Well, here’s an interesting concept.

A friend sent me this newsletter, signed by someone named Krista:

The On Being Project <>

The newsletter discussed the book that Janine Benyus wrote in 1999: Bioimicry. Krista writes that the book has “made its way quietly through the world ever since, in ever wider, radical ripples.”

Krista continues: “I invoke that word “radical” in its root sense — of driving back to the core. Consider basic life/design principles around which biomimicry orients — all of them at work in every moment beneath our feet, in the air we breathe, in the sky above.”

“I pay attention when I start hearing about the same thing from disparate corners. Across the last few years, I started hearing the intriguing word “biomimicry” invoked by people doing all kinds of things I would not have immediately connected with modeling from the natural world: sustainable investment; human-centric social media strategy; innovative philanthropy. And they were all also, notably, humans I experienced to be especially creative, expansive, wise — and kind.”

And then she (or the book) creates the following list:

“Nature runs on sunlight, 
uses only the energy it needs, 
fits form to function, 
recycles everything, 
rewards cooperation, 
banks on diversity, 
demands local expertise, 
curbs excesses from within, 
and taps the power of limits.”

Here’s the Amazon link to the book:

And here’s more info on Benyus from Wiki:

One has to wonder how the battle between contrary forces in our culture will turn out in the end: human acquisition of wealth and power or human survival.

Let There Be Roses!

I’ve been thinking for some time now about what to plant in the two beds in the back–one is along the back porch and the other along the back side of the house on the other side of the back screen door.

Along the way I noticed that landscape roses do really well here. I’ve been seeing them planted in the islands in the middle of roads–and they were blooming their heads off. Most of those plantings were the red ones. I had started adding landscape roses to my Maine gardens.

I wanted orange roses, as I’m partial to orange, but there weren’t many of the orange ones at Lowes, and what was there didn’t look very healthy. The red ones, however, looked healthy and strong. So home 6 of them came home with me, along with fertilizer for the centipede grass, fertilizer for the roses, and another nozzle and a shut-off for one of the hoses..

I started digging left to right, and at first it was fairly easy. There was a nice mixture of good dirt with sand and some clay. About 4 roses in, I hit really bad clay veins and went to the garage to get some potting soil to augment the clay. Plants do not like being in a clay bathtub that keeps their feet wet, and there was no sand.

The really interesting piece of this hard digging was that much of the clay was a bright, clear blue. I’ve never seen anything like it–and part of me wonders if it was some sort of augmentation the builders did in the process of creating the foundation. A passing neighbor said she ran into the blue clay too. ????

So, here are the six red landscape roses–in no time they will fill in the spaces between each other. They won’t get higher than 4 feet–which is about to the white wood on the screens.

The leaves are so pretty:

But wait, I need three more to wrap around the porch.

I picked them up this morning and will pop them into their prepared holes this afternoon.

Here’s a view from the inside of the porch. If they thrive, they will be so pretty from early spring to a fall frost. They will be light and airy and will not block my open view.

And, some of them can come inside to smile at me.

Now to figure out what to plant on the other side of the back porch door. It is deeply shady in the morning and has really strong sun in the afternoon. I’m not sure how hydrangeas will manage. But now I’ll go to a good local nursery and get some advice.

The longarm comes tomorrow!!!

The Fort Palmetto Walking Trail

Here’s the last of the trail explorations SIL Maryann and I made during her recent visit.

Fort Palmetto played a big role during the Civil War (1861-1865).

I took a picture of a local map I have and marked where the fort’s ruins are located. Look at the black arrow just below number 5 on the map. This area is also called “Oyster Creek.”

If any of you have ever read Gone With the Wind, you will remember that during the Civil War Rhett Butler was a blockade runner along the Charleston coast and used these inner waterways, inlets, and rivers to get imported goods through the Federal blockade of Charleston.

Dewee Island lies to the north of Isle of Palms, and there is a fairly big body of water behind the barrier islands in this area.

Here’s some explanatory text copied from a Mount Pleasant Magazine online article on Fort Palmetto:

“Located between Isle of Palms and Dewees Island, Dewees Inlet had, by virtue of its depth, been identified as a possible access point for federal ships coming in from the Atlantic that could be vulnerable to attack during the Siege of Charleston. Fort Palmetto was strategically placed to prevent any Union ships from using the inland waterways to land troops near Mount Pleasant and advance on Charleston. A company of the 20th South Carolina Volunteer Infantry garrisoned Fort Palmetto for much of the war.” 

