Daily Coop News . . .

Monday, December 20, 2010

The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not.
Thomas Jefferson

Bob's Dream

Brother Bob awoke in the middle of the night dreaming of J.Z. bro's compass spinning round and round, he headed straight to his kitchen to write down his thoughts and try to make sense of his crazy dream, a picture of a spinning compass and the whirlwind we had been on shaped strangely enough in a "Z". I don't believe his dream is as crazy as it sounds, this year has been a zig zag in all directions as we criss crossed the south and yes that included southern Michigan.
We spent a good bit of time in South Carolina with Bob and mom, after the passing of my father and the loss of Ava. As we prepare for the celebration of Christ's birth and the promise of his resurrection, I can not help but realize as sorrow rips such a great hole in our hearts, there is then room for joy to flood in and I begin to count all of the blessings we have been gifted this year. Our time with Paul and my father, time with family and friends, and each other, Baptisms, and our new home are the really big ones, then there are the everyday blessings, too many to count. The humble gratitude and humility for all of these blessing are sometimes difficult to find, I will have to try harder in the new year.
As our compass has begun to stop spinning and clearly points south, no big brother it was not a crazy dream, it was a blessed life you dreamed about.

Merry Christmas Bob, you are truly one of God's great blessings.

Our lives are not possessions to be defended but gifts to be shared.
Henri Nouwen

Bostick Plantation

Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you are going to get, or where you will end up . . . When you are in the midst of sadness, comes happiness, maybe not in a life altering event but in a small everyday smile.
Our visit to Estell was no exception, with an invitation to visit the Bostick Plantation, off we went, a little detour led us down dirt roads with cotton growing as far as we could see, the south's first snow fall.
We arrived at the Plantation greeted by Clyde, a border collie, carrying his favorite frisbee, and his best smile, after a short break and a little frisbee throwing we were ready for our adventure.

We climbed into the front seat of a very small truck with a well loved bumper, as our wonderful guide Rodger pointed out, and headed into the 5000 acres of the Bostick Plantation. The plantation starts up on a sandy ridge and winds down to the inland back waters of the Savannah River, and is now used mainly for hunting. This beautiful place is dotted with pine and sandy bluffs, the roads are rutty and deep with dry mud, the drought has been hard on this land over summer, and the anticipation of the rainy season by our guide was evident as he continued to apologize for the rough ride.
Our tour was scheduled for noon, so as not to disturb the rhythmic schedules of the hunters that come from all over this time of year to hunt Whitetail deer and wild hog. As we rounded the first bend, a doe leaped through the woods and across the dirt road in front of us and although I have seen thousands through the years, their startled leaps still make my heart race. We continue to make our way to a lake and the half way point of our tour deep in the pine and oak of these beautiful woods, just as we arrive, a family of otters going about their daily business of snacking on fish and playing roll into the green swamp water, flocks of wood ducks flew through the cypress, and the sound of woodpeckers sounded in the background, the sight and sounds of the woods are wonderful. We folded back into our transportation and continued along the lake to an opening in the cypress where a small skiff is waiting a fisherman's next outing, and there standing at the shore was a great cypress, the width of which I have never seen, I am sure the swamps of Florida hold some of the same, but a very rare sight on my list. Our guide told us the records show this area had been clear cut for the last time in 1929, and that the cypress wad grown back from the stump.
It was headed to mid-afternoon, and a much anticipated lunch, so we folded in our truck and started back along the miles of rutted roads, and golden fields, when another young buck leaped through the tall grass, his coat shining in the sun and yet camouflaged with his surroundings, simply amazing is all I can write.

We arrived back to our much anticipated lunch, without disappointment, what a spread, our guide was sure it was Sunday, surely no other day would produce such a spread. Roasted pork, fresh stewed apples, glazed sweet potatoes, green beans, cole slaw, and a cheese souffle, all followed up by piping hot yeast rolls, I believe I ate my weight in rolls, with the best yet to come, a homemade coconut cream pie, I could not help but remember my fathers favorite, and how much he would have enjoyed this day. After our lunch we finished up our grand tour with a short drive to a 1840 beauty of a house, saved by one of Sherman's men as they marched to Atlanta. This house had been used as headquarters for a general, when one of the slaves on the property was asked who owned the home? When the name of the owner was revealed the slave was told to tell his owner the house would be spared from flames, for the owner had once played cards in the north with the general prior to the unfortunate great saddness of northern aggression. The house was truly magnificent and still being enjoyed to this day.
We headed on out after a truly wonderful day and tour back through the cotton fields by which we came, smiling from ear to ear, life is like a box of chocolates.

