And I have 148 pictures to share!
No, no, just kidding. Although I did take that many photos during my family's excursion to the beach, I kept it under 30 for this post. :)
We traveled south of Boston yesterday to spend the day at the beach where my husband grew up. Literally - he spent almost every day of his childhood summers here! It was so nice for him to watch his three boys clamber over the same rocks, splash in the same water and dig in the same sand that he did once upon a time.
The weather was great - almost a bit cool - and the beach was hardly crowded at all. The boys had a ball playing with Grandma and Grandpa, but we got some serious nature study done here, too!
OK, on to the pictures ...
Upon arriving, hats and glasses were fully intact.
The tide was out (though coming back in at a good clip) and the soggy sand stretched out for quite a distance. Good conditions for clamming.
Bookworm, his heart set on a dinner of steamers, checked it out.
Grandma and Grandpa showed the boys just how to dig, and then the work began. It was quite a mucky hit-or-miss business.
Meanwhile, I busied myself taking random nature pictures. Here is a rock covered in what I suspect are tiny barnacles along with a few sea snails:
A shot looking down the beach to the right (southward) ...
... and to the left (northward):
Bookworm found this first of many (dead) horseshoe crabs.
Just in case you were wondering what a horseshoe crab looked like close up:
Did you know these have been around for millions of years, and that they've barely changed at all? They are truly living fossils!
Now, this next photo shows something swimming in the upper left hand corner of this pail of water. It's very hard to see, but I promise you, it's there!
Can you see it?
It was a tiny and almost invisible jellyfish! Bookworm scooped it up while playing with some kids on the beach who were looking for minnows. After we watched it for a bit, we let it back into the sea.
And here I was thinking this moth was a cool find, lol:
After an hour or so, it was time for a break, to stretch out and have a snack. As you can see the hats-and-glasses rule was unraveling somewhat:
After our snack, Bill took Earlybird for a bike ride around town.
Bookworm shows off a steamer clam he just happened to find floating in the water:
And next he found a fiddler crab:
While I snapped a monarch taking a rest.
The boys had fun amongst the sea grass and muddy inlets. This one had many crabs and types of seaweed to explore:
Fun, just so much fun ...
Earlybird is always at home with his crayons and paper.
Back at Grandma and Grandpa's the clam harvest was steamed and served up:
And believe, me, Bookworm dug right in: pick, swish, swirl, slurp!
Now we're home once again, and the learning corner is laid out with our field guides. Also shown is last month's issue of Your Big Backyard magazine which had a whole page devoted to horeshoe crabs.
Here are the "treasures" from our day at the beach, drying out on the front walk:
We brought them in overnight lest they attract any raccoons! Bookworm pointed out that the crabs, once green and now red, had "baked" in the sun. (FYI we only brought home dead things - anything living was left in its proper home.)
So now we're all fired up about marine nature study and here it's the very last weekend of summer! But that's ok. First of all, seaside visits are possible year-round when you live in New England, you just have to dress for the weather (i.e. windbreakers replace swimsuits).
For instance, just this morning the boys and I ran over to a local teacher supply store, which happens to be located across the street from a marina. We arrived a few minutes before the store opened, so we parked and walked out along the landing. We saw minnows, seaweed and even a couple of hermit crabs under there!
Secondly, the boys are signed up for a series of homeschool science classes hosted by the New England Aquarium. They will run September through June, and I am sure they will keep those maritime wheels turning!
And later this week, our first week back to "school," we will start new nature notebooks for the year. The first entry will be narrations and drawings from our September 1st day at the beach. The boys will bring their notebooks with them later this month when we attend our very first Nature Study Club meeting! (More on that new adventure later!)
For now though, let me leave you with the words from a poem we'll use as copywork with those first notebook entries.
From "Summer Goes," by Russell Hoban:
Summer goes, summer goes
Like the sand between my toes
When the waves go out.
That’s how summer pulls away,
Leaves me standing here today
Waiting for the school bus …
Or not. ;)