Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Thanksgiving Reflection


  These days Thanksgiving often gets lumped into the mix with the next two big events of the year, Christmas and New Years, and collectively known as The Holidays. 

  As in, ‘What are you doing for The Holidays?’ or  ‘Do you have your Holiday Shopping done?’.

   Whoever had the foresight to stick Thanksgiving on the calendar where it is was brilliant!  

   At the gateway to what can seem ‘the most stressful time of year’ — the weeks leading up to the Big Two — we get Thanksgiving Day, a day to remind us to be grateful for the many gifts and blessings of the other 11 months of year. 

  Wherever you are, formal holiday or not, 
a day focused on gratitude 
is a good thing to observe. 


  I want to tell you all that, today and every day I am grateful to you, my blogging friends, for reading my words, for sharing your thoughts and lives with me over the last nine years!


Thursday, November 18, 2021

What’s For (Thanksgiving) Dinner?

   We enjoyed the peak of the fall colors this week with a picnic lunch in the National Forest and then struck out on a trail with no idea where it led. This gorgeous lake was our reward.

  We didn’t see another soul all day … unless you count the Double-crested cormorant drying it’s wings, or the Great Blue heron fishing, or all the turtles on logs soaking up the sunshine. 

    It’s only a week now before a big holiday in the U.S. — Thanksgiving.  In the grocery store we have noticed the carts are carrying pretty much the same items: celery, onions, potatoes, glass jars of gravy, green beans, canned pumpkin, packaged bread crumbs, a couple bottles of wine, all tucked in around and piled on top of the centerpiece of the cart: 

The Turkey! 

 It’s probably the same scene in every store in every town in America this week. 

 From the Pilgrims to the Pandemic, Thanksgiving dinner: the one meal of the year that never seems to vary. Turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, corn or green bean casserole (or both), pumpkin and apple pie for dessert, it’s always the same.

I’ll be joining my mom in Florida for the day. She is still in the rehab center after her fall a month ago. Mom is not impressed with the food there so who knows what we will be served! 

I would like to know: 
       If you are American, is your Thanksgiving feast any different?

 Do you stick to the tried-and-true basics, or is there a quirky, must-have, special addition to tradition for your family?

Tuesday, November 9, 2021

Last Hike of Summer

(Warning: Creepy Crawlies Ahead!)

  We have one more week of temperatures in the 70s F ahead and then it will be on to some frosty, freezing temps at night. The trees are beginning to change color (as much as they do in coastal South Carolina), birds we haven’t seen all summer are appearing at our feeders, and camellias, the flowers of winter, are about to bloom.

  Take a wander with us on a summery November day, down a beautiful coastal forest trail. 

  Turkey tracks lead us down a sandy road, each footprint bigger than 
the palm of my hand.

Along the trail, Bog Goldenrod hosts lethargic monarchs, warming in the morning sun. Perhaps they are on their migratory journey to Mexico. 

Foamy Purple Mist still flourishes in sunny spots. 

  And hello, Eastern Lubber grasshopper!  the largest grasshopper I’ve seen. The ladies can reach 3 1/2 inches long and this one was close to that. Because of her large size, she can’t hop or fly like her smaller cousins, only walk and climb. We didn’t try to hurry her along or get too close because when alarmed, she is likely to hiss and secrete a very foul-smelling froth to scare off predators like us. 

  We skirted a busy Bearded Orb Weaver, a beauty and also very large. So was his web, at least 6 feet across across the trail. 
  Orb weavers build their intricate web in the early morning, then sit at its center waiting for prey to wander in. A stuck insect trying to wiggle free sends vibrations along the web, calling the spider:  “Dinner is served.” 
  Moving rapidly along the web, he locates his prey, bites it to stun it, and waits for it to die. He vomits a digestive liquid over it to soften it and slurps up the liquefying soup.

  One last surprise awaits us as we return to the car: a brightly-colored Rough Greensnake (also known as a grass snake) hurrying across a sidewalk. Pencil thin, he stretched over three feet across the concrete. It was early morning, so perhaps he was coming down from the tree where he had spent the night to search for insects for his breakfast. 

  (No, Bob does not accompany us on hikes, though she would love to). This is Halloween night and she was checking out costumes on the trick-or-treaters. Fortunately no one was dressed as a UPS man. Inexplicably Bob loves everybody in the world except UPS delivery men. Those, she would like to eat!