Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Thanks, Canada!!

  I’d like to thank my Canadian friends for our weather this week, a huge humidity-clearing high pressure front pouring out autumn all over South Carolina.  Couldn’t be a more welcome— ahem— breath of fresh air!  As soon as it arrived, we got out and about to take advantage.  

  To start, here’s an early morning at the salt marsh.

We found a whole flock of wood storks feeding.  If you have sharp eyes, you might spot the four roseate spoonbills crashing the party. 
More spoonbills and an egret.  Also, a lot of oyster beds.

  Aren’t spoonbills gorgeous?  Their legs are red and their bodies pink because they eat shrimp. Shrimp eat algae, algae make their own red and yellow pigments, spoonbills eat shrimp, and voila! pink birds.

   A group of roseate spoonbills is called a bowl.  I don’t know why.
  You can see here how they get the second half of their name.  The spoon-shaped bills have touch receptors inside.  They swing their heads side to side, back and forth through the water, and when they feel vibrations of living things inside, they quickly snap the spoons together.  Because of this, they can feed at night and in murky water.  

  (This is not my photo.  It’s from the St. Louis zoo website.)


  A number of people live permanently on boats in Winyah Bay and Georgetown Harbor.  Sailboats are anchored offshore and other boats have permanent moorings on the Harbor Walk, a dock that runs along the water behind the stores on our main street . Conveniently, there are three (three!) ice cream shops on the Harbor Walk and I will admit, of a beautiful evening  we occasionally imbibe.  

  Ships’ cats throughout history have had a job to do — taking care of any vermin that come aboard.  While we enjoyed our ice cream (caramel pecan sea salt, if you must know) I think this guy was getting shipshape for the night watch.  One hopes that is not his unfortunate predecessor behind him!  

  While we were eating our ice cream his owner came strolling down the dock with a doggy bag (kitty bag?) from a restaurant in his hand.  As soon as the captain was in sight, the cat began “talking” and calling to him.  It was the cutest thing!  
  We have several more days of this beautiful Canadian air to enjoy and we have plans for every day of it.  

Saturday, September 19, 2020


“As women achieve power, the barriers will fall. As society sees what women can do, as women see what women can do, there will be more women out there doing things, and we’ll all be better off for it.”

– Ruth Bader Ginsburg

  Vote.  VOTE. VOTE. Not only for President but for Congress.  Not only for national but for state and local leaders where people, women people, get their start in politics.  Vote for school board and dog catcher and coroner.  Educate yourself.  Read both sides.  Use your best judgment and  


   Moved to do more?  Here are some addresses for organizations that are doing postcard campaigns to remind people to vote.  You add a personal message and drop them in the mail.  Most provide postage so you won’t even have to spend a cent. There are more at local and state levels also.





“Fight for the things that you care about, but do it in a way that will lead others to join you."

"To make life a little better for people less fortunate than you. That's what I think a meaningful life is. One lives not just for oneself, but for one's community."


Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Water Tower, Clock Tower

   When I was a kid in the ‘50 and ‘60s, my family traveled for a couple weeks every summer to see another part of our big country.  After hours of rolling along through endless countryside of grain fields and distant farms, the appearance of a silhouette of a water tower on the horizon was exciting. Slowly the name of another small American town would materialize painted on its side.

  The next item of interest to appear would be a sign announcing the town’s population which someone would read out loud, suggesting the possibility of a stop for gas, maybe an ice cold pop to share with your sister, or a even a delicious bakery treat.  

  At the very least, it meant buildings and people to break up the monotony of the miles, an opportunity to ponder what life might be like living in this little town.   

  The small town we live in now has just such a water tower. It has looked old and rusty for years and we thought it was probably not even used to hold water anymore.  We liked it though, especially because of the fading words painted on one side: “Georgetown A Character City”. Georgetown does have its share of characters!  

  One day in July something started happening to the water tower.  Trucks appeared with lots of equipment and soon a busy crew surrounded the legs with scaffolding and plastic wrapping that hid all from view.  Machinery whined and whirred with metal-on-metal sounds inside the plastic. Rusty dust billowed.  Were they cutting it up to dismantle it or what?  And then ...

  ...then one day they unwrapped it and revealed a whole new look!  Fancy new letters and a logo of the old town clock tower!  
  The real clock tower is on the waterfront and stands over an open air market, in use since 1788.  Behind it were the docks where rice, indigo,
and cotton crops from the plantations were loaded onto ships.  Beneath the tower was the slave market where enslaved people were brought up from Charleston and sold to the planters for work on their plantations. 
  The pictured Old Market Building was built in 1842 and the clock tower was added in 1845.  The photo was taken in 1899.

  In February of 1865, federal troops occupied the town and in this building Confederate officers signed surrender papers, handing Georgetown over to the Union army.  

Today, the Old Market Building is part of our town’s rice museum. The same tree still grows on the left, and behind the building is a harbor with a few working shrimp boats, a lot of sailboats and yachts, and the Harbor Walk which connects several waterfront parks.  

