Saturday, June 1, 2013

Surf, Sand and Suds

The past week has zoomed by.  I can’t even remember what happened the previous week, before I took off for parts south on Friday before Memorial Day.  I’m sure there was some stuff at the office, some stuff at school, and lots of stuff at home.  I do remember some of the stuff at home—mostly last-minute packing and straightening up.  Miss Chef was off to see her family in Alabama, and I was off to visit my folks in Georgia.

Since I’ve mentioned my trips to Jekyll Island more than a few times, maybe it’s time I gave you a little bit of background.  (Don’t worry; I’ll be brief.) 


7 to 10 miles long and 2 or 3 across…depending on the tide.

After the typical English possession and plantation development common to this part of the country, it became a private resort in the 19th century for the richest of the American scions of banking and industry.  Family names included Rockefeller, Goodyear, Vanderbilt and Morgan.  This was where the details of the Federal Reserve System were hammered out, and where the first transcontinental telephone call was made.  However, after the Great Depression and the new reality brought about by World War II, the club eventually was dissolved, and the island become property of the State of Georgia. 

indian mound

The former Rockefeller “cottage,” Indian Mound

Today Jekyll is operated as a state park, although it has about 800 permanent residents as well as hotels, restaurants, shopping and two golf courses.  Tourists come for the historic district with its renovated multi-story 19th-century “cottages,” its relatively uncrowded beaches, and its wildlife.  By state law, only 35% of the island may be developed, and the island is well-known for nesting sea turtles and a wide variety of birds.  It is backed by hundreds of thousands of acres of marshes, which are an important nursery for many species of animals, especially the tender and tasty shrimp.

Not a bad place for a regular vacation stop, eh?  I didn’t even have to leave the house to start meeting the local flora and fauna.


Butterfly bush—not native, but it lives up to its name.  Butterflies migrate through here, usually in March and November.



At night, green tree frogs stick themselves all over the windows and walls, preying on insects drawn by the lights.




“What?  I’m a fuzzy-tailed nutcatcher.  Very rare.”


Since I had Rosie with me, I took the opportunity to walk her down to the beach most days.  The first day we hit it at high tide, which meant we couldn’t get very far before being blocked by entire trees’ worth of driftwood.  But the morning of Memorial Day, I drove up the island a mile or so, to walk on the seaward-facing beach (the one by my parents’ actually faces south, and has more muddy silt deposited on the sand).

There’s something extraordinarily uplifting about sighting the ocean at the end of the boardwalk out over the dunes.

Jekyll 05 (15)


It was a gorgeous, sunny morning.  Humidity was low and the breezes from the ocean were gentle and refreshing.  The sun sparkled off the rolling surf (hiding the fact that the water here is a rather unattractive brown color, but who cares, it’s the ocean).

Here’s a taste.


There was a surprising amount of driftwood here, too.  Normally this beach is swept rather clean.

Jekyll 05 (23)



Rosie didn’t find it nearly as picturesque as I did.  She just wanted to see what was around the next pile.

Jekyll 05 (21)



Jekyll 05 (25)

The tire tracks are from the small buggies driven by the Turtle Patrol, which finds, marks and monitors sea turtle nests.  This is just the beginning of the nesting season, which will continue through August.  According to the Georgia Sea Turtle Center located on the island, there have been 19 nests found so far this year.  The nests are further up in the softer dunes above the high tide line.  The patrol runs twice a day, looking for the particular trails left by the mothers on their way up and back to the water.

That was our last stroll on the beach, as Rosie and I headed back up to Charlotte.  I had to beat my cousin Danai and his girlfriend Nora, who were in the midst of an eastern coast vacation.  They are from San Francisco, and Danai has fond memories of a summer visit to Jekyll about 15 years ago.  This trip, they had already been to Jekyll (yes, my parents host a constant stream of friends and family—the price of living in paradise), Myrtle Beach, and were headed my way from Charleston, SC.

As I mentioned earlier, I hadn’t really spent any time with Danai since he was a two-year old toddler.  We had fun looking at my old photo albums from that time, with lots of exclamations about how our various family members have changed in the ensuing quarter century!

Unfortunately, their visit fell mid-week, so we didn’t have as much hang-out time as we would have liked.  And, oddly enough for me, I didn’t think to get a picture of any of us.

We did, however, did have a chance to go out to Mac’s Speed Shop for barbeque and beer.  Guess which one is mine?



I need to wrap this up, or it will be another week before I actually get it published, but I do want to share that the garden is really getting into high gear. 

garden 05

Hey, how do my rocks look? The broccoli is hidden behind the crazily flowering radish plants, which I really should pull out, but they’re having such a great time I can’t bring myself to do it yet.

The peas may not look very impressive, but the vines are bushy and thickly hung with pods like a monochromatic Christmas tree.  I finally pulled off a nice bunch yesterday, as well as our first cherry tomatoes.


May I remind you that peas are supposed to be a spring crop, and tomatoes a summer one?  Not that I’m complaining; this first harvest is not much less than I’m used to getting in an entire season.


Yeah, this garden thing is a labor of love, mostly.  However, Miss Chef recently saw a recipe for peas which involves homemade pasta, goat cheese and a sort of stock made from the pods.  She’s hoping to try it out tomorrow, so maybe there will be an update Sunday evening.  Who knows?

In the meantime, the squash plants are already full of blossoms, and sporting the first inch-long fruits.  Summer is rolling into the garden, and I may get more than I wished for.


  1. Great photos! That island sounds so dreamy except I don't particularly care for the beach, sun, sand, and all that.

    1. Yeah, I'm kind of over the sitting-in-the-hot-sun kind of beach experience. That's why I generally just go for a walk, and not so much in the middle of summer.

  2. The butterfly bush is called BUDLEIA XXX

    1. So say you, in that plummy British accent. I guess I have to believe you. :)

  3. The island sounds really nice. Kudos to the state for managing development.

    1. The problem is, they're trying to redefine the island's size to allow for more.

  4. Sounds like a beautiful place. The thing I like about the shore is that there is always a chance that something different has washed in. You just never know ... That's probably what Rosie likes about it too :)

    Those peas in the pod are as mouthwatering to me as any fancy meal. My taste buds have changed over the years. Vegetables are a favourite now. Enjoy your bounty!

    1. I'm not sure how much Rosie enjoys the beach. She has no interest in the water. I think she thinks anyplace with so many interesting smells has to hold something really fascinating!

  5. I loved our trip to the beach!!!! Thank you! Your garden looks great. Please pass the peas. How did the pea recipe come out? Oh boy. Now I gotta go to the bathroom.


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