Was paddling around in a swamp a few years ago and dug one of these plants up to bring home. Just a stalk and a bag of smelly black mud. Stuck it at the edge of the pond in the yard.
Now in summer you can’t see the pond for the flowers. Bushes five feet tall, flowers as big as your head.
A sort of wild hibiscus, these are the original Marshmallows from which the confection derives. The ones we put in smores and hot chocolate are synthetic now, but the originals were made from the roots of these flowers more that 4000 years ago in Egypt, and were reserved as food for gods and royalty. Back then it took two days of laborious processing to make marshmallows, not including the harvest and drying and prep of the roots. It wasn’t until the 1800’s that they could be produced on a scale that plain folk could have them, too.
postcards from the road
Stonington Harbor, Maine
It got dark fast, and chilly for August, and we have hunger. It’s only a mile to Stonington along the shore, past lobster pounds in the protected cove behind Moose Island, past hundreds of lobster boats anchored in the harbor – some new, most well used, some derelict. Houses climb up the hill above the harbor like skyboxes, new businesses in old rambling clapboard buildings line the waterfront.
Continue reading “Maine ~ Stonington”
Sometimes the is sea is benign, sometimes it is dangerous; always it is indifferent.
I was given a good book recently by a friend at a poker game. Tom worked for many years at a well-loved used bookstore near the university. Toots, his wife, recently retired as a librarian. They’ve never owned a TV, to my knowledge. Needless to say, they are good sources of good books. The walls of their house are insulated with them, on shelves stacked floor to ceiling.
Tom still wanders into any used bookstore he passes, disappearing for hours I imagine, and at yard sales skips the rusty tools and goes straight for the tables where the books are kept. With so much experience sifting, he has a knack for finding unusual gems he knows will interest me.
This one, Islands at the Edge of Time by Gunnar Hansen, is out of print; but used ones are still available on Amazon.
It covers all the types of barrier islands along the East Coast, from Texas to Maine, with a special emphasis on the ones I know best – where my parents live between Charleston and Savannah, and of course the Outer Banks of North Carolina, Ocracoke and Portsmouth Islands. The way they are formed, how they shift and change shape constantly, etc.; all of which is eminently interesting if you have spent any time on them.
But it also explores the history of these barren and tenuous places, the people who are drawn to them; and the special feeling of desolation and power surrounding you there, where wind and water and sand alter the landscape constantly.
At The Purple Fiddle, carved from a single log
The big loop is nearly complete at Thomas, less than 3 miles up the road from Davis. Senator Davis bought huge tracts of land here in the late 1800’s when it was still wilderness, then built towns and railroads to extract the resources. He named Davis for himself, and nearby Thomas and William for his brothers. Davis was the timber depot, Thomas was coal.
Continue reading “Canaan Valley ~ Thomas, WV”
School on the Commons ~ Castine, Maine
From the airport in Bangor to Stonington, at the southern tip of Deer Isle, should take about an hour and a half. We spend four hours doing the same, winding along the Penobscot River, stopping in towns along the way, generally assuming the least straight path presented.
First stop is Bucksport, where there’s a farmers market still open. Terri, very excited, insists we stop, and goes in for provisions. She gets caught in various eddies, long chats with local farmers, and does not resurface. I wander the main street, still a little too travel-frazzled for conversation. We had reserved a little Toyota Corolla rental car in advance, but by the time we arrived those were all gone. So, for the same rate, they gave us the only thing left – a fancy new Cadillac. This would normally be a good thing.
Continue reading “Maine ~ Bucksport & Castine”
John England’s Chesapeake Deadrise under construction.
The rain moved in overnight. However, “rain” does not adequately convey the phenomenon of water falling from the sky at the rate of 3 inches an hour. It’s like there’s a crew overhead bailing out the clouds with 5 gallon buckets.
Good news is the boom tent is keeping the interior dry. So there’s that. People slowly venture out in foulies and wellies, collect on the front porch of the old store with hot coffee to watch.
Continue reading “Deltaville Maritime Museum ~ Chesapeake Float 2016”
Sunrise at Freeport Landing
Dawn is very noisy. There’s a rooster. A rooster very near, like next to my head. The sun is barely up, and he is hard at work. Also, something else making a racket I can’t quite place. A sheep? No sleeping through it, rise and shine.
Lightning #2833 with the boom tent
Continue reading “Chesapeake Float 2016 ~ Cocks Crow”