Monday, March 30, 2020

The Gift (?) of Time

  It happened so fast.  A couple short weeks ago we hadn’t a clue how much life would change almost overnight. It has felt like the hours in our day were thrown into a hat, vigorously shaken, then dumped out and handed back to us.  Without the bones — the routines dictated by appointments, chores, habits, responsibilities —
 we went adrift a bit, frightened, anxious, twitchy, unable to concentrate.  
  

  We don't get out of our PJs as quickly as we did BC (Before Corona) (unless it’s senior day at the grocery store, 6-7a.m. Tuesdays). 

  I linger over the blogs I read, obsessively stalk the birds in our yard. Saturday night we had a fifteen minute hoot-off between two barred owls outside our bedroom window.  It was awesome!  Did you know owls bark?  

I have more time to read books, more time to enjoy a Facebook book group I’m in and offer more than a “like”.  I have deleted some news sources and added a group on “slow stitching” for inspiration.






  The state parks we frequent have closed with their  hiking trails and beautiful beaches.  I miss my favorite trees! The small beach we still have access to will likely close any day.  

   Our walks now are in our quiet neighborhood and we have a new appreciation for our local sunrises.  This morning on Winyah Bay  ....


  The grandboys are home from school, their parents working from home, and with extra time for family we have discovered Marco Polo, a free and easy app for leaving video messages for each other.  Guess who learned to ride his two-wheeler!  



... and use the mixer to make cookies!

   The worst has not hit us here in our state yet.  Sadly, our governor still has not given the “shelter in place” order so it is expected that we will be one of the states with high illness and death rates.  Mayors and town councils are trying to close down public places now on their own but are being threatened by the state Attorney General with lawsuits for “overstepping their authority”.  
It’s a mess.

What can we do but laugh? 





And my favorite ...


Sunday, March 22, 2020

‘Getting Out’ While Sheltering In



 When I headed out for my walk early this morning I could easily pretend it was any ordinary March morning, one before we ever heard of corona virus or Social Distancing.  

The wisteria and azaleas are in bloom, the birds were singing everywhere, and every step I took I gave thanks for still being able to take a walk. 

 My daughter in Munich texted last night that they are now allowed only to go for a solo walk in their own city block, to the grocery store, or ‘apothecary’.  She works from home, lives alone in a small city apartment; so far away from home it’s tough to be so isolated.  

  I want to share a couple links that have brought us pleasure as we stay home. The first one is nature sounds from our beautiful national parks, “ PARKTRACKS will virtually transport you to national parks across the country with sounds captured by the National Park Service.”  The second is for full length concerts from our nation’s wonderful symphony orchestras, also free.  



  I also want to recommend the movie we watched last night, Its a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood.  Its a moving and uplifting story based on the life of Mister Rogers from the children’s tv show and it’s delightful.  

  I know several of my readers live alone and I want you to know you are not abandoned, you are thought of daily with fondness and caring.  I hope you all find happiness in counting your blessings this Sunday.  
You, my blogging friends, are one of my great blessings.  




Friday, March 20, 2020

Facing Facts: The New Normal

  Like everyone else’s everywhere, our path has taken an unexpected detour, derailed by a tiny piece of genetic material with a protein coat and a crown ...
Coronavirus.

  In a few days our little world of 9,000 — Georgetown,SC, USA —  has shrunk to the few people we can see from our doorstep.

 Schools, public buildings, businesses all have makeshift CLOSED signs taped to their doors.  A few continue to serve the public from drive-up windows and medical clinics offer triage and procedures while you remain in the parking lot in the safety of your car.  The Sheriffs Department will now deliver your prescription to your door so seniors don’t have to risk catching germs in line at the pharmacy.

A month ago this would only be the stuff of an apocalypse movie plot!

  Like everyone everywhere, we had plans.  We had to-do lists, we had appointments, a 93-year old mother and a brand new grandchild awaiting our visit.  


  Like everyone everywhere, we have cancelled the plans, stocked the freezer and pantry, laid in our prescriptions for a month.  We wash our hands frequently and now maintain a safe distance from all humans except each other, six or eight or ten feet, depending on who you believe.  

  Now what?  

  Little by little the reality of what this pandemic might mean is sinking in.  With it, in the dark of night, anxiety and fear steal in, wash over us, threaten our equilibrium.  

But, there is no comfort, nothing is accomplished, in fretting over that which you cannot control.  So, we hope, we adjust, and life goes on.  
  We live near many beautiful secluded trails, luckily still open, so we can still get out of the house to hike and bike.  




  



 
 
  
Huntington Beach State Park, live oak cluster. 

































Santee Coastal Preserve, “Christmas Wreath” lichen.




First gator of the season, Santee Coastal.




Emerging water plants  
Santee Delta Wildlife Management Area



  So, that’s what we have been up to: 
forest bathing — soaking up the beauty of spring while boosting our immune systems with phytoncides, NKs (natural killer cells) from the trees and plants. 

