Sunday, May 20, 2018

Oh Pickles!

A fine Saturday morning and we were off to the farmers market, first one of the season, just crossing the big bridge into town, when a piece of metal flew off a scrap truck, cartwheeled along the pavement, and sliced the left rear tire.  Whoosh! out went the air.  
No place to stop on the bridge so we inched on and pulled over at the first opportunity,
coming to rest under the Georgetown water tower, next to the steel mill and right where all the logging trucks make the turn off the bridge and lumber into the entrance of the paper mill.   

Not the most pleasant place to sit for a couple hours, waiting for roadside assistance.  And apparently we weren't the first to have a flat tire here.

The only thing flatter than our tire -- a shoe, squished by the heavy logging trucks going by.

It was hot and boring, and by the time we were on our way again with two new tires ... four and a half hours later.  

Friday, May 18, 2018

Behold the Lilies of the Field

Spider lilies, on the edge of old rice fields in Georgetown, SC

Where did they come from?
How did they get there?
How long ago?  

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Tea II

 It was fun to see how many of you are fellow tea lovers and that you shared my surprise that tea was grown in the United States.  I love tea and I start every single day with a cuppa.  (In the spirit of full disclosure, I also savor a cup of coffee with cream and a little sugar later in the morning.)  I don't like sweetened tea or anything else in my tea, like milk or lemon, either and I prefer loose tea to bags.   

Yes, it seems a shame that workers can no longer come into our country to work at the jobs Americans won't do.  If it were me, I'd rather work with organic tea plants than hamburger at McDonalds for the same wages, but I know it's not that simple.  It's not just agriculture that is hurting for workers; take for example the tourism industry.  We live an hour away from a big tourist destination (Myrtle Beach) where young people used to come from other countries to work in the various businesses for the summer.  Last summer when they were no longer allowed to come, businesses in resort towns everywhere could not open because they could not get workers. 

Okay, back to tea!  Different types of tea are all from the same plants and the difference is in the way they are processed.  So white, green, oolong, and black all come from these plants and were available for tasting at the tea plantation.  They also flavor some teas (raspberry, peach, and cinnamon spice were available the day we were there).  

They had both iced and hot, caffeinated and decaffeinated, sweetened and unsweetened.  My favorites are green and black and I'm not fond at all of the fruity-flavored or the decaf ones.  We were encouraged to drink all we wanted.  I had trouble falling asleep that night ... too much caffeine!  

In closing, I'll leave you a little something to think on while you drink your next cup:

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Bucket List Check-Off

One of the the things on my "bucket list" when I retired was visiting a tea plantation, which I imagined in the mountains in China.  It wasn't in China but I did make it to a tea plantation, the only large commercial tea plantation in North America, which happens to be just south of Charleston.  

The original plants, several different varieties of tea, were first cultivated commercially in the 1880s and today's plants are hybrids from natural cross-pollination of these originals.  We took a tour through the factory where the leaves are processed and through the plantation where the tea is grown.  The fields had just been harvested (the top few inches are cut every two weeks during the growing season) so they don't look so pretty.

The greenhouse holds lots of small plants ready to go out in the field.  They are overdue to go out, in fact, because the migrant agricultural workers of the past are not allowed to enter the U.S. and Americans are not willing to work in the fields so there aren't enough workers to do the planting.  

We enjoyed our very enthusiastic tour guide, the gorgeous spring day, and the tea plantation.  
Oh, yes -- and all the tea we could drink.  And we did drink our share!  

Friday, April 27, 2018

UFO in the Harbor

Unidentifid  FLOATING object, that is.
On our way home from the gym this morning we noticed something reflecting the sun, shiny aluminum and out of ordinary, in the harbor.  It turned out to be the largest and newest research vessel belonging to Coastal Carolina University.  Behind it are two smaller research vessels belonging to Coastal Carolina that remain docked in Georgetown all the time.  

