Archive for May, 2017

Treehouse Update

May 29, 2017

Yeah. They refuse to use. 

I’ve never met a cat, much less two, that refused to jump up to a shelf to get canned food…

These girls are a challenge. 

Another Treehouse

May 21, 2017

Sugar decided to make another cat perch for the cats that live in the woods next to where I work. 

I’ve been approached two times in the past week by interested people who have seen the cats hanging around in the morning waiting to be fed. No one had a problem with it, and they were surprised that I had trapped them for spaying and vaccinations. Apparently ordinary people don’t realize that other ordinary people can be agents for change. 

Like Sugar is an agent for change. 

He brought two different boards to choose from. 

Next he checked the brackets that he mounted directly onto the tree trunks. 

He screwed the bigger board to the brackets, and, quick as you please, he’s done. 

Little Miss Sassy Pants and her sister stayed well away. The sister is so far away that I couldn’t get a clear photo, even with the zoom lens. 

The platform is big enough for an ant deterrent system, which consists of a large shallow bowl of water with a smaller bowl of food set into it. The water creates a barrier that the ants can’t cross. 

We’ll see tomorrow if the system worked. 

In Cucumber Glory

May 15, 2017

About 3 weeks ago, Sugar and I were invited to a picnic lunch with a group of FriendsNotFriends. One we had met once and had actual conversation, one we had met on a tour, and the rest were social media friends and their friends. 

All these folks were in a social media history group. One of these people is a published author. The picnic was to be held at the author’s place on a barrier island. 

Y’all already know that Sugar considered not going before he considered going. Being a recluse involves a lot of planning and worry, especially if there are people involved because the situation might get too people-y. Plus there was that Meeting A Famous Author thing. 

I think the last time I was at a picnic was when I was a child, otherwise known as A Very Long Time Ago. We weren’t sure how this modern-day picnic would play out. 

Would it be outside?

Or on a screened porch? 

Will it involve sitting on the ground? 

Do we take our own drinks? Utensils?

Do we take food just for us or for everyone?

Clearly, our picnicking social skills are lacking.

Sugar thought we should take cucumber sandwiches. Do you know how hard it is to find good cucumbers in season in early May?


We found some small pickling cucumbers that were prepacked. They appeared to be from Mexico, and why wouldn’t they be?

Through careful planning and another desperate circling of one of the only two grocery stores in our little town, Sugar chose a loaf of some kind of wheat bread that wasn’t super wheaty. I offered another kind of bread that was sprinkled with seeds and toppings, but he said no. That was not how his mother would have done it. 

Now, Sugar and his mother had a strained relationship like many, many of us. Sometimes, the strain comes from generations of issues, and sometimes it is created in just our own life. It’s a complicated thing. 

Sometimes we make cucumber sandwiches. 

Sugar said we had to cut the crusts off of the bread before we make the sandwiches, because that is how his mother did it. And we had to spread the mayonnaise on two slices of bread, layer the cucumbers on the first slice, lightly sprinkle some salt, and place the top slice of bread, then cut on a diagonal. I told him he wasn’t supposed to eat salt and these sandwiches might kill him. He said that was okay. 

We made ten sandwiches which turned into twenty when we cut them on the diagonal. They fit perfectly into those plastic Gladware containers. 

And off we rode in Ole Yeller with our sandwiches, some donuts from the bakery, and a jug of sweet tea. 

We had an address that I plugged into the map app on the iPhone. Lots of times the GPS is off, but this time it was perfect. Everyone else had gathered in the living room of the cottage, and we offered our cucumber sandwiches on the table which was covered with all manner of good things, like pimiento cheese, and chicken, and pasta salad, and hoecakes, and meatballs. I’m probably forgetting something. 

Then the hostess spotted our cucumber sandwiches. She stood by the table and took a bite of one. She held it aloft and said, “Who brought these?”

Sugar spoke up and claimed our ownership. That’s right, the famous recluse engaged in conversation with someone he hadn’t known 15 minutes before. 

After lunch, we all walked down to the water, which meant walking across some fields by some ponds to Alligator Creek. There is a dock, but no alligators, and a little summerhouse with a screened porch. 

We sat on the dock, and posed for a photo. It’s not every day that you can bask in cucumber glory. 

Afterwards we took a tour of the garden, and Sugar scored some bunching onions. 

