Saturday, October 23, 2010

On a Lighter Note

Not long ago after rachel had posted pictures of yet another fabulous vacation, [think London/Paris], making me sigh that my vacations lately have just been away from my desk.  At home.  In my own backyard.

Foxy rachel reminded me that SHE has never seen my backyard.  

So one recent Sunday afternoon we all piled in the truck and I took pictures of interesting things along the way.  Especially anything that screamed "old South" to me.  Enjoy!

There is literally no where in the South that you can travel without seeing this creeping green monster which eats every stationery thing in it's path.  Say it with me Savannah...KUDZU!

Originally brought here from Japan to stop soil erosion, it soon decided to ensure NOTHING moved.  Ever.

Scariest story I ever read starred Kudzu.  As it grew and took over a man's front yard, it began quietly "eating" everything in it's path, from stray cats, to the Mailman to the kid delivering the newspaper.  The line I never forgot was, "If you listen for a moment, you can hear Kudzu growing".  

Let's try more traditional.  Any ideas?

Before it ends up on a stick as a cotton swab/bud,  it starts in the field.  When I was a kid, a field filled with this fluffy white stuff looked like popcorn to me.  But before these photos, I never knew the bloom was pink!

Raw cotton, straight from the field, sitting at the Cotton Gin waiting to be processed.

Why put a cup on a stick?  Think about it while I show you what use to pass as "ordinary" for homes in the old South.

Lovely example of old country home which use to be WAY out in the country.  If you enlarge it, you'll see that's a For Sale sign just outside the gate.  If you could see I snapped this from the truck, courtesy of a new 4 lane highway at the edges of that green, you'd probably know why it was for sale. 

I was looking across the road when I caught this out of the corner of my eye and asked Hubby to turn around.  Why was a bell tower standing all alone?

My guess is, like many small country churches, they paid off the original mortgage, then added what they couldn't afford the first time around.  I've never seen one like this before!  But that was nothing compared to what we ran into 15 minutes later.  In the middle of literally NOWHERE!

This is a church.  Honest.  The sign said it was a Non-Denominational House of Worship.  Although there was a small brick structure to the right, this was the main church.  In the middle of all those cotton fields...palm trees and a building resembling a dome which fell off a Russian church.

But living in the South sometimes means taking things for granted that would make other folks look at you funny.  We're a sentimental people.  And no, that's not a gravestone in the field behind the tree draped with moss.  [Although it's not unusual to see small family graveyards in the middle of nowhere].

It marks the place of an old railroad depot at what was once a bustling community.  Now a dip in the road, perhaps the "headstone" monument is an ironic comment on the modern world. 

They're not just found in the wild West.  Windmills helped bring up water from wells.  This one had a wooden water tower in the center of it, which collapsed.  That tin cone was the roof.

Ah, the Swamp.  It's not situated in one's often just around the corner in these parts.  What looks like green algae is actually a little round aquatic weed.

No gators sunning that day but Hubby borrowed my camera long enough to snap a shot of these happy turtles, lazing in the sun.

Across the road was the remains of an old grist mill.  Most were used to grind corn, utilizing a running stream over a large wooden wheel.  Like most things of that time, it sits here in parts...forgotten.

Figure out why someone would leave a cup on a stick by the side of the road yet?  It's actually a Boll weevil trap, which is placed on the edges of cotton fields to lure the destructive critters away.  Look closely and you'll see a small square at the top...perfume to draw in the critters.  Once they look inside for a sweet smelling mate, they fall inside, never to crawl out.  I refuse to admit how old I was before I realized that this wasn't just a cup left behind by a lazy farm hand.

Speaking of lazy.....

How lazy a field hand do you have to be when the weeds grow higher than your Scarecrow?

I leave you with this parting shot.
This would be our "oldest boy", Smokey.  No, he's not sleeping.  He's pouting. And he's telepathic.  Because I'm pretty sure what he was saying to Hubby was, "Hey!  Can't you explain to that photographer woman that riding Shotgun is MY my seat in this vehicle?"

