Morning beach walk: Pawleys Island, South Carolina

Early morning, Pawleys Island

Early morning, Pawleys Island, July 2014

No matter how many years (more than 30 now), we’ve walked the beach at the South End of Pawleys Island, we never tire of the early morning spectacular.  Pawleys is our place.  Our home away from home.  Where for one week, we kick back, walk barefooted along the shore, reflect on the past year, and plan for the next one.

Walking the beach at Pawleys

Walking the beach at Pawleys

According to a sign near the causeway, Pawleys Island is the oldest seaside resort in America. With a few remaining homes built in the late 1700s, this little town about 25 miles south of Myrtle Beach has the feel of an old beachy place with a laid-back attitude.  It’s just the way it was and still is, and that’s how we like it.

Morning sun on Pawleys beach houses

Windows glow with the morning sun at Pawleys Island

Walking the beach in early morning has become a ritual.  And no two mornings are alike.  Today, the sun’s peeking through clouds.  A few people pick up shells washed ashore in the night.  Others sip coffee and watch the day unfold.

View from Widow's Walk

Early morning view from our widow’s walk at the South End of Pawleys Island

It’s just Pawleys at its best, and we count our blessings each year — the last week in July — that we can still head to our rental house and leave our cares behind.

Fences at the South End, Pawleys Island

Fences at the South End, Pawleys Island

Good morning, Pawleys Island!

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Containers

Box of watermellons, SC

Waist-high boxes hold thumpin’ good watermelons from fields near Columbia, SC.

Good stuff doesn’t just pour in at South Carolina’s State Farmers Market in Columbia.  It ‘s hauled in — in boxes, crates, cartons, baskets, truck beds, trailers — well, you name it.  Just about anything that can contain ‘maters, melons, and mighty fine pickin’s is pressed into service to get the goods to the customers and show ‘em off at the market.  Containers, you see, form the framework for South Carolina’s finest — from field to market to home.

Truckbed of watermelons

Truckbeds form great containers for melons as they provide easy access and open viewing.

Boxes of tomatoes

Stacks and stacks of boxes contain fresh tomatoes at SC Farmers Market.

Traditional carton of okra

Fresh, tender okra in a traditional carton

Red basket of cucumbers

Container for fresh South Carolina cukes– a simple, red basket.

Basket of peaches

Luscious freestone peaches in a traditional woven wood basket

Baby in a peach basket

Peach basket does double duty containing this sweet baby visiting the farmers market for the first time!


For more entries in the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: Containers, click here.

For more information:

South Carolina State Farmers Market

3483 Charleston Highway

West Columbia, SC


It’s been a great summer for us to visit farmers markets.  You may enjoy another post on one of our favorites.  Click here to read People almost trump produce at Farmers Market in Decatur, Alabama.  

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Seven fun things to do with kids in downtown Spokane

Sculpture, Spokane

The Joy of Running Together, Spokane

If you’re lucky enough to be in downtown Spokane, Washington, (to paraphrase an old saying), then you’re lucky enough.  And indeed you are.  Because if you have kids in tow, there’s more than enough to see and do — all in Riverfront Park downtown.

1.  Slide down the Red Wagon.

Who wouldn’t want to climb this 27-foot tall Radio Flyer and slide down the handle? Kids love it, but some grown-ups have been known to take the challenge, too! Designed by Ken Spiering, this Radio Flyer wagon is nine times the size of the original little one you may have owned as a kid — and way more fun.

   2.  Feed the ducks.

When you’ve had enough of the Red Wagon, go to water’s edge to feed the ducks.  Don’t be surprised if they come “atcha” all at once.  Ducks love food from kids and adults , and some of us love “honkin” back at those quackers! Be sure to take a look at the sculpture across the way and admire the bridge.  It’s just part of the prettiness of Riverfront Park. Feeding ducks -- Riverfront Park

3.  Ride the Looff Carousel.

In operation since 1909, the Looff Carousel has offered adults and kids the opportunity to ride colorfully painted horses, fierce tigers, and proud lions (oh, my), while a recording of the original Ruth & Sohn Band Organ plays in the background.  If you’re a teen or adult with long arms, try reaching out to grab the gold ring as you go by.  And maybe you’ll win a prize for that little one who wanted to ride this thing in the first place!

