2020 Life Logs, Day 295: Visit with the Kanegsbergs

2020 Life Logs, Day 295: Visit with the Kanegsbergs
Date: Wednesday, October 21, 2020
Weather: Foggy with Some Drizzle; High 67, Low 58 Degrees F
Location: At Home in The Cottage, Falmouth, MA

Jed came to pick me up around 9:15 am and we headed to the Enterprise Car Rental office. I rented a car, went home to pick up Shadow, and headed to Dedham to visit with the Kanegsbergs. I thought I was just going to take a walk with them, but I ended up being invited in for lunch afterwards. Since the Covid lockdown in March, I have only been in Heather and Jed’s home, plus a quick visit or two in the Baranowskis, and a visit in my niece Candi’s home after Lynn’s death. It is a strange feeling to feel awkward about going into the home of good friends, but then these are strange times. Alan and Helaine see almost no one, so the unease is on my part. Because the Goldpebbles are now in school and I see them on a daily basis, I know I am at risk and don’t want to spread that risk around. But Alan, Helaine, and I wore masks, stayed at least 8 feet apart, and enjoyed our time together. Our 2+ mile was delightful. The maple trees in their neighborhood are so colorful and I enjoyed seeing the community raised beds even though the only remnants of life are marigolds and a few plants left from the summer. And Alan enjoyed showing me his new remote controlled sailboat—his latest sailing adventure.

I got back with plenty of time to go check on my little Honda Fit. It was the 4th car towed into Falmouth Motor yesterday, and they were only on car #2. So, I won’t find out the diagnosis until tomorrow. I then picked Ollie up from school and we went to my house to have a work session. Yesterday Ollie expressed a desire to do some work to make money and I told him I have so many jobs that I can keep him busy until the snow falls. We started today by doing some fall yard work. After an hour, Ollie was ready to go home, but I hope he will return on an afternoon or two next week to continue the yard work. I still have to baby my back, so having someone to pick up fallen branches and bag the fallen leaves is truly needed. Tonight I talked to Linda Stuart, previous bike tourer now living a ‘normal’ life in Lakewood, Colorado, just to the southwest of Denver. We spent too much time talking politics and just got into how to best keep veggies fresh when our time came to an end. Next time we’ll talk more about food and less about politics. But it wouldn’t have made any difference what we talked about, it was just great to talk to Linda.

2020 Life Logs, Day 294:  I VOTED TODAY

2020 Life Logs, Day 294:  I VOTED TODAY
Date:  Tuesday, October 20, 2020
Weather:  Overcast and Rainy; High 62, Low 57 Degrees F
Location: At Home in The Cottage, Falmouth, MA

Early voting in Falmouth started on Saturday.  It continues this week and next, but since it was raining this morning, I thought maybe no one else would be there.  I was wrong, but nothing could have made me happier.  I didn’t mind standing in the rain to wait in line to vote.  The poll workers said the line has been steady since Saturday.  Great news.  Falmouth voters are out in force!

Despite the overcast, rainy weather today, things were going along just fine . . . until my car stopped dead in its tracks and I heard a clunk and whrrrrr.  Familiar situation.  This same thing happened last June.  I thought it was the transmission, but it was a broken axle, I think on the front passenger side of the car.  Today’s experience was so familiar that I fear it is the same problem.  I’ll find that out tomorrow, but for today it meant sitting in the car in the rain for about an hour and a half waiting for the tow truck.  I was just leaving Heather and Jed’s neighborhood when this happened, so after the tow truck arrived I walked back to their house and Jed brought me home.  It is one of those weeks when they need both of their cars, so I have reserved a rental car for tomorrow and Thursday so the show can go on.

Tonight I talked to Lynne Kirwin in New Zealand.  She was very excited about the landslide re-election of the current Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, leader of Labour Party.  Ardern is only 40 years old and her “hard and early” approach to beating Covid-19 has made her extremely popular.  Discussing the NZ election led to a discussion of the upcoming election in this country . . . too painful to write about.  But Lynne is doing great.  It is now spring in New Zealand.  She is doing some house and pet sitting as well as visiting with friends.  She was supposed to fly back to this country for the summer and fall, but due to Covid she is still in New Zealand.  She is a dual-citizen and lived in New Zealand for about 15 years, so it is also home.  I’m hoping she will be able to fly home to visit next summer and fall during the New Zealand winter.  I love our phone calls, but I am anxious to see her in person again.  Tomorrow is October 22 in New Zealand and Lynne’s birthday.  So Happy Birthday, Lynne.  Enjoy your special day.

