Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Bonnie's Barn Country Store

It seems like nothing in the South is ever purposefully torn down.  Buildings are left in peace to pass away in their own time, to fade into the background under encroaching vines, lean and sag into the sand, succumb to saplings that grow right up through the floors  and

shoulder them off their foundations. Next to go is the roof, piece by piece of rusting tin, first lifted and loosened, then flying right away in the hurricanes.  Finally the rains soak the wood and, helped along by the termites and sow bugs, the  millipedes and carpenter ants, they turn to dust and disappear into the earth.  

Bonnie's Barn on the highway to Charleston was a country store from the early to late 1900s, owned and run by Bonnie Thames.  Bonnie was one of three brothers who owned stores in the area.  On the hour drive between Charleston and the next town, Georgetown, it was a place for touring motorists to stop for gas and a cold Coke on the trip through the Francis Marion National Forest on the way to the hunting camps and Myrtle Beach fun. 
Bonnie Thames must have sold plenty of gas and Cokes because here is his once-fine home next door.

The old Southern mansion is and was the lone home for miles around. It is surrounded by protected wetlands, pine forests, and old rice fields near the Santee River.  

It's easy to imagine evenings and Sunday afternoons on this porch, sipping sweet tea and watching the cars on the highway that runs up the coast from Florida to Maine, US. 17.  I wonder if the rooms upstairs might have been used as lodging for travelers in those days gone by.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

All is Calm, All is Bright

Thanks so much for your caring thoughts and good wishes for my mom and our safety. 

 lrma came through Monday with 50 mph wind gusts and rain that fell sideways, but we are just fine.  We are at 12 ft. above sea level so we didn't get any water other than puddles.  However, Front Street, the main street of our town, is right on the harbor, and it didn't fare as well.  

The photos were taken on Monday as the worst of the storm was just winding up.  They are from the Internet -- I was safely at home, not out walking in flood waters like some people!  The stores had been sandbagged when we went through town on Saturday so I'm hoping their inventory was spared.  We checked on the old sailboat and it came through without a scratch.  
The sun is has been out and a beautiful breeze is drying things up nicely here in Georgetown. 
My mom's home in Florida was not damaged by the hurricane but the electricity is still out at the care home and everyone is quite uncomfortable as the air-conditioners can't run.  At another facility in Florida five elderly people have died from the heat so we are hoping they get power back very soon.  
On the Facebook page for my mom's town someone posted this yesterday:

"Have someone's white carport in my yard. 
 Will trade for my missing piece of tan siding."

Sometimes the best thing you can do is laugh!

Monday, September 11, 2017

Safe Harbor

Tucked away from the salty waters of Winyah Bay, just inside the mouth of the Sampit River, this old wooden sailboat was a surprise last night when we went for a walk.  It should be safe here from the winds and waves of Irma today.  

It's not the old girl's first tropical storm, nor ours.  We're tucked away, too, in our studies,  with coffee and our work, watchful dog, napping cat ... and each other!  

Wild nights - Wild nights! 
Were I with thee 
Wild nights should be 
Our luxury! 

Futile - the winds - 
To a Heart in port - 
Done with the Compass - 
Done with the Chart! 

Rowing in Eden - 
Ah - the Sea! 
Might I but moor - tonight - 
In thee! Wild nights - Wild nights! 
Were I with thee 
Wild nights should be 
Our luxury! 

Futile - the winds - 
To a Heart in port - 
Done with the Compass - 
Done with the Chart! 

Rowing in Eden - 
Ah - the Sea! 
Might I but moor - tonight - 
In thee! 

-- Emily Dickinson

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Hunkered Down, Ready for Irma

This was the view for most of our 15 hour trip home from Florida Thursday.
Normally it takes 9 hours.  

It seemed like everybody in Florida was in a car on the Interstate.  Fortunately there was plenty of gas for all.

 We passed vans full of dogs and cats in wire cages being evacuated from animal shelters in southern Florida.  

In the rest areas there were people walking dogs everywhere.  I've never seen so many dogs outdoors in one place.  You couldn't have paid me to walk through the grass!

The restrooms at the rest areas were unbelievable.  All the sinks were labeled , "Out of Order", and the toilets and floors were filthy.  We brought our own food and ate in the car as we would have to walk through said grass to reach a picnic table.  
And like I said, there was no way I was walking through that grass!
It was hard to leave my mom.  She is still in the rehab center which is a hurricane-proof facility so she will be safe. 
We have stocked up on hurricane food (anything that cooks in five minutes or less) and a few treats, flashlights, camp stove fuel, gas for the grill.  We will not get the full brunt of Irma, a tropical storm here instead of a hurricane, and we are grateful for that.  We will probably be without electricity as we seem to live near a very touchy substation that goes out at the least provocation.  
We checked out the ocean to see how things are there. 
 Very windy, big surf, flying sand and foam.

Y'all take care.
We'll be back when Irma is gone!

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Outrunning Irma

I've been with my mom in Florida for the last couple weeks and had planned on staying through this weekend.  Enter Irma.  Irma, the strongest Atlantic hurricane ever with 185 mph winds, 500 miles wide. 
No thanks!  
The Writer will drive down today and tomorrow we will join
the traffic headed north out of here.  

