returned with squash, tomatoes, and kale. And then I hit the jackpot when I checked the blackberries. There were so many ripe berries and I enjoyed a berry feast.

I will be spending most of tomorrow with Karen Baranowski. She is going to take me a tour of some of her favorite places on the Cape that are fun for children. Before moving to the Cape in retirement, she and Peter and their children spent their summer vacations in a rental home just down the street from here. Now that they live here and their children are grown and have their own families, they share all their favorite places with grandchildren. I’m looking forward to the tour.

2018 Life Logs, Day 225—For the Love of Google and YouTube

2018 Life Logs, Day 225—For the Love of Google and YouTube
Date: Monday, August 13, 2018
Weather: Overcast with Sprinkles, Gentle Rain Tonight; High 76, Low 70 F
Location: At Home in the Cottage, East Falmouth, MA

This morning, Heather and family left for a week and a half in Maine with Jed’s family, and they did arrive safe and sound. So I am now officially on vacation as well. But my first day of vacation from Camp Oma didn’t’ go exactly as planned. I was up early for a chiropractor appointment followed by a Monday morning class at the gym. Felt so good to exercise. So far, so good, But my plans for the remainder of the day were derailed. I had hoped to spend the rest of the day gardening and building a small brick patio for my grill. But while I was fixing lunch, my refrigerator started making very loud noises. And I mean VERY loud noises. At first I ignored it thinking it was just the stress of the hot weather. But it soon became apparent that it had to be dealt with. I know nothing about refrigerators, but I know this refrigerator is only three years old and shouldn’t be sounding like a jet taking off! So I turned on my computer and literally Googled, “Why is my refrigerator so loud?” My answer instantly appeared. “The evaporator fan motor is located in the freezer compartment and is responsible for pulling air over the evaporator coils when the compressor is running. If your refrigerator is making a loud noise that appears to be coming from the freezer area, a faulty evaporator fan motor could be to blame.” Okay. Then I searched for specific information on the evaporator fan motor in a Frigidaire. There was a link to a YouTube refrigerator repair video on Replacing the Evaporator Fan Motor Kit (Frigidaire Part # 5303918549) and that video showed me how to remove the panel in the back of my freezer. The first thing was to empty the freezer and unplug the refrigerator. Then I followed the directions for loosening two ¼ inch hex head screws anchoring the panel. That required a ¼ inch nut driver. I had no idea what a nut driver was, but I just went down to the basement and looked through Mark’s tools and until I found the tool that looked like the one in the video. I emptied the freezer and loosened the two screws, but I decided to plug the refrigerator back in to see if the noise persisted before removing the whole panel. Amazing. The noise was gone. So, I unplugged it again and tightened the screws. When I plugged it in again, there was still no noise. So, I am assuming that the air intake in the freezer was blocked causing the fan to freeze up. So for now, disaster avoided. I did then get outside for a couple of hours, but the jobs of planting the fall garden and building the brick patio will continue tomorrow.

2018 Life Logs, Day 224—A Day of Visiting

2018 Life Logs, Day 224—A Day of Visiting
Date: Sunday, August 12, 2018
Weather: Mostly Cloudy with Periods of Sunshine; High 81, Low 70 F
Location: At Home in the Cottage, East Falmouth, MA

