Meeting a Legend

Last year during a looming hurricane, we spent a weekend on Daufuskie and discovered what a magical place it is. This year, we’ve had the opportunity to visit other, mostly uninhabited barrier islands, including Cumberland and Ossabaw. Even though each of these islands can only be accessed by boat, the main difference is that there are restaurants on Daufuskie, which is a lot easier than packing in your lunch (and packing out your trash).

Several years back, Tyler met an acquaintance who told him of a book, Reefer Moon, by Roger Pinckney. The book illuminates the drug-running by shrimpers in this area during the 1970s. After reading it, I tracked down everything else he had written, much of which focuses on his island home of Daufuskie. Before even stepping foot on the island, I felt like I knew all about its quirky, lovable, stoic inhabitants from his words.

So when friends invited us to boat over for lunch on a beautiful, 70 degree Saturday in February, we gladly accepted. We sat outside at Marshside Mama’s for lunch, enjoying ahi tuna, mahi, gumbo, and something called “the heart attack” (can you guess who ordered that? Hint: it was Tyler).

menu

The sun shone bright and hot on us as we enjoyed a couple of cold beers in continued celebration of Tyler’s birthday and life in general. Even the yard dogs there are mellow.

dogs

From there, we headed back to the boat and went to the Old Daufuskie Crab Company at the Freeport Marina on the other side of the island. They had live music and a good crowd of people and dogs. We ordered their house drink, the Scrap Iron, which they have mixed up in a big glass dispenser on the bar. It tastes a little like a long island ice tea, but with a ginger ale kick…the actual recipe is top secret but they are really good. We swatted at the insatiable gnats and enjoyed our drinks while the guitarist sang Bob Dylan and Pink Floyd tunes. And then, across the bar from us, who sat down but the legendary author himself. Tyler and I flocked over to him to introduce ourselves and fawn over his genius. Next to him was a cute young couple in matching yellow Tour Daufuskie t-shirts. The man went to the restroom and the woman asked the random guy next to her if he wanted to do a shot. He politely demurred (who declines a free shot?), so I immediately volunteered Tyler to do it since we were celebrating his birthday and all. It turns out, Emily and her fiance, also name Tyler, are getting married on Daufuskie in April. We spent the rest of our time getting to know them and promising to come back for their ceremony. They even had one of those new-fangled Polaroid cameras and immortalized our time together with their no-shake-it technology. All in all, it was a day filled with randomonium and the kind of magic and new friends that can only happen on Daufuskie.

polaroids.jpg

Urban Homesteading, cont’d*

And now for the update on my mad gardening skillz…complete with first harvest/two easy peasy meals made from items lovingly grown by yours truly.

You be (bas)illin’

At planting time (approximately 2 months ago):     basil

Currently, 5 out of 6 4 out of 6 starter plants recommend my gardening talents (that sneaky one on the inner right side is technically an attached offshoot of the second plant in from the end!)

basil

You say toh-may-toes

tomato

I say, “can’t wait to make a tomato sandwich!”

you say to-mah-toI say to-may-to

There are three that are starting to ripen–they’re low and inside the pot, so I am hoping the birds will not have the chance to enjoy them before me. In years’ past, by the time I looked out the kitchen window to see a red ‘mater and the 30 seconds it took me to walk outside, they always managed to swoop in and peck my ‘mater (that sounds dirty, but I assure you, it is not).

I’m a pepper, you’re a pepper…

I don’t have a before shot for the three pepper plants, but they are growing like gangbusters! It was a little rocky after I first planted them and we had a crazy storm that blew them all over and they lost a lot of dirt, but, as you can clearly see from the multitude of peppers below, I triumphed!

pepper family

wouldntcha like to be a pepper toopicka packa peppers

A Sage for the Ages, But Neither Pine, Nor Apple

No before pix of pineapple sage, but it was just an itty bitty thing when I planted it and look at it now!

pineapple sage

I have been steeping it in sun tea and am thinking of creating mojitos this weekend (it worked with the loquats that grow like crazy around us!). It’s even getting ready to flower, and they look like they will be pretty and red.

The Honeymooners Special: Lettuce Alone

lettucelettuce alone

Not quite ready for a salad, but they’re getting there…and 100% of plants planted remain alive!

Gettin’ Figgy With It

One of the fruits of my labor (see what I did there?) that I am most excited about is the figs! Again, no before pic but I assure you this guy is thriving.

gettin' figgy with it   figgy 2

Can you see the tee-tiny baby fig? So far there are three whole fruits, which should be ready to enjoy sometime next month.

Eggs-cellent plants

Speaking of thriving, most of the plants I grew from seeds sown in egg shells started strong but are mostly all failing to thrive (read: dead). Not sure if they don’t get enough sun on the front steps, or maybe using regular eggshells instead of organic ones is the culprit (I am 90% sarcastic here but 10% convince-able that this could be a thing).

