Bay at dusk

We keep posting photos, hoping to catch the feeling, the awe, the awareness of being alive and yet mortal.

But we never get it quite right, because we are far more than just our eyes.

The cheap NCM life

Bottled last summer’s beach plum wine, fruity, a tad astringent, but hey, practically free, as a private jet flew overhead. The beach plums come from two bushes in the backyard.

Made some bread from home ground wheat, cheap and good.

Eating kale from the garden tonight, as cheap as cheap gets. Kale grows like a weed in North Cape May, and requires little more effort than stooping to drop the seeds in the ground.

A good life is cheaper than the jet life.

Dogs, drones, and the Delaware Bay

According to today’s AC Press, The LTPD recently acquired a new drone at the cost of $17,425–it must have come with some extras, or we overpaid.

Ad for the Matrice 30 series drone.

The mayor has taken “capture everything” to heart, and plans to use the drone to patrol the bay looking for “people who allow their dogs to off leash” in an effort to save our officers time.

Maybe Mayor Sippel should ask us which we prefer–putting up with the occasional ( and usually well-trained) off leash doggie or some five-figure eye-in-the-sky buzzing away as we (attempt to) enjoy serenity along the bay’s edge.

A drone-free evening on the edge of the Delaware Bay.

Having an officer stroll along the beach without the high tech would better serve all of us, a gentle reminder that there’s a human under that uniform.

And for those who occasionally nurse an ale or two, be forewarned. First they came after the dogs, then they came after the Dogfish. Heads.

Beach walk January 22, 2023

The bay has settled down a bit–still wild, of course, always wild, but behaving today.

Scott Avenue entrance to the beach

January is rough on local humans but it is devastating to much of the rest of the living around here.

These guys (Hemigrapsus sanguineus, or Asian shore crab) first showed up around 1988–you can find them all over now, and apparently they are as edible (shell and all)as they are damaging to the native species.

Asian shore crab–a tasty menace

Gannets are usually seen in the spring and fall. Their fluorescent white wings tipped with deep black are marvelous, rivaled by their unreal blue beaks, usually only seen up-close in death.

The bright red of blood, the ghostly white feathers, and the stunning blue beak look out of place on the dull wintry beach.

A vulture feasted on yet another dead bird, now beyond identifying. The vulture sulked as I approached, took a low flight around me, then returned to its carcass as I was leaving.

The days are lengthening again, and the beaches will be filled with humans again soon enough. For now the sand pipers and the herring gulls rule the roost.

Crocuses, again

We live in paradise, true, but the dark of winter can be tough anywhere.

Less than a mile from the bay a crocus erupts from the January ground, arcing towards the late afternoon sun sinking towards the edge of the bay,

The bay has been here for millions of years, and will be for millions more. A human less than a century, a crocus less than half a decade.

But right now,, here in North Cape May, we’re all here for a moment.

Summer solstice in North Cape May

The strawberries fade out as the blueberries arrive.

The sunsets have finished their journey northward, inching their way further and further right since the start of winter. Light is at its peak.

Dead horseshoe crabs litter the beach after their last full moon frenzy. All 10 eyes of this one are dark now, its last sunset passed a day or two ago.

The tides will continue to rise and fall as the sun hesitates a few days then starts its journey back towards the ferry jetty.

The light has peaked, the days slowly darken again.

Lichen and the NCM economy

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A few summers ago I watched a wasp attack a patch of lichen on our Adirondack chair.

Wasps are fascinatingly creepy as they stalk prey among the flowers, but this one got fooled. It stalked the lichen, then made its attack.

After a moment or two of trying to do something with the lichen, it flew a couple of feet away and then cleaned its legs, classic displacement behavior.

(It was embarrassed.)

The chair was made by a local man. We bought two, the price not cheap, but was more than fair, and he was surprised we opted not to oil them. We like to see things age as much as we do, and, in the local way of acceptance that is under-rated, he nodded and went on his way.

Because we chose not to oil our chairs, they have turned grey and are covered by lichen. They are now over a decade old, and will likely last another 5. With oil, they may have outlived us.

Wheat grown in our backyard by my toddler grand-daughter on an aging cedar chair made by a local craftsmen.

When we need new ones, we’ll seek the same man. We do not need chairs to outlive us. That’s what plastic is for.

Because we chose not to oil them a decade ago, I got to see a wasp explore the lichen, which might not seem like much, but I enjoyed seeing that a wasp could be as easily fooled as a human.

We are all easily fooled–life is foolish, in the best sense of the word.