Southern Magnolia trees. To this northern girl, they look like fauna from another world, with their thick, leathery leaves. Check out the fruit they produce! This one is about the size of a softball, and it's soft and velvety to the touch. Sorry, to my knowledge you can't eat it. Just lately, the individual pods in this fruit burst open, revealing black bean-sized, crimson, rubbery seeds. Dazzling. I'm on the edge of my seat to see it bloom next spring. That will probably earn a post of its own.
Or when these amazing, towering, royal purple lovelies enter the stage.
And speaking of flowers, how about roses still blooming in October?
Now let's talk food for a moment. I absolutely love being able to buy fresh peaches. Baskets of "South Carolina peaches" are sold in markets and on corners. They are absolutely delectable. Many still have fresh green leaves on.
Are you still with me?
Produce markets. Seriously love the variety of fresh, local food here. Remember my plug for heirloom tomatoes? Heirloom Peppers are just as noteworthy. They're gorgeous, in all mottled shades of green, red, brown, and purple. I never knew peppers could taste like an heirloom pepper tastes.
Cumberland Mountain State Park. Some dear friends introduced us to this, and surely it is deserving of its own post...but shoot, I'm just running out of days. So here you go.
I'm so thankful for a bright and familiar place in the midst of feeling like strangers in a strange land. And with that, a scraping-of-the-barrel, hodgepodge of things to love, I will close for tonight.