5.27.2023 – rain plays a little

rain plays a little
sleep song on our roof at night
… and I love the rain

April Rain Song

Let the rain kiss you
Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops
Let the rain sing you a lullaby
The rain makes still pools on the sidewalk
The rain makes running pools in the gutter
The rain plays a little sleep song on our roof at night
And I love the rain.

From The Collected Poems of Langston Hughes by Langston Hughes, 1994 by Alfred A. Knopf.

It’s been dry.

It’s been dry here in the Low Country of South Carolina.

One mile from the Atlantic Ocean and there isn’t enough water on the land, despite how much water is next to the land.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, the Low Country is Abnormally Dry but not in a drought.

And it has started to rain.

A storm has anchored itself off the coast of South Carolina and the lows and highs and storm fronts have locked this storm into place over head and it is going to rain.

It will most likely rain for the next day.

It might rain for the next two days.

It could rain for the next three days.

As you might guess, it is Memorial Day Weekend.

I think that pretty much guarantee’s rain for the next three days.

We live in an ocean side resort community.

People have put a lot of time, money and effort into arranging a Memorial Day vacation at the shore.

I think that pretty much guarantee’s rain for the next three days.

We live in the south of South Carolina.

Life here is designed to be lived outdoors.

Miles of beaches, acres of golf courses and very little opportunity to do anything under cover or indoors.

I think that pretty much guarantee’s rain for the next three days.

I think of the weather jokes I learned during 20 years of working in local TV news.

What do you call the day that follows two days of rain?


By law, the seventh day of a seven day forecast is always warm and sunny. You just never get to that seventh day …

Turn a frown upside down … you get rain in your nose.

It is so true that everyone talks about the weather but no one does anything about it.

And I can’t do anything about it.

I guarantee rain for the next three days.

So I will watch it.

So I will listen to it.

And without other options, I will love it.

Let the rain kiss you
Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops
Let the rain sing you a lullaby
The rain makes still pools on the sidewalk
The rain makes running pools in the gutter
The rain plays a little sleep song on our roof at night
And I love the rain.

3.26.2023 – baking bread for the

baking bread for the
romance, the smell, the texture,
that crunch of the crust

On a rainy weekend in the low country what do you think about besides thinking about what can some one do on a rainy weekend in the low country.

Sure we could go shopping.

Shopping in a resort town where prices reflect an income that doesn’t reflect mine.

There is always the library and that gets penciled in for later in the afternoon and more on that visit later this week.

My thoughts turned to baking bread.

Years ago I thought that a fine epitaph for my gravestone, back when I imagined having gravestone, would be, “He Baked Good Bread.”

And I went to work to learn.

I tried many recipes from Julia Child to a favorite Aunt.

I read a lot of books.

I watched a lot of video.

The best book on the subject for reading is Outlaw Cook, by John Thorne who chronicles his efforts to bake bread.

The type of bread someone would bake when bread made up 90% of some ones diet.

John Thorne is a great cooking writer.

He won me over when he wrote about how he published a newsletter with a photo of his kitchen.

So many of his subscribers (this was way before the world wide web and blogs and posts and such) responded in disbelief as it was a photo of a typical apartment kitchen with little counter space and tiny stove, that Mr. Thorne was moved to respond with the timeless phrase, “It is the cook … not the kitchen.”

(I think of that line a lot when I watch these magic chefs with their mega ‘kitchens’ on TV. Mise en place? Somehow I always thought it meant Mess In Place and stood for … you clean up your own mess )

It is a great cook book to read.

But it will break your heart to try and repeat.

He ends up with a wood fired concrete oven in the backyard.

I can say that I have arrived at a recipe that is my ‘go to’ recipe for baking bread.

It is the best.

It is simple.

It is simply, the best recipe for baking bread at home.

I can say that as it is my blog – my rules.

Sorry to say you do need two special pieces of equipment.

One is a cast iron loaf pan, but a small cast iron frying pan also works.

Why cast iron?

The only reason I got is that it works for me and that works for me.

The other piece of equipment is one of those stand mixers or mix-masters.

An expensive piece of kitchen equipment and I have to admit I inherited mine from my sister-in-law, Carla.

So take your mix-master if you got one and use your dough hook attachment.

In the mixing bowl dump 2 tablespoons of sugar, 2 teaspoons of salt, a package of yeast, 3 and 1/2 cups of flour and 1 and 1/2 cups of warm water.

