Thursday, January 27, 2011

Moonlight, Benevolence and Fallen Trees

No, Petey's not seasick, I'm still just trying to figure out the new camera. Apparently I can get things in focus indoors or the correct color but not both. Really should crack open that instruction booklet that came in both English and Spanish...

In the meantime, I'll mess about, trying to capture that luminous full moon through the Carolina pines and ancient oaks, so bright it was like an enormous spotlight, casting perfectly articulated shadows of tree branches on the pine straw below.

Headed off to Beaufort last week and that means one thing -- LULU'S! I know several of you have had the opportunity to meet my very dear friend Nannette Burgess Brown Sutton in person over the years and others have visited her store online and on her Facebook page. She always has something new to tickle your fancy and is oh-so conscious about keeping her prices affordable. If you're looking for a fun gift, be sure to check out Lulu Burgess!

Don't mean to rub salt into a wound for our friends up north, but it was a gorgeous day with Spring-like temperatures near 70 F. Beaufort is the perfect small town for a stroll. I've always loved this little building near Nan's house.

Check out the sign! We can think of several ladies (ahem, Lacie) who might benefit from the company of some benevolent ladies. Beaufort really is a throwback to a gentler, kinder era, with it's sleepy side streets lined with Spanish Moss draped oaks and beautiful camillas in bloom.

Here's a typical small Low Country house, with it's tin roof and wide front porch. I can almost predict the porch ceiling is painted a light sky blue to keep the bugs away. Perfect spot for cooling off on a summer afternoon with a lemon icebox cookie and a glass of ice cold tea (or an Arnold Palmer - half lemonade, half iced tea.)

Even these little plaques on the sidewalk are well-designed and thoughtful.

The blooms on this camilla bush (tree?) were past its prime but still so beautiful behind this old house on Bay Street. Still have my fingers crossed that the camilla bush by our front door will blossom soon as it has some fat buds. I talk to it daily and have named it Mrs. Parker-Bowles.

Looking out on the Beaufort River. This is a familiar scene for anyone who's seen the movies "The Big Chill" or "The Prince of Tides." Pat Conroy, author of many books about the South Carolina Low Country, including Prince of Tides and Beach Music, was a long-time resident of Beaufort and returns frequently for book signings. No one writes better descriptions of this beautiful part of the country than Pat Conroy.

Meanwhile, back at home...we acquired something new in our backyard over the weekend.

There were two dead trees right over our property line on the neighbor's side (yay! we didn't have to pay to have the trees removed!) and the company they'd hired got there too late to take the trees out entirely. So, we had their big truck and a good portion of the tree trunk to sniff around.

In honor of his pal Wilf, Petey promptly set about "christening the tyres." Wilf may have the rickety old farmhouse and gourmet meals and Mme Bay, but can he claim his very own truck right outside the door?

Petey also gave the property line marker a good inspection. And was delighted to find some recent raccoon poop to rub his face into, apparently trying to give himself a raccoonlike mask.

A leap over the log for some Agility practice! Sorry we haven't been able to share any photos of his class, but I'll tell you more about it later in this post.

I'm relieved that this tree won't be headed for our roof the next time there's a big storm. Sea Pines, the community where we live, has a wonderful rule that you can't take down a tree until it has been inspected by an expert and declared dead. Then you have to either replace the tree on your property or pay $50 per tree to have a new tree planted in the community. I'm happy to oblige, as it keeps our community well-forested, without those awful bald tracks of land where the developers come in and bulldoze everything, then plant spindly saplings afterwards that will take a decade or two to mature. If you buy a lot here, you first have to have your trees surveyed and any trees over a certain diameter cannot be cut down. Essentially, you design your home around the trees, not the other way around.

Petey was happy to retire to his patrol on the deck, followed by a nice long nap in a patch of sun-warmed wood.

Now, for his agility class! He started off last week with a half-hour private session to bring him up to speed with his other two classmates. I was pleased that he showed no fear - let's face it, that dog would walk across fiery embers if there was a cookie or tennis ball on the other side! He leaped over fences, sat on the table for the required count of 5, scrambled up and down the incline, dashed through the tunnel and followed a cookie through the tire. That said, he wasn't quite so keen once he realized he wasn't going to get a cookie for every trick and got a bit weary towards the end of the class -- an hour and a half had tired him out mentally and physically. He perked up when a tennis ball appeared, but still was a bit selective about following up commands like "come" and "sit." The other two dogs were both younger females - a 3-year old Jack Russell terrier named Emily who was such a quick learner and very attentive to her owner (ahem, could follow Emily's example.) She was like that kid in class who always knows the answer, has her homework done early and asks if there's anything to do for extra credit. The other dog was an 11-month old Black Lab mix, what we call a Carolina Dog down here as they are plentiful at any animal shelter. Her name is Isabelle and she's a big wriggly sweetpie, immediately enamored of Petey and his suave Manhattan dog-about-town ways, so much so that after every trick, she'd run over and wiggle in delight in front of him, asking "did you see what I did?! Did ya? Did ya?" She's adorable. Emily would sit primly on her owner's knee and sharply bark "Get back to work, you're not done yet!" and Isabelle would lumber off. It was pretty funny, Petey and his women, each battling for his attention. This week he mastered the chute, wagging his tail under the tarp as he found his reward cookie! Hopefully I'll get some photos in the next two weeks!


Two French Bulldogs said...

It looks like mom has the camera down pat! Look at those awesome pictures. Thanks for taking us along
We will check out the links
Benny & Lily

rottrover said...

We immidiately thought of "tyre christening" when we saw the big truck in your yard. Glad Petey is on the job. A great post. It's so interesting to learn about other parts of the country!

Gizmo, Bart and Ruby

Maxmom said...

Hey there Petey and Jane...
Thank you for playing tour guide to your interesting town. I love the nostalgia of those old buildings. They've kept them in such good repair...sounds like your town has everything very well organised.
As for Petey's agility class - I'm not surprised he's a star! Yes...he IS a star! Those nerds in the class are irritating, aren't they.
(pst, I hate to tell you this, but that's exactly what they called Toby at his obedience class this eveing)
Sending lotsaluv and thanks for a great post.

Arran, Arthur and Mum said...

Thank you for sharing, it's such a beautiful place.
Class does tire you out huh Petey, but that a good thing right?
~lickies, Ludo

Clive said...

Great post Petey!

We loved the moon shot and reading about Lulu's! Nan looks great in the photo! We're really looking forward to visiting her again!

Looks like you enjoyed having the big truck in your yard Petey!

Glad to hear the agility class is going so well - no surprise that you're brillant!

take care
Clive and Murray

ps-we have some blogging pals coming over to visit us from Texas tomorrow!! When is your Mom coming over to us????

Bocci said...

Great photos and gorgeous writing as always-we're so glad your back:-)

P.S. Congrats to Petey in agility!

LailaSmith01 said...

You are having so much fun checking up what is going on around...Anyway I like the photos and your story...I love this dog blog...^_^

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WFT Nobby said...

Beaufort does sound like a lovely town. And how wonderful to hear about a communities that values it's trees above the demands of property developers. Long may it continue.
As for the agility class, in this household we know all about selective follow up of commands.
Loved the description of the two other dogs in class - the swot and the sweetiepie.
We look forward to further bulletins.
Hope Mrs P-B blossoms soon!
Cheers, Gail (and Bertie)