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1 - Spending New Years with Fran & Jim in Asheville is an emerging tradition. They rent a place there in December / January to get away from Chicago winter for a while. However, this picture of Beth is from a hike shortly after returning to Quail Cove from Asheville.
2 - A new adventure was seeing the turtle hospital at the South Carolina Aquarium. After the turtles are treated sufficiently, they are released back into the ocean.
3 - Something else new was visiting the Center for Birds of Prey in Awendaw. The staff is quite knowledgeable. Seeing the Kestrel fly high in the air was impressive.
4 - Even more impressive was this Eagle!
5 - Spoleto is an established tradition, both in Charleston and our house. As a matter of fact, we live here because of Spoleto (and Carol & David.)
6 - Cousin Denny stayed the second week of Spoleto. He always likes a project. This year it was building a bench, on which you can see him putting the finishing touches.
7 - Mike is demonstrating how strong the bench is. :-)
8 - Another new adventure was exploring the Missouri Botanical Garden with Beth's mother.
9 - We particularly enjoyed the Japanese Garden section.
10 - Seeing Billy Joel & Elton John perform at Wrigley Field was a new experience. Since we didn't have tickets, we arrived early to get seats at an outdoor "cafe." On another day, Jim & Mike watched the Cubs play (inside Wrigley :-)
11 - We are establishing a tradition of celebrating our anniversary of living in Quail Cove (for the summers.) This year Carol & Baxter joined us, allowing Beth and Carol to combine their hostess expertise.
12 - We helped celebrate another anniversary ... Carol's and David's wedding. This was the first time we had had dinner with them on their anniversary. Another first was having dinner with someone, Fran & Jim, on our anniversary. So, by the law of "transitivity", Carol & David need to have dinner with Fran & Jim on their anniversary!
13 - This crusher is used in the process of making Sorghum Syrup, which is pretty much like molasses. Tracy, the mason who built a patio for us at Quail Cove, showed us how it's made.
14 - Here Tracy and a helper are boiling down the mash. We bought a few jars. Beth made some excellent cookies.
15 - Our cat, April ... always an adventure!
16 - Something we've wanted to do for some time is drive to the other side of the mountain range, the Newfound Mountains, from Quail Cove. This is a view from Newfound Road. We found the town of Sandymush and made a complete loop. The peak of Sandymush Bald is the source to both Bald Creek (which runs through our property) and Sandymush Creek on the other side. Also, we had a picnic lunch at the end of a paved road.
17 - Having Thanksgiving dinner with Beth's mother is a long standing tradition. Here she is showing off her collection of angels.
18 - Another well established tradition is viewing the decorations at Brookgreen Gardens with Carol & David and Carol & Baxter.
19 - On three weekends in December the gardens are lit by thousands of real candles and electric lights.
20 - At this time each year, Beth always hopes for a "white Christmas." We figure that we have a much better chance if we spend the holidays in western North Carolina rather than Charleston, SC. This picture shows a branch of Bald Creek flowing from our yard in the snow.