Sometimes seeds blow into the garden or we’ve composted something that eventually gets worked into the soil, and then out of the blue, we get what Chris likes to call a volunteer. I find it fun (Chris, not so much) to see what shows up. Yes, yes, you can argue that anything you didn’t purposely plant is a WEED! — and of course, most of them are. But for example, stuck into the corner of a bed where we’re growing thyme, we have a volunteer tomato plant that is currently about 15″ high. Is it a Big Boy? Cherry? Some other type? If it makes it to full size, we may know.  Over behind the “real” tomato bed is one single sunflower…presumably the gift of one of the birds. Chris pulled out the pumpkin plant that threatened to take over half of the vegetable garden, sigh…guess I’ll be cutting my pumpkins this fall at Hank’s Pumpkin Town with the rest of the crowds. A tiny cedar tree appeared a couple of years ago in the middle of a bed of Lady’s Mantle…Chris transplanted it back behind the pool, where it is now nearly two feet high.

Speaking of volunteers…The weather was perfect for the beach this past weekend, but the riptides were worrisome, and I was glad that all of our guests who enjoyed the ocean did so at Cooper’s Beach where there are lifeguards on duty until 5 PM. On Sunday, two of our guests, Mark and Jennifer, were enjoying the late afternoon hours with a long walk along the beach. A Korean church group had set up in an area quite a ways down the beach, beyond reach of the lifeguard station (even if it had still been manned; it was now nearly six PM). As they approached, a frantic woman ran up to them, screaming for help: One of their members had gone swimming and was in deep trouble. Mark dived into the dangerous surf, swam out, and pulled the man safely back to shore. That’s not only a volunteer, that’s a hero!

Quote of the Day: We make a living by what we do, but we make a life by what we give. –Winston Churchill

Heat wave

We’ve had a heat wave this week, so hot and sticky (well, for the Hamptons) that it’s hard to get motivated to go outside of air conditioned comfort unless it’s to the pool or the beach — both popular choices of our guests this past week. Chris and I spotted each other for a couple of hours off apiece this week, and both times I went to the beach. On Tuesday afternoon, the ocean was as calm as the bay, with tiny little waves making their way up the shore as the tide came in, and I sat down where an errant wave would occasionally wash over my feet…wonderfully refreshing. Today, with widely scattered showers and thunderstorms predicted, the scene at the beach was far different: the waves were scarily beautiful, high and full and angry. I was a little relieved that the threat of rain had kept most people away from a swim, because the surf included a wicked riptide. Eastward, I could see by the clouds that East Hampton and Montauk were getting some serious rain but, while overcast, it was only spitting in Southampton — not even enough to worry about raindrops ruining my book.

Coming off the beach around 4:15, I watched a deer step through the car park and disappear into the grounds of one of the estates that line the oceanfront. I doubt that would have happened on a sunnier, and therefore, busier beach day…but then again, the deer here seem to be getting increasingly used to civilization, so who knows.

It was the oddest thing: We set up for breakfast on the patio this morning with one eye watching the clouds, ready to relocate the meal to the dining room if need be. At 9:30 AM, pretty much everyone was seated and the sun was high in the hazy sky…and raindrops started to fall. The guests, seated under the shade umbrellas that cover the tables, saw no reason to move inside. Puzzled, I commented that all we seemed to be missing was a rainbow.

David said, “We don’t see it because obviously this place IS the end of the rainbow!”

Clouds and mugginess will pass, but here at the end of the rainbow, I’m smiling.

Quote for the Day:  Live with intention. Walk to the edge. Listen hard. Practice wellness. Play with abandon. Laugh. Choose with no regret. Continue to learn. Appreciate your friends. Do what you love. Live as if this is all there is. –Maryanne Radmacher-Hershey

The taste of summer

Most of our guests visit A Butler’s Manor for R&R, but there are some who are on business, and we strive to be as close to “home” (without the distractions often found there!) as possible. Patrick, a recent guest, was doing a “deep breathe” between two business conferences. He still had calls to make and reports to send, but with our WiFi operational over the whole property, here’s where he made his “office.”  If you’ve got to work, this is not too shabby, eh?

It’s been a week of exceptionally congenial guests who have evidently enjoyed both their stay and each other. Each day guests have lingered over the breakfast table (okay, so the breakfast table IS in Chris’s garden), chatted with each other at the pool, sat down together in the living room after coming home from dinner…just a really simpatico crowd. It gives me such a warm feeling to see that happen.

Weather on tap for the upcoming Fourth of July weekend is supposed to be perfect — 80 degrees and clear. I’m sure the Butlermobile (a.k.a. the Buick Roadmaster) will be making lots of trips to and from Cooper’s Beach this weekend! Also perfect weather to enjoy a lobster overlooking the marina in Hampton Bays at Sunwaters Grill or Tide Runners (greedy me, I’ve done both this week). The latter has entertainment on the dock overlooking the Shinnecock Canal, and judging by the crowd on the night we went (Sunday), some of those bands have quite a following. A warm night, a breeze off the water, sweet lobster in melted butter, a tropical drink and some live music…doesn’t get much better than that!

Speaking of live music, tonight (Wednesday) begins the summer Concerts in the Park series here in Southampton Village. I’ve said before how this is one of my all-time favorite things to do in summer. Agawam Park (at the base of Job’s Lane) fills up with families out to enjoy a true small-town good time. Pack a picnic, grab a beach chair and a bottle of wine and enjoy the music and the ambiance, while the little kids dance in front of the bandstand or run off to the playground. The Southampton Cultural Center, which funds this wonderful summer activity, sends the bucket brigade around at halftime to collect a small voluntary donation to pay the bands that entertain us. Most of us locals have been attending these concerts for years, and are happy to drop a few bucks in the bucket. So (WARNING, rant ahead!) it just frosts me to see, as I did tonight, a group comprised of say, a couple of women, perhaps their husbands, four or five children, and one or two nannies (!) enjoying the evening, but who shrug and shake their heads when the bucket brigade reaches them as if to say oops, sorry, didn’t bring any money. Worse, I’ve seen people ignore these volunteers altogether, turning away from them as though they didn’t exist. Come on, folks! Southampton is, overall, a very well-to-do community. There is no excuse for not helping to preserve the little joys that contribute to making it such a great place to live and visit.

Okay, stepping off the soapbox now.

We look forward to a great weekend, and helping our guests enjoy all that the Hamptons have to offer, that they will come away loving it the way we do.

Quote of the Day: A perfect summer day is when the sun is shining, the breeze is blowing, the birds are singing, and the lawn mower is broken. — James Dent