Sand Castles

We are having a lovely month of July in Key West, nice ocean breezes, and early morning thunderstorms, which cool and clean the air. Temps are in the high 80’s with reasonable humidity. It rarely gets into the 90’s and there is always a breeze even in August. We went to the beach last night after supper just before sunset. IMG_0798The water was a little choppy, but there were many people swimming in the ocean off the pier, which has steps and along the beach there were two boys, couldn’t have been more than three or four, playing in the shallow’s with their boogie boards, having so much fun while their parents watched sitting on blankets on the beach. There is no surf here so the beach is very safe for children. The beach is also not pristine which makes it an adventure with always something to find along the shore and always sand castles to build.

IMG_0794The sun sets over the island this time of year, so if you want to see the sunset you have to go to Mallory Square. But at Higgs Beach, the sand and the sky color shining on the water is dazzling most nights and last night was no exception: the sky was lit up with color, two tall clouds turning into pillars of flame right at sunset.   IMG_0797There were two young men kite surfing almost parallel to the beach. They were fun to watch and were going almost as fast as a Skidoo. One surfer went way out beyond the pier, and came back and hiked himself over the old pier posts and kept going. I think you have to be very fit as they are being dragged by the wind and moving at a fast clip. There don’t seem to be pelicans this time of year, must be on other side of island, bothering the charter boats or somewhere up North.IMG_0366

I have noticed something different lately: more parents are traveling with their children and Key West is an ideal place to vacation with children. There are so many things for families to do here, the Aquarium with it’s big outdoor shark tank, the Butterfly Conservatory, the Eco-Discovery-Center, the Shipwreck Treasure Museum, the East and West Martello Towers (early 19 century shore defense structures). And there is always the beach.

One night we saw a group of people, fifteen or more, all with bright yellow t-shirts. Peter thought they might be in some organization or other. One of the members stopped to ask Peter how to get somewhere and Peter asked about the t-shirts. The man, a grandfather, said they were all family on vacation traveling together and celebrating his grandson’s graduation from college. They were all ages and the shirts helped them keep track of each other. What a great idea for any family traveling together no matter how big or small.

Flamingo Crossing ice cream parlor is busy selling their tropical fruit ice cream. My favorite flavor is Coconut Cream while Peter goes for the Passion Fruit or Key Lime Sorbet and my brother likes the Sour Sop (Guanabana) or Mamey. Quite a selection. The Dairy Queen is always busy. I like the cone swirled on top and dipped in chocolate. You have to eat it quickly or you have a real mess on your hands. Not for the fastidious.

And the mangoes are late this year. They can come in anytime from late May to early July. My brother’s mango tree next door has the best mangoes but they are not Haden’s, the type you usually see in the grocery store. These are smaller a bit stringy and getting the flesh off of the seed is difficult. The tree was planted many years ago and my brother says it came from Cuba. I’ll have to ask him how he knows that. When they ripen there are lots and lots of them. This is how we eat them: we put them in the refrigerator to get cold; then we lay the mango on its end and slice down the four sides of the seed; after this we pull the meat off of the skin with our teeth while hanging over the sink so that the juice won’t drip on our clothes; and finally we gnaw what is left on the seed. This is all quite messy, hands all gooey, mango detritus all over the counter, having to make sure the skins and not the seeds go down the disposal. But they are like eating mango ice cream and are a real treat.

Most afternoons about 4 o’clock we have a young Ibis that has been harvesting the bugs in our yard for the last three days. I looked him up in our bird book to no avail. Peter thinks he is young because he is dark grey not white (although he may be a she). He’s usually alone and usually they are in flocks, but maybe we don’t know anything about Ibis’s. It’s summertime, a good time to mull things over and not think too long about them.

3 thoughts on “Sand Castles”

  1. Yes ma’am. Key West mangoes must be eaten by hand and knife over the sink. Sparky had a neighbor across the street when she lived on South whose yard was thick with fruit trees and she gave us mangoes that instantly hooked me and ruined me for grocery store mangoes forevermore. And when we lived in Indiana, locals insisted that green peppers were called mangoes, period, no further discussion or argument. Go figure. At any rate, thanks for this sensuous post!!! Yum!

  2. ” It’s summertime, a good time to mull things over and not think too long about them.”
    Good advice at any time, but especially summer!

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