2020 Life Logs, Day 292: More Cranberry Harvesting

2020 Life Logs, Day 292: More Cranberry Harvesting
Date: Monday, October 19, 2020
Weather: Sunny and Beautiful; High 61, Low 47 Degrees F
Location: At Home in The Cottage, Falmouth, MA

Today’s focus was all about more cranberry harvesting—by dry harvesting by hand and wet harvesting done commercially. One of the wonderful things about living on Cape Cod is that come mid-October, we get to see the commercial harvesting of the cranberry bogs. And it is a spectacularly colorful process to watch. Here in East Falmouth, cranberry bogs seem to be just around every turn in the road. I spent the early afternoon returning to the community bog we visited yesterday and I picked more cranberries the way the Native Americans would have done it. Hard on the back and hard on the knees, but so satisfying. Commercial bogs are flooded for the harvest; natural bogs are not. Machinery is used to harvest the commercial bogs; your fingers do the picking in the natural bogs. It takes about 45 minutes of hand picking for me to fill one of those plastic containers that mixed greens come in at the grocery store. It takes most of the day to fill a huge cargo container in a commercial bog. There’s no doubt that the commercial harvest is more efficient but harvesting by hand for the first time has been a wonderful experience for me.

Today I discovered the commercial harvesting operation in the bogs near where the Goldstones used to live as I drove to the community bog to hand pick today. So, when I picked Ollie up after school, we drove by the bogs to watch the operation. The first time Ollie and I ever watched this harvesting operation was on October 9. 2013 when Ollie was one. Back then, I was taking the photos. Today I gave the camera to Ollie and let him document the harvest. The experience brought back those memories from the fall of 2013. If you are interested in details about the commercial harvest, you can read my log entry from that day copied below.

Day 340, Year 8: Cranberry Harvest in the Bogs
Date: Wednesday, October 9, 2013
Weather: Still Sunny and Cool
Location: Eel Pond, Woods Hole, Massachusetts

Cranberry bogs are like beaches on Cape Cod. You don’t have to travel far to find one. It all started about 18,000 years ago during when the glaciers in this area melted leaving a sandy substrate. It is almost as if all of Cape Cod is one big sand bar with lots of low spots that have developed as ponds. Heather and Jed live one block away from Mill Pond and the adjacent low spot that has been developed into a cranberry bog. Cranberries are an evergreen dwarf shrub that can be dry harvested (hand-picked) or wet-picked with machinery as they are in ‘our’ bogs. And today was harvesting day. We didn’t know this, but due to a wreck on the main road, Jed and Jonah had to take the back road to get to Woods Hole. This took them by the bog and all of the activity. Jed stopped and called home to give us the heads up, so Heather, Ollie, and I walked down to check it out. Heather, Jed, Sam, and Jonah have seen this before, but not Ollie and me. Heather had to leave to go to an appointment, so with Ollie in his stroller, we spent the next hour watching the process. The bogs are flooded with water, covering the plants with about 8 inches of water. Then water reel harvesters run through the bogs, removing the cranberries from the vines. The cranberries float to the surface and are gathered inside a floating plastic ring that can be moved through the water. The corralled cranberries are moved near the edge of the bog where big trucks can literally suck the cranberries from the water.

20 Happy Ollie 1

After an hour of watching, Ollie was getting cold, so we headed home. Heather was not back yet, so we played and had just the best time. Ollie is so much fun to be around. He has this deep belly laugh that is absolutely contagious. So, we played and laughed until momma got home.

2020 Life Logs, Day 291: Phenomenal Fall Day

2020 Life Logs, Day 291: Phenomenal Fall Day
Date: Sunday, October 18, 2020
Weather: Sunny and Beautiful; High 60, Low 44 Degrees F
Location: At Home in The Cottage, Falmouth, MA

