Wednesday, September 7, 2011

A little more North Carolina Tobacco -

This is a follow on to my previous post, except it has to do with what happens in between the time we see the gorgeous green leaves off country roads and when they finally become cigarettes. I was invited to witness what is probably the last live tobacco auction in existence, most are now silent auctions. This is pure Americana. The Auctioneer is a world champion retired from RJR. It is unlike any other live auction you have ever or will ever hear. They have their own language and cadence, the best auctioneer at Christies couldn't keep pace. There is a certain romance to this business that is completely disconnected from the political push and pull of the industry itself.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Out in NC tobacco country in late August

Needless to say that we have a certain nostalgia for tobacco in this part of the world. Some actually say that we consider it a vegetable. You may have seen my previous post (guest post actually) on the old tobacco auctioneers and my post from visiting a tobacco warehouse. Many of you found that fascinating as a piece of emblematic americana that is fast disappearing. Anyway one of the best drives to take here in northwest North Carolina is up around Hanging Rock State Park and Pilot Mountain - Highway 66 (not me in the video - just one I grabbed from youtube) for those who want to give it a shot. These are from a couple of days ago, I hope you enjoy them.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Blue Hill, Maine 2011

This year was a shortened trip as we were without Karen who had to tend to her shop. However, we had a wonderful time all the while missing her. Blue Hill is just such a pleasant place, full of interesting and dynamic people. I had the pleasure of meeting author Peter Behrens and exchanging some emails with Martha White (E.B. White's granddaughter) who has pushed me in the direction of doing a book on Maine in similar fashion to my first book of photography.  Anyway, turns out that Peter Behrens is a classic car nut as well and has a terrific blog AutoLiterate that all of you will appreciate. And, of course, spent some time at MERI and did one of the eco-cruises out in the Eggomogin Reach.

As usual I did a slideshow set to some music, give it a minute or two to load! Click here for slideshow.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Old friends just get better.

You may have read my previous post about this group of old friends. I am pleased to say that we only waited three years before getting together again. Each year that passes seems to ground us a little more. There are no expectations, there is no pretense  or anything that would present itself as not real. It's hard laughter, it's honest opinions, it's truth. Every now and again the universe smiles and opens the door to these kinds of friendships. Just another entry in the annals of a blessed man.

"Some of the most rewarding and beautiful moments of a friendship happen in the unforeseen open spaces between planned activities. It is important that we allow these spaces to exist."

Here is to my friends and to the unforeseen open spaces.

Link to the slides.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Back from Boca Grande, FL 2011

I know, I know - you are tired of hearing how much I love this place, so I won't bore you with the details of fishing with Captain Tommy Locke or eating at the Loose Caboose or playing tennis with my son or going for ice cream at the Pink Pony or just sitting on the deck and enjoying the warm gulf breeze and watching the flora and fauna of the island. So, here are just some pics from this last week.

Click here to see the slides - sound on.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

A Day at the Zentrum

All I can say is  WOW - what fun! I accompanied a friend to take delivery of his new BMW at The Zentrum in Greer, SC and was given the opportunity to throw a few of their cars around the track at the performance center.

Click here to see the slideshow.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Diving with Whale Sharks Video

Finally figured out how to rip, edit and post! I had to place it on iWeb as the blogger upload kept failing and trying to embed it from FaceBook did not work because of my security settings. So, please click the link and allow it to load for a minute or so as it is a big movie file. For those of you using Chrome - make sure you have the QuickTime plug-in. The Chrome browser can still be a little buggy. It works fine with all other browsers however.

Video of our dive with the Whale Sharks at the Georgia Aquarium.


Sunday, February 27, 2011

West Virginia

I had the opportunity to spend the night in Charleston, WV this last Friday. I was signing copies of my book at Taylor Books - a really wonderful shop. Anyhow, I was really struck by this capital city that is fighting to reinvent itself, since coal is not what it once was. I am familiar with this kind of work being that my hometown is doing the same; it was built on tobacco (RJR), Banking (Wachovia) and textiles (Hanes). Anyway, I took time on Saturday morning to drive highway 60 out of town to Fayetteville, WV to the New River Gorge. What an amazingly beautiful drive, although depressing at points seeing what has become of the small towns along the river. I did not photograph the rows of trailer homes or closed businesses - it didn't feel right. What has happened there and what has happened here are yet more reminders that nothing is forever. To quote Amos Lee "Time, it swallows everything, from the mighty to the meager things..."

Where the mountain river flows
And the rhododendron grows
Is the land of all the lands
That I touch with tender hands;

Loved and treasured, earth and star,
By my father's father far--
Deep-earth, black-earth, of-the-lime
From the ancient oceans' time.

