Sunday, August 28, 2011

Mobile Blogging - Day 9 & 10

I was out on the beach at 7:30 am Sunday to see what Irene had left behind

Hurricane Irene finally blew past the coast of  Wilmington, NC early Saturday morning.  I laid in my bed with the blinds wide open watching the pine trees bend & sway back & forth. I was following the storm on the local news channel's Twitter feed till the Internet succumbed to the storm. The following morning brought lots of wind & rain from the backside of the storm.  The power was still out so I spent the morning drinking Diet Dr. Pepper for some caffeine (note to self - buy Starbuck's for the next hurricane) & listening to my bil & my nephew play gin rummy at the kitchen table. I was very tempted to head to the beach but I suspected the bridge was probably closed so I kept my self entertained with the impromptu casino in the kitchen, playing Words With Friends with my sil till my phone battery went to 18%, and eating all the Popsicles that were starting to thaw in the freezer. 

The power finally flickered back on late in the afternoon.  That first woosh of cool air from the a/c felt so good.  Watching the latest updates on the weather channel showed we had definitely dodged a bullet. For a storm that big & wide it really could have been much worse. The thought did cross my mind to take a quick run out to the beach to see what Irene had washed up but the naysayers in the house convinced me that traveling on roads with flooding & possible tree limbs & power lines  down was not a good idea. I decided to err on the side of safety and was totally fine with my decision until later as I was laying in bed perusing blogs on my iPhone I happened upon  this. I knew I was right.  I should always trust my inner shelling voice.  If it tells me to head to the beach next time I'll listen.
The wind & waves cut a path right through the sand dune

All the locals were on the beach to survey Irene's aftermath

The northern end of Wrightsville Beach - look at the wavy paths in the sand left by the winds

Sea Stars were washed up on the bayside.  This nice lady was rescuing them & placing them back in the water to make lots of new sea stars.

Lots of nice fossil shells for my garden back in Florida

Left - Mermaid's purse is actually an egg case of a  shark or a sting ray 
Right - is a clam of some sort

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Mobile Blogging - Day # 8

Relocating to a new area, either by moving, visiting, or vacation, requires alot of research for most of us. Where am I going to work, live, shop, kid's school, ......blah blah.  When I am in a new area I want to know one thing -  Where are all the seashells? What's the best shelling beach? How's the access? How much $$ is a trespassing ticket?  This is simplified by the fact that most my kinfolk - in-laws & out-laws live on an ocean or the Gulf of Mexico so when I am on the road visiting family the ocean is usually just a short drive away. Even my land-locked sister in the heart of Tennessee  managed to find a junonia at a garage sale.So how do you find the best places to shell?  Here's some things I do.
Find the local shell club. First I google'd the local shell club and read what their members had to say about the area.  Since the Outer Banks  are a few hours away I looked for local info which pointed me to the south end of Wrightsville Beach.
Check the local tides. Next I check the local tide chart. You can usually find the tides on the news or in the newspaper. I have an app for my phone that covers the continental USA (just in case)
Check the weather. Ouch! 
Just a little bit of research lead me to low tide at the southern end of Wrightsville Beach about 8 miles from Wilmington, NC where we are staying.  The tourists on the beach were all evacuating and the locals weren't too far behind.  Never take a tropical storm or hurricane lightly. HC Irene is still 2 days away so the surfers & the beachcombers are still taking advantage of the rough surf.I didn't find the scotch bonnet I was after but has a great morning traipsing through the tidal pools. 
Wrightsville Beach, NC

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Mobile Blogging - Day #7  the weather in Wilmington, NC is cooler than I am used to. I sat outside most of the day & listened to the birds and the sound of the wind blowing through the pines. I'm a human being not a human doing. I am loving the down time.

Mobile Blogging - Day #6

Welcome to Wilmington! Yes, my timing is impeccable as usual.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Mobile Blogging - Day # 3, 4, & 5
No shells in Satellite Beach but lots of water. The Atlantic was very rough & the surfers were loving it. Down time with family has been relaxing & wonderful. Heading north to NC in the morning.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Mobile Blogging - Day #2

Sunrise @ 7am - Low Tide @ 10am.  Lil Shawty heads out before dawn.

