Monday, June 27, 2016

Around the Yard

All over our yard there are orange day lilies spattered about.  Most of them came from my mother in laws' yard.  I kept digging up the ones that were growing behind her fence.  In our area they grow wild on the side of the road.  I imagine most people do not really purposely plant them, but I really like the bright orange colors and  how they  are incredibly hardy and prolific.   
Black Eyed Susans -  My grandma had these in our yard growing up and now they come up in random places around my kitchen garden.  How can you not be cheered up when in the presence of one of these beauties?
 Bee Balm is one of my favorites.  This is my second go around with trying to grow it.  The first time  it just seemed to play out, but I think that it just was too hot and dry in its' former location.  Now I have it sheltered by the fence in the back yard.  Humming birds love it as much as the bees do.
 This is Nugget.  One of my art students gave her to me.  I am slowly trying to introduce her to our little flock, but I keep her separate most of the time. She is pretty entertaining and  our dog is highly intrigued by her.
Hydrangeas are fading but there is a unique beauty even in that.  We have been in drought conditions and many of my bushes stay pretty wilted during the hottest parts of the day.
I painted our mail box, something that I have wanted to do for years.  It was really a lot of fun to do!!!  It has a "hippie look" to it but so does the rest of my yard. 

Friday, June 24, 2016

My Sister's Store Books and More

Saturday we were out and about with our daughter in law and our son. While we were waiting for our food at a nearby bistro, my daughter in law wanted to show me an interesting shop nearby.  Off we went to  My Sister's Store Books and More.  The store is filled with shelf after shelf of used books.  Intermingled among the book wares, there is a treasure trove of all kinds of pop celebrity memorabilia, jewelry, collectibles, antiques, local art, cobalt blue glassware and china.

Sisters, Phyllis Chandler and Pam Campbell, own and operate the store.   Phyllis was manning the store on Saturday.  She said that they had been in operation for five years but at their present location only a couple of years.  The store is purposely laid out with lots of open spaces and seating.  The sisters want their shop to be more than a store, but a place for the community to enjoy being together.
They have an open mic night on Fridays where local folks can come and share their talents.  An antique upright piano sits in the main area for folks to showcase their talents. On Saturdays they often have special entertainment.  One week they had an trio who brought the community,  "A Tribute to Sinatra". They offer various classes that are advertised out on the wrap around porch.

 I spotted a Duncan Phyfe reproduction sofa in the sitting area probably from the 1930's era, a marble top table paired together with a vintage white and orange metal chair. This is whimsical decorating at its' best. The open area also has  rocking chairs,  some wicker,  a dining room table with chairs and a cast iron garden table and chairs.  I love the pairing of so many different styles.  It gives the feeling of home when we have to pull out all of our chairs  because we have so many of our relatives or friends filling up all of the nooks and crannies of our homes and our hearts.

They have a chess board set up for those who want to set a spell and visit in the shop.  The store is reminiscent of all those by gone places in our home towns where folks had an open invitation to stop in to share the latest news, visit and connect.  It is the kind of place that every community needs.  Charm and character are seeping out of the walls.

Pam and Phyllis' mother's maiden name is Stepp.  Nine generations ago, the Stepp family was granted land  in Traveler's Rest.  The sister's shop is located  near property that was originally in their family so many generations ago.  Phyllis said that she had moved several times in her life but it seemed inevitable that she would be back in TR.  I am sure that there would be a strong pull back to a place where your family has been so firmly rooted by time and so much of your family history.

On the wall behind the counter, there is a lovely portrait of an attractive silver haired lady.  The portrait resembled  Phyllis greatly.  I found out that this lovely lady was the Phyllis and Pam's mother.  She must have been quite a spirited lady.  According to Phyllis, their mother bought a golden Trans Am in her sixties and had glamour shots done in her seventies. We say "spitting image" in the South when someone resembles a family member.  The correct pronunciation and  meaning could be illustrated by saying, "She is the spirit and image of her mother."  I suspect that much of the spirit of their mother reveals itself in this delightful and whimsical place.