4.  Take pictures in City Hall Plaza

OK.  So your kid looks great today.  Having fun.  Happy and contented after a ride on the Carousel.  So what could be a better time than now to snap pics on the steps of City Hall Plaza?  Nice background, pretty flowers, lovely setting — don’t you agree? Taking pictures on City Hall Plaza

5.  Stare at the falls.  (Or be daring — ride a gondola!)

Keep walking down the steps to Huntington Park where staring at the falls is all you’ll want to do.  Get close but not too close that the spray messes with your camera lens.  If you’ve got audio to put with your video, turn it on.  You don’t want to miss the roar of the falls and the joy of being right there with the action.  Or, if you dare, take a Gondola Ride lasting about 15 minutes for only seven bucks or so.  It’s a thrill your kids will write about in their back-to-school essay, “What I Did Last Summer” — for real!!

6.  Act like a kid in The Joy of Running Together

If you come back up through City Hall Plaza and look right, you just might see The Joy of Running Together, a sculpture of 40 life-size runners by David Govedare commemorating the annual Spokane Bloomsday Run.  (Click here for a previous post.) And if you look closely, you’ll see a kid or two lining up among the runners in imitation of their swing-arm, foot-raising action.  Oh, wait a minute.  Is that an adult doing that, too?  Wait another minute.  I want in.

The Joy of Running Together

An adult mimics the form of The Joy of Running Together

7.  Get wet in the Riverfront Park Rotary Fountain!

If you’ve waited this long to get wet, you may have waited too long.  No matter how hard you try to resist, you just may have to let your kids go.  Didn’t bring a towel you say?  Well, save this treat for last and just let ‘em run dripping to the car.   Kids of all ages love toe-dipping, arm-waving, and full-fledged, body-soaking action in the Rotary Fountain!

Have fun in Spokane — either with kids or as a kid yourself.  What a great place to visit! For more information: Visit Spokane: Facebook For more on our travels through Idaho and Washington, click on the Inland Northwest page at the top of this blog.  Thanks!

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Relic

Old, rusty tractor

For us, the word relic seems linked to the phrase from the past. So, when we were driving through Spokane hunting for antique stores and came upon this farm relic from the past, we couldn’t resist stopping by for a closer look. Where had this old guy been?  What crops had it seen in better days?  What stories could it tell?  All unanswered queries, of course, but this old relic has present-day charm for those of us who love faded glory, peeling paint, and the encroachment of rust.  You just can’t beat relics of the past for reminding us that there were other times with other useful instruments, and some of what we know and use today will be relics in the future.

For more relics, click here for the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: Relic.

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Travel theme: Decoration

Relief at Amber Fort, Jaipur

Detail of relief at Amber Fort, Jaipur, India

Although constructed in the 16th century, Amer Palace (also pronounced and spelled Amber Fort) near Jaipur, India, is awash in colorful, well-preserved decoration — even today.  Incredible facades and niches bear intricately painted frescoes, panels of marble inlay, and reliefs like this flowered one in the Hall of Mirrors.

Ganesh Pol (or Ganesh Gate) named after the Hindu god Lord Ganesh (who removes all obstacles in life) leads you to the inner chambers of the royal family — or what remains of that space.  Typified by symmetry in architecture and detailed reliefs, the Gate is a popular gathering spot at Amber Fort and known for its detailed, decorative facade.

Ganesh Pol at Amber Fort

Decoration on the entryway known as Ganesh Pol at Amber Fort, Jaipur, India.

