Monday, October 13, 2008

Historic Magnolia Plantation

Monday, October 13. The Dow is up 938 points, it has quit raining and all is right with the world. We went to the Magnolia Plantation today. The house was originally built in 1676, the damn Yankees set fire to it during the Unpleasantness (aka The Civil War). Afterward it was rebuilt on a less grand scale. It was a rice plantation. Rice was a huge crop in the low country. Tons of the stuff was shipped back to Europe, making the plantation owners wealthy until the war. Most of them were devastated afterward. Rice farming requires dikes to control the influx and outflow of water, most of them were destroyed by a series of hurricanes in the late 1800s. Without the labor provided by slavery, the dikes could not be rebuilt. Then there was that pesky earthquake that leveled Charleston in the same time period. Surely locusts were on their way. Anyway, it was an interesting visit.

This is landscaped in the "romantic" style. Meaning they wanted it to look natural, but better. Lot's of trees and shrubs.

There are some large ponds. They used to be rice paddies, but now they're decorative.

The view from the front porch of the plantation.

More pondage.

The family gravestone. There is a huge underground vault where the Draytons lie in repose. See the crack in the marble? Caused by the earthquake.

More ponds, more grounds.

There is a petting zoo. Peacocks roam about.

The property abuts the Ashley river. It's a tidal river. Goods were taken to market down river using drift barges, the current runs about 3 mph. Then they came back the same way when the tides turned. It was quicker than by horseback, so most people and stuff came by water. On the other side of the remaining dikes are freshwater marshes, planted with cattails. It's a wild life sanctuary now. We saw this guy looking for food. We signed up for a boat tour of the marsh. Saw a couple of alligators sunning themselves.

The marsh with cattails.

Then it was off to the Audubon Swamp. This area used to be for the large scale production of rice. They had acres of the stuff. After the fields were wiped out, this was turned into a swamp garden. The green stuff floating on the water is duck weed. Ducks eat it, alligators eat the ducks.

More Spanish Moss. It's neither Spanish nor moss. The Spanish part comes from the native American's naming it for the long wispy beards of the conquistadors. No one knows about the moss part of the name. It's an epiphyte.

These are the only surviving antebellum slave quarters. Here two families per house would live and raise food and try to survive. The siding is cypress wood and is original. It's pretty grim.

Back to the swamp walk. The boat tour guide told us about alligators. They eat, then they have to sit in the sun to get their body temperature to 72 degrees so they can digest. If they're not warm, it just sits in their stomachs and rots. They can run 35 mph for about 70 feet. If you startle them, they'll eat you. Kidding, just kidding. So, we know there are alligators in the swamp, and we're walking at pretty much water level wondering if we're prey or not. It was slightly unnerving.

We saw a couple of them sunning. There is also a fence around this part of the swamp. We like the fence.

So, this concludes today's travel narrative. We're here for 1 more night and then we don't know. I wish the dang 5th wheel would show up, or we could at least get a delivery date so we could make a plan. I want to get ON with it!
Hope you are all well. We are fine.

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