Friday, March 29, 2013

Fort McAllister, Georgia

 Fort McAllister is just south of Savannah and an interesting fort with an interesting history. This massive earthwork was erected by the Confederate Army to protect Savannah and the rice and cotton plantations that bordered the Ogeechee Ricer. This fort withstood at least seven naval attacks made by the north, including withstanding the largest guns used by the Union Naval forces.
 The whole fort was created land berms. Impossible to see the fighters and the placement of the cannons was also strategically designed. The center huge berm was the hospital and was called the "Central Bombproof" area and is where the soldiers would be sheltered during a bombardment. Munitions and supplies were also kept below ground.
 The sallys and the munitions were also kept below ground.
 And while it looks like there is a moat around the whole fort, it is filled with huge poles to impale attacking forces.
I thought I would take a photo of us together so folks would know that we really were on vacation together. We are so often travelling apart. This was a chilly but sunfilled day. We had planned to go to Sapelo Island but we figured we would wait for a warmer day to do that trip.
Richard thought it interesting that some of the rifles were sighted to hit as far as 900 yards away...2700 feet, which he could not imagine. This photo below shows where the naval ships would have entered the Ogeechee and where the Confederate soldiers would have stood at the ready.

Monday, March 25, 2013

The South...gotta love it

Cultural differences amuse me…we are in the good ole US of A and yet…things are so different in so many ways. For example…yesterday, I met a lady out walking her dog. Nancy and I hit it off and I was mentioning that our neighbor, Bud had just gotten out of the Marines and had been here visiting us. She asked where he had been stationed and I told her Albany…she said, “Albany, NY?”  I said, “No, Albany, Ga.” She laughed and said, “No…that is Al-bee-knee. You aren’t pronouncing it correctly!

And when we talked about where to go to eat, she suggested that we try MudCats which we had heard about before. As we talked, she asked, “if y’all imbibe spirits?” After I answered in the affirmative, she said to talk with Carrie, the bartender, and tell her that Nancy sent us. Then, we should order our drink, saying we wanted a MudCat Special. That would be whatever we wanted to drink but served in a large 16 oz Styrofoam cup. Cost is the same as if we had ordered the usual, say gin and tonic in a small glass….but larger! “Locals know how to order here,” she said. So, tonight, we are going to go out and meet Carrie and “Sample the blackened grouper…which is REAL grouper. Not the fake fish you get up north.”

I must admit, when Nancy asked if we imbibe spirits, I did have a momentary vision of our breathing in ethereal spirit figures which would make us much more powerful and energetic. The language is fun here.

Signs here are fascinating. I love the Biblical verse that is on the front of an electric sign in front of a nasty used car business…the back of the board says, “Repent.” The front changes daily and there is no sign indicating cars are for sale, nor is there an indication of cost of the vehicles. Guess you just know…if you are a local. And then, after dinner at MudCat Charlies tonight, we went to check out the condos nearby. The speed limit? 11 miles per hour on the road sign. Don’t think I ever saw a sign for 11 mph anywhere.
I mentioned in an earlier blog that Bud, our Florida neighbor and marine came to visit. While here, he and Richard went kayaking and caught some trout.When Bud arrived, this is how he looked! Way handsome. He had just come from an interview with The Southern Company, a company in which we own stock! Hoping he gets a job offer from them.

The Saturday after St. Patrick's Day, Shellman Bluff had a St. Paddy's Day celebration with floats and all kinds of stuff for sale. Think...week after the actual date for the celebration??? And I loved this judge's booth...bribe us?

We decided to not stay for the event for a couple of reasons, including the fact that we didn't have a golf cart. Golf carts are apparently required and what is critical is that it is loaded on the back of one's pick up and off loaded. No less than six people in each golf cart either. And the other reason we didn't stay was that the sky opened up into a torrential downpour. We had seen enough in any event. 10 a.m. and the green beer was everywhere...any day is a good day for a celebration, right?

Saturday, March 23, 2013

The Low Country....S. Georgia

 This area of S. Georgia is spectacularly poor and wonderfully historical and beautiful. Never really considered the history of this state vis a vis the Civil War, slavery and its economic impact on the rest of the country. The flowers are in full bloom and there are outrageously scattered bushes abloom everywhere. Color is radiantly exhibited all around. Love it.

We stopped at another sugar mill ruin and here are a few of the tabby walls, made of sea shells, clay and made into the walls of this building from the 1800's..

The building looks like it was a two story ediface but I couldn't see any evidence left of how one got to the top. Stairs declined first?
 As we drove to this building near Harris Neck, we passed many signs that make me chuckle. I mentioned on Facebook, passing the "Dead people's stuff on sale here" sign in one community. Another street sign? Hell's Gate Lane. Wouldn't you like to live on that street? And Hell's Gate Lane was not near the "Slow Church" sign. Is that a church for those contemplating the Bible slowly? Is for the elderly who cannot move very quickly? Or, if you become a member of that church, will it take awhile to learn all they have to teach? A church that type A personalities should not join? Made me laugh.