Monday, August 24, 2020

Seven Days of Rain and Counting

  Seven days of rain in a row now — so far.   We had an hour or so, maybe less, of dry this morning and got out and headed “up the neck”.  Waccamaw Neck is a long peninsula of land north from Georgetown with rivers on one side and barrier islands and ocean on the other.  There is only one road, Ocean Highway, up and you must cross two high and long bridges to get there.  Too often there is an accident on a bridge with traffic back-ups and nothing to do but wait until it clears.

  Most of our stores, medical services, etc, are Up the Neck and it’s just a fact of life that there will be delays.  Thank goodness for today’s cell phones.  If you have an appointment you just call and say, “There’s an accident on 17 so I’ll be there when it clears,” and they fit you in when you get there.  

 Last week we waited 30 minutes in this spot to get moving again.  

The views are nice, though, and you get there when you do.  

  Don’t think all traffic accidents and delays are on the bridges though.  This appeared in the town news on line last week.

  Shopping Up the Neck and in Georgetown has a whole new meaning these pandemic  days.  We don’t go in stores anymore, browse the aisles, exchange pleasantries or money.  Our shopping goes like this.

  For the hardware/garden store, you shop from pictures and pay on line and they notify you when your things are ready.  You drive Up the Neck, park in a special spot, and try to follow the somewhat confusing instructions on the sign.  Sometimes they work, other times you have to call the store service department.  Either way, eventually someone in a mask comes out, checks your I.D. through the window, places your stuff in the back of the car, and you’re on your way.  

  Walmart (groceries, prescriptions) has a similar system, but you send a text when you leave your home, they track your car and are often waiting with your order when you arrive. 

  Does this seem a little, um, 1984 to anyone else???

  If you have to wait a bit, no worries because there is lots of activity cavorting in this large drainage pond where you have a front row seat.  That thing that looks like a stick in the center — that’s a 4 foot alligator that entertained us.  The other dark spots are large turtles.  We counted nine with their heads out of the water at once this day.  

  Well, enough of that.  Let’s get to the real news.  

  For months I worked on a little project.  Months because — I made it and remade it three times!  The first time the color was wrong when we got a little important information about its recipient.  The second time I didn’t realize it was getting wonky from uneven tension (crocheting too tightly (me - stressed), then too loosely (me - relaxed)).  Instead of a rectangle we had a rhomboid,and I frogged it and began once again. Third time was the charm.

So ... 

Meet Jack, our ninth (9th!) grandSON!  

  Masked and socially-distanced, we are looking forward to seeing him for the first time this weekend.  

Friday, July 24, 2020

I’m Not Gonna Lie

  As the kids say, I’m not gonna lie.  I haven’t been too busy to blog, I’ve just had a hard time thinking of anything going on in my life that is upbeat, blog-worthy, or interesting.  

  Well, it is fig season and I do love fresh figs.  

Here’s my breakfast bowl today, toasted oats, nuts, and fruits. 

Who could resist this bowlful of goodness ?   

  Our birds are enjoying the design of a new feeder filled with the addition of peanuts and a millet-thistle mix to their daily black oiler sunflower seeds.  We’ve had as many as ten birds pile on it at once, inside and on the edges of the tray, chowing down cheek to cheek.

  It’s my little sister’s birthday today so I thought I’d share her card with you.  (I’m the big sister on the right, wearing my “car coat” which I thought was about the coolest and most sophisticated thing ever. You can’t see them here but we were both wearing our black and white saddle shoes, polished and shined every Saturday night).

   Books, puzzles, yoga, podcasts, an hour of Netflix or Britbox or PBS each night, a bike ride or walk in the neighborhood in outrageous heat and humidity, chased by a cloud of mosquitoes . . . 

 — that’s about all I’ve got.  

P.S. Anyone want to trade 500-piece puzzles through the mail? Between my knee surgery last winter and current conditions, I have an embarrassing number of them to offer!  (Photos upon request.)

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

A Few Photos

  It’s been a while so I thought I’d put up a few photos so you know I’m still around.  As we live in one of the states with the soaring number of Covid cases, we don’t get out much beyond a walk in the neighborhood or, once in awhile, a very early one on the beach where it’s turtle nesting time.  I’ve shown their nests before but recently we came upon something called a “false crawl”.  

  That’s where a female turtle comes up out of the ocean at night and heads up the beach toward the dunes, looking for a place above the tide line to lay her eggs.

  If not interrupted, she will dig a hole and deposit about 120 eggs, cover them, and make her way back to the water.  The eggs will incubate in the hot sand and then 55-60 days later, they will hatch.  The babies will dig their way out of the sand and follow each other in a long line down to the water, to begin their lives in the sea.

  However, if something interrupts the mother at nest building, if she hears a dog bark, sees the flashlight or camera flash of someone walking the beach, or a yard light or even interior light from a house, she will abandon her efforts.

  In the photo above you can see her path toward the dunes and below, the nest she began to dig.  

