Friday, January 23, 2015

How To Make Salt from Ocean Water

I've had a few requests for how to turn sea water into salt, so here is how I do it.

Get a big stock pot, or several, and retrieve sea water in them. We usually make this a fun outing on golf cart. After getting back home with the filled pots, I strain the water through several coffee filters placed inside a sieve or strainer. This will get out any sand or sea creature parts that may be in the water. Yuck!

After that's done, place the cleaned water back in the stock pots and boil down until it evaporates. This will take several hours. When the water starts getting low, about half an inch or so, keep a close eye on it as this last bit tends to evaporate quickly leaving the salt in the bottom. The salt will appear as if by magic. One minute there's water and the next there's salt! Be careful not to let it scorch. When most of the water is gone, spread the damp salt onto a cookie sheet or other flat pan and place in a very low temp oven to dry out. Stir every fifteen minutes or so until the water is cooked out.

Put salt in glass jars to store and enjoy using your sea salt! It'll taste much saltier than table salt. I really love the taste!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Goals Realized

From time to time I enjoy reading my journals from the past. It's encouraging to see what I've accomplished and how I've grown over the years. I came across this entry from 2006, eight years ago, and was surprised to see that I've accomplished all but one of my goals. I'm not published yet, at least in the way I want to be. I had some poems published in the local newspaper when I was in high school, and my photography was featured in an interview for a local magazine a few years back, but I want to write a book and have it published.

There's just something about writing goals down that make them happen. Yes, you have to work to make them become reality, but that first act of getting them out of your head and into the world on paper is a huge first step to making them real. All the experts say so. Read their books. It's true.

For some clarity on #5, Gayle is my husband.

I'd encourage all of you to keep a journal. If you can't look back at where you were, how can you measure your growth? I highly recommend it to all as a way to gauge your progress on goals and in life.

P.S. In my list of spiritual books for that year, I have listed The Power of Now. Don't waste your time. The best thing I got from that book was the title.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Hope, Love, and Life

"Hope is stronger than fear; love is greater than grief; life is mightier than death; disaster is an incident of time. The shadows and rain of today will nourish the blossoms of tomorrow." Archibald Rutledge

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Before Daybreak

"It is a habit of my life always to be out of the house before daybreak. There are sights and sounds, there is a glory on the world then that it hardly wears at any other time. And I treasure the memories of things seen and heard then." Archibald Rutledge from Home By the River

I totally agree with Mr. Rutledge. I can count on one hand the number of times in a year that I miss the sunrise on any given day. It's the loveliest time, so quiet not even the birds are awake yet. It's a hovering between two worlds not unlike the ebb tide; a suspension of time almost mystical.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Gift From The Sea; Eleventh Reading

I think that Anne Morrow Lindbergh's book Gift From the Sea has influenced me more than any other. It's the only book that I've read so many times; eleven to be exact! With each reading I find new tidbits of wisdom or some part of her life which I can relate to mine at this moment. This is what makes it so timeless.

This present reading, I enjoyed her description of a perfect beach day (spent with her sister) which she will take home with her and try to imitate in her everyday life. "One perfect day can give clues for a more perfect life." Her day went like this: A morning swim in the sea followed by breakfast on the back porch. A few morning chores then the rest of the morning is spent in writing. Lunch and chores and errands are followed by an afternoon on the beach letting thoughts run where they will. At dusk, she returns to the cottage and sips sherry before the open fire. Supper and talk while washing up the dishes and a last walk on the beach before retiring finish out the night.

This is the daily rhythm Anne prefers: Morning is for mental work, afternoon is for physical tasks and out-of-door jobs, and evening is for sharing. I like this daily order myself. One thing I need to change to line up more with this ideal is to do less work after breakfast. I get started on cleaning right after breakfast, and before I know it it's 10:30 with the most mentally productive part of the morning eaten up by physical work. Then I'm too tired to do much deep thinking, so this will be a goal of mine this school year.

And as I find it hard to sit down and write or blog with a dirty house, I'll try and do a tidy-up at night before bed so most of that work will be done then and not in the morning.

I've read quite a few books about artists and their habits. Many of them choose Anne's pattern of work. Some go back in the afternoon for another long writing session. These are men who have wives to do the housework, so they don't have to bother with domestic tasks too much, or else they can write in the midst of chaos.

