One gardener's observations, discoveries and random thoughts whilst simultaneously worshipping and dallying in a Cape Cod garden. "A garden," said Ralph Waldo Emerson, "is like those pernicious machineries which catch a man's coatskirt or his hand, and draw in his arm, his leg and his whole body to irresistable destruction."



Previously, on “Lupines in the Mist”: The Gardener drove to the Outer Cape for an early morning doctor’s appointment, to be followed by an afternoon of catching up with friends and pursuing some seasonal fun of an as-yet unspecified nature in Provincetown.   Due to uncharacteristically-careful planning for tourist traffic that didn’t quite materialize, the Gardener found himself in town way sooner than the doctor’s appointment (also sooner than the afore-mentioned friends might have enjoyed a wake-up) and so explored the misty hillside around Highland, or Cape Cod Light, overlooking the Atlantic.

A delightful way to kill time, to be sure.

The doctor’s appointment was relatively brief and of the most minor consequence, but did notably include sounds of happy surprise from the Nurse who was checking me in when I stepped onto the scale:  21 pounds off me since February!   Not bad news at all, especially when coupled with additional pleased-sounding murmurs from her at the post-cigarette blood pressure and pulse rate (just thirteen days ’til the One Year Mark!).  Just imagine what good shape I might be in if Rainy June hadn’t encouraged my inner sloth and let me get out for a few more bike rides!


And then I was happily off to my rendezvous with Kelly and Carol at their motel room, where we enjoyed some coffee and “catch-up” time on their “veranda” overlooking Provincetown Harbor to kick off our annual Friendfest.   The three of us always find plenty to talk about and Kel also fixed us some lovely lunch wraps while we waited for the sun to burn through the morning’s early fog.


You could call this a reunion of blogger friends.  Technically, this is true, since Kel started a blog of her own (sagely titled, Be Positive, which you should totally visit, if my Blogroll hasn’t already led you there) since our visit last summer.   But she and I have known each other a good deal longer than that, so being “blogger friends” is a relatively new descriptor to our long and storied  friendship.

Last year we celebrated with mini-golf.   This year, we quickly settled on heading into P-Town to go for a sail on the Schooner Hindu.  It’s an 80 year old sailing vessel, the crew of which lead folks out on tours of Provincetown Harbor and Cape Cod Bay.  They operate from MacMillan Pier, right beside the Wyddah Pirate Museum, near all the whale watch and tour boat slips.  I’ve often thought it would be quite cool to go out on the Hindu – the sunset cruises sound especially delightful.  Guests are welcomed to bring along your own picnic meal and cooler of preferred beverages (wink wink), an option we didn’t totally consider until we had set sail (I wondered later if the crew was a little disappointed with us).

Next time, we’ll know.


I think there’ll be a next time, too, since we really had a pretty fantastic afternoon.   There’s a minimal crew for the Hindu.   Guests are invited to participate in some crew activities, if they wish.   Carol was excited for that, though Kelly and I were content to sit back and appreciate the effort sailing involves.  ; )

Although the Hindu only goes out for a two hour cruise, we’d been making with the Gilligan’s Island jokes back on shore.  Somehow, I was quickly fitted into the Gilligan role (sigh…but no one told me in time to buy an appropriate hat, and seriously, if I must be compared to a Bob Denver role, am I not more Maynard G. Krebs than Gilligan?).  Kel tried to portray herself as The Professor, but since she’d had her nails (fingers and toes) done in an array of rainbow colors in anticipation of the vacation, she really fell more into Ginger territory.


Ah, but Carol, it turns out, is way better suited to life as a Skipper than Alan Hale’s character ever dreamed of being, and she took the wheel for the bulk of our tour, weaving us through whale watch and parasail tour boats while keeping us in between the channel markers as we made our way by Long Point Light.


It’s true, she had a bit of navigational guidance from Captain Kevin “Foggy” Foley, but she kept us steady throughout the afternoon, leaving the good captain to relax and regale us with stories of Provincetown history, the history of the Hindu herself, and some of his own personal tales as well.   Cap’n Foggy had us both educated and entertained as our trip progressed.

