Wind From The Carolinas

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Robert Wilder’s Wind from the Carolinas is one of my favorite books for the beach or boat. It’s one of Jimmy Buffet’s favorite books too. I read every other year or so and have several copies including one that lapped me around the pool a few times.

If you like historical fiction you’ll like this story of an aristocratic South Carolina family relocating to the Bahama Islands after ending up on the wrong side of the Revolutionary War. They went “lock, stock and barrel”–even dismantling their big plantation house brick-by-brick and shipping it out as ballast.

The plot unfolds with a fulfilling description of early life in the Caribbean then follows changes to island life through several generations.

There’s a love story in there too.

Bring a copy of Wind from the Carolina’s along next time you’re under sail or heading to the coast.

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–Tim “JT” Bryant, Surf Director, Pineapple Hill

 

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Books for the boat or the back roads

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I’m a book hound. Books fit my life the way sailing, sunning, beaches, hammocks and machine guns do.

After moving to the boonies and getting more or less settled at Pineapple Hill, I’ve been on a “books for the boat, books for the beach” book buying binge. By that I mean grabbing up five, sometimes ten, at a time. They’ve become a sort of security blanket “wooby.” During times when I can’t escape to a boat or beach, I escape to a book.

Listening to some buds explain their SHTF plan, it occurred to me that a good book will be worth its weight in gold in the event the world goes off the grid –shutting down the Internet, television, DVD players and so much else. People will want information and will want to be entertained.

Your bug out kit –whether going to the boat or the back roads– should include a private library. A few titles or a big stash. Loan em. Trade em. Sell ’em.

And, in the meantime, enjoy ’em on your pool lounger.

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— Tim “JT” Bryant, Surf Director, Pineapple Hill

 

 

 

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Beautiful Swimmer

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It was happening again, wonderfully. The Transition. The Moment Of The Crossing Over.  From One World Into Another.

Traversing the spiritual bridge between land and sea is bewitching, is familiar and comfortable yet also new and exciting… so powerful.

Man o Man what a home wrecker is the sea (an incredible blonde with dreamy eyes waiting under the motel sheets in the middle of the day).

I let myself ease in… I gather up the sensations, letting them build as I drift along with them… and then I let go, releasing myself into the moment, letting the moment take over, letting it sooth me, cleanse me.

Somewhere in this, briefly, my mind reached back to Pineapple Hill and our promises…but the water lured me away … until …soon …I was looking ahead instead of looking back.

The sails tightened. Water splashing easily off the hull provided an excellent shade of quiet. I let the sound of it wash over me for the longest time.

But then a voice came over the VHF radio. “Thanks for the wake, asshole!”

What an odd thing to be spoken “from out of the blue” like that, interrupting my reunion with the sea.

I looked around for the voice and for the wake but saw no likely suspects.

It became quiet again. But the mood was gone.

Then came more chatter on the VHF, this time between the dock master and a cargo vessel. At the same time, MadDog and Roger came out of the cabin congratulating one another on finding and fixing a shorted wire from the galley fan to the battery bank, and The Kid joined us in the cockpit (he’d been standing at the bow pulpit –perhaps also feeling himself led away by the sea, led away from his knocked up girlfriend and her eviction from the trailer over stolen beer).

We eavesdropped on the conversation that had intruded our space by way of the VHF. The harbormaster was recommending a Chinese restaurant to the crew of the cargo ship Beautiful Swimmer.

We looked for it on the horizon, hoping to watch it come in, hoping to see the craft with such a lovely name.

But all we saw out there was the dark thin line at the edge of the world.

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— Tim “JT” Bryant, Surf Director, Pineapple Hill

 

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What Harley Riders Mean

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A friend/co-worker from long ago sent a message via LinkedIn Green-Acres-150x150asking “Whattaya up to now?”

I tried explaining that, yes, I’m still a marketing consultant but have expanded from general marketing communications to also offer specialized work in strategic brand positioning (targeting, competitive analysis, value propositions and so on). And that I was still into vision and mission statements. And still freelancing in public relations too.

I told him that, yes, I still hear from the ad rep at Aviation Week and still get free passes to the Middle East & North Africa Finance Project forums in Dubai but my world now also includes wild blackberry plants, cows that runaway from home and friendly notes back and on the topic of raising goats.

I even confessed that I’m trying my hand as a novelist: one under contract for publication in 2018, a second being shopped around, a third undergoing revisions and a fourth with just a few chapters finished but going strong.

I said that though The Work is still interesting and still important to me so too were other things –having learned to enjoy my work and my play as one (like peanut butter & jelly).

What I hoped to convey is that I’m still evolving. Still in the game but with more than one game going now. That I’m a bit of a rolling stone.

It feels good. Feels right.

Though it is a bit strange for a city boy sailor to go full blown boonies.

The house is up on stilts like at the beach –but in a pasture. Cows get loose and wander too close to the grape vines. Deer gather at the persimmon tree in broad daylight to eat the fallen fruit. A stray cat (that we’ve been feeding) has taken up residence in the farm jeep (I’m still unable to drive, still recuperating from a car wreck).

But it all makes sense somehow and I finally understand (genuinely and deep within myself) what’s meant when Harley riders say “If I have to explain, you wouldn’t understand.”

