We are on vacation and it’s our third time to this island. Usually, we rent a big beach house on the western end and come in the early spring. 

This time our trip was a quick, last minute decision and the summer rates had already kicked in. What exactly does that mean? The beach-type houses we usually rent are pretty expensive right now. 

So, instead of spending all our money on a big house rental, we opted for a ‘fish camp.’ Here, a fish camp is set of small multicolored houses in a gated community near the bridge. 

They are so nice. There are boat docks, a pool, a fishing dock complete with fish cleaning station, and even a boardwalk that winds down by the water. 

I’m so happy that we chose this place! It’s clean and comfy, has a Mississippi Sound view, and Little Bit and I just saw took a walk and saw dolphins. 

Weathered Gray

Although we didn’t have as bad a winter as they’d called for, I’ll sure be glad if spring ever stakes its claim. 

Right now we seem stuck between the two seasons: wearing shorts one day, long underwear the next. 

And, the recurrent theme right now? 

No sun. 

The color of the days falls somewhere in the midst of charcoal smeared with a smidgen of white. 

Yuck. That gets old. 

Something really cool happened a few days ago. We found a place that is the perfect cross between where black and white feel quite at home.

About forty miles from here is a seed farm that is bathed in old fashioned. As soon as our truck door opened, we stepped back into the 1800’s. 

The “town” consists of a blacksmith shop, apothecary, seed store, barn, and a restaurant. 

While bits of color were sprinkled here and there, I was reminded that there is an absolute beauty in weathered gray. 

Days Gone By

We live in an area that’s rich in history. A lot of pioneers settled in these hills in the 1800’s and Laura and Almanzo Wilder were among them. 

Yesterday we went to see Rocky Ridge, the home where Laura Ingalls Wilder wrote her Little House books. 

We’ve been there before a few times, but this year there is a new visitors center, gift shop, and museum, so that was quite a treat. 

There’s something comforting about being on their land. It’s kind of a cross between feeling completely “at home” at a grandmother’s house, mixed with the nostalgia of stories that seem to come to life while looking around the property. 

Just being there, I can picture the scenes from the Rose Years books. Can you imagine Abe and Swiney traipsing through the woods and Alva and Effie living back in those hills? 

Right now their yard is blanketed in yellow and white wildflowers and there is a dogwood tree blooming. Spring is so beautiful in the Ozarks. 

After our tours, we stopped at a park that’s across the street from a bank that opened in 1892. 

It’s pretty neat to stand under those oak trees and imagine the wagons and train whistles of long ago, during those days gone by. 

Two T-shirts 

When you go on vacation, do you take home a souvenir?

Sometimes we do. For instance, last year my husband and Little Bit got shirts from a restaurant we really liked in Orange Beach, Alabama. 

When we were leaving Grand Isle, Louisiana a few days ago, for our “souvenir”, we did something a bit different. We stopped at a seafood shop on the canal to buy some fresh shrimp to take home. 

I have to say, it was definitely a different shopping experience than we’re used to. Here at home, the only shrimp we can get is in the frozen section of the grocery store.

When we walked into the seafood shop, it looked similar to an open type warehouse. In the middle were three large containers. 

One was full of ice and the others were brimming with fresh shrimp. It was really neat to see. I mean, here this place was, right near the water, with shrimp boats docked just outside. 

All we had to do was, walk up to the containers and choose which size we wanted (there were three), and tell them how many pounds. 

A few moments later, he had them scooped into the scale, bagged up, and ready to go. From start to finish, including paying for the shrimp, the whole process took about ten minutes. 

For our trip back home, we had a separate cooler and ice for the shrimp, and stopped every few hours to make sure they were still iced down. They made it home wonderfully.

Last night my husband cleaned, bagged, and put them in the freezer. Months from now I can just hear the conversation as we sit down to a delicious meal of gulf shrimp. 

We’ll probably talk about how much fun it was to stop there, then chuckle when we recall that the amount we paid for the fifteen pounds came to less than the price of two t-shirts. 

Glitter by the Handfuls 

Have you ever spent much time watching the birds at the beach? 

These past two weeks, as we’ve spent our days at the  Gulf of Mexico beaches, I’ve been paying attention to the birds. They are quite fascinating. 

At Dauphin Island, the pelicans seemed to hang out on the Mississippi Sound side quite often. I’m pretty sure if birds wore wrist watches, they would’ve been set at fish o’clock. 

Every afternoon they knew exactly when to dive down to catch fish for their lunch. 

One afternoon while we were across the street from our beach house, we saw people feeding seagulls from their deck.

Those birds seemed to be suspended as they ate the crumbs tossed mid air. 

I thought that was pretty cool, until a few afternoons later. I made my lunch and pulled a rocking chair to the deck to eat and watch the waves.

The next thing I knew, the seagulls started flying in, squawking at me, and got right in my face! They wanted my lunch!

Sorry fellas! 

I ran back inside. 

At Grand Isle, Louisiana, the house we stayed in faced the Gulf of Mexico. Every day the shrimp trawlers passed by and you wouldn’t believe all the birds that follow those shrimping boats! 

When I asked my husband if there was about a hundred birds behind one shrimp boat, he guessed that there was double or triple that amount. Can you imagine? 

Thursday morning we were packing and cleaning the house up for our departure from Grand Isle, and I took a break and walked to the beach.

As soon as I topped the dune, I heard what sounded like chit chat. There were tons of seagulls on my right, sitting at the water’s edge. 

On my left, more seagulls were flying in as far as I could see. They came and landed with the rest. 

Then, a lady walked by, right next to them. Man, those birds dispersed. It was something to see! She kept right on walkin’ and they kept right on flyin’. They went way out over the ocean. 

When she was gone, they all gathered back in the same exact spot they had been in before she came along. 

I’m pretty sure for the rest of my days, I’ll remember all those birds flying away at the same time. 

It was soooooo amazing. It looked like someone was standing on the beach throwing up glitter by the handfuls. 

These Two Wonderful Weeks

Have you ever been on three islands in four  days?  

I can hardly believe it, but we have. Today we ventured to a place nearby that is known for its fishing, Elmer Island. 

We had a great afternoon there. My husband caught a fish, Little Bit swam in the sea, and I soaked up the scenery. 

On the way back to our beach house, we stopped and bought a couple pounds of fresh shrimp. You can do that here. How cool is that? 

Back home, the only shrimp we can buy are frozen. It’s quite a treat to stop by a stand, look in a cooler and order by the pound. I could get used to this!

Tomorrow is our last full day at the beach/ island. In a way, I’ll be happy to be home, yet I already miss this. 

The thing I will miss  the most is our family time. I’ll also miss the palm trees, the salty air, sand in my shoes, the ocean,  sleeping late, great meals, seeing Little Bit swim and play, the sunsets, and being on an island! 

Well, I guess that’s the great thing about vacations. We already know ahead of time that they’re going to end. That seems to make it easy to savor and embrace all the days from the beginning and all the days in between. 

That’s certainly what I’ve been trying to do on these two wonderful weeks.