I have lived in the Bible belt before but I am reminded anew of the number of small churches here. I asked a neighbor lady if the majority of the churches in McIntosh County are functional. She indicated that even the smallest of the churches serving the poorest of people are up and running...feeding, clothing, helping with kids and preaching. These aren't churches, these are families.
I have found it interesting that there appears to be a fairly large number of Jehovah's Witness churches around, which I didn't expect. She said this is newer to the Low Country but it won't take off here because, "they don't know our ways." I didn't get more specific but she made a harrumph sound that said it all!
***This thistle got my attention. It isn't the smallest I have seen, but about two feet tall and flowering. I would not want to run into one of these or step on them. HUGE!
Phyllis, a lady three houses down introduced me to her hairstylist. Annette works out of her home in a beauty shop smaller than our cottage living room but with two chair hair dryers, two seats for "company" and a hair washing/setting/waxing chair. Very efficient. Best yet...the conversation. Phyllis has a standing every Thursday at 11 a.m. appointment. Her hair is washed, put into rollers, dried, teased, sprayed and combed out. That plus a chin wax and tip...$17.00! The standing noon appointment arrived and, no surprise, she was an old neighbor of Phyllis' and the three women caught up on life since last Thursday and asked me about my life and how I get my chin and lip waxed. I don't do either...brows, yes. I came back and looked in the mirror and guess when I go back on Tuesday for my hair appointment that I may get the whole face done just to see how different I will look.
While with Phyllis at the beauty parlor, I got a recipe for crab pie from the 12:30 appointment lady, also an old friend of the two ladies getting beautified. Bought the crab today and now...I have to find a pie pan. None here.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Darien, S. Georgia

 It is a tough vacation, but someone has to suffer and it is I! This is a typical sunset off of our higher deck...we have three deck levels here. The lowest is for fishing and boating, the middle for sitting and bird watching and the highest? For whatever one feels like doing. Grilling. Sitting. Bird or dolphin watching. Sunset viewing. is perfect!
 Darien is a shrimping community and here are a line of shrimp boats at the downtown marina. Smells horrid...but the shrimp, fresh daily are spectacularly lovely. Bought some yesterday from a man sitting at a gas station that the neighbor highly recommends. Lynn and I approached the pick up truck and noticed the man was napping. We walked on to check out the shrimp boats and then, went back and woke him up. We bought two pounds of shrimp...heads already off.

What's not to like about this view?

Boats of all types and sizes here. Our plan today is to figure out how to access fresh oysters and how to capture some ourselves. Richard got a fishing license, good for a year but it doesn't cover shrimp. Appears to cover bivalves though. We shall check with the neighbor. Willie and Phyllis, his wife, are the caretakers of the house we are renting.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Fort King George

 Until 1736, Fort King George was the most southern British outpost in North America. This reproduction fort, while interesting, is no competition for Fort Michilimackinac in the UP of Michigan. Can't wait til my grandkids get here and visit this site again so I can hear what they think about the difference between the two. Or if they even notice any differences.
 This bunk house was it slept 100 men but, in such close quarters.


 The iron work shed must have been larger originally. Hardly seemed functional. They apparently do very few re-enactments here which is sad. Living history is so much more fun.
One of the living areas, with tables and hard straightback chairs. The ladder going upstairs had round rungs and looked difficult to climb.
This fireplace was huge and I was reminded about how food and spices were stored in these barrels. Ned checked out a few of the small cannons...oddly enough, there were no huge cannons on site. Wondering if those came later or if the smaller just were here because it was a small fort replica??? Inquiring minds want to know...sadly, I didn't think of cannon size while on site. Next time.

The area of the fort was fairly large and it ended up that Ned couldn't walk it. So, I went in search of a wheel chair and a nice young man, Jason, brought me back to Ned, Linda and Richard in a golf cart which he then taught me to drive and left with us. We checked out the soldiers' cemetary and the gift shop and left.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Jekyll Island

Here is a typical tree hanging with Spanish Moss that we see everywhere. Love the trees and the limbs. So gorgeous.

We went over to Jekyll Island on Saturday because there was a published art festival and since Linda is an artist, I thought she would enjoy the event. This was NOT ArtFest Fort Myers! We anticipated a huge gathering of artists and attendees...this area is very affluent. This was the band that was playing and while there were some unusual paintings, the event was mostly about pottery. Bought some Christmas gifts and enjoyed getting out...missed seeing great art.
 This painting made us laugh. This is a horse's ass for a head...sorry the photo is so bad. Linda mentioned to another guy looking at this that though interesting...what would be most fun and traumatic would be to be gifted this painting. What would the sender be saying to you??
Naturally, we stopped at the fishing pier and Lynn and I hopped over to the beach. Loved this piece of tree washed ashore. Shortly after walking by here, Lynn took quite a fall. She wasn't watching for tree knees popping up out of the sand. She bounced nicely but is still hurting...not good to fall on your knee!

