Saturday, April 29, 2017

You Say Tomayto and I Say Tomahto

Introducing the first tomato of 2017, drum roll please ...
 

 Its name and type are a mystery because the marker I put next to it has disappeared, thanks to our proliferation of bored squirrels.  
I might have gone a little nuts at a fantastic garden shop selling luxuriously healthy heirloom tomato plants for $1 each.  I MIGHT have bought (seven) plants (for two people with no freezer), but how could I not?  The pictures of the mature fruit were so pretty, all different colors including black, purple,  orange.  And such lovely names!  Black Krim.  Goliath.  Purple Cherry. Sweet Caroline.  Etc., no two alike.  
 
 

 



The rest of the garden is doing well, too.  These are purple beans (they turn green 
when steamed) (purple has more 
antioxidants than green, so more bang 
for your buck.  Bang for your bean?)





 

 









These sugar snap peas will be in our lunch salads tomorrow, along with several of their neighbors.

There are also pole beans, purple cabbage, French beans, cucumbers, onions, kale, and peppers coming along nicely.  As are the red raspberry bushes and the fig tree our neighbor gave us.  

Maybe my southern green thumb is coming along 
after all!

 

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Jamestown, SC - Pop. 72


West and south of Georgetown is Jamestown, settled by French Huguenots in 1706.  Fleeing from France to England and England to America, these religious asylum seekers were granted land in the cypress swamps of what would become South Carolina.
 Three large plantations were built and thrived for many years, but the town itself never had more than 270 people.  
Now, it has 72.
A train passed through town to pick up indigo, then rice, then cotton, and take them to America's first canal and load them on canal boats, then on to the river where they were reloaded on steamboats bound for the markets of Charleston.



The old elementary school for black children, built in the 1920s and abandoned in the 1960s when school desegregation became law, is one of the few buildings left.  Money to build it came from Julius Rosenwald, Sears Roebuck magnate, at the urging of Booker T. Washington.  Some say it was generosity on Rosenwald's part but others believe he had a different motive: to teach Blacks to read so they could purchase things from his merchandise catalog.  
 Empty now, it was used as a community center for awhile and then abandoned once again.
 

Sign on the door: 
No Concealed Weapons


 

The old Sea Board Coast Line Railroad depot is now headquarters for the town's annual celebration, Hell Hole Swamp Festival.  (That really is the name of one of swamps in town, along with Four Hole Swamp and some other with less picturesque names!)






On the outskirts of town, remnants of efforts to make a living silently decay.
 
 The Riverside Cafe (no river in sight) is still looking for a new owner (yellow real estate sign on the right).  Once it offered "Regular Meals and Short Orders," and a place for travelers to stop on their way to Charleston.  One can only imagine the condition of the inside.
 



The bones of a produce stand, a large blanket with a photo of a baby behind I suspect is a grownup by now.



 







 
 
 
Home of a cotton or peanut farmer on the highway to Charleston.

Jamestown ... just another small forgotten South Carolina town.


 





Friday, April 21, 2017

Raise Your Hand If You Remember These

This is similar to what I remember the soda fountain in the drugstore looked like in the 1950s in my small Wisconsin town.  After we got our new school shoes across the street, Mom could sometimes be talked into my favorite
 
treat, a chocolate ice cream soda with whipped cream and a cherry on top! I think I remember they cost 25 cents. Our dentist's office was also nearby and sometimes after we had had our teeth cleaned and chosen a plastic ring from the prize box, we also got a treat at the soda fountain.
Soda fountains in drug stores became popular during Prohibition as a place to meet friends or go on a date.
By the 1950s just about every drugstore had one. 
 I think my last visit to my small town drugstore soda fountain was in the 1960s.
Well, that was my last visit to a soda fountain until this week anyway. 
 Look what The Writer found up the Ocean Highway in Murrells Inlet.
 


Lee's Inlet Apothecary and Soda Fountain




 
We had chocolate sodas with whipped cream and 
a cherry on top, my first one in at least 45 years!


(Actually, it should have looked more like this,

 
but the young lady was new and she admitted it was her first try.)  And it tasted wonderfully of memories anyway!  If I closed my eyes, I could imagine the shoebox with my new Buster Brown oxfords sitting right there on the table beside me.
👞. 👞. 👞. 👞
P.S. Another bit of history, the first drug store fountain drinks (1850s) were for people who came to the store to get help with a health problem.  They were concoctions of drugs like caffeine and cocaine, bromide and plant extracts, combined with flavors and soda water to make them more palatable. 

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Her Royal Catness Approves

The Easter bunny left a surprise for Rosie.

 




 


It's a catnip-scented paper bag

and ...




 
She-Who-Rules-the-Roost quite likes it!

