Sunday, March 11, 2018

Spring is ... Springing!

It's definitely spring, as I have come to understand it in the South.  The camellias and daffodils are done, the azaleas, citrus, and Carolina jessamine are blooming, but we have one more frost/freeze coming Wednesday night.  We will cover the fig tree and pile all the potted plants, including the citrus which is as tall as I am, into the sunroom and hope for the best.

Spring means the outdoor festivals have started, with some surprising attractions. This oyster festival had a Kissing Booth.  You can keep the oysters, but the Kissing Booth, manned by twin Schnauzers very eager to oblige, was adorable.  

Yesterday was a neighborhood cleanup day.  South Carolina is the most littered state I've ever traveled through and Georgetown is no exception.  Living in Minnesota I was used to an almost complete lack of litter, and the toss-it-from-the-window approach for disposal really baffles me.  Would you throw your garbage on the floor in your home?  Why is it so hard to drop it in a receptacle?  I don't get it.  
Anyway, we were assigned two city blocks in a residential area and this is what it looked like when we started.  

I'll tell you, it was back breaking work. We developed a system:  I pulled it out of the slight ditch and tossed it up on the roadside, The Writer picked it up again and bagged it.  It took us two hours to complete the two blocks on one side of the road!  

Well, that's enough about that.  Look at these!

Its azalea time!  And the citrus scent is dizzying!

I'm sitting in the sunroom reading, watching the birds at the feeder and a pair of bluebirds checking out the bluebird house (they did the same thing last year but moved on; this year maybe they'll stay!).  Would you like to know what I'm reading?  Bringing Home the Dharma by Jack Kornfield, Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett, and Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng (and yes, I can read three books at once!).  
I hope you are enjoying your Sunday, too.  

Monday, March 5, 2018

Boys + Pup = LOVE

My daughter's family got a dog this weekend.  Three of the four boys are old enough for some pet responsibility, and the fourth, well the fourth is Mason and his job is just to love her.

She is a stray from Texas, fostered by a kind soul in Houston, and came to Minnesota thanks to a Delta Airlines program that unites homeless pets with families who want to adopt them.  

She seems to be fitting in quite well from the photos I got this weekend.  

Definitely some chihuahua in there and maybe miniature dachshund?  She weighs 9 whole pounds and looks like she could fly with those ears.

No school in Minnesota today as there is a big snowstorm.  Yesterday she put on her brakes when they tried to take her outside and said nope, she's a southern belle who does not "do" snow! But I bet when she sees how much fun the boys are having she will forget herself and have a ball chasing them down the sledding hill.  

Friday, March 2, 2018

Why Did the Church Cross the Road?

Last Friday we watched as the little church over the creek on Pawleys Island was released from its perch of the last 70 years.  The last time Pawley's chapel was on the move, it rode from Georgetown (where it began life in the 1800s as the Georgetown Pentecostal Holiness Church) to Pawleys in pieces, and was reassembled over the creek in 1946.  
Friday a crew crawled under and into the mud and, chain saws roaring, severed it from its pilings.  Two 100-ton cranes attempted to lift the church and hold it up while rollers were inserted underneath, then gently nudge it across the road.  
Except -- the 70 year old pluff mud held on tight and the church wouldn't move.  (They should have known -- the chapel has withstood two huge hurricanes that demolished much of the rest of the island.)

Plan B:  Use the cranes to lift the back end while a front end loader would be used to tug it forward on the rollers and across the road.


The walls near the back began to groan and crack.  The boom on the crane began to bend and they had to stop. The day was about gone.  There is one road on the island so everything was removed from the road to make way for beach house owners arriving for the weekend.

Monday, Plan C:  Bring in bigger machinery, a 400-ton crane that cost the project an extra $27,000.  But what do you do when a building is unmoored and tilting on the edge of the road?

Well, as you can see, on Monday the church crossed the road!  We missed the moment so this is a photo from the PI Police Department, probably very happy to have something useful to do.  (Not much happens on Pawleys.  It's an event when the officer has to ask a tourist to remove a car blocking a driveway.) 

So, why did the church cross the road?  The pilings and foundation were 70 years old and water and tides have taken a toll.  The church was too close to the road for today's setback laws.  And because of climate change, recent king tides that used to flow under the church with room to spare now fill it with a foot of water.  

From this side you can see the windows that are the congregants'
view of the marsh on summer Sunday mornings.  

New pilings were in place yesterday and being driven in.  

There is a wedding scheduled for March 23, and the bride has been assured that the church will be ready.  

In summer generations of islanders worship every Sunday.  The church seats 220, and the overflow gathers outside on the gangplank and the roadside and participates from there.  

Friday, February 23, 2018

Purple Shoes

Sometimes ya just gotta shake things up.

I've never had purple shoes before.  Let's just say I'm practicing!

When I am an old woman I shall wear purple
With a red hat which doesn't go, and doesn't suit me.
And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves
And satin sandals, and say we've no money for butter.
I shall sit down on the pavement when I'm tired
And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells
And run my stick along the public railings
And make up for the sobriety of my youth.
I shall go out in my slippers in the rain
And pick flowers in other people's gardens
And learn to spit.

