Saturday, April 30, 2016

Two Cemeteries


Beneath this grassy field lie the tired bones of those who came to America on slave ships, were sold in the Charleston and Savannah slave markets and purchased to work the rice fields of the Lowcountry by white planters like the Huguenins of Roseland Plantation. The Huguenins owned 329 slaves who worked the 25,000 acres of Roseland Plantation rice and cotton fields.

The island we live on is surrounded by that plantation land.

The slave cemetery on Roseland Road is a beautiful resting place for those hardest working of slaves, those who built and labored in the disease and mosquito-ridden rice fields.

No one knows how many men, women, and children are buried here, who they were, how they died. If the graves of slaves were marked at all, it was with a pile of shells, a small bouquet of wildflowers, a wooden cross long ago turned to dust.

There are a few old marked graves, of slaves who died after the Civil War and Emancipation.


"Our Beloved Pastor, Rev. P. Smalls

Born Sept. 1, 1807, Died July 21, 1887"





Surrounding the field of unmarked graves are the modern graves of the descendants of the slaves who still live up and down Roseland Road.

One of the newest graves is that of a little boy, 8 years old, who was shot to death in the crossfire of bullets fired by three men who had been arguing all afternoon.

Khalil and the son of one of the men had been playing outside his grandmother's home when he was shot.

The men were between 19 and 37 years old and amongst the three, had previously been arrested in Beaufort County a total of 74 times!



The remains of the plantation owners, the Huguenin family, lie under giant oaks a few miles away,

in a cemetery near where one of three plantation houses stood.

In this brick tomb are the bodies of three little Huguenin brothers -- Thomas, Theodore, and Lawrence -- who lived only 16 months, two years, and one day.

Though the planters made fantastic sums of money, it was not an easy life or one without tragedy and grief.

I wonder if their wives would say it was worth it.





Outside the brick walls at the back are the unmarked graves of the house slaves -- the cooks, personal servants, the nannies, laundresses, midwives, seamstresses.












The Writer thinks I'm a bit obsessed with slaves and slavery and all that. But I think it's that I am fascinated with a way of life, a history, a culture that as a northerner I knew very little about. Sometimes I feel like I am living in a foreign country, or on another planet! Anyway, I hope I haven't bored you.


Monday, April 25, 2016

El Galeon and Updating History

On a quiet afternoon this weekend, it was easy to imagine the waves erasing the years, to imagine that we were experiencing the vision Native Americans saw 450 years ago when a Spanish tall ship rounded the tip of Parris Island and came into view off Port Royal, South Carolina.

More than 40 years before the English settled at Jamestown in Virginia, the Spanish built a town and fort on an island in Port Royal Sound.

Jamestown has long claimed the title of First European Settlement, but recent archeological work on the 9th hole of the Parris Island golf course proves a different story.

The Spanish established a permanent settlement in 1566, Santa Elena, on that very spot on the island you see in the background of the photo.

Santa Elena served as the Spanish capital of Florida from 1569 to 1587. The area then called Florida encompassed most of what is known as the United States today.

As we watched, a Coast Guard tender and several yachts escorted El Galeon, a 125 foot tall, 500 ton replica of a 16th century Spanish ship, into the harbor, to the Port Royal Dock.




Along with those of us gathered on the beach, kayakers watched from the water.


The ship left St. Augustine, Florida, the day before, following the historic journey of Pedro Menendez de Aviles when he sailed into Port Royal Sound on the same day in 1566.


This week the 450th anniversary of the settlement at Santa Elena is being celebrated with lots of events, including the opening of the new Santa Elena museum in Beaufort and the arrival of El Galeon in Port Royal.

It is docked among the shrimp boats and will be open for tours over the next week.

If only they had had the sails up!


Friday, April 22, 2016

Earth Day 2016



Because of children like these ...

Places like this ...

And facts like these ...

The average American generates 4.3 pounds of waste per day, 1.6 pounds more than in 1960.

It takes about a thousand years for plastic bottles to break down naturally. (That's an educated guess. No one has ever seen one break down completely yet.

The U.S. buried or burned more than 166 million tons of recyclable resources – paper, plastic, metals, glass and organic materials – in landfills and incinerators last year.
The average American discards 65 lbs of clothing a year. Five years ago, clothing represented 7% of the trash in landfills; today, 30%.
46,000 pieces of plastic trash are present on every square mile of the ocean today.
Virtually every piece of plastic ever created still exists on the Earth today.
Half the world’s tropical and temperate forests are now gone.
More than 2 million people globally die prematurely every year due to outdoor and indoor air pollution.
Every year in the U.S. nearly 200 billion recyclable beverage containers are sold, two-thirds of which are landfilled, incinerated or littered.


