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Posts Tagged ‘baby lobster’

Day Ten: EVERYTHING IS AWESOME!!

17 Jun

“Everything is awesome! Everything is cool when you’re part of a team. Everything is awesome, when we’re living our dream…”

Everything *is* awesome when you’re living your dream. And that seems to be what I’m doing on this vacation. This morning I rolled out of bed late, had a piece of sourdough toast and a cup full of blueberries, then herded the children out of the house because my appearance downstairs coincided with low tide. Low tide means we can walk from our beach across the mud flat and about 10 feet of maybe ankle deep water to a nature preserve known as Vaughan’s Island. It was time for our Lobstah Hunt! Two years ago my kids met a local teenager who showed them how to find baby lobsters in the tidal pools on Vaughan’s Island. Nothing difficult, just flipping over rocks, but there is a bit of a science as to which rocks are most likely to yield lobster underneath. And these are tiny guys, most are fit in the palm of your hand size. But for kids who have only seen lobster in the tanks at our local grocery store, this is something amazing. Frankly, I find it amazing too. This morning it took us a bit of time to find one, but once we got into the deeper, colder tidal pools, the lobster abounded. The first one we found almost managed to take a chunk out of my toe. Luckily my lightning quick reflexes had my foot retracted from the water as soon as I felt him scampering near my toe. That and the fact that my high pitched shrieking like a little girl with her hair caught on fire probably scared him back into his hidey hole! We also spot lots of other great things on our tidal pool adventures – sea urchins, tons of hermit crabs, many other varieties of crabs, sponges, etc. And never fear, no lobster are ever injured in our great Lobstah Hunt. We flush them out, sometimes pick up one or two for a photo op, but always put them gently back into place so they can grow to become delicious, er, I mean, adults.

Another great part of Vaughan’s Island is the outcropping of rocks on the near side of the island. This morning after we had exhausted our tidal pool interest, the kids clambered up the rocks and proceeded to play a very detailed imaginative game. I was nearby, but not involved – in fact, made a quick trip up to the house to retrieve my book and a beverage – while they all three played together cooperatively. One time I looked back to see Avery and Harper scaling a rock wall that must have been 10 feet in height. It took my breath away to watch them, but kids need to be kids, and if there were pieces to pick up afterward, then that was just what I was going to have to do. So I turned back around. Put my back to the action. And irony of ironies, no one was hurt on the huge outcropping, by leaning over rock ledges or scaling rock faces that were directly above pointy boulders; instead it was literally the last step off the beach onto the tarmac road where Avery slipped and slammed her shin into a pointy rock. Sigh. Many tears and a bag of frozen vegetables later she was exclaiming with great joy that her damaged shin was purple and pink, some of her favorite colors! I think she’ll live.

After returning from our island excursion, Harper and I once again played another game of Qwirkle. I tell you, I am flat out obsessed with this game. Luckily Harper is a puzzle enthusiast as well, and the game appeals to a visual learner, so I have a partner whenever I want to play. The funny thing is that it takes quite a long time to play a game when there are only two players, but she always stays engaged to the very end. Probably a bit because she enjoys it, but also because she’s so competitive. Wonder where she gets that?

After our game Harper wanted to be the one to make lunch. As you may know, patience is *not* my strong suit. I could have had those sandwiches made and distributed within 10 minutes. But, I need to let my kids do more things for themselves. I know that. I do. But it’s so damn hard. But I waited this one out. She took orders, Avery assisted as sous chef, and five sandwiches were prepared, chips and fruit put on plates, and distributed. It only took 45 minutes. And I did not rip out my hair. At least not all of it.

Beau’s dad had promised him that the boys would take an afternoon kayak adventure once the tide came in. Realizing how important this was to both father and child, I decided the best thing to do to keep the girls from arguing and demanding that they too wanted to go on a kayak adventure, was to get them out of the house. So we had a girls’ only excursion to – where else? – Target! But there was a very specific purpose for this trip. Today is June 17. And for anyone paying attention, you know that Tuesday, June 17th is when The Lego Movie was released on DVD! Yep. We got our copy, and I anticipate it will see a lot of use. I think I’d like to watch it at maybe half speed just to get a better look at all the details hidden in the background. Harper was also pleased about our outing because she scored the next book in the series she is currently reading. It’s another of Rick Riordan’s mythology based series (something of Olympus?), and the darn thing is like 800 pages. But a very reasonable price considering, and I’m a sucker for buying books, so….