You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat
And eat three pounds of sausages at a go
Or only bread and pickle for a week
And hoard pens and pencils and beermats and things in boxes.

But now we must have clothes that keep us dry
And pay our rent and not swear in the street
And set a good example for the children.
We must have friends to dinner and read the papers.

But maybe I ought to practice a little now?
So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised
When suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple. 

Saturday, February 17, 2018

We'll Travel for Miles With Our Saturday Smiles...

Remember that song?  We were singing it this morning on our way to get coffee (decaf Americano three shots please for me, coffee straight up no additions or amendments for The Writer) and shop groceries.  I'll put a link at the bottom in case you want to give it a listen.
We stopped at the postoffice and spotted a road we hadn't been down yet.  Of course, 

we had to explore.  At the end of it were some marinas for large boats and one for smaller fishing boats.  I liked this one.  

Can you see its name?  The GROUPER SNOOPER looks like it's been around for awhile.

On the beach we saw the first Atlantic ghost crab since fall, a good sized one, about as big as a man's fist.  

We have had a few lovely warm and sunny days to entice him out of his burrow four feet under the sand, but he was cold and moving very slowly.

If he had been warmer he wouldn't have stood still for photos!

This was a new burrow he had just started to dig.  

The eyes swivel to give him 360 degrees of vision!

Herb's Barbecue is a good place for a Saturday lunch.  He is only open for a few hours on Fridays and Saturdays so don't get a hankering for Herb's barbecue any other time of the week.  We aren't adventurous enough to try his specials (except collard greens, I LOVE collard greens).  Anyone for smoked pigtails and neck bones with lima beans?  We stick to the basic pork barbecue with Herb's sauce and you can't beat it!  
There are only two little tables and no one can get in the door to the counter if they are in use so everyone pretty much takes their plates home to eat.  

I just took The Writer's Valentine present out of the oven.  Rhubarb pie, his favorite.  My sister gave me the rhubarb and I've had it hidden away in the freezer for just such an occasion.  (We can't get rhubarb Down South.)  

Here's the link to "Come Saturday Morning".  What's cookin' on your Saturday?

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Black History Month: 'Great Acts of Human Endurance'

February is Black History Month in the U.S. so I thought I'd show you a visit to the Fort Moultrie museum and its excellent exhibit on slavery in Charleston.  

Charleston was the main port of entry in the U.S. for slaves from West Africa, with 200,000 to 360,000 men, women, and children arriving from 1707 to 1808 when their transport became illegal.  

Doctors from Charleston examined the passengers for illness when they arrived.  Many were taken from the ships and away from the city to Sullivan's Island and placed in quarantine in "pest houses" where they either died or got well and were readied for sale.  In quarantine they were held the shortest time possible to maximize profit.  Sometimes a ship's captain would sneak a ship of sick people into port to avoid the cost of quarantining them.  

On the right is a diagram by a former slave who wrote a book about his passage from Africa.  It shows how they were shackled for the 10-week trip to get the maximum cargo aboard.  

Slaves sold to plantations worked in the houses of the owners and the rice fields of South Carolina.  

Slaves who remained in the city sold crops at the market, worked on the docks and in the building industry, fished, and took care of the homes and children of their owners.  

Children were sold and worked the same as adults without regard for family ties.

The stories of most individuals are lost for all time as slaves were recorded on the ships' logs only by their approximate age and sex.  However, one little girl on the register of The Hare,10 years old, was sold to Elias Ball II, a rice planter near Charleston.  He paid about $100 for her and called her Priscilla.  

Elias Ball II

Priscilla's ancestors have traced her descendants from Sierra Leone to the present.  Two and a half centuries after Priscilla was taken from her home in Sierra Leone, a descendant, Charleston teacher Thomalind Pride, traveled with her husband to Freetown to meet her relatives.

She was welcomed with open arms.

This Jonathan Green painting concluded the exhibit.  It says:
"The survival of African people away from their ancestral home is 
one of the great acts of human endurance 
in the history of the world." 
--John Henrik Clarke

Sunday, February 4, 2018

This Morning, Before the Storm

I go down to the edge of the sea.

How everything shines in the morning light! 

The cusp of the whelk, 

the broken cupboard of the clam, 

the opened, blue mussels, 

moon snails, pale pink and barnacle scarred— 
and nothing at all whole or shut, but tattered, split, 

dropped by the gulls onto the gray rocks 

and all the moisture gone. 

It's like a schoolhouse 
of little words, 
thousands of words.
First you figure out what each one means by itself, 
the jingle, the periwinkle, the scallop 
       full of moonlight. 

Then you begin, 


To read the whole story.

-- Breakage by Mary Oliver

Last fall I discovered a small rock that had been painted by an elementary school child and placed for someone to find.  I liked the idea so much I decided to paint some myself and put one out once in awhile on our beach and see what happened.

The ones I have placed so far are gone the next day so I assume that someone enjoyed finding a little something to take home, a reminder of a beautiful day spent at the beach.

This morning I was out walking to collect more rocks to paint.  I like thinking of the finders and I like painting so I think I will continue this little project.