We headed down to Emerald Isle on Aug. 27, just as Irene was Hitting the Island. No, we didn't drive straight into a hurricane, we kept a respectable distance... but we DID drive 12 hours from home hoping in good faith that our beach house would still be standing and suitable for human habitation. We hung out in Myrtle Beach (us poor babies, I know) while the storm passed and by Sunday the Island was open and our place (thankfully) was too. I'm not exaggerating when I say it's the nicest place any of us had ever stayed (there were 9 of us, so it was huge!). The first couple days, we had to drive through 6in of water on the road near our unit (good thing we all had SUVs), there were plenty of downed trees and closed businesses but thankfully Irene wasn't quite as strong as originally anticipated and most of her impact on our vacay, slight delay aside, was positive... blue skies, empty beaches, lots of cool shells washing up.
Usually, I take vacation as my chance to not be quite so uptight about a lot of food and household living things... white flour, composting, alcohol consumption... to name a few. That doesn't mean, though, that our vacay didn't have any green highlights.
HOMEMADE AIR FRESHENERS
When I still lived with my parents, it was kind of a tradition for us to all pick our fav flavor of air freshener for our bedrooms and my mom got some for the rest of the house too. The reason is simple: when you close your house up for over a week, especially in the summer, stinks are bound to happen, no matter how hard you try to avoid them. I have carried on that tradition, if for no other reason than I agree. This year though, in the interest of both frugality and chemical-free(ness?) I made them. The "recipe" is simple:
Jars with holes in the lid (u can get as pretty as you like, but i must admit I didnt)
Fill it half way with Baking soda
Add a few drops of your favorite essential oil and mix.
It's that simple. The baking soda absorbs any stinks and the essential oil creates a good smell. Apparently, you can also use the holes in the lid as a shaker and use the same stuff as vaccuum carpet deodorizer. They worked really well, though our vacation stink award goes to Nick's grass cutting shoes.
Did I mention vacation was a time to eat whatever I feel like? Well, that has created so car food traditions that are maybe not so healthy... Snyder of Berlin BBQ Chips (cuz u can't buy them in the south), The Blue gummy sharks with white bellies, Rainbow Goldfish... u get the Idea. We're kinda crazy drivers when it comes to long trips like this. We do take trips where the journey is half the fun, but our beach vacay is all about the destination. We drive for 12 hours, stopping almost exclusively when the car needs gas. Using that opportunity to stop for a quick bite or use the restroom. That leads us to keeping a well stocked car. In the interest of not being completely chemical-ridden and fattening, I made a few additions and substitutions this year. I subbed out my gummy sharks with Aunt Annie's Organic Gummies and added a container of grapes and Carrot sticks in Jars with Ranch Dressing in the bottom. They were pretty awesome and 2 lasted the whole week. My biggest complaint was that they had to be kept upright at all times or it was a total mess.
My dearest hubby amuses himself on vacation by getting his worm (or shrimp) wet. Truth be told though, it's not very productive. I think he caught one fish from the pier all week and it was too small to keep. As long as he's content, I could care less what he comes home with. BUT, the ocean (rather like the forest) is home to an awful lot of as-natural-as-it-gets food, and I'm not about to let that pass me by. Oh, also... I do like to fish, so long as I'm actually catching things. So we chartered a boat for some ocean fishing. It is most decidedly an expensive way to get fish, but it's also an experience thing... its like an amusement park and grocery store rolled into one.
Nick :) (Pardon the pics, I wan't taking the good camera on the boat)
Be nice about the hair, its windy out there.
The Live Well on the Boat
Our fish. We caught 31 Spanish Mackerel and 6 Blue Fish. Unfortunately, they're a bit smaller than we're used to catching. The captain said it was cuz the water was still cloudy from Irene.
Fileting (apparently I have no idea how to spell that) the fish.
Just for fun cuz I saw it on the way home from fishing. I bet Bogue Baptist Church is wishing Irene had been kinder.
Yes, I'm that geek that brings her vaccuum sealer to the beach.
We fried up some of our catch (Beer & Bisquick) and baked some in Italian Dressing for the fam, but the rest was sealed and frozen for later use. Hopefully I can figure out some ways to cook mackerel that I like, OTHER than beer-battered and fried. Even with WW Bisquick, that sounds like a bad idea for any kind of a regular basis.
And Finally, some Beach Eye-Candy... cuz I can
Pieces of the Pier. The storm blew the end off. The Pier's website assured us, though, that there was "plenty of pier left" and that they were still open for business.
Dune erosion, courtesy of Irene. They did their job though and protected the island from the worst of the flooding.
And since it was a long weekend, some of us stopped over in Colonial Williamsburg before heading home.