Tag Archives: South Carolina

My Father the Farmer: Dirt Runs Through His Veins

dirt in his veins

My father is a farmer. Not the up with the rooster, working the fields, dirt under nails kind of farmer. He is the kind who looks at a yard and sees a small plot of earth in which to grow things. The kind who thinks and plans and plants and eats and then thinks and plans….He is a man of letters with South Carolina agrarian blood generations old pulsing through his veins. He scrapes scraps, churns refuse, spreading and working it through the soil like a baker kneading bread. He sees life beginning, stretching, full of possibility, regenerating in every square inch of dirt he has sanctioned. I have heard the tenderness in his voice as he walks me through his garden, seen the loss in his eyes when he talks about leaving a place and leaving behind his plants. He has taken an impossibly cold, rock of an island in the St. Lawrence River and planted tomatoes and herbs. Dirt runs through his veins.

I have long hoped that this same blood runs through me—this love of the land and tending things. Maybe it will become more dominant as I age, settle and slow down but for now, it is still just a longing. I lack the patience, the attention to detail and the long view that characterizes one who plants. My desire is for the immediate, the applause, the back slap. I live for the dreams, the ideas, the process, the prototypes. My father patiently turns and nourishes the soil. Waters and dead heads and stakes his plants. He collects leaves from neighbors, hand washes delicate egg shells and sorts through the remains of meals to create the perfect compost cocktail.

These things don’t come naturally to me. So, for now, I emulate hoping that in the doing—the digging and planting—any remnants of the South Carolina soil that runs in my veins will be stirred and awaken the farmer in my soul.

Why I love Rainy Days

Today was a rainy day in Charleston. But I didn’t mind.

I love rainy days.

Its a good thing because we get a lot of rain in the Lowcountry.

Here are some of the reasons why I love rainy days.

Catching up on some old-school letter-writing in celebration of the last day of National Letter Writing Month

Catching up on some old-school letter writing in celebration of the last day of National Letter Writing Month

Charleston is known for it's flooding problems especially in the area around my daughter's school. Getting around town in the rain can be a challenge but fun!

Charleston is known for it’s flooding problems especially in the area around my daughter’s school. Getting around town in the rain can be a challenge but fun!

April showers bring May flowers. And I love any opportunity to wear my Hunter boots and pink trench coat!

April showers bring May flowers. And I love any opportunity to wear my Hunter boots and pink trench coat!

Sunday afternoon essentials

An afternoon in to read, relax and get some puppy love.

How do you spend a rainy day?

How to Spend a Year Writing

Happy 1year birthday to amywatsonsmith.com

Well, today is the one-year birthday of this blog.

Happy birthday to me, happy birthday…

I don’t think that I ever really believed that I could actually spend a year writing on a regular basis. Okay, I use the term “regular” rather loosely. But despite my best attempts at procrastination, I still managed to write. No, I needed to write. And apparently I needed to write in this format (i.e., blogging).

The actual look and name and feel of my blog has changed several times as I learned more about blogging but the content has remained consistent. I have attempted to write about my life in an authentic way–not white-washing it as I hope many of my posts and photos demonstrate.

I have learned quite a bit about blogging along the way and even more about myself. I feel as if I am just beginning to hit my stride, so here I go. I am going to spend another year writing this blog. I do hope you will continue on this journey with me.

Below you will find links to my top ten blog posts from the past year. I invite you to read them again–or for the first time.

Thank you and God’s peace and blessings to you.

Amy

TOP 10 POSTS FROM THE YEAR:

1. How to Make a Spring Break Survival Kit

Spring Break Survival Kit

 

2. Lessons from Miss Frances: On Living, Loving and Laughing

"Lessons from Miss Frances on Living, Loving and Laughing" on www.amywatsonsmith.com

 

3. How to Silence the Voice of Doubt

How to Silence the Voice of Doubt: Just write

 

4. When Everything Has Gone to the Dogs

"When Everything has Gone to the Dogs," Chester, one of the "twins"--English Springer Spaniels

 

5. Game Day Done Right

Ole Miss Road Trip

6. The Love of a Dog

A dog's love

 

7. Bee Smitten: Banner Celebrations

Oliver's banner

 

8. Time Flies When You are Living Life

Daddy-daughter chefs in "Time Flies When You are Living Life"

 

9. How to Have the Perfect Vacation

"A vacation is having nothing to do and all day to do it in." -Robert Orben How to Have a Perfect Vacation on www.amywatsonsmith.com

 

10. Bee Smitten: A few of My Favorite Things

"Bee Smitten: A Few of  My Favorite Things / Photo of Judith Ann Entrican Kirkpatrick

Hopelessly in Love with Spring

 

Charleston Spring, Photo by Amy Watson Smith, 2013

“To be interested in the changing seasons is a happier state of mind than to be hopelessly in love with spring.” –George Santayana

This may be true, but after these last few months of cold, I cannot help myself.

Welcome Spring.

Living in Charleston, South Carolina, I know that I have nothing to really complain about concerning winter. But even here we have had an unusually rough time of it. I also realize that by June, I will already tired of the 90+ degrees days.

But right now I have to believe in the promise of forsythia and dogwood and wisteria. As the sun warms my bones, I stretch and settle in like a cat napping in the sunlight.

Evidence of living life

Time Flies When You Are Living Life

I sat in front of my computer this morning wondering to myself what I should write for my next post.

A blank computer screen rarely provides me with inspiration.

My mind drifted to the well-intentioned blog editorial calendar I created in January.

Where did I put that thing anyway? Why don’t I have a few pre-written posts ready to publish at the hint of a dry spell?

My excuse, as usual: too busy.

