Tuesday, March 14, 2017

The March Garden and Wild Pigs

We have been working hard on restoring our back garden to its former glory.  It's still a bit overgrown and tangled but we have made progress. 
This is Lolly, the loblolly pine from which we had the tree company remove dangling branches after Hurricane Matthew.  It is surrounded by a ground cover that had escaped and tried to take over the backyard.  I spent two days pulling it out of the lawn and shaping it back into a tidy circle, and three more days scratching sand gnat bites.

Behind Lolly is a woods with a border of azaleas, Chinese fringe, an old crepe Myrtle we couldn't tell if dead or alive, camellias, killer vines, and goodness knows what else. Unidentified things keep surprising us and bursting into bloom. 


On the east side is our new vegetable garden and a gift from our neighbor, a fig tree.  

We mentioned we were looking to buy one and a few days later, Malcolm came to the door with his shovel and Phineas the Fig and said, "Where do you want it?"  Really, how many people have a spare fig tree laying around?

We have hit the neighborly jackpot when we landed in this neighborhood!

Behind the fence is the vegetable-garden-in-progress.  The peas are doing nicely.



I'm showing you these photos now because we are supposed to have a killer freeze tomorrow night, 25F after days of temps in the high 70s and even 80s.   Bye-bye flowers.  


Yesterday we were zipping down the highway south through the Francis Marion National Forest and I spotted something I've never seen before: a litter of wild pig babies rooting in the grass alongside the forest, 8 feet from the road!  I think there were five.
o They looked just like this guy except a little younger and had their snouts buried in the new grass eating breakfast. 

The adults are mean and scary and popular to hunt at fancy hunt clubs down here.

The Writer was once in a Jeep when a herd of wild boars began attacking the vehicle.  We sped on by, not taking any chances that Mama would appear and take a dislike to white Toyotas with a photographer hanging out the window!  (This photo is from the State DNR website.)

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Sullivan's Island - Charleston Lighthouse

Sullivan's Island is a barrier island north of Charleston that has retained its historic beach homes, its charm, and its old life-saving station.  The Charleston Lighthouse, the last major lighthouse built in the United States, was added in 1962.

From the beach its light shines 
27 miles out to sea.


The triangular structure is built of steel girders to withstand 125 mph winds and is 162.5 feet tall.
Inside there is an elevator, but the light at the top must be reached by 35 feet of vertical ladder.  

Can you imagine the view from those windows at the top?

Originally the lighthouse was painted in red-orange and white.  
Sullivan Island residents weren't pleased with the colors at all 
and it was repainted black and white.  

The US Life-Saving Service was a government agency that took over from private local efforts to save lives in the storms that battered ships up and down the eastern seaboard.  There are several historic buildings on Sullivan's Island from those times.


The Boathouse, 1895, contained two 20-foot rowboats which a six-man crew would take out into the surf. It was a dangerous job and there were three deaths over the years at the Sullivan's Island Station.


Crew Quarters, 1895
Hurricane shelter for lighthouse keeper and other personnel.

The US Lifesaving Stations became the US Coastguard in 1915.

This photo has nothing to do with lifesaving on the sea.  It is a unique home on the beach on Sullivan's Island.  We thought it look like a spaceship had landed and set up housekeeping!

PS. The Writer found an interesting article on this house.  It's hurrican-proof, able to withstand winds up to 500 mph!
To see the beautiful inside and read the complete story, here is a link:


Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Cosmic Dogs on Memory Lane

We had some business to attend to in Charleston yesterday.  Ever since we had been house-hunting and driving up and down Hwy17 to Georgetown, The Writer has been lobbying for lunch at Jack's Cosmic Dogs. Yesterday was the day to stop.

Brightly painted missiles, Grandma's wringer washer to mark the handicapped parking spot ...  and look at that old Airstream trailer!  They sing a Siren's song to cars whizzing by on the highway up the coast.

I remember putting a nickel in the slot and riding in a little car like this in front of the grocery store.  
I think the airplane might have come from a carnival ride.


