Saturday, September 30, 2017

Fall Plant and Flower Show

This weekend is the annual Pee Dee State Farmer's Market's annual fall plant and flower show. It's a great time to plant perennials in South Carolina, so there are lots of them for sale with vendors from all around the eastern part of the state. Of course, there are also fruits and vegetables for sale, and fair food, and crafts. It's usually a nice time. The weather is gorgeous this weekend and perfect for the show, so my mom came to visit and we went and had a look around. I took a few pictures to share.

Blue sky autumn day.

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Cheerful fall wreaths!

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There were so many pumpkins. 

Remember kids: all worm castings are NOT the same!

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I ended up buying a pot of these marigolds (and a small pumpkin).

Perennials for sale.

I'm not sure what these flowers are, but they're very pretty!

Beautiful fresh beets and sweet potatoes.....

...and "country grapes" for $1.99/pd.

Speaking of country grapes...!

  1. Apples from the mountains of North Carolina.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017


I'm feeling a bit weighted down with responsibilities at the moment. There's been very little time to read and comment on my favorite blogs lately, and for that I apologize. My work as a Guardian ad Litem has been especially heavy.

I've visited Kay a couple of times now. I've been checking in with her on the phone on the weeks that I don't see her, and there was a court hearing last week.  Now that she's over 16 years old she's required to be there. Kids in foster care have to have their cases reviewed at least once every 90 days as a part of their "permanency planning". There will almost certainly be no permanent solution for Kay--she's been up for adoption since she was 13 or so and not one single family has ever shown interest in her. Very few people want to adopt teenagers, which I guess is understandable, but it's still heartbreaking. Kay still hopes to be adopted, and she told the judge so in court last week. That makes me really sad, but I think looking to the future is what's best for her now. This weekend we're having lunch together, and next week I have an appointment for a conference with her school guidance counselor. I want to look over her grades, attendance, behavior, class schedule, etc. and see how we can work together to help her have the best school year possible. I hope, more than anything, to be able to attend her high school graduation next year.

So my work with Kay is keeping me busy, not only visiting her and meeting with her foster family, caseworkers, and counselors, but writing monthly monitoring reports, going to court, and required continuing education classes. There was a two hour workshop just last night. Right before we left, the volunteer coordinator put out a plea for GALs willing to take on a second case--there has been a surge in new cases since school started and they're overwhelmed. I almost put my hand up but thank goodness common sense kicked in and I refrained. I still have my "real" job as well as a family life that I need to consider.

Speaking of which, I still love my new job! The people are nice, the schedule is wonderful, and I'm already beginning to feel comfortable and settled there. My life has changed for the better and I'm profoundly grateful.

Monday, September 18, 2017

The Art of the Biscuit

John Gray over at Going Gently asked me about a recipe for biscuits when I posted this picture of my breakfast on Facebook.

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For my friends across the pond, our biscuits are nothing like yours. What you call a biscuit, we call a cookie. What we call is a biscuit is a soft, savory bread that's a staple food in the southern states of the USA.

Not many people can make a good homemade biscuit. It's a dying art. The ones pictured here were bought as frozen dough and baked, and they're pretty good, but nothing like a real honest-to-goodness homemade biscuit.

My maternal grandmother made the best homemade biscuits ever. There was never any recipe involved. She would pour a bunch of flour in a bowl, scoop a handful of lard (yes, lard) on top, and with one hand would start kneading the dough while slowly pouring in buttermilk with the other. When the dough was smooth and elastic, she would deftly pinch off the perfect amount, roll it between both hands, and put it onto a greased baking sheet. She would keep on doing that until the sheet was full, and then pop it into a hot oven. A few minutes later, you'd have a dozen or so perfect biscuits. They were heavenly.

No one could cook like my grandma. And no one makes biscuits as good as hers. I'm terrible at it, and my mom isn't much better. I must have watched my her make biscuits hundreds of times as a child, but I've never been able to master it.

John asked me for a recipe. I don't really have one beyond what I just described seeing my grandmother do. I'm sure that a Google search will bring up many different recipes and techniques for making a biscuit, but take it from me, it's more difficult than it looks. That's why I stick with the frozen and ready to bake kind!

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Afternoon mischief

As soon as we get home in the afternoon, we try to let Marco out of his cage for some free time. Unfortunately, he immediately looks for trouble. Usually it starts with him flying over to the computer and walking across the keyboard. He did that just now and I shooed him away. So he pranced over to where we keep some fish food and started trying to bust into the bag. Brat!

When I shooed him away from that, he flew into one of the bedrooms and spent some time hanging out on the bed. He refused to step up on my hand when I tried to make him come to me. You can't leave him unattended (unless you want to return to a disaster scene) so I finally had to grab him and make him go back to his cage. I took another picture first.

He doesn't care what you think.
Life with a parrot can be a lot of fun, but it can also be a real pain in the a** sometimes!

Monday, September 11, 2017

Hurricane Hounds

I took Ginger and George for a quick walk this morning before the wind and rain from (now tropical storm) Irma began. We won't be able to go tonight at our ordinary time. I think they appreciated a quick stretch of the legs--those two are always down for a walk.

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What they don't appreciate is having their pictures taken. Look at this close up of Ginger's face!