“Its formidable defenses were armed with one nine-inch Dahlgren gun and two 32-pound rifled and banded guns, the latter of which boasted a range of more than four miles, reaching all the way to Dewees Inlet. While it suffered damage and erosion over time, remnants of the three gun positions and the powder magazines are still clearly visible, accessible via a side path.”

Here’s the beginning of the trail to the fort site, which now runs behind houses.

As an aside, the Wisteria is blooming everywhere in the woods. This very aggressive vine can be seen running across the upper reaches of trees (and elsewhere) this time of year. People do plant it as well, but most are aware of its aggressive nature and keep it severely trimmed–either into a kind of bush or VERY controlled draping over…something.

It is fun to see all the beautiful houses and run-off creeks and retention ponds in this area too. There were farms in this area back in the day.

But the swamp and low land tidal areas are also everywhere.

Here’s the observation tower at the end of the trail. Tidal lowland water and channels lie beyond this higher-land point.

And open water lies beyond the tidal flats. That’s Isle of Palms across the water.

The pines love this terrain.

And there are different pine varieties, both low and high.

I will definitely walk this trail again.

Ted Lasso and the Battle of the Books Contest

I’ve been captivated by the Apple TV show TED LASSO. I’ve almost finished the second season, and the third is streaming week by week now. I find myself laughing belly laughs outlaid somewhat frequently. The show is very different and I’m finding it refreshing. Lots of verbal nuggets to think about, for one thing. The characters are engaging and interesting.

Mike and Tami kept saying how much they liked this show. I have a new iPhone, so I get 3 months of Apple TV for free, and then it is about $7 a month. That’s a good deal, but there is, also, some good content there. I tend to switch out these streaming apps frequently, but I keep Amazon Prime and Netflix all the time.

Saturday saw me accompanying my 12-year old granddaughter to the finals of the Charleston County’s Battle of the Books–held at the new Wando Public Library, which is less than about 10 minutes north from me, depending on traffic lights.

Wow. That event was an eye-opener–in lots of ways. First, this library is awesome! It’s big, and it lends all sorts of items, among them sewing machines. A kiosk right up front had books for $1 that looked new–among them were 6 or 7 intriguing books on quilting. I came home with a new library card and directions of how to download the online app, “Libby,” which has awesome features. I can download audible books if I like.

The “battle” had 4 teams of 4 students who made it to the finals. Each team read 24 books, so each team member read 6 books. (I don’t know if the whole contest had the same books or if new books got added at different levels of the competition.). The librarians asked VERY specific questions about the books during 4 rounds–and the specific book for a question was not identified until the correct answer was posted to the big screen.

I listened and knitted. This project is my last ball of cotton yarn, which is a good thing as my pile of finished “towels” is overflowing its container.

The winning team answered something like 43 questions, out of a potential of 44. My granddaughters team answered 38 questions correctly. So I’d say all of these teams made a really good showing.

Dinner was at my oldest son’s house as they were leaving early Sunday morning for a college visit, and I was spending the night with them as I’ll be there for their two daughters and two dogs until Tuesday afternoon some time.

I have hand sewing to do while away from home. Yes, the quilt from hell.

And now it is Monday–and the start of a fairly busy week for me–with the possibility of the arrival of the longarm Friday.

One can hope, LOL.

But it’s all good.

Yes, The Grill Did Come Assembled

Some of you asked…

And, yes, I’ve been using it.

It lives in the garage, where it is protected from weather.

It’s easy to roll it out to the driveway.

I am LOVING having an attached garage–the grill is mere steps from the kitchen.

I made two more pot holders yesterday. It’s hard to quit, but I have moved on now after these two. But I have fresh freezer paper patterns should the need arise, LOL.

And the back.

I have my old Janome, which is going strong, set up with a walking foot attached, so it is easy to move over to it when a walking foot is needed–like for this walking foot quilting and the binding.

These potholders are thick–with two inner layers (Insul-Brite and batting) and the two outer layers. And the funky shape makes installing binding a bit more tricky at the join. And the thickness means the binding has to wrap around a lot of thickness–so I should be using 2 1/2 inch binding rather than the 2 1/4 inch I usually use. Single fold bias tape doesn’t cut it for this thickness. The stitching on the binding on the last one was the best so far, but it wasn’t perfect. And, I like perfect.

Needless to say, this project has been a learning curve for me.

And I like learning curves, too.

This pair is going to son Bryan.

