Monthly Archives: January 2012

Pensioner or. . . ??

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I first heard the word “pensioner” when I lived in England, and it conjured up a thin old man, slightly bent, whiskery, baggy pants, wooly jacket, slightly odiferous.  I would like to think I’m not that person.  BUT. . .I AM officially a pensioner, as of yesterday, when I turned 62!!!  Yes, I applied for Social Security, and yes, I can get all the senior citizen discounts I want.  Just a few of the “awards” (as Social Security system calls it, even though I worked for and put every penny in my account) of this age.

It was another lovely, sunny,  warmish day here in Beaufort, SC.  By 11 a.m. Don and I had set out on our bikes.  I had a goal in mind.  Knowing that our bike’n’barge trip in April calls for 25-30 miles/day, well, today was the day I topped 30 miles.

So over the McTeer bridge we went, enroute to Cat Island.  I met up with my biking group and Don headed home.  I biked, pedalled, biked some more.  Stopped for an hour with my friend Donna to study Italian.  Indirect object pronouns, doncha’ know.  We drank a toast to her little 3 yr. old neighbor, Morgan, who just successfully underwent heart transplant surgery.  Back on my bike to bike, bike, bike. . .and hallelujah, the odometer finally turned the magic number:

As I straggled into the house, I realized that the day was far from over because tonight was SHAG DANCE LESSONS!!  So in a short hour, we were enroute to Amvets for our final beginner lesson.  Thank goodness for ibuprofen!!

Home again to share phone calls with my kids, a surprise gift left on my neighbor’s porch, and more ibuprofen.

Today, well, let’s just say my quads are letting me know that I biked, my knees still work, and I’ll be ready to bike those 30 again.  So what’s my definition of a PENSIONER now?  Stay tuned. . .

Graveyards and praise houses and marsh tacky. . .oh my!

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Sunday seems to be our day to bike, although here in the South you’re really supposed to have your bottom in a church pew.  I figure I’ll just praise the Lord by marveling at the blue skies, warm temperatures, and balmy breezes!  We’ve been exploring St. Helena Island, and our first ride took us down Eddings Point Rd.  Along the way we discovered:

a graveyard with random graves scattered about, nestled under wonderful old trees, truly a serene resting place.

Some graves were very simple.  Sometimes just a concrete covering, some with just a simple stone.

Travelling on, past the point where “state maintenance ends” what did we discover but a farm/preserve with a wide variety of animals, including miniature horses (who got shy and moved away from the camera) and this ostrich who definitely moved TOWARD the camera, probably wanting to spit on me!

And of course, it wouldn’t be the Low Country, and especially Beaufort, if we didn’t discover yet another beautiful view of shrimp boats:

Pedalling onward we found that icon of Southern paganism, the bottle tree.  Now in our backyard we have a REAL bottle tree, a loquat who met its maker, and we put our empty wine bottles of various colors on its bare naked branch stumps to ward off all the evil spirits.  You’ll see these icons throughout Beaufort and other places in the South, I guess.

Different colors of bottles keep away different spirits, don’cha know!  I’ll post a photo of my own bottle tree some other time!

This past Sunday we biked out through Coffin Point.  We discovered one of the three remaining Praise Houses on the island.  The short history is that these small cabins were found on plantations as “pray’s houses” for slaves.  This one has been preserved.

Photo taken through the glass window to interior.

Following another sign that said “Horse Island/ViewPoint” our bikes took us out to Horse Island.  Down we went on hard-packed sandy roads, forgetting to heed the “no trespassing” signs, until we came to a gate.  Is that a horse I see?  Sure enough, one of the elusive marsh tackies, a native wild horse, was approaching.  He came around the gate onto the marsh and posed patiently for this photo:

After our ride was over we were so hungry we went to our favorite restaurant, Sweetgrass, on Dataw Island.  We gobbled shrimp burgers and beers, probably negating all the calories we had burned in our ride!

Ain’t Life grand??!!

Making lasagne. . . Southern-gardening style

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Who knew I’d become an avid gardener once I became a part-time Southern gal?  Well, it’s true, and last Fall I read about a “lasagne garden” seminar at our local farmer’s market.  Were they talking about growing tomatoes, basil, and other Italian accoutrements?  No, it was how to make layers of new, yummy, rich soil and the kicker was. . .it was EASY.  That’s for me. . .keep my life simple’n’easy.  Who wants to DIG when you could just pile up garbage?!

First task, collect newspapers, junk mail, paper.  Well, we don’t get mail here in Beaufort, so I sent Don off to the library on the last day of the “Lowcountry News” date and he spirited away lots of outdated papers.

So now I soak all these papers, plus toilet paper rolls, cereal boxes, used napkins, and any paper I can get my hands on, in buckets of water for a few hours (while we bike to the YMCA. . .who knew it was 2.5 miles away?  Another story. . .)

Next I haul the bucket of wet stuff out in front of our lattice fence.  I can just picture happy zinnias popping up next spring.  I spread the wet papers onto the ground, but I can’t make the new bed too wide or the mailman will drive over it.  He actually stopped while I was doing this and I gave him a warning!

Yes, those are Christmas decorations still up.  Wait, it’s only January.

Next comes the layers.  Shall I admit to y’all that I froze all my garbage in PA over the past few weeks and brought it with me to SC?  Nah, that would be too scary. . .but it’s true!  Peelings, scraps, and leftovers went into my freezer and were transported down here.

I added a sprinkling of frozen crinum lily leaves, soggy elephant ears, and spent cannas.  Now the top layer, some $1.33/bag composted manure from Lowe’s.. . .

Oh, yes, and a smattering of leaves from the water oak and assorted Southern deciduous types.

And for the final touch, a few bits of southern mozzarella. . .aka Spanish moss. . .just to give it some Southern flavor!

Water liberally and watch this 8 inch high pie disintegrate into rich soil, with no digging and churning up weed seeds.  Come visit us next summer to see the flowers popping up outside the garden fence. . . unless they get borrowed by some moonlight walker wanting to woo his lady!

Ciao y’all!

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“Am I a Muppet or am I a Man??”  For me it could be, “Am I an Italian wannabe, a Southern wannabe, a WASP from the PA. Dutch country, or TBD (to-be-determined)?”  Yes, or Si, to all.

Most of all, I’m a traveller, a lover of new adventures, and a Nonna to my darling Gemma.  Oh, yes, and a wife of 41+ years (I was married as a 10 yr. old!).

Where’s Weinberger is my take on the old Where’s Waldo, and is a response to so many people who keep asking me to write about my adventures and WHERE IN THE WORLD ARE YOU NOW?  (I don’t worry that you know because my permanent home is armed and dangerous. . .)

So, here goes. . .