Cottage Life

I have always thought that I could live quite happily in a city apartment if only I had a cottage on a lake or ocean somewhere to spend most of the summer..  A small little place, with original Fiestaware in the cupboards (chipped) and stained vintage tablecloths and that mothball smell when you walk in the door.  Water that tastes great right out of the faucet, old quilts, bacon in an electric frying pan, pancakes even though it's Wednesday morning, crows in the woods to wake me up if the bacon doesn't do the trick.  Gin rummy and beer in glass bottles after dinner, a kayak or paddleboat ride around the lake at sunset to watch the fish jumping.  Old paperbacks, bird identification books, barbeuqued chicken and hot dogs.    Do you know the place I'm talking about?  Have you been there? My grandparents had just the place.  A real escape from it all.
Nowadays, I talk all the time about how to bring cottage life to real life.  How do I make our apartment in Brooklyn feel more like an idyllic cottage in Michigan?   I listen carefully so I don't miss the crows in the backyard, I play a lot of cards after dinner, I eat on (not so chipped and actually brand new Uranium free) Fiestaware.  I have three drawers full of vintage stained tablecloths, and all those animal identification books from the old cottage.  Once in awhile, when I wish more than anything to be at the cottage and not in the stiffling stinking heat of New York City, I open one of those books and take a deep breath, and if my eyes are closed I can imagine that I'm there.   Mothballs are transporting. 
Today, in an effort to soak in a modified cottage life, I woke up early and headed to Brighton Beach and combed the seashore for signs of life.


Clams, muscles, sponges, crabs, jellyfish, and this fellow, a horseshoe crab!which I can not identify.  All of my animal identification books are from Michigan, where surely this guy wouldn't stand a chance.  I should have put my foot next to it while I was photographing it, because you might not believe that it was at least twice as long as my foot.   It's huge!  Do you know what it is?