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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Middleton Place, part 2

I am glad we got a membership to Middleton Place. It has turned out to be a place we can go multiple times without seeing the same things over and over.
We opted to take the carriage ride today. It was 45 minutes long and we saw much more of the plantation. We learned a lot about the Middletons. We leaned how they planted rice. We saw some fallow rice fields, Lon was looking for alligators. The driver said he saw a couple last week.  The largest one was over 6 feet.  YIPES! I am glad we did not see one today. Lon thinks it would have been really cool.
At the gate to the house. It was burned down and ruined in 1865.  The family had already fled, but everything was destroyed. They rebuilt in one of the wings to the house. The driver told us that part of the movie the Patriot was filmed here. The part where they blew up the ships too.
This is something I read about in the newspaper! It is called an Upping Stone.  They are in front of some of the older homes in Charleston. What an upping stone is, is a stone that ladies and children can use to get into carriages.  The Carriage would pull up to the front of the stone, and the ladies would climb up via the upping stone.  While I was explaining that to Lon, there were some people who stopped to listen.
The arrow is part of the walking tour
The river view from the house ruins. Ruins is the right word, only piles of stone. Nothing that looks like it could have been a room.
The view to the left. It was so pretty there.
Another beauty shot. It was just such a nice day there
Lon was looking for the frog in the spring house. It seems the frog moved on.  This time the chain was not up at the door, so we stepped in, just a little, and it was remarkably cooler inside.
Lon wanted to stop in the restaurant and get a dessert. We did. He got ice cream and I had the Huguenot torte. It was not bad, but very very sweet.
Last time we were here we did not notice the coat of arms at the stableyards.
Lon found some pottery and wanted to tell the potter about it.  She was very nice about it, and told him to bring it up to the pottery section

Lon with his big hunk of terracotta drainage pipe. They made a nice fuss about it and made him feel very special.
Mr Jeff with Lon's drainage ditch piece. It was very nice of them.  Lon was thrilled they made a fuss about it.
Lon found Mary the Cat. They had a nice chat for a little while.
Lon and Ron the blacksmith. The blacksmith was not there last time we were there. Ron is amazingly knowledgeable about EVERYTHING. He is a great guy.  He loves blacksmithing and was making 150 S hooks for a wedding . They were going to put them in the favor bags at the wedding. They were so cool.  We found out we could buy one up at the gift shop, they were 12 dollars.  We did get one.  Ron made it. I like buying something when I know who made it. Ron takes pride in his work, and he does beautiful work.  I hope he is here the next time we come out to Middleton!
Lon and Ron had a nice chat. Ron asked me if he could give something to Lon. I said yes.  He gave him a spike from the narrow gauge railway that was built in the last half of the 1860s to carry phosphate they started mining on the plantation. After the civil war, the plantation moved to phosphate mining and timber. They moved away from the labor intensive rice production.  Lon was so happy to have a spike.  It is pretty cool.
Getting ready to go home
Lon had saved up some money and it was finally burning a hole in his pocket. He had to get an S hook made by Mr. Ron, and then I had to go look at other things around the gift store. He wanted to buy me something. It was so sweet. The cashiers told me how very sweet he is.  He got me a pair of earrings. I like them, the are red and gold beads. I will take a photo of them soon.
We had a great time. We will go back again!  We have yet to tour the house. !

Saturday, September 21, 2013

HIghland Games

This weekend, Mark had to stay around the house for work. He was on call. I had read in the paper about the Highland Games being held at Boone Hall. I had always wanted to go to a Highland Games. So Lon and I headed out after a great breakfast! (Lon had bacon, eggs and toast!)
Arriving at Boone Hall Plantation. It sure is pretty.
The collie demonstration.  The collies were amazing. Those sheep did not have a chance!
Big guys with big weights, tossing them a long way across the field
The collie was supposed to be at rest, but those sheep could get out of hand at any moment!
Sadly, as we were standing there watching the collies work, Lon was standing in a fire ant mound. There were tears. I ran and got two bottles of water, told him to take off his shoes and socks. A few kind Scots helped with more water to be poured on his feet, and one even had some benedryl stick to help with the pain and itch.  Until I made sure his shoes and socks were ant free he did not wear them.  He only got a few bites, but fire ants HURT.
After a bit, he was feeling better. He wanted to pose with Hammish the Highland Cow. He still remembers the book his Godmother brought him back from Scotland. It was one of his favorites.  The cow with toffies in his coat.
Bouncey houses make things better.
Lon tried the kid size caber toss. No getting it to rotate, but it was a good first effort!
Lon did some leather working at the boy scout booth.
He got to keep his little leather badge he made
The Master of the Pipes. Now it was time for the opening ceremonies.
The mass bands !