Our day concluded with a quick stop at the local veterinary in Hampton for three dozen fresh eggs, you have to love a small town in the south.

Friday, November 5, 2010

"You don't think your way into a new kind of living. You live your way into a new kind of thinking."

Henri J.M. Nouwen

Tiny Dancers

As the first snow sets the stage of the
Blue Ridge Mountains,
the remaining leaves flutter in the north wind
like tiny dancers with opening night jitters.
The sun rises over this miraculous act,
and the White Tail Prima donna dance the steep moss covered slope
with a quiet grace and confidence.
Behind the scenes the squirrels scurry through the woods
like dedicated stage hands, as if to make sure all is right with the production.
As an audience of one,
I watch in amazement as the show unfolds once again. . .

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The passing of a Legend, Veterans Day 2012

As we began to recall the stories first from those that could remember the early days, running the state mile for Lee High and holding the record in the book that year, Florida 1950, hard times in the Korean War, recon, the smell of death and life as a Marine.

The strangers that had come to pay respect and tell of kind deeds through many years, different states and times. A common thread spun like rugged wool were the stories of hunting with skills of extraordinary measure.

Elk in Wyoming, Pronghorn in Colorado, and pheasant in Iowa. The white tail too many to count fed his family through the years, shrimp in Beaufort, crappie in the Everglades, Pompano in the surf of Sebastian Inlet, always fishing with a passion like no other. Few that knew him could say they had never been fed by him. He grew gardens of great abundance in Melbourne and Yemassee. He could shoot a Wood duck from a moving vehicle while driving down a back road of South Carolina. If the turkey of Osceola could talk they to would gobble of a great hunter that roamed the woods for many moons.

We wear Cane break rattler belts, his trophies hang on our walls and the stories of his love for the outdoors live on in our minds.

If you have never eaten squirrel perlo, shrimp and grits, fried deer tongue and mullet row than a sheltered life you have led. Least we forget crawfish boils, oyster roasts and fish fry's, plucking quail and dove hunts. There have been at least ten bird dogs all named Tiki or Gal and cleaning dog pens day after day, I believe was a right of passage in his eye.

I have enjoyed flying over Lake Washington, a paddle boat ride down the canal, motorcycles and ATV's, gheenoe and the Mako, air boats and ducs.

He built an old wooden boat and bought a Go devil, and his legend will live on in Bubba, countless smokers and fish fryers, and an occasional green egg.

In the early days there are no stories of tears, then pappy passed, his grandson accepted to his Alma Mater (Go Gators) and the birth of his five great-grand sons bearing his surname. He married his high school sweetheart in 1950 and again at Christmas in 2009, I believe there were tears at the later ceremony.

If you were lucky enough to be present as the Marines saluted him one last time and taps played, then consider yourself to have been in the presence of a Legend.

My memories and recollections are sometimes foggy for I am the youngest of his children and his baby girl and although I do not carry the same skills as my three brothers,I can still recall the stories of a great legend and my memories still hold sweet of a father who adored me until Jesus called him home.

William Irving Turknett
January 16th, 1932 - October 22, 2010

The waters of the Davidson

The waters of the Davidson river, Pisgah Forest, North Carolina

The boys arrived back at Woody's cabin at dusk, the three quarter moon just over Nancy Mountain. The flies purchased at Davidson River Outfitters were productive, and pictures of Rainbow trout the size of John's new net to prove it.

Down to Earth

Down to Earth Cottages, Brevard, North Carolina, on the banks of the French Broad

We arrived yesterday to a story book cottage with stained glass windows, rough cedar siding and a babbling creek. . .