Pull out your own RC Cola, or Grape or Orange Nehi from an old Coca Cola cooler, the kind that use to be inside every gas station.  You put your dime in a slot and a mechanism released one bottle, which you slid along a track to remove it.  Opener on the side and the top fell into an old oil box on the cement floor.  My first soda was a Grape Nehi and I remember well that glorious ice cold taste and how the bubbles went up your nose.  


I haven't seen these for years (and good riddance!), an old cigarette machine.


The Writer had a little pedal car 
similar to this.

Since we were in Charleston, we decided to join a protest march taking place at noon outside our senator's office there.  He is one of those who declined to show up for a Town Hall meeting for constituents last week.  He represents businesses, not the voters, so I guess he didn't need our input.  
Anyway, about 100 nice people showed up, the police kept an eye on us so our feet didn't slip off the public sidewalk onto the grass, and there were some very creative signs.


 I never thought I would be a protestor at my age!  

The sign on the left kind of sums up my feelings 
and we did get honks, waves, 
and people yelling thanks 
so I think it is a good thing to do.  


Monday, February 27, 2017

Brookgreen Gardens

 I have been procrastinating on writing about Brookgreen Gardens because it's an immense place (4500 acres) with so many sculptures (1445), beautiful old trees, fountains, gorgeous plants, a native animal zoo. 
 But here goes, 
and if you get tired of the photos I'll understand!  
If you remember from this post, http://wisdomforasimplerlife.blogspot.com/2017/02/atalaya.html , Brookgreen was created by Anna and Archer Huntington to display her works and those of other American sculptors.  It first opened in 1932.

This giant sculpture of Anna's, two fighting horses, greets you at the gate.

She created this sculpture representing herself and Archer, called The Visionaries.

Many of the pools had floating glass balls that were so pretty, bobbing and reflecting light like giant bubbles.   You can see them in the water here.


What can I say? 
 I love owls so I had to show you this one!  We have them hooting over our house in the fall and spring and there is nothing like that sound.

 The grounds, the old oaks, surprise water features ...

How to make birds that look like they are in flight, suspended without support, out of metal ...


The Fountain of the Muses garden, in bronze by Carl Miller.  The canopy overhead is made of strings of lights.  It must be enchanting at night with the reflections.
The figures represent the fine arts -- poetry, architecture, music, and painting -- by what they hold in their hands and each is riding a dolphin.  
At the far back left is The Muse, the goddess Aganippe.

You can guess which one this represents.

And my favorite ...

Out of the trees emerges Don Quiote on his horse Rocinante, just after he loses his joust with the windmill, cast in aluminum by Anna Huntington.  
I love this story, I adore the music from the musical.
 And look who is coming behind him! Sancho Panzo by Carl Paul Jennewin.

There are benches so you can sit and view the piece from all sides.  We were alone and The Writer and I sat and began to sing softly, "I am I Don Quiote, the Lord of LaMancha. My destiny calls and I go.
And the wild winds of fortune
Will carry me onward,
Oh, withersoever they blow!"
" I'm Sancho, yes, I'm Sancho.
I'll follow my master till the end.
I'll tell the world proudly
I'm his squire, I'm his friend!"
The price of admission includes three consecutive days of visits.  We returned every day and still didn't see nearly all the park.

Saturday, February 25, 2017


In case you were wondering where I have been . . .

Come sit down with me here in the sunroom, my favorite place in the house.  
We'll watch the birds, drink some tea, and have a catch-up.

First of all, we finally got to the top of the list for removal of trees damaged by Hurricane Matthew last fall.  

 Fortunately this huge old long-needled pine didn't come down, but it lost some very large limbs.  We have been tiptoeing around it for months because the biggest limb got hung up on a stub of another limb and remained dangling in the tree.  

We removed a portion of the fence also damaged by the hurricane so that the tree service could drive this small tracked vehicle into the backyard.  We call them cherry pickers here; they raise the man with the chainsaw high into the tree and maneuver him into position.

 I'm not good at estimating heights, but this guy was working waaaay up in the air!  
It took six men a couple hours to clear out four giant limbs, cut them up, hand-carry them to the street, and put parts of them through the woodchipper.  Another neighbor hauled away the largest logs for his fireplace.  