From start to finish, today was an absolutely phenomenal fall day. The weather was perfect with full sun shining all day. Sam, Jonah, Shadow and I got up at 7 am in order to get Sam off for a morning rowing regatta and Jonah off for his first soccer game since last fall. When the boys woke up, they called for Shadow and he gleefully jumped into bed with them for a bit of an early morning frolic. It is amazing how much boys and rambunctious puppies are alike! Heather picked Sam up and Jed picked up Jonah. That left Ollie and I to have a relaxed morning together. We watched a couple of episodes of The Axel Show and then Ollie decided he would like to go see Sam’s regatta. By the time we got on the road, I got a text from Heather saying that they were wrapping up due to the increased winds. Ollie still wanted to do something special, so we drove to the nearest beach from where we were when we got the text from Heather. We actually ended up at a beach a couple of miles from the one we thought we were going to, but it was a great choice. In the summer it is a ‘residents only’ beach, but this time of year there is no one to check. And there were no signs saying dogs had to be kept on a leash. Ollie used the ChuckIt to throw tennis balls as far as he could and Shadow chased ball after ball. Sam had called as he and Heather were headed home from the regatta and asked where we were. I told him and he said they were going to head that way. Heather dropped Sam off and drove on to get back to Falmouth to be with Jonah as Jed had another commitment. So then Sam and Ollie ran and threw tennis balls for Shadow. Then Sam decided that he just had to get into the water, so he dove in. We didn’t even have a towel, but I assured him we would find a way to protect the car seat and keep him warm on the drive home. He romped in the water like a puppy. Since the air temperature and the water temperature were almost the same, he said the cool water was not so much of a shock. After his little swim, he headed to the car and Ollie continued building a little sandcastle using the ChuckIt as a shovel. A couple walked by and asked if we would like them to take a photo of us. The man offered to take the photo but he didn’t have on a mask. So he ducked his head inside his sweatshirt as I handed the camera to him. He said he thought we were having a special moment that should be recorded and I couldn’t have agreed more. When we got home, we found out Jonah’s soccer team had won their game and that he had scored one of the goals. He has just been with this team for two weeks, so he was over the moon with his success. Just this much would have been a great day. But on we went.

Heather had seen photos of Falmouth folks hand harvesting cranberries in a community bog that is totally natural and organic. She found out the location and after lunch we headed there. Since she had seen the photos last weekend, she assumed there would be slim pickens, but that was not the case. When we walked into the bog, all we could see was a natural field with cranberry plants covering the ground, sharing the territory with tall grasses, briers, and other weeds. But when Sam bent down to take a closer look, he squealed with joy. Yes, a thirteen year-old can still squeal with joy. How wonderful. Hidden beneath the matted green plants there was an abundance of deep red cranberries. At one point, Heather heard me say, “This is so much fun.” She called over to ask if I was being facetious. It did sound that way, but I was serious. Just like the boys, I was really enjoying harvesting cranberries by hand. For all of my years here on the Cape, the boys and I have watched the commercial fields harvested by being flooded with water and then big machines brought in to reap the harvest. Somehow picking them by hand seemed so simple and so right. I really was having fun and Shadow was having a great time running through the bog and eating cranberries.

But wait. We still were not finished. Next on the list was the annual trip to Tony Andrews farm to pick pumpkins from the field. I had to leave Shadow in the car for this activity, but the Goldpebbles each got a little red wagon and went running through the pumpkin patch looking for just the right pumpkin to carve. Sam, who usually doesn’t want to pose for a photograph, decided that today was the day for family photos. So I got one in the cranberry bog and another in the pumpkin patch.

It was just a perfect day and at some point when I was talking to Sam about the water temperature at this time of year, I realized that on October 18, 2005, Mark and I sailed out of Boston Harbor to begin our travels around the world. There were no grandchildren back then. A little over year after leaving Boston, Sam came long, then two years later, Ziggy and Jonah. Mark and I flew home for the birth of each grandchild and then Ollie and Coco were born once we were back home. Mark and I spent 6 of the 15 years traveling around the world, then we spent 5 years here on the Cape battling Mark’s cancer. But during those 5 years, we continued to live on Windbird and he got to know and enjoy his grandchildren. I have spent the last 4 of those 15 years learning to live alone without Mark and learning to live on land once again. I miss him so much, especially on a day like today. Once we were based here on Cape Cod, we both loved the annual pumpkin patch trip and loved watching the harvesting of the cranberry bogs. So, here’s to Mark, the fifteenth anniversary of the beginning of the Voyage of Windbird, and the ninth anniversary of spending glorious autumns on Cape Cod.

2020 Life Logs, Day 290: Goldpebble Overnight

2020 Life Logs, Day 290: Goldpebble Overnight
Date: Saturday, October 17, 2020
Weather: Chilly AM, Sunny PM; High 58, Low 41 Degrees F
Location: At Home in The Cottage, Falmouth, MA

An hour and a half ago, I tucked in the Goldpebbles and have been catching on email communication with family and friends since then. I keep bugging Heather, asking her what I can do to be helpful, so she asked if I would have the boys over so she and Jed could have a night to themselves. Jonah called it a date, but I don’t think they were going out. I think they just wanted some adult alone time. And, of course, I was very enthusiastic about the idea as I love having the boys come stay over. It will be a different this time as Sam and Jonah have to be up and ready for take-off at 8 am. Sam has a rowing regatta in Harwich which is a good hour’s drive and Jonah has his first soccer game. I am not sure of the location for that. I just know we have to get up at 7 am and have a hearty breakfast so Sam and Jonah be ready for their activities. Heather will take one kid while Jed takes the other. Ollie will stay with me and shown some interest in going to see Sam rowing in the regatta. But then tonight he said he would just like to stay here with me and do some ‘projects.’ So, we’ll see what the morning brings.