Once we got back to the cottage it was time to head down to the creek for a bit. I just wanted to sit in the sun and read. And that’s what I did. Harper started out with her own book, just standing out on the rocks reading, but then she put her book away and played nicely with her sister for quite some time. Eventually the boys returned from their almost 2 hour kayaking excursion – I imagine Beau may have trouble lifting his arms tomorrow. We headed up to the house to get cleaned up, but not before asking some locals we had overhead talking about pizza where they recommended. They suggested a place called Lower Village Pizza just across the bridge in Kennebunk. And I am SO thankful they did. Wow. Some of the best pizza I’ve ever had. Crust – Amazing! Flavors – Terrific! Truly some exceptional pizza. And the nicest people you ever want to do business with. A great experience, a wonderful dinner! We watched The Lego Movie while eating our pizza (but of course!) And after our long day, Avery was asleep on the couch with her dad before the movie was over, and the other two trooped dutifully off to bed without a single argument by 8:15pm. Ah, summer!

Tomorrow: Getting my windshield replaced! Just like two years ago when I had to have my windshield replaced in the driveway of this same house, but this time it’s a different Honda Odyssey. My only 14 month old one. Sigh. It’s supposed to be thunderstorms around here sometime after midnight, so here’s hoping those clear up in time to make this mobile windshield replacement a possibility. I don’t like driving around with a huge crack in my windshield.

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Well played, Maine. Well played.

21 Jun

I applaud your effort. Truly I do. I assume that you were trying to annoy me. Make it less difficult for me to pack it in and depart southbound on Saturday morning. Give me a miserable experience so I was happy to leave you. And to that end, you threw oppressive 90+ degree heat, stagnant air, no breeze at all, and mosquitos so large and numerous that at some point I believe I was lifted airborne as the blood was leaving my body. So, well played, Maine. You tried your hardest. And don’t get me wrong, I was uncomfortably warm. I was sticky and sweaty and felt gross. I didn’t like it one bit. But see, I’m used to that. Being uncomfortably warm, feeling gross, and we’ve got biting bugs where I’m from, too. So it’s going to take a lot more than that to make me want to leave you. I think I’ve already adequately proven that I’m a glutton for punishment. And see, well, you’re so beautiful. I can’t tear my eyes away from you. And even when you’re treating me kind of badly I enjoy being in your company. So I waited you out, and you couldn’t help yourself, could you? You don’t like yourself this way, you couldn’t possibly. You missed the cool sea breeze through the branches of your trees, you were tired of hearing the chipmunks complain. So I waited you out and you tired of your game, you once again turned your beautiful countenance my way, and we are once again in agreement that I will be loathe to leave you soon.

This morning we packed a lunch and set out to discover more trails through the woods. You can’t really call what we do hiking, especially when the trails are so flat, so hard-packed as almost to be paved. It’s more like taking delightful walks through the woods. And they are delightful. Cool, and delightful. Today we stuck close to the shore, so it was this amazing mix of old forest and salt marsh coastal habitat. First stop was the Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve. It was once a rather important and historic farm in the area, but is now a fully functioning research facility on the very important estuary environment. And I’ll tell you this, if we lived anywhere near here I’d definitely enroll the kids in some of their summer camp programs, then beg them to let me come along. We set off immediately on the trail system. They apparently have over 7 miles of marked trails. We did not amble along all of them, and in fact we seemed to have a bit of a problem reading the map (I suppose that might be expected when you aren’t paying attention to trail markers and just blindly following a 7 year old), but we did have a lovely walk. Part of it was on a path that was just mown through a meadow on a hill, then it descended into some wooded areas, then we followed along a boardwalk path through a low-lying area just off the estuary water. It was buggy, to say the least. But to be expected. Especially when their website had this clever advisement: “Please Note – Be prepared for ticks, biting insects, poison ivy, and other wonders of nature.” Ah, yes, all my favorite wonders of nature.

