Thursday, September 20, 2018

Look What Florence Brought Us!

As soon as we heard the south beach road was open on Pawleys Island, we were on our way. 

I was hoping for some pounding surf and big shells.

What is that?  Nothing we've ever seen on the beach before.

It's an eel!  A freshwater eel!  
What was it doing in the ocean?

I came home and learned a lot about eels. 

Yes, they do live in fresh water streams and estuaries most of their lives.  But after growing for five to ten years they are mature and stop feeding. Their guts begin to degenerate, their eyes double in size to see in deep water, and their swim bladders increase in number to help them swim a very long way.  In the autumn some begin making an epic journey from the rivers to the Atlantic Ocean, far out into the deep to an area of warm water called the Sargasso Sea. 

American eels come from all along the Atlantic, as far as Greenland to the north and South and Central America to the south, many from considerable distances inland.  After the long swim to their destination, females release 20-30 million eggs each, the males fertilize them, and then the adults die (it is assumed -- no one has ever witnessed the actual spawning).

Sadly, the journey of the eel we found on Pawleys beach was interrupted by a hurricane called Florence.  

Monday, September 17, 2018

Refugees No More

Dorothy knew what she was talking about, didn't she?

  We left Laurens early yesterday and did well using backroads rather than the Interstate.  Plenty of rain but nothing dangerous and Ms Google (as we call her) warned us whenever we should change our route because of flooding.    

We actually enjoyed the trip.  

Bob and Rosie are good travelers, and there are so many wonderful old things to see on the blue highways of South Carolina, the roads we prefer to travel.  This abandoned business is in the middle of nowhere near Santee.  

We had the best news when we got home: no damage to our house or trees.  Just a lot of tree stuff to pick up when all this is over. What a relief!  

Now we await flooding.  Georgetown is at the confluence of five rivers, on a bay of the ocean, with some tiny barrier islands between us and the Atlantic.  All the rivers north and west of us are gathering rain water and escorting it down through the coastal towns on the way to the sea in the next few days.  And meanwhile, it has not stopped raining here.

☔️   ⛈   ☔️
As happy as we are to be home, as tired as we got of that motel room, we are also grateful for sweet experiences in Laurens.  On Saturday we came back to our room after a drive and a picnic lunch and were completely surprised to find some kind person had left us a little note and two $20 McDonalds gift cards at the desk!  

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Hurricane Central -- Laurens SC Divsion

  The governor-ordered mandatory evacuation of Georgetown began at noon Tuesday and we scrambled to find accommodations that accept pets.  We ended up in the northwestern corner of the state in a motel in Laurens, pop. 9000.  Lucky for us, the old motel was just finishing renovations and we have a spacious room with all new furnishings, including fridge and microwave.  

Rosie, on the road, eyes peeking over the edge.  Very grumpy. 

Bob, thrilled to be going for a RIDE anywhere WITH THE PEOPLE, in the CAR.  Very happy!

  Last night from the motel: the outer bands of Flo.  You can begin to see the rotation in the clouds.  How can something so beautiful be so destructive and deadly?  The predictions change from hour to hour but at the moment it is expected to come ashore about an hour north of Georgetown at Myrtle Beach with winds reaching 105 mph and storm surge up to 13 feet. We will most likely be among the hurricane refugees in Laurens until Saturday of Sunday.

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Batten Down the Hatches, Florence is on Her Way!

  A hurricane can change its path and we hope that it does, but for the time being Florence is barreling right at us. 

  We will be without electricity for days if we get a direct hit. 
So we are getting food and fresh water ready, eating up what we can from the fridge and freezer. 

 Over the next day or two we will bring the potted plants inside, gas up the car, test the camp stove, and keep one eye on the National Weather Service at all times.

  It doesn't seem fair that we haven't even had a full week of the tourists being gone and our roads and beaches to ourselves before we are preparing for a hurricane.
 We have been waiting all summer to enjoy the new pier at the little beach community of Garden City.  They lost their pier in Hurricane Matthew and it took nearly two years to raise the money and get it built.  We had breakfast there this week with only the birds for company and it was so peaceful and lovely.  

There were a few fishermen about and some large boats working off the coast.  Not sure what they are doing.  

The amusement park gate is closed and locked.  

Plenty of parking places available on the street at the arcade.

The Labor Day sales are over, the beach toys not chosen tired and droopy.

I hope Florence doesn't smash up Garden City's lovely new pier.  

My daughter sent these pictures of Mason last night walking his dog, Annabelle, in the park.  Minnesota schools have K-4 (4-year old kindergarten) for the first time this year so Mason will be going to school and riding a big yellow school bus next week. He is over the moon with excitement and anticipation, his mama says.  