 The gates to Jekyll Island.
No clue who these folks are but I took this as we walked toward the windy, hard packed beach. As we came back, the man was returning from his car with a blankie...he was freezing. Maybe 65 out, but a brisk wind blowing. The woman said she was here for a week and was returning the next day to a snowstorm in Pennsylvania. She was going to get a tan...even if she froze doing it!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Harris Neck Wildlife Refuge

Yesterday, we went to check out the Harris Neck Wildlife Refuge not too far from our place. I wanted to hike a bit but it was soooo windy and cold, we didn't do many of the trails. Here is a clump of Coots, birds swimming together and making a warm cooing noise. 

 Wood storks decorating a clump of trees! Lower center, you can see two huge black lumps...these are alligators, and they appeared to be about 15 feet long. Lying in wait for a bird to drop. Can't wait 'til it warms up and we will be able to find so many more of these critters. A sign said it is "illegal to harass or feed the alligators." Really? Who would try to harass an alligator?
We were out trekking and Richard found some crab traps outside the immediate marsh area. He sold all of our traps when we left Florida but I think we will be looking for a couple at a local garage sale so we can try to crab while the kids are down here. This refuge is gorgeous and we are wishing we had thought to bring our bird book with many birds with unusual markings and colorings.

This is one of the pathways in the refuge...everywhere are these draping trees strung with bundles of Spanish Moss.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Darien, Georgia

We have rented a place in South Georgia for two months and here are a few photos to show you what the place looks like. Though it is chilly, we are getting out to explore a bit. The owner's mother actually did much of the tile work herself. The  home is very open with a beautiful view and tons of windows which let in the sunshine...something I have been missing in Michigan.

 There are two bedrooms with a connecting bath downstairs and the kitchen, living area, dining room and huge master bedroom/bath is upstairs. There is a lift chair up to the second floor, for those who need help navigating the steep steps. The second floor is where most of the daily living occurs. We have an open air deck and a screened in porch which looks out onto the marsh and the Tidal river. Could not ask for a more beautiful and serene location to vacation.
This is the master bedroom and bath...we have a shower/toilet area to the far right and a huge whirlpool tub in the center of the room. There is also a pull out sofa across from the bed and under a huge window. Today, we bought some scented bubble bath and we are going to grab a drink and snuggle up into the whirlpool bath. I KNOW...way too much info!!
My sister and brother in law arrive tomorrow and warning to all you drive down Mission Drive, there are these huge trees in the middle of the road. Drive slowly and carefully. A large vehicle could hit some of the lower hanging branches on a couple of these stupendous Spanish moss draped trees! And the road, though two way is very narrow indeed.

We are slowly investigating the area which is filled with historical sites, forts, and wildlife refuges which support hunting, hiking and fishing activities.
Much to see and do here...oh, the big grocery store chain is the Piggly Wiggly which I have shopped in before. However...what these stores carry or don't is quite amusing. For instance, one may buy smoked turkey wings or necks, but not the legs I like to use in my lumpy soups. But, there are all types of hog parts for sale...both smoked or not. And this is the land of liver...all types of animal liver for sale here. Tongue, heart, livers are also available. There are hundreds of seafood shops everywhere and we need to ask which are reputable. Shrimp, oysters and more...soon!  I have forgotten what living in the south is like and am fondly reminded of my time in Chesapeake, Virginia which was city, not rural like here in Darien.
I wanted to get a roaster chicken to stuff for dinner tomorrow. Ended up hitting two Piggly Wiggly stores today. I asked one butcher and one woman purchasing beef IF anyone had roaster chickens bigger than a cornish hen. These are NOT cornish hens but tiny. Answer....this is how chicken is down here. So, bought two and hoping they will feed the four of us.

Atlanta, Georgia

We left Michigan on February 26 and headed south to see Tim, Richard's brother at his home in Atlanta. Spent a couple of days there and loved seeing both sunshine and these flowers which were in full bloom at his house. Had a great visit and spent some time at the DeKalb Farmer's new favorite place to shop. And then, off we went to Darien, Georgia where we have rented a home for two months. Unfortunately, it is freezing cold right now, with strong winds. Freeze warnings out BUT still warmer than Michigan AND we have sunshine. What could be bad about that?
While on the road between Michigan and Georgia, I had another AHA moment. We are driving two cars down which is costly and lonesome. The idea was that two cars would allow me to head south and see friends and former colleagues while Richard could fish and explore. What would have made more sense is to take one vehicle and just rent a car when I wanted to head out. Neither of us thought of this simple solution. Next year!!