I did sew a few Churn Dash blocks yesterday for the quilt on the design wall. They are so fun to make and sew up quickly. But tomorrow I will return to the quilt from hell as I’ll be staying with my two older granddaughters while their parents make a quick trip to see Old Miss with grandson Kelly–one more time before a final decision is made. So, hand-sewing will be needed.

The longarm light bar is due in New Jersey tomorrow. Its trip from out west took forever as the shipping company clearly has been short-handed–which is a common story these days. So, the delivery plan now is next Friday.

The Dentist: Soup Needed

Part of a big move to a new region involves finding a whole new set of folks to provide medical help: a family practice person, an ob/gyn, an opthalmologist or optometrist, and a dentist.

I went to the new dentist who accepted me as a patient earlier this week–on Tuesday. Apparently my mouth is a MESS: old teeth about to break, old worn-out crowns, and, yes, some cavities, one of which is under the old crown. Some of this mess is the result of the lack of care in the covid years, but some is just a factor of having old teeth.

Going to the dentist is and always has been a real stress producer for me. Add in the Histamine Intolerance issue, and let’s just say there is…high stress.

Anyway, I went Thursday for the replacement of the first two crowns–near each other on the bottom right. I didn’t sleep much the night before…

This dentist is a woman–and I have had men for 20 years now. And both were good dentists. But can I just say I have fallen into dental nirvana with this new dentist and her assistant. I have never before been so carefully and helpfully treated–and I came home with temporary crowns, no pain, and feeling I was in really good hands–literally.

On Tuesday, to prepare, I made a bone broth from the chicken bones and organs I had frozen in recent weeks–with added onion, carrots, celery, and garlic. I think now that bay leaf might also have been involved. If an onion is free of any mold, I add the peels as well as the skins add lovely color. On Wednesday, I made a soup so I would have soft, nourishing food on Thursday after the morning appointment.

Now, I know I’ve posted the making of soup many times on this blog, but this soup is one with a southern flare.

Here’s the base–onions, garlic, carrots, orange bell pepper, a few COLLARD leaves chopped up, some little round potatoes quartered, dried herbs, sea salt, and two packages of boneless chicken thighs with the skin on as the best nutrients and fats are just under the skin. I sautéed the veggies in duck fat–only adding the fresh garlic after the veggies were started so it does not burn as it would if you just dump it into hot fat. I cooked the veggies, turning them often, until they started to color/caramelize, and then added the chicken to cool down the mixture so it didn’t burn. You can see the caramelization in the bottom of the pan–don’t let things burn at the point before you add your raw meat. *Note that it is this caramelization step that makes a soup have rich robust flavor and a beautiful color.

Next, I added the bone broth. Look at its rich, dark color and the lovely fat now in the soup. Good fats DO NOT MAKE YOU FAT! They give one sturdy, long, even energy for hours and hours. Too many grain-based carbs and fruits are what make you fat.

When I chopped veggies for my soup, I also made my lunch salad–using the leftover steak I grilled on Tuesday. See the fresh dill here and there? The salad only needs to be drizzled with the lovely olive oil from Organic Roots now. Look! I’ll be eating a rainbow.

Next, I added the frozen veggies: corn, peas, and OKRA! And more dried herbs.

And here’s my soup after bringing it to a simmer and cooking about 20 minutes–just long enough to soften the carrots and potatoes. I often just turn off the pot at this point and let the soup sit quietly as the veggies will soften in the cooling heat. And I did that this time–coming back later to freeze about half of this soup in two batches and to transfer the rest to a big bowl to be placed in the refrigerator so I would have soup all ready on Thursday.

I had my salad lunch on the screened porch, while I worried about going to the new dentist and all that is wrong in my mouth, and read for a bit to hide out from my brain.

And writing this tale of a new dentist and soup this morning is making me profoundly grateful for the gifts the universe/life has bestowed on me during these past months.

The mouth will be fixed, and I will be fine. And I have soup waiting for the next dental visit.

Laurel Hill County Park

When SIL Maryann visited, we explored nearby Laurel Hill County Park, which is a beautiful 745-acre tract of woods and creeks with trails that circle the whole and some trails that form loops off this main trail.

We wanted to walk to the avenue of “live oaks” that once led to the Laurel Hill plantation house–which is believed to have been destroyed by fire some time after the Civil War. The avenue is marked by the black-slashed line on the bottom left of the above map–to the right of the white trail. But, here’s the start of the trail at the trail head, which you can see on the above map.

