A Good Time for an Aquarium Visit


Going to the Aquarium in Pine Knoll Shores is a tradition in our family.   I have written in detail about our visits before, but today was a special visit.  We got to take our granddaughter with us. 

If there is a perfect age for a first visit to the Aquarium, I'm guessing four is not far from it.  There is nothing like the wonder in the eyes of a child seeing a shark tank for the first time.  Of course sea otters are even more fun than sharks.

This trip was perhaps the first time that we visited the Aquarium when we were not trying to escape from cottage fever, heat, or rain.  We could easily have gone to the beach or the pool, but our granddaughter wanted to go to the Aquarium so we went.

There was a good crowd there ahead of us, but we have seen it far more crowded than it was on our visit today.  Even when the Aquarium is crowded it is still possible to have a great time.  Our almost four year old granddaughter had some favorite exhibits, but she managed to enjoy almost everything.
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Beach Weather on the Crystal Coast


If you live at the beach, you spend a lot of time thinking about wind and weather.  It just comes with the territory for most people.

While I learned a lot in my first career of farming, I think paying attention to the weather has always been in my genes.

My teenage years were spent in Mt. Airy, NC in a home that is now the Sobotta Manor B&B.  I often enjoyed sitting on the side porch of the house during thunderstorms.  From one end I could see the nearby Blue Ridge Mountains while the other side overlooked my mother's azaleas. 
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Bare Feet in the Warm Rain


It is amazing what you take for granted.   It is easiest to lose track of the little things.  May 30, we were waiting for sub-tropical storm Beryl to show up in our neighborhood.

Last summer we survived Irene, and there were no severe weather warnings with Beryl. No one was expecting much.   I got up to mostly clouds and light rain. 

I enjoyed an uneventful first cup of coffee.  My normal walk to get the morning paper was in heavy, warm rain.  I intentionally left my footwear, a pair of Crocs, in the garage.

I walk a lot on the beach and just the other day I noticed the tread was worn off those Crocs.  I have learned from experience that tread-less Crocs and wet concrete are a lethal combination.

Without any serious thought, I walked out to get the newspaper in my bare feet.  I have done it many times.  Sometimes the concrete is too cold or too hot, but I have managed to survive it one way or the other even in the rain.

Often like on May 30, the walk without shoes is comfortable and reminds me of my youth in rural NC in the fifties when shoes were optional in the summer.  read more »

Heading Back into Our Inlet is Special


Going out on the river is always a treat, but there is always special about coming home to our inlet.
One of the things that I have learned well from living the White Oak River is how to enjoy a big coastal river  whether in a skiff with a 90 HP Yamaha behind me or in a kayak under my own power.

While very different, both are fun ways to see the river. I rarely have to force myself to choose between the two ways of seeing the river since usually my mood determines my mode of transportation.

My reasons for getting in the skiff can be varied. I might just want to go out and check the river in preparation for future fishing trip. I could just be feeling a little landlocked and need a ride into the marshes to enjoy the spectacular beauty of the grasses and water as it stretches to the horizon.
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On the Oyster Rocks of the White Oak


There are a lot of reasons that I choose to slide my kayak in the water behind our house and paddle out to the middle of the White Oak River.  The view out our inlet just after I leave my dock is worth the paddle itself.

On the surface paddling out into the river is good exercise, but I get more out of the journey mentally than I do physically. 

There is no other trip besides the quiet paddle to the middle of the river where I can lose myself to the elements so quickly and do it without burning any gasoline.

On my recent trip out our inlet to the river, I surprised an Osprey who took off with his catch of the day jumping mullet.  I could also hear the scolding of the Kingfisher who is convinced that he is mayor of our inlet.  read more »

A spring break?


After a really nice March 2012 when each day either the beach or the water seemed to be calling me even when the wind was blowing, the weather on Friday, April 6, does seem like a break from spring.

While it is too early to tell for certain, initial signs are that unlike March when only three days saw below normal high temperatures.  April might give us temperatures closer to the average with only nine days instead of twenty-eight days above normal.  read more »

An Abundance of Special Places


There is a newly updated (March 2015) version of this post at this link.

No matter where I have lived, I have always had a special place or two where I could visit and find some peace and renewal.  Here on the Crystal Coast we are especially fortunate because there seems to a special place around every turn.

When we lived in Nova Scotia during the early seventies, there was a place high on the hill behind our two hundred year old farm house.  It was quite a hike, but the view of St. Croix Cove was worth it. 

Though we owned a lot of land there, this particular spot was not part of it at first.  I eventually traded some pasture land for this piece of wild land.  The view and the acres surrounding it meant a lot more to me than a few acres of pasture.  read more »