 Annabelle and his mama will miss him.  

Friday, August 31, 2018

Summer Art

There is a small art museum in Myrtle Beach that features artists with local ties that have made it big.  The exhibit this summer shows the work of Drew Brophy who spent his youth surfing and painting surf boards in Myrtle Beach.  He uses pens and spray paint to paint what he loves -- the oceans of the world and the surfers who ride their waves.  His style is whimsical, colorful, and unique, and we really enjoyed the exhibit.

What he began on surfboards he continued painting on skateboards, tshirts, shoes, caps, and eventually very large canvases, which he sold while surfing around the world. 

Cape Hatteras NC lighthouse, a Mecca for Carolina surfers.  

Many of the paintings are very large and it takes a long time to look because you keep discovering more fun details.  These are some of my favorites.

I love the boogie boards he does for kids.  My grandsons would have loved these!

The last painting (right) sums up how the exhibit made me feel. 
 It's called "Pure Joy"!

Friday, August 24, 2018

Moon River...Moon Over Miami...Moon FLOWER!

I didn't have a lot of hope that our moon flower would ever bloom.  I was inspired by a fellow blogger's photos of her gorgeous blossoms (  ) last year to buy a plant in the spring.  

It didn't do very well, in spite of fertilizer and plenty of water, and grew  one scraggly vine up the trellis with very few leaves, let alone signs of blooming.  

I kept looking for buds.  Nothing.  Then one day two big buds appeared that had not been there when I watered it the day before.  By late the same afternoon ...

the biggest bud began to unfurl in the 
brightest white ruffles.  

Within a couple hours ...

as the sun was setting, the blossom had opened to nearly the size of my hand.  

By the dawn the next day, the flower had shriveled and died, and there were seven more buds!  One of them opened the very next night.  We've have a little break now, but the rest should be opening on the next few nights.  And ... it's the full moon!  Maybe I'll get a shot like Gram's if I'm lucky!  
If I do, I'll be OVER THE MOON!  (Sorry, I couldn't stop myself.)

Monday, August 20, 2018

The World's Largest Rosebush

  The world's largest rose bush in Tombstone, Arizona, is part of The Writer's family history.  Its story began in 1884 when a young miner and his wife came from Scotland to work in the Tombstone mines.  The young woman, Mary, was very homesick and particularly missed the garden of her childhood home.  In time she received a package of bulbs and cuttings from plants in that Scottish garden, including cuttings from a Lady Banksia rose she herself had planted as a young girl.  
  A single cutting was planted behind a boarding house in Tombstone, which was purchased by the Macia family in 1920.  It grew surprising well in the Arizona desert climate that was so unlike Scotland, and the Macia's named their new business the "Rose Tree Inn."  
  It had inadvertently been planted over an underground stream and the availability of that water accounts for the fact that now, 130-some years later, it covers 9,000 square feet!  



It has never needed to be fertilized but has to be pruned in January to bloom for six weeks in March and April.  You can smell the scent all over town.  

  When The Writer was growing up, his uncle's family continued to own the inn and live there.  He and his brother spent weeks every summer with their cousins, climbing on top of the adobe walls around the garden, playing cowboys and Indians (it was the 50s, folks!) over-under-and-through the rose tree branches, riding horses, climbing landforms in the desert, and having exciting Western adventures.

Today The Rose Tree Inn is still owned by the family and it's a museum.  It's near the legendary O.K. Corral where a famous 1881 gunfight between a gang of outlaws called The Cowboys and The Law (which included Doc Holliday and the Earp brothers - Wyatt, Virgil and Morgan) erupted.  (Actually the gunfight took place six buildings away from the O.K. Corral, but what are mere facts in the face of Western novels and movies from the 1950s that insist on showing it happening at the O.K. Corral? ).  
  Thirty shots were fired in 30 seconds and three Cowboys lost their lives.  (If you think that was the end of that you'd be wrong.  A couple months later the Cowboys picked off Virgil (maimed) and Morgan (killed) in seperate ambushes on the streets of Tombstone. Wyatt took a hint and got out of Dodge, so to speak.  He continued fighting, gambling, and shyster-ing in California and managed to survive into his 70s.)

Well, that is my last post on our trip to Arizona.  That afternoon we headed back north to Phoenix, through the first rains of the monsoon season, with flooded roads and traffic brought to a halt for over an hour.  Close to Phoenix we drove through my first duststorm in the desert, which made the tv news that evening.  Then we gave up our luxurious rental car with the cooled seats, spent a few too-short hours sleeping in a hotel, and flew home to South Carolina.