Here's wishing you a good week!


Madame DeFarge said...

What a great group of photos there. Absolutely fascinating collection of images and facts. Beats Paris any day!

Jerry said...

Every time we venture toward Georgia from Houston we are always amazed at our first encounter with Kudzu. I figure that it will make it here sometime and eat us all up.

Wonderful pictures and history facts that accompany them.

Susan at Stony River said...

My favorite shot is Smokey! Funny how dogs are.

I love the swamp photos too - very disappointed not to see Shrek, but I wouldn't mind coming to have a closer look.

Anonymous said...

What an excellent post my friend. i loved the tour and the explanation :) You are the bomb :) Sometimes the best places to go are right in your own back yard :)

Anonymous said...

What an excellent post my friend. i loved the tour and the explanation :) You are the bomb :) Sometimes the best places to go are right in your own back yard :)

savannah said...

hope, honey, you have told the truth about the south! especially, about kudzu!

we do live in a little bit of heaven tho! ;) xoxoxoxoxo

Ponita in Real Life said...

Thanks for the excellent tour, Hope! Loved all the photos, but especially Old Smokey... pouting!

steven said...

wow hope i feel like i've read a book of the south. i have so little knowledge or experience of the area you live in it's really fascinating to read and see the unpacking of the details. steven

hope said...

Thanks Madame D..that makes me feel better, somehow. :)

Jerry, I swear Kudzu is in a class all it's own. On my commute to work I watch it "eat" an abandoned house every year, only to free it when the weather gets cold.

Susan, my little man with 4 legs gets very agitated when he realizes I only let him in the truck first so he can climb into the back seat. :)

Thom, we do take things at home for granted. You have the ocean, I have the swamp...yours smells better by the way, especially on a hot summer day. :)

Savannah...we have to tell them enough to let them appreciate it without wanting to come in and build cities on top of us. :)

Ponita, I swear that dog will start talking any day now. He huffs like an old man when he's mad...I thought one of the senior citizens had followed me home one day Smokey was sounding so grumpy. :)

steven, I feel like I've finally given you the same smile that your "red leaf" pictures give me. :)

Rosadimaggio63 said...

dolcissimo questo "broncio" del tuo cane !!!
Mi piace molto la foto !!
Buona giornata :)

Rachel Fox said...

Great tour - thanks so much.

The introdcued plants here that eat all are Japanese Knotweed and rhodedendron...oh and giant hogweed too I think!


hope said...

Grazie Myriam!

Rachel, I often wonder if Japan is trying to take over the world utilizing horticulture? ;)

Peggy said...

Love your pictures of your world.
I think I'll go around farm country and see what I can see.
Poor Smokey,relegated to the back seat. better days are aa head dear boy!

debra said...

We don't have kudzu in NE Ohio, but we do have: purple loosestrife, bindweed, a succulent invasive viney thing, and my favorite English Ivy (my English mother-in-law planted 4 sprigs 5 yrs ago.........

Bill ~ {The Old Fart} said...

Wonderful trip Hope, I enjoyed looking at the pictures and reading your story. Loved the one of Smokey, you can tell he isn't amused.

I am still working on the dvd's. Got a few left to watch.

Anonymous said...

This is cotton country, too, in the San Joaquin Valley. Cool spring meant late planting so harvesting is just now getting started. Daddy was a cotton farmer and worked at the gin in the fall to make extra money. Cotton will always be in my blood.

Titus said...

Brilliant, hope, and truly another world. Never even heard of kudzu, still don't believe cotton actually grows enough to get bales of it and the swamp?! A real swamp! And turtles!!

More of these, please. We speak the same language but truly, our lands are worlds apart.

hope said...

Titus, can you believe they once picked cotton by hand?! I actually found a small article in an old newspaper about my 2xs great grandmother. She was celebrating her 81st birthday and the newspaper was saying how she was still helpful around the house and that the summer before, she'd picked cotton with her grandchildren and never picked less than 100 POUNDS A DAY! At the age of 80!?

I'll be glad to find more things south. :)