Stamina was starting to wane, thought was greatly bolstered halfway through our adventure by an influx of gummy bears that I just happened to have in my backpack. So we headed back to the main farm area where we had a nice lunch at one of the provided picnic tables. After that we went into the little visitors center where they had some interesting exhibits about their estuary research and life along this coastal area. They even had a large plate glass window looking into their lab. Not a lot of action going on at that particular time, but still cool to have that peek behind the curtain. Overall it was a nice way to start the day and a neat place. I think it would have been fun to really attack the trail system with a purpose and take all the available loops. It traversed several different areas – meadow, woods, salt marsh – with their differing vegetation and views on display.

The kids were grumbling and eager to get back to the beach, but I wasn’t quite ready to leave the cool of the woods. So we went into the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge, which is adjacent to the Wells Reserve. I figured we could eek out just one more mile along a flat, packed trail. And I was right. It was a most lovely walk through the woods. First of all, this place is lousy with chipmunks. I don’t know why this still delights me so. I mean, Florida is lousy with squirrels and chipmunks are really just a different kind of furry woodland rodent, but still. With their jaunty striped tails, and their sweet little faces. I don’t know, it still makes me giggle and smile to see them darting so close to us. And by this time the sweat had dried and the breeze had returned, so it was pleasant and almost chilly in the deepest shade. You couldn’t resist yourself, could you, Maine? Don’t be ashamed. You are irresistible, especially in June.

Back at the house for some snacks and decompression, then it was into bathing suits (for the kids) and down to the beach at Turbat’s Creek. The tide was on its way out, exposing a huge mud flat and more rocks for climbing and exploring. But even better was the return of the 16 year old kid who lived up the street. He’s a native Mainer, and this was his creek. Hunter took us around the tidal pools just off the beach looking for fish and small crabs. It was the first time I had actually felt a soft shell crab. Then as the tide continued to recede we made our way across the creek to Vaughn’s Island Reserve, which the kids have affectionately nicknamed “Rock Island.” With his bucket and net across his shoulders, Hunter led us to the tidal pools on Vaughan’s Island to hunt the wily wild lobster. Okay, so maybe not so wily. I mean, after all they were just hiding under rocks. But still, we were seeking out wild lobster! So what if they were babies, they were wild lobster. And to me that ranks as a pretty cool activity. And we were successful first rock out of the gate. It was really amazing to see these tiny lobster, some with huge, mature claws, some with claws of different sizes, some with no claws at all. We discussed the possible reasons for this (claws lost in fights, to defense mechanisms, etc), and just generally had an awesome time turning over rocks to see what was underneath. I was amazed at the range of motion in a lobster’s claws – they could reach so far backwards that it would be like a human who had double-jointed shoulders. We collected lobsters in Hunter’s net & in plastic cups, then put them in a bucket with a dead crab to keep them fed & entertained. Then, after examining them sufficiently, we released them back in the largest pools that still had access to the Gulf of Maine. They circled one another warily for a moment then crawled back under their chosen rocks and disappeared. We were hoping to find some starfish, but instead we found sponges and one teeny, tiny sea urchin. And as much as I love the woods here, wish I could walk off the trail and disappear into them for a time, hunting for baby lobster in the tidal pools had to be one of my favorite activities of this trip. And produced one of my new favorite photos of my boy. Okay, so the lobster he’s holding is one of the ones without claws, but still. Sum up happiness in a photo and there you have it.

As the trip winds down I find myself feeling lazy and disrespectful of the rules. And that would be why the children just went to bed, at least an hour and a half past their bedtime. They were playing their own version of Monopoly. Showered, pajamaed, fed. We had a PBS presentation of Phantom of the Opera on tv. Why should they be shunted off to bed early? Or even on time? Sometimes happiness is fleeting. And if you’re riding on the wave of it, might as well ride it all the way into the beach…

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© 2010 Krista Lindsey Willim