My beloved “secret garden” on Buck Island Road is on the wane.
I know this happens every year but it makes me a little sad when I see the brown corn stalks and the last of the okra waiting to be picked. But I know that as sure as I see the first green bud on the trees next spring, the garden will be plowed and as if by magic, will begin all over again. I have never seen the occupants of the house in their garden so to me it is a wonder when it reappears each year. Most people are born with 10 normal fingers on each hand but once in a while, a lucky being comes along with a green thumb.
There are several other folks I know in Bluffton who were born with such a wonderful addition to their anatomy. Nedra Brown and Sally Dionne are two wonderful gardeners who seem to be able to coax gorgeous plants from our sometimes difficult Bluffton soil.
Many of you know Sally, a cheerful kind soul, who has been employed in many Bluffton shops off and on for years. Sally has a green thumb, and she is not embarrassed about it one bit. She grows all sorts of flowers and herbs and shares her bounty with great joy. Once she brought me a beautiful catnip plant for our herd of cats and never have I seen so much fun being had. There was much jumping and rolling around. Some of the cats even walked on their two back legs, and for the first time in I-don’t-know-when, they all lay down and went to sleep. That a very peaceful night for the whole house. One of my favorite treats from Sally was a tussie mussie made out of many different herbs. It smelled divine. Of course I also used pieces of my present in several suppers.
Mitch Brown is famous for being smart enough to marry the adorable Lori and produce two charming chickies, Arden and Ella May, and host one of the most fun parties of the year. Mitch’s real claim to fame is his mama Nedra Brown, who also was born with a fabulous green thumb. How Nedra does it, I do not know, but like Sally, she just has “it” and always has something lovely growing in her yard. A recent addition to her garden is a collection of plants upon which butterflies feed and lay their eggs. I had two of her visitors recently at my store enjoying my petunias. Why they flew over to my yard when there is an abundance to sip on in theirs I have no clue.
Nedra’s grandchildren Arden and Ella are frequent visitors to her garden. They live nearby, and are learning at their grandmother’s knee to enjoy the wonders of Nature.
I still have high hopes that one day, soon I trust, my thumb might get a little tinge of green — envy most likely.
Eat and learn in one stop
The Bluffton Lecture and Dinner Series begins at 6 p.m. Monday, Sept.18.
The lecture will be held at Bluffton United Methodist Church at the corner of Calhoun and Water streets in Old Town Bluffton. E.G. Rossell, professor of Architectural History at SCAD, will be the keynote speaker. You may make reservations for supper at The Pearl Restaurant on Calhoun Street following the talk. The lecture is free and open to the public. Supper is on you.
Riding across Mongolia
A friend of mine asked me the other day if I had seen a story about the Mongol Derby. I had not, but my ears perked up.
The Guinness World Records lists it as the planet’s longest and toughest horse race. The Mongol Derby challenges 40 riders to retrace in 10 days a 1,000-kilometer route Genghis Khan’s messengers once followed across Mongolia. The riders have to ride a crazy collection of native, semi-feral horses probably cousins of our marsh tackies.
There are no fast food places, signs, places to get water or hotel rooms along the way. The race has many dangers to the riders each day. They risk dehydration, becoming ill, bandits, wild dogs, horses stepping in holes, or being thrown. The temperature can fluctuate from 100 degrees to below freezing.
This year, three women from South Carolina have joined the derby. Clare Summers, 59, from Pendleton; Rachel Land, 38, from Easley; and Julia Fisher, 65, from Hartsville. They each had varying reasons to join the melee, and it became an obsession with them all to give it a try. Next year will we see Beth Vann, Cheryl Crosby Phillips, Lori Kraft and Tammy Mauldin signed up to compete? Go to theadventurists.com/mongol-derby to learn more.
The derby reminds me of a road rally scavenger hunt in a way. Teams drive around in cars and must follow all the rules of safety and, by all means, traffic laws. Each team is given an envelope with a clue to begin the race and then the fun starts. The rally usually ends somewhere for a picnic or at a restaurant. To make it more fun, a costume can be worn. The main object is to enjoy yourself, drive safely and to win. I almost had one years ago here in Bluffton, but the person helping me, who knew all of the ropes, moved away.
There is an event held up North each year called The Great Race. It is a time, speed, endurance rally for vintage cars 1972 or older.
Have a great Pound Cake recipe?
There’s a Pound Cake Bake Off at the Bluffton Farmers Market, Thursday, Aug. 31. Entry fee is $20, which will benefit the new public park at the end of Calhoun Street on the May River. Cakes must be delivered in a covered contraption at 4 p.m. and must not need to be refrigerated.
Ribbons will be awarded to the top three winners at 5:30 p.m. Judges are professional bakers and very knowledgeable. If you wish to wear a costume, please do.
So dust off Aunt Martha’s favorite recipe, grease your pan and join the extravaganza. Entry forms will be available at The Store and you will be registered by number.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org for information.
Peanut butter goes powder
I recently discovered something very cool — powdered peanut butter.
All one has to do is mix it with a bit of water or whatever you are cooking with. I have already used it three times. You can find it in the peanut butter section at Publix. One nice thing about it is there are far fewer calories. This is great for Thai food and that sort of thing, and it is so easy to use.
Babbie Guscio is the social columnist for The Bluffton Packet. She can be reached at The Store on Calhoun Street or at email@example.com.