Just dump it all in there.

All at once.

Then run that mix master with the dough hook for 10 minutes.

After 10 minutes, take the bowl off and cover with a cloth for 1 hour so the dough can rise.

At some point, pre heat your over to 425.

After the dough has sat for an hour, get some flour on your counter and scrap the dough out onto the flour and knead into a ball.

Drop the dough into the cast iron pan and shove the pan into the hot 425 oven until brown (about 25 to 30 minutes).

Take the pan out and (if you got a nicely seasoned cast iron pan) dump the bread out onto a cooling rack and you are done.


I let the bread sit for a few minutes then cut off some thick slices.

I ate the heal part of the loaf, covered with butter, right away as I love the crust.

Then I made up two plates with a warm slice of bread with cheese and some fruit for me and the Mrs. to have for lunch.

This morning I cut another thick slice and put it in toaster.

I watched.

The surface of my slice bread was rough, not smooth like a bakery loaf.

The tips of little fragments of bread started to brown first.

Almost like watching a sun rise and the golden toasted colors spread across the surface of the bread.

On the plate, the butter melted into the bread.

The kitchen smelled of warm bread and coffee.

Rough and crunchy.

Soft and chewy from the butter.

Simple touches to start a rainy weekend in the low country.

The romance of home baked bread.

But in the back of my mind, is a warning.

A voice reminding me, that a lot of romance was the luxury of choosing to bake some bread.

A voice reminding me, that a lot of romance was the luxury having the option to bake some bread.

I might not like it so much … if I had to do it.

3.24.2023 – nearest humans are

nearest humans are
in a space station when it
passes overhead

Intrigued to read in the article, The science of sailing: inside the race across the world’s most remote ocean, by Yvonne Gordon, that:

The Southern Ocean is not somewhere most people choose to spend an hour, let alone a month.

Circling the icy continent of Antarctica, it is the planet’s wildest and most remote ocean.

Point Nemo – just to the north in the South Pacific – is the farthest location from land on Earth, 1,670 miles (2,688km) away from the closest shore.

The nearest humans are generally those in the International Space Station when it passes overhead.

I looked it up.

The international Space Station is about 250 miles away.

So you need a circle with a radius of 250 miles or a diameter of 500 miles or an area of around 196,350 square miles which is bigger than California but smaller than Texas and in the circle, there can be no other people.

If you are at the center of that space and the International Space Station flies over you head, those people on the Space Station are closer to you than anyone else on earth.

3.1.2023 – light exists in Spring

light exists in Spring
not present any other when
March is scarcely here

A Light exists in Spring by Emily Dickinson

A Light exists in Spring
Not present on the Year
At any other period —
When March is scarcely here

A Color stands abroad
On Solitary Fields
That Science cannot overtake
But Human Nature feels.

It waits upon the Lawn,
It shows the furthest Tree
Upon the furthest Slope you know
It almost speaks to you.

Then as Horizons step
Or Noons report away
Without the Formula of sound
It passes and we stay —

A quality of loss
Affecting our Content
As Trade had suddenly encroached
Upon a Sacrament.

Jeremiah Johnson: Would you happen to know what month of the year it is?

“Bear Claw” Chris Lapp: No, l truly wouldn’t. l’m sorry, pilgrim.

Jeremiah Johnson: March. Maybe, April.

“Bear Claw” Chris Lapp: March maybe. l don’t believe April. Winter’s a long time going?
Stays long this high. March is a green, muddy month down below. Some folks like it.

From the 1972 movie Jeremiah Johnson.

How can that movie be 50 years old?

2.19.2023 – morning sky goes blue

morning sky goes blue
sunset sky goes bronze time is
a storyteller

Adapted from The Fireborn are at Home in Fire by Carl Sandburg

Luck is a star.
Money is a plaything.
Time is a storyteller.
The sky goes high, big.
The sky goes wide and blue.
And the fireborn — they go far —
being at home in fire.

Can you compose yourself
The same as a bright bandana,
A bandana folded blue and cool,
Whatever the high howling,
The accents of blam blam?
Can I, can John Smith, John Doe,
Whatever the awful accents,
Whatever the horst wessel hiss,
Whatever books be burnt and crisp,
Whatever hangmen bring their hemp,
Whatever horsemen sweep the sunsets,
Whatever hidden hovering candle
Sways as a wafer of light?