This reminder of the hurricanes that battered this area in a one year period hangs in a restaurant on the way to the care home where my mom is still staying.

There is still the hope here that Irma will wander a bit to the east away from Florida.  

If so, we'll just hope it wanders far enough out to sea that it doesn't come north and 
wallop South Carolina instead!  

If Irma has her way, this serene scene near my mom's house 
won't be so peaceful 
in the next few days.  

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Salter, SC Cotton

As you travel away from the South Carolina coast, you immediately find yourself in one of largest cotton growing areas in the U.S.  The fields are coming into bloom and the blossoms are lovely.

The little town of Salter is nearly a ghost town now but when cotton was king it was a thriving community.  

The Atlantic Coast Line railroad built a depot in the 1850s and Salter became a town on the map.  The depot served the town for over 100 years and on the other side of the tracks, Salters first cotton gin was built. The Salter gin is gone, closed in 1970 and torn down in 2015.  

This building served as a store for over a century. Its first proprietor, James Alurid Ferrell, opened a small mercantile in his home in 1880. After building this structure on the corner of his property, he moved his business here and operated the store until his death in 1918.

The Mosely store opened in 1921 and was run by several generations of Moselys until 1990.  Very faintly above the door you can still see the store name in faded letters.  

The old brick school is the only other old building left in Salters.  It was built in 1924 and housed three classrooms on the ground floor and a classroom and auditorium with a stage upstairs.  In 1925 there were 100 students in grades 1-11 and the school owned its own school bus.  

Williamsburg County's new cotton gin

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Now You See It, Now You Don't

I don't know what kind of flower this glorious thing is and don't have time to search for the name.  
It is outside my mom's room at the care center in the courtyard.

Mom had a big setback earlier this week. During physical therapy her femur dislocated from the hip joint and she was taken to the hospital where it was returned to its proper place.  Very painful. She is now back at the care center and wearing a cast-like thing holding everything in place.

We are back at home in SC and my sister is in Florida with her.

  I will be going back again soon.
🌴 🌴 🌴
Yesterday was exciting, a coast-to-coast total eclipse of the sun!  We were only a few miles from the epicenter and our little town had thousands of visitors.  People were even encouraged to rent extra bedrooms to visitors, which many did.
We stayed away from the crowds downtown and brought chairs to the nearby church parking lot which is lined with big old shade trees and a clear viewing area in the middle. 
 Everywhere people were sitting out in their yards, alone or in groups, watching the show.  It was touch-and-go all day weather-wise, but in the end we got lucky.  There were constant breaks in the clouds and we watched the whole thing.  At one point, as the light dimmed, the mosquitos came out and started biting.  Finally, it was dark as night -- for ONE MINUTE!  We could see the full corona around the sun and take off our glasses for one minute, which I did and took this photo.
The corona was just a thin line of light around the edge.  In the photo, the light became larger than the darkened center for some reason.  At the moment everything went dark, you could hear people shouting all over the neighborhood.  Shortly after that the clouds moved back in and the sun was obscured the rest of the day!
Our first lime, a Tahitian, ripened this week.  I've never grown citrus before and we've waited three summers for the first fruit. I feel like a proud parent or something.  

The Writer knew just what to do with it! 
 It was so ripe it fell off the tree and we both agreed -- it's the lime-i-est lime we ever tasted.  It's also huge, as you can see by my hand.  
🍋 🍋 🍋

And finally ... my book is coming along.  All the letters are transcribed (including many V-Mail letters which had to be read with a magnifying glass). I found some great surprises in the letters and I think the book is going to be even more interesting than I thought.  I'm ready to start the researching phase and I love to do research so I'm looking forward to that. 
When I've been working on it all day, it takes me a while to get back into the real world. 
 Isn't that crazy? 

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Life Happens: Plan B

Thanks for the great comments from my last post.  Your memories brought many more things about life in the 50s back to me.  
🤓    🤓    🤓     

This is where I'm spending my days right now, with my mom at the Life Care Center.  

She has good care, plenty of physical therapy, and it's a nice facility.  

Of course, she would much rather be home but it's going to be a good while before that can happen.  

It takes a long time for things to heal when you are 90. 


The dining room is elegant even, with lovely tablecloths and crystal and silver table settings.  

On the left is an ice cream parlor which is open for a while everyday with free cones and bowls for anyone.

There are two therapy dogs who come and go.  

This is Cricket, a teacup Schnauzer.  She weighs six pounds and comes every day.  
They say she gets bored if she has to stay at home.
She is quite used to posing for photos and needs no leash.

Can you believe those ears?!!

And here is Jingle Bell.  She used to work four hour shifts as a greeter at Walmart.
Now she is very old and the pace of a care home is more to her liking.  

Mom isn't fond of the food here so we bring fresh fruit, dark chocolate, and yesterday we brought her favorite grilled shrimp tacos from the marina. 
They are soooo good!

So that's where we are, making life's lemons into lemonade.  

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Fifties Flashback.