I Heart Sandbars

Shelling to the sounds of the beach waking up

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Mobile Blogging Day #1

Shelled 3 beaches on Sanibel braving thunderstorms, stinging seaweed, & caintseeum's.Blind Pass at 7am
Ran into Sanibel Shell Ambassadors Pam & Clark of

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

“Kilometers are shorter than miles. Save gas, take your next trip in kilometers.” – George Carlin

Edward Cole: I envy people who have faith, I just can't get my head around it.
Carter Chambers: Maybe because your head's in the way.
(from the movie - The Bucket List)
I'm going on a road trip and I'm taking you with me! The heart attack my hubby had a few months back has  turned out to be a clarion call to travel and see his family. He & I are loading up the SUV & taking the cardiac recovery show on the road. The hubbs has an itinerary planned & printed out. I'm sure a map quest route is in my future as well. I'm the driver because I am prone to carsickness when I sit in the passenger seat.  There are rumours that I might have some control issues.  Whatever. 

We'll be starting out on the east coast of Florida to visit family then heading north to North Carolina to see some more kinfolk in the Wilmington area. We'll come back home for 10 days then fly to the Philadelphia area for a week.Looking his mortality in the face has given him an uncharacteristic sense of urgency. He wants to spend time with sisters, brothers, nieces, nephews, in-laws, & out-laws to reconnect. He also has this sudden desire to locate more family & has found 2,500 hot prospects with the same last name on facebook. "No dice" I told him.  Until he catches up with the ones he already knows he can't dig up any new ones.

 So Essential Beachcomber is going mobile with the hubbs in tow (or visa versa).  I'm actually starting my road trip a few days early with a day on Sanibel.(You gotta balance things out) I'll be like those 2 old guys in the balcony on The Muppets just giving my spin on everything I see & hear as I travel 1,500 miles with the love of my life.  It seems he also has an urgency to talk about anything & everything all the sudden. There is something about going 70-ish mph down the Interstate that provokes authenic conversation - talk or jump baby! So instead of spreading out the meaningful conversations over 30 years I guess I'll just be getting one big dose. 
My Honey & me 

Monday, August 15, 2011

Testing out my mobile blogger. Taking TEB on the road in a few days. Stump Pass State Park @ low tide. Have a blessed day!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

If you don't have a dream, how can you have a dream come true? - Jiminy Cricket

 Englewood shop owner Carrie Greus sells seashells by the seashore (or Lemon Bay to be exact). She also sells lovely jewelry, home decor, & handmade clothing inspired by her love for all things vintage and beachy. The  sign on top of her downtown shop on Historic Dearborn Street says Abundant Treasures but her shop window that is decorated with the flair of a NYC Macy's window designer further declares Coastal Shabby Chic. Carrie loves to arrange a new display in her shop window every few weeks to showcase the treasures she sells in her store for the shoppers & lookie loo's to enjoy as they meander by. Nose prints on her front window are not a nuisance but a compliment to her.

Carrie had been working as an event planner for a large county club.  She loves putting her special touch on parties, weddings, & any celebration but she had always dreamed of having her own business.  An unexpected injury brought Carrie's life to a screeching halt. Life became a crazy mess of doctors, unemployment, & "what the heck am I going to do now's?". Her trust in God & her faith in the dreams she still had in her heart were the anchor in that storm.  The opportunity to buy her business came along & after a few more twists and turns her dream became a reality.

These last few months have been filled with all the glamorous tasks that any new retailer has in starting up a new shop - inventories, rearranging, training new staff (her mom), & going on her first buying trip.  But it is all a labor of love and Carrie gets much satisfaction from knowing that her Heavenly Father answers prayer & dreams do come true. Abundant Treasures is located at 409 W. Dearborn Street in the historic downtown district of Englewood, Florida. Summer hours are Thursday - Saturday from 10am - 4:30pm. Starting Oct 1st season hours will be Monday - Saturday from 10am - 5pm.
The Abundant Treasure's shop window is the canvas that shop owner Carrie Greus creates her artistic displays on.

Classic beach blue & white
A recycled door displays quotes to express your inner beachcomber
Inspired by coral - this white & red necklace would look great with any sundress and tan

Carrie loves colorful jewelry and offers lots of vibrant choices

Carrie topped her vintage apron vignette with a nice pop of pink from a parasol she brought back from a trip she took to China

Inspired by grandma's comfy afghan's these hand-crotchet baby clothes are made locally
Let there be Bling!

