Saturday, March 12, 2016

Learning the Rhythm of the Low Country

It's been a very long time since my year had a completely new rhythm to it and I didn't know what to expect. The natural world in Minnesota couldn't be any more different from South Carolina, and every week brings a new surprise.





The buds on the sweet gums became leaves overnight.



The land around us used to grow rice and cotton and I can only imagine what the seasons' rhythms were like then. Once those crops were no longer profitable, those plantations became pine plantations to feed the paper and building industries.

On the other side of our road is a pine plantation and the piney woods where we walk most every day. Yesterday men with flame throwers came to set the woods on fire and burn the underbrush.


There was lots of smoke so we closed up all the windows and left for the day.








A few fallen logs were still smoldering this morning.

Still acrid and sharp, the smell hung over the field just beyond the woods.








The heavy yellow pollen bombs hang in the pines, ready to coat everything,

and I mean EVERYTHING,

with their sticky pollen.








It's daffodil time and this is a daffodil field near friends' house on Rabbit Island.

It just opened for the season this week.




The small sign on the far left tells pickers to watch out for fire ants. If you've never felt their bite ... well, you do not want to!

And unfortunately you never get just one as several tend to swarm upon you and one ant can inflict more than one bite before you can get it off.


Say good morning to Bob. She is giving me the stink eye for allowing this bath to happen to her. Spring cleaning you know.

You can say hello to The Writer, too, if you'd like. He's in charge of dog baths.

I take care of the cat. She takes her own baths.








And these pictures are for Far Side, who also has a border collie, Chance. You can read her Minnesota blog here.




Border collie. Herder of all things. Ball obsessed. Vacuum cleaner attacker. Roller in deer, um, manure.

She's six.












Was once the cutest Chow puppy ever born (I hear).

Almost 17. Grumpy old man with dragon breath. Smokes cigars. Arthritic.

On principle performs the opposite of any command or request.







  1. I know what you mean about the change in rhythms, we moved here from Southern California, desert to swamp. We have our house sprayed for bugs every 3 months and our bug man sprays outside for ants, hate ants.

  2. Controlled burns always scare me! I'm afraid they'll go out of control (which they sometimes do here in CO). Our lodgepoles put off pollen in late June - it covers everything with a fine yellow dust.

  3. Both lovely looking dogs, I bet they give you hours of fun.

  4. Cynthia you live among the great nature but Iit would be very difficult to survive as an allergic person..

  5. Ha ha - yes for the size of the Fire Ants they sure pack a mighty "punch".

    Controlled burn offs - always scary but professionals (as these no doubt are)
    know what they are doing. Amateurs are another scary matter.
    Sensible to "high tail" the hell out of the vicinity, the smoke is sometimes
    very over powering.

    Dog washes: Ah the joys - My "Monty" in PNG, a dog of a thousand breeds - he was
    what was called a "kanaka" dog, but looked like a very miniature Alaskan husky,
    God only knows where in tropical PNG, anyone had a husky???
    He was scared stiff of water - to him water was only for drinking.
    Monty seemed to know when a weekend was. He was prepared to be tied up when I went off
    to school, but come weekends - tying up meant washing and he would take off.
    Stealth was needed for the monthly wash and an expert I became.
    After my days in PNG, at the hotel in West Wyalong we got a Labrador, also to be named
    Monty. I am quite sure Monty #2 would have even loved going into the washing machine.
    He loved water!
    The men's wash room was on the upstairs verandah and I am sure Monty #2 had many showers with
    the young permanent male guests - Bank Tellers, Shearers, School teachers and the overnight
    pilots who stayed. He would be wet at the strangest of times and not from any rain!

    From the look of "Bob's evil eye", he would have been good mates with my Monty #1.
    Colin (7.30 am Sunday 13th)

    1. A dog that took baths with strangers! Colin, you really need to have a blog. Or write a memoir. Your stories are hilarious!

    2. I tried for ages to get Colin to write his stories on a blog but he is so stubborn and just wouldn't try. I even set one up for him but no, he would rather fill other peoples comments with his stories. Funny fellow.

  6. Loved your description of the dogs and the atink eye is priceless! Greetings to the Writer, too!

  7. The differences between different parts of the world never cease to amaze me. I don't know why - it's illogical. Even so - fire ants: thankfully, we do not have them; I can only imagine what they must be like. I reckon the worst we get is wasps - maybe hornets; the larger ants tend to stick to woodlands and I doubt they are of a species that would trouble you anyway. The benefits of blogging - it's a huge learning experience. Nice to be introduced to the family - we don't have pets ourselves, but I love border collies - such intelligent creatures.

  8. I'm happy we don't have your fire ants. Your Bob is a beautiful girl and I love your description of Tybee, I can just picture him. Amazing how they don't burn down all the trees!

  9. Hello to the writer and supreme dog washer! I like your Bob, she looks sweet, and we understand about the ball attraction! But what else do you really have to do all day but throw the ball!! She has a beautiful markings! The aged Tybee probably just has hearing problems! Looks like a great pack! :)

  10. So those that come to burn the undergrowth have a 'name'. If that was done here we wouldn't have so many busy fires. Would still have them though.
    A new place of abode always brings new things especially in a different climate.

  11. A nice post to read and learn something about life in South Carolina. The dogs look very sweet, glad I have a cat I don't need to wash!

  12. I too know what you mean about rhythms. My move wasn't as drastic as yours but just being in a new community brings with it changes and not all as welcome. I too would have had to leave while the burning was going on as fires like that affect my breathing. I hope this is the last time for a while you will have to deal with them.

    I also know all about fire ants. Once my son, then aged 4 sat on a nest of them. I stripped him while running for the pool which I tossed my son in as the only way to stop the biting of that many. He was terrified of them for years after that.

  13. Meant to add Hello, Writer. Nice to meet you.

  14. I love that we live in a country that has so much variety: weather, terrain, culture. and beautiful nature. The dogs look happy and well cared for...

  15. Bob and Tybee are beautiful dogs. I've never been to South Carolina. Thank you for sharing it with me. You really did make a huge move!

  16. They are clever dogs but full of energy.

  17. Wow - we've both been writing about fires - glad yours remained controlled. I have moved many times and often to new countries, I find the first year exciting but there is a certain reassurance which comes with knowing the rhythms (i like the way you describe this) of the place. You have a very controlled dog bath happening with our crazy poodle it's more like a massive water fight, I often end up the wettest!
    Wren x