Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Magnolia Plantation

We continued out historical tour of the Charleston area by touring through Magnolia Plantation today. The gardens were HUGE and the it had great hiking and bike trails as well. There is a mile or so long boardwalk that goes through a cypress swamp and old rice field that had lots of birds, such as ibis, many ducks, great blue herons, and egrets. There was even an alligator! And our happy little group was joined by 3 more folks (Dave, Nuhht, and Corky).

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Charles Towne Landing

Today we spent most of the day at Charles Towne Landing. This was the site of the original Charles Towne colony, which eventually moved to the current site of the city of Charleston. It is the oldest settlement in South Carolina.

The park has a nice wild animal part, a reconstruction of the old palisades, a few buildings, a merchant ship, and other such things from the 1670 settlement. The museum was also very good at the main visitor's center. There was quite a bit of walking involved, but the three hours or so that we spent there was a lot of fun.

Monday, December 29, 2008

James Island - Festival of Lights

We made it to Charleston today and set up camp at James Island County Park. By the time we got camp set up, it was about dark, so we fixed a quick bite to eat and then set out to explore the park. They have a driving loop that have a couple miles of holiday light displays that are quite nice. There is also an area that you can walk around in, with a train ride and snacks.

Here are a couple of the images that I snapped, including the Three Amigos....Ron, Bonnie, and me. The top on is looking across a lake at a rather large model of the two main bridges in Charleston.

Tomorrow...actually, today, as that I see it is now past midnight...we are going to drive into Charleston to explore the area a bit more. Or we may hold on on the old dowtown area and do some of the historical stuff in the area instead. As always, we are rather unpredictable and do not always have much of a plan. But that what makes traveling with us so much fun!

Tune back in and see where we end up!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

On the road again

We are on the road again. This time, we are headed to Charleston, South Carolina for a week of photography, sightseeing, and goofing off. The campground that we are staying at is supposed to have wi-fi available, so hopefully, I will be able to post a few photos.

Every year, just after Christmas, the three musketeers (Ron, Bonnie, and I) take off for a new destination to explore. Sometimes it is just the three of us, and sometimes, more friends come. This year, it looks like there will 8 of us!

Here are some of our previous trips:

2007 Cumberland Island
2006 St. Joseph's Peninsula
2005 Torreya
2004 Paddling Central Florida Rivers

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Enjoy this most non-traditional, but fabulous version of the Christmas classic

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The Gift

Where to I begin?

The gift exchange said to bring something from home that you no longer use or need. Someone took that to heart, as they brought some of their old false teeth to the party. They were neatly wrapped in a festive box that did nothing to cast hints about the dental contents within.

So here is my gift that I picked at random: a partial bridge from someone's collection of unneeded items.

Ewww! GROSS!

Monday, December 22, 2008

And this little piggie went Wii Wii, all the way home.

My parents were busy at work over this holiday, spoiling the grandkids. They bought two Wii game for each home. Brooke, Steven, and Danielle will really enjoy them I am sure. Or at least they will enjoy them whenever their parents are not playing the games.

It was a really nice early Christmas party at my aunt and uncle's house, followed by a sleepover, gift exchange, and big breakfast at Mom and Dad's yesterday. With the distances to drive and the complications of several different get togethers, it turned out easier to have Christmas with the family a couple of days early this year.

As a tease for an upcoming is something that I got as a gift from my aunt and uncle's party. It is something that probably not too many would ever think about getting. And it is completely useless to me...or to most anyone, except for the person who gave it. Give up? Wait and see! You won't believe your eyes. The photo will be coming in a day or so.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Heavy's BBQ

We ate lunch at Heavy's BBQ near Crawfordville, GA on Sunday. A very interesting place filled with antiques, fishing photos, and taxidermy projects. And special for the holiday season, all of the stuffed animals had on their Christmas bow ties! Despite the "rustic" charm and oddball collection of items on display, the BBQ was excellent! Click on the small photos to see it a little bigger.

Sunday, December 14, 2008


Saturday, December 13, 2008


Just a quick update to the post from earlier today (below).....I spent most of the day shelling pecans and ended up with eleven quarts picked and cleaned. So 32 pounds of nuts from the tree, ended up making 11 quart freezer bags completely full. The top shelf of my freezer is quickly filling with pecans!

The Christmas Cat

Callie has really enjoyed the Christmas Tree being up this year. She has sniffed it, scratched on it, chewed on the lights, pulled down the ribbon bows, swatted low hanging ornaments, and enjoyed hiding under it. The only thing that she hasn't done so far is turn it over.....but she still has a few weeks before Christmas to do that. I am sure that she will get around to it.

This afternoon's plan is to shell more pecans. Lots of work, but worth it in the end. I probably will put up about a gallon or two zip lock bag fulls by the end of the day. Yesterday, I took over 30 pounds over to the Farmer's Market and had them crack them, so the hard part is over with. I already have a bunch in the freeze from a week ago, and I haven't even picked them up in the back yard yet!

Tomorrow, a group from GWS is heading over to a nearby state park for a hike.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

King Tut

Tomorrow morning, I am heading up to Atlanta with some friends to see the new King Tut exhibit.

Atlanta is one of only four cities for this tour. It will feature some 50 items from the royal tomb of Pharaoh Tutankhamun, plus over 100 other items from ancient Egypt. Unfortunately, no photography is allowed at the exhibit, so only memories will be kept.

Of course, my favorite King Tut moment was the classic video of Steve Martin from Saturday Night Live.

Click on the play triangle below and enjoy the silliness!

Have a great day!

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Mingus Mill

I stopped by the Mingus Mill, near Cherokee, on my way home. It was the last day of 2008 that the mill would be open and running. This mill was built in the 1886, replacing an earlier one from the 1790's that was built by the Mingus Family. I love to visit old historic sites, such as this one.