  Why not?  They’re free, it’s fun, it’s “social distancing”, it can’t hurt while we all wait for a Covid-19 vaccine to come along!  


Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Hopsewee Plantation and the Declaration of Independence

  There are many restored plantations in the Lowcountry that give tours, some with beautiful gardens, all with deep roots in history. One very near us, Hopsewee Plantation, is still a private home but is partly open for tours and has a tea room serving lunch and high tea in a pretty cottage with a view of the river, the home, and the gardens.  Hopsewee was a Native American word for high point on the water.  


  The house, built of black cedar from the neighboring swamps, has had no major changes since it was built in 1740 by Thomas Lynch Sr. as the 240-acre centerpiece of his rice kingdom on the banks of the North Santee River.  Mr. Lynch owned a total of seven plantations and 180 enslaved people to grow Carolina Gold rice.  
 
 In 1776 Lynch was invited to Philadelphia by General George Washington to assist with the  creation of a document declaring independence from England.  While there he suffered a paralyzing stroke and was no longer able to write his name.  His son, Thomas Jr., age 26, was summoned north to sign the document in his father’s place.

  His signature on the Declaration of Independence was young Lynch’s moment of fame.  Suffering from “swamp fever” (malaria) all his life, only three years later in 1779, he and his wife set sail for France in hopes of improving his health.  The ship they were on was lost at sea and no trace ever found.  Lynch was 30 years old.  

  Little has changed on the Santee and the view today is much the same one as the Lynches would have enjoyed fanning themselves from the summer heat on the front porch 280 years ago.  

  Several outbuildings also still stand.  One is a mill where the hulls were rubbed from the edible rice grains.   Others were slave cabins.

  The camellias were in bloom the day we were there and the river fast and high from flooding.  



This sweet girl waited by the door of the River Oak Cottage Tea Room to greet each guest with a burrup, a rub and a purr.



  While we enjoyed the lovely spring day watching the river flow by from this swing, a swimming river otter performed dives and rolls for us.    

  We really enjoyed our lunch served on embroidered tablecloths with delicate English china and lots of sparkling glassware and silverware.  We also enjoyed sneaking peeks at a jolly group of ladies with a tantalizing spread of little desserts for an English tea.  I think we might go back one day for that ourselves.   After all, it’s just down the road!  

Sunday, March 1, 2020

Where the Wild Things Are

   At the Wild Rumpus Books for Young Readers Bookstore in Minneapolis, of course!
And so is my grandson Mason, age 5.   (Not pictured, the free-roaming chicken that greets the children, the chinchilla, the snoozing ginger cat named Booker T, or the rat house, etc.) 


  Mason’s book choice: an “essential companion” for JK Rowlings’ Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.  We haven’t read it yet, but The Writer and I are fans of the author and, on Mason’s recommendation, will be checking it out soon.
 ( Must keep up so we can converse intelligently with the grandboys when we see them in June! )

Rubeus Hagrid, a Mexican Fireleg tarantula 
resides in his home amid the fantasy books 
and books about spiders.  

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

My Funny Valentine(s)

  I thought you might enjoy seeing a couple of my Valentine cards.  The first one is from Bob the Border Collie.




















The next one is from Rosie the cat.




















Their personalities, captured so well ....



Imperious Rose.



And exuberant Bob.  



Rosie will be 14 years old in April, in people years an old lady cat. We’ve had to change her diet recently from dry crunchies to wet food and it continues to be a challenge to find something she will eat.  Here she has rejected yet another smelly offering.  Bob is licking her chops, hoping for the rejects, and Rosie is telling her she is one disgusting dawg!  

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Woo Hoo! Back at the Beach!

  First beach walk (on my new knee).  I thought it would be hard getting through the loose sand and out to the harder surface near the water, but it was fine and we enjoyed a long walk.  It couldn’t have been a more beautiful day to be out there.  

  Horseshoe crab bodies are beginning to appear, as are washed-up jelly fish.  

Also lots of these ... 


  Pen shells, home of an edible mollusk related to clams, wash ashore as the waters begin to warm.  They can grow to be 12 inches long, I’ve read, but the ones we see are four to maybe five inches long.  

  In the water, the pen shells dig down into the sand with their pointed end until only the fringe top part of the shell is left above the sand.  Then they spin threads from a gland in their foot and attach themselves to a hard object such as a piece of rock or a large buried shell.  

  These threads (called byssus) were harvested in ancient Mediterranean countries and China and weavers wove the “sea silk” into highly prized golden yellow cloth.  The practice continued into the 20th century and there are still a few artisans who continue the tradition in Sardinia. 

  Now the main value of the pen shells is their job as filter feeders that help to keep our increasingly polluted seas a little cleaner.

  Once a pen shell is pulled loose from the bottom it cannot reattach, and these are the pen shells that wash up on the beach.  

  That isn’t all we found at the beach though.  Someone had been having a whole lot of delightfully creative fun!  



















Woo Hoooo!  So good to be back at the beach!