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Mainely Tipping Points

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Turkey Tracks: Visiting Charleston, SC: Part II.

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Turkey Tracks:  June 18, 2014

Visiting Charleston, SC:  Part II

 

The second stop was to my son Bryan’s home.

The plan:  help Bryan with my two youngest granddaughters while Corinne attended a family wedding in Dallas, Texas, over the weekend.

Older sister models Cinderella shoes for me:

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Baby sister is Daddy’s Girl:

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Bryan and I survived until Sunday noon when Mommy came home.

Bryan made terrific meals for the girls and for us.  Here’s Big Sister’s dinner one night:

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Big Sister LOVES puzzles and works five or six each night before bed.  She needs no adult help:

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I love these 2 by 4-feet puzzles as well and will try to find her more of them.  They offer some really good learning opportunities in many ways.

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Corinne and I took the girls to the Charleston Aquarium on Monday and to the big Charleston library for a free, live performance of a “Puss and Boots” story–part of the big Spoleto/Piccolo annual festival in Charleston.

I am very impressed by how much live theater for children is occurring these days.

The girls love this big library–and we went home loaded down with books.

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The time we had together flew by…

This crew will be coming to Maine in September.

Written by louisaenright

June 18, 2014 at 4:51 pm

Turkey Tracks: Visiting Charleston, SC: Part I

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Turkey Tracks:  June 18, 2014

Visiting Charleston, SC:  Part I

 

My family lives in Charleston, SC.

I live in Camden, Maine.

We visit back and forth, and I just came home from a family visit.  This visit was divided into three parts.

One goal this trip was to spend some time with Tara Derr Webb of the Farmbar and Deux Puces (two fleas) farm.   See url:  thefarmbar26.com.

Tara, in age, is exactly between my sons, who are 14 months apart.  She picked me up at the airport, and before too long, we were sitting on her dock–free for a moment as Tara’s husband Leighton volunteered to put the goats to bed.

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Here’s our view–back to the house:

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This kind of marsh grass is vital to the health and well-being of “the low country”–whose marshes and marsh creeks team with life.  The green is this year’s growth; the brown, last year’s.

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Part of what Tara and I did was to mount a lacto-fermentation workshop–so we shopped for food most of one day.  A crucial stop was Grow Food Carolina, which is a local wholesale produce distributor that supports farmer’s within a 120-mile radius of Charleston. There we got boxes of beautiful greens.

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A group of nine or so women came to the farm for the workshop.  Some were cooks, and some were artisans or entrepreneurs who will mount events at the farm featuring their work over the next year.  All, I hope, will enjoy the food they took home and will pass on what they learned.

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In any case, they all seemed to enjoy the event.

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Tara has forgotten more about food than I will ever know, so it’s always fun to eat/cook with her.  We made a number of meals, but we also visited a number of Charleston’s local restaurants.  One such was the newly opened Leon’s, which was delightful.

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We also had, one day, a great hamburger at Sweetwater Cafe–where we sat outside at picnic tables.  The potato salad was so special.  And Five Loaves was another treat.

It’s a good thing I don’t actually live in Charleston as I would probably be a diabetic in two months time as the sweet tea is so delicious.

Tara has big, big plans for the Farmbar and Deux Puces.  It’s going to be a lot of fun to see how she develops her ideas in the years to come.

Written by louisaenright

June 18, 2014 at 4:34 pm

Interesting Information: The Bee Cause Pollinates An Important Message

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Interesting Information:  May 1, 2014

The Bee Cause

 

The Charleston City Paper, South Carolina, just did a really nice piece on DIL Tami Enright’s project:  The Bee Cause.

There is a lot of information in this article about this very successful project to preserve bees in Charleston.  And, about how connecting bees to children and learning and science is really working for everyone involved.

The Bee Cause Project pollinates an important message | Dirt | Charleston City Paper.

Written by louisaenright

May 1, 2014 at 12:33 pm

Interesting Information: ITP, or Immune Thrombocytopenic Purpura

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Interesting Information:  October 16, 2013

ITP

Immune Thrombocytopenic Purpura

One year ago this month, our Kelly and his brother were taking a shower after a soccer game.

Nine year old Bowen wrapped Kelly, then 7 1/2, in a towel and brought him to his parents.

Kelly was covered with bruises–big dark bruises all over his trunk, front and back.

That moment will go down in family history as being one of the darkest.

The feared words lept into everyone’s mind:  leukemia, cancer…

But, fortunately, I guess, Kelly had contracted an immune system illness:  Immune Thrombocytopenic Purpura, or ITP.  His body was turning on its own blood platelets and killing them.  Kelly was down to about 7,000 when he should have had somewhere around 200,000.  HIs doctor wondered how he was walking around, let alone playing a soccer game.