Inside, the Hall of Mirrors (Sheesh Mahal), embellished with tiny mirror tiles and mosaics, glows even in the daytime, but at night with candles lit, becomes a “glittering jewel box.” (Wikipedia)

Mirrored wall in Sheesh Majal

Mirrored wall in Sheesh Majal (mirrored palace) at Amber Fort, Jaipur.

Visit Amber Fort for the structure, history, and even an elephant ride.  But get your camera ready.  This oldest surviving palace in India has some of the most elegant, historic decorations anywhere.

Detail: Hall of Mirrors

Mirrored wall, black and cream mosaics, relief: Sheesh Majal, Amber Fort, Jaipur

For more on Travel theme: Decoration, visit Ailsa’s blog, Where’s My Backpack.

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Travel theme: Twist

We knew something was wrong when the captain of Delta Flight 380 from Knoxville to Atlanta said a mechanic was on his way.  A mechanical problem, he said matter-of-factly, and then he turned our plane (already on the runway) back to the terminal.  We deplaned.  We lined up.  We stood at Gate 5 for rescheduling to begin.  When a twist I’ve never seen occurred.

Delta's Have One on Us cart

In McGhee Tyson Airport, a would-be passenger helps himself to Delta’s free treats.

A lady dressed in a Delta uniform wheeled out a cart that read Have One on Us! and offered lined-up passengers bottles of water and snacks of choice. (It happened.  It really did.)

Luckily, most of us received new boarding passes for later flights from patient attendants and scheduling gurus.  No pushing, whining, or crying.  We just took our new assignments and then turned to the cart.

Delta rescheduling

Let the rescheduling begin!

And judging from the skimpy remains, most of us weary, would-be flyers received sustenance from Delta, free of charge. (Well, sort of.)

Waiting for later departure

Waiting for a later departure with a snack from Delta!

It’s just another travel twist, I guess.  But I was oh, so grateful for a pack of Trail Mix and a bottle of Dasani. And a chance to arrive at my final destination before supper time.

For more entries into Ailsa’s Travel theme: Twist, click here.

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People almost trump produce at Decatur, Alabama, Farmers Market

Decatur AL Farmers Mkt

Arranging the produce at Morgan County-Decatur Farmers Market

You go there for the veggies, right?  Plump, pretty, newly picked produce.  And it’s bountiful in Morgan County, Alabama.  But so are the friendly farmers who do themselves proud with colorful pickin’s and Southern pride to boot!

Tomatoes at Decatur AL Farmers Mkt

Baskets and baskets of maters at Morgan County-Decatur Farmers Market

It was one of those summer Saturdays when farmers from Eva, Priceville, Somerville, Cullman, Decatur, and even Huntsville gathered in downtown Decatur under a long row of tents and awnings to arrange nature’s bounty for all to see.  Most farmers ‘fessed up to pickin’ on the Fourth just to get the freshest goods to market on Saturday, July 5th when we were there.

Stack of green tomatoes, Decatur, AL

Can you believe this stack of green tomatoes! And that hand’s not holding ‘em up, either!!

And there was plenty of it, too.  Juicy red maters, purple hull peas, tender yellow squash, freestone peaches, and watermelons piled high ready for thumpin’ to see how ripe they are.

But what made this trip more fun (or is it funner?) than samplin’ them paper shell “pee-cans” was just jawin’ with the farmers.  Like this guy who offered us a slice of a fresh peach until we told him we were Tennessee fans who had reservations ’bout buyin’ from someone wearing a Bama hat.  He grinned ear-to-ear and said, “Aw, go on.  This is good eatin’.  You’ll like it.” Indeed we did.

Alabama fan serving peaches

Bama fan serving freestone peach samples to die-hard Tennessee fans — that would be us! And smiling, too!

Or how about these two early bird entrepreneurs — Jameson and Chandler Barber from Barbers Produce in Decatur?  Proud as punch to be standing by their harvest.  We even talked about being on Twitter, and I said I’d post their picture @rushasams and take a look at @BarbersProduce and their Facebook page too:  Farmers are high tech these days, don’t you know?!