We are at "Creekside" and the "Chalet" sits across the lane. It looks as if Goldilocks herself should emerge at any moment. The moss covered A-line roof shaggy and green surrounded by the golds and reds of fall.

The coffee fresh roasted at the Brown Bean, a gift from Cindy, the colorful Zinnias in an old honey jar awaited our arrival on the front porch stoop, now sit on the old dry sink. Our bed cozy and warm with the morning sun shining through a Celtic stained glass. The smell of a distant fireplace on this cool mountain morning reminds me of home and the first fire of the season.

The cardinals are peeping, and I can hear the cows sound the alarm down Island Fork road, the finches too many to count chirp in the trees just off the deck.

The sounds and smells of a peaceful place.

The 4th of July

October 18, 2010, 42 degrees

The fall has begun in Indiana with all the fanfare of a fourth of July. The colors are the most brilliant I have ever seen, not the red, white and blue of our summer celebration, but copper and reds give way to gold and orange. Burnt umber and dark chocolate tree trunks stand tall, as if soldiers guarding their precious treasure, as their leaves fall, the streets are paved with gold and the sentinels stand on through the change,the winter war will be harsh and their souls will renew in the breath of spring.

Fields of Gold

Sunday, October 17th, 2010, 78 degrees

Leaving the shores of Lake Michigan and traveling down 421 through what seems like endless fields of dried corn stalk the sun shines like gold, the charcoal of the soil in a freshly plowed field a testament of production. Its not the rich, deep, dark black of the sugar cane fields in South Florida, but then again this is not the Everglades.

Old farms stand like monuments in the fields marking generations of hard labor where the harsh cold will cover the charcoal in a blanket of white and the anticipation of Spring will begin.

Friday, October 15, 2010

The Coyotes

Enjoying the cool crisp October night under a sky of a million stars, the fire crackling, the smell of ash and pine fills the air, and in the distant corn fields a pack of coyotes hunts, the yelps of young pups sounds in another direction.

As the crickets quiet, we lean into listen, the pack grows closer, and in only what seems like seconds, the pack is upon us, howling and screaming, they run the pasture just the other side of darkness, with only their voices to mark their location. Our hearts race as if to join in to the racing pack, faster and faster, closer and closer, and then in a heartbeat they are gone. . .

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Apple Picking

A beautiful farm, large Belgian work horses pulling pickers from field to field, apple trees as far as you can see, fields of tomatoes as large as my hand, and eggplant shiny and dark.

We picked crisp sweet Fugi and Galas with a subtle hint of pear in the bite. The weather was drizzly and cool, the music warm and inviting, I can hardly wait for my next visit to Garwood Farms.

The Main Chick so far from home . . .

As the sun rises above the tree line on a crisp northeast Indiana Sunday morning, the coffee grinds and begins to brew, a glimpse of a new reality begins to take shape with all that I have known and who I have become now a thousand miles behind me. Who I am was now a question I was struggling to answer?

The comfortable confidence of my life was now in a plastic bin. Who would have ever thought, those who know me would have guessed an old wooden crate, found deep in a corner of flea market, or maybe a rusty metal tackle box with worn green paint, a gift from a Alpharetta farm sale, but a plastic bin?

As I try desperately to find the memories that make me comfortable, homemade chicken soup, the smell of pumpkin and cinnamon, the thoughts of home and fall decorations, crisp linen napkins and a beautiful table setting, or my garden and the chickens.

Will these things still define me, I would like to think so, as I sit clearly in the north attached to a wonderful family so different than my own, their roots deep in Northern tradition, I cling to my own southern roots which have largely defined who I am, both then and now. . .

Seven Days

It seems so short, nine letters, a week, a yearly vacation time. However, what seven days says now feels like a lifetime. . .

The Old Starkey House is a memory, all of our treasures now safely in storage with Chief Longwood standing guard, a handful of cigars his only payment. I am without the animals that have been constant companions since I was a small child. The loss of Chester stings sharply once again and I can still see Mrs. Brinkley laying on the checkerboard floor of the mud room. Colonel Beaureguard has not awaken me with revelee, nor I have I found Buckwheat's egg in the planter by the red door.