Can you compose yourself
The same as a bright bandana,
A bandana folded blue and cool?
Can I, too, drop deep down
In a pool of cool remembers,
In a float of fine smoke blue,
In a keeping of one pale moon,
Weaving our wrath in a pattern
Woven of wrath gone down,
Crossing our scarlet zigzags
With pools of cool blue,
With floats of smoke blue?

Can you, can I, compose ourselves
In wraps of personal cool blue,
In sheets of personal smoke blue?
Bach did it, Johann Sebastian.
So did the one and only John Milton.
And the old slave Epictetus
And the other slave Spartacus
And Brother Francis of Assisi.
So did General George Washington
On a horse, in a saddle,
On a boat, in heavy snow,
In a loose cape overcoat
And snow on his shoulders.
So did John Adams, Jackson, Jefferson.
So did Lincoln on a cavalry horse
At the Chancellorsville review
With platoons right, platoons left,
In a wind nearly blowing the words away
Asking the next man on a horse:
“What’s going to become of all these
boys when the war is over?”

The shape of your shadow
Comes from you — and you only?
Your personal fixed decision
Out of you — and your mouth only?
Your No, your Yes, your own?

Bronze old timers belong here.
Yes, they might be saying:
Shade the flame
Back to final points
Of all sun and fog
In the moving frame
Of your personal eyes.
Then stand to the points.
Let hunger and hell come.
Or ashes and shame poured
On your personal head.
Let death shake its bones.
The teaching goes back far:
Compose yourself.

Luck is a star.
Money is a plaything.
Time is a storyteller.
And the sky goes blue with mornings.
And the sky goes bronze with sunsets.
And the fireborn — they go far —
being at home in fire.

1.30.2023 – vegetable gardens

vegetable gardens
not big but there’s a science
to making gravy

In the book Sundog, Jim Harrison writes of an May Morning in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula;

A cold dawn with the wind shifting to the north in the night.

I tried to scrape frost from my windshield with my fingernails.

No wonder vegetable gardening isn’t a big item up here, while the making of gravy is a science.

I stole this image of a ski trail up there above the bridge, the Mackinaw Bridge I mean, was taken by my friend Katie who live up there and swears that she loves it.

For myself, I guess, all I need is the picture and that is as close as I want to get.

Mr. Harrison, and he was the UP’s biggest fan, said this:

Above the Straits of Mackinac, the Upper Peninsula sat alone, perhaps the least-known land mass in the United States.

In this age where every niche on earth has been discovered and rediscovered countless times, there is an open secret why the upper Midwest is generally ignored: it is relatively charmless, and it competes with Siberia for the least hospitable climate on earth.

On the other side of the river, the road entered an enormous swamp some thirty miles in width, with very few other cars on the road. For a while the lack of any traffic caused a vertigo as if I had been abandoned.

Apparently on a Thursday night in May in the Upper Peninsula no one goes anywhere, but then where would they go?

[Enter] the UP, as it’s called, [You] enter a timbered-over, rock-strewn waste, a land so dense and desolate it became obvious to me that the most redoubtable survivalist couldn’t survive.

On the other hand I live in resort town and it is the off season.

Apparently on a Monday night in January in the Low Country no one goes anywhere, but then where would they go?

The picture makes a nice contrast to my usual ocean side views.

The Google says where I am and where this this picture was taken are about 1200 miles and about 14 degrees of latitude apart distance wise.

But where it really counts, the google says it is 7 degrees Fahrenheit right now up north while it is 67 degrees down here.

No wonder vegetable gardening isn’t a big item up here, while the making of gravy is a science.

12.26.2022 – brilliant sunny day

brilliant sunny day
cloudless December blue skies
but can’t see the cold

We were out and about on Christmas Day in the Low Country of South Carolina, it was a brilliant sunny day.

The December sky was a deep blue.

And it was COLD!

I was standing on the bluff overlooking the May River, thinking of the hot hot hot days in the past that I have stood there.

I stood there in the Bluffton Breeze that is always blowing across the river to the Bluff.

It was for the Bluffton Breeze that people moved to Bluffton South Carolina in the first place with many of the area families building summer homes here to catch the refreshing breeze off the river.

Standing there on this brilliant sunny Christmas Day, I felt frozen.

I felt frozen and it came to me that, you can’t see cold.

Or can you?

I was reminded of the Weatherball of Grand Rapids, Michigan, where I grew up.

