Friday, December 30, 2016

Cleaning House

Blog-wise that is.  I thought I better catch up before the new year begins, so this post should wrap things up in my photo files.  

1. The plantation house in my last post was given to the state along with the land that once 
made up the rice plantation. 

The house is empty but maintained by the park service 
and tours are available. 

 Someday they plan to furnish it inside as it once was.

2. On Christmas Day we went to the beach for a picnic and a walk.  We thought there might be no one else there but a surprising number of people were out enjoying the beautiful weather.  And the people watching was superb!  There were children in bathing suits running in and out of the water and there were other people bundled up in parkas and boots!  

Dog walkers, 
a man riding a Segue,
a heavily-laden shrimp trawler low in the water and 
heading home with the catch


Gulls hoping for a handout from our picnic basket

3. The only Christmas snow in South Carolina ...
4. The roses and camellias blooming in front of our house ...
5. Rosie's favorite Christmas present -- boxes with paper!

6. In case you haven't heard this version of the Christmas story ...


 My grandma always said that you should leave no projects unfinished 
going into the new year.  Something about you would be 
behind in your work all the next year if you left a basket of ironing or a crochet project incomplete.  

So there, 2016 on my blog is tidied up and ready for a calendar change!

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

A Quiet Christmas Eve

We spent most of our Christmas outside as the weather was so lovely.  On Christmas Eve we took a picnic to Hampton Plantation State Park.  
After sandwiches and fruit, we went for a hike among the giant oaks that grace the front lawn of the plantation. 

The house sits on a small rise and in front of it stretches the great lawn where the Horrys used to hold horse races between the oaks on Sundays.  A fine view it must have been of the proceedings from seats on the front porch.

The house was built in the 1735, with additions in 1757 and the porch and portico in 1790.
Nearest the plantation is the Washington Oak, which has a story behind it.  In 1791, President George Washington visited the Horry family when the tree was just about to be cut down.  Eliza, mistress of the plantation, complained that the tree blocked the view and thought it should be removed.  Washington said the tree should  be spared, it was, and still stands today.


The Washington Oak is historic but it's not the most beautiful tree left on the front lawn.  Look at these!
An old tree is known as an Angel Oak when its branches become so heavy 
that they begin to grow along the ground.   I sat on this branch for awhile and soaked in the peace and tried to feel the spirit of this old behemoth.  If I closed my eyes and concentrated, I could hear the thunder of the racing horses and smell the hot sand and grass they kicked up so long ago.



A whole ecosystem grows on the branches, including resurrection ferns, moss, lichens, fungi.

I love all the textures in the old bark. 

We finished our hike before sundown and came home to a quiet Christmas Eve dinner, a movie, and some FaceTime on the iPad with my family back in Minnesota.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

A Different Christmas

It's Christmas Eve day and normally I would be shoveling the snow from the driveway and getting ready for a houseful of family.  Things would be whipping and rolling and baking in the kitchen for tonight's smorgasbord of Norwegian treats and my mom would be asking if I want to go pick us up a "Caribou", the Minnesota equivalent of a Starbucks coffee.  "My treat!" she always says.
  Christmas carvings by my dad 
Not this year.  

This is my first Christmas ever away from my daughters and my grandsons.  My first year of Christmas in a warm climate.  

Things change, the last chapter of a loved book always ends.  The memories are ours to keep forever, but if we don't open another book and enter it with an open heart, we will always live in the past and never enjoy a new adventure.

So, we are making some new traditions, blended in with the tried and true.  
Instead of jule kage (Norwegian Christmas bread with candied fruit) we are having The Writer's family nut bread.  
Instead of by reindeer and sleigh, Christmas presents came via the mailman.  
Instead of the excitement and exuberance of four little boys, we will have soft
 Christmas music and a leisurely pace.  

I have The Writer, The Writer has me.  

And it will be Christmas 

and it will be good!

Fondest Wishes to you and yours
for a 
Very Merry Christmas! 

(The wooden ornaments pictured were carved by my dad from beach wood)

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Beautiful Things

Beautiful Thing #1
Small Boy Decorating Christmas Cookies
in his superhero Halloween costume


Beautiful Thing #2
Raindrops on a Perfect Winter Camelia Blossom



Saturday, December 17, 2016

Come By and See My Christmas Decorations

I've been enjoying seeing other folks' Christmas decorations on their blogs so thought I'd share a few of mine.  I haven't added any new one for many years.  In fact, the Writer gave away all his and I gave away at least 50 percent of my Christmas decorations when we moved. 

It has been fun finding just the right spot for each of them in our new house and I have a feeling they are not all in the right spot yet!  

My dad made the wooden  Swedish Christmas tree and the ornaments are from the 1930s and '40s.  Some were my great aunt's.

I have several Santas, this being the smallest one.  I bought him myself when The Writer and I had our first home and he is made of fabric and pipe cleaners.

The reindeer is from the 1950s, back when plastic was new and called celluloid.  He is the only one left of a team held together with red ribbon and pulling a sleigh.


Three hand-carved tall Santas sit on the fireplace mantle on the right ... 


and this one on the left.

The celluloid Santa on the right has a light inside.  I think my parents bought him in the late 1940s for their first home. 
 I have eight of the small figures on the left, made of paper and pipe cleaners.
The rest of the gang -- made in Japan in the early '50s and purchased at Woolworths Dime Store for 10 cents.  I just looked them up on EBay and they are going for $16.50 to 19.00. Nice to know, if I'm ever hard up enough to sell them! 
(Don't ask me why the stocking stuffer second from the left has a bulbous red nose!  I've always wondered myself.) 