My daughters used to say, "Back in the 'olden days' when you grew up, Mom ... " and then ask a question about how things were done.  I came across this recently and it reminded me that the world of the Fifties really was different from the one they grew up in.  No wonder they had so many questions!

Do any of those ring a bell with you?

Me and my sister in the 1950s. 
I'm on the left, the one with sausage curls (just like Shirley Temple, doncha know!) and Nancy is wearing white knee socks with her Easter dress.  

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Some Days Are Socks

A week ago my mom fell in the church parking lot and broke her hip, which put a serious cramp in her style and our hearts in our throats.  
Mom is 90 years young and no one believes it.  She drives her younger friends to the grocery store, works two mornings a week in the church office, belongs to a book club and a card club, flies to Minnesota by herself, and so on.  
Mom lives in Florida.  The rest of us are in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and South Carolina.
She had a hip replacement and is now moved to a rehab center for a couple weeks.  One of my daughters, (and here's another story -- Sarah is being sent by her company to work in Germany for two years on 3 months' notice.  It's diamond earrings for Sarah, of course, but socks for us as we will miss her so much.) Sarah, is with Mom now and my other daughter (the one with four young boys and a full time job) will be with her for four days this weekend.  Then The Writer and I will swoop down (9 or 10 hour drive) for several days for her return home from rehab, followed by my sister and brother-in-law from Wisconsin. 
There have been at least 2000 text messages flying to figure this all out.  
But we did it, we have a plan.
Early this morning in the garden 
The garden has suffered from the heat but we may get a few more tomatoes yet.  The huge leaf on the upper right is a banana leaf.  
By the way, the raccoons got all my figs before they were ripe.  So disappointing!
The herb garden in the morning light
The Bird Girl on the right welcomes people to our home.
Can you find two "other" birds in the photo?  One is part of the trellis, the other is a real house finch which I didn't notice when I was taking the photo.  Surprise!

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Blowing Rock North Carolina

First off I want to say thank you for the comments and suggestions on my post about writing a book based on my father's letters home from World War II.  The encouragement was most welcome and I loved hearing about the experiences others have had doing something similar.  Especially welcome were the suggestions of what to do with the letters after I have finished because I would just love knowing that they will be preserved somewhere.  Thank you, dear readers!
📚 📚 📖 📚 📚
Blowing Rock, NC

On our jaunt to the mountains last week, we stayed in a small inn in Blowing Rock, elev. 3566 ft.  The town was filled with flowers blooming everywhere.

These were next to our inn and  all along our walk to dinner in an old house with a restaurant below and tourist rooms above.
We ate dinner outside on the big front porch of the house, overlooking more flower gardens.

Flowers, up Main Street ...

...and down Main Street

... and all around the town!

Early settlers didn't arrive in the area until the mid 1800s and they were few and far between.  Soon people from Lenoir were coming up in the summer to cool off and "take the mountain air". The first ones had to set up their own tent camps but then several inns sprang up to accommodate the visitors.

During the Civil War people sought refuge from the war in the mountains of North Carolina.  Soldiers sent their wives and children there, the safest place they knew, while they went off to fight.  After the war many of them rejoined their families and made the first permanent homes in Blowing Rock village.  The current population is about 1800 people with very strong legs.  You can't see it in my photos but all the streets are at about a 45 degree angle!

Friday, July 21, 2017

Heading for the Hills to Beat the Heat

Early in the week we drove north and west about 6 hours to the mountains of North Carolina to get away from the heat and humidity for a few days.  This is the area where we lived 35 years ago, where we bought 33 acres in the Blue Ridge Mountains and built a log and stone home with our own hands.  

The Blue Ridge Parkway runs 469 miles through Virginia and North Carolina on the crest of the Appalachian Mountains between Shenandoah National Park and Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  There are scenic overlooks every few miles, cars move leisurely along, and it's one of the most beautiful places on Earth.   

The parkway was begun in 1935 and the last section finished in 1987.  The land and views along it are protected, with no advertising or commercial businesses, and since the altitude was 3200 feet to 4300 feet, the air was cool and fresh.  
Ah, just what we needed!  

Grandview Overlook, 3200 feet

Milkweed in bloom, Stony Fork

We drove down a primitive one lane, steep (and scary!) Pisgah National Forest road to a parking area and hiked out to Wisemans Bluff Overlook.  This view shows Table Rock, Hawksbill, and Shortoff Mountains.

There were two overlooks built out on rock cliffs where you can safely walk out over the edge to photograph.

There were blackberries along the trail but birds 
or other hikers had gotten to the ripe ones first.

At the bottom, some 4000 feet down, is Linville Gorge and waterfall.  

The bushes in the foreground with the red cone shapes at the top are sumac.  You can make a sort of lemonade-tasting drink from them and it's very good.  Pretty too as it is a bit pink.  

On the way back to our inn we stopped here to see if we could buy some horehound candy and sure enough, they had some!

Horehound is an herb in the mint family and it has a taste somewhere between root beer and licorice.  It soothes your throat and when I was a kid my grandpa would pull some out of his pocket, wrapped in twisted brown paper, and dole out a piece if you were a good girl.