Note: I skipped posting last week because I went away on vacation last Friday (25 Aug) and just got back on Sunday (3 Sept). This week’s edition will cover that vacation, 10 days, from 25 Aug. to 3 Sept.
This is my continuation of Sharon Astyk’s now-completed “Independence Days” project (June-Aug 2022), which offered a framework for recognising how we’re building resiliency, community, and accountability that will make our lives better now and in the future. Many of Sharon’s categories are (or could be) related to gardening, so it seems to fit here on this blog. Equally, none of them has to do with gardening. They’re all multifaceted.
I’ve modified Sharon’s categories to match my own life and community; I may continue to tinker with the framework as time goes on.
Plant something: plant, start something
Started my Rehoboth vacation on Friday, the 25th, taking the bus to Boston and then the train from there to Baltimore.
I masked, using pink KF94 masks with adjustable earloops from Wellbefore (highly recommend for comfort and excellent closures), and I used a personal air purifier on both bus and train and in waiting areas. I was in Acela’s first class section (thanks to Amtrak points from my credit card — the entire train trip didn’t cost me a penny), so in Boston I waited for 40 minutes, alone except for eventually one other traveller 50 yards away and one staff member, in a very spacious, lovely first-class waiting space. Free food and drinks! And free food and drinks — full meals, alcohol, whatever — on the train. Quite nice. My seat both going and returning was a single, so no one was right next to me. I also masked in the 3 or 4 stores I briefly went into in Rehoboth, and all our meals but one were taken outside (the one inside was the quickest and we faced away from the room and into a window). I felt very well all week, still do, and had a negative antigen Covid test on return, but I will keep testing for a week more.
The trip was wonderful! Spent a lot of time — most of the time — outdoors, biking, walking, exploring, absorbing the salt, sea, sand, and sound of the ocean on the beach, and eating delightful food; and being with college friends and my sister — and my cousin one day — was priceless (and obviously, to me, worth the risk, mitigated as it was ).
The place we stayed was amazing, even more than we had hoped, with three balconies, two on the ocean side and one on the canal side. The kitchen was large and well-equipped, the A/C was perfect (I had a minisplit in my room so I could keep it cold at night), we saw sunsets, sunrises, and full moons, and each of us had a spacious suite.
Harvest something: harvest, forage, glean, or bring to fruition
This was the bringing to fruition of a 5-year or so dream — the last time I’d been to Rehoboth with these friends and my sister was 2018, and it was once an almost-yearly occurence.
While I was away, my husband harvested some sungold tomatoes and was given some homegrown vegetables by an acquaintance. I returned home to lots of kale to be harvested when I get to it, and to hazelnuts ready (if a bit small) to be picked this week or next.
Preserve something: food, local community resources
We helped preserve many local Rehoboth restaurants while we were there, with outdoor dining nine times and takeout for three dinners. Café Papillon is one of my favourites, for their crêpes mainly, though I also had four smoothies (three pineapple mango and one pear peach apricot) and a café au lait there over the course of the week. All my crêpes were peach and whipped cream, while my sister enjoyed salmon, tomato, egg, and cheese.
Waste Not: reduce waste, reuse, salvage & repair, give away
The four of us managed to eat most of our leftovers on Friday night! There was some waste on this trip but overall I’d say we managed it well, which isn’t easy on vacation. My sister and I probably did too much laundry (though I was happy to have clean clothes) and we definitely drank a lot of canned seltzer (something I rarely drink at home).
I ripped the hem out of a skort, which my husband will be repairing soon. I also dripped something oily on that same poor skort, in a few places, but my sister had Tide sticks and we were able to remove it, salvaging one of my favourite items of clothing.
My friends brought and used their Oru Kayak, which folds and unfolds like origami to a full-sized kayak; “Oru Kayak is committed to sustainability and uses recycled materials whenever possible,” with a production process that “has minimal impact on the environment.” It took up quite a bit of the car’s packing space but seemed less cumbersome to transport than a regular kayak, which would have had to go on top.
