Folly Beach, Charleston, SC

Beach House Dunes

I took an overnight road trip with two of my long-time friends. We went to downtown Charleston and enjoyed a lot of things like the vendor market, visiting stores, eating crab cakes and a detour (in cloudy, rainy weather just before sunset) to Folly Beach which is part of Charleston, but about a 15-minute ride from the edge of downtown. I just read on follybeach.com that it is the loggerhead turtle nesting place. Too bad we missed the turtles, maybe next time. Despite the ominous weather, we had a blast and we found some “beach flowers” that were absolutely gorgeous – flowers I’ve never seen before.

Sand Flowers Duo

Sand Dune Floral

Pier at Folly Beach

Paw Prints in Sand

Multi Bouquets

Incoming Tide Folly Beach

Incoming Tide 3 Folly Beach

contrast

Burst Flowerbouquet

Beach Houses

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Tangled Web

Tangled Web

Tangled Web

Little Miss Muffet,
Trying to tough-it
While wishing the pain away
Saw a huge spider
Crawl up right beside her
Then hobbled quickly away

The Achilles injury I incurred ages ago keeps acting like it’s gone away. And now, two days before my friend comes in from New Jersey and we all go (my roommate too) to Charleston for an overnighter, I’m hobbling around again. They say to heal it you have to stay off of it – but what reality is that in? Could you stay off of your feet for a few weeks? Let me know – just curious.  (And yes, the spider was humongous!)

 

Southern Plantation II

Southern Plantation IIJust a quick update on our planting project – the one I started with my roomies.  It’s about 2, maybe 2 1/2 weeks since we planted some tomato and cucumber seeds in peat pots.  I’m finding the growth rate astounding, well at least for the cucumbers.  This corner plant, the first to pop, is a cucumber plant, and it’s grown quite a bit ahead of the rest – advanced in one way, not so advanced in another – it won’t let go of its seed.  You can see it on top of the two largest leaves; it’s still holding them together.  I did try to pull on it lightly so as not to rip the leaves or kill the plant altogether, but it’s on there pretty tight.  I wonder if it’ll ever release itself from the comforts of its birth seed.

I can hardly blame it for holding on to the familiar.  So far, in its very short life, it’s held on through a few severe thunderstorms, some incredible cold, some incredible heat (for April), and two tornado warnings.  My guess is that by the full Moon partial eclipse on Thursday (tomorrow), it will have an epiphany and realize that it’s a plant – and while holding onto the past in some ways can be comforting, it can also hold us back from becoming what we might become.  Eclipses are life changing events, so that’s my guess on this plant’s future.

Ramble On

“Leaves are falling all around – time I was on my way.  Thanks to you I’m much obliged for such a pleasant stay …”

~Led Zeppelin

Ramble On

Ramble On

When I was in Savannah, I had one of my “musical moments,” as I call them.  Sometimes I’m looking at something or someone and a song will come into my mind.  Some people call it clairaudient, I just call it fun because it’s always so appropriate.  A minute later, my cell phone rang and it was my dad asking me what time he could expect me in Florida.  “I’m getting on 95 right now, Dad.”  And so I did – ramble on.

Before that I did manage to get more shots of 19th century houses and doorways. Our first date was short but magical and I will see Savannah again soon I hope.

No. 221

No. 221

No, 224

No.224

Spanish Moss

Spanish Moss

Blooming Welcome

Blooming Welcome

No. 107

No. 107

Ornate

Ornate

As I got on the road again I started to think about other places I haven’t seen yet. I wondered if I was close to “Honey Boo Boo’s” house (reality TV) and what Phaedre and Cynthia might be up to in Atlanta (Georgia is all over reality TV). I wondered, maybe the Travel Channel would be interested in following me following reality TV families on a road trip kind of show. I have an active imagination.

mansion

I had listened to the one and only CD I had in my car about 12 times at least, and so I turned on the radio and hit the scan button … the first song that came on was …

“… Oh Atlanta, … I gotta’ get back to you.”   ~Little Feat

See, it’s not always me.