What patterns of work have you readers established for yourselves? I'm especially interested in writers/artists and your schedules. What works best for you? I'd love to hear!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Sophistication Defined

"I have the gravest suspicions of sophistication. I have never discovered it in nature; and to me it seems that instead of being a proof of enlightenment and culture, it is the evidence rather of ignorance, and perhaps of folly. It is the triumph of shallowness and sterility. The real trouble with a sophisticated person is that he knows too much, not that he knows too little." Archibald Rutledge

I've never desired to be sophisticated, mainly because I associate it with formal wear, cigarettes in long holders, and a studied boredom; things that make me want to run the other way. But Mr. Rutledge nails it on the head with his description, doesn't he?

Here's a little bit of information on Archibald Rutledge. He was once South Carolina's poet laureate and lived at Hampton Plantation, a little bit north of Charleston. He wrote quite a few books of poetry and of his growing up years on the plantation. I've read a few, and they're charming. I bought Life's Extras on Amazon. There are many copies available online. His most well-known and popular is Home By The River. Someday I hope to go visit the house which is open year-round to visitors.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Reading On Vacation and Other Packing Tips

Our week at the beach is coming up soon, and I'm picking out the books to take. Beach reading requires something light and fun; no thick tomes to digest. Who can think much with the sun baking your brain and the crashing waves obliterating all your thoughts and turning you into complete jelly? So definitely something light; the term 'beachtrash' comes to mind.

I'm sure there are plenty of people like me, or should that be I, who pick their books to match their travel environment. In the past I've picked Jane Eyre while traveling in Yorkshire, England, Beach Music by Pat Conroy to read on the coast of South Carolina, Gift From the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh for Sanibel Island, Florida or really any beach, Dylan Thomas for our trip to Wales, The Life of Samuel Johnson by James Boswell while in London, A Moveable Feast by Hemingway in Paris, Sir Walter Scott in Scotland, Washington Irving on a lovely trip to the Hudson River Valley in New York State, the Charleston novels of Karen White while in Charleston, South Carolina, and again Pat Conroy's South of Broad for Charleston.

The little island where we're going has two different places to borrow books; the convenience store which has an 'honor system' where you just take what you want to read and bring it back and the more organized, public library where you do the same. No librarian on duty! I've always thought that I'd love to not bring any books with me and just read what I find that week on the island. The house we rent always has plenty of books, too.

But fear keeps me from doing that. What if I get almost to the end but can't finish one? I wouldn't/couldn't take it home with me, so I'd have to try to find it in our library in town. Much too much trouble! But someday, I promise I'm going to not take one single, solitary book with me to the beach!

But this isn't someday it's today, so this is what I've packed so far: The Pat Conroy Cookbook which is full of stories and anecdotes about people he's cooked with (Natalie Dupree, for one) and food he's eaten. If you're familiar with Mr. Conroy's style of writing, you know good and well that he wouldn't fill a cookbook with just recipes! Can you tell that I like him? Gift From the Sea...again. I've read it 14 times already(literally), and it always goes with me to the sea. That's a given. And last is Home By the River by Archibald Rutledge whose ancestral Hampton Plantation is but a daytrip north of where we'll be on Fripp Island. Mr. Rutledge was once South Carolina's poet laureate, and he wrote extensively about the plantation and his growing up years there. I've read a few of his books, and they're delightful for young and old. And that's it. Just three. I'm tempted to take more, so many more, but I'll leave room for the ones I plan on finding on the island.

It's a joke in our family about how I pack for any trip we're taking. I'll tell my 15-year-old to pack light meaning for her not to take two outfits for every day and to limit her makeup to one small case. When she tells me to pack light, she means to not weigh down my one suitcase with too many books, paints, and other projects. My clothes and makeup could fit it in one Kroger sack! I have MY priorities straight!

And someday will I not only NOT take ANY books to the beach, I'm not taking anything but the clothes on my back. I'll just pick up some toothpaste and a toothbrush at the little store on island, a few cans of Beanie Weanies and saltines, an apple or two, and pat myself on the back for being so unfettered with life's distractions and accoutrements. But one thing is certain. The rental house had BETTER be full of paperback beachtrash!