The Daily Bug

Charleston Perfume

By: palmettobug53, 12:20 AM GMT on August 28, 2008

pluff mud

Sniff......

Ahhhhhhh.......

Sniff.......

Ahhhhhhh.......

"Yep, we're home, alright. I can smell it!"

No matter where you've been or how long you've been gone, as soon as the distinctive aroma of Charleston Perfume wafts into the car, you know you're back. Nothing, absolutely nothing else on earth smells like it. What it is, is pluff mud.

It's mostly the transplants from "off" and visitors that complain about the stink. I've yet to find a native who doesn't breathe it in deeply, with a contented sigh. Especially if they've been away from home for some time.

The entire coast of South Carolina is landscaped with salt marshes, with spartina grass and lots and lots of mud flats that are exposed at low tide. It's prime habitat for a large variety of birds, animals, mussels, snails and whole armies of fiddler crabs. As the vegetation dies and is broken down, it releases hydrogen sulfide, giving our marshes and their mud flats their distinctive smell.

We natives have embraced the whole concept of pluff mud. We call ourselves "pluff mudders". (If you don't believe me, Google it! LOL) We have local businesses named after it (Pluff Mud Properties, Pluff Mud Pet Supply, Pluff Mud Photography). There is a Pluff Mud Pie. We have Pluff Mud Apparel and you can also get T shirts at Palmetto Moon. We even have Pluff Mud Paintings. Fishermen get their boats stuck in it. Landing in pluff mud during an accident cushions the impact. There have been quite a few instances over the years, where it's been a lifesaver: Teen crashes over bridge

People blog about it. I'm not the first! A Foodie in the Lowcountry. Hmmmmm.... I totally forgot about the Pluff Mud Dip mentioned in that blog!

There's even a song about pluff mud: The Pluff Mud Song.

I spent many an afternoon when I was a kid, scrambling around in the marsh with one of my cousins, trying to catch fiddler crabs. It was heaven: water, mud and crustaceans! Not that we ever had much luck. Those little rascals are hard to catch.

A couple of years after we moved into our current house, the fellow across the street and the one next door took their boys over to the boat landing at the Cosgrove Bridge to fish. I don't recall if they caught any fish or not but I do remember when they came home. Oh, boy, do I remember when they came home!

I was pottering around my little flower bed around the birdbath. I didn't hear or see them pull up in the drive across the street. I DID hear the screams of their mothers and looked up. They came flying across my front yard, heading for the house next door. In hot pursuit were four boys - covered from head to foot in black, gooey pluff mud . All you could see was the whites of their eyes and the pink of their open mouths! The two women made it inside safely and the boys literally rolled on the ground, laughing. It wasn't long before their dads had them stripped off and were playing the hose on them. The image of those boys chasing their mothers is burned into my brain. Unforgettable!

Marshes of the Lowcountry

Dynamics of the Salt Marsh

The Salt Marsh

SC Aquarium



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Updated: 12:34 AM GMT on August 31, 2008

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Seneca Guns

By: palmettobug53, 2:46 AM GMT on August 19, 2008

scncmap

You are sitting in your living room watching TV, reading a book or conversing with family or friends, when suddenly.... BOOM! Dishes in the china cabinet rattle. Perhaps a vase jiggles on the table. You look around, highly alarmed. That didn't sound like a simple sonic boom. Earthquake, maybe? But do earthquakes make loud booms like that? You don't know. You peer out the window or go outside and look around. Everything seems perfectly fine. You eventually return to whatever is was you were doing, still a bit perplexed.

From time to time, along the SC/NC coast loud booms are heard, with accompanying shaking of items inside homes. The phones at local TV and radio stations ring off the hook, with people calling to find out just what in the heck was that noise? Military bases frequently report that they had no one flying at the time. Seismograph stations report no tremors.

Those unexplained occurrences wind up being attributed to the Seneca Guns. Now, that doesn't really give you a good explanation, because no one has yet figured out what they are or what causes them. They are called Seneca Guns because there are early reports of these booms being heard around Seneca and Cayuga Lakes in Upstate New York. They have been described as sounding like distant thunder or cannon fire.

They have been heard and reported all around the world, not just in NY or SC/NC. They are called mistpouffers, Guns of the Seneca, fog guns, moodus noises and .... Are you ready for this? Lake farts! LOL

One theory for the ones along the SC/NC coast has to do with the three rings in the coastline of the two states. Look at the map above and you will see what I mean. The first ring is right at the SC/NC border, followed immediately by the two others and ending at about Cape Hatteras. Almost perfect arcs, aren't they?

I never noticed those rings, until I was watching something on TV a few weeks ago. I don't remember what the show was about; probably something about weird or unexplained phenomena. But they did a short piece about the Seneca Guns, in which they described the rings in our coastline as a possible amplifier for underwater anomalies, resulting in that BOOM. But that certainly doesn't explain them elsewhere, does it?

Since no one has been able to prove exactly what causes this phenomena, your guess is as good as mine. Have you ever heard them? What do you think?