Here’s an explanation from the Children’s Hospitals and Clinics web site:

What is Immune Thrombocytopenic Purpura?

Immune thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP) is a platelet disorder in which the body produces antibodies that bind with platelets that are the small, sticky cells of the blood that help the blood clot. The platelet-antibody complex is then destroyed in the spleen or liver. This can occur as a short-term event or can be chronic. Patients who have low platelet counts are more likely to have bleeding with trauma or surgery. Some evidence suggests that ITP is related to an overactive immune system; however, the cause is not clearly understood. The condition happens more frequently following certain viral infections and certain immunizations. It also can be associated with autoimmune disorders such as lupus.

http://www.childrensmn.org/services/cancer-and-blood-disorders/blood-disorders/childrens-center-for-bleeding-and-clotting-disorders/idiopathic-thrombocytopenic-purpura-itp?gclid=CIirnN6RorQCFUid4AodhiwAxA

With both parents at his side and his siblings farmed out to nearby family, Kelly went straight into the hospital where doctors tried to trick his body into stopping its immune reaction.  The lobster pillowcase went with him.  (Kelly picked out these fabrics, and I made the pillowcase.)

Kels in hospital edited

Everyone held their breath to see if the treatments would work. to see if this would be an isolated incident or would become a chronic condition that would alter his life forever.

Parents worked to keep him amused, as with this loaded dinner tray–ordered to try to get him to eat as much nourishment as he could.  Kels loves mac and cheese and hamburgers.

Kels at dinner edited

HIs siblings visited and crawled into the bed with him.  And his first cousin Ailey visited as well:

kelly and Ailey after hospital, Oct 2012

Even Sea Breeze  visited:

Kels and Seabreeze edited

Thankfully, the treatments did work, and when his platelets had grown to numbers that were not so life-threatening, Kelly was allowed to visit even sicker children and, eventually, to go home himself.

The pillow went, too, but not before many, many people had remarked upon it.

Kelly going home edited

Kelly and his Mom Tami decided they would make more pillowcases and bring them back to the children’s wing of the hospital–and a local quilt store donated fabric.  Halloween fabric.  Here is Kelly giving a pillowcase to one of the nurses to give to a child.

Kelly and the pillowcases edited

The pillowcases make a nice story.

But, the real story here is the one that asks “why did this event happen to Kelly?”

Note that ITP is associated with having had a virus recently.  Or, a vaccine.  Or, certain drugs.  And the internet is full of people making associations with aspartame.

The fancy word for an association is a correlation.  It’s always important to remember that correlations are not causation–which has to be proven to be called a causation.  One thing that is really wrong with our culture today is that all sorts of correlations have been made to seem as if they are causations–like cholesterol and heart disease.  Or, saturated fat and heart disease.  Or salt and high blood pressure.

In the end, medicine and scientists do not know what is causing ITP.  And as near as I could discover, no one is asking about any correlations between toxic chemicals and ITP.

Who would do this work?  Who would pay for it?  Not industry.  Especially not the chemical or drug industries since either might be to blame.

Charleston folks do a lot of lawn spraying and mosquito/bug spraying.  Like too many folks today, they seem brain-dead about the effects of this kind of indiscriminate killing.  They ignore the fact that lawn chemicals have long lives and get on their children and are tracked indoors.  Skin is a very permeable organ.

Mosquitos are sprayed from planes that drop toxic chemicals on everyone and everything.  I’ve been told that after such spraying, local bee hives are surrounded by hundreds of dead bees and the beach is littered with dead butterflies.  Disrupting a food chain in this way causes a ripple effect that spreads and spreads.  Chemical fogging trucks patrol the streets at dusk.

Research shows that we are learning daily that very small amounts of toxic chemicals have long-lasting effects on humans.

It mystifies me why anyone would think that a chemical that kills an insect by harming their nervous system would NOT harm them.

Airplanes sprayed not long before Kelly got sick.  Now, there’s a correlation for you.

A year has passed–a year in which Kelly, who was quite fragile for some time after his hospital stay, has grown stronger and more sure of himself.   The circles beneath his eyes are gone.

But there remains for me a nagging dread as to what caused Kelly’s very serious illness.

Nothing much has changed in his environment…

And, again, I ask myself, where is the tipping point where people say enough is enough and something has to change.  Clearly the tipping point is a long way away when one out of two people now gets cancer, and no one acts.

