Go fly a kite

The Lady and a kite, Hampton Beach

Damn fine weather yesterday. Summer, ah! I walked from North Hampton State Beach to the Seashell Stage in Hampton Beach and back, about 7.5 miles or so. Lots of people swimming, paddleboarding, playing beach volleyball, walking around, sitting in the sun next to gigantic coolers.

Rain forecast for today and tomorrow, torrential at times. Chance of minor flooding.

Not sure I love how everything wants to connect through Facebook these days, but nevertheless I’m giving Goodreads a try. It does do a good job recommending books based on how you’ve rated what you’ve read. Just posted my first review, of Marilynne Robinson’s Housekeeping.

Last night, Caesar the unwanted cockerel came and sat on my lap again, charmingly. This morning, his second morning of crowing, he had only one banshee scream then figured out how to make a more roosterish er-er-err sound… about 20 times in a row at 5:17 a.m.

I love the sunrise too, but geez.

John is home from five days of recurrent training in Dallas, and I promised to make him (well, us) a big multi-veggie, egg and cheese frittata (with sausage from local pasture-raised pigs) and start our day primally if he would walk all the way out to the big garden to get some chard.

I would prefer to avoid an encounter with mosquitoes on their own blood-sucking version of the primal diet.

Go, day.

Here fishy

Gone fishin’

Cormorant catches an afternoon snack. Just off the rocky coast of Little Boar’s Head in North Hampton, this one came up with a sand lance or sand eel on nearly every dive. And I just sat on a bench and took telephoto pictures.

Cormorants, sometimes known as shags, are plentiful along our coast in the warmer months. They are a bit ungainly in flight, and the transition to and from flight, but they sure can dive and swim.

Hampton Beach on the first day of summer

Festival of beach umbrellas, Hampton Beach

On the first full day of summer, June 21, I walked all of Hampton Beach barefoot, sometimes ankle- or calf-deep in refreshingly cool Gulf of Maine water as the temps hit the mid-90s by late morning.

It’s about a 3-mile walk. I had my iPhone with me, for tunes and pics.

It was crowded, as you can see…

It was not record-settingly hot, but it was a furnace blast by comparison to recent cool temps.

The tide was coming up, over hot sand, and many people were parked in beach chairs in a few inches of water, or standing together at the ocean’s edge, enjoying their own little micro-climates of relative coolness.

Rip current warning signs are in English, Spanish and French, although I overheard Portuguese and a Slavic language too during my walk.

There are rip currents at Hampton Beach and plenty of incidents every summer. Life guards work hard on busy days like this one.

It’s a boy

Hail, Caesar!

Not crowing yet, but the chick formerly known as Cleopatra has turned out to be a cockerel, a rooster, a chanticleer, a future herald of the dawn. I’m 99.9 percent sure.

Here is Cleo on April 22, less than one week old…

She was named for her exotic kohl-rimmed eyes and bossiness. One of two ameraucanas, she was supposed to grow up to lay blue or green-tinted eggs.

But sexing chickens is an art not a science, and she slipped through the pullet-detectors at Mt. Healthy Hatchery and made it to the local Agway, where I bought her, I mean him, and his sisters on April 20, two months ago.

He escaped the fate of most male chicks… the culling.

Julius Caesar and Marilyn Monroe, among the perennials

Tail feathers are one way to detect a maturing rooster. He also has long, strong legs, but no spurs yet. He has tried to mount the pullets. Grace Kelly is his favorite, but he doesn’t mess with Marilyn – she’s still the boss of him.

He is “crowned” with a different and larger comb. And uneasy lies the head that wears that crown. I didn’t want a rooster. Hens lay eggs without one. So, we will see if he becomes too annoying.

Meanwhile, he’s having a happy life, free-ranging with the flock sometimes, being near the coop within the electric fence when the dog and I are not around to keep an eye out for the fox. And supposedly roosters are good at being alert to danger and battling to the death if necessary.

Will Caesar become Caesar salad? 

Last night out back, the newly renamed Julius Caesar came and sat on my lap for a long time and let me pet him. (It’s surprising how much my chickens seem to like that.)

He hasn’t started crowing yet, or treading (as chicken people call it) the pullets too much or too painfully. He doesn’t seem prone to attack people, although he does not care to be picked up.

So, he is officially being tolerated for now.

Caesar and Ginger

He is pretty cool looking, with his wild feather pattern and cock-of-the-walk stance. Veni, vidi, vici! he says.

UPDATE June 24: Caesar crowed this morning, at 5:20 a.m., four or five times. It was muffled by closed coop doors but still woke me up wondering “what the hell is that awful scream?”

Flowers near seashore

Rosa rugosa, Little Boar’s Head, North Hampton, NH

Rose petals like the cleanest, freshest, most beautiful white sundress on a clothesline by the sea.

The ocean path is lined with fuchsia and white rugosas. They bloom all summer but are at their peak right now.

Rugosas are native to eastern Asia. Common names include saltspray rose, beach rose, and beach tomato for their big red fruits. Rugosas are tough and disease resistant, and thrive near the ocean, even in storms and saltspray.

In Korean, the species is called haedanghwa (해당화, 海棠花), literally “flowers near seashore.”

After rain


When I open my laptop, click on Google Chrome, and hop on the internet, the first thing I see – my home page – is the NOAA weather forecast for North Hampton, NH.

It’s going to be a great day.

Larus marinus

Gull skull

It’s a Great Black-backed Gull, the world’s largest member of the family Laridae (gulls). Beyond the glass case is an illustration of a Great Auk. They are now extinct, but they toddled around on our shores as recently as the mid-1800s.

The gull skeleton is so large and upright, and the beak so thick, at first I thought it might be an auk. But it’s not.

This display is in the section on the natural history of the Isles of Shoals, which is part of the archeological Under the Shoals Exhibit, appearing at the Discover Portsmouth Center. I stopped by to see it on Market Square Day in Portsmouth. There were thousands of people half a block away, but just three other visitors viewing the exhibit. It is worth a look.

I took this picture in part because I am fascinated by birds. I recently made myself a Notebook of Bird Wonder, using tumblr. It’s called all birds have feathers.

Recent postings on my place blog Seacoast Shorts:

Dogs on Seacoast beaches

Hampton Fish House memories