Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Out With the Old, in With the New!

  I mentioned in my last post that we had 8” of rain in one day and I wanted to assure you, that wasn’t a typo.  During the 18-hour deluge, roads filled with water and accidents happened right and left.  Many roads had to be closed.  When the storm was over, it was like the aftermath of a hurricane with deep water standing everywhere.  

 The day after Christmas, the sun was out, it was 74 F, and we were eager to get outside.  

  I couldn’t yet hobble far from the car so we set up our chairs on a dike at the edge of an old rice field in Santee Coastal Preserve and let birds come to us.

The view in front of us ...

An expert fisherman, a great blue heron in his 
winter gray plumage, watching for his lunch.

And over our heads, a kingfisher, ready to give his piercing, rattling call 
and plummet straight down to the water to spear a fish on his harpoon bill.   

  That was a few days ago.  Since then I have traded in the walker for a cane, the pain from the surgery has significantly lessened, and I am going for short walks outdoors.  Yay!  
  I spent some time today looking through my photos for the year and thinking about all the wonderful things we’ve done, the places we’ve gone, the family and friends we’ve spent time with, in 2019.  I’m so thankful for all those good times and can’t wait to see what the next year brings!

  We may or may not be awake tonight to welcome the new decade but tomorrow we will for sure eat our Hoppin’ John and cornbread for good fortune.  

  And for you, my friends —

Saturday, December 28, 2019

Holiday Visitors

  We weren’t expecting anyone for Christmas. 

                     So who is that orange guy behind the bird feeder?  

It can’t be!  We don’t have those here.

But it is, a Baltimore oriole (two actually, both males). In December!   

  “By now Baltimore orioles are on their wintering grounds in Florida, Central America, and the northern part of South America.”

I guess our visitors didn’t get the memo.

  This might be my favorite Christmas present this year!   I used to have so many in the summer in Minnesota that I couldn’t keep several grape jelly feeders stocked.  We often had one of their hanging basket nests in the yard, and I’ve missed them so much since moving here.  

  Not the greatest photos (phone photos taken through the kitchen window) but oh so welcome.  They were here for three days and then gone, on to the warm tropics I hope.  

🌙 ⭐️ 🌙

  And we had another bird surprise on Christmas Day.  After breakfast we took a ride down our road that ends at old rice fields, the Intercoastal Waterway, and the ferry to the barrier islands that make up the Tom Yawkey Wildlife Preserve.  Big machinery has been at work on the dike of the old rice field where we like to bird. No water all fall, no birds where it usually is teeming with bird life, and we have missed our special spot.  

  Well, Monday we had 8” of rain.  It covered much of the mud flats and by Christmas Day the birds were back!  
Among all the birds there, there was one special bird, one previously found only in Texas, Louisiana, and Mexico   that has been appearing in the most protected areas on the southeastern coast.  

“The Black-bellied Whistling-Duck is a boisterous duck with a brilliant pink bill and an unusual, long-legged silhouette.”

  The first one was seen at Tom Yawkey in 2008 and just recently, some have even started to nest here. 
And, they really do whistle!  They sound like a dog squeaky toy, a strange sound coming from a bird.  Another interesting fact — unlike other ducks which sleep on the water, whistling ducks roost in trees.  It’s quite a sight to go down to the rice field just before the dusk to see them, standing with their long legs perched in a dead tree, heads under their wings, falling asleep.  

  I hope you, too, got some very special Christmas presents that made you smile!  

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Merry Christmas!

 On Halloween I brought you the story of the ghost of the Doyle home (circa 1775) in Georgetown.  Now it’s Christmas and the third year the family has gone all out decorating.  When the house sells, I doubt if anyone else will be as playful and whimsical in their choice of decor as the current owners.  

So here it is ... Christmas 2019 in historic Georgetown!  

Tipsy penguins, Santa on an elephant, foxes, a giraffe and us!  
                          all wishing you a 
Very Merry Christmas!      

