By the sea at Hampton Beach

Hampton Beach in light fog, evening of Wednesday, May 30

iPhone photo using Camera+ app with about 75% Miniaturize effect.

You can see evidence of the recently completed Hampton Beach redevelopment project in this photo, with wide walkways, new seating and some new buildings in the foggy distance. Grand gala opening is this weekend!

It was a lovely, balmy late May evening by the ocean. My husband and I had appetizers at La Bec Rouge restaurant for dinner. He had fried calamari and I had lobster sliders, which are basically lobster rolls (the cold lobster salad part) on buttery croissants!

Patch: New owner celebrates La Bec Rouge opening

Meet the flock

This is Cleopatra.

If she were the size of a T. rex, she would tear your head off and run around the yard with it. She is a mean bully, and completely huge and weird looking compared to the others. She fights like a Tasmanian devil when I pick her up, and she’s bony and strong.

Winner of my Least Favorite Chicken award.

My birds are 6 1/2 weeks old now and they are sorting out the pecking order. All bets for #1 alpha dominant chicken would have been on Cleopatra.

Four of eight: from left, Cleobratra, Ginger Grant, Marilyn Monroe and Ella Fitzgerald.

But in a surprise turn of events this week, after a morning of constant conflict and near-bloodletting, Cleopatra has shifted to the #2 or maybe even the #3 position. And the victor? The charming, gregarious, lovey-dovey Marilyn Monroe. Go, Marilyn!

And now Cleo is calmer and nicer, since Marilyn put her in her place.

Oh, make yourself at home. (Photo by Anna Kane.)

The most alert chicken is Dorothy Gale, the barred rock with her head held highest, above. She loves high places; she’s alway on the lookout. She may be #2 or co-leader with Marilyn. Cleopatra avoids conflict with her. She is quiet and reserved, and generally figures out new things first.

The other Rhode Island Red, besides Ginger, is Lucille Ball (just Lucy, really) and she has always been small and nice, and a homebody chicken like Ginger.

The other Buff Orpington, like Marilyn, is Grace Kelly. She is demure and attractive, with fluffy soft feathers like all Buff Orpingtons.

The other barred rock is Mary Ann Summers. She is petite, she sings a lot, and she sings like a little bird.

Ella and Cleo are ameraucanas, or auracanas, or Easter eggers. The whole point of having them is to get blue or green eggs. Ella is low girl on the totem pole and has charming puffy cheek feathers and a wild, pretty feather pattern. She looks like a little hawk, but has the personality of, well, a dumb sweet chicken.

I was finishing up an article for NH To Do magazine, went inside to grab an iced tea, and came back to find the chickens in my chair.

“Mom, I can’t believe I have to compete with chickens for your attention,” said my eldest daughter who was home this past weekend. (She’s 23.)

Well, they do need a lot of attention when they are little. And mine are outside now but the portable electric fence isn’t here yet, so the dog and I are chicken shepherds, tending the flock and prepared to fight off the fox that ate my chickens last year. (Free range fail.)

Watching chickens ranging around, exploring, eating bugs and slugs, flying up into the blackberries, or taking dust baths under the honeysuckle, is actually one of the most relaxing, pleasant ways to spend an hour or two. Chickens are never bored, and never boring.

Walking the coast

iPhone pic from halfway through my walk yesterday, at Jenness Beach, Rye

Memorial Day weekend coming right up.

Even with rain taking turns with the sunshine the weather has been beautiful, balmy, and kind to us – watering all the new plants before we have to, making our world lushly green and fragrant with late spring in coastal New England.

High tides with an east wind bring us the tangy briney scent of the sea, mixed (I swear) with beach roses.

I’ve been doing five mile walks by the ocean.

Scenic walk, Little Boar’s Head, North Hampton

Today I walked 6 miles, from Bass Beach in North Hampton to Ragged Neck, Rye, just north of Rye Harbor, and back.

I have this little bee in my bonnet that it would be fun to walk the entire NH coast on the first day of summer. I will define the entire coast, though, as beginning at Odiorne Point, instead of finding some still-existing bridge over the Piscataqua River dividing NH and  ME, and going inland for parts of the walk. Route 1A is coastal, near the ocean, from Odiorne south.

I will walk south along Route 1A to the MA state line. I think it’s about 15 miles. And I’ll bring my real camera and other stuff for that walk.

Marketing seedlings to pilots

Supersonic tomato

“What’s in a name? That which we call a tomato
By any other name would taste as sweet.” 

Yes, we bought this variety because we liked the name.

All hail the wordsmiths at the seed company who named a humble garden vegetable after the condition of an object exceeding the speed of sound.

US Navy F-18 Hornet beginning to reach supersonic speed

The white halo is formed by condensed water droplets which result from the shockwave shedding from the aircraft.

Much cooler than Early Girl or Big Boy.

Fishing from shore


(Sign at Seabrook Harbor.)

You know when you are reading a book in bed and you begin to fall asleep and you are still reading but you no longer can understand what you’re reading, it’s just too full of words… content… baffling content? That’s how I feel when I read this sign.

Got my first spaghetti-strap shoulder-top sunburn of the season this afternoon while planting seedlings (lemon cucumber, habaneros, curly-leaf parsley, sugar baby watermelon, cherry tomatoes, etc) and hanging out with the 5-week-old chickens in their first foray into the backyard.

Then John and I made fresh rhubarb margaritas. That could, of course, be a factor in my lack of ability to comprehend signage.

The sun rose at 5:16 a.m. and set at 8:04 p.m. I am eyeball-dazzled by the flood tide of light. The high water mark of sunshine is just a little more than a month away.

Beach access signs of Rye


New sign

Walking north on Route 1A, Ocean Blvd, along the margin of the cold and lovely sea, the town of North Hampton ends and the town of Rye begins right around here, at the north end of the cobble beach known as Bass.

Rye put up signs this year, to mark public beach access at town beaches. (State beaches were already marked with signs.)


Who knew this little beach had a name?

Located just south of the old Rye Beach Club. No parking, just walk here from someplace else.


Sawyer’s Beach is just south of Jenness Beach. A culvert from brackish Eel Pond (sometimes known as Philbrick’s Pond) runs under the road here.

Parking for Sawyer’s Beach is parallel to the road and by permit only. Permits are available only to Rye residents.


Jenness Beach

Feed the pay stations to park here, $2 per hour. Lot fills up fast on a nice day.

These are all iPhone photos from my seaside walk yesterday, posted to Facebook as I walked from North Hampton Beach to beyond Jenness and back, 5 1/2 miles.


North of Jenness, F Street

I only meant to take a short walk, but the weather was so fine and the sunshine so energizing that I just kept going.


F Street beach access, to the northern end of Jenness Beach

I created a Facebook check-in location here, because it did not yet exist. I was an explorer lighting out for the territory.

Build me up, buttercup

Lying in the grass looking at buttercups and a red canoe, not wearing glasses

It was a beautiful day when I took this picture, a few days ago. Drugged by sunshine I was happy with even the little things, like the luster-petaled buttercups just blooming.

What would it be like to live where the weather was really good most of the time? Would I take it for granted, like a rich person is accustomed to wealth? Or would I be overall happier and more effective?

Today’s forecast: Chance of showers; partly moody; light snacking; projects begun are left undone.

Related: Our notorious New Hampshire weather

And: Keep cold, my love