The 54-foot aluminum research vessel is "equipped with state-of-the-art sea floor mapping/geophysical survey systems, six research workstations, a hydraulic A-frame (3-ton lift capacity) and dive platform."  It can hold 22 passengers and has a cruising range of 500 miles.
It was purchased for use by graduate and doctoral students in CCU's marine science program for research in monitoring hurricane prediction systems offshore and for study of environmental factors that affect the ocean.  A sonar is mounted on the front that can rotate down below the catamaran hull and align with GPS receivers and motion sensors to make a geophysical map of the sea.  Students have assisted the US Geological Survey in mapping the ocean floor out to a distance of over five miles from the coast of South Carolina.  

A winch over the rear of the boat has an 8,000-pound lift capacity for deploying heavy research equipment.  It is used to deploy the new sensor buoys used in CCU’s new hurricane model to forecast severe weather conditions.

So many opportunities for college students today.  When I contemplated my education after high school, I knew of  three courses of study to choose from: nurse, teacher, or secretary.  I enjoyed teaching, but with all the career choices available to young people today, I like to muse upon which one I might have chosen had it been possible 50 years ago.  

Any idea what you might have chosen

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Kinetic Art

"Octo 2"

This is the Greenville sculpture I promised to show you, an 18-foot stainless steel kinetic piece powered by the wind.  It's taken me a week to  get it up here because it was a challenge to figure out how to put a video of my own up on my blog.
If you think you might have seen a similar one somewhere, it could be the one behind the Olympic cauldron in Rio de Janeiro last year.  That was done by the same sculptor, Anthony Howe.  
His work is mesmerizing.  I could sit forever watching Octo 2's graceful flow from pattern to pattern, like a giant stainless steel kaleidoscope on a stick.  

🦀 🦂 🦀 🦂 🦀 
Meanwhile, back home in Georgetown it's "that time of year again" when restaurants on the coast are apparently taking employment applications from crustaceans  ...

Friday, April 13, 2018

A Beautiful City Restored

No tourists visited Greenville, a small old southern city in western South Carolina, a generation ago.  It was a nasty place with derelict buildings, homeless unfortunates, trash and debris.  The heart of downtown, the Reedy River, was full of filth and its banks a convenient dumping ground for old equipment and vehicles. 

This is the centerpiece of downtown now, the same riverbank once lined with abandoned cars and polluted with industrial waste now a gorgeous park.  It runs the whole length of downtown as it meanders and tumbles through.

The father of a friend of ours, Max Heller, was the mayor who began the cleanup, lured people and big-name hotels back into the city, and transformed it into a lovely, lively place. 

We were nearby at a 90th birthday party and decided to stay a couple extra days and have a spring break.  We had so much fun!  
We parked our car at one end of the park and at the head of the trail was a Chihuly piece to welcome us.  I was so excited as I have admired other bloggers' posts on complete exhibits of his works, but this was the first piece I had seen in person.  Not my favorite Chihuly, but interesting.

From the car park, we walked a quarter of a mile down a hill, toward the bottom of the ravine.  

The graceful curve of the pedestrian bridge over the park mimics the curves of the river as it tumbles over the falls into pools where children wade and play.  It's hard to believe that above you is a city full of bumper-to-bumper traffic, rushing business people in suits and ties, construction projects ....

Above the natural falls and the dams that powered the city's industries, including  textile mills, is a second, more traditional pedestrian bridge.  This bridge leads to the bones of the original Dukes Mayonnaise factory, now converted to a performance venue with indoor and outdoor stages.  

Art galleries and sculptures are all along the river walk, and stairs lead up to the city above where the new architecture harmonizes with the old.

We enjoyed music in several of the little parks on Main Street, fancy coffees on the street, crepes for our Easter dinner, appetizers and drinks outdoors at the Hyatt Hotel.  My favorite things were how lively a city Greenville is with people everywhere day and night, and all the art everywhere you look.  I'll show you my favorite piece of all next time!