Turkey Tracks: Green Turtles Quilt

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Turkey Tracks:  August 13, 2013

“Green Turtles” Quilt

 

Just before Mike and my grandsons came in mid-July, I mailed my newest granddaughter, Cyanna Mel Enright, her baby quilt.

Called, “Green Turtles,” the pattern is from People, Places, and Quilts in Summerville, SC, which is just west of Charleston, SC.  They call the pattern “Happy Turtles”–and they are.

I hand appliqued the turtles and used scrappy fabrics for the borders.  I quilted with “Deb’s Swirls”–the medium version.

 

Green Turtles

In choosing scraps from my stash, I was reminded of other quilting projects.  Carrie and Fiona–you’ll see the pink plaid from Fiona’s baby quilt.  The stripe is from a purse project with Karen Johnson of The Community School.  Lucy Howser Stevens, one turtle is wearing the backing to your quilt of last year–the daisy floral on acid green.  There’s a fabric in here from my very first quilt, which went to JJ Viarella, who is now entering high school!!!  It’s the green on the bottom row, far right.  There is a blueberry fabric from my oldest grandchild’s baby quilt–Bowen Enright, who will be 10 in a few weeks.  And a green and pink floral/leaf that backed my niece’s quilt of last year–Mary Chandler Philpott.  And on it goes…

Here are some of the blocks:

Green Turtle block Green Turtle block 3

Green Turtle block 2

I love Bonnie Hunter’s method of putting on a label.  If you haven’t yet found Bonnie’s web site and blog, it’s http://quiltville.com.  She does a daily entry most days and highlights the work of her students all around the country–so sign up for her FB page as well.

The green turtle fabric came from People, Places, and Quilts on my April trip this year.   It seemed really fitting to find this fabric at the store that made the pattern.  The plain pink binding also came from my stash.

Green Turtles label

Here’s how the corner borders worked out.  I love the green and blue polka dot border.

Green Turtles borders

Here’s the backing and binding on the quilt top.

Green Turtles backing and binding

It’s a cute quilt, and I enjoyed the hand work.

Written by louisaenright

August 13, 2013 at 4:35 pm

Interesting Information: Bees, Bees, Bees

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Interesting Information:  May 8, 2013

Bees, Bees, Bees

April in Charleston, SC, where my two sons live with their families, is a very busy month for bees.

Tamara Kelly Enright is a beekeeper.

She has two hives in her yard and is teaching her children how to care for them.  She helps manage ten other hives with Tara Derr Webb at Deux Peuces Farm in Awendaw, SC.  And she supervises two hives at a local school for rescued children, where learning how to care for bees is part of their emotional development via a deep connection to nature.  She is deeply involved in placing demonstration bee hives into local schools–a practice started and funded by the Savannah Bee Company.

Tami and Kelly suited up one sunny Sunday afternoon to check the two bee hives in her yard.

Here are the hives, tucked into a corner of the yard.  Tami has planted jasmine on the lattices behind the hives, which the bees are going to love.

Bees, Two Hives

Here’s a video of Tami and Kelly telling you what they are going to do:

Here are Tami and Kelly opening the bee hive.  They have to break the insert loose–it is sealed by the bees with a waxy substance called propolis–which has amazing healing properties.

Bees, opening the hive

Here’s a close-up of one of the inserts.  You can see the waxed cells and the “brood,” which are the cells holding baby bees and developing bees in the foreground.  The second picture shows the brood even better.

bees up close

You can see the cells with baby bees hatching in the center front of this picture.

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Here’s another video up close so you can see what it feels like to work inside the hive and its panels:

During the time I was in Charleston, Tami rescued two swarms of bees.  One swarm came from one of the demonstration hives in Talula and Mina’s school.  The school staff sent out a call for help to local beekeepers, and Tami went and rescued the hive.  She brought it home and used it to repopulate one of the ten hives on Deux Peuces Farm–which had lost three queens–rendering three of the hives inoperable.

The second swarm Tami rescued landed up next to a local pool.  The pool people were going to call an exterminator, but agreed to let Tami come at night and get the swarm, which she did.

A friend told me today that he just heard that America alone has lost over 43% of their bee population.  I don’t know if that figure is correct, but I do know that it is a very serious problem for our food supply.  Yet we continue to allow chemicals to be used that kill bees.  The European Union, while I was in Charleston, banned one of the greatest offender chemicals for two years to see if it helped preserve the bees.

Written by louisaenright

May 9, 2013 at 12:42 pm

Turkey Tracks: They’re Still Making Fairy Houses

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Turkey Tracks:  March 21, 2013

They’re Still Making Fairy Houses

When John and I were in Charleston last spring, we brought the children a book on Maine fairy houses.