Keep Stocked Up: with food and emergency supplies, financial resources, and experiences that make life worth living
This was certainly a trip that stocked me up with experiences that make life worth living. The people, the long-time ever-evolving relationships, the conversations, the beach, the biking, the marshes and birding, the exploration, the food and drink, all were so satisfying and rejuvenating.
Food Stuff: learn new food skills, try new recipes, use what’s available in the pantry, use what’s grown/made locally and what’s seasonal
I didn’t try anything new but enjoyed everything I ate and drank: halibut twice, all kinds of tapas, Old Bay steamed shrimp, fish tacos, cacio e pepe, arugula salad, lovely Chinese and Indian food, street corn shrimp salad, all the side dishes, the crêpes, the smoothies, the cocktails, the food truck mango Italian ice, the fruit cup and iced tea I had while looking at the ocean and the people on the boardwalk with my friend.
Henlopen City Oyster House:
We stopped to get local food on the way to the beach, including local corn on the cob and peaches; I liked having a fresh peach most days.
Be Neighbourly: contribute to community support systems, look for ways to help neighbours and others
While I was gone, our friends (and neighbours) invited my husband to dinner on Saturday night, which all enjoyed. Also while I was away, my other sister’s husband was hospitalised from Wed. until today (Tues. the 5th) for some chemo side effects; we (the sister with me at the beach, my cousin, and I) tried to support them from afar. My husband volunteered Tuesday and Thursday at the local car museum for about 9 hours total.
Skill up: learn new things, especially skills or knowledge that remind us of our place in the natural world and within the social fabric
I reacquainted myself with the natural world of the Delaware coast last week. Some new and not-new plants:
And I spent a fair amount of time birding.
As well as … insecting? And archniding?
Tend & Maintain: maintain our bodies, minds, and relationships to keep us resilient; and do what’s needed in the house, yard, and elsewhere to prevent failure/breaking/hassle down the line
Before I left home on the 25th August, I got a permanent dental crown on 22 Aug., which has been great. I don’t even notice it.
This trip was absolutely a “maintain our relationships” extravaganza. Aside from the joy and warmth of the lifelong friendships, when I stood at the ocean the first evening, I had a “pinch me” moment, very emotional, like a homecoming; and the same when I rode onto the bike trail along the marshes on Sunday.
While I was away, my husband cut back the apple tree from the roof and sawed that wood and some oak he’d cut previously, for firewood. He also mowed the lawn, bleached out a toilet bowl and sink trap, and repaired a rotted window sill in the sunroom. And he worked on my 1998 Honda Civic, whose frame is damaged from age and weather, removing a rusted bracket and grounding out some of the subframe that was making my car clang (we need to replace it but at least I can drive it in town for a bit until we do).
Winter is coming: notice Earth’s seasons and our own seasons of life and daily rhythms, and look ahead to what’s needed now to make life better in the future
This is a funny one today, “winter is coming,” as I write with temps in the mid- to high-80s here in New Hampshire. But I look ahead to about 10 days from now when our highs will be in the 60s with lows in the high 40s and know it’s coming. It was plenty warm for me at Rehoboth but most days were in the mid-70s and several were overcast or windy or both. We did have some glorious beach days, though, and amazing skies.
We look a tad chilly here.
I finally feel like I got some summer with this beach trip, temperate though the weather was. It felt like a real vacation, with beach, biking, eating out, relaxed time with friends and family.
I also noticed again that my daily rhythms are very tilted toward night owl, so eating at 8pm was fine with me, and taking a group walk at 10 felt normal, though it’s not something I do in my ordinary life. I got a lot more exercise on this trip than I usually do in a week, even with my daily walking; my Fitbit goal of 14,000 steps was exceeded every day, including one day of over 28,000 steps. It felt good to move so much, in a variety of ways, at a variety of times (morning, afternoon, night), in a variety of habitats: marsh, bike path, beach, boardwalk, in town, through in nice shady neighbourhoods, etc.
It was hard to leave.
But it was nice to get home. I feel pretty fortunate.