I Will Not…

I will not:

  • do laundry
  • clean the house
  • walk the dog
  • wash the dishes
  • shop for groceries or…
  • eat another meal

Until next year!

Happy New Year everyone. Thanks for reading my rantings this year. I will resume writing down my thoughts for the world to read next year: 2013!

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Beach Finds at Stedman’s Landing

Stedman's Landing

new camera 071

View of Mobile Bay

Beach Finds: pottery shards, glass and a bone

Beach Finds: pottery shards, glass and a bone

Check out the design on this piece of pottery, or china.

Check out the design on this piece of pottery, or china.

Beach combing in Montrose, AL, I wasn’t expecting to find much except for a glass piece or two.  I was more interested in what Stedman’s Landing looked like.  I got the glass (brown and green) but was surprised at finding pottery.  Investigating afterward I found a friend with a couple of shoe boxes filled with pottery shards from the beaches of Mobile Bay.  I also read a brief article of some archeology students hunting pottery shards along the Bay. 

These pieces were buried among some rocks on the shoreline.  The clay I found was two colors: one is a light color with the painted finish, the other is a dark brown coated in the painted finish.  The painted finishes looked the same.  The clay was thick.

But I found more than just brown. I really love the one painted in a green design.  I have found broken shards of china on the beach before (obvious to me that it was once lost in a hurricane).  This one is painted on both sides.  I’d love to find out what it was and who belonged to it. 

I will definitely be hunting for more pottery.

2 Corinthians 4:7 (NIV), But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.

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Update January 1, 2013: I did some further research on pottery in the Daphne, Montrose, Fairhope AL area since writing the above article.  Turns out the pottery can be from one of a few sources.

First, the area before the Civil War was home to dozens of pottery companies or potters.  They used the Bay to ship some of their products. 

Second, Hernando DeSoto found Native Americans inhabiting the area.  I’ve read that there are still pottery samples and shards from that time period being found along the Mobile Bay and in local designated park areas.

Third, the Eastern Shore of the Mobile Bay is lined with piers sticking out like teeth on a comb from privately held land.  Seems almost everyone has a pier and at the end of most is a covered gazebo.  These can be simple, just a seating area under a roof with a ladder to the water.  They can also be highly elaborate with built-in gas grills, refrigerators, sinks, cabinets, tables and seating.  Some have covered boat storage.  I was told that pre-Katrina, a lot of these dining rooms were built.  Storm activity hit a low period and people along the Bay must have felt secure about building an outdoor kitchen.  These kitchens included storage for plates, bowls, serving items.  Hurricane Katrina ruined all of the fun and what was built came down.  Perhaps some of what we are finding is from those pier dining rooms. 

Hobbit/Hermit Hut in Fairhope, AL

Fairhope contains some beautiful old buildings.  Among these you can find a bit of quirkiness. The Storybook Castle sits off in the woods just north of downtown, as does the hermit house at Tolstoy Park. Well, it’s not really a park, but rather a round, little domed hut once owned by a man named Henry Stuart who owned several acres near my house. He built this hut to live in. I have always wondered about this little building. A facebook friend recently posted some information about it.  An author by the name of Sonny Brewer has written a novel around this little building called “The Poet of Tolstoy Park”.  I couldn’t resist to go investigate.

I’ve seen this building many times driving home from Fairhope and always wondered what it was. It sits in the parking lot of an office park that was built around the hut, preserving it. Now I know the story. The building is off of Parker Rd near the Fairhope Publix.

I took my family to check it out. The building was open so we went in, took pictures and signed the guest book. The floor was rather puddly; we had a rain this morning.  Stop by and visit this quirky little home but read the links I’ve provided above in bold for some more history. If you’d like to read the book, there’s a great little bookstore in Fairhope called Page and Pallett; they should have a copy.

Christmas 2012

Grand Hotel Christmas Tree, Point Clear, AL

Grand Hotel Christmas Tree, Point Clear, AL

Christmas on the Eastern Shore of Mobile Bay is beautiful.  Here are some photos we’ve taken of this year.  We visited the Grand Hotel in Point Clear and saw their gingerbread display: a replica of the Grand itself.  Beautiful. 

Fairhope Christmas street landscaping

Fairhope Christmas street landscaping

Fairhope

Fairhope

The flower beds in Fairhope are changed for the season and event.  This year’s Christmas gardens (red and green flowers and plants) grace every street corner in town.  Some plants hang in baskets from street lamps, some enjoy with warm earthern gardens, others sit in planter boxes lining the sidewalks.

At night in Fairhope, it’s a whole different scene:

Fairhope at night in the winter

Fairhope at night in the winter (c)

Mardi Gras Mobile 2013

It’s not even Christmas (well, almost) and Mobile and the Eastern Shore are already geared up for Mardi Gras. I saw throws, wreaths, decorations etc while doing some shopping today. 