It was cold and wet on the day of my visit, so I didn't fiddle around outside getting the shot that I really wanted...but you get the idea. On the upside, I had the place to myself.

Friday, November 28, 2008

I can't believe I ate the whole thing!

What a spread...and we ate it all. Okay, so it took us 3 days to eat all of the leftovers, or at least most of them; but we did it. I am heading home tomorrow with a full stomach and a lot of laughs. And unfortunately, a nagging cough as well.

As you can see, we ate pretty well...and you can not even see the dessert table!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

From our family to yours....

Happy Thanksgiving, from the Cochran-King-Bryson family!

Thanksgiving Day, 2008
Pigeon Forge, TN

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Have a safe holiday

Just a quick note to wish everyone a safe and happy holiday....or at least to those folks from the USA, who are celebrating our Thanksgiving this week. I hope you all enjoy some turkey and dressing! I will be traveling to my aunt's house this year for a big family get if you don't hear from me for a few days, that is what is going on.

Gobble, Gobble!

On the way to my aunt's I got a nice surprise....snow! The top of the mountain was snowed over with a few inches. Nothing major, but a nice gift for the holiday.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Morning Bath

This little fellow was seen bathing in my yard this morning, so I went out and snapped his photo (does that make me a voyeur?).

The white-throated sparrow is a winter visitor to this part of the country. They spend their summers up in Canada and come down here to the southern US in the winters....just like so many other "Snowbirds", except that feathered ones actually fly down. Most of our other "Snowbirds" are found in their RV's.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Raccoon in the Closet

I woke up about 1/2 hour ago to a sudden clatter from a linen closet in my back hall. I wondered what it could possibly be, when I heard something inside the closet scratching. I knew my cat was sleeping in the bed with me at the time, so got a bit concerned. I got a flashlight and peeped into the closet to find a raccoon looking back at me! I shut the closet door to keep it from coming in the house and beat heavily upon the door to hopefully scare it back the way it came.

In the rear of the closet is a panel that gives access to the water pipes behind the shower. The small raccoon must have climbed up one of the pipes, and found a way beneath my bathtub, and pushed the panel out of the way and entered the closet. The critter took off, and I quickly reinforced the panel with a milkcrate filled with some weights that will hold the panel tightly in place when the door is shut. Tomorrow, I will cut a piece of 2x4 and nail it in place.

Ahhhh The joys of living in an older home!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

It is raining pecans!

The pecan trees in my yard are beginning to drop their load of nuts in the wind today. I picked up about three-quarters of a five gallon bucket full this afternoon; although there are plenty more on the trees....and I only picked up the ones in the front yard. I have about 12 pecan trees surrounding my house, which is a blessing and curse. They are old trees, with huge branches that go out over the house. I am just waiting for one to come crashing through the roof, as it almost did a few years ago. I would cut them down, but I love the pecans and the shade that they provide around the house during the hot I risk it. I did learn one interesting thing about picking up pecans today.....cats are just no help at all.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Pottery Class at JCCFS

Above is a video of some more photos that I took while at the Folkschool last week (slower connections will take a moment to load the video). More photos can be seen by looking at the previous four or five blog entries.

Some older videos from my previous trips to the Folkschool can be found at the following two links:

Woodturning video with wildflowers (and same annoying music)

and here is another, when I took the Dulcimer class, with better music!

Sunday, November 09, 2008

The Potter's Hands

Here are some shots of our hands at work from the pottery class:

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Last day at the Folkschool

As that this is my last day at the Folkschool before returning home, I would toss out something from our first day...just to be odd. So here is a shot that I snapped of a group of students in my clay class wedging the clay. You have really work it in a different manner than kneading dough for breadmaking, if you are to get all of the air bubbles out.

I am heading home late today, and will post a photo of some of my little bowls and mugs in the next few days.

Friday, November 07, 2008

a mug in the making

This mug is still missing the handle, but not for too long. I am tired, but had a great time this week at the Folkschool. Too much of a good thing, I suppose. I know that my kitty will be happy to see me return home!

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Fall Colors on a Summery Day

The weather has been exceptionally nice the past few days.....sunny and warm, with only a little chill in the mornings. The fall colors on the leaves have gone past on some of the trees, but a few of the oaks, maples, and hickories still remain bright and lively.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Foggy Morning in North Carolina

Another shot taken at the Folkschool. This is the view to the east on a foggy morning from Davidson Hall. Not that much to see; but sometimes, less is more.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Artwork on a Barn

Here is a bit of artwork that is on one of the studio workshop barns at the Folkschool. I thought it was beautiful.

Olympus Stylus 1010
f 4.3 1/250 sec

Monday, November 03, 2008

A morning at the Folkschool

I am once again up at my favorite "summer camp for adults", the John C. Campbell Folkschool for the week. This time, I am taking a pottery class. I really do not have much experience throwing pots on the wheel, but I am going to give it a try. Today was the first day, and we made some small cylinders before lunch, and then a few bowls afterward. Some of mine look ok....others, not so much. But I have no worries about it.

Here is a photo that I snapped before breakfast this morning out by the folkschool gardens.

Olympus Stylus 1010 f 3.5 1/200 sec

Friday, October 31, 2008

Halloween snacks

This morning, I hopped out of bed and made a few snacks for work. I cut up apples and jabbed in slivered almonds as teeth. I also made a bunch of eyeballs and spiders out of divinity candy and pretzels & lifesavers. Nothing fancy, but figured I would snap a photo. Not bad for a little over an hour's worth of work. I particularly thought the spooky mouths turned out well.

Happy Halloween!