Wednesday, October 26, 2016

An Autumn Hike

It was such a perfect day Saturday we put everything aside to explore and do things we can only do now that the weather has cooled off. We were also checking out places that my daughter might enjoy when she comes to visit next month -- our first visitor!

We brought our picnic lunch to Hampton Plantation and enjoyed the wildflowers birds,

including a pileated woodpecker, while we ate.

We are waiting to tour the plantation house when Sarah is here but we found a new and interesting trail just off the picnic area.

It is a trail through the area of the slave homes near the plantation house and the rice fields where they worked along the South Santee River.

All the slave homes are gone, but you are encouraged to use your imagination to recreate what it was like 175 years ago as the slaves went about their lives and their work.


"As you travel this path you will walk where a community of enslaved men, women and children lived and worked. These slaves were the majority of Hampton's residents and much of the plantation's activity--both social and economic --occurred right here.

"Research suggests that at any time from the mid-1700s through early 1800s, roughly 100 slaves lived on the grounds of Hampton, growing crops, tending livestock, and manufacturing goods.

No above-ground traces of their lives remain but archaeological work is underway."

As you walked through the woods some of the buildings sites were marked with a display like this.



When you looked through the glass, the slave house seemed projected onto the forest.


It wasn't hard to imagine the women cooking over a fire in the yard, scrubbing laundry over a steaming cauldron, children running around laughing and chasing each other.

Beyond the homes were the rice fields along the river where the slaves worked under the "task system". Overseers set an amount of daily work for each slave to complete. A typical task was to hoe or weed a half acre of rice. When he finished, if he had energy left he was then allowed to grow food to provide for his own family.

It wasn't hard to look out over the rice fields and imagine women walking in the cold water in the spring, bent over row after row, 12 to 16 hours a day, planting the rice.



A plowman breaking up the drained soil in the spring before the fields were flooded.








Women planting.










Women harvesting the rice.













A slave community consisted of workers trained to do everything the isolated plantation needed. They were skilled workers -- blacksmiths, wheelwrights, carpenters, masons, shoemakers, blacksmiths, seamstresses, cooks, nannies, farmers, potters, housemaids.

Walking this trail, alone, through the woods, it wasn't hard at all to imagine a village of a hundred slaves going about their lives here, loving their families, nursing wounds inflicted by cruel masters, worshiping, sweating in the heat, crying over their aches and pains after long days of work, missing their African homes, celebrating births, burying their dead.


Saturday, October 22, 2016

Falling in Love With Wooden Boats

As I said in my last post, half of the boats at the Wooden Boat Show last weekend were in the water.


There are always a lot of pretty boats moored here in the Georgetown Harbor and it's a lovely place for a stroll any day.

We came to see the wooden boats early Sunday morning to avoid the crowds. It worked, too. It wasn't crowded at all.

In fact, some of those living on their boats were just getting up to their first cup of coffee.

Here are a couple of my favorites.

Felicity is a schooner, built in 1968.


Made from cedar carved planking with a white oak frame, from Charleston


27 feet, built in 1930.




White oak keel and ribs with juniper planking.

Mahogany cabin.

Everything you need, right? -- kitchen with a sink and one-burner stove, living room with comfy chairs, deck on the water, wine hammock, and bedroom below.

I could live here!


Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Something to Celebrate

The show must go on, as they say.

Even if the main streets of town are still flooded at high tide, organizers decided that the 27th annual Wooden Boat Show in Georgetown would proceed as planned last weekend.

Parking was at a minimum because of water and downed tree debris but a whole lot of people found a way to make it downtown.

We all needed some fun after a long week of cleaning up after Matthew left us.

Half of the boats arrived from up and down the East Coast on boat trailers and were displayed on the street and half arrived on the water and were displayed in the harbor. I'll show you the boats on the water next time.

Sweet Potato, a classic outboard, was built in 1943 and restored this year. It doesn't look like much until you get up close and look inside ...


Look at that gorgeous wood! Sweet Potato is made of mahogany.


The 1940s motor and gas can are also authentic.







Don't you wonder what the old gentleman leaning on the boat was thinking?


This Grand Banks dory was displayed with a letter from its previous owner.


The writer says her name is Rascal and she was a tender for a Tancook Whaler. He expresses his "great sadness" at having, due to "circumstances", to abandon her with a neighbor when he had to leave North Carolina. He goes on to tell the new owner how to handle her quirks and use her strengths to his advantage, as well as to thank the new owner for taking on her restoration.

Grand Banks dories were used since the 1850s as fishing boats in Newfoundland so I am wondering if Rascal began her life there before making her way south to become a tender. A Tancook Whaler was a 3-masted working sailboat used in Nova Scotia beginning in the 1850s.



My dad was a woodworker and he would have loved the craftsmanship on some of the handmade boats displayed. This is a kayak and every join was a work of art.





The Evergreen is a motorized canoe built in 1910. A luxury canoe decked out all over with brass and upright caned seats.

In a canoe!










The huge motor.

In a canoe!

Can you imagine how heavy it is?







More beautiful wood and workmanship

I'll be back with more photos of the boats on the harbor.


Friday, October 14, 2016

History Uncovered by Hurricane Matthew

We live about 60 miles north of Charleston, South Carolina. In 1861, cannons blasted out the first shots of the Civil War from Charleston's Fort Sumter.

Last weekend Hurricane Matthew released 16 almost unrecognizable Civil War cannonballs, hidden under sand and sea for 150 years, and exposed them on Charleston's Folly Island beach.

(Photo credit: County Sheriff's Department)

Sunday morning, out for a stroll on the beach, a former mayor of Folly Beach found the rusty pile and called authorities. One of the responding officers was a Civil War reenactor who recognized what they were and the danger of the situation.