Plow-land, fern-land, woodland shade,
Grave-land where my kin are laid,
West Virginia's hills to bless--
Leafy songs of wilderness;

Dear land, near land, here at home--
Where the rocks are honeycomb,
And the rhododendrons . . .
Where the mountain river runs.

Louise McNeill

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Diving with Whale Sharks

I wish I could post the video. It was an amazing experience and very well worth the trip to Atlanta. The Georgia Aquarium is not only beautiful and certainly entertaining, but one of the best educational resources we have in this country to talk about ocean health and how it impacts all of us. Call, order tickets and go. If you are a certified diver, get in the water with the whale sharks - you will be amazed. 

Link to the Georgia Aquarium.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Botany Bay Plantation, SC

There are no words to adequately describe this place. I will simply say - get thee down to Edisto Island, SC (just south of Charleston) and plan on spending a long and amazing day if not two - on foot.

The 4,687 acre Botany Bay Plantation Wildlife Management Area (WMA) is located adjacent to the waters of the Atlantic Ocean in the northeast corner of Edisto Island in lower Charleston County, South Carolina. The area lies near the North Edisto River just south of the intensely developed resort islands of Kiawah and Seabrook and just north of the rapidly developing Edisto Beach area. The SC Department of Natural Resources acquired this property and opened it to the public in 2008.

The area's location near the North Edisto River places it within the boundary of the ACE Basin Focus Area, one of the largest remaining relatively undeveloped wetland ecosystems along the Atlantic Coast. Botany Bay Plantation WMA with Botany Bay Island (under conservation easement with The Nature Conservancy) and Deveaux Bank form a core area of protected habitat in the eastern corner of the Focus Area.

The biological features of Botany Bay Plantation WMA are characteristic of Sea Islands along the lower Southeast coast. The undeveloped coastal habitats of the management area are important to numerous wildlife species. The beach is utilized for nesting by the federally-threatenedloggerhead sea turtle and the state-threatened least tern. The maritime forest and coastal scrub/shrub areas provide nesting and foraging habitat for neotropical songbirds including painted buntings and summer tanagers. The uplands support a wide diversity of wildlife. The tidal marshes and managed wetlands contain a variety of fish and shellfish resources and provide foraging habitat for numerous wildlife species.

The cultural resources on Botany Bay Plantation WMA are extremely significant. Cultural resource sites dating from as early as the Late Archaic Period through the 19th century are present. Several sites including the Fig Island Shell Rings, outbuildings from Bleak Hall Plantation and elements of the Alexander Bache U.S. Coast Survey Line are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Charleston, SC Book Signing at Blue Bicycle Books, 420 King Street

Please join me at Blue Bicycle Books on January 15th from 1-4 pm!

Blue Bicycle Books Charleston's only independent book seller!

Or, if you cannot make it, it's on Amazon.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Better Homes & Gardens selects Karen Gray Design for 2011 Quilt Sampler


All of you are aware of how wonderful and talented my wife is. Anyway, it seems that the people at Better Homes and Gardens also think so!

Local Quilt Shop Featured in
Better Homes and Gardens® Quilt Sampler® Magazine

DES MOINES, IA – Karen Gray Design, a quilt shop in Winston-Salem, NC, has been chosen as one of the 11 featured shops across the United States for the Spring 2011 issue of Quilt Sampler® magazine, published by Better Homes and Gardens.

Quilt Sampler, published twice a year, has been profiling North America’s top quilt shops for the past 14 years. Quilt shops submit a detailed application on their history, business promotions, charitable work, teaching schedules and design philosophies. A panel of quilt experts led by Jennifer Keltner, group editor of American Patchwork & Quilting® magazine, narrows down the applications to 10 featured shops for each issue. The team also selects an "encore" shop that was featured in a past issue to revisit. The names of the selected shops are kept secret and unveiled at either the spring or fall International Quilt Market.

Competition to be included in Quilt Sampler is keen. Nearly 3,000 quilt shops are
eligible to apply for this year’s honor. Karen Gray Design and the other 10 shops chosen were photographed and interviewed by a team from Quilt Sampler, and a multi-page profile of the shop will appear in the issue, which will be available on newsstands on May 10, 2011. Employees of each quilt shop also design an original quilt for the magazine, and the full-sized pattern for the quilt appears in the issue of Quilt Sampler.

Quilt Sampler has proven to be a huge success, and early, out-of-print issues are collector’s items. Chosen shops are inundated with visitors and requests for the shop’s quilt patterns and fabrics. Quilters are known to try and visit all the shops in each issue, getting the signature of each shop owner in their copy of the issue.

Karen's website

Karen's blog

Saturday, January 1, 2011

She's Home. 1972 BMW 3.0 CS

Remember my post from December 2008? Well, she is finally done. And yes, I am so shallow that an old car makes me happy.

Welcome home Gertie