The shop is located in the middle of Travelers Rest, where Main Street and State Park Road intersect.  It is conveniently located a short distance from the Swamp Rabbit Trail for those bike riders who enjoy the the jaunt from Greenville into Travelers Rest.

My Sister's Store is one of those places that you don't want to miss if you are in Travelers Rest . It is a place that you will want to have a bit of time to browse.  You might find yourself engrossed in a rare book from one of the shelves, looking at local art, playing a game of chess with a stranger or just visiting with Ms. Pam or Ms. Phyllis.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Weekend Wisdom 14

Of Country Girls
City girls get tattoos, country girls get scars. (author unknown)

Of Conflict
Most of the fights in our marriage have been because someone was tired, hungry or both.

Of Perspective
I have learned through the years that many times by the end of the day I am spent physically but it can also impact me mentally.  Things that I ordinarily would be able to put into focus can seem overwhelming.  I know now that I just need to go to sleep and the world will right itself.

Of Order and Beauty
When all the boxes are finally moved into the home, a  Southern genteel woman finds a little corner to decorate, to be a catalyst for beauty and order.

Of Hard Work
Lazy people find ways to avoid work and it leads to more and more exhaustion, but rest for the hardworking is sweet and refreshing.

Of Peace and Dreams
The world tries all kinds of social constructs to bring about peace, but in order to have peace we have to be at peace inside.  The only way to do that is to make our peace with The King of Peace.

It takes more than wishing upon a star for all of our dreams to come true, it took the bloody process of a man dying upon a Roman cross.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Drawing Nigh to Hope

I stand asunder, apprehended by a longing song
Caught in a periphery of stifling darkness

Intermittent chords amble along on strains of hope

Like the cadence of foot soldiers marching into battle
My heart attunes to the rhythm

Longing, ever so much longing 
That soon night will be past.

Even the darkness is not dark to You, And the night is as bright as the day. Darkness and light are alike to You.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Digging Your Way to Victory

In the World War II era, folks were encouraged to get out there and plant a Victory Garden and have a few backyard chickens for eggs.  The soldiers needed the food that could be grown by the farmers and because of the war much of Europe was unable to produce food.  The more food that individuals grew the more it helped reduce the stress of the national food supply.

 I am  pretty sure every little community had friends and family members involved in the war effort. People across the nation responded to the call to garden as it was a way that they could help the war effort back home. There were more than 20 million victory gardens planted.  Even folks in the city planted in window boxes and on rooftops. Because of rationing, victory gardens also provided extra nutrition. It helped people eat locally and reduced the need for transporting food. This freed up transportation for the war effort.

Currently there is a renewed interest in gardening among people of all ages and backgrounds. Many people are trying to buy land so that they can have a little homestead.  So much of the knowledge about how to farm has not been passed down to the next generation, but thankfully there are numerous websites and blogs dedicated to gardening methods.  In our local area there are a variety of support groups that  exist simply to share information on how to successfully homestead.

I grew up with gardening as a huge part of our existence.  Daddy worked in the cotton mill and then came home and worked the land.  It was part of his daily routine to head out to the barn and fields to do his second job of farming.  It was really how we did not starve or depend on government assistance.  Mama did not work outside of the home.  There was never a lot of money but we never ever lacked for food. It obviously did not hurt my dad as he lived to be almost 96 and he had two serious cancers, that never seemed to bother him.

Gardening and country living is deeply entrenched in my soul.  Every place that I have lived, I have planted something.  I started with ornamental plants and moved on to edibles.  I am thankful that we have an abundant food supply in our nation, but it seems that if we have some dirt that we should plant something edible in it. The sun is a free solar lamp,  God provides abundant rain most years, and seeds are totally amazing in their return potential.   I do not have to make anything grow, it is genetically built into the seed or plant to reproduce.  It is part of the provision that God has freely opened His hand to give us. It seems foolish that we will go to work and put in extra hours to buy food at trendy, pricey stores when we could be providing the same things for our families by planting some seeds in that dirt that is already at our back steps.  Grass in our nation is almost an idol.  I say cast down that grass idol and plant some food.   For me the trendy pricey stores require traveling into the big city and fighting traffic to be able to join the cool people picking out their organic kale in the produce section under the watchful eyes of the produce manager.  I would much rather throw on my sandals and snap off some lettuce grown organically in my old wheel barrow that is set up by the chicken yard.  My only traffic congestion in that exchange is with our evil cat who gets in my way as I go out the door.