Earthquake Booms, Seneca Guns and Other Sounds

Big Bang Theories Abound

Mistpouffers

Seneca Guns

Farshores.org


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Updated: 5:40 PM GMT on August 19, 2008

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If I Won The Lottery.....

By: palmettobug53, 3:12 AM GMT on August 11, 2008

money

Have you ever thought, really thought, about what you would do if you won the lottery? Would you be one of those people who's life would spiral out of control and wind up bankrupt, or worse, in a few years' time? Or would you be one of the lucky few that are able to find happiness and enjoy your new-found riches?

I've watched several TV shows over the last few years about people who have had that type of windfall. Some just happened to buy one ticket on a whim and have that turn out to be the winning ticket. Others compulsively spend a lot of money chasing that winning ticket, before they finally hit the jackpot. Most of the winners seem to have been much worse off, after winning, than they were before. Some have wound up in jail. Some have even wound up, if not dead themselves, they've lost family members. Personal frailties seem to be magnified, when untold amounts of money enter the picture. Infidelity, alcoholism and drug use, irresponsible behavior of all types seem to really blossom, when fueled by seemingly unlimited funds.

The success stories seem to be few and far between. Those people seem to have already been pretty grounded, as far as their desires and dreams go. And much more responsible, financially.

I've never bought a lottery ticket. Hubby has, from time to time. I do participate in an office pool on a weekly basis. We all chip in $2.00 each, twice a week, for the Wednesday and Saturday drawings. We've won a bit, here and there. Generally, we just buy extra tickets the next time around with our winnings. We did win $3,000.00 a year or so ago. Problem is, when you divide it up between about 20 or so people..... My share was $40.00, if I recall correctly!

I've thought long and hard about what I would do, if I ever, somehow, hit The Big One. To tell the truth, I'd just as soon not wind up with a multi-million dollar win. That just seems like way too much of a headache, for my taste. Everybody and his brother will pop up out of the woodwork, with their hands out and a sob story. There would be too much accounting to do, taxes, charitable donations to do (for tax purposes), financial juggling, etc., etc. And I do think, that most people change, when there's that much money involved. I'd like to think I wouldn't but I can't swear to it. Who knows what they would do, in that situation?

I'd much rather just win 2-3 million. After taxes, there isn't going to be all that much left. One or two million really isn't all that much, these days. And much less headache, IMHO.

I'm not going to get into all the stuff you need to do when you win, such as setting up blind trusts, hiring lawyers, financial advisors, etc. I'm just going to talk about what I'd spend my money on:


First off, I'd pay off all my bills.

Second, I'd get me and Hubby two new vehicles, if we need them at the time. And I'm not talking about Lamborghinis and stuff, either. A good basic car for him and a good mid-sized truck for me.

Third, I'd buy us a nice little three bedroom, two bath house, with a double garage and I'd love to have a nice screened in porch. No huge mansions for me. It just isn't my style.

With what is left? I'd put some in the bank and invest the rest, to ensure that we have enough money to cover our day-to-day living expenses.

I wouldn't quit my job right off the bat. I would wait a while; at least, until we had all the financial arrangements and whatnot taken care of. Then, maybe, I'd go ahead and retire.

Now, I wouldn't mind taking a trip or two (or maybe even three!) each year, to see someplace I've always wanted to go. But I'm not talking about hitting Vegas or Atlantic City and blowing my stash at the blackjack tables! Or doing a world tour.

I might go to England, though, and see Sandi! And I've always wanted see London and Scotland and Yorkshire and the rest of the Isle. To FL to see all my friends there. And to CA to see Karen. The Grand Canyon? New England in the fall? That's the kind of trips I'm talking about. I would love to see Egypt but I'm really a bit leery about going to the MidEast these days.

It would be nice not to have to penny pinch at the grocery store but I'd probably still coupon. I can guarantee you that I'd still be hitting the thrift shops. Thrift shopping not just about saving money; it's the thrill of the hunt and finding a bargain! And Walmart! And still using my gift card for gas.

So, there you have it: Bug's plan for her one or two million. If she ever gets them! LOL

Now....

What would YOU do with all that money, if you hit the jackpot?


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Updated: 2:46 AM GMT on August 19, 2008

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The Salad Bar

By: palmettobug53, 3:43 AM GMT on August 02, 2008

salad

A basic Greek salad


Come summertime and hot weather, nothing fits the bill better than a good salad. They can be very simple and served as an accompaniment to your meal or they can be the main dish. The sky is the limit, as far as ingredients go. You name it, you can put it in a salad. You can use bought dressings or make your own. They can be served warm or cold, though in the hot summertime, I like cold salads best.

My family ate pretty basic salads, when I was growing up. There were tossed salads, with nothing much more than iceberg lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, onion and maybe some celery or radishes. We ate a lot of cole slaw. Mom got on a Three Bean salad kick for a while, though I was never too enthused about it. There was the occasional potato salad thrown into the mix, from time to time.

As I got older, I started running into more elaborate types of salads. Greek, marinated, different varieties of pasta salads. Salads made with grains. Salad bars started popping up all over. Contray to general thinking, all salads are not low cal. You can really rack up the calories at those salad bars, if you don't watch out! Especially if you choose the wrong dressing or use so much, that you wind up with salad "soup."

