Cone Shell

I think this is my greatest find so far on my beach strolls.  It was lying right at the water’s edge and I almost walked past it but did a double take and snagged it up before the wave got it.   All polished and shiny, it looks like something bought in a shell store.

I did not know what kind of shell it was and am glad now that it was an empty shell, because cone shells pack a punch of toxic venom.   I just had to share this since I found it after my other post.  🙂  Happy Day!

Beach Treasures

Sunrise this morning lit the world up pink.

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One of my favorite things to do is take long walks on the beach, like 4-5 miles.   Today I set out for a long speed walk, wanting to get my 4 miles in as fast as I could so I could fish with my husband.  It’s a great time for meditation and reflection.  I often start out in prayer but before I can get to amen my mind has gone on a journey from one wonderful memory  to another and another and another.  Then I feel guilty that I drifted from my initial prayer…or did I?

Now this is the really interesting thing.  Every time I was deep in thought about someone-poof!  I’d almost step on a really cool, unusual shell.  I found so many neat shells on my walk today that my pockets and both of my hands were full.  I found a colorful moon snail, a few lightning whelks, 2 small conchs and one larger one that was not in too great of shape.  I’m thinking of gifting each person the shell I found when I was thinking of them.  🙂

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When I was thinking about my husband I found one lightning whelk that was in excellent condition with its little curly horns that easily break off when it starts tumbling around in the surf.

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While I have seashell treasures from my walk, I think my greater treasures were the memories and people I thought of…a great slice of my day.

***On a side note*** I finally caught a fish after 4 days of fishing with nary a nibble…it was a sand trout that will soon be on my dinner plate.

Beach Morning Walk

I woke up at 7, was out the door by 7:15, and just got back in at 8:15.  I went out to the beach with a cup of coffee in hand to welcome the start of a special day and was treated with a ‘Crowning Glory’ sunrise.  Good morning!

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Today is off to a warm, sunny start.  The tide is low which left a huge expanse of beach to wander.  And I found a unique shell…lucky me!   Check out this scallop fused with part of an oyster shell.  Lots of symbolism there.

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Further down the beach I was thinking about this special day, my son’s birthday when I looked up and saw these four so I took a picture to tell him I enlisted their help in wishing him a happy birthday but only one was willing to participate.

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The simple pleasures that give me joy…living in my ‘Winter Texan’flip flop world.

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Any other Winter Texans out there???

Bonus Beach Day

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Today was supposed to be extremely windy and cloudy, making it an uncomfortably cool day to be on the beach.  Thank goodness forecasts are sometimes wrong.  As it turned out, it was the perfect day for beach sitting.  Yup!  Good old fashioned sit in your chair at the water’s edge with a cooler of icy cold drinks and watch the waves roll up and down the beach.  The perfect day to watch the birds scavenge for food, coming ever so close to ‘that human thing that usually tosses free food’.  The perfect day to stroll in the surf and find beautiful shells because you were out there on the beach when no one else was.  A perfect bonus beach day!

Winter Flight

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Migration is not just for the birds, though I salute them for the idea.  While they travel in search of food, I travel in search of warmer temperatures when Old Man Winter makes his appearance.  Don’t get me wrong.  I love a good snowfall and cold air for about 2-3 days and then I am ready to flee southward.   Seagulls are the lucky ones that don’t have to take flight.

We arrived to start the new year off walking in the sand and surf.  I’ve taken two long beach walks and have already started my treasure trove with a huge moon snail perfectly intact without a hermit crab in residence, a whole sand dollar, and my first piece of green sea glass for my start up collection.

I’m sitting here on the beach close enough to the waves that the most ambitious ones roll up the beach and swirl around my feet.  And if I lean back in my chair at that moment when the chair starts to settle, I end up in a comfortable Adirondack reclined position.  It’s  a perfect beach day.  The air is warm 70’s and the water is still comfortable for barefoot walking, so people are out in mass fishing, strolling, shell collecting, sunbathing (the young ones) and playing at the water’s edge.

My mind drifts and wanders back to my teaching days.  It was always my goal to  have all of my students enjoy writing (of which I worked very hard) and my dream that they would be lifelong writers.  A former student found me on Facebook to tell me she fell in love with writing all the way back in my third grade class and that she has just published her first book.  Long pause…as I stare out to sea and let my mind drift…it warmed my heart when she told me her great news…almost enough to melt that midwest snow.  🙂

I love writing outside in my journal and am thankful that I’ll get to spend some of the winter writing at the water’s edge sitting in the warmth of the sun, sharing the beach with my feathered friends.

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Winter-land Bliss

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Old Man Winter swooped into the Midwest with all of his fury.  If folks didn’t get ice and snow, they were still hit with single digit temperatures for a couple of days.  And in those 2 days I did not set foot outside.  No sirree.  I hunkered down inside my warm, toasty house with a crackling fire.  On Sunday I spent the entire day baking sugar cookies, candy, homemade whole wheat bread, and a blueberry pie, while a pot of homemade stew simmered on the back burner.  The house smelled wonderful, my husband was in Seventh Heaven, and I enjoyed every minute, because I love to bake.  On Monday I sewed all day making apron gifts from men’s shirts.  I enjoyed sewing while a pot of vegetable soup simmered on the stove, again making the house smell wonderful.