  This nest was not finished, abandoned early in her attempt.

  And here, her return path to the sea.  The outer marks are her legs and feet and the line down the middle, her tail.  It takes an enormous effort for a sea turtle to move this far on land and any attempt that is abandoned reduces her chances of making a successful nest for the season.  Sea turtles are endangered so every successful nest is precious.  They are protected animals and it’s illegal to have any lights on the beach at night during turtle nesting time, May - October.  But, people don’t always obey the law.  
   🐢   🐢   🐢

A few more photos ...
Great blue heron with his eye on the fishing pole to the right
He will snatch the bait if given half a chance!  

  Anhinga drying his wings on a rice gate structure
Unlike most water birds, anhingas don’t have oil glands.  Their feathers get soaked with water and the weight helps them submerge to fish, swimming along with only their heads above the water.  Then in order to fly they have to dry their wings.  Their nickname is “snakebird” and I’m sure you can see why.

  The Writer giving his nightly concert from the sunroom
  A gift of Covid, sheltering-in has provided us both with extra time to pursue things somewhat neglected when we could travel — music for him, art for me.  The music brings me back to the times when we lived in the Appalachian Mountains without electricity and I would often fall asleep to the sweet sounds of him singing and playing the folk songs we both loved.  

And last, a photo of Mason to make you smile, 
a happy dog-and-boy reunion after a day apart.  

Saturday, June 20, 2020

Old Bottles

   When we bought our house four years ago, workmen repairing the foundation pulled out a box of old bottles from underneath.  I’ve never had much interest in old bottles beyond the way light comes through colored ones on the windowsill, so the box sat around for four years with only the occasional thought as to what we should do with them.  Finally, with all the time on our hands during the pandemic, I decided to take a closer look. After all, our house sits on the grounds of the old Maryville Plantation with a history of rice beginning in the 18th century.  Maybe there was a story or two there.  

  The bottle on the left contained Hoyt’s German Cologne, the one in the center, Rubifoam for the Teeth, and blue bottle on the right says Bromo Caffeine. And therein lies a tale (or two).  

  This building in Georgetown was likely where they were purchased.  Now the home of a popular restaurant, Big Tuna (currently closed because workers tested positive for the corona virus), it was originally Iseman’s Drug Store. Dr. Iseman, a physician, sold wholesale and retail drugs as well as stationary, perfume, “fancy goods”, and toilet articles, like Rubifoam tooth cleaner.  

   Rubifoam was created by E.W. Hoyt in the 1880s and manufactured in Lowell, Massachusetts.  Taking its name from the bright red color of the liquid, it was widely advertised on colorful decorative trade cards and in magazines.


“A Perfect Liquid Dentifrice. Cleanses, Preserves and Beautifies the teeth. Heals and hardens the gums. Leaves a refreshing coolness in the mouth. Imparts a delightful fragrance to the breath." 

 A 4-inch light purple bottle cost 25c.  
Hmm, do you think it stained your teeth red like red Koolaid does!

  As you can see on the card, the same man invented and manufactured Hoyt’s German Cologne.  That’s the product that made Hoyt famous and by 1877 there was such a demand that he sold the tooth cleaner business to employees and concentrated on the cologne.  

  There was nothing German about Hoyt’s German Cologne, Hoyt just thought calling it that would make it sound more cosmopolitan and classy.  It originally sold for $1 a regular bottle, about $22 in 2020 dollars, or 50c for the size in the photo at the top.  Pretty pricey, I think!  The card above and others that advertised both products were scented with the cologne and passed out as advertising to entice buyers.  

  Bromo Seltzer (blue bottle in the photo above) was invented in 1888 to relieve heartburn and upset stomachs.  When mixed with water, the result was a fizzy drink.  Bromide, its chief ingredient, has a tranquilizing effect which likely accounts for its popularity as a headache and hangover remedy.  Unfortunately, bromide is toxic and the formula was changed in 1975 so it no longer contains bromide.  
  Here is how it was described in advertising in the 1800s:
“For brain workers. This delightful effervescent salt is an almost certain remedy for the relief of the nervous headache resulting from overtaxed mental energy or excitement, acute attacks of indigestion, the depression following alcoholic excesses, the supra-sensitiveness of chloral, morphia, and opium habitues, and with ladies the headache and backache of neurasthenia, hysteria, dysmenorrhoea and kindred disorders. A great boon and prompt source of relief in almost all cases of headache and distress attending mental fatigue and physical exhaustion, it commends itself especially to physicians, teachers, clergyman, lawyers, merchants and others following professions or pursuits requiring nerve energy subjecting to mental strain.“
And this catchy little tune for the ladies:
With nerves unstrung and heads that ache. 

             Wise women Bromo Seltzer take. 

   The other bottles in the box weren’t as interesting as these three.  Many were chipped or even smashed, stained with questionable contents, and have gone to their final resting place at the recycle center.  Each bottle above is worth about $12 on EBay or Etsy but these three will remain on our windowsill to remind us of those who lived here before us.