No. 222

No. 222

 

Southern Plantation

No, this isn’t a story about Scarlet O’Hara, although some do say I have a flair for the dramatic. That’s a bit of a stretch though – it’s not drama that sparks me, it’s really the little things in life – things that might mean diddly-squat to others.  For as long as I can remember, I’ve not only loved learning about things, but I’ve always had a need to know how things worked, why they worked that way – immersed in the whole process of “becoming.”  So when I went to Wal-Mart last week and perused the clearance aisle, I found a small bag of organic dirt, a set of peat pots and I got inspired to start a garden.

The First Sign of Life – Day 1

plants1-Day0

The dirt here in this part of SC is mostly clay and you can grow stuff here, but it lacks the depth of flavor I enjoyed in NY and NJ – I would drive 800 miles for a Jersey tomato or a Long Island potato. That’s why I opted to start from seeds this time and to use organic soil.  The peat pots are cool, you can just drop the whole pot into the ground or a pot of dirt when the plant is mature.  The plan is to get some large planter pots and leave them on the porch to avoid subjecting my babies to all the wildlife around here.

The trees have been dropping pollen around here like green snow, and they’ve all bloomed practically overnight.  These plants are no different.  You’re supposed to start these pots 5 or 6 weeks in advance of planting and keep them indoors out of the Sun.  Ours are resting right on the porch in full sun for at least half a day and it only took about two weeks from seed to sprout.

Day 2 – Unbelievable

plants1-Day1plants1-Day2

I haven’t had a garden since I lived in Queens – yes, people in “the City”, at least some of them, have driveways and backyards just like everyone else.  My backyard was mostly cement but there was one little corner of the property that was just dirt.  Really good dirt,  I might add.  You wouldn’t think that a place in NYC would have such good dirt and some of the best water in the world, but it does.  My plants were hearty and robust and I took great pleasure in returning from work each day and dragging out the hose to water my “babies.”  It was my Zen zone after a trying day in the office – a little green corner in a big steel city.  I grew stuff I liked, but I also grew stuff that I didn’t really eat, like Italian peppers.  I just liked watching them grow and I liked when others got to enjoy them.  I loved getting vegetables from the garden and making them into fresh meals like tomato slices with olive oil and fresh garlic.  After an hour in the fridge, it was a cool and refreshing experience.

Today is the 3rd active growth day and with the rain we got last night – I was only half surprised when I saw how much everything had grown.  We have two kinds of tomatoes – one called Rutgers which I’m hoping will taste like a Jersey tomato, but what’s in a name?  We also have cucumber, and if  you’ve ever grown cucumbers, then you know they grow like wild fire.  They also do their best to strangle the surrounding plants, so we’re going to need a big pot for these guys to call their own.  We actually have too many, so I’m thinking of asking the neighbor behind us if he needs starter plants – he’s been busy rototilling the land for a couple of weeks now.  I can’t imagine what he grows in this non-dirt, but I’m anxious to see.

Day 3 – New Growth and Some Visitors

plants1-Day3 Lady Bug and Catepillar

You can click on any of these pics to view them in their larger format.  If you do so above, you’ll see a wandering caterpillar and a lady bug – I hope they don’t eat my crop.

Yesterday was a lucky day for me – not only did I revel in my ability to create life, I was also given a gift.  A very illusive yellow butterfly taunts me daily – either hanging around when I don’t have my camera on me or being conspicuously absent when I do have my camera in hand.  Yesterday though, he flew by me and sat in a nearby tree.  The chances that I could hobble (still nursing that ankle) in the house and up the stairs and retrieve my point and shoot in time to catch this spectacle seemed pretty slim.  But he was still there when I return.  He sat there for quit a while and I felt like he might actually be posing for me.  Thanks butterfly.

flutter bywings in a tree

And let’s not forget my bromeliad ball.  A couple of them died, but the rest are thriving.  It’s hanging outside now, right next to the other plant so it has company.

An Air Plant

An Air Plant

And then it was night.  And after a great dinner and a really good bottle of pinot, my roommates and I ended the day on the deck with the plants.  Unfortunately, we shared the deck with thousands (and that’s not an exaggeration) of inch worms.  I can’t wait until they’re all gone; their webs are everywhere and it’s pretty gross because they stick to you.  But it’s a small price to pay for being outdoors in good weather with good friends.  I’m a lucky girl.