This seven days will not bring the renewal in faith from an energized crowd of coffee clutching Christians nor the smile of a waitress at a Golden Bear breakfast.

Life has changed this seven days. . .

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Spanish Pipe Dreams

Plant a little garden, throw away your papers, blow up your TV, eat a lot of peaches, and try to find Jesus on your own. . .
Whether you are a John Prine fan or not it's really about the peaches and this summer's selection were no exception.

Arriving in Michigan with a case of Georgia peaches starts every one's mouth watering and the request for peach dumplings begin. I am not sure if Ange is the only artist that will commit to what seems like a day long task of peach dumpling making, I do know she is the only one who will readily volunteer. On the other hand finding a crowd to eat them is a piece of cake or peach as the case may be.

On the way back to our southern roots, we stopped once again, this time for several cases of those juicy fruits, we have eaten our weight in peaches, and now it is time for saving some for a rainy fall day or hurricane supply kit. Today I have been up to my elbows in Peach Preserves, a simple recipe and 12 pint jars later my mouth is watering, in Florida bottling sunshine isn't that appealing, but preserving the beautiful flavor of a sunset in a mason jar now that's worth it's weight in gold at the end of any rainbow.

Be a peach dear and pass the Bracken brown . . .

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Summer's Coming of Age

Summer ripened quickly this year,the thermometer reads 96 very hot degrees. The rains have been a welcome smell, the sea breeze is slightly cooled, the property watered, and the rain barrels filled to the brim. However the true test comes in a sound with the evening, it's the Whip'O Will, and perched in the shadows right outside the kitchen windows of The Old Starkey House he sat calling all who would listen over and over he calls whipowill, whipowill, whipowill. He is hard to see, and non-descript for those who have had a peek, he is the highlight of a summer's evening, and in perfect harmony to the crickets, Cuban tree frogs, and the song of the cicadas. He is in my early memories of the Florida I knew as a young girl, he has called out in the dark night of a horseback ride, and on the misty marsh morning of Yeehaw Junction. This evening his song is sweet and my memories strengthened once again.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Can you say Mojito?

It is 95 degrees, no breeze and the pool and the mint growing next to the rain barrel are screaming Mojito. . .

The Main Chick's Mojito

Juice of one lime
squirt of Agave nectar
5-6 fresh mint leaves
A shot of Appleton's Rum
plickle, plickle, plickle or muddle, muddle, muddle
pour over glass of ice and finish with splash of ginger ale.

Hit the pool and relax.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Bad Hair Day

Florida's humidity, what if Colonel Beaureguard is looking.

Chester's Epitaph

It's hard to believe that five short years ago we missed Thanksgiving for a 70 pound turkey, and it's even harder to believe he is gone . . .

Chester woke up on March 31st, 2010 not feeling his usual perky self, a very large tumor in his spleen had begun to bleed and by the afternoon he was gone. The tumor obviously had been there for quite some time, and he showed no signs of discomfort up until the end.

We will miss him greatly, as many of you know he was my shadow, and shadowed the many pet sitters. He was talked about at Thanksgiving for many years, and some of his antics will never be forgotten. I believe he could be listed in Guinness for eating the most unusual things including drinking of the beignet grease after Mardi Gras, and eating the feet off his ball, twice, the first time he threw them up six weeks after the first ingestion.

The look on his face summed it up, "Always keep smiling, for you never know when a frown could stick".

I thank all of you who put up with him, baby sat him, or just plain liked him.

With much sadness,

The Main Chick

A Long Hot Dry Spell

I think I am referring to writers block in the title, or maybe the current weather, hard to say . . .
The winter was a cold one, the coldest I can remember, temperatures in January hovered nightly in the 30's for weeks at a time, quite unusual for central coastal Florida. It didn't stop us from hosting Guitars & Cigars, we had the fire pits stoked, the fireplace roaring, and as many layers as we could handle without having our arms at 90 degree angles. The Low Country Boil was hot and so was the cider and guitar, Captain Bob played with his usual finesse, and sounds of warm beaches flowed through the crowd. A good time was passed by all.