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.  

Monday, August 13, 2018

Bisbee and the Lavender Pit Mine

I've been missing for awhile and behind on reading blogs let alone writing a post.  I will be catching up this week though.  I have another post on our wonderful trip to Arizona to share today.
¥.  ¥.  ¥.  

  We left behind the ghost mining towns to explore one that hasn't gone bust and faded into the desert: Bisbee, Arizona.  

 In the 1880s, Bisbee grew up in the Mule Mountains adjacent to the Copper Queen Mine.  By 1910 its population had swelled to 9000 miners and their families.  Open-pit mining came into practice as the need for copper soared during World War I.


Coming out of the desert and up the mountains into the town, you are welcomed to Bisbee with the promise of a Scenic View.

  The Lavender Mine is what you see.  The open pit is 4000 feet wide, 5000 feet (that's nearly a mile!) long, and 850 deep.  It's stunning.  

  My first reaction was dismay.  I've never seen such desecration of nature. This is not the awesome beauty of land opened by Nature over eons of time, like the Grand Canyon or even Chiricahua National Monument.  It's more like ripping open a private part of the earth never meant to be seen and leaving the insides of its carcass lying exposed.  I felt like a bug standing next to such a vast hole.  

Looking at the photos now, I can be awed by the human feat of engineering it is, the beauty in the colors, and the opportunity to see what is hidden deep beneath our feet.   

  The colors of the layers visible are from the different minerals in the pit.  The surface red rock of the mountains is oxidized sulfide.  The gray is a granite layer containing small amounts of copper.  The yellow is a layer of rocks embedded in clay that surrounds the granite, and the lavender is limestone and conglomerate rocks cemented together which is considered waste as it has no copper in it.  

  Copper is an excellent conductor of electricity.  I'm not sure what it was needed for in war, but it became vital in every home, car, electronic device, appliance, etc. etc.  By the 1970s Bisbee's mines had run out and they closed.  A sign says that with new technology for extracting the small amounts of copper left in Bisbee and an increasing demand for copper, Bisbee's mines could open again in the future. 

  I didn't get very good photos of Bisbee itself. The streets of the town are built into the mountainsides, winding steeply one above the other.  It's now the home of artists and eccentric old-timers, a cute little town with shops in the old buildings and old miner's cottages colorfully painted, surrounded by clever little flower gardens and rented to tourists.  

 Many of the cottages are reachable only by steep old stairways.  

  We ate lunch in a restored building with a nice view of the hilly streets.  

  A mining museum is the centerpiece of the town, located in the old post office and surrounded by sculptures and places to sit it the shade.  

This one was my favorite because it shows off the minerals and gems of the area, including the turquoise which I love and is a byproduct of copper mining.