More Easter Fun ...
 
We should have expected this
as the neighbor's small tree at Christmas had ornaments bigger than basketballs.
But nope, these were a hilarious surprise.
 
 

Guess who? 
 

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Back in Time for Easter


For some reason I haven't been able to access photos on my blogging app for days, and what's a blog without photos?  I couldn't think of enough riveting words to make a post without any pictures, and the app's help desk ignored my emails requesting help.  
Well, lo and behold, I gave it another try tonight 
and presto! my photos are back.  

 
It's Easter weekend and half the East Coast seems to have made the trip to South Carolina.

 
Still, the beach was quiet early this morning, except for the surf, and a kayaker and paddle boarder enjoying a ride.



 
Mason and his mama are enjoying a visit with 
his great-grandma (my mom) in Florida.

 

Hunting alligators 


on an airboat
 

 














 
Today he helped the ladies at my mom's church dye Easter eggs.
I'm sure he was a BIG help.

Meanwhile, back in Minnesota where the snow has melted and things are just beginning to get green, these two played in the state chess tournament, second grade edition.
 




 












No trophies this time, 
but they do look like they enjoyed themselves!  

Well, that should catch you up on what you missed this week because of blog troubles.
I do hope your Easter bonnets are trimmed, shoes polished, eggs dyed, 
and your alarm set for the Easter sunrise service!  


Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Sweetgrass Baskets and Sweet Music

We have had company for a few days, friends from Connecticut, and we took them around to see some local history.  One day we went to Charleston, traveling "the sweetgrass basketmakers' highway" through the Hamlin Community of families who were slaves from the area plantations.

 

Sweetgrass basket makers brought their skills with them 300 years ago on the slave ships from Sierra Leone, Africa.  

The baskets today are almost identical to the shukublay baskets of Sierra Leone where some are woven so tightly they are able to hold water.




Men used native materials such as grass, palmetto fronds, and long-leaf pine needles to make large baskets to winnow rice, hold shellfish, vegetables, and later cotton.  
 
Women made the baskets for use in their cabins.

Basket-making was often a job given to slaves who were too old to work long days in the hot sun.

Sweetgrass baskets have the loveliest smell, kind of like a faint whiff of warm green hay.  I can never pass a basket without sniffing it.

 





The baskets on the right were about $180 each at Lucinda's stand and the same baskets in Charleston? Add $100! 









In the evenings we were treated to some homemade music with a professional musician, Sarah.


The Writer always loves having someone to make music with, and I am very good at humming along and providing forgotten words!



 



Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Hemingway, SC - When Cotton Was King

There are things about the American South, things born of inequality and contrast, pain and poverty, ugliness and decay, that I only knew from words, not from my heart.

I want you to see the two South Carolinas, two American Souths, that I am getting to know
and the juxtaposition that is both stunning and moving. 

The very, very rich.  The very, very poor.   

On the one hand the slow and elegant beauty of the plantations, the huge houses of the merchants in Georgetown, built in the 1700s and still owned and kept immaculately 
by the wealthiest citizens.  
On the other hand, lives of extreme poverty and ugliness.

I've never been immersed in the contrast between Black and White that exists here.  
Traveling a few blocks in town or a few miles out into rural areas, you plunge down the social scale and drop back 75 years in time.   

* * *
Just up Hwy 51, Hemingway was built in the early 1900s when cotton was king and there were plenty of jobs for Black farmers.  When the boll weevil appeared on the scene in 1921, tobacco tried to take cotton's place, along with a few small textile industries that flourished for a while and provided some jobs to former farm workers.   Now even those jobs have gone to Mexico and Vietnam and China and there are only 500 people left in Hemingway, most of them African-Americans.
  
Hemingway stands like hundreds of small towns in the rural South 
with the same fate, in a time warp, its citizens living as they always have, without jobs, 
while the world has passed them by.
 

 

 
The small travel trailer behind the abandoned dairy truck is someone's home.  
Trailers are the most common form of housing in the rural areas and many of them are ancient and collapsing, with the ubiquitous blue tarps for roofs.
Families have lived here for generations, from slave times. At Emancipation, freed slaves were deeded a piece of land to farm.  Now farming is gone and the land has filled up with the trailers of four or five generations of their descendants.  Called "heirs property," today each piece is owned jointly by every single descendant of the original owner, whether they live there, pay taxes, or have never set foot on it.  
 
 
Listed as one of the main industries in Hemingway, in the center of town, 
is Don's Car Crushing.  
 


Lots of junked construction equipment and in the foreground, a dentist chair

 






 A hearse awaits its turn in the crusher amidst piles of crushed materials, a chute that takes the parts to large containers on the right, to be loaded on ships or railroad cars and recycled.