As we said our goodbyes, Sugar offered the remaining cucumber sandwiches to our hostess. She accepted every last one. 

When we drove off, our new friends waved goodbye, and our hostess waved while enjoying a cucumber sandwich. 

And that? Is a Very Good Day. 

Making Movie Magic

May 6, 2017

It’s all about DNA and 23andMe. 

Sugar’s cousin Jordan has a fascinating story about how hIs family connects with Sugar’s family. Their most recent common ancestors are Joseph and Sarah Robert Lawton. 

Another of Jordan’s cousins is Tom. 23andMe wanted to make a short documentary about the link between these two fellows. 

Filming was going to be done on Edisto Island, Robertville, and Tom’s family place near the headwaters of the Coosawhatchie. (Remember? It’s pronounced COO-sah-HATCH-ee.)

The film producers did some telephone interviews with myself, Jordan, Tom, and some more of Jordan’s cousins, namely Boyce and Ashby. It was decided that they might need a guide for some of the locations around Robertville (waves hand wildly in the air). Plus Tom invited us to his family’s place to visit while the filming was being done there. 

The morning of the filming was at Edisto, the first known location of the Lawton family in America, before it was America. William Lawton died in 1757. 

The afternoon was a meeting at the meeting house of Black Swamp Baptist. 

Jeremy the director, Sugar, Tom, and Jordan. Sugar is pointing to the graveyard where the Lawton plot is located.

We did not know that they had already filmed for approximately 4 hours in a cemetery on Edisto. I had a list of places that seemed important, and they chose to film at the home site of Black Swamp Plantation. Or rather, what remained of it, since the house was burned by Sherman’s troops in 1865. 

Sugar went on home because he is a recluse, and this is too people-y for him. 

The arrival at the farm gate…

More of the entourage arrives…

We climbed over the gate. Locals driving by slowed down to see what was going on. 

Checking out the setting…

Here’s one of my favorite shots of Tom and Jordan in the afternoon light at the steps. 

I had warned them that there are fire ants living around the steps and that you wouldn’t know you were in them until you were in them. 

I wandered off into the bamboo to visit the rubbish pile of old bricks and debris. 

When I walked out of the bamboo, I saw a scene taking place at the farm gate. 

The gentleman leaning on the gate is the caretaker, and he stopped to make sure that no one was metal detecting. He unlocked the gate so we didn’t have to climb over. He told the crew to be careful and have a good time. 

Lighting is so important in photography. I took a photo of Tom and Jordan during a break, and the light was in my eyes. I didn’t know that Tom was taking a photo of the crew until later when I zoomed in on the image. 

Then even later, Tom posted a photo of the group, and there I am taking a photo of him and Jordan. See the difference in the lighting? So amazing. 

I don’t know who took this photo, but I’m standing at the farm gate with some of the crew. I enhanced the photo for your viewing pleasure. 

At the end of the day’s filming, the sun was dropping behind the trees and making the most perfect silhouettes on the backdrop of the steps. 

Ignore my finger blocking part of your vision. I have no skills at this point of the day. 


The next morning, I told Sugar we were leaving in 30 minutes to go to Tom’s family place about 45 minutes away to meet up with Tom, Jordan, and the crew. Because he is recluse-y, he had decided that he wouldn’t go, but because I posed the situation in a statement, not a question, he got in the car. 

The crew was setting up in the house for the interview sessions, and we got in a quick tour of the house before the set was closed. 

We rounded a corner, and stopped in shock because we didn’t expect to see this guy here. 

It’s Alexander James Lawton, the 2nd great-grandfather of Sugar. This oil hung in Sugar’s grandmother’s house in Savannah for about 50 years, and Sugar had always wondered what happened to it. 

The set was closed while Jordan was interviewed, and Tom took us on a tour of the area. 

Baby alligator out Tom’s car window…

The headwaters of the Coosawhatchie Swamp…

Hanging out over a waterway…

Mr. Turtle…

At one remote area, we saw a swallowtail kite. Only Sugar knew for sure that it was what it was, and later he produced his bird book with proof. “Uncommon and local. Most often seen soaring low over swampy woods…” Exactly this. 

We circled our way back to the house, and chatted a bit, and said our goodbyes. 

Because we have cats, and yarns, and other dead people to tend to.