Barbers Produce

Jameson and Chandler Barber standing by their just-picked produce. So happy to be a Decatur Farmers Market!

This lady from Gibson Farm & Greenery said she sells mostly to chefs who are into that farm-to-table thing, but when she has extra, she comes to the Morgan County-Decatur Farmers Market with her chalkboard brimming with good eats.

Restaurant fare sold at Decatur Farmers Market

Selling to us what she normally sells to chefs in Decatur — the best, of course!

It’s not just veggies., though.  When this guy reached over for a jar of Strawberry Jalapeno Jelly and said it’d be good on cream cheese, he had us.  We packed up a couple of jars to share at our next family gathering in Tennessee.

Selling strawberry jalapeno jelly at Decatur Farmers Mkt.

“It’s good on cream cheese,” he said. And he had us buying that Strawberry Jalapeno Jelly at that very moment!

My brother-in-law Jim Mouch even found a yellow and purple bouquet that a lady from Huntsville carefully wrapped in a sack with a little pool of water in the bottom.  (Inventive folks, by golly!)

Jim Mouch buys bouquet at Decatur Farmers Market

Jim Mouch seems pleased with a bouquet he found at the Decatur Farmers Market.

So, if you live near Decatur, come on down any Saturday ’til November 8, 2014. Better yet, plan to be there for these upcoming events.  They’re sure to be big-time fun!

Corn Festival — Saturday, July 12, 2014

Tomato Sandwich Day — Saturday, July 26, 2014

Watermelon Festival — Saturday, August 16, 2014

Remember: People almost trump produce at the Decatur Farmers Market — personable, happy, and proud of what they’ve grown.  And for good reason.  Come see!

For more information:

Morgan County-Decatur Farmers Market

211 First Avenue SE

Decatur, Alabama 35601



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Day trippin’ at Palouse Falls State Park

Palouse Falls

Palouse Falls, La Crosse, Washington

There’s something about a waterfall.  Especially one that cascades 200 feet over a bold precipice, rushing to join the Snake River, eventually making its way through deep cuts of rock.  Perhaps it’s the rush of water.  Or the spray.  Or the sound.  Whatever it is, you can’t avert your eyes — at least for a few minutes — as you stare into the hard-driving flow, marveling at the power of nature.

Palouse Falls takes you away.  And not just when you get there.  First, you have to follow Washington Highway 261 west from the agricultural area known as The Palouse into an area of bare rocks and scrubby bushes and almost deserted areas as you wonder if driving 23 miles from Washtucna, Washington, really will get you there.

Picnic area -- Palouse Falls State Park

Picnic area — Palouse Falls State Park

But once you pay the entry fee to the park and unload your picnic in the designated area, you’ll have to give the falls their due.  You’ll rush over to the edge bounded by a strong fence and just stand there, staring at the falls and watching hikers headed for a closer glimpse.

Hikers walking toward Palouse Falls

Hikers walking toward Palouse Falls

We had hoped to take great pictures – you know, the kind you get when you use morning or evening sun to capture the best moments.  Instead, we arrived in the heat of the afternoon when the relentless sun washed out the colors of even the formation to the left of the falls that resembled the drip castles we make each summer at the beach.

Rock formation at Palouse Falls

Rock formation at Palouse Falls

Our reward, however, of an afternoon arrival was the appearance of a sliver of a rainbow at the base of the falls.  So special.  And so unexpected.

Rainbow at the base of Palouse Falls

Rainbow at the base of Palouse Falls

After a picnic lunch, we strolled along the fence line, peering into the canyon formation where once loud, rushing waters turned quiet as they meandered along to wherever they were going next.

View from the rim

View from the rim at Palouse Falls State Park

Palouse Falls State Park, La Crosse, Washington

For more information on camping, fees, and viewing times:

Directions:  From SR 261 : Drive 13.5 miles west of Starbuck, or 14.4 miles southwest of the SR 261 and SR 260 junction and take Palouse Falls Rd. east.