I tired to upload a video of the bands, but my connection was super slow tonight and it was not working. I will try again later.
More pipers!
They were doing a whole routine while playing. I was amazed. Like walking, rubbing your head and patting your tummy at the same time.
The parade of clans. They did not have McDonald's represented this year. But this man, leading clan McKenzie, nice and strong, a big sword and his adorable daughter.
(We did see the Campbells)
Then it was lunch time ! Lon did not want to try the Haggis and Chips. I will admit it did not look appetizing. A scoop of brown stuff over fries. We split an order of fish and chips. We each had our own drink, it was HOT again. In the low 90s.
Lon tried the chocolate bread pudding with chocolate sauce for his dessert. It could have been better, but he liked it. I will look for that recipe for him.
Here comes a caber! This one showed promise of a rotation, but did not make it.
Lon in the face in the hole.
More cabers being tossed
Getting ready for the pipe competition. We were hot and tired at this time, so we bought a few raffle tickets and called it a day.
It was a great day. We were there for 6 1/2 hours.
The next games are in Savannah in May. I think we will go!
As we drove down the long exit, we saw this. I was thinking wow, the are early for Halloween.
Then we saw THESE. How early do they start decorating around here? Then I remembered. Tomorrow afternoon is the Zombie 5k run at Boone Hall. I am sure this will be part of it, and then Halloween too.
Looks like it would be a great pumpkin patch to try out!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Middleton Place

Today I thought we would get out of the house. Mark was participating in the day of caring, helping to build a playground at Summerville Elementary School.  Lon could not be there since power tools, etc were involved.  Instead Lon and I went to Middleton Place Plantation.  I was not sure what we were going to see!

 Going down Ashley River Road. It is such a pretty drive. It was not too far away from our house.
First thing we see as we pull in, is the lawn being manicured! The living lawn care specialists are hard at work
At the entrance. There are an amazing amount of gardens.
Lon found the swans, why there were in a cage, I do not know. There were turtles in the pond too. Lon thought those were very cool and wanted to spend lots of time looking at turtles.  Which we did. Lon thought they were fascinating swimming around.
Walking down by the river.
It was so beautiful.
The closer we got to the river, it was nice and cool there too
Spot the wildlife? there is a crane in there. Really.
This was the reason we went today. The rice harvest.
From the Post and Courier:
Rice, the commodity that once made South Carolina one of the richest colonies in British colonial North America, is being harvested again the coast just outside Charleston. The three-day rice harvest is underway at Middleton Place, a plantation and national historic site on the Ashley River. For about a decade now, the plantation has planted and harvested rice from a quarter-acre field using the same methods used in colonial times — planting by hand and using a curved blade called a rice hook to harvest.
“By growing and harvesting our Carolina Gold rice, which dates back to 1780, it gives folks a little glimpse of the past. You have to squint a little bit, and then you start to understand the economics” of the rice culture, said Bob Sherman, a historic interpreter at the plantation.
This year’s harvest, which concludes Saturday, coincides with the Lowcountry Rice Culture Forum.
The forum was developed in part by artist Jonathan Green, whose colorful paintings of the Gullah culture of sea island slaves are in collections worldwide.
It features three days of events focusing on the significance of rice in colonial times and how rice, class, art and history still influence the Southeast today.
As the rice culture took hold, bringing immense wealth to planters, it required more and more slaves.
“Here in the South we think of cotton. But for every worker you need on a cotton plantation, you need 10 on a rice plantation. This is extremely labor intensive,” said Jeff Neale, another interpreter at Middleton who on Friday worked under a warm sun with a rice hook cutting down the stalks heavy with rice grains.
South Carolina, in 1700, exported about 12,000 pounds of rice.
“In 1770, they will export 83 million pounds. As the rice production grows, the number of slaves grows,” he said. By 1860, production is 140 million pounds.
This year’s Middleton crop was planted on May 16.
There were two ways in colonial times that slaves planted rice.
“One method was the heel-toe method. They would go out barefoot and make a hole with their toe, put some seed in it and take their heel and press it down, move up a few inches and do it again,” Neale said.
Middleton uses the second method, a harrower with spikes in it that makes a row with small holes. The seed is dropped in and then tapped down with a hoe.
The crop at Middleton will be about 400 pounds and “you might get at retail $4,000,” Sherman said.
Some of the rice will stay at Middleton where school children this fall will get to experience the rice culture by winnowing the rice, removing the hull from the grain. Some will be shared with other historic sites in the area for their education programs.
“It’s worth far more as a teaching tool and a demonstration tool than it is a food crop,” Sherman said.