The area was immediately closed off until the tide went out and safety procedures could be followed.

Members of the Charleston County Sheriff's Office bomb squad were called in and worked with the U.S. Air Force Explosive Team to detonate some at the scene that were too unstable to transport while others were taken to a nearby Navy base to be detonated.

Can you imagine what might have happened if children out exploring the beach after the hurricane

had been the ones to find them?

During the Civil War Folly Island provided the Union Army a staging area to fire on Confederate forts and for the Siege of Charleston. Gun emplacements lined the beach and thousands of Union soldiers camped on the island and besieged the city from July 1863 to February 1865 when the city finally fell. When it was over, the soldiers went home, abandoning everything where it stood. The equipment of war was soon covered over by sand and sea, and eventually forgotten.


By the beginning of the 20th century, Folly Island beaches were the city of Charleston's ocean playground. Today some of the best surfing on the East Coast is available on Folly beaches and in the summer they are covered with vacationers enjoying the sun and the sea.

I wonder if any of them ever stop think about the war that took place there and what might still be hidden in the sand beneath their bare feet!


Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Goodbye and Good Riddance, Hurricane Matthew

Hurricane Matthew could have been much worse and we feel very fortunate. All around us are big old trees down on houses, on cars, on power lines, on the roads, but we only got large branches falling and they mostly missed the house. The only real damage was to our fence which was smashed in three places by blowing and falling objects.

The hurricane began on Saturday with torrential rains and sustained winds that steadily increased, with stronger and stronger gusts, up to 65 mph. The wind got louder and louder and so did the bangs of things hitting the house.

When the "eye" of the storm reached us, the wind and rain just suddenly stopped and the sun even came out for a few minutes. The street in front had turned into a river and the yard a lake as 10 inches of rain fell.

When it began to blow again, the wind had changed direction and the air went from hot and humid to cold. When the wind switched trees really began to go down.



The end of this 3 1/2 inch branch was driven right into the ground by the wind. We were surprised to watch it continue to stand for hours through the biggest gusts. It's about 6 feet tall.


Here you can see why it stood firm.

See the dark pointed end on the left?

When we started cleaning up the yard and pulled it out of the ground, we could see what happened. It had been driven 12 inches into the ground!


The wind continued to batter us all day Saturday.

Sometime in the late afternoon it began to abate and finally became just an ordinary wlndy day.

When I went out into the sunroom, I found this tiny frog hanging for dear life onto the screen door!

He is about the size of the end of my thumb.







The chef kept us in tea and hurricane food* for the duration. Luckily we had this little one-burner camping stove to cook on.

(* Hurricane Food: nachos made with canned chili, ramen noodles with canned meat, pre cooked brown rice. Aka camping food!)


After the hurricane was over Saturday, and much of Sunday roads were closed and no one was supposed to leave the neighborhood. There was a strict curfew of 8 pm with military vehicles and police enforcement. Everything was closed and boarded up anyway and roads were blocked with trees, so there was no reason to go out. We walked and biked our neighborhood to see how our neighbors had fared.

The most challenging part for us was being without electricity for three days. With no electricity, no tv or wifi, it was hard to get any news of what was going on or what had happened to the places in the storm's path. It felt strange to be so out of touch and isolated in our little neighborhood.

Even though we used them sparingly, we soon ran out of power on our phones.

Yesterday (Monday) when we heard that two centers for charging cell phones had been set up, we set out to find one. None of the traffic lights were working and there were trees still down blocking the main highway but we were able to travel. The first charging station wasn't there, but the second one, a grocery store on Waccamaw Neck, was!

They had free coffee and allowed people to use the outlets inside and outside their store!

That was pretty exciting and we spent quite some time charging our phones and our iPads and sharing storm stories with others.

Slowly during the day other areas along the Neck got electricity and a few gas stations began to open.

Later on Sunday some in Georgetown began to get power, but not us.


Finally, last night at 9:00 our lights came back on!

Oh happy day!

Today we had hot showers, cleaned out the refrigerator and freezer, and tried to buy a few groceries as some of the stores are now open. They are open, but the shelves are pretty bare, especially the refrigerated and frozen food areas.

All the fallen limbs and branches have been cut up and cleaned from the yard and are ready by the road for removal.

So that's what I've been up to. Now that the yard is cleaned up (except for one giant limb which will require a tree service to remove) I'm looking forward to resuming normal life, reading blogs, and see what everyone else has been doing for the last five days.

Note: If the dates seem confusing, I wrote this last night but it didn't publish until this morning. Sorry about that!

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Day Before the Storm

It's very quiet in Georgetown on the day before the hurricane. The skies are gray and gloomy, heavy with their knowledge of the impending violence about to be released on the town. No one is in a hurry anymore, few on the roads, no sounds but the birds. Waiting. People and nature, waiting.


The hurricane flag, a black square on a bright red field, can't be missed as you enter the main street of town.


No problem finding a parking place today. Only Aunny's Home Cooking and the Coffee Cup Cafe were open for a while this morning. Sand bags were being delivered to the side of the street on the harbor, ready to be stacked against each door.


The shrimp boats were cozied up together for safety, tight against the dock.

First shift seems to be at work at the paper mill.


Hurricane shutters are pulled in tight and secured on the old houses. This is one of the oldest, built before the American Revolution. How many hurricanes have those shutters witnessed, I wonder.


Back through the park, the tulip trees are in bloom!

That's crazy.

They are supposed to bloom in the spring.

We have reservations at a hotel a couple hours inland for tomorrow night and Saturday night but we are still hoping we won't have to go. The predictions of Matthew's path are tantalizing as we are north of Charleston, just north of the ever-changing spot where it will (or won't) veer off into the Atlantic.

Don't worry; we will be sensible!