Friday, January 13, 2012

What a change!

As usual, we spent our holiday week between Christmas and New Year, on the beach in South Carolina, visiting my daughter and her husband. The weather isn’t summery then, but the crowds are less, and the rates low enough to make it affordable. We’ve been going to Myrtle Beach for about 20 years, and this year made the change to the little town of Folly Beach.

What a great place! It’s small, non-commercial and friendly, and kept that way by the residents who carefully restrict development and keep the character of the island. The business strip is just a few blocks long, and only one small, open 24 hours grocery store as the only off strip business. There are no chains and all businesses must be owned by locals. No fast food, no banks, but great seafood and you can buy a hot dog from Bert’s Market 24 hours a day for 82 cents! This is me, watching the sunrise from our own deck.

We rented a little house right on the beach, very close to the downtown. Jim was in heaven because he could walk to the Crab Shack for a half dozen raw oysters on the half shell and a beer almost every night. The people watching was just the best, and everyone asked where you were from, and are you having a good time, and they really cared!

Captain Anton shucking out an oyster for Jim.

We also took a pluffmud tour, (that’s the swampy part of the tidal backwaters) and ate an oyster right out of the shell, walked on boggy ground and picked up shells and a starfish, toured Fort Sumter, and the Hunley, as well as a local winery and distillery, and hoisted a pint at Tommy Condon’s, the best Irish Pub in Charleston. What a great week. We painted the boat with our own message and took about a million pictures of sunsets, sunrises and lots of palm trees, dolphins and lighthouses.

We spent New Year’s Eve walking from bar to bar in the little town area, then walked home when things got crowded, got the sleeping bags out and sat outside wrapped up warm, drinking champagne and watching the fireworks down the beach. It wasn’t really cold, about 50 degrees, but what a marvelous way to break in the new year.

The next morning we went in our pj’s to the local breakfast place, The Lost Dog CafĂ©, for free coffee to go with our delicious breakfast, then later in the day, when it warmed up to about 73 degrees, Jim took part in the Polar Bear Plunge! About 100 crazy people, many of them in costume, gathered on the beach, ran screaming into the water, splashed about a bit, then waded out, silly and happy. We will definitely be back to Folly Beach. It’s a great place.

Now that we’re home, the cold weather set in, and this morning we woke up to snow-lots of snow, from 8 to 10 inches of dry, powdery snow, heavy on the bottom and icy. Jim was prepared though, and went into action.

He bought a snow blade for our lawn tractor this summer, and mounted it, put the chains on, and parked it in the garage with the blade pointing out. This morning, he’s been out plowing for about an hour and a half, and is almost done clearing a wide swatch of driveway. Such a change from trying to shovel the whole thing out by hand, and safer too.

I’ve been doing the usual housework, shoveling a bit on the patio, and taking pictures. The new blade seems to be working well, and it’s amazing how much he’s getting done in a short time.

What a change, from that warm vacation on the beach. Soon as I get my chores done, I’m starting on this summer’s garden plan. I have a stack of garden catalogs I’ve been saving for just…this...moment.