The avenue of live oaks was about a mile down the trail and was in an area that has been preserved as a field. It takes 200 or so years for the live oaks to grow tall enough to form a “ceiling” where they meet in the middle.

Here was our first view as we approached. Look, too, at the gorgeous sky. There was not a cloud in sight all day.

And here is the avenue stretching out to the left, with all the lovely grey moss draping the limbs with their long garlands.

Looking down the avenue.

These old live oaks are home to many other plants which live on them, hopefully symbiotically.

Here’s a better picture of one of the limbs, which is covered with a layer of green growth.

I found information on live oaks at the Smithsonian Gardens web site: “The Live Oak” ( Here’s a quote–and I didn’t know live oaks were a keystone species:

“The Southern live oak (Quercus virginiana), also known simply as the live oak, gets its name from the fact that, unlike other oaks, it doesn’t lose its leaves in the autumn. Live oaks are native to the Southeastern coast of the United States, extending from Virginia to Florida and as far west as Texas and Oklahoma. The live oak is a keystone species that serves as the backbone of its ecosystem. It provides shade and furnishes a habitat for hundreds of living organisms, including mammals, birds, insects, and other plants.”

I still have not seen the very famous live oak, “Angel Oak,” on John’s Island. A visit there is on my list. It’s HUGE AT 65 feet high, and estimates place it at 400-500 years old.

We passed a steady number of people using this trail, many with their dogs, so I don’t think I would feel unsafe using it by myself, though the trail loop does get a long way from the parking area.

Granddaughter Mina sent me this picture of the sunset last Monday night, taken from the dunes just back of the beach on Isle of Palms.

Potholders and Hot Pads

I BADLY needed a break from the quilt from hell. So I gave myself a few days to play with a new project. OK, two new projects, actually, but I’m resisting so far making more churn dash blocks for the quilt on the design wall. I need to fill those holes–it’s under 20 blocks.

I have been watching friend Betsy Maislen make adorable pot holders in recent months–and she had fun playing with her machine’s decorative stitches for the quilting. And a year ago, I was also tempted by Debbie Jesse’s post on her A Quilter’s Blog when she made a whole slew of color-dedicated, scrappy potholders using a funky shape from Hannah Haberkern: Recently Debbie Jesse returned to this funky potholder project–and added a matching mitt. She made these two items, and I fell in love:

I have put links to Debbie Jeske’s posts below this post. And here’s a picture of Hannah Haberkern’s initial funky potholder. Isn’t it fun? She used her walking foot for the quilting.

The insulating product most used for potholders is Insul-Brite–which contains a needle punched fluffy fiber with a poly layer. The product repels both heat and cold.

Info on the package recommends two layers, poly side out, with an inner batting layer that will absorb condensation. So, that’s 3 layers, plus the two outside top/bottom layers. Various people writing about how to use this product also recommend additional batting layers for really good heat control, so I did add one more for the hot pad I also made.

You also need bias binding–which I always do anyway–but many use single-fold bias tape for the binding–and I will try to do that when I get a chance to buy some in colors I like locally.

Confession: I’ve never been able to properly sew down the free edge on binding with my machine and always hand sew the free edge. BUT, I need to rethink and learn to do a good job so that the back and fronts both look nice. I suspect using a glue stick and/or clips would help.

So, here’s what went home with son Mike, who REALLY needed some fresh potholders. And, a big counter hot pad for hot dishes coming out of the oven. Word is he’s already used them and likes them.

I used some Essex Linen I had in my stash as my focal point, some peppered cottons in grays and the one green, and a Carolyn Friedlander print. I made my bias binding from the linen.

I made TWO LAYERS first–doing the front and back layers separately and then combining them. The front layer had the top and the Insul-Brite; the bottom had the back, the Insul-Brite, and a batting layer that would land up in the middle of the potholder. Before quilting each package, I sewed the edges with a bigger basting stitch. Also, before installing the binding, I, again, sewed around all the edges. *Also, I released the foot pressure to handle this thickness. (The linen binding was super stretchy, which made hand sewing the back edge pretty easy.)

Here’s the back.

Here’s the BIG trial counter hot pad–which has 4 inner layers as I added an extra batting piece. I’m also experimenting with this kind of binding where a larger backing comes around to the front, but haven’t quite “got it” yet–in that it’s width is chopping off blocks. It works really well, though, if the top doesn’t contain pieced blocks that need only a 1/4 inch seam. Also, I used my machine to stitch additional lines of quilting here and there as hand-sewing into this thickness was hunt and peck. And, slow.