The seedlings out front are still hanging in there but don’t seem to have grown hardly at all in two months, especially when compared to the eggplant seedlings growing in the back yard.

eggshell plants

You see the white of eggshell but no green, yes?

eggshell plants2

Three visible egg shells, one visible plant (possibly a tomato? It was pretty obvious when planted what was cilantro, what was sage, etc., but with most everything dead, I have no frame of reference).

failure to thrive  Tee-tiny sprouts, but better than dead!

eggplants, meh  Eggplants

And now, for the stars of first harvest:

1st garden harvest   My precious…

I halved and de-seeded the peppers, laid them over a bed of uncooked rice, covered everything with 2 cans of red enchilada sauce and popped it all in the over. After about 30 minutes of cook time at 350 degrees, I sprinkled shredded cheddar over everything and let it cook for 15 more minutes until all melted and bubbly and gooey. Added chopped tomato as garnish and we chowed down.

I bought Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything about 20 years ago and still consult it on the reg. I used his recipe for pesto, combining fresh basil leaves, garlic, toasted pine nuts, olive oil, and parmesan (I cheat and use the “green can” parmesan because I know we always have some on hand!), which I tossed with cooked rotini pasta and shredded zucchini that I briefly sauteed in olive oil. Chopped another garden fresh tomato (Brenda 2, birds 0!) for garnish and color. Both recipes were delicious!

Also, I’ve convinced myself to move all of the front porch pots to the back yard. Stay tuned to see if anything changes, I mean grows…

*this title is still entirely ironic.

First Week of Summer Vacay

We survived our first week of summer vacation…it was really hot so we pretty much divided our time between staying inside in the a/c, swimming in the ocean, or swimming in a pool. We went through 3 swim masks and one snorkel, so now I just buy them in bulk at the Dollar Store.

In an effort to not let Jack’s impressionable young mind turn to mush for the next seven weeks, I have lined up a variety of science-y things to do and hope to update this blog at least once a week with our successes and failures, as well as anything funny along the way. First off, not science-y at all, but fun nonetheless, we designed our own tattoos and I drew them in permanent market on Jack’s biceps:

jack skull tattoo

Yes, that does say “Ruler of Death” per Jack’s instructions; he also drew the skeleton on paper for me to copy.

jack lion tattoo

This one came from a Google search of “lion tattoos” and taking into consideration my limited Sharpie skills for anything with too much detail.

Now on to the science fun! Before school ended, I picked up a couple of little kits at Tuesday Morning and also checked out a couple of library books on stuff like making your own volcanoes. First up, Make Your Own Meteor Kit!

meteor kit

 

Basically, they give you a little mold and three tiny bags with different colored space age-y material a little heavier than sand that you pour into the mold. I really liked this project because the steps were easy but you had to wait a bit for things to set up between each step so it kind of prolonged the fun and we set a count down timer on my phone (anytime I can teach Jack about time, being patient, waiting for something, etc. is a good thing!).

jack making the meteor

Here you can see Jack carefully pouring the red meteor material into the mold. Once the mold was full, we covered it with water and sealed in a little cup for 30 minutes to set. After the 30 minutes were up, we opened the mold and it was solid but tacky, requiring another 30 minutes to be completely done. Once done, the experiments began…we filled a baking pan with flour and threw the meteor into it, measuring the impact of craters and crash paths with a measuring tape and talking about how different speeds, angles of trajectory, etc. resulted in different kinds of impacts.

meteor in flour

Here you can see the meteor in the middle right of the pan.

meteor in flour 2

 

Here you can see the meteor in the upper left after carving a nice impact channel. We talked about the craters on the moon and about how big the meteors that made them must have been, as well as different kids of craters on earth, those made from long-ago meteors and those made when volcanoes explode. Good stuff.

Final verdict: Totally worth the $3 or $4 I spent for an evening’s learning disguised as entertainment.

I Have Officially Seen It All @ The Beach

Living at the beach, we see a lot of the things that you would expect: PDA, tattoos, drunk people ignoring their children, swimsuits too small for the body they are on, kids playing frisbee, kids building sand castles, etc. I thought I had seen all there was to see in this particular setting until today…

Solar Face Shield, a full face sun protection visor

So, apparently this is a thing…some kind of full face sunscreen visor. I saw two people (obviously related to one another, but difficult to say whether it was a mom and son or brother and sister since I couldn’t see their faces!) frolicking in the waves today when Jack and I went to the beach to celebrate the first day of summer vacation. The website notes that they are very popular in Asia and offers up the following benefits and tips:

  • 50+ UPF maximum full face sun protection
  • Now available in a 6″ or 7″ tinted see-through shield
  • One size fits most
  • Padded head band
  • Detachable sports strap
  • Not suggested for use while driving a car
  • Imported
  • FYI: High heat, for example the inside of your car in the summer, can warp the plastic shield.

For just $27, you too can snag one! Personally, I’ll stick with good ol’ sunscreen.