In between babysitting Micah a couple of weeks ago and suspending our ADLs this week because of the flu, Secret Aging Man and I kept fairly busy. Early last week we traveled to Lower Alabama to dig up thirty blueberry bush suckers. We (SAM, actually) dug a trench and replanted them along one edge of our property in northwest Florida. I soaked them in a bucket of water overnight before planting to mitigate some of the shock they must have received. The guy who sold them to us said he has managed to make a tidy sum of money in the past month (selling them to suckers?). He estimates he has sold 3200 of them at 2 bucks a pop. If these suckers end up thriving here, that guy may have some future competition in the local blueberry bush market. He called them rabbit-eye bushes. If he's correct, these specimens of Vaccinium virgatum should be quite prolific and productive for us here in the Deep South.
The steady rain we've been experiencing the last couple of days should help these youngsters get established in their new home. Before he planted them, Secret Aging Man checked with our neighbor about planting them quite near the property line. Since they can grow quite large, we didn't want a crisis cropping up in the future over possible encroachment issues. You know what some people say about good fences. On the one hand, they "make good neighbors." On the other hand, though, "something there is that doesn't love a wall." Some people don't like obstacles in their way and find creative ways of overcoming them. Take a "crisis," for example. Now there's a word that keeps cropping up everywhere you look and listen. It's the kind of word that makes you sit up and take notice and maybe even get a little (very?) nervous if you're so inclined. You look for direction, help, comfort, and some kind of solution to this crisis so you can get on with your life. Where have I heard this word before? From the pen of Thomas Paine, I think.
"These are the times that try men's souls. . .'Tis surprising to see how rapidlyJoan, old girl, where are you when we need you? We could use some spiriting up right about now, from what we hear every day about the current crises (plural!) threatening our very existence as a nation. Don't worry too much. I don't. I'm encouraged to hear that nothing gets wasted in Washington, not even a crisis. After all is said and done, "it's an opportunity to do things that you think you could not do before." Attaboy, Rahm! Carpe diem!
a panic will sometimes run through a country. All nations and ages have been
subject to them: Britain has trembled like an ague at the report of a French
fleet of flat-bottomed boats; and in the fourteenth [actually, the fifteenth;
jeez, Paine!] century the whole English army, after ravaging the kingdom of
France, was driven back like men petrified with fear; and this brave exploit was
performed by a few broken forces collected and headed by a woman, Joan of Arc.
Would that heaven might inspire some Jersey maid to spirit up her countrymen,
and save her fair fellow sufferers from ravage and ravishment!" (from Thomas
Paine's pamphlet, "The Crisis," No. 1)
The Deep South is not only full of blueberry bushes but also plenty of history. We found one of the meccas for Civil War buffs practically next door to us in Lower Alabama. Fort Gaines on Dauphin Island, south of Mobile, can hold your attention for a few hours as you explore what another crisis did to this country. At least in that crisis, people knew exactly who the enemy was and what all the fuss and fighting were about.
Something there is in me that likes a ship's anchor. This particular one belonged to the Hartford, a Union ship commanded by a man who defied the odds against him and tempted fate. "Damn the torpedoes and full speed ahead!" You can almost hear old man Farragut's voice echoing throughout the place.
A fortification this elaborate and large, built to withstand attacks that might come from enemies domestic and foreign, required the use of many bricks. The bricks were fashioned using slave labor, but the skilled masons who constructed the buildings probably hailed from surrounding communities like Mobile. If conditions on the island were not ideal--and they probably weren't if you consider its primitive state at the time--you can bet those craftsmen did not complain. They built to impress the officials who had hired them. They anticipated more work coming their way from those Confederates and wanted to do a good job. You can tell that they did.
We didn't spend all of our time on the island pondering fortresses and history lessons. Still, we found some relics from the past sprucing up the place. I'm not sure, but it looks like these pieces of wood have been here for a long time. Mobile Bay must have changed over the years to encroach on the habitat of what I believe are the remnants of a bald cypress tree. As you can see in the video below, some things never change, like the tools and tasks of a blacksmith. This guy was busy during our entire visit to the fort. He looked like he was enjoying himself, engaging with the audience even while hard at work. I wanted to know but was too shy to ask in front of all those other people standing around. Does it pay more than minimum wage, and where do we sign up?