The business of cooking with sand is serious, especially when done on the beach. It involves various textures of sand (wet, dry, part wet, really really wet, not so wet, was wet a few minutes ago). Sometimes, it also needs some water and a variety of containers. Container color is important and can show what ingredient goes in it. The red one holds pepper; yellow, salt; green either thyme or basil depending on the dish and the smaller ones contain sugar, maple syrup and ketchup. The order of adding ingredients also makes a difference, especially considering the texture of sand (see previous list). Wet on dry tends to make soup while dry on wet is more likely a cake. The actual result is always at the discretion of the chef, of course.
Keeping things running
Keeping track of all the materials and tools required constant attention and was a full-time job for at least one of the kids. Particularly the water. One child fetched water regularly if there wasn’t an adult doing it. This was quite exhausting, since water gets heavy the further from the waves it gets. Even lightening with spillage, the beach is wide and there was a ways to go before reaching the kitchen.
Rest in the Shade
After a long day building and cooking, it was time for a drink of cool water and a break from the summer sun in the shade. The kids took periodic breaks as the day became quite warm. It was hot even, further away from the water. A snack was very welcome too, especially one that was cool and nicely frozen. It’s too bad their creations weren’t edible or they could’ve designed their own treats!
The kids spend a lot of time playing in the water whenever we are at the beach. Shade is also great when we have it. The sand gets really HOT so the feet don’t like to spend a lot of time in it. The sand doesn’t look very dark, but apparently it is dark enough to soak up some sun. This makes the sand feel like a fresh-from-the-oven cookie sheet. Which is actually kind of nice in small doses to warm up from the cold water. In late summer, the water is almost a perfect temperature for those not expecting tropical temperatures and we played in it for hours.
At Del Mar Beach, the waves are reliable and can have some serious push — and pull– behind them. The surfers and boogie boarders love this of course, but it is also great for the body boarders. Just bouncing around in the water is great fun while also a nice workout. Even standing in the waves is some work, although not too hard. This makes it feel like you did something active even without completing a “real” workout.
The Cub Scout beach day was anafternoon at the beach cooking, eating and playing. It was a rather hot day and the shade of a brightly-colored umbrella was a good resting and daydreaming spot. The afternoon is not the usual time we are at the beach, but anytime is good beach time. Normally, we go in the morning: less crowding and less heat. This means less sunscreen and shade required. This particular day was especially warm, unusual for the California coast.
We shared this gorgeous day with what felt like half the population of the town. While this was certainly not the busiest beach we’ve visited lately, we saw a good bit of human traffic that day. Although parking was scarce, and the taco stand line was long, sand space was still plentiful and the waves were uncrowded. The cabana rentals seemed to be a brisk business as they were all full.
There was a good-sized private event also in the afternoon. Many people stood line at a food truck waiting for what looked and smelled like tasty barbecue. There was also volleyball, along with various other ball and disc throwing. Walking around required occasionally dodging although a random missile. This was in addition to the usual surfing, sunning and sand building also going on so it was busy. Fortunately, the sun was never-ending and there was enough beach and waves for all. It also made for something else to watch besides the water.
The kids spent the day running about in small groups playing in the sand and water, mixed with daydreaming and rest. Even their boundless energy flagged after a while in the hot sun. While they dashed about, they created their own mini-culture. While the older boys usually decided the activities, they changed leadership as needed by the task. They often would break into smaller groups, then reform into larger ones. These had different kids influencing the activities, even the younger ones. Each time we gather them together, they continue to build their communication and persuasion skills. While the outdoor skills may be the most obvious ones the kids gain, it’s these less easily defined ones that may be the greatest thing they learn.
The sand city takes shape as we add layers of structures across the beachscape, incorporating shells, rocks and kelp to give it texture and interest. The youngest builder is our main architect and holds the plan. Once completed, the cat royalty would inhabit the tiny spaces, create their city and culture with a feline viewpoint and write their history in meowish language. These are either cats who enjoy the beach, unlike most I have met, or perhaps they feel safe from the brilliant sun and wide open spaces, in their enclosing city spaces despite the bright sun.