Thursday, May 30, 2019

Conway’s Alligator Oak

  The Alligator Oak, circumference 18 feet, 7 1/2 inches, stands in the graveyard of the First United Methodist Church in downtown Conway where it has stood since 1537!  It’s a Live Oak, a tree used extensively in America’s history by shipbuilders.  The “knees” (where branches join the trunk) made incredibly strong joints that were used to brace ships’ sides for many years, until wood was replaced by steel.  

There are other live oaks in South Carolina that rival it in age, but if you look closely you can see the eye of an alligator in the bark on the left side, with a snout running down the tree and beneath the brick retaining wall. 

🐊 🐊 🐊

  (I want to assure everyone that we do know how to change a tire and we do have a spare tire! There are times it is not wise to do it yourself, and this was one of them.  The Writer had had recent surgery, it was 101 degrees in the shade, and I cannot lift tires like this up onto a jacked up wheel or back into the car over the tailgate.  We carry roadside assistance insurance and were grateful to the nice guy who came eventually and apologized for the long delay.)  

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Our Memorial Day Holiday Adventure

  McClellanville (population 543) twenty minutes down the coast has a farmers market on weekends. Just a few tables but they are local families selling what they raise themselves so we like to support them.  

  We made our delicious purchases, visited a little, tracked down some reasonably priced farm eggs a couple miles away and had an early lunch — grilled whiting, fried green tomatoes, and collard greens at the Seewee Restaurant in Awendaw (below). 

Then we meandered back to the McClellanville docks to check out the shrimping fleet. 

  The docks are among only nine commercial fishing docks left in the whole state and are used by fishing boats from up and down the coasts of North and South Carolina. (They fish down the coast, come into port at McClellanville to sell their catch, and then go out to fish again.)

  The fate of little McClellanville’s old docks is up in the air at the moment.  They need a couple million dollars to keep them open and with only 543 residents, nobody knows where that money is going to come from.  

  When I got back in the car after taking photos, The Writer said a warning light was on for a low tire.  Did I mention we were having record high temperatures and it was 101 sunny, humid degrees by now?!!  

  A back tire had a nail in it and was flat as a pancake! There was no one around to change a tire so we waited hours for AAA to rescue us.  The car was a sauna, the wait was several hours, and by the time the tire was changed and repaired, it was nearly 6 pm.  We had left the house at 10 in the morning!

  Oh well, I guess those fresh juicy peaches and strawberries, beets, carrots, and oyster mushrooms were worth all the bother.  

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Gladiolus Dalenii, Parrot Glads

  Rich rice planters on the Carolina coast showcased their wealth in opulent gardens in the antebellum period, introducing a variety of exotic imported plants to the American continent.  Among  them were bright parrot gladiolas from Africa.  

  Eventually the glads escaped their plantation homes to appear on the humble roadsides all along the coast.  At the end of May, they make a flamboyant show visible a mile away, free to rich and poor alike.   

  We found these all along South Island Road — a road once lined with wealthy plantations — near our house, and ends at the Intercoastal Waterway and the ferry to Cat Island.  

  I bet you can guess — hummingbirds love them!  

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Just Peachy!

  •   South Carolina peaches have been grown commercially in this state since the 1860s.
  •   South Carolina ranks second in peach production in the United States (California is first) and grows over thirty varieties of peaches.

For years each family orchard marketed their peaches in roadside stands that
dotted the backroads. Handpainted signs enticed motorists to stop and buy the makings for a snack or a mouthwatering peach pie. 

A few still stand, overgrown by weeds and time, like this one near Hemingway.  

  You can’t buy peaches at family orchards anymore, but you can find local South Carolina peaches at some weekly farmers markets.  And they are the best!  For the couple weeks they are in season, we eat as many as we can with our healthy morning oatmeal concoction.  But once in a while you just have to be decadent ...

  We love our South Carolina peaches!  

Monday, May 6, 2019

Artfields 2019

  We went to an huge art show last weekend in Lake City, SC, a small town in the midlands that holds an annual juried show for Southeastern artists.  Big prizes (like the first prize of $50,000) draw 400 works, displayed in historic buildings all over town.  The entries seemed to lean heavily toward political and social problems for their inspiration.  I thought I would show you some contenders and see what you think. 
Which one would you pick for the $50,000 prize?  

“Whom Do We Save?”

DescriptionOn June 12, 2016, Omar Mateen, a 29-year-old American security guard, killed 49 people and wounded 53 others in a mass shooting inside Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, United States. Orlando Police Department officers shot and killed him after a three-hour standoff.

  On June 12, 2016, 49 people were murdered and 53 wounded in a shooting at Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida.  This piece is a memorial to the victims by Forrest Lawson.


A Very Long Goodbye

  The piece is about those afflicted with degenerative brain diseases such as dementia and their loved ones who care for them. The artist Olga Yukhno says, “They have to live through these experiences, sometimes for years, seeing the person disappear every day, become less of themself. It's like living a perpetual funeral, losing them one brain cell at a time.”  Besides the photos there are small notes written by friends and families who have lost a loved one that way.  

   And the winner is ... #2!  “6/12/16”

  The artist is a young man in graduate school who says he is going to use the money to repay his student loans.  

  Do you think the judges picked the right piece?  

Saturday, May 4, 2019

Pitcher Plants

  I think it just makes sense that a state with killer alligators and a variety of poisonous snakes would also have predaceous plants. I’d been hoping to see some (the plants, not the reptiles) on one of our hikes, and yesterday was the day!  On a colorful walk through a private garden, Moore Farms Botanical Garden near Lake City, we saw  2,250 carnivorous pitcher plants, natives of coastal South Carolina.  

  These plants grow wild in bogs (spongy wet areas), only in small areas in North and South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida.  They are so interesting because they ‘eat’ pollinating insects in the spring, trapping them inside a rolled leaf tube.  Some 
pitchers have a leaf flare over the top as an umbrella to keep rain from diluting the digestive juices inside.

  The tube is studded inside with one-way hairs that prevent the unsuspecting visitor from escaping and with nectar-secreting glands that produce tasty sugar and a toxin.  The wetness makes the tube slippery and they fall down to be digested in a fluid at the bottom of the tube.

  The trumpeter pitcher plant  (left) is found in a few locations only in North and South Carolina.  The bright patterns on the tubes attract insects the same way bright-colored flowers do.   

The yellow pitcher plant has a flower that hangs over the tube to keep rain out.  Yellow pitchers grow to three feet tall.

Another ✔️ on my bucket list!  

“Mmmm, what’s for lunch!”