Mardi Gras parades start January 12, starting with the Krewe de la Dauphine on Dauphin Island.

It’s a serious season here in this part of the world, especially since Mardi Gras originated in Mobile, AL. Parades are a coveted event and trump everything else. The balls and other parties share equal standing. Schools close and those not participating usually take vacations to get away from the crowds and crazy revelry.

For a listing and schedule of the local parades follow this link to theMobileMask.com.

I’ve got a wreath from last year and as soon as the Christmas decorations are down, I’ll be joining the other residents around the Bay with purple, green and gold around my house. Maybe I’ll plant a Mardi Gras garden. I’m expecting Fairhope to get their flowers switched out quickly after the new year. I’ll post pictures in a week or two.

Meanwhile, Merry Christmas and then Laissez Bons Temps Rouler!

Seaglass Beachcombing on Oahu, HI

Gary and I traveled the road from Waikiki to North Shore twice during our recent trip to Oahu.  My goal was to beachcomb.  But along the way we also stopped at roadside stands to try new foods like Poi, a Spam sandwich, Pineapple gum and real Hawaiian Shave Ice.  We saw lots of sites including a famous blow hole, a Macadamia Nut farm, shrimp farms, the wind farm, a classic old grocery, the Sugar Mill ruins, dormant volcanoes, birds we don’t have here in the Southeastern states.  We could even smell the volcanic soil as we drove along the coast.

The beaches where we stopped included a few scenic pull-offs (some with a beach, some not), Sandy Beach, Waialee Beach, Sunset Beach, Waimea Bay Beach, Ehukai Beach Park where you find the famous Banzai Pipeline and, of course, Waikiki Beach.  We also stopped at Sharks Cove to swim.  On our second trip up that road we caught the Vans Surf Competition in progress, thanks to a big swell forecasted that day from a storm off of California’s coast.

Sandy Beach HI, my favorite spot for sea glass and the best spot for body surfing if you know what you're doing.

Sandy Beach HI, my favorite spot for sea glass and the best spot for body surfing if you know what you’re doing.

Surf Competition

Surf Competition

We collected sand from 4 beaches.  They are all so different in color and texture; from grey to orange the sand was also fine to granular.  The most grainy being almost like corn meal and difficult to walk on.  

We found a few shells but mostly coral.  I found two Slate Pencil Sea Urchin spines (my bonanza for the trip), several Limpets, and what I think is a Serpents-head Cowrie. Glass was more plentiful at Sandy, Waialee and Sunset than the rest although for a whole day beach combing I found about the same amount I’d find in places like Sanibel or at Turtle Beach on Siesta Key in FL or Fairhope Beach here in Alabama.  What I did notice was that the glass is much smaller…most of what I found was pebble sized, although there were 4 large pieces, two being the bottom remnants of  a bottle (one in brown, one in white) and very worn.  And, I collected more green in Hawaii than anywhere else I collect from on the Southeast beaches.

Back at home, the sand we collected is distributed among 4 different clear Christmas ball ornaments, labeled and ribboned and hanging on our tree.  I also purchased 4 unique bottles with cork stoppers from Michael’s Craft Store, used glass paint pens to label them and filled each with sand to display around the house.  I have other sand from places I’ve lived or visited (Lido Key and Siesta Key, FL; Gulf Shores, AL; Ocean City, MD to name a few)  This idea is all over Pinterest but I’ve had my bottles way before then. 

Beach sand in labeled bottles on my bookshelf

Beach sand in labeled bottles on my bookshelf

I have a small green-tinted bud vase from Pier One holding my Hawaiian glass, shell and coral finds and a beach-themed photo box holding our other collectibles from the trip.

My Hawaiian Beachcombing Finds

My Hawaiian Beachcombing Finds

As far as beach combing is concerned, remember that the tide carries what it wants.  One day it might be a lot of shells, one day sea glass, other days algae.  You may also get nothing.  Because someone wrote a blog about their great finds doesn’t mean you’ll get the same when you travel to that place.  I learned that a long time ago, but the way some bloggers write about their experiences, you’d think it’s a daily occurence of great finds.  But do know this…what ever you find, you found it.  The adventure, the experience, the time was yours and should be memorable.  I had a blast. 

Can’t wait to go again.

Heavenly Hash…It’s Divine

Mom came to visit over the Thanksgiving holiday. She lives in Maryland and, while retired, spends her time volunteering at a monastery in her hometown. So, I took her to visit ours, here in Mobile.

The Sisters at the Visitation Monastery have a gift shop on the property which helps them raise money for their mission. They also make Heavenly Hash, a chocolate and marshmallow delight. I bought Mom a box and she bought 2 more to give to the Sisters at her monastery.

The Visitation Monastery is located in Mobile, AL at 2300 Springhill Ave.  I highly recommend you stop by and purchase a box of their chocolate or call and order at 251-471-4106.

While you are there stop into the Sacred Heart Chapel next door.  It’s beautiful inside.