And just like that, Thanksgiving has come and gone. Sweetie and I visited his fam in deepest New Jersey, and came back last night.
Stuff I’ve seen lately:
Bug calligraphy in a downed limb in the woods near where I work. This is the day before Thanksgiving.
I’m quite sure that an entomologist/cryptographer would be able to make some sense of this.
Somebody’s seed head. I didn’t visit this guy all summer, so I have no idea who it is.
This is from a sort of mini day lily that’s planted along a pathway. Looks like a set of ribs, no?
There’s even a pond rimmed with cattails.
Onwards to The Garden State.
So, the love of my life grew up not far from Seaside, scene of major devastation from That Bitch, Sandy. In fact, he grew up mere steps from Barnegat Bay, which separates the mainland from the barrier island that Seaside is on. (Oddly, I’m not sure what the name of the barrier island itself is.) The south end of that island consists of Island Beach State Park, a favorite place to visit when we’re there. But access is limited in the wake of Sandy...
Here’s a Sandy-inspired art project in a town park in Shelter Cove. Pretty grim stuff.
To get our dose of nature, we visited the woods just across the street from his childhood home. It’s a former estate that by the time he was in college, had morphed into a park. The buildings have all been torn down and what’s left is a bit of what this part New Jersey intended to be before we came along and paved the hell out of it. It’s got your classic pine barrens/sea coast woods ecology. And deer! We saw two does bouncing along through the woods.
Plenty of holly.
Loads of pitch pine trees. Southern red oak, another kind of oak I’m thinking might be black jack, black gum...highbush blueberry...green brier vine.... we could have gone visit the little nature center in the park to learn more...but it was flooded six inches deep during the storm and won’t be open for a while. I hope the turtles in the terrariums there are OK. They are beyond beautiful.
We saw a ton of downed trees that I couldn’t do justice to with a macro lens. Thanks, Sandy. Actually, downed trees are what make possible the bug calligraphy shown earlier... and presumably the birds go to town on the beetles, so big picture, it’s OK...unless you happen to own a house in Seaside. In which case, you’re quite possibly screwed.
You get a great view of the back side of Seaside from the park.
Someone from out there lost their jet ski in the storm, and it floated all the way over here and over the causeway.
It was a gorgeous day for a walk – probably upper 50’s or low 60’s and not a cloud in the sky.
I don’t think I’ll be a bird photographer any time soon.
I made Kevin take a picture of me.
The only drawback of the day? Finding a goddamn tick on me later that evening – my third in two weeks. The first one, a couple of weeks ago, was crawling around on my wrist when I found it and dispatched it. The other two got nice and settled in for a few hours before I found them. Shudder. The internets tell me I should be OK – that it takes 12 to 24 hours before a tick’s been clamped in before you can start getting infected with whatever crap they’re carrying. Blegh.
As for the purpose of the visit to NJ, we had a great Thanksgiving that couldn’t be beat. Awesome food was had. We were serenaded on the saxophone by our 11 year old nephew. I ate too much. I went for a run. It was great.
This morning, I did an eleven miler that about killed me. I am not in as great shape as I was a few months ago, when I was training for the Tough Mudder or my most recent half marathon – largely because I haven’t been lifting weights – but Kev and I took advantage of all the New Jersey pavement (translation: malls) to go to some sporting goods stores. We got a weight bench, an Olympic bar, and weights. Hah. I’ll be lucky if I can bench the bar, let alone the bar with weights on it. Soon you’ll hear the grunts and curses that go along with that particular brand of fun!