Our trip really was a special treat.   The Hindu has a capacity of forty, we were told, but there were only four of us guests aboard that day.    With the captain, his first mate Joanne and crewman “Moonshine” Matt (he moonlights with the Pirate Adventure Tours boat as Pirate Pete) that made for a total of seven of us aboard and we were really able to move around the schooner or just stretch out and make ourselves comfortable.



I’ve been out on Provincetown Harbor in a variety of craft over the years, though mostly whale watch boats.  Getting out on the water is always a special delight, but the Hindu offered an additional treat.   Although it is equipped with a motor for easy navigation in and out of slip, once the sails have been hoisted, the schooner is silent.   The sounds of Provincetown fade into the distance, leaving only the sound of the wind in the sail and slap of water against the side of the boat to compete with the buoy bell and the Race Point foghorn in the distance.   It’s nearly impossible not to relax, really.


It’s true what they say about having fun.  The time really does go quickly, and far sooner than we wished we were washing up on the shores of the world again.

Every summer in Provincetown brings new things to entertain or bemuse us, some more thought-provoking than others.  This year, four Y sculptures have been erected (Heh.  Yes, I said erected…are you five?), each inscribed with a different word.

There’s Y Care, Y Discriminate, Y AIDS, and here at MacMillan Pier, Y Think.   They are just the start of The “Y” Project, an art installation (born in NYC) which asks us to reflect on this question:

“Why do we live so comfortably with an imbalance of human equality and irresponsibility?”

We did reflect on this for a bit, and made note of the project’s web address so we could get all the details about it later.   And then, honestly, we  went and had a beer and reflected instead on how cool life would be if we lived aboard a schooner and could spend our days having adventures as we sailed the Seven Seas.  Well, the tropical bits, anyway.  You know, where they serve fruity frozen drinks (We’re not shallow people, we really do care about important social issues, but must we be serious on vacation, too?  Let’s not.).

It’s good to have a rich fantasy life, they say, so this Schooner Reflection is healthy.   Really, though, we did talk about going out on the Hindu again – the sunset tour, next time – and with a lovely picnic supper and maybe some nice wine.  We might even invite a few of you to join us.

We did enjoy a picnic supper similar to the imagined one back at the motel room that evening, as we watched the sun settle into the western sky beyond the Provincetown skyline, although with margaritas instead of wine.  Well, actually, Cap’n Carol had a little wine, I think.  As we looked to the horizon, we could see our new friend Hindu sailing off on just such a tour, passing Long Point Light.



And Time passes.


Above is a shot of Wednesday evening’s thunderstorm as seen from Rock Harbor marina, as it advanced on us across Cape Cod Bay.   It was an intense storm, with some real heavy rains and lightning.  There was even a moment or two of flooding here at the Nest, though that was quickly remedied.  However, a lightning strike in the neighborhood seemed also to have fried the splitter on my cable connection, so that I lost telephone and internet service (“but I’m not a Facebook Addict, I could quit anytime I wanted”, it turns out, was a big stinky crock of beans) but still had cable television.  Strange.

I’m sorry to tell you that the lightning also killed a man in town during the storm, a fact which made being without the Internet for a day or two not seem like a particular hardship.  There was plenty else to occupy my time, anyway.


And then, the holiday weekend was upon us.   What a treat to realize anew that I lived in the neighborhood where the fireworks are shot off each year.  For a change, there was no need to fret about parking or hiking to the shore from some distant parking spot.   The former “hike” is my regular walk and I’ve been in training for the fireworks, it turns out, since autumn.

I’m familiar with the experience, though, as the Downstairses have a big barbecue every year on whatever night the Rock Harbor fireworks are scheduled for (this year, Friday the 3rd, to kick off the weekend), leading all who attend to a lovely vantage point in the marsh.   This year, the tide was coming in at us as the show commenced, offering some wonderfully reflective foreground.   For the occasion, I broke in a new inexpensive camera tripod and tried out the camera’s Fireworks setting.  You’ve already seen most of those, already.