Saturday, December 21, 2019

Winter Solstice

  Well, it’s about time!  

  When we bought our house in 2016 we were excited that it had a fireplace, albeit one that had been converted to gas.  Since it once burned wood, we figured it would be easy to bring it back to wood-burning once again.  

  It took us almost two years to find someone to remove the gas “plumbing” and another 6 months to find someone else to come and inspect it and clean the chimney.  We were so excited when Mr. Hoyt arrived a year ago this fall, anticipating a cozy fire last Christmas.

Jimmy Hoyt has been in this business for 35 years.  Laid off yet again during another of the regular closings of the Georgetown steel mill, he needed work that was steadier.  He started his chimney sweep business and has been climbing on rooftops ever since.  He is recently joined by his grandson.
(He still has his coat with tails but alas, it doesn’t fit anymore!)

   He spent a whole morning here and brushed and vacuumed and cleaned.  Everything seemed hunky dory, except one minor thing.  The damper needed mending.  No big deal, there was a welder right here in Georgetown who could fix it right up for less than $50. 

  Except the welder declined.  Or had closed.  Or something.  So Mr. Hoyt would order a new one for $175.  But it was backordered and never came.  Order again.  Something else.  Six months the texts and phone calls went back and forth.  Finally there seemed to be a damper for $300 or $500 or something ridiculous that might fit and we said no thanks.  

  This fall, The Writer took up the challenge and after much searching on the Internet found a damper that could be installed (by him) at the top of the chimney.  I held the ladder, and we held our breath.  It FIT!  

Voila ... we have a Winter Solstice fire in our fireplace tonight. 

And it is lovely!  

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Twelve Days Before Christmas

  Hi friends!  Knee surgery went as planned.  I had a little blip on the day after (blood pressure plummeted and down I went ....), so I got to spend an extra day at the fine Hotel Hospital and came home yesterday afternoon.  

  I’ve never spent any time in the hospital before except for birthing a baby and that was quite some time ago and wasn’t even a proper hospital.  We lived in a town so small that Anna was born in a medical room in the local nursing home!  After she was born, as a special treat they brought all the more or less ambulatory seniors around to coo over the new baby.  

  Anyway, my room in Charleston was very nice with views from both windows (sunrise and sunset!) and nice nurses coming around.  My only complaint was — the food!  A very big deal was made of eating especially well for the couple weeks before surgery, which I did. I thought they would have had dietitians at the hospital balancing the a, b, c’s of vitamins, protein, etc.  If they had one here, he/she was out Christmas shopping. I prefer a vegetarian diet, which was a choice on the menu, but what arrived was mushy canned vegetables, instant mashed potatoes, and a tiny pudding cup.  Does anyone see what is missing here?  PROTEIN. VITAMINS.  

  Oh, well, I am home now and have a fridge full of fresh veg, cheese, eggs, beans, etc.  My sweet daughter in Germany had sent a box of huge dark chocolate-dipped strawberries and, as everyone knows, chocolate is ideal for fast healing and good spirits.  It’s a glorious sunny day, I am three inches taller than I was Monday morning, life is good.  
  I hope this gives you a smile.  

Sunday, December 8, 2019

Upgrading Tired Parts

    Monday is the day I have the inner workings of my knee replaced — original living bone alchemized to steel.  Bone that began as a microscopic cell and continued to grow and replace itself to meet needs and demands I made on it since I was born.

  Until I wore it out.  

  I love this knee for giving me so many years of faithful transportation, for carrying me all the wonderful places my life has taken me.  This knee and I have crawled, walked, skipped rope, climbed trees and mountains, danced, hiked, kneeled, kicked, skied, pedaled, run.  A hundred thousand miles on it would be a conservative estimate, multiple times the distance around the world! 

  For all that, I am beyond grateful.  

  And very reluctant to say goodbye!

The original model 👉

Anyway, thanks for the memories, and here’s to the new one — the 2019 model!  It won’t have to last nearly as long as the original, and I’m looking forward to all the new adventures we are going to have together.