I have a few more to show you, but I'll save them until next time.

🎄🎄I hope you are enjoying your weekend!🎄🎄

Thursday, December 15, 2016

'December Nights, Holiday Lights'

Well, my blog friends, I hope you are in the mood for more Christmas lights.

One million lights, to be exact!

We had a Christmas celebration with part of the family last weekend that included a 
 nighttime visit to the Savannah Botanical Gardens and it was, indeed, a Christmas wonderland of color and lights.
First you walked through the Formal Garden, a sea of thousands of little white and gold lights.

At the back of the Formal Garden, you entered a 90 foot tunnel of different colored       lighted hoops.
The blue lights in the back of this display are on individual bamboo stalks in the 
Historical Bamboo Grove.  

These animated angels were taller than I am.

They made beautiful music
for the eyes and ears.

 More bamboo, green this time, with deer.
Crape Myrtle Allee

Every brightly colored tree had tiny sparkling stars projected on the branches.
My favorite!
This area of the gardens is the old agricultural research part.  The orange trees are decorated with orange balls of light and above, the grape arbor is hung with clusters of purple lights reminiscent of the grapes that grow there in summer.


The Orchid House lit from within 

  Season's Greetings from the Family!

(The 2-year old is missing because he could not be corraled in time for the photo!)
P.S. If any of my commenters would like to receive a Christmas card from me, e-mail me your home address.  I would love to send you one!

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

A Tuesday in December

I've been doing what I suppose most people are doing at this time of year: getting ready for Christmas.  Last week we went to Charleston to shop at the outdoor City Market, where shoppers have shopped for over 200 years.  Originally built for plantation owners and farmers to sell their meat, fish, and produce, it's now a registered National Landmark and a place for tourists and local artisans to come together.  

It was a very rainy, dark day when we were there, too rainy to take pictures, so this is what it looks like in the summer.



 On the right above you can see Gullah baskets made by descendants of the slaves brought from Africa 
from local grasses.

It took us two trips up and down the four city blocks of mostly outdoor stalls 
to complete our mission.  


By this time, we were looking for a place to sit down, and we weren't the only ones.


And this guy ...  sound asleep on his elbows!

Both of the paintings are by Lowcountry Gullah artist, Jonathan Green.  We have prints of this one and several others in our house.

Raised by his grandmother near Beaufort, Green paints Gullah people and traditions that he remembers from his childhood.

I can't show you what I did buy because, you know, Christmas secrets.  
Which I finished wrapping and boxed up to take to the post office to ship off to Minnesota this morning.  
But here is the best one I DIDN'T buy.  
Next up: cookie baking!


Thursday, December 8, 2016

Small Town America: Georgetown Christmas Boat Parade

Not many days are left until Christmas to get all the fun stuff done and ready in time.  As you can see,  Rosie is busy
 "helping" us get ready.  As soon as I start working on a project she materializes out of nowhere and gets right in the middle of things.  She has plenty to say when you try to move her, too!

Last weekend was the Georgetown Christmas boat parade, one of the perks of living on the coast and a new Christmas tradition for me.  It was pretty impressive for a small town, drew a big turnout, and we enjoyed it very much.  Can't imagine the work and agility that goes into stringing all those lights up.

The sheriff's boat led off the parade and the US Coast Guard brought up the rear.
Besides all of us lined up on the Harbor Walk decks, there were boats full of people anchored out in the bay to watch.
Santas of every shape and size put in an appearance.

In spite of the balmy weather, there were plenty of snowmen.
Some of the boats had sound systems playing carols and others had live music like this one with carolers on the back.

Coast Guard Santa was wearing his life vest, setting a good example for all the kids watching.
So many small towns in America have completely lost their downtowns to the big box stores out by the highways.  We are happy we chose to be a part of a little town that has survived and kept its identity.  

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Hello, Goodbye, and Art on the Beach to Soothe the Soul

It's been quite a week.  It began as a happy trip to spend time with my mom in Florida and ended with two tragedies, with a lot of driving inbetween.

We had planned the trip for when we could get care for the dogs but at the last minute Paul's daughter was unable to care for them.  No room in the inn at any of the dog boarding kennels or the vet so we finally had to ask a sweet neighbor.  Since we are new in the neighborhood we hate to impose on new friends but it couldn't be helped.  

Rosie (my cat) is quite self-sufficient and prefers to be left on her own with food, water, and litter boxes.  No visitors, please!  The dogs, however, need people, so Malcolm it was.  

Bob the border collie, 
Tybee the Chow/German shepherd mix.

Tybee was 18 1/2 years old but healthy and happy except for arthritis in his back and back legs.  So it was a shock when we got a call that he suddenly passed away with his big old head on Malcolm's lap Thursday afternoon.  
We got up very early Friday morning to get on the road for the 9 1/2 hour drive home to take care of Tybee.   Maybe an hour into the trip The Writer received a phone call.  His nephew was killed in Korea in a tragic accident!  He was 34 years old and left behind a wife and two very young sons.  This young man was a Peace Corps worker in Africa, now teaching English in Korea.  Why, why, why ...


Photos from the Beach -- Art by Mother Nature


So, how was your week?  I'll be around soon for a visit to your blog.