I spent my day cleaning house. Having the boys come gave me the incentive to do that. I have been enjoying life too much all summer and into the fall to worry about house cleaning. But it was painfully obvious to me today that I need to spend a couple of days, not just a couple of hours, doing some deep cleaning. And then I need to get down in the basement and do a reorganization. I’ll reserve rainy days for these mundane cleaning chores or just do a little bit each day. Maybe that is a better strategy. I went to pick up the boys at 4 pm and by the time we got here it was almost 5 pm. This is a weekend when we have often gone to the Wellfleet OysterFest, but there since there is no OysterFest this year due to Covid, the 20th annual Oyster Shucking Contest was streamed on YouTube. The boys wanted to watch the contest, so that is how we spent our evening. They love cooking shows, and this was a little like that. There were many suggestions for how to prepare oysters. Sam and Ollie were more interested in the Shucking Contest than Jonah, but all found it interesting enough to watch. I think watching a shucking contest on YouTube was probably much more interesting than watching it in person. Afterwards, we had pulled pork on homemade buns for dinner along with mac and cheese and a salad. Jonah doesn’t eat pulled pork, but Sam and Ollie made up for that fact by eating enough for at least three people instead of just two.

2020 Life Logs, Day 289:  Shopping Circuit

2020 Life Logs, Day 289:  Shopping Circuit
Date:  Friday, October 16, 2020
Weather:  Overcast, A Little Rain; High 70, Low 48 Degrees F
Location: At Home in The Cottage, Falmouth, MA

Today was another traveling day.  I did a bit of a shopping circuit up Route 3 toward Boston, across Route 24, and back down to the Cape on I-495 and MA-28 and home.  I really wanted to take some crucial parts to the lightweight wheelchair I have loaned my nextdoor neighbor Doris to her in Scituate.  When she and Shirley moved back to Doris’ house in Scituate this summer, they didn’t take the lightweight transport chair with them.  But when I went up to celebrate Doris’ 102nd birthday last week, they asked that I bring the chair.  I went into Shirley’s house to get it, but I totally forgot to get the footrests.  When I carried the chair in, Doris, a very alert 102 year-old, pointed out that I had forgotten the very important parts.  You can’t use the chair without the footrests, so today was my day to take them up to Scituate.  As long as I was going there, I offered to pick up some soccer shorts and a shirt for Jonah at Dick’s Sporting Goods near Doris’ house.  And as long as I was that far north, I decided to come home via the New Balance Outlet on Route 24.  Ollie’s brand-new New Balance sneakers arrived this week and an essential eye for the shoelaces pulled out on the second day he wore them.  He was so sad and getting a replacement was going to take a few days.  The Outlet didn’t have the exact replica, but they had a pair that will work as a substitute.  He thanked me at least four times for getting the replacement shoes for him.  Shadow went with me and we made a stop at Costco for a noontime walk.  I got back on the Cape about 5 minutes late for Ollie’s afterschool pick-up.  I was almost panicked wondering what he would do if I was not there on time.  But not to worry.  Mr. Tom, who leads the walkers from the school to the traffic light and across Route 28 every day, was there with Ollie when I arrived.  I was so thankful that he waited with Ollie.  This reminded me that I need to go buy a pumpkin tomorrow.  I saw on Facebook that a friend in my wine group does a ‘thankful pumpkin’ every year.  She starts at the top of the pumpkin and spiral writes a thankful message each day leading up to Thanksgiving Day when the inscriptions on the pumpkin are read aloud.  Mr. Tom will get my first inscription.

I spent the rest of the afternoon and into the evening having fun with Shadow.  Ollie, Sam, and I took him to the Dog Park and played with Lilly Bernadette, a Bernedoodle that we met yesterday, Rocky, an Airedale Terrier and poodle mix that we also met yesterday, and a few new dogs.  There was a big dog named Abby that was quite aggressive, but she and Shadow ended up being friends.  Then we went on a family walk around the Grasmere neighborhood.  Ollie and Shadow jogged and sometimes Shadow pulled Sam on a skateboard—not a quiet walk, but a fun family time.