Sunday, November 29, 2009

Flying South for Thanksgiving, with Bento Box

This year we drove down to York, South Carolina to spend Thanksgiving with my husband's family. Barb, Jamison's mom, came to York eight years ago; originally from upstate New York she has lived in many international locations.

In York, she's found a place to truly settle, and has created in this quiet town just over the border from North Carolina a world rich in friends and family, nature, and wonderful animals. We share a love of cats, which makes visiting a treat! Here's Niño, King of Cats, guarding the espresso machine. He is the benevolent ruler of this realm, a calm and dignified soul who nurtures the other felines who appear here, adopted by his mom:

And Grayling, a smoky gray princess with a heart-shaped face who purrs and burbles to life around Barb:

Cats in other forms also populate her charming home:

The day before Thanksgiving was beautifully misty and overcast, a perfect day for ambling into town, a short jaunt from the house.

I loved this weathered trellis, wound about with rose vines and morning glories and several birds nests:

A pink rose in bud:

And some sprightly dogs, curious about the visitors:

Luminous coral rose hips on the trellis:

These mysterious structures, marked "Circus Winter Quarters" have always suggested to us an early R.E.M. song with their "Fables of the Reconstruction" aura. At the York Wedding Chapel, delicate and beautiful wrought iron work:

Diana in the Chapel garden:

These buildings looked almost Romanesque in their brick solidity:

The Sylvia Theatre is a restored landmark featuring live entertainment:

For pre-Thanksgiving dinner a meal of salad,

and the amazing lumpia our friend Gaylen made:

Thanksgiving morning dawned chilly and damp. The dining room fireplace made for a quite cozy scene:

Our contribution to the day's feast was a portabella mushroom, fresh fennel, pecan, and golden raisin stuffing. For the stuffing, fresh thyme separated from the stem:

Outside, a pink rose:

And Barb's hens, in earnest conversation:

The Thanksgiving meal: for me, its all about the side dishes! Butternut squash:

Cranberry and orange sauce with ginger:

Our fennel-mushroom-pecan stuffing:

A festive plate (mine):

Aunt Pat brought an amazing apple pie, made with homegrown Granny Smith apples:

Post-meal, candlelit quiet and cats: (above photo by Jamison)

The day after Thanksgiving was wonderfully relaxed--just right for exploring outside and making a Thanksgiving leftovers bento! These hibiscus buds in the garden caught my eye:

As did this lovely spearmint:

Barb helpfully gathered purple-marbled green beans and a decorative wildflower for the bento (I brought the trusty flower-shaped wooden box along for this visit), which also included a toasted roll filled with turkey, fennel-mushroom stuffing and fig jam, red-leaf lettuce, cranberry-orange sauce, local pecans, mint, and a tangerine wedge:

The rich, fertile land here is great for gardening. Barb's basil tomatoes elevate any dish to a sublime, sunny place:

Her fig-strawberry preserves:

Tree branches viewed from the hammock:

Loulou the Lab came by to visit:

While inside, Niño played "Test Your I.Q.":

Overnight, the first frost came, glazing the yard near the fig trees and reminding us of winter, and cozy times ahead:


sherimiya said...

I was lost in the poetry of your prose and photos, Bentobird! You transported me right along with you. Sounds like wonderfully magical and nostalgic places, people and creatures to visit. How lucky you are!

Lia Chen said...

Beautiful pictures ... You really had a good time!

Angi said...

AAAHHHH I'm from SC and only an hour or so from York! Oh thank you for posting all these pictures.. everyone knows how homesick I get and this made me feel so much better!

bentobird said...

Dear Sheri,
Thank you! It was a joy to try to capture this unique, multi-layered place, and I'm so glad you enjoyed the tour!Hope your Thanksgiving was delightful...

bentobird said...

Hi Lia,
Thanks for your comments! Yes indeed--it was great fun :)

bentobird said...

Dear Angi,

That is just so cool!! I can relate to your homesickness--back in the mid nineties, I lived in Norway for a little more than three years and often missed home while there--and for simple things I could not find in Oslo, like a slice of NYC pizza! Hoping your holiday was enjoyable, even far from home :)

hapa bento said...

A lovely post and story. The chickens! How I adore chickens. (and not to eat). They have a calming affect on me.

Glad to read that you had a nice visit.

bentobird said...

Hello hapa bento :)
They really were delightful to watch, and happily they are there just for eggs and the lively and cute interest they bring! Thanks for coming along for this visit down south, hope your holiday was lovely...

Anonymous said...

It seems you had a wonderful time with your inlaws!

bentobird said...

Hi there gnoegnoe :)
Yes, it was a great visit to a unique place!

tatabonita said...

Hi Bentobird, you must have had a GREAT time there and had a fun photography adventure. Love all of your picts, wish I were with you and taking those beautiful picts together hehehe LOL. Btw, the dawned chilly morning is my most favorite one, just love the perfect combination of black and white colors :D

bentobird said...

Hi there tatabonita!
Thanks for your lovely comment--I admire your photos, so its very cool receive! This really was the most fun visit I've taken to SC so far...thanks for coming along via this post!