I could not resist playing with scraps before putting these fabrics away–so I have this hot pad for myself–but with only 3 inner layers. Thus, I can test out how heat protective it is.

The other project is trying out various methods to make placemats from the 3 1/2 inch blocks I have from the Cotton+Steel project where I cut up the whole saved stash. Son Bryan’s family needs new placemats–and granddaughter Ailey is going to help me make some for them.

Next on the potholder project, I’ll try using just two inner layers (Insul-Bright and batting) and bought single-fold bias tape. What a great way to play with scraps and to have some gifts on hand.

Here’s the recent post from A Quilter’s Table:

Here’s the link to Debbie’s scrappy potholders from last year:

Beach Wonders

DIL Corinne often goes to the beach to see the sunrise. She sent me this picture the other day.

Maryann and I went back to Breach Inlet, the break between Sullivan’s Island and Isle of Palms, last Friday–and we did see one dolphin feeding under the bridge as we began our beach walk.

The wind was very high, so we got a lot of exercise walking against it. There were three hanggliders and one paraglider riding the wind currents off Sullivan’s island, but they were too far away for a picture. Hangliding is where a person is part of the flying apparatus and lies prone; paragliding is where the person sits below the sail.

The beach was smooth at this low tide, with very few tidal pools–which was witness to how the beach changes every single day. In one lone tidal puddle, we saw a live starfish. Its little tubes were wriggling like crazy when I picked it up.

The underneath was a brilliant yellow.

You can see that one arm is growing back. I found this quote from the Denver Zoo online site in a quick search online–and wikipedia has an extensive entry on starfish that describes pretty much everything about them.

Some species of sea star have the ability to regenerate lost arms or even regenerate a whole new sea star from a single arm attached to a portion of the central disc. Regeneration is possible because each of the arms contains parts of the vital organs including the digestive tract and reproductive organs.”

The channel under the bridge is deep and dangerous. The tidal currents are very, very strong here. But this is also where the dolphins feed. Son Bryan told me the local dolphins have learned how to push a school of fish up to the steep banks here so they can trap and eat them. It is unusual, local dolphin behavior, and the pods have trained their offspring to feed in this manner.

We saw a cute little tugboat pushing a dredger up the channel so it could dig out this pier area.

No trip to the beach is ever a waste of time.

Indigo: “The Blue That Enchanted the World”

One of my 1963 Bellevue High School classmates is among those classmates who are still in touch with each other via email and Facebook. She lives in Chicago. Recently, knowing I have moved to Charleston, she sent me this Smithsonian article on the history of Indigo in Charleston and how Indigo is grown and used in the Low Country today. It is a beautiful article.

Eliza Lucas Pinckney (1722-1793) is credited with starting the indigo industry on her family’s Wappoo Plantation, sw of Charleston. At the time she was 18 years old and in charge of this plantation in her father’s absence. Here is a link to her fascinating history:

Eliza’s father was the Lt. Gov. of Antigua, so she was born and raised on a Caribbean plantation. Her parents sent her to a boarding school in London, which was very unusual for a girl child. When she was 16, her father sent her mother and her sisters to Charleston, where the family owned three plantations. At some point, he also sent her Indigo seeds to plant. Eliza loved botany and was something of an expert.

Local Charlestonians ridiculed her attempts to get Indigo to grow as they knew Indigo did not do well in the region during the winter. Besides, rice was the main crop in the region. But she persevered, and the rest is history. Indigo became a big and lucrative export crop, having been adopted by many in the region after Eliza paved the ways of growing it.

Eliza was very close to Charles and Eliza Pinckney, and the Pinckneys were a prominent family. When Eliza Pinckney tragically died, Charles Pinckney, then 44 years to her 22, asked her to marry him. At that point, Eliza’s father had sent for the family to return to Antigua, and independent Eliza did not want to go.

Charles Pinckney (1699-1758) was the South Carolina Chief Justice. He and Eliza had 4 children, among them Charles Cotesworthy Pinckney, one of the Founders of the United States and a signer of the US Constitution, along with his first cousin, Charles Pinckney.

The Pinckney family held a prominent place for decades in South Carolina, both politically and culturally.

Here’s the wiki link to Eliza Pinckney–who was an unusual and very interesting woman.

I will be exploring more about Indigo in Charleston today and about the historical role of the Pinckney family.