Dear Reader, if you don’t get what I’m doing, you probably never will. Not until you try it for yourself. Try something new, zig left when others zag right.

I can’t wait to hear about that, your new adventure in life, the one that changes you forever.

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— Tim “JT” Bryant, Surf Director, Pineapple Hill

 

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The blackberry trellis (Voila!)

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We have lots of blackberries growing wild on Pineapple Hill along the bottom pasture prunbl1fence line and in a thicket concealing the ravine out by the road in front of our house. The ones along the pasture don’t get very big but are easy to pick. The ones in the thicket get plump as thumbs and so juicy they’ll burst when you pick them –but you risk your life going after them. The thorn’s will tear you to shreds like the wood chipper in Fargo. That is if the snakes don’t get you first.

And, of course, you don’t want to be snacking on berries (five for Management, two for Labor) right after the power company has stopped by for a neighborly spraying of highly poisonous defoilant. (We’ve agreed they should warn me next time.)

Your trellis design could look something like this. (You can also make one using bamboo.)
Your trellis design could look something like this.

Making the switch from boat to land and from city to boonies has not been without hiccups (as described in my book Blue Rubber Pool, coming out in 2018) and although I seem to be learning the hard way I am, at least, picking up a few tricks. For instance: the blackberry trellis.

Training blackberry canes to grow on a trellis is ingenious. And a good addition to another thing I’ve learned –not to plant grapevine too close to oak trees (because the tree drink up the water intended for grapes. So now my vineyard includes a few blackberry bushes too.

Set out some mesh fence (of the type used for a goat pasture). Plant the bush. Start but cutting off any old canes. Then periodically weave the new growth through the mesh. Voila!

Pick up your game yet another notch by using thornless blackberry plants. That’s right, thorn-less.

The blackberry trellis “set up” might also be a good solution for city/suburb dwellers wanting to grow berries in limited garden space.

Be sure to have a good recipe for blackberry daiquiri

Stay tuned for another episode of Green Acres.

— Tim “JT” Bryant, Surf Director, Pineapple Hill

 

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On Wine.

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Smuckers-Concord-Grape-Jelly-e1380113357359-1I’m not a wine connoisseur but I think its fun to stand at the tasting counter at wineries near Spartanburg listening my fellow tasters describe wines as “nutty”, or “vanilla-y” or “crisp with hints of chocolate or walnut.” When it’s my turn, I’ll say something like “Oreo cookie dunked in apple juice followed by a shot of peach schnapps” and to my surprise the stranger fine of six people down will agree. “Exact-o-lackity! That’s what I was going to say!” I like the movie Sideways.

I’m more interested in how wine is made than actually drinking it. I want to know what is needed to arrive at different color and flavor characteristics. Plus I really like the concept of leveraging time as an ingredient. Having finally gotten to the other side of my mid-life crisis, I can say with authority that aging is a good thing.

I like it that my buddy Palmer, a wine sipping fiend from West Coast wine country, still enjoys exploring the under $10 bottles with their “relax kick your shoes off” names: Barefoot, Red Truck, Oops, and Mad Housewife, to name a few. But still he won’t buy the ones that come in a box instead of bottle.

I like it that wine making reflects humanity’s thousands-of-years-old patience: A legacy passed down through the ages not unlike passing poodles down from wolves.

I like looking at the neatly manicured vineyards versus my snaggle-toothed rows here at Pineapple Hill and daydreaming aloud to Crystal that my experimental vineyard might look nice someday. And I like that she smiles and nods knowingly, saying nothing, motioning to the sommelier to bring the next sample.

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— Tim “JT” Bryant, Surf Director, Pineapple Hill

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Coffee Confession #981

Posted on Posted in Foods & Beverages, Notes & Doodles
how Irish Coffee Was Invented
Some like it hot…Marilyn Monroe and Arthur Miller enjoy an Irish Coffee at Shannon Airport, Ireland, 1956.

If I could go back in time to put my arm around Marilyn Monroe while she sipped Irish coffee, I would, and enjoy every nanosecond ’til the cops arrived.

Let’s call this Coffee Confession # 981.

Not unlike the drinking game “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon”, connecting the dots between coffee, writers, sailors, beachcombers doesn’t require plotting tools and a chart. The course is direct and the distance short. Right up until you add the Irish.

I wish I would have been there when Irish Coffee was invented. I could easily imagine it happening at a 4:00 a.m. Waffle House when one person said to another “It’s late, we better call it a night” and reached for cream and sugar as the other said “It’s too late to call it a night. I have to be at work in an hour” so reached into a pocket to bring out a pint.

Or had someone gotten up early to go fishing on Day #1 of vacation?  Perhaps it started then.

Either way seems legit. There’s countless possibilities. But, fact is, it came to life when a flying boat left Ireland in the 1940s. My links will make you “woke” (on this matter at least). And one has the official Irish Coffee recipe versus the unrefined one used on Pineapple Hill (Brazilian dark roast in a styro cup with Kentucky Gentleman at sunrise).

How Irish coffee was invented

The official Irish coffee recipe

Enjoy.

–Tim Bryant at Pineapple Hill

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