Abundant Treasures has a large selection of vintage-like Christmas ornaments

A hand-blown seahorse ornament hangs in the front window

Best of the beach and the chippy paint world - coastal shabby chic

Abundant Treasures Owner Carrie Greus is a self-professed "frustrated Macy's window designer". Carrie can be reached at 941.460.8126.
Abundant Treasures is on Historic Dearborn Street in Englewood, Florida. The retailers on the street are gearing up for the highlight of the summer social season Englewood Pioneer Days. The festivities start on Sept 1 & culminate with the lively downtown parade on Sept 5th.

Monday, August 8, 2011

What I did on my summer vacation...

All I wanted was a nice quiet beach vacation.  When I booked this room the reviews on TripAdvisor said August was the quiet off season.

Everyone else must have had the same idea.

And now I've slept in and  all the pool chairs are gone

I wish I had shopped longer - everyone else has on the same bathing suit as me!

Next time I'm going to avoid the Florida resident specials & book the gulf-front room.

August 9, 2011

OMGosh!  I just realized today is my Blogabirthday.  I'm 1 year old today. I  hit post #102 a few days back.  I never doubted that I had something to say - I just wasn't sure I could make the journey from my head to the keyboard. So I'm sending out a whole lot of blogger love to all my followers.  Thank you for sharing your love of the beach & all that that implies with me.  The Lord bless you & keep you today & every day.

Blog post #1

Thursday, August 4, 2011

“Well-behaved women rarely make history” - Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

The parking lot was recently  landscaped with washed shell fill

Y'all know I'm just crazy about shelling.  I describe myself as being coastal but some folks might describe my behavior as being a little postal. I go shelling in the rain, at night, in the freezing cold, & during tropical storms. But I never wanted to be "that woman" know, the woman doing the Sanibel Stoop in the newly landscaped parking lot islands at Target. 

Shell fill is an excellent choice of material for landscape beds. It's inexpensive & doesn't float away during the rain like a cypress mulch.  This washed shell fill comes from quarries & shell pits where it is dug up, washed, & sorted to DOT standards.  Shell fill is used  very commonly in Florida for driveways, walk ways, roads, & ground cover. It is also loaded with fossil shells. Due to our litigation-happy society most quarry owners have closed their properties to the public. Fear of being sued has slammed the gate in the faces of fossil hunters from entering the premises.  It's really too bad because it's not so much about collecting shells but recovering our ancient past.  It all tells our story.

When you look closer you'll find all kinds of shell fossils & even a few sharks teeth many?

My attention is not only diverted in the Target parking lot.  On my way out to the boat launch to go kayaking  I caught a glimpse of a big dirt pile off to the side of the road behind some dumpsters.  I never wanted to be that kind of woman either but the slope is slippery & I'm about to do a full gainer. I learned from my buddies Bro. Gee & Bro. Dubya that the best time to look for fossils in a dirt pile is right after a hard rain because all the dirt get washed off leaving the fossils, shells, & sharks teeth behind. I spent about an hour inspecting every nook & cranny for fossil goodies.  I found quite a few until the heat & cain't-see-ems chased me back into my air-conditioned vehicle.

What's that over behind the dumpster?

Keep a few gardening tools in your trunk to aid your digging

These are from a collection of the brother's finds

Ecphora quadricostata

These are assorted fossils of petrified wood, puffer fish mouth plate, an arrowhead, & a possible horse tooth.
The brothers let me borrow one of their most treasured fossils found by their grandfather.

I picked these up at the Good will for 50 cents apiece. I also use The Florida Museum of Natural History's online collection to help identify my finds.

Adding to my usually shell shovel & kayaking gear, I now carry a few excavating tools in the back of my SUV.  The DOT are digging ponds on my leg of I-75 so there are huge dirt piles everywhere.  FYI - it is trespassing to mess with the DOT's dirt & also not the safest place to go fossil hunting on the side of I-75 with humongous speeding semi's blasting by.  The thought did cross my mind to pull over, put up the hood, & fake a break-down.  I definitely don't want to be that woman (yet)