I will ...


Earth Day



Tuesday, April 19, 2016

How Does Your Garden Grow?

So far my garden attempt this year is going better than last summer, but it's not without its disasters.




The new bed (in the back) isn't fenced yet to keep the deer out, except for those tomato towers.


I planted the bed figuring we would have the fence done before the plants came up and the deer bothered it.

I didn't know the armadillo would climb up there and root it all up during the night, looking for worms and bugs in the nice loose dirt.

So I lost most of my specially ordered seeds to her. Including my precious purple carrot seeds!

I won't replant until we get the fence up. Hopefully soon.



The French beans have their first blossoms today. So exciting!

Home grown fresh beans taste so good. Why do they let them get so big before they pick them for the stores and farmers' markets?

Behind the beans are onions, spinach, and radishes which we have been eating already.




There are lots of these little guys on the tomato plants.


Until I moved to a rural, poor area of the South, I had plenty of places to buy good food, including reasonably priced natural food stores and co-ops, organic and local food available in several supermarkets, an Aldis, farmer's markets, farms where I could purchase meat, maple syrup, honey, and eggs within a few miles of my house, CSAs where I could subscribe and have a box of just-picked vegetables delivered every week in spring, summer and fall.

Living here, not so. To shop organic groceries involves 2 hours of driving. That market is a Whole Foods store on a popular tourist island and the prices reflect it. Mostly, they are outrageous!

Just to shop at an ordinary supermarket is a minimum hour and half of driving, and that also has inflated tourist prices. I can shop in a small store in the nearest small town ... if I want to eat pigs feet, snouts and ears, processed and canned foods, wilted imported produce, and packaged pies and cakes. And because it's a small store, its prices are also high.

The closest farmers' market where local farmers sell their food (rather than bringing in food from a wholesaler and reselling it) is 45 minutes away. We like it but it's expensive, too. Last week we bought a bunch of radishes local but not organic for $3. When we got home we realized there were only five radishes in the bunch so each radish cost 60 cents.

Holy buckets! They're radishes, not gold nuggets!

Anyway, because of where we live, our garden is even more important than mine was in Minnesota and I'm really hoping we can make our little raised beds and deck pots produce some good food for us this year.


Sunday, April 17, 2016

My Lowcountry Garden

The Writer is at a big golf tournament interviewing Important People this weekend, so I thought I would show you around here a bit.

I'm determined to have a better garden this year after my very disappointing one last year.

Because of the wildlife we share life with, I have to grow my flowers, citrus, and herbs in pots on the deck.

We have hungry and destructive squirrels, armadillos, raccoons, and deer that consider my plants gourmet snacks. Or teething biscuits.

Most of them don't come up on the deck. Yet.

The caged plants (far right and left) are lemon and lime trees.

The squirrels eat the leaves and buds if they can get at them.

That's why they are wrapped in chicken wire.


The Herbs










rosemary and thyme


catnip for Rosie










The Flowers



Can you believe these beauties

are just lowly petunias?







Salvia for the hummingbirds --







single and double impatiens




We cut pine poles yesterday to fence the second critter-proof raised bed.

I'll show you my thriving beds next time.

Meanwhile, Rosie says hello!


Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Coastal Georgia Botanical Gardens

The nearest big city and airport to us is Savannah, Georgia, about an hour away.

A few weeks ago we visited the Coastal Georgia Botanical Gardens there.


Most of the plantings are quite new and the new visitor center just opened last year.

The Georgia Colony, established by the British in 1733, was intended to be a great economic resource for England. There were high hopes for bringing great riches and wealth from the New World back to Britain.

To that end, Governor James Oglethorpe was instructed to open a 10-acre plot of land on the Savannah River and begin America's first agricultural experiment station with tropical plants from the East Indies, South America, and Europe.

Ten of the botanical garden's total 51 acres replicate some of those test plots with plants that would have been trialed there, including cotton which was to become so important to the economies of the southern colonies.

Medicinal and food crops that the first settlers to the Georgia colony were expected to produce were also trialed.

These included mulberry leaves for silkworms, grapes for wine, pomegranates, stone fruits, sesame, hops, and oranges.






For 60 years the US Department of Agriculture used the land for researching agricultural plants for the Southeast. The station closed in 1979 but the greenhouses and other buildings remain in use.

The entrance to the USDA was at the gate by this giant holly tree.






Water garden

Sago palm

We were too late for the camellias -- the largest collection of camellias outside of China -- but we have a schedule now and we'll be going back to see our favorite things in bloom.