...Growing, Building, Cooking, Preserving, Crafting...

2006 began our urban homestead when I broke ground on a garden, which now includes perennial fruits, flowers, & many vegetable varieties. We dream of solar panels, keeping bees and hens. Until then we'll continue growing and preserving our own fruits and vegetables, building what we can for our home, cooking from scratch, and crafting most days.


Summer Vacation Part I: Cape Cod, Mass.

Our view from the house
Boats on Corn Hill Beach, Truro, MA

Corn Hill Beach
I'm back!  The re-entry was a bit rough, but we had a tremendously relaxing weeklong vacation to Truro, Massachusetts on the Outer Cape.  It's been a tradition in Ben's family for a few generations for someone to have a place on Cape Cod.  His dad grew up in Boston and tells stories about his family packing up for the summer and leaving town to spend a couple of months seaside.  In fact, Ben's Grandma Kate, who worked for the phone company in Boston, would put in for a transfer each summer to secure a spot where she could work from the beach.  She'd pack "fluffah-nuttah" sandwiches and take the three kids to play in the ocean all day.  There are still a number of Ben's relatives who summer at the Cape, but now they are dispersed between the Mid- and Outer Cape.  

Our weeklong trip was the most I've relaxed on vacation since way before Vera was born.  I had to look at my vitamin case to know what day it was.  Once we arrived in Boston--one of my favorite American cities--we transferred to the World Trade Center dock to catch the high-speed ferry to Provincetown (a.k.a. "P-town"), which is one option for reaching the outer lands to which we were destined.  As we checked in for our cruise I happened to see the name below mine on the roster..."Wegner LeFort...Wetherbee."  Ben says I know people wherever I go, but I say it's more that I recognize them...or should I just come out with it and say that I've been known to "stalk" local celebrities.  Bobby Wetherbee knows nothing of me, but I know him as the legendary cabaret piano player with the thousand-watt smile who draws in crowds young and old up and down the strip in P-town.  We had the pleasure of sitting just feet away from him on our trip across the bay.  (I'm a bit obsessed.)

Nor'East Beer Garden, Provincetown, MA
We spent a good amount of time--every other day in fact--in P-town, the Cape's center for culture, art, entertainment, and alternative lifestyles.  It's one of the most diverse towns I've been to; I could sit and people-watch all day.  Our first night we checked out the Nor'East Beer Garden and later in the week enjoyed ice cream, fresh seafood, and even some traditional foods like linguica (sausage) and kale soup in the heart of this historic Portugese fishing village.
Galleries on Commercial St.
Commercial St. in P-town
Espalier Pear Tree in P-town
Nasturtiums outside a shop in P-town
Someone has a sense of humor
A quieter section of P-town
Though we bounced around the Outer Cape a bit--caught a drive-in movie and the 4th of July parade in Wellfleet, visited B's cousins/aunt/uncle in Brewster for the fireworks--we rested our heads every night in Truro--a very quiet, rural town founded in 1709 and named after a town in Cornwall, UK.  According to my father-in-law, P-town is where the artists live, Wellfleet is inhabited seasonally by psychiatrists, and Truro is where the writers call home.  Madeleine L'Engle, author of A Wrinkle in Time is buried there; Norman Mailer, American novelist, poet, etc. spent time there; Sebastian Junger of The Perfect Storm fame has been known to play nearby bars with his band; and Joyce Johnson, writer, artist, and former accessory to Jack Kerouac started the arts center in Truro.  It's a peaceful town far away from the high-rises, billboards, or chain businesses that one might find at other well-known Atlantic coast vacation spots.  In fact, Ben's parents' neighbor just down the hill has a farm from which we could hear hens clucking each morning and get a peek at his solar panels and vegetable garden from just the right place down the road.

Wellfleet Drive-In Theatre--my first time at a drive-in

"Beach Buggy" in the Wellfleet 4th of July Parade
Another cool beach wagon
 The Cape certainly wasn't short on local food. There's the freshest seafood of course though it took us until the last night to taste some "lawbstah."  We enjoyed fresh Wellfleet oysters, clams, native mussels, haddock, and flounder as well as local veggies from the farm stand up the road--shell peas and radishes were the focus of a vegetable saute one night.  
Hatch's Seafood Market, Wellfleet, MA
I'd been interested in sauteeing some radishes this season instead of just eating raw.

Stuffed Lobster at Bubala's by the Bay in P-town

There's also plenty of "wild foraging" to be done.  On previous visits later in the summer I've harvested beach plums around the LeFort property and up the road and ever so carefully packed them in my suitcase so I could bring them home to make a tiny amount of jam.  We witnessed the epitome of foraging on the ocean side of the Cape one day at Ballston Beach.  Schools of mackerel were crowding the shore, which was just one indication for the experienced fishermen that some bigger fish were near.  Guys were running for their rods and quickly found spots to surf cast and reel in the hungry bluefish.  One man carried four bluefish--one 3-feet long--off the beach.  He said he was planning to smoke them that evening.  Impressive.  That's some self-sufficiency for you!  And the freshest fish to boot.

Bluefish gasping for its final breath

Mackerel throwing themselves on the shore (that's my hand)
Burying the catch to keep it cool until he goes home
36" Bluefish
Aside from running to the water to snap a few photos, I stayed in my beach chair and enjoyed my position as landlubber while I soaked up almost an entire novel (Barbara Kingsolver's Prodigal Summer is a great beach book.)

Vacation knitting in my swimsuit

A little crabby
Vera's nature pouch was well-used by the trip's end.  We packed in lots of seashells, beach glass, and even some interesting seaweed samples.  After our mornings at the beach the salt-air gave us all the fades.

Seaweed--must have been a dozen varieties on one beach
We enjoyed the quiet downtime during Vera's naps--a break from running around, crossing things off lists before she wakes up.  We lounged, read, napped, and if/when each of us felt like it, enjoyed the outdoor shower--the best part of the Cape House.
Outdoor shower


Oh, and I can't forget the gourmet ice cream parlor down the road--Sweet Escapes--where I sampled some incredibly inspiring ice cream and sorbet combinations--Bacon Dark Chocolate, Lavender Fig, Strawberry Basil, and Truro Vineyards Vino just to name a few.  The timing for adding a bit of dairy back to my diet was impeccable.

Truro has a lot of history and acres of natural areas including miles of National Seashore.  On our last night we visited Cape Cod Light (a.k.a. Highland Light), a historic lighthouse which several years ago had to be moved yards from it's original place on a receding dune before it collapsed.  Today it's as beautiful as ever and will hopefully stand its ground for many decades to come.

Cape Cod Light

When we returned--groggy, zoned-out, and lightly sun-tanned--we were welcomed by an overgrown jungle in our backyard, which I've managed to get under control within a day or so.  Our vacation was much needed, but it's good to be back and really get summer started.  Preserving, cooking with fresh local veggies, taking in summer activities and farmers' markets--I can't wait!


  1. That food looks amazing!I am planning a vacation in Cape Cod over the summer and was looking into stuff to do. I've heard that the seafood is some of the best in the country, so I'm looking forward to dining out, but what would you suggest to do during the day with the family?

    1. Hi James: Thanks for reading. It depends where you're headed on the Cape. We spend most of our time at the Outer Cape between P-town and Wellfleet. Wellfleet oysters and world famous--I highland recommend. If you can tell me where you'll be I'll key you in to some actual restaurants. I'm available via e-mail at awegner1@prodigy.net.