Today was a laid-back Sunday that included some visiting. Heather sent a text early that their plans for the day had changed and instead of going there for breakfast, I took my morning smoothie with me and went over to just visit for a bit. Heather and Jed were getting ready to go shopping for a table for their deck and Ollie and Jonah were not interested in going. The Keefe’s next door were headed to Menauhant Beach and Jonah really wanted to go. So, I volunteered to take Jonah and Ollie to the beach while Heather and Jed went shopping. Heather and Jed then picked them up from the beach at 1:30 pm and headed to the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History to meet up with friends and walk out to the beach there. When I got home from the beach, Peter and Karen Baranowski dropped by to visit for a bit. Karen’s Aunt Shirley, who owns the cottage as well as her own house next door, returned on Thursday after being away since May. So, Peter and Karen checked-in with Shirley and her sister Doris and then walked across the driveway to visit with me. When they left, I walked over to visit with Shirley and Doris and spent more than hour just sitting with them on the deck and enjoying their company. Doris will be 100 years-old on October 4 and Shirley just celebrated her 93rd birthday. Although their physical movement is limited, they are both totally mentally alert. As we sat on the deck, we watched the people next door who were cleaning out their boat on the dock, Doris mentioned that yesterday there were college-aged girls on the boat in bathing suits that left little to the imagination. I got a kick out of her comment about how good she used to look in a bathing suit. And she mentioned that she has worn two-piece bathing suits in her lifetime, just not ones that revealed so much! After talking with Shirley and Doris, I spent some time watering my gardens and then I went back to Heather and Jed’s for dinner. Unfortunately, Ollie was so worn out by his overnight at the Keefe’s and visits to two beaches today, that he was fast asleep on the couch. But Heather, Jed, Jonah, and I had a nice dinner on the deck and I left wishing them a wonderful week+ vacation in Maine. They will return next Tuesday or Wednesday, so tomorrow morning I begin my vacation from Camp Oma. I have so many things I want to get done that I just don’t know where to start.

2018 Life Logs, Day 223—Woods Hole Science Stroll

2018 Life Logs, Day 223—Woods Hole Science Stroll
Date: Saturday, August 11, 2018
Weather: Overcast; High 78, Low 68 F
Location: At Home in the Cottage, East Falmouth, MA

Today was a delightful surprise. Jed called just before 11 am asking if I would like to go to Woods Hole with him and the boys to check out the Woods Hole Science Stroll. I know this ‘stroll’ has been happening for the past three years, but not sure if it was in existence prior to August of 2015. But none of us has ever attended. I think we all thought that we spend enough time in Woods Hole and wouldn’t’ learn anything new. So wrong. The ‘stroll’ is free and open to the public to give people a chance to learn about the science and engineering that takes place in Woods Hole and every booth we visited was better than the last. Woods Hole Oceanographic, the Marine Biological Lab, the Coast Guard, and NOAA’s Fisheries Division all had fantastic learning opportunities for kids and adults, as well as booths sponsored by other science-related organizations in Falmouth. The WCAI public radio booth was manned by Heather. The boys hung out there for a bit, but then we got a tip from a friend of mine that the Fisheries displays were great, so we headed in that direction. We learned new things about turtles, new things about seals, new things about fish, and new things about the gear that marine scientists wear when they get in the water. The boys loved the Coast Guard displays and boat tours. It was well after 2 pm when we realized that we hadn’t had lunch. We didn’t bring food because the boys were adamant that they would only stay for half an hour. But we stayed until the ‘stroll’ ended at 3 pm and then the boys still wanted to stop at the WHOI Discovery Center to play in the Alvin display. We did take a quick break to get food at the Woods Hole Market where we fed ourselves and the ducks, and then we headed out on the WHOI dock to learn even more. I was fascinated by the displays showing how science monitoring equipment is moored in the middle of the ocean where the bottom is almost three miles down. And the science vessel, the Atlantis, home of Alvin, was on the dock. Alvin was one of the first HOV’s (Human Occupied Vehicles) that started exploring the ocean floor back in the 1960’s. It was been updated at least three times and is still a state-of-the-art research vehicle that travels aboard WHOI’s Atlantis. We didn’t get to tour the Atlantis today, but just being on the dock beside it is exciting. We were some of the last people to leave the dock and we got to see Alvin being tucked away in it’s storage compartment on the deck of the ship. We all definitely plan on attending the Science Stroll next year, arriving early and leaving late. What a great learning opportunity right here in our own backyard.

Tonight, Heather and Jed are attending the Woods Hole Research Center’s Gala while Ollie and Jonah are spending the night next door at the Keefe’s. Tomorrow morning I have been invited over for Sunday Brunch. After that, the Goldstones will meet friends in Hyannis for a Boston Pop’s Concert and then on Monday morning they will head to Maine. So our ‘vacations’ begin on Monday morning. We are all looking forward to just doing nothing, a perfectly fine goal for summer vacation!