Moonrise

Moonrise

Sweet Home Carolina

I came back from my road trip to Florida on a pretty gloomy two-day trek.  The Sun didn’t come out until I was just about home.  By the time I drove over Lake Wylie, the Sun was glistening off of the Lake and people were out on their boats and the marina bar/restaurant was packed.  Everyone and his brother and sister were out on their Harleys, some without helmets, hair flying in the wind.  Living in South Carolina suddenly didn’t seem like a foreign place to me anymore.  I’m a born New Yorker and I’ve lived in New Jersey – I’ve yet to live in a one-name state – South Carolina is different.

A "Drive-by" Photo

A “Drive-by” Photo

(One of my signature “drive-by” photos – where I drive with the window open (eyes on the road) and point my camera towards the passenger side and click – You never know what you’ll get, and that’s half the fun – I think I was doing 45  mph or so.)

It’s old and new, it’s old-fashioned and modern and in some ways, it actually kind of reminds me a little of life on Long Island where I was born in nineteen-nevermind.  People still burn leaves in their yard (my father used to rake up a pile of leaves and I’d ceremoniously jump into it like a skydiver and he’d have to re-do the pile), the natives are friendly (southern hospitality is not a myth) and you can legally drive a pick-up truck with passengers in the open back (something I loved to do).  Heck, the other day I was in an actual traffic jam, which only usually happens when school gets out or during rush hour (which has increased a lot here since 2011 when I last visited) – do you know what was holding up traffic?  A guy on his moped driving at the head of the pack of cars, myself included, and no one beeped their horn or seemed inpatient.

Every day that I’ve lived here I’ve tried to purposely “get lost” or at least find new roads to travel. The other day I went down a road that runs parallel to the main road I live off of. I was happy to see what I think is Kings Mountain, SC off in the distance. It’s a place I’d like to check out. I think the fuzzy monument in my original picture is the monument that sits on this important site in the history of the Revolutionary War.

Neighborhood-full view

Busy Blooms

Busy Blooms

I came here for a few reasons, but one of them was to create something. I had a few ideas, but I was never more inspired than when I came “home.” I may move back north one day – I talk about it all the time – or I may not. I’d eventually like to find a permanent place to call home, but I also think there’s a lot more of the world to see. For now, this is home – rich in history, rich in diversity and culture and big on beauty. Sweet Home Carolina.

Oh Yeah, the Pelicans

I mentioned my pelican pics the other day but it totally slipped my mind. I was supposed to post these before the Florida Flowers entry, but this week in SC has been pretty trying at times … It’s been a non-average of 80-85 degrees and unusually humid here. This all came about just about the same time as the AC unit in the house conked out. Last night we were on a tornado watch as storms moved from the Gulf of Mexico all the way up to Michigan. We miss a lot of bad weather here, bad weather seems to go around us like a pocket of forgiveness, but no one is impervious to weather, and occasionally the cold mountain air clashes with warm coastal currents (we’re hours away from both) and that pocket turns into a great landing place for tornados.

Pelicans over Siesta Key Beach

Pelicans over Siesta Key Beach

Here are a flock of pelicans flying over my head at Siesta Key Beach in FL. There were several flocks all flying away from the beach, which I thought was odd since pelicans are master divers and fisherman. They fly straight into the water like dive bombers, scoop up a fish or two and then float gently on the ocean’s current while they digest (?) I guess that’s what they’re doing. Still, Florida’s west coast has a lot of different birds, animals and interesting life forms you just don’t see anywhere else. I acquaint it to what Australia must look like to a US person and vice versa. I affectionately call the west coast of Florida, “Bedrock,” as in the Flintstones cartoon.  [Click photos to enlarge]

More Pelicans

More Pelicans

When I was young, I always said I wanted to come back in my next life as a bird – even as a child I wanted to spread my wings and be free. I’m so blessed to actually get a glimpse of that freedom at this time in my life and I’m so grateful. Hopefully this feeling will last, but even if it takes a detour, I’m totally enjoying the ride.

Florida Flowers

I keep saying it was a short trip, but still I managed to take a slew of photos. I’m a bit of a photo freak sometimes. For every photo you see on this blog, there are probably 40 more on the cutting room floor.

hibiscus bud 3

Hibiscus Bud

Hibiscus Bud

Most of these pictures are much bigger than I’m able to post here. Go big or go home. Actually, these I made smaller even though I really didn’t want to. Click on any of the photos to view them closer.

Before the Rain

Before the Rain

After the Rain

After the Rain

After the Rain Too

After the Rain Too

 

This is the equivalent to a supermarket to a bug.  Rain water, pollen and a photographer.