We all made fairy houses all over the yard–after collecting flotsam and jetsam from the neighborhood.

Tami sent me this picture last fall, I think.

fairy houses continue

It’s a work of art.

I love the imagination!

Written by louisaenright

March 21, 2013 at 5:28 pm

Turkey Tracks: Charleston Trip Highlights

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Turkey Tracks:  June 3, 2012

Charleston Trip Highlights

I am posting this entry mostly for our far-flung greater family, who will enjoy the pictures.

However, I did not take as many pictures as I might have taken.  I get caught up in the moment and forget…   I did not, for instance, take a single shot of Bryan and Corinne’s Ailey.  I was too busy drinking her in.  At 18 months, she is in constant motion, smiles and laughs all the time (except when she gets tired or when someone tries to hold her still), and takes two good naps a day.  It’s probably just as well since Bryan is not at all sure he wants her picture on the internet.

But, in no particular order, here’s the best of the pictures I came home with.

First, you know I love trees.  Bryan took me to see this beauty over on Sullivan’s Island.  Sullivan is just south of Isle of Palms island, and both are just north of the entrance to Charleston’s harbor.  This tree is an old live oak, and the only thing it’s missing is festoons of grey moss.

Here’s a close-up view of the amazing trunks:

These trees are protected, and they should be.  There’s one over on, I think, St. John’s island, which is south of Charleston and much more really a part of the low-country land system than an actual barrier island.  It is called the Angel Oak.  Some have said it’s the oldest tree on the East Coast.  We always talk about seeing it.  One of these days we will…

On Sunday 20th, the whole family went to the Riverdogs–the local baseball farm team that feeds into the Yankees.  The stadium is beautiful.  The baseball was terrific.  And there were lots of events for the children as this Sunday was a “children’s day” at the field.  Both grandsons are learning baseball, and we went to see their last game on Saturday morning.  By the end of the game, both boys were getting a bigger sense of how the plays work and why they are being taught certain skills.  Both brought gloves, and we had seats just back of the Riverdogs’ dugout, so we dodged lots of fly balls.  Someone rolled Bo a baseball over the top of the dugout sometime during the game, which thrilled all of us.

Here’s a picture of John and Mina in the stands.  Mina is an Enright–and I constantly see Maryann, Jim, Kim, and Kerry in her face.

Here’s the view behind the stadium, which you see if you go up to the restrooms or for food.  The river is the Ashley, I think.  And this view is what the “low country” rivers look like–postcard pretty.

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After the game and after Miss Ailey, who had enjoyed the outing with all her relatives, had been taken home to her bed, the players lined up and autographed whatever the children brought.  Bo got his ball autographed.  The rest of the children got hands, arms, and shirts autographed.  Here they are in line:

Here they are reaching the first player:

And, here they are, now they are in the swing of the event:

John and Michael supervised:

And here’s a picture of the four kiddos on the way out of the now-nearly empty stadium–tired, but happy, as were we all!

Bill Murray, the actor, is a part-owner of the Riverdogs.  During the game, he caught a foul ball, and when people realized it was him, he turned and bowed to all.   He’s always been a favorite actor of mine.  He does comedy, yes, but he also does serious.  If you’ve never seen him in RAZOR’S EDGE, rent it and take a look.

We also went as a family to Bee City, which is near Summerville, SC.  It has bees and honey, but the real draw is the petting zoo, which is quite good.  I saw at least three animals I’ve never seen before.  There was an interesting building housing South Carolina flora and fauna–among which are TONS of poisonous snakes and the alligators that are everywhere in the low country.  (Maine has NO poisonous snakes YET and certainly NO alligators!)  Seeing the snakes brought back Georgia childhood memories of being taught to look for snakes constantly, especially when picking blackberries.  And, of once when fishing looking down to see a coiled cottonmouth moccasin about to strike me.  We learned that the state beverage of SC is MILK!

Anyway, Mike had his wits about him–unlike his mother who was, frankly, sightseeing– and took this picture of Miss Talula Bee Honey, produced by bees in a front yard on Isle of Palms :

We went to swim team practice–here’s Mina waiting on the steps for Talula to finish a lap.  Mina spends most of this waiting time on the bottom of the pool peering at you through goggles.  Talula can swim the lap, only she does not quite know it yet and grabs the side every few feet to rest.  She’ll learn in another few weeks, I feel sure.

Here’s Kelly, all done after an hour of swimming laps.  Pretty impressive, this hour of laps…  So healthy for all the children…

Here’s John, overseeing the action:

We went to Bo’s Poetry Cafe at his school–East Cooper Montessori.  Bo had memorized and recited a fairly long Shell Silverstein poem that his classmates really liked:

We went to the girls’ graduations from their little pre-kindergarten school at the fabulous Isle of Palms recreation center.  What a gift that place is to local residents.