That is what we came to see!
Lon is so happy with his rice
Inside the rice mill
Some information on the mill. 
The mill stone
Rice boat. 
Isn't this beautiful? This is the mill pond
Lon and his rice at the mill pond
It was not crowded today at all. I expected lots more people. There were no crowds at all. 
The chapel is the top part of the building, the spring house is below. 
About the chapel
Inside the spring house. Can you see the little guy? On the left, in the back.
I can never hope to achieve this level of chill. 
The house. The house tour is something we chose not to do on this trip. We had already decided that we were coming back and we would get a membership. There was so much to see!
Lon and a new friend inside the spinning/weaving room. There was a costumed interpreter there to talk about carding the wool from the sheep on the plantation. They harvest the wool, card it, and spin it. They also work with cotton and flax. 
They had a great time playing at the carriage house.  We first saw the little girl when we pulled in and she was trying to get pine straw out of her shoe.  Then we saw her on a path near the mill and she told us there was snake up the path. We chose not to go that way. 
We parted ways at the goats, the little girl and her mother had to go to their lectures and we were playing with the animals.  This is Jethro, the goat. He is one year old. Just starting to get his horns. Very friendly, and if he is not done having you pet him, he bleats at you till you start again. 
Playing a game called, what is that thing?  They had a chamber pot, a pair of dutch hands (for working butter after it was churned) a mouth hard, wool carding cards, etc. Next to them was a man dipping candles.
Lon found Arthur, the cat. Arthur had just been petted (harassed) by a group of children and wanted nothing to do with any human. Lon just talked to him and did not attempt to pet him.   Arthur was happy with that. 
Mary, the other cat, was very happy to have someone to talk to. 
Inside the potters place. They have a tray of all the little bits of pottery they found around the plantation.  They also make pottery there. Another costumed interpreter.  She was very nice and friendly
Lon watching the peacock. We saw the peahens too, but they were not as easily photographed.  The stableyards had a lot to do ! 
Lon loved the dragonfly
The restaurant opened at noon. We arrived shortly there after!  They gave us two menus. Both the same. But no kid's menu.  I asked the waitress if they did have a children's menu. They did! Pasta, pb&j, and chicken fingers with fries. Lon loved his chicken fingers. I had she crab soup, a crab cake with a corn salad. It was very good. 
Then it was back to having fun (learning!)
Lon and the baby peacock.  Lon named him lightening
The carriage ride. We will go on that later 
The Belgian Draft horses are so pretty. 
Miss Eliza's house. This is a replica of the slave quarters.   There were people living it for a while
About the house
Inside, learning about the life in the slave quarters
Lon giving the cashmere goat a talking too. She was a sweet thing.  They have had the two cashmere goats for five years and they said they have enough cashmere to make one sock. A short single sock. 
I have photos of Lon with all the animals, the water buffalo, the cows, the draft horses, the pigs, the chickens, and the geese too. But that is a lot of pictures! 

Lon found his friend again and off they went to chase the sheep together. The sheep cared less about the two children running around them.  I think they are used to it. 
Looking back towards the house and the river. The sheep have lots of work to do!  It was such a nice day out there. 
We did get the membership, for a year, and it is also good for a house down on the Battery in Charleston.   Lon and I have planned to come back the next time he has a half day from school. 
We still need to tour the house and see all the rest of the things we missed!