Too busy? I looked around me to find evidence of my busyness. There appeared to be too many “unresolved domestic issues” to account for that.

I took a five-minute break for my daily dose of would haves, should haves, could haves…the Voice of Doubt enters (I thought I had learned to silence that thing)!

My mobile phone buzzes with a notification: a calendar reminder of a scheduled meeting for which I will undoubtedly be tardy.

Picking up my cell phone is often a big mistake.

Ten minutes and multiple social media interactions later, I glance up at the blank screen again. Well, that was helpful, Amy.

Disturbed by my earlier excuse of busyness, I pick up my phone again scrolling through my camera roll.  Maybe the evidence is right here.

Apparently I have taken more than one hundred photos on my phone over the last seven days.

Here is what I found:

Photos of the “new” sofa we found last Saturday along with fabric swatches for reupholstering it.

upholstery swatches

 

College visits  during winter break to Clemson and Wofford with my daughter who is a high school junior.

Tillman Hall, Clemson University, Clemson SC

Tillman Hall, Clemson University, Clemson SC

Wofford College, Spartenburg, SC

Wofford College, Spartenburg, SC

Daddy-daughter chefs preparing a weeknight meal.

Daddy-daughter chefs

Letterpress class at Redux Contemporary Art Center on Wednesday evening.

Letter press class at Redux Studios

Website header and background updated.

Newest header

Darius Rucker concert in Columbia SC with teenage daughter and her boyfriend.

Darius Rucker, True Believers Tour, Columbia SC

Saturday morning Krispy Kreme doughnuts.

Krispy Kreme doughnuts

Flower arrangements made and safely delivered for the Ashley Hall semi-formal pre-event dinner (seated dinner for 26 teens at a private home).

Flower arrangements for dinner party delivered

Front porch cleaned and planters replenished by husband in hopes that the beautiful Spring weather is here to stay.

planters replenished for Spring

Girl Scout cookies located, purchased and consumed.

Girl Scout cookies at last!

Girl Scout cookies at last!

House full of teens preparing for dance finally leaving.

Teenagers leaving for dance

Pre-dance photo shoot.

Pre-dance photo shoot

All of the essentials of a great Sunday afternoon.

Sunday afternoon essentials

Watching this season’s last episode of Downtown Abbey with my daughter.

Downton Abbey

Not pictured: Meetings, meals, work, school, family time, date night, talks with teenager, laundry, cleaning house, errands, doctor’s appointments, etc.

Evidence of living life

Evidence of living life

Ahhh. So that’s what I have been so busy doing.

L I V I N G  L I F E

Most of it is unscheduled, unquantifiable and cannot be crossed off a list.

Not distractions.

Not interruptions.

Just living life.

And thankful for it all.

Our Home for the Holidays

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas (Photo by Amy Watson Smith, December 2013)

Whew! I have finally gotten my home decorated for Christmas. It has been a long process this year, for a number of reasons, but at least this part of the preparations is finished. I wasn’t too bothered by the delay since we will be at home for the holidays. Yaay!

This box sat in my entry hall for almost a week.

Box of Christmas Decorations (Photo by Amy Watson Smith, December 2013)

A “display” of Christmas decorations waiting to be placed.

I love vintage-style ornaments and decorations.

Tiny Ornaments

Tinsel

Little Tree Decorated Several of my favorite ornaments survived from my childhood like this Santa. I guess it actually is vintage.

Does that mean that I’m vintage?

Childhood Santa Ornament

Air Stream Christmas Pillow I love the idea of air stream trailers but I’m not sure living in one in the snow would be quite as cozy as this pillow suggests.

My real passion is tartan (and not just for Christmas decorations). I suppose it has something to do with my Scottish ancestry but, whatever the reason, I am mad for plaid as is evidenced here.

Tartan Bagpiper Nutcracker

Springer Spaniel with Tartan Boxes

Kilt Figurine

Tartan and Greens

Tartan Santa with Sheep

My new favorite Christmas decoration is the “Joy” banner my friend Elisabeth Hunter made for me–tartan fabric, of course. She is one of the few people who truly gets my obsession for all things tartan.

Mantle with Greens, Candles and Joys

Mantle with greens, candles and tartan joy

Joy Upclose

Joy up close

You will notice in the creche below that the baby Jesus is not included. He won’t make his debut until Christmas morning. We also don’t place the three wise men at the manger until Epiphany on January 6th. We move them around the house to symbolize their journey to the Christ child. I included them in this photo because it looked too sparse without them.

Nativity

Bowl full of ornaments

One of our most treasured items for Christmas is the Advent stockings I made for my daughter when she was two years old.

Handmade Advent stockings hanging

Handmade Advent stockings hanging

Handmade Advent stockings up close

Small additions and repairs have been made over the years.

Throughout the year I find little things to put in each stocking. I also include a Bible verse. Even at 17, my daughter still loves the tradition of opening one stocking each morning for the 24 days leading up to Christmas.

Handmade Advent stocking

Somehow I even managed to decorate the front porch this year.

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas (Photo by Amy Watson Smith, December 2013)

Wellies with Greens Pine Cones in Galvanized Tub

Santa Please Stop Here

“Santa please stop at my house”

This wreath is made from preserved boxwood. I bought mine locally for Christmas 2012 and it is still just as lovely. Click here if you want to learn how to preserve boxwood.

Boxwood Wreath and Tartan Bow

Now that the decorating is done, I have to finish my shopping, start baking and wrap all of my presents . . . .

Oh, and maybe I will make some time for this as well.

Home for the Holidays

Home for the Holidays

What are your favorite decorations and traditions for Christmas?

Wishing you a joyous and peaceful Christmas!

Angels we have heard on high

G L O R I A