The Weatherball was this giant stainless steel ball on top of a bank building in downtown Grand Rapids.

It changed color with the weather.

And you could see it from all over the city.

There was a little rhyme that everyone in Grand Rapids could recite.

Weatherball red – warm weather ahead

Weatherball blue – cold weather in view

Weatherball green – no change foreseen

And it worked, though maybe not in the way the designers designed it.

I what I mean is, take for example, August in Grand Rapids, a soupy humid month.

80 degree days with 90% humidity is the norm.

When I was kid and my family would drive into Grand Rapids from the west on Lake Michigan Drive and get on the freeway that came across John Ball Park, the entire downtown would open up in front of us like a panorama.

The city would be hidden in a thick, humid haze.

And shining in this swampy morass was the Weatherball.

Glowing a smoky red in the haze, somehow the Weatherball made it seem warmer, stickier and more humid.

In the winter time, we would go sledding on a hill at Crestview School.

Nighttime the sky would be crystal clear and Orion would stretch over and all around us, from the top of the hill, we could see the lights of the city.

And shining above on the lights was the Weatherball.

Glowing a bright light blue, somehow the Weatherball made it seem colder, crisper and more freezing.

Perception drove reality and you could see warm and you could see cold.

At some point, the Michigan National Bank that owned the building where the Weatherball was located (the letter M N B blinked just below the Weatherball) made the decision that the Weatherball had to come down.

Somewhere along the line, I met someone who told me that it was their Dad, as a brand new-in-town Michigan National Bank Vice President, made the decision.

This person told me that their Dad was told that the giant tower on top of the building was starting to sway and when it rocked in high winds, the roof of the building was showing signs wear and tear and there was good chance the Weatherball could come crashing down.

This person said that their Dad made the decision to take down the Weatherball and spent the rest of his career with Bank being known as the ‘Man who wrecked the Weatherball.’

He may have been one of the most, well, I was going to say hated but that is a too strong term, yet anyone who heard the story did hate the guy so I will say, one of the most hated men who figured in the List of Great Things Grand Rapids Lost.

Other things on this list include the Grand Rapids City Hall which is almost more famous for an incident during its demolition when a young lady hand cuffed herself to a wrecking ball.

A lesser know incident that took place during the demolition was that two guys took sledgehammers and made their way up to the old bell town of City Hall and with the sledges, range the City Hall Bell one last time.

You can see this bell to this day outside the entrance to the Grand Rapids Public Museum and if you look closely you will the surface dotted with circles the size of 50 cent pieces where the sledge hammers made contact.

I had done some research on that bell when I worked for the Local History Collections of the Grand Rapids Public Library and I remember talking about to Bob, one of the security guards at the Library who was retired from the Grand Rapids Police Department.

I told Bob the story of the guys with the sledgehammers and he responded, “Do I remember that I night! I was the first cop on the scene and I had to make my way through the half demolished building and up the bell tower stair way with no railing using a flash light! It was crazy! I thought I was going to fall of the stairs or that the place was going to come down.”

I told my boss, then City Historian, L. Gordon Olson, that we had to make a oral history interview with Bob but nothing came of it.

And speaking of Gordon Olson, he WAS the most hated man who figured in the List of Great Things Grand Rapids Lost.

It was Gordon, you see, as Assistant Director of the Grand Rapids Public Museum, who had the whale removed from the original Museum building on Washington St.

Around 1900, the Public Museum acquired a complete whale skeleton (the origin of which is a little murky but chances are it was purchased from the State of Florida when Florida shut down their pavilion at the Great Columbian Exposition in Chicago).

The whale bones were on separate stands and the Museum would pack the whole thing off the Kent County Fair in Comstock Park and wrap the bones in canvas so you could take the Jonah experience and walk through the whale.

When a new building was built during the depression, the whale was proudly hung in the main gallery of the museum until the late 1970’s when Gordon had it taken down.

Gordon told me that if ever he spoke anywhere at any city function or gathering, and that fact that he was the guy who removed the whale was mentioned, he would get booed.

The boos might have toned down once the new museum was built and the whale skeleton was restored but for anyone who grew up with the old museum and pitching pennies on the whale’s tail from the 2nd floor gallery, Gordon was not well liked.

Gordon told me that he was caught in a bad spot and that the whale bones had started disintegrating and falling to the floor and it was only a matter of time before some one got hurt.

