Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

A South Carolina Farmer's Market

Lee's Farmers Market in Murrell's Inlet South Carolina, offers a wide variety of produce (not necessarily local), as well
as cooked food and deli products imported from New Jersey. Evidently the term "Farmers Market" doesn't mean the
same thing in South Carolina that it means in Michigan, where it denotes a market at which only farmers sell their products.

The definition doesn't matter: Lee's has delicious food and very friendly
workers. You can see that this roast beef had just been cooked in their kitchen.
We bought slices of it for dinner. Wonderful flavor!
This is Daphne who works in the kitchen. She had a deep southern accent. When I mentioned that we were used to
colder weather in Michigan, she said "Ooh whee!"

It was in fact a cold day for walking outside. We repeated our visit to the
marsh walk. A few days ago every seat here was taken by a person drinking beer.

Before our walk, we ate lunch at the River City Café. Good fish sandwich!

Monday, January 21, 2019

The Hunters and the Hunted

At Huntington Beach State Park, near the condo where we are staying, we watched this eagle fly over the water.
When the eagle arrived, many birds that had been sitting on a little sand spit flew away. He landed in their place and waited.
Birders who have been watching the area have seen the eagle swoop in
and take a ruddy duck like these.
Cormorants in the area also drew closer together as the eagle waited.
The eagle made an effort to grab an egret, and then flew away, leaving his prey for the time being.
Open water in marshy area of Huntington Beach State Park -- a magnificent birding spot. In the distance, you can
see the causeway across the water, which is a beautiful spot for wading birds.

Alligators also hunt birds and other creatures in the marshes of this area.
Here's another alligator swimming purposefully towards an ibis in the reeds.   
Happily, we didn't see the alligator grab this ibis, though of course we know
that all creatures have to live. And that we are the most predatory of them all.
Perhaps the victim of some human action, such as being hit by a boat -- this dead bottle-nosed dolphin was being
washed up by the surf onto the beach near our condo. Contemplating the life and death of the creatures we see is
challenging, but inescapable.

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Murrell's Inlet, S.C.

Murrell's Inlet is a saltmarsh, which changes every day as low tide exposes shellbanks, creeks, and mud flats. At high tide the predominant saltmarsh cordgrass (Spartina altifloria) seems to make a series of islands standing in the high water. The ecology of a saltmarsh is interesting, especially the many bird species that feed on clams, crabs, shrimp, snails, minnows, and other fish. We especially enjoyed seeing pelicans, cormorants, a couple of oystercatchers, and a few other birds.

The edge of the marsh, where there are many boat docks, is crowded with bars and restaurants whose decks overlook the marsh; a boardwalk and a fishing pier offer beautiful views of the marsh and of the boats that are docked there. We have walked the boardwalk, eaten in one of the restaurants, and bought seafood at a market that's supplied by shrimpers and fishing boats out of the harbor.

Harrelson's Seafood Market was a perfect place to buy a fish dinner to eat at the condo where the six of us are staying.

In the fish case: the flounder that they filleted for us to cook at home.
Local shrimp! The market has a big pot in which they will boil your shrimp
to order. We were very delighted to have them do it. 
Ready to eat at home. Delicious.
Set table at the condo. We ate the shrimp, then I cooked the flounder so that
we could eat it immediately -- not overcooked.
Last night we ate at the Hot Fish Club, a high-rated place.
Unfortunately they kept us waiting a long time despite having
a reservation.
Lobster pot pie: their specialty. Some of us were ok with the
food; some were very disappointed. The pot pie was in
the middle of this range of reactions. Fish dishes were

Friday, January 18, 2019

Litchfield, South Carolina

On the beach at Pawley's Island near where we're staying, we watched little shore birds -- sanderlings -- pecking at jellyfish.
We are enjoying visit to Litchfield-by-the-Sea in South Carolina where my brother Arny and sister-in-law Tracy have rented a spacious condo for the month of January. We arrived on Wednesday, very happy that neither ice storms at home nor shutdowns of government-paid airport services interfered with our flights from Detroit to Atlanta and on to Myrtle Beach airport. (We feel very sorry for the TSA workers and air traffic controllers working without pay, but that's another very long story not for now.)

Southern Food: Rustic Table Restaurant, Pawley's Island.

First southern food: a smashburger with celery-root slaw and onion jam. The six
of us had fried local shrimp, fried green tomatoes, fried oysters and local other treats.
In the book Buttermilk Graffiti, which I've slowly been reading,
author Edward Lee mentions Texas Pete Hot sauce, which was
on the table with the tabasco. I'll write more about this book sometime.

Our companions for the week: Larry, Arny, Tracy, and Elaine.
The Rustic Table is considered one of the best local restaurants, featuring
the cooking of chef Adam Kirby.

Birding: Huntington Beach State Park and Pawley's Island

Herons and egrets are in all the many waterways that criss-cross the low-lying beach communities along highway 17.

We caught sight of a very elusive bird that we had never seen before: you
can just make out this clapper rail in the oyster beds exposed by low tide.
Eventually he obliged us by walking into the water where he was easier to see.

Len got a photo that included his rather big foot!