Cape Cod 2021

Highlights From Cape Cod

“Baba” plays the part of the matriarch and rents a house on the cape, then invites the families to come stay with her.  Our responsibilities include making dinner (plus cleaning up) and enjoying ourselves.

This year was one of the rainiest summers in a long time, among the top 5 since record keeping began, but we still had plenty of time for fun.

seals in the water
Swimming was poor for humans but great for seals on Saturday evening

We went on a whale watch out of Provincetown on Wednesday.  It was really foggy and we didn’t see any whales, or anything at all, for almost two hours.

barely-discernable boat in the fog
There is a boat in the center of this picture, less than a hundred meters away

Suddenly, out of the fog, we stumbled across some whales that really showed off for a bit.

We discovered Skaket Beach, on the bay side of Orleans, on a beautiful afternoon.

sunset at skaket beach
Sunset at Skaket Beach

The beach is very flat so as the tide retreats you can walk out very, very far.

looking back on skaket beach from the water
Looking back at Skaket Beach after walking out to meet the retreating water

There are natural tide pools that trap crustaceans.  The kids had fun hunting hermit crabs and minnows.  Tim dug up a couple of steamers to show the kids what lives beneath the sand.

Beta child made some new friends, as usual.  Baba did, too, with a couple that lives in the next town over from us.  Meghan and I had fun talking with them about local stuff, and listening to the husband grouse about local contractors and the crappy McMansions they put up.

A couple of days into our stay, a local hawk mother decided that her chicks were ready to leave the nest.  One of the three wasn’t quite ready and complained, loudly, every remaining day of our stay.

fledgeling hawk
This newly-fledged hawk haunted his former roosts while complaining, loudly, and calling for mom.

The mother hawk, to her credit, never strayed too far away.  The siblings showed up as well to coax him off his branch.  This one, however, mostly hopped from tree to tree and demanded a nest and food.

Other highlights, of which there are no photos

Alpha’s Graduation

Alpha child officially graduated from high school today!

Hot day, graduation was moved to morning to avoid 90+° F in the afternoon.  (92° as I write this, expected to top out around 94° in a couple of hours.)

Afterwards, lunch with the grandparents at the Emerald Rose.

I’m very proud of Alpha.  I’m also very proud of myself and @mom that we successfully launched a tiny human to adulthood.

Lottery

Ralph, who is not religious, is so down on his luck he decides to pray for some good luck. He prays to god that he win the lottery.

The drawing comes, and passes, and he doesn’t win.

By the end of the week things just continue to get worse, his car has been repossessed and he faces eviction from his mom’s basement, so he prays on the lottery again. But nothing.

Finally, after even his dog bails, Ralph prays again: “God, please, I’ll believe
in anything you say, just let me win the lottery this once!”

A voice booms out from the clouds. “Ralph, just meet me halfway and buy a freakin’ ticket!”

Real Genius

Kent: You’re all just a bunch of degenerates!

Chris Knight: We are? What about that time I found you naked with that bowl of Jello?

Kent: You did not!

Chris Knight: This is true.

Kent: I was hot and I was hungry.

The real genius of this movie was the dialog.  It’s so ridiculous that it almost sounds true.

Saint Patrick’s Day, COVID-19 Edition

We’re just over a year into the COVID-19 pandemic.  Most years past we would simply go to Meghan’s mother’s house, and she would put on a traditional dinner: boiled corned beef, boiled potatoes, and boiled cabbage.

Last Year Was Different

Last year we ate a sad dinner on our own, as I had never made corned beef and cabbage before.  I tried it in the slow cooker.  It didn’t turn out very well.  Lesson learned.

This Year Is Different

Due to the wonders of science and concentrated efforts, the world has vaccines in record time and we see the light at the end of the figurative tunnel.  My mother-in-law has been vaccinated and graciously agreed to come to our house.  And I’m taking another stab at making traditional Irish-American dinner.

dutch oven with corned beef and vegetables
Just finished assembling the raw ingredients for a traditional Irish-American dinner: corned beef, potatoes, cabbage, and onions

Recipe

Taken from How To Make Corned Beef:

Stovetop method: For a 5 pound brined corned beef brisket. Place the corned beef in a Dutch oven. Sprinkle with one tablespoon of pickling spice blend and pour in 4 cups beef broth. Add potatoes, carrots, and cabbage. Bring to a boil on high heat. Reduce heat, cover and cook for about 3 1/2 hours. Add water if necessary to keep brisket covered. Slice across the grain.

The Aftermath

I don’t mind saying, it was delicious.  But it might have been a side-effect of having company for the first time in a very, very long time.

after dinner table

We made two exceptions from tradition: I added garlic mashed potatoes, and we didn’t have Irish coffee after dinner.

Korean Beef Rice Bowls

This recipe was an instant hit.  I have to make a double batch if I want leftovers for the next day.

It pairs well with steamed veggies like broccoli or edamame.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 bunch of scallions, sliced as a garnish
  • Rice (white or brown, your choice)

Sauce

  • 1/4 up packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce, reduced sodium is preferred
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Steps

  1. Start some rice while you prepare the rest
  2. Brown the hamburger and garlic in a pan.  Break it up into crumbles as it browns.
  3. While the hamburger is cooking, whisk the sauce ingredients (brown sugar, soy sauce, red pepper, black pepper)
  4. When the hamburger is browned, drain off the fat and pour in the sauce.  Simmer for a minute or two.  Mix in the scallions.
  5. Serve over rice

Adapted from therecipecritic.com