1. 5/8. Short season. High temperatures. Higher humidity. Little rain. Less shade. The strawberry season was cut short by several weeks this year. Members only access. In a town where the average house costs $750,000 and the yard is less than a quarter acre, the $55.00USD membership fee, plus $5.00USD to pick isn’t a thought. Nor is it an after thought. The stand closes early on the weekends. Before the fence is electrified, we can access the patch for free. My father always said, food tastes better on the other side of the kitchen, and the same can be said of fruit - when it is on the free side of the farm stand.  

     
  2. I have a crush on the woman who works at the farm stand. #newengland #organic #farm #farmstand #summer #massachusetts #vegetables #getyourbeanon #landssake

     
  3. 4/8. Before school lets out there is no charge for the town beaches. Between the 21st of June and the 1st of September, townies - or summer residents posing as them - can fork out $30.00USD for a single beach permit. Tourists are charged triple, as they should be. When teeny-boppers and barely-bronzed pubescent adolescents man or woman the lifeguard stand and the permit booth, the beach is still free. Parking is too. Only not sand-side. Bike trail lots are less than a mile away from any beach. Free for the day, they serve as the perfect opportunity to bring only the basics. If anything more than lunch, water, towels, fins, trunks, and cash can fit on the back rack, by all means take it. Coolers are too large, stereos are too annoying, beer is too dehydrating, and beach umbrellas are too cumbersome. If the tide at Chappy hits too close to the wall, or the constant south wind is too strong, climb the salt worn stairs, stretch over the wooden guard rail, and setup harbor-side. There is coverage from the boisterous tourists with their thick New Bedfud accents. A breeze will blow their Newport lights or Franzia breath north. It’s okay not to partake. It’s okay not to pay. Just don’t add to the trash parked out front. 

     
  4. 3/8. Outback, in the field, wildflowers are scattered throughout the thick grass. Black-eyed Susan’s, Queen Anne’s Lace, and a handful of lesser known - not so possessive - flowers poke out from sides of the woods and along the train tracks. The greenhouses are almost empty at this point. Most of the seedlings were transplanted months ago and are now feeding the community. Leafy sprouts are on tables, absorbing maximum sunlight in black trays until their predecessors are consumed, then they, too, will make their way to farm, then table. Humidity has not fully hit, making the days dry, the skin ashy. It is early in the season for Dandelions to flake out to a predictable death, though advantage is taken as the opportunity presents itself. Dana seizes the chance to revel in summer nostalgia with the few Taraxacum that have withered in the gravel driveway. 

     
  5. 2/8. The local grocer down the street carries the essentials. Cold-cuts, bulkie rolls, fresh tomatoes, chips, and drinks. For a beach parking-lot picnic these items make up the necessities. Anything more would be difficult to manage given the constraints of the pop-up kitchen. Dana is on tomato slicing duty, and she takes an unorthodox approach. I don’t understand it. The prospect of a deli style sandwich squashes any reluctance to her technique and results. Our wetsuits dry overhead, dripping between us. Off the raised trunk, they absorb the June sun, drying as quickly as the drops fall. Cars drive over to ask if we’re leaving soon. We say “no” simultaneously and “sorry.” I assemble the backpacking stove to boil water for coffee. There is a cool touch to the 80 degree air. It pairs well with the humidity hovering over us and the heat radiating off the concrete. It’s hard to say when we’ll leave considering the conditions around us. We’ll leave when we’re ready, whenever that may be. 

     
  6. Cross the line. #telephone #poles #wires #clouds

     
  7. 1/8. Across the road a man sits in a nylon covered beach chair with a fluorescent safety vest. His sign reads, “Parking $10.” The tide will be up to the seawall in three hours, and the beach here isn’t worth much after two. On a whim, we pull into the two-hour lot in the median between the beach and inner roads. Considering the time of day and the limited amount of accessible beach offered, we luck into a a spot facing east. Through the framing of the handicap railing we can view the water. Pushed too far up the beach, and with the window of clean swell closed for another week or longer, we tailgate a picnic for the last thirty-minutes of our allotted free parking. Nothing is always perfect, but sometimes it is, if only for a brief time.  

     
  8. 29/29. A flicker of swell comes out of the south. The angle it comes from paired with its size and period are a strange combination. Inside the bicep of Massachusetts, Nantasket hosts sizable waves when the conditions are favorable - though that could be said for most coastal towns. Yet, this far in from the ocean, and protected by a ninety-mile land mass that wraps almost 270 degrees, the fact that there are any waves is a natural miracle. The waves were pushing in close to shoulder high. The tide inched further up the beach. The period between peelers was not ideal. With two hours to high tide, instinct said there would be a brief window before there was too much water. Waves began to space out. Most surfers were far to the left. Out front, nobody. For thirty minutes left and right handers reeled in from around Massachusetts’ fist and exploded onto the sandbar. Chest high, the occasional chandeliering shoulder. It was the aquatic equivalent to the ski-hill rope tow. Then, it broke too hard on the sandbank causing mushy, sand-filled bombs. I paddled in as a kid went out - a grin on his face. I watched him for a few while I dried off. Close out. Close out. Mush. Close out. Every wave he took detonated two pumps down the line. Every time he came up to grab his board he had a smile on his face. An open window is an open window. 

     
  9. 28/29. Some people will spend an entire lifetime discovering their passions and closest friends. At 12 years old, I found two of those things in a dusty auto parts warehouse-turned skate park. The park seemed to evolve as we progressed, picked up new friends, and lost other ones. Fifteen years on, and I can remember his earliest schemings. On a ride to the park, I had a handful of dollar bills and he only had a single five dollar note. He tried to bargain with me, “I’ll give you my five dollar bill for three of your ones,” or something to that affect. I ended up buying him a drink and he kept his money. In high school it was rides to the mountain, or New Hampshire, and college it was a ticket to Loon. The deals were never equal, but they always worked out; I had an afternoon or weekend with my best friend and he had whatever it wasn’t he didn’t before. We eventually lived in a 10x14ft shed for a summer and learned each other’s idiosyncrasies. He was neat, and I was clean. We drove one another mad, and stayed quiet until one of us was bored of it, and we went skating. Even after he sliced through the tendon in his pinky and had to move home to do finger Olympic rehab, he came down every weekend or I went up there to check in and push around. Jobs, commitments, hobbies, they all get in the way of what we would really do if we could just find someone to finance it for us. Sometimes these tasks keep us occupied for months without a skate or surf, but there is still no one that can make me belly laugh or my blood boil faster than he. Thank you. 

     
  10. 27/29. Near the shoreline, the thawing ground has mixed with the sediment from the bottom of the pond. Stepping into the brownie-batter mixture draws up a skunk-cabbage-at-low-tide scent. Lilies have begun to grow on the water’s surface. The sun still sets a few degrees to the left, yet it now stays up a few minutes longer. A beaver swims across the pond. Then, another follows suit. Double-crested cormorant chicks honk from the dead oak on the island a quarter across the lake. The mother sweeps in to deliver the younglings food. Croaks of mud-slumbered toads escape the dense foliage on the ground. Less than a mile around, the pond activates the five senses. New buds feel soft in their pinkish white velvet cover to protect them as they mature. Skunk cabbage can be tasted from the heavy alkaline scent. The backyard offers more than any digital device could deliver. Go ahead. Have a look.