By the third day, the sun was shining and the mercury was rising into the 20s, so it was out the door for me.   I was giddy when we drove into town and saw this owl sitting on a fence post.  I had my camera with me but we drove by so fast I did not have the time to snap a photo.  When we returned this guy was still roosting and I took a distant photo.  But when we stopped the truck, he felt threatened and flew off.  It didn’t matter because I love owls and felt my day was blessed just for seeing one.

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Later I looked out my kitchen window and saw this hawk literally jumping up and down on the ground.   I snapped the picture through the window and screen knowing that if I opened the door he would take off…and he did.

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After 2-3 days of all the critters burrowing in from the Arctic temperatures, I think my feathered friends were on the hunt for a tasty meal of field mice.  I bundled up and took a long walk in the afternoon in search of other animals enjoying the day and found the horses, dogs and birds all seemed more frisky and playful.   My 2 days of being snuggled in from the elements were perfect and that will take care of me for the rest of the season, thank you Mr. Winter, even if your cold air does produce some really neat ice crystals.

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Relief

Aloe Vera Kleenex, Halls Honey Lemon cough drops, and tons of water have been my closet friends for the past couple of weeks as my sinuses went wacko.  The doctor said it was allergies. Allergies?  In the winter?  She said they act up when there is a big weather change.

But relief is close at hand, since I got a steroid shot today and an allergy prescription.  In fact, I bet that steroid shot is going to energize me for the next couple of days like they always do.  Hmmm, perhaps this is the best time to tackle all of those holiday chores that sometimes get stressful.  🙂

Expressions

We live on a gravel road out in the country and collect a lot of dust on our vehicles.  It almost seems futile to wash the vehicles, but on occasion we do.  Well, actually we wash the cars more frequently than the farm truck, so it is always dusty.  And because it is so dusty, I frequently draw pictures or smiley faces and write catchy phrases in the dust and dirt.  It’s fun.

But the real fun is when my grand kids visit.  They now use the truck as their own personal easel.  Most of the time they will write their name in the dust, but occasionally one of them will draw a picture.  The biggest surprise is when I unexpectedly find their art a day or more after they leave.   When it starts to get covered over with dust, I just retrace their art work to keep it ever present.

My mom and sister came to visit for a couple of days and noticed a few drawings when they walked past the truck.  I told them how I love finding surprises from the grand kids after they leave.  We had a delightful visit and as I was hugging my sister goodbye she said, “I left you a surprise.”  🙂  After they left I looked at the truck and on the side of the door she had drawn a beach scene with a palm tree, full moon, curling waves and ‘Aloha’ written under her picture.  I love it and think of her daily-thankful she moved back home from Hawaii-a paradise but so far away.

While I can’t stand the gravel roads when I’m walking and people speed by leaving me in a cloud of dust, I love that dirt when it collects on my truck and beckons creative expressions.

Rise Up

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From a beautiful moon rise last night to a colorful sunrise this morning, life is good.  Hey, anytime I get a good night’s sleep and wake up the next morning life is good, right?

And that is as far as I got with my writing this morning before I was called out to help my husband with a small pile of wooded debris that needed to be burned.  Little did I know that my title would foreshadow my day.  Living in the country without trash service, we recycle every single thing we can.  That leaves a minimum amount of trash which we burn whenever we have some dead branches that have fallen from trees or were pruned.

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The small pile had almost burned down when an uninvited swirling, gusty guest blew in and laid the flames over in all directions which ignited the grass around the fire area (we burn in an open field area).  Just as one section was tamped down, another flared up.  The fire spread quickly with the wind, blowing it directly into a huge brush pile we had not intended to burn until conditions were prime (like after a good rain).  The brush pile went up in a flash and burned fast and furious and was just about burned down, when a gusty wind came along again pushing the flames into a small section of fox tail grass under some cedar trees.  Cedar trees ignite like gasoline, exploding into flames.  There is only a half an acre between the cedars and my house, so imagine my fear…and worry that the fire department would not arrive in time.  (I’m getting too old for this kind of stress!)

But they did.  They arrived just as the flames were ready to engulf the cedars and got the fire put out.  As we watched for hot spots, we were able to talk with the firemen…volunteers.  As they were packing up to leave, another field fire call came across the radio and they were off.  That evening, they posted a ‘burn ban’ on our local Facebook page.

I stand humbly before every volunteer willing to serve their community with dedication and enthusiasm.   Thank you! 🙂

One Fine Pie

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A slice of
rich and thick homemade chocolate pie,
a slice of
3 enjoyable days subbing in kindergarten,
a slice of
feasting my eyes on Autumn’s splendiferous colors,
a slice of
porch sitting with my favorite (and only) 🙂  husband,
a slice of
walking in the woods with my grandkids and seeing a bald eagle up close,
a slice of
adventurous challenges in art class,
a slice of
March winds blowing in November,
and a slice of
enjoying the small moments life gifts me
adds up to
one fantastic pie!