Here’s a shot of the deck garden, as seen from the backyard.  I hadn’t anticipated how festively patriotic the blue glow of the LED solar lights would work with the red and white of the candles and Folgers can luminaries.  (By the way, this post is already epic-ly overlong, so gardening will wait for later…but the sweet peas are starting to bloom!)


It was a festively late night (made later by my desire to get fireworks photos up at the blog post haste), and all too soon, morning and the Independence Day parade were upon us.  I always like to be there early enough to wander along the parade route through the gathering crowd.  I  never know quite who I’ll meet up with, but it’s always fun.  I just love the way everyone gets into the spirit of the day, with red white and blue outfits everywhere you look.


Some folks go the extra mile, with an Uncle Sam hat or Statue of Liberty visor or maybe some colored beads.  Almost every kid clutches an American flag in their hand.   And then there are those creative few who really take it to a totally new level.

This is MaryKate, who came dressed as our Declaration of Independence.    While the similarity to a floor-length gown was admittedly limiting to her movement, she couldn’t say enough positive things about the elegance of the language.  Her family group were all well appointed, representing Uncle Sam, Lady Liberty, Paul Bunyun, a bald eagle and a host of other American characters (not to mention a dozen or so red/white/blue clad little ones), and were a parade of their own, entertaining themselves and other parade goers until the actual parade passed by.

They added to the usual sense of excitement and anticipation that the sunniest July Fourth morning brings to everyone along Main Street.






Evening found me in the company of some of my favorite folks, the extended Donovan clan, at their family beach house on the bay.   A spectacular sunset only kicked off the festivities and we watched as fireworks bloomed all along the bayshore from Provincetown to Plymouth, a big festive and fiery birthday confection as we celebrated our country’s 233rd birthday.  Our celebration included, as all the best do, a few fireworks of our own, great gales of laughter, a few drinks, some swimming, great songs and an enjoyable array of grilled meats!

Today, I’m napping a lot.   I hope you’re all enjoying some lovely summer days, too!



Comments on: "Catching Up: Summer Holidays" (7)

  1. Congratulations on your one year of quitting smoking! I am an ex-smoker for just over a year, too! Yay- pats on the back.

  2. Congrats on giving up the smokes and dropping some weight. That’s awesome! Quite an active weekend you had.

    Hey Homer! Just the nature of these holiday weekends, I suppose – lots of fun, tho! Thanks for the congrats…I’m psyched on both counts! : )

  3. Hi Greg~ I didn’t make it to the parade, and it was a pleasure to find such a vivid portrayal of it. :)) Congrats on your cig- cessation!
    It was great meeting you, hope we can go do a photo shoot some day.

    That sounds like fun, Mare! Glad you enjoyed the parade pics. I was up so late working on the fireworks stuff, I sort of felt like I was phonin’ in the parade. ; )

  4. Looks like you had a blast this weekend! I envy your sailing excursion. But most of all, it is worth all those fireworks to celebrate your good health! Way to go!

  5. What a beautiful ship and an awesome sunset. :)

  6. Looks like you had a fantabulously fun weekend. It’s hard to believe it’s been a year already on quitting smoking. Congrats to you! I must say that rainbow flag is a nice “punch” of color atop the mast pole. :-)

    It was a treat to see the Pride flag flying up there at the top of the mast. In good company next to the Red Sox flag, too, I might add. ; )

  7. It’s been 33 years since the Bicentennial? I feel rather faint. Is there a margarita in the house?

    I enjoyed the log of your excursion on the briny. Nothing like snap of sails on the open water. Boif and I went for an outing on the Kestral once in NY harbor; I enjoyed it immensely but I generally prefer marinas to la mer.

    You had such a classic Yankee fourth of July. I enjoy fireworks every bit as much as I did as a kid. That colorful metaphor of the Big Bang never fails to resonate with the memory of its ancestral forbear which must sit coiled somewhere in our DNA. Ooooo. Aaahhh.

    As we have oft discussed, dear Jeaux, there is nothing so much fun as messing about in (or near) boats! ; )

    I hope your Fourth was as much fun as mine! I try not to think on how long its been since that year when I was just a youngin’ dressed up as a town cryer for our town celebrations in ’76!

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