Sunday, June 10, 2012

Pony Express Weekend

So at the last possible minute and in the midst of great confusion, the husband and I caught the PATH train to Newark with a friend to meet another friend with a car to drive down to a barrier island half off the coast of Maryland, and half off the coast of Virginia.  We were camping on the Maryland side.  Assateague's claim to fame is wild ponies.  Or to be more correct, two herds of feral ponies, one on the VA side, and one on the MD side.  Legend has it that a Spanish galleon carrying conquistadors and their horses wrecked off the shore, and the horses managed to kick out of their stalls and swim to Assateague.  While horses may or may not have survived a shipwreck by swimming to the barrier island at one point, the equine inhabitants of Assateague are mostly descendents of domesticated horses being kept on the island to avoid mainland fencing regulations and taxes.  Regardless, there they are.
Charming, fat ponies, brown and white paints, for the most part.  The Maryland herd is quasi-domesticated thanks to a steady stream of naive campers who think leaving their food out on their picnic tables, or just put away in a cooler outside of their car, is not a recipe for a Pony Party on their campsite.  They're wild enough to make it a bad idea to walk up to one with intent to ear-scratch, though.
This is not a test.  That pony just opened that red cooler.
This pony was sorely disappointed; nothing but iced tea and deet on our table.

Fun with feral ponies aside, it was a lovely, and all too brief weekend spent with sandy feet, varying degrees of heat stroke, and a feeling of awe at the parade of stars and moon that took place overhead when the sun set.

On Saturday night we stopped by a little Farmer's stand to pick up produce for dinner: sweet strawberries, beans...tomatoes?  I know Maryland is further south than New York, but tomatoes and blueberries?   In June?  Feeling suspicious,  I looked around.  Sure enough, the strawberries bore a sign declaring them local...right next to a basket of lemons and limes.  A cooler displayed flats of berries, and boxes of peaches from California.  That's shitty, man.  If we wanted imports and out-of-seasons, we'd have picked up veggies at the Food Lion along with s'more ingredients.  An all too important reminder that words like 'farm-fresh' don't really mean shit legally speaking, and can be bandied about by anyone with a cash register.  Ask questions; don't assume anything!

And don't put food directly down on the picnic table.

Live Omily,

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