You may not find this terribly rewarding unless you're included here, so this is a good time for casual and random browsers to turn back before they get too caught up in the sweep and majesty of the proceedings and can't let go.
South Carolina in the springtime
When the temperature hovers at 30°C (86°F) indefinitely, and all of the 'snow birds' emigrate back from the Florida Keys to their abandoned homes in the north . . . we head south.
Prepared for a certain amount of strangeness
And a lot more exuberant patriotism, of the huge flag-waving sort, than we're used to. But this one takes our record for 5 May 2021 -- congratulations, Baymont whatever.
But already, the performative patriotism record is broken, and now that we've crossed into South Carolina, even this new record might not last long.
In fact, it didn't last more than 400 meters down the Interstate. Truck Toys 2 of Piedmont, SC, is today's champion. It's an amazing piece of work -- it must have taken months to sew that thing up. And, if Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico become states, it's all been for nothing. Into the poubelle.
We're here at last -- technically in Anderson, SC, but actually on the farther shore of Lake Hartwell from the downtown.
We were last here in May 2019, before our Covid Punishment swept in upon us -- now, more or less at the end of the tunnel (except for the anti-vaccers), it's good to be back on the lake, with friends, anticipating another thrilling boat ride on the bouncy waves.
But where's the boat? In fact, what happened to the dock?
OOf -- not much of a competitor in today's Patriotism Sweepstakes. Perhaps it's just protective coloring.
What an interesting house our friends have (of course, we've got the Old YMCA theatre). It's odd not to see Hudson awaiting us at the bottom of the steps, Hudson the large and lovable dog with whom Melvin and Choupette got along famously. Hudson's been ailing badly for some time and, alas, passed away just days before our arrival. His acolyte Lady has stepped to fill his shoes, if that's the right expression.
Fine paintings all over the place, and many of them by our good friend Nancy herownself
One does love the view through an arched door. Like peeking into a 13th century monastery at the monks' refectory (though with a fan on the ceiling).
The boat, as it turns out, has been prepositioned for us on a neighboring dock, which solves the absence-of-a-boat-ramp problem. Mark and Nancy have been living here for a few years, but our friendship with Mark goes back, wait for it, to about 1952.
Vroom! The dock fades into the choppy distance.
That bulldozed and empty point of land is the 'Shores of Asbury RV Park with Treehouse Jungle, Yurt Village, and Waterpark' -- from this distance, it looks like a lovely dream for a distant future, but anyone who wishes to see what it really looks like close up can consult the website here.
For our short boat ride this evening, we'll edify and encourage ourselves by touring northward up the lake shore to see how 'the other half lives' ( or 'the other 5%'?).
The maintenance costs on that thing must be ginormous.
A parade of fun-looking boathouses
A skeletal boathouse, and the Centerville Road bridge towards downtown Anderson, SC
Boathouses you'd actually be proud to live in
Back into the wind. To describe our present lake-ish environment, we'll plagarize a bit of text from our last visit here: Lake Hartwell is not a classically compact and intelligible lake like the one we frequent in Wisconsin -- what it is, to be honest, is a dammed up river system, extending down the Tugaloo River that forms the Georgia/South Carolina border some 49mi (79km), and 45mi (72km) down the Seneca River, to the Hartwell Dam, where it continues as the Savannah River to the eponymous city on the coast. There are so many bays and tributaries round the arms of the lake that the shoreline is said to extend over 960mi or 1,550km, most of it graced with boat docks, some of which are doubledeckers.
Past a tree that has wandered off course and got lost again
The proud flag flapping gaily in the breeze, in this case, is the South Carolina state flag, originally a blue background with a crescent, dating from 1775 when Col. Moultrie fought off a British fleet, with the palmetto tree added in 1861 to recall that Moultrie's 1775 fort in Charleston had an outer layer of palmettos that repulsed cannonfire.
After any boisterously fun party comes the onus of the clean-up -- and so too with putting a boat securely to bed after an enjoyable excursion on the lake. But how . . . with no dock ramp . . . what now?
Very clever! Problem solved.
A look-in at the goat farm, in search of goat dairy products to justify our 'visitation'
The Split Creek Farm 'strives to produce a wholesome, natural product from healthy, happy animals and to be self-sufficient. Starting with only three goats, the farmstead grew into a commercial dairy and cheese plant with 750 goats. Breeding and show stock have been exported to several countries, and the goats and cheeses have won many top awards in national competitions'.
A goat farm barn
The rest of our party are inside scooping up goat-dairy delicacies whilst we acquaint ourselves with the operation here. Yes, it seems to be all about goats, as advertised.
Another goat farm scene
The teenagers get to hang out here perhaps
Whilst our party is sacking up the goods, we've been admiring this agile fellow on the left, who's just leapt two meters into the air to get a bite of those leaves above his head. He did that several times, in fact.
So we waited for him to have another go at it. But why?
When there are plenty of green things much more easily got at
What we'd really like to see are the newborns, aww, so cute!
There are two recent crops in there: on the right, a few days old, on the left, more like a week.
They're all fed by hand (or bucket and bottle), to make sure that every one of them gets his or her fair share. Goat moms apparently tend to play favorites.
A congenial venue for a socially-distanced chat in the evening
Whoa, a pile of goat bodies?
No, thankfully, they're all alive, most of them in any case. We wonder what on earth they're up to there. A strike for higher wages?
If we understand this correctly, those are guinea hens. We're enlightened now.