Thursday, March 27, 2014

End of the Ice?


Well, the Moose Lodge has a fund raiser for Little League every year.  They place a car drained of fluids on the ice, and folks can--for a fee--try to guess the exact date and time the car breaks through.  The winner gets a nice prize and Little League comes out well too.

The car broke through a few days ago, but we are still waiting at the island.  The air temps are abnormally below freezing and that is holding the ice--even though the sun with the longer days is doing its best to speed the thaw.

Above you see the effects of the conflict.  Part of the ice pack is moving--creating the fissure in the photo--while the rest is trying to hold firm.  The great rumble and grumble emanating from the pack is something to hear.  The temps are heading toward normal--so we shouldn't have long to wait.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Getting Around

Now, if you were a normal person and wanted to live here in the winter, you'd pay around $6500 for a good, used, hovercraft and that would be that.  Even if both engines failed, the craft is designed to float--so there would just be a minimal amount of embarrassment while the fire department crew threw you a rope.  However, nobody ever claimed my wife and myself are normal--so we get around by kayak.  The big plus for us is the silence.  Moving on a kayak is a quiet way to keep in tune with the natural world around us in winter.  Here is a clip of the kayaking to which I refer.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Full Moon

With the crisp air and the snow under foot, the moon looked more like an autumn moon to me.  However, spring is here, the songbirds are back, and the buds on the trees are coming along nicely.  Soon the grass will be green and the long sunny days will wake up the land.  The ice on our kayak beach has yielded to water--but it will be many days for the main pack ice to go.  The snowscapes were beautiful this winter--but we are more than ready for the long, sunny, lazy days of summer. 

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

The Power of the Sun

The ice pack is rock hard this winter.  We can't shovel the walk and drive with a snow shovel--we have to use a spade meant for shoveling dirt.  The surface of the lake--where these photographs were taken--is harder yet.  But look at what a simple autumn leaf can do--when powered by the sun.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

By the Hearth--A Letter to Share

The Treasure Island Fireplace

The following note is about an old fireplace utensil that we sent to Samuel in Georgia.  It so evokes the feeling of our turn of the century cottage that I obtained Samuel's permission to share it with you.  Our hearth is made of field stones gathered from nearby farms, but it certainly isn't as big as the ones in Samuels life!

Many thanks for your note. Living on an island sounds great!  As regards the old skimmer, I shall very likely use it after a little cleaning. I am quite old enough to remember many people who cooked on the fireplace! Indeed, my old grandmother did not have a cook stove until 1907, when she was almost 40 years old. I was quite interested by 18th and 19th century cooking; hence, she taught me to cook all things southern on the fireplace--bread, too. The one I learned to cook on could accept about an 8-foot log and I could walk inside it about 4 feet!Grandmother's place was the old Butler Plantation. The house was yet standing and in good condition when I was 25 years old. Now I have only photographs of the old place.

Here in the Georgia hill, about 50 years ago, I had dinner with an old lady and her daughter in their mountain home on Upper Hightower Road in Towns County. They began by shelling and grinding corn for the cornbread. They never had a stove and cooked greens and beans and the bread on the fire place. The bread was made with home-made lard and buttermilk and cook to perfection in a Dutch oven. There was never a speck of paint on the inside or outside of the house, nor was there a hint of any kind of decoration. One could drink buttermilk, sweet milk, or water. The ladies did not use coffee or tea, and no tobacco was used on the place.

The ladies were old-time holiness. When the food was placed on the table, the daughter and I
stood behind our chairs while the old lady got down on the floor and blessed the food. I could never forget this sweet, simple event, and the food was the very best I ever enjoyed in my long life. These simple mountain folks were mighty sweet to know. Alas, I have seen none like
them in many years. As I cook the same old southern food on the fireplace, I remember, one by one, my dear friends and loved ones gone on before.