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I'm beginning to see reports of power outages around town, so who knows if I'll have power much longer. But we're all safe and well and for the most part, out of harm's way.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Dodged a bullet.

It looks like we're not going to feel very much of an impact from hurricane Irma beyond some strong gusty winds tomorrow and heavy rain. It's such a relief, and we still have supplies if another storm comes this way. Hurricane season is only half over so it's still a possibility. We got lucky this time.

Now I'm worried about our friends and family in Florida. Thank goodness that evacuations and preparations started early. With the devastation in Houston still fresh in everyone's mind, people have been taking Irma seriously from the beginning, which can only be a good thing.

We had such beautiful weather yesterday that I almost felt guilty about it. It was windy and cool, with a bright blue sky and almost no humidity. Today is cloudy and still very cool, and starting tonight there is a wind advisory in effect for about 24 hours. The maximum gusts should only be about 50mph, and combined with heavy rain we'll probably have some spots with power outages, but nothing approaching a real storm's destruction. We appear to have dodged a bullet, and I'm very thankful.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

State of Emergency

The governor of South Carolina issued a "State of Emergency" this afternoon after hurricane Irma started veering slightly eastward. By 5pm all the stores, big and small, were out of bottled water and there are long, long lines at every gas station in town. I've heard you can't find a parking spot at the big box stores. People are panicking. And they kind of have a point.

This is a record-setting storm that has the potential to be utterly catastrophic. I've seen some real no joke hurricanes in my life, including Hugo in 1989, but I've never seen anything approaching 200 mph sustained winds (with higher gusts). And Irma is big.. I heard today that it's the size of the state of Ohio. Ohio! A storm that big will end up being felt in several states no matter where it initially makes landfall.

Last weekend when the storm was still far away, we went ahead and bought some supplies. We reasoned that even if Irma didn't end up being an issue, it's still the middle of hurricane season and we might need them later. We have four cases of bottled water, plenty of nonperishable food and sodas, extra tp, batteries, candles, lighters, and matches. We filled up our cars with gas. Thank goodness for preparing early! I still want to top off the gas in my car tomorrow if I can, and we need to pick up an extra canister of fuel for the camp stove, but that's about it. We're ready. Or as ready as we can be, I suppose.

To my Florida friends and anyone else in the path of this storm: please do whatever you need to do to keep yourselves and your loved ones safe. Let's all check in as we can, ok?

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Red sky in the morning...

This morning I was awake and having my first cup of coffee when the sun came up. The light streaming in an east facing window was a strange shade of red; it reminded me of dried blood. What's that old weather saying.....?

Red sky at night, sailor's delight.
Red sky in the morning, sailor take warning.

It all seemed slightly ominous given the monster hurricane that's out in the Atlantic right now.

I took a picture of Marco facing the sunrise. It doesn't really capture how odd the light was, though.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Tiny Treehouses

I read an article online this morning about an artist who builds tiny, intricate treehouses in houseplants. Some of the photos made me squeal, and I'm not ashamed to admit it! I've never seen anything like these little fairy dwellings built inside of common potted houseplants. The attention to detail is astonishing. And they're just!

There's a link embedded below if anyone is interested in reading more about the tiny treehouses. Enjoy! And have a happy Sunday!

Los Angeles–based artist Jedidiah Corvyn Voltz is a prop-maker for TV and film by day who has a charming side business making tiny treehouses for potted bonsai trees, cacti, and succulents.......


Saturday, September 2, 2017

September's arrival

I'm enjoying the arrival of September in my part of the world. It's been a little bit cooler, a little less humid, and the dogwood trees are already beginning to show some very early color. I read an essay this morning about early September that I wanted to share with you. Of course it's by my favorite nature writer, Hal Borland. As always, he captures the mood of the season so beautifully!

September 2nd and 3rd


"September is the year at the turn, a young mother sending her children off to school and wondering if she can ever catch up with Summer tasks unfinished. It is Autumn at hand and Summer reluctant to leave; it is days loud with cicadas and nights loud with katydids; it is beets for pickling and pears for canning and apples for pies and sauce and cider. It is hot days and cool nights and hurricane and flood and deep hurt and high triumph.

September is both more than a month and less, for it is almost a season in itself. It is flickers in restless flocks, readying for migration; it is goldfinches in thistledown; it is fledglings on the wing, and half-grown rabbits in the garden, and lambs in the feed lot. It is the gleam of goldenrod and the white of lavender and purple of fence row asters, with the bright spangle of bittersweet berries.

September is fog over the river valleys at dawn and the creep of early scarlet among the maples in the swamp. It is bronze of hillside grass gone to seed. It is walnuts ripening and squirrels busy among the hickories. It is late phlox like a flame in the garden, and zinnias in bold color, and chrysanthemums budding. It is a last gallant flaunt of portulaca and petunias defying time and early frost.

September is the first tang of wood smoke and the smolder of burning leaves. It is bass and perch revitalized in the chilling waters of pond and stream. It is the hunter's dog sniffing the air and quivering to be off to the underbrush. September is time hastening and days shortening, it is the long nights of Autumn closing in with their big stars and glinting moon. September is the wonder and fulfillment and the ever-amazing promise of another Autumn."

Hal Borland

"Sundial of the Seasons"
September 1955