 What I do in my yard would never be a profitable business monetarily, but it is profitable for the health and welfare of my own family.  I would love to be at the place where my garden produces the vast majority of what we eat.  It is a goal that I am working toward.  Daddy would be proud. But for right now,  I enjoy picking fresh strawberries to add to my yogurt or snipping herbs to make tea or add to my salad.  The fresh food from our garden becomes a nice
supplement to our diet.

There are other added benefits of working in the dirt.  It is my earth gym.  I lift, bend and stretch.  Go ahead and lift all the weights that you want but actual physical work like digging makes a person strong and produces stamina.  I daily get plenty of fresh air and vitamin D from the sun.  I sweat to remove impurities from my body.  I live in closer contact to nature.  My sleep is sounder.  I am exposed to all kind of beneficial probiotics in the dirt.  In the summer, I keep a glowing healthy tan just from my daily work in the garden. I personally think that backyard gardening is a VICTORY for everyone who participates.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Old Oakway Architectural Salvage

Yesterday was a pretty full day for me.  I went first to Anderson to take care of some errands and stayed longer than I had intended.   My sister in law had sent me a Facebook invitation to attend the grand opening for Old Oakway Architectural Salvage in Seneca.  It looked interesting and I  also had another place that I wanted to check out in Seneca.  I had a few hours before I really needed to be back home.  I can't always explain why I choose to do something, but yesterday I felt compelled to make the extra effort and drive into Seneca. I used to go to Seneca on a semi regular basis to do a little thrift store treasure hunting but it has been years since I trekked out that way. 
Seneca is a lazy old established southern town.  It is located near Lake Keowee and is back dropped by the Blue Ridge mountains.   The Sencea downtown area is pretty run down but there are those who are trying to bring it back to life.  The upscale neighborhood at  Keowee Keys is just a jaunt away.  

I wandered around  Old Oakway taking a few pictures and checking out their wares. Eventually I made my way to the counter to speak with Bentley one of the owners.  I was greeted warmly and was filled in on some of the details that are unique to Old Oakway.  Bentley,  works full time in the mental health field so the shop is only open on Saturdays from 9 until 2 or by appointment.  

Her husband, Nick works full time running the deconstruction crew.  The crew takes down old barns and houses to salvage vintage hardwood flooring, stonework, barn doors, gingerbread, window sashes, hardware, old light fixtures, mantles and those odd sized doors from a by gone era.  They will salvage anything from a property that might appeal to preservationists trying to restore another property, home owners who want unique items with a colorful backstory for bragging rights,  those who like the patina of the quaint or quirky, and to interior designers who are looking for those idiosyncratic architectural features that will give complexity to a home or business.  Nick transitioned from the academic world of teaching university level history to preserving parts of history  through the  architectural salvage field.

Before Nick and Bentley married they bought a house in the Old Oakway section near Westminster. Nick's family has been established in this area for generations and qualify for being part of the living  history continuum of Westminster. Bentley and Nick needed vintage hardwood floors to restore their home.  A house nearby was slated for demolition.  The enterprising couple asked for permission to salvage the old flooring.  Nick is no stranger to construction practices as he hand constructed  a "fire fox" type of cabin and also was instrumental in building a local museum.  Nick realized through the experience of salvaging the flooring for his own home, that he really wanted to do more of this historical salvaging.  Old Oakway was officially opened in 2014 but they have changed locations several times as they have grown, the downtown store being the latest.

On Saturday they had lots of vintage bead board, the kind that would grace your grandma's ceilings, a huge selection of windows, doors and even some barn stall gates.  It is a great place to find one of kind architectural features.  It was ever so worth my trip to meet Bentley and Nick and to learn a bit more about the importance of salvaging old structures and to see the interesting items of potential for those of us who like the blend of artistry and history.

A current salvage list can be found on their website. They can also be found on Facebook