For more on our travels through the Inland Northwest, check out the page at the top of this blog: Inland Northwest.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Contrasts

Contrasts come naturally on The Palouse, that area of rolling farmland in Eastern Washington and parts of Idaho.  Sunlight, storms, shadows — all contrast nicely with the overlapping fields of wheat, quinoa, oats, and canola which form contrasts of their own. You might think that 5,000 square miles of agricultural landscape would get monotonous, but not when you look for nature’s own contrasting elements.

Shadows on The Palouse

Shadows formed by clouds overhead and the direction of the sunset creep slowly across The Palouse.

Contrast of old and new:  The Palouse

The newness of a wind farm on The Palouse contrasts with an aging, long-standing structure.

Canola contrasting with green fields

Shadows reach forth changing colors on green fields, but a new yellow field of canola forms a contrast all its own.

Blue-sky day on The Palouse

Backlighting from a puffy-clouded sky casts a dark shadow on the landscape in the foreground.

For more entries in this week’s Weekly Photo Challenge: Contrasts, click here.

For more posts on the Inland Northwest in all its beauty, check out our page at the top of this blog:  Inland Northwest.

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Colfax, Washington’s Codger Pole: Never too late for a rematch!

Top of the Codger Pole

At the top of the 65-foot Codger Pole, Colfax, Washington

It’s legendary, this story is, and pretty remarkable to boot:  old guys playing a rematch just for the fun of it! And that’s why the Codger Pole in Colfax, Washington (between Pullman and Spokane on Hwy. 195) celebrates the idea that old rivalries don’t just die out.  They sometimes get relived, even after 50 years. At least that’s how the story goes.

Codger Pole, Colfax, Washington

Carved by Jonathan Labenne, the Codger Pole resides in Codger Park, Colfax, Washington

In 1938, Colfax High lost a football match-up with St. John with a score of 6 to 0.  But Colfax never forgot.  After 50 years, one Colfax player, John Crawford had the idea to suit ‘em up again and hit the gridiron.  And so they did. With fanfare accorded to war heroes and the like, Colfax held a parade honoring the now 70-year-old players and turned out en masse to cheer the old codgers on at the rematch.

Detail, Codger Pole, Colfax, Washington

One of the 51 players carved into the Codger Pole

Wearing their original colors (but not the original leather helmets), two aged but determined teams went head to head on a fall day in 1988.  With a surprise run by Colfax’s Babe Lyons, it was a win for the Colfax Bulldogs reversing the original 6 to 0 score in their favor as they defeated the St. John Eagles! Ah, sweet revenge!

In 1991, the remaining players dedicated a 65-foot red cedar pole by master carver Jonathan Labenne — grown-up likenesses of all 51 players sculpted into the five standing poles known today as the Codger Pole.  It’s said to be the largest chainsaw sculpture of human likenesses and the world’s largest football monument, but we like it for its Roadside America appeal and what it must have meant to the old codgers who took the field that day in 1988, playing the sport they loved.

In the park commemorating the event is the The Codger Pole Legend with this insight by John Crawford: The ghosts of our youth revealed glimpses of gridiron brilliance. Unfortunately brief and few but even so, that glorious afternoon of fun gave us guys a chance to fulfill that dream every seventy-year-old kid secretly hangs onto: playing one more game. And how many old rascals ever get to do that?

Real stars -- Codger Pole

The real stars were those brave souls who went back out onto the field after fifty years — The Codgers!

Even if you can’t get to Washington to see the pole, you’ll love the YouTube video narrated by one of the players, Joe Henderson, chronicling the whole event.  (Click here.) The Codger Pole, 324 South Main Street, Colfax, WA For more information: “The Codger Pole.” Roadside America. Retrieved from “Codger Pole.” Skeeterbuggins Productions on YouTube.  Retrieved from To read more of our travels through the Inland Northwest, click on the page labeled Inland Northwest at the top of this blog.

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