 

Click on any of these photos to view them in more detail.

Hibiscus

Hibiscus

Florida Bound

Sarasota and Siesta Key Beach

beach boat fly

Siesta Beach SignSiesta Key Beach isn’t in the Keys, it is however on the Gulf of Mexico – the water is blue/green and the crushed coral beach is cool to the naked foot even in the middle of the day. I remember growing up on Long Island and going to the beach. You always had to have something on your feet, it was like walking through a pile of hot coals. That’s not the case here. And unlike New York and New Jersey beaches, this one is free. Free parking, free beach, imagine that. It was spring break season in Sarasota so it was a little more crowded than I’d seen before, but that just made it more beautiful because of all the colored umbrellas on the beach and beautiful parasails in the air, along with a flock of pelicans and various birds that look like mini parrots. I’m just recovering from an Achilles tendon injury, so I skipped going on the beach this time, but that gave me a whole new perspective on photos. I was happy I went even if I couldn’t swim which is one of my favorite joys of life.

beach fun 2

It is called Siesta Key Beach, although the official sign on the main building says Siesta Beach – not sure why.  This beach was name the number one beach in the U.S. a year or two ago and I also remember seeing it on a documentary about the top 10 beaches in the world.  That’s pretty amazing – and so is the beach.  Sarasota is full of culture and beauty – and it’s fun.  I had to work one and a half days out of the few days I was there, but you can’t go all the way there and not see Siesta Key – you’d feel like you were missing out, and your would be.

two sail boogie

parasailing2

Well, time flies and so must I… but I’ll have a few more pics to share tomorrow – Florida’s citrus county and horse county weren’t something I could shoot too well while driving and watching the ever-changing speed limits – just an excuse to go back one day.  But I do have some other non-beachy photos – I may throw in a pelican or two, but I guess we’ll just have to wait and see. Ciao for now.

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Georgia’s Still on My Mind

View from Congress St.

Travelling was, is and will always be totally awesome. Honestly, I wish I had discovered this love of going places much earlier in life, but I doubt that I would have appreciated it this much. Funny thing is I’m the quintessential home lover. I would opt out of martini for the sake of being able to drive myself home and sleep in my own bed. And trust me, I haven’t seen one one-millionth of the world yet, but it doesn’t matter, I get to see and experience places through my blogger friends, places I never even knew existed with photos so breathtaking that I feel like I’ve been there too.  I hope these photos give you a taste of Savannah’s southern charm.

So while I’m on the subject, please excuse some of my Savannah pics if they’re not perfecto – It was a quick trip, well, more like a drive-by with a few blocks of walking.  Here are the houses and the B&B pictures I promised.  We’re taking a break from GA tomorrow and heading to the Gulf of Mexico in Florida – bring your sunglasses.

Andrew Low House 1848

Andrew Low House – 1848

I love the craftsmanship on this front door.

Hamilton-Turner Inn

Hamilton-Turner Inn

I really need to get photo software and another lens, but anyway … This is the Hamilton-Turner Inn and I can’t completely convey to  you how this entrance way just says “Come in and stay a while,” which is what they really want you to feel – at about $250 a night.  Hey, if ya’ got it … I wasn’t feeling so flush at the moment.  If you click on the link, you can read the history of the house and checkout their rooms, etc.  For me, the most interesting part of its history was this:

“…The house was embroiled  in scandal under the management of Joe Odom. His raucous parties—made  famous through the John Berendt book Midnight  in the Garden of Good and Evil …”

Hamilton-TurnerInn.com

Architecture

I’m totally ignoring the fact that there is a “no parking” sign in my shot – I hope you will too.  But check out the view of the church in the background and the double porch on the other side of the house.

doorway2

I wish I had spent more time here – to really get the full essence of Savannah, but I’m sure I’ll go again.  Preferably with a friend so I can snap pictures from the passenger side.  I did get to walk around a bit, but you can’t do Savannah in one day let alone a couple of hours.

Speaking of travel – when I got home on Friday my roommate, another friend and I planned a one-night weekend in Charleston, SC – I’ve never been there and it’s only a few hours away.  I’m learning that sometimes travel just happens.

Sundial

Sundial

Oh, look at the time.  I have to run.  See you in Florida tomorrow.