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Arrival of beautiful butterflies a sign of cooler times

Well, we have officially experienced the hottest, driest summer on record. Last week was marvelous, with low humidity and temperatures. Now that summer is gone for the year and fall is on the way, let us hope to break no more weather records.

The yellow sulphur butterflies are winging their way around Bluffton, and I love it when they appear. When I catch a glimpse of one of those lovely creatures, I know one of my favorite times of year is almost here. I am hopeful that a nip will soon be in the air and an oyster roast won't be far behind.

  • The Savannah Ocean Exchange is a new event that offers a monthlong "ocean and coast" party, celebrating everything we love in our surroundings. There will be people present from all sorts of arts organization and community groups hosting wonderful events throughout September. They will even have a talk on pirates. Most of the events are free, which is a nice treat. You will find out how to really enjoy and experience our waters and learn why correct stewardship is vitally important to us all. Details: www.savannahoceanexchange.com
  • Fall brings a flurry of bird activity in this part of our world. Many species of winged creatures will be stopping in our neck of the woods to fatten up for their journey south for the winter.
  • The Savannah National Wildlife Refuge has reopened and is full of "birdy" sights. If you have never taken a trip through this wonderland, I suggest you do so. This is a great way to show your children nature at its best. Load up the car with some binoculars, Audubon bird books and a patient state of mind and head out for a few hours of free fun. If you go the back way to the Savannah airport, you pass right through the refuge. When the foliage begins turning, you will notice the absolutely gorgeous tallow tree's beautiful yellow and orange leaves, which take my breath away. These trees grow all over the Lowcountry and love marshy wet areas that abound here.

  • My sister Catherine and I are entering the baking contest once again at the South Carolina State Fair. We are baking a cake from a recipe that belonged to Martha Washington called Great Cake. It is somewhat like a fruitcake, but not so dense. We are also baking another gem called a lemon cake, which has lemon curd as a filling. Naturally, we hope to win a blue ribbon. In 2009, we won second place with our cake, but I want first place. You would not believe the ladies we are up against and all of the marvelous confections people (men and children too) turn out from all over our state. It is a fairyland full of goodies. We are called the "Plum Nellies," so look for us and our ribbon soon.
  • Actually, the fair is great fun, and the home canning and cooking section, livestock display and "wild" animals exhibit are worth the trip to Columbia. I would not go at night, but a day trip to the capital of our lovely state would be a swell treat for young and old. One year we almost got a chance to ride a genuine camel, but he sat down and wouldn't get up. He looked at us as though he was going to spit, so we thought better and left. I often wish we had waited awhile so I could then say I walked several feet on a camel and survived.

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