Here are a few of my favorites:

Basic Cole Slaw

One head of cabbage, thinly shredded. ( I cheat and buy it in the bag - I've never gotten the knack of shaving a head of cabbage like my Granny could!)

One medium onion, thinly shredded

Salt and pepper, to taste (I like mine kind of heavy on the pepper, so that it has a little bite to it)

A dash or two of celery seed

A dash of either lemon juice or dill pickle juice

Mix lightly in a large bowl with either Duke's or Hellman's light mayo and chill. Marzetti's has a good cole slaw dressing, too.



Basic Macaroni Salad


1 box elbow macaroni, cooked just a little past al dente, but not soggy

chopped, seeded cucumber
chopped, seeded tomatoes
minced onion
chopped celery
chopped bell pepper

Lightly toss with Duke's or Hellman's and chill.

(To make this a bit more of a main dish salad, I like to add diced ham. You could use white meat chicken/turkey or shrimp)


Marinated Pasta Salad

Use that curlique pasta, that comes in the orange, green and white colors.

Use the same veggies as the Basic Macaroni salad
Add in some black olives and some turkey pepperoni
Lightly toss with some fat free Italian dressing and chill


Apple Salad

You can use any apple or combination of apples, that you like. I like to use Red Delicious and Granny Smith.

Core and chop apples. Leave the skin. It adds color and fiber!

Add chopped celery and chopped walnuts.

You can add some raisins, if you like.

Lightly toss with Duke's or Hellman's and chill.


Carrot Salad

Grate carrots
Add chopped nuts, either pecan or walnuts
Add some raisins

Lightly toss with Duke's or Hellman's and chill.

(Mama sometimes would add a small can of drained, crushed pineapple - that's good, too!)



Lettuce Slaw

julienned lettuce, bell pepper, onion
thinly sliced celery
mild banana pepper rings
lightly toss with Duke's or Hellman's and serve

You really need to hold off on tossing this with the mayo until right before serving or the lettuce really wilts down. You can prep the veggies and have them in the fridge, waiting.


Kraut Salad

1 10 oz can of Bush's Shredded Kraut
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup vinegar
1/2 cup sliced or chopped green olives
1 tablespoon chopped pimento (not necessary if the olives have pimentos)
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon celery seed
1 cup grated carrot (2 large)
1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/4 cup chopped onion

Drain kraut. Put in mixing bowl. Combine sugar and vinegar in saucepan, bring to a boil, simmer for 5 minutes. Let cool. Pour over kraut. Add rest of ingredients. Mix well. Chill several hours or overnight. If it's too soupy looking, just drain some of the dressing out before serving.

This one goes well with pork roast or turkey. It's colorful, easy, and can be prepared the day before. I found it on the back of a Bush's Saurkraut can. Don't be put off, if you don't like kraut. This is more like a marinated sweet/sour coleslaw.


Copper Pennies

2 pounds carrots, peeled and sliced 1/4-inch thick (I cut mine on the diagonal - makes it a little more interesting looking)
1 small onion, cut in rings
1 small green bell pepper, cut in rings
1 10-ounce can condensed tomato soup
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup vinegar (white or cider)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Salt and pepper to taste

Cook the carrots in water until just barely tender. I bring them to a rolling boil, cut them off, put the lid on and let them sit for no more than 5 minutes. Then drain and rinse well with cold water to stop the cooking process. Mix the tomato soup with the sugar, vinegar, oil and Worcestershire sauce. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Place carrots, bell pepper and onion in a plastic storage container with a tight-fitting lid. Pour the tomato marinade over top. Mix well, cover and refrigerate until well chilled. The longer this one chills, the better it is.

(The first few receipts, I didn't put in amounts, as they really don't matter. You just play it by ear and put in as much, or as little, as you want)

I've been prowling around the internet, looking at different websites and there are some great sounding salads out there. I'm sure that most of you probably have your favorite receipts, as well. So, dig through your recipe files and share them with us.

Healthy, Low Cal Salads That blackberry/spinach salad sounds really good!

I've seen Taste of Home magazine but their website is so good, I've never bothered to subscribe to the hard copy version. They do have lots of salad recipes, many of which are geared to low cal/low fat. The recipes here are submitted by readers and the majority are quick and easy to make.


Allrecipes.com

Epicurious.com

CooksRecipes.com

Adding in another favorite, though I've never had a name for it:

Fresh, garden tomatoes. The REAL ones!
Fresh cukes
Vidalia onions

Slice the cukes and onions.
Rough chop the tomatoes.
Put in a bowl and put in enough white vinegar to barely cover.
Add some Mrs. Dash - it doesn't matter what variety
You can add some chopped parsley or chives, if you like.
Chill in fridge for at least a couple of hours and serve.

Hubby finds the straight vinegar just a little too tart for his taste, so I usually cut this just a bit with plain water.





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Updated: 3:13 AM GMT on August 11, 2008

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About palmettobug53

WU member since Oct. 2005. I enjoy reading, crafts, crosswords, puttering in the yard, old movies and hanging out with my friends on WU.