The funny part of the story is that Gordon told me how a giant scaffold had to be built at some expense to remove the skeleton.

Gordon said that about a month after the whale came down and the scaffold removed, he noticed a guy walking around the gallery, looking up at the ceiling.

Gordon knew what he was looking for but went up to him and asked anyway.

The man did indeed ask if there had been a whale hanging there at one time.

Gordon told him yes and that it had just recently been removed.

The man nodded and then asked how did they take it down?

It turned out the man was the guy who had hung the whale in the first place.

He pointed out some ring bolts still in the ceiling and showed Gordon how the skeleton had been suspended in such a way that had ropes been tied up through those bolts and PULLED UP, the entire frame was designed to then unlock and be lowered to the floor.

As I said, the whale was saved and can seen to this day at the new Grand Rapids Public Museum.

I am also happy to say that when I worked at WZZM, a co-worker did some research and found that the original Weatherball was sitting in a scrap metal yard and the station was able to buy the Weatherball, have the neon fixed and the restored Weatherball returned to the Grand Rapids skyline from a cell tower next to the WZZM station.

Maybe on brilliant sunny days in December in South Carolina you can’t see cold.

But I know what cold looks like.

It’s light blue and glows in a clear colder, crisper and more freezing way than you could have imagined it.

And because of that blue light, the coldness is clear and colder, crisper and more freezing way than you could have imagined it.

And if you are in Grand Rapids, Michigan in December, at night and you look west, you can see it too.

7.19.2022 – rain starts today at

rain starts today at
one p.m. partly cloudy
expect thunderstorms

Woke up this morning in the traditional sense of the word to deep blue sky and sunshine here in the Low Country of South Carolina.

For new readers, its called the Low Country because itssssssssssssss low.

While I am in 3rd floor room, the ground floor is about 8 feet above sea level and the sea is less than a mile away.

My office is about 5 blocks from the ocean and a recent disaster assessment came back with the recommendation that having the corporate servers located in a basement room below sea level might not be the best idea.

The last two or three weeks, the Low Country has been stuck in a dismal weather pattern of overcast gray skies, 95% humidity and temps in the 90’s with thunderstorms possible at any time of day on short notice.

Understanding that living in the south and along the ocean, there are prices to pay.

But day after day after of this gray dismal swamp is starting to get to me.

SO it was with a ray of sunshine in my heart that my day was started by a ray of sunshine in my eyes.

Than I ruined it by picking up my dumb smart phone and checking the weather.

Rain by 1PM.



Expect thunderstorms.

CNBC’s annual ‘America’s Top States for Business’ study, which pays particular attention to quality of life, has recently ranked South Carolina as the fourth worst state in the nation to live in.

The report stated:

The ranking points to generalized, statewide issues bringing down the Palmetto State’s ranking regarding topics such as health care and resources, crime and voting rights.

With 2.19 hospital beds per 1,000 residents, according to Becker’s Hospital Review, South Carolina finished near the bottom for health care resources.

For the 2022 ‘Life, Health & Inclusion Score’, the state pulled in only 83 out of 325 points, scoring an “F” grade.

The study does provide some relief by listing air quality as a livability strength.

Weather otherwise was not included.

I haven’t lived here long enough to know if this is the norm or if this weather pattern is part of the world wide weather/climate patterns.

Problem is no one has lived here very long.

Population here is up to near 50,000 folks.

30 years ago, it was 900.

And those folks who you happen to meet who did grew up here don’t seem to be very much weather aware as you know, it’s just something that happens everyday.

I will say this is a resort community and has been for the last 50 years or so.

I find it difficult to accept that thousands upon thousands of folks would make the effort to spend a week here in July and August if, traditionally, it was all in an effort to spend a week under gloomy gray skies in hot humid conditions while waiting for it rain.

So its hot.

So its humid.

So its going to rain.

It isn’t snow.

And as I say to my friends who live in the land of Devil’s Dandruff, no one says you to live here.

6.29.2022 – like a low-hung cloud

like a low-hung cloud
it rains so fast all at once
falls and cannot last

Adapted on a rainy morning in the low country from John Dryden’s Palamon and Arcite or The Knight’s Tale – Book Three where the poet writes:

But, like a low-hung cloud, it rains so fast,
That all at once it falls, and cannot last.
The face of things is changed, and Athens now,
That laughed so late, becomes the scene of woe: