(In looking for this image I found a fascinating website called Forecasting Sea Nettles by NOAA - National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Complete with a color coded map of the Chesapeake Bay's "Probable Sea Nettle Presence." Keeping it simple, I know from my childhood that they arrive like clockwork on the weekend of July 4th and don't go away for the rest of the summer!)
First, we made lemonade.
When I went to clean out my Sunday School classroom (I'm not teaching SS this year), I found a huge box of this lemonade mix which was leftover from our first year's service project of adopting a gorilla. I did this when we did Creation and Adam's duty to take care of the animals. We had a used book sale and sold lemonade as well as hand-dipped candles to raise the money for The Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund.
After the lemonade we headed to the beach to hit the Tire Swing! The weeping willow next door to the "ballroom" weeping willow has a picnic bench and a tire swing under it and the girls were eager to check it out. After three rounds each on the swing the girls decided to go wading in the Bay. Wading quickly turned into fully clothed swimming. I warned them to check for jellyfish but they were too excited by the shallow warm water and the schools of fish that they kept seeing. By the way, I recently discovered that our local publication, the Bay Weekly, has a Tidelog feature! This lovely graphic saves me a lot of heartache of taking all the girls down to the beach just to discover that it's impossible to walk along the shore. I grew up on the Bay and have walked along the beach nearly every day of my childhood. How can I not have known such a wonder existed????
The Bay Weekly also has some useful articles, besides the community calendar of local events, the politics, restaurant reviews, and so on. I like the Gardening column quite a lot. This week the Master Gardener had a tip which I want to share with the world... assuming it's true. He has discovered an animal repellent which keeps deer, rabbits, raccoons, groundhogs, and even moose out of your garden. The name of this amazing product? Shotgun Repels-All. Oh, and it's organic.
Anyway, we planned yesterday's beach walk perfectly (4:30 pm) and the water was clear, calm, and enticing. Unfortunately Becca ended up with a jellyfish wrapped around her arm. She stopped splashing and singing and stood up, looking puzzled. She held her arm up and said, I got bit. (When it first stings you, it feels like a pinch. A few seconds later, it becomes PAIN all over.) By the time she got to me, she was howling. We quickly walked home and put meat tenderizer on the sting, patted it in, waited a few minutes, then went to the swimming pool. She felt fine by the evening.
We finished Misty of Chincoteaguelast night. The children were very excited. They haven't asked me what the new one is. Here's a hint:
Today is a quieter day. The only real thing on the agenda, besides playing downstairs, going to the beach and pool, and hitting the grocery store, is to make Refrigerator Pickles. This quick and easy recipe from Everyday Food magazineis one I tried years ago when Natalie and I were homeschooling for kindergarten. Our CSA keeps giving us cucumbers and my girls won't touch them. So pickles it is. You don't need any knowledge of canning to make this recipe, and it turns out a nice product. Years ago no one would eat them but now my girls are older and have a more sophisticated palate. At least, I hope so.
Here's the recipe:
Prep: 10 minutes
Total: 40 minutes, plus chilling
Makes 3 quarts
* 2 pounds Kirby cucumbers, sliced 1/2 inch thick on the diagonal (about 8 cups)
* 1 medium Vidalia or other sweet onion, sliced 1 inch thick
* 2 celery stalks, sliced 1/2 inch thick on the diagonal
* Coarse salt
* 2 cups sugar
* 1 cup cider vinegar
* 1 teaspoon celery seed
* 1 teaspoon mustard seed
1. In a colander set over a medium bowl, toss cucumbers, onion, and celery stalks with 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. Set aside to drain, 30 minutes, tossing occasionally. In a small bowl, combine sugar, vinegar, celery seed, and mustard seed; stir until sugar is dissolved.
2. Divide cucumber mixture among clean jars or airtight containers, and pour vinegar mixture over. Refrigerate at least 8 hours (or up to 2 weeks).
From Everyday Food, July/August 2008