I saw, also, Leighton and Tara Derr Webb’s new rented digs–lovely land with a classic low-country house on enough acreage for a small farm–all of which has waterfront on the intercoastal waterway north of Charleston.  They move back to Charleston mid-June.  And, Tami and I had breakfast with Lisa Hartley and her daughter Sophie at Hominey Grill–all of which is always a real treat!

We had many nurturing, fun, very tasty meals with Bryan, Corinne, and Ailey–and they took us to dinner at one of Charleston’s many good, exciting restaurants–The Grocery.  Bryan is a really good cook, and Corinne makes the best homemade ice cream ever!  Our time with them was low-key and very pleasant.

And, we all had some really good beach times–we rode lots of waves and came home with good tans.  I, in fact, came home with a new bathing suit since chlorine has eaten out the black fiber in the center back my old one, leaving only the see-through mesh.  When I showed it to Tami, she said “oh my gosh, you’ve been x-rated on the beach, Mom!”

Written by louisaenright

June 3, 2012 at 5:42 pm

Turkey Tracks: Home Again, Home Again

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Turkey Tracks:  June 3, 2012

Home Again, Home Again

You may have noticed that I have not written on the blog in a while.

At least I hope you’ve noticed!

We are just back from spending 10 days with our children and the grands, who are all in Charleston, SC.  We had a packed schedule, so I did not even attempt to do more than check on email every few days.

We returned to the kind of garden growth that occurs overnight in Maine in the spring–knee-high grass and weeds, and a garden not planted yet, due to cool, rainy weather before we left.   And, because I didn’t want to leave our house/dog/chicken sitter with the garden and a bunch of planted pots to water.

Linda McKinney had completely cleaned the house from top to bottom when we got home, and it shone and sparkled.  What a terrific gift!!

I’ve spent the week regrouping (unpacking, getting groceries, resting, getting plants, mixing up potting soil, moving compost, etc.) and tackling the yard.  The veggie garden is almost all planted.  The long bed in front will still get beets, carrots, and all the beans when it quits raining again.  I’m still looking for a spot for a Blue Hubbard squash.  The big blue tubs have been topped with compost and amendments and planted with winter squash.  The flower pots have been filled with potting soil and some plants and distributed about the decks and porches.  Hanging baskets have been bought and hung.

We penned the chickens two days ago.  They got out by early afternoon.  Yesterday they stayed put.  I bought a BIG, deep, long-handled fishing net to catch them when they get out.  I also want to use it to catch and tame that wild rooster Cowboy!  He needs some lap/carrying around time.  In a few more days we’ll take down all the preventive fencing–once we’re sure they chickens have mostly accepted confinement.  A just-planted garden would drive them wild–what with all the newly turned dirt.  They would immediately dig up everything.

Meanwhile, we continue to look a bit like a fenced camp–chicken wire everywhere.  And, the whole time I was planting the garden, the chickens were circling it and begging to come in and dig for worms.  They loved it when I poked some worms through the wire holes for them.  Chickens can beg very prettily.  It’s hard to resist them.

John has cleaned all the porches, and we dragged out the porch cushions.  So, summer is officially here now!

Written by louisaenright

June 3, 2012 at 4:24 pm

Turkey Tracks: Ailey at Hominey Grill

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Turkey Tracks:  December 7, 2011

Ailey at Hominey Grill

Hominey Grill in Charleston, SC, is the closest thing to my grandmother’s table that I’ve ever found.

Cooking of this sort is rapidly being lost I think, even in the south.

I want to pass on the love I have for this kind of food to my own grandchildren, so I take as many of them as I can to Homniney whenever I can.  (Thanks Tara Derr Webb for finding Hominey for me.)

Here’s Ailey on her very first trip.  It was also Bryan and Corinne’s first trip.  We went for breakfast, which is terrific, but lunch serves the kind of food I remember eating at my grandmother’s.  (Tami and I went there on our “escape” day for lunch and ate too much to have dessert, which is awesome at Hominey’s.)

Ailey is eating her first scrambled egg.  She doesn’t get pancakes yet because babies don’t have the enzymes to digest grains until they get their molars, around two years of age.

In the following week, Tami and I took Talula and Wilhelmina, who are attending school two days a week, to Hominey for breakfast.  They are old hands now and truly love to go, which warms my heart.  Talula ate all three of her pancakes, all of her bacon, and half of mine.  The boys are furious with us!

Written by louisaenright

December 7, 2011 at 12:40 pm