πŸ“ž πŸ“ž πŸ“ž πŸ“ž πŸ“ž

The political situation here has only gotten worse, in my opinion, and we spend time every day calling congressmen and our state government to beg them to stop what is going on in Washington.  Mostly they respond with something that has nothing to do with the issue you have addressed, but one feels one has to do something.  Wednesday our senator was supposed to appear at a Town Hall meeting in a town a half hour away.  We brought our protest signs and hoped, but the senator chose not to appear.  So disheartening.  
🌸 🌺 🌸 🌺 🌸


The camellias are almost done blooming.  We have several species and these are the largest, which you can see here  are almost as big as my hand!

Now the azaleas have started and we have lots of those, too.  

It continues to be exciting to see what new has shown up in our garden!

πŸŒ…  πŸ¬  πŸŒ…
 The weather has been gorgeous, in the 70s most every day, and most days we walk the beach.  

A couple days ago the beach was littered with dozens of dead jellyfish.
They aren't really fish, more like a floating mouth and intestines in a big see-through muscle and a trail of tentacles behind.  
They have no brain but some have an automatic response that releases cells that are a painful toxin.  It paralyzes prey, and if it hits human skin it causes burning welts that really hurt.  Others kinds take in their prey with water and filter out the food part.  I'm pretty sure the ones dead on the beach this day were Cannonball jellyfish, not a stinging kind. 
Apparently jellyfish travel in groups and sometimes the current washes them up on shore.  As they are 93% water, once out of the water they quickly die.

🏑. 🏑. 🏑

And yes, it's only February but gardening has  begun!  Supposedly you can grow new plants from cuttings of celery, romaine lettuce, green onions, etc, and plant them in the garden when the roots grow.  
Why not try it?  Soon we will have a small salad from nothing!  

In the outdoor garden I have planted peas, greens, basil, beans, and we have a fig tree coming.  Mmmmm . . . good eating ahead!

πŸ˜‚. πŸ˜‚. πŸ˜‚. 
He who laughs last ... lasts! 

Friday, February 17, 2017

Valentine's Day Adventure

My Valentine and I celebrated the day with a drive up the coast to 
Wilmington, North Carolina.  
 We were in no hurry and got a late start, drove around the lovely old city and read historical markers on the buildings, 
admired the mansions built with cotton money, 
and looked around for a place to eat a late lunch.
We settled on this block, the old Cotton Exchange, a renovated area on the river that also used to be a Red Light District in what was quite a rowdy port town.

Cotton really was "king" in this area and almost all cotton that was grown in the Carolinas passed through the Port of Wilmington on the Cape Fear River.  
Alexander Sprunt & Sons was the largest cotton exporter in the U.S. in the late 1800s and he built the Cotton Exchange, the low building at the center of the photo.  During the cotton season he had 800 employees working in the exchange and on the docks.


I was surprised at the size of a cotton bale and awed at the apparent strength it must have taken to move them about.  This bound bale was nearly five feet tall and equivalent to more than three hay bales stacked on top of one another.  
It has to weigh at least 250-300 lbs.  

The Cotton Exchange is a labyrinth of stairways, alleyways, and odd levels of shops and restaurants. We chose Paddy's Hollow, a pub in The Cotton Exchange, for lunch.  The food was nothing out of the ordinary but we enjoyed the atmosphere of dark, low ceilings and old wooden decor.

 In 1861 Confederate soldiers began to join the sailors in port, bringing gamblers, prostitutes, swindlers, fighting, and alcohol to Wilmington, nearly destroying a previously quiet Southern town.  During its heyday, this small area along the river known as Paddy's Hollow had 39 saloons as well as numerous dance halls and brothels.  The town commissioners and local police force were overwhelmed with the soldiers pouring in and had no way of keeping up with the chaos they caused.  There is even a story of drunken Confederate soldiers seeing the blue uniforms of the local police, mistaking them for Union officers, and commencing to fire at them.
When Wilmington was captured by the North in 1865, Union soldiers took over the town and for awhile continued to enjoy all Paddy's Hollow had to offer.  

It was a fun Valentine's Day adventure and we are looking forward to going back as there is lots to see and lots of history there.

Oh, you were wondering what was in the Valentine owl bag in the first photo?  
Dark chocolate truffles and A&W root beer twizzlers.  
Yes, my Valentine does know the way to my heart!