Fort Mill Times

This Side Up - April 22, 2009

Want to share some news with This Side Up? E-mail Pat at
Want to share some news with This Side Up? E-mail Pat at

It is gardening time again, and my husband has been growing tomatoes, green peppers and squash in the house again this year. It has been a crazy season - hot one day and cold the next - so Ray takes them out during the day and brings them in at night, In fact he brings them in and out more than I do my dog, Marley.

The plants are in the bedroom simply because that is the sunniest room in the house. I am such a light sleeper I can hear those plants growing during the night; It reminds me of "Jack and the Beanstalk."

I insisted he plant carrots this year, but according to Ray, they do not grow well in our soil and they take up too much room. I explained to him that I needed carrots to prevent facial wrinkles. He said I don't not need them. I am still thinking about that answer.

Did you know that if you load your plate with carrots, red peppers and sweet potatoes - all rich in Vitamin C - it will boost collagen, which is the main protein that plumps up skin? These vegetables are also filled with beta carotene, which guards against UV rays - the leading cause of wrinkles.

I am more into growing herbs and flowers. If you enjoy growing flowers, here are a few plants that won't make you sneeze: begonias, clematis, daisy, dusty miller, impatient, pansy, snapdragons, sunflowers, verbena and zinnia. These plants rely on insects for pollination and are the least likely to irate your airways.

Trees to plant are: apple, cherry, magnolia, pear, plum, red maple. Did you know that if you are feeling tired, just sniff some basil? British researchers found that basil's scent improves focus and alertness.

You do not have to be a master gardener to grow good organic produce or flowers. Give it a try. Not only does it save you money, but it's very therapeutic.

Piracy and Carolinas

We have another American hero, Captain Richard Phillips, who to save his crew offered himself as a hostage. The Navy SEAL snipers took action after the commander concluded that he was in "imminent danger." The Navy seal snipers killed all but one of the Somali pirates.

Piracy has simply shifted with the times. Nowadays, rather than arrive in a three-mast sloop, pirates use high speed, high tech boats or dinghies to surprise there victims. In addition to international merchant ships, yachts are often targeted. The usual loot are human hostages captured for ransom, high end items such as jewelry, watches and cash, to items of no value such as spare engines and cameras.

I have always been fascinated by pirates; Blackbeard (circa 1700s) was one of the most successful pirates of all times. Some of his infamous exploits include holding the City of Charleston hostage to get medical supplies he needed. He also defeated the British Royal Navy on at least one occasion. He got his name because he was tall, dark and had a long beard which he braided to create a more shocking appearance. To further confuse his opponents, he tied fuses under his hat before going into battle so there was a smoky haze around his head.

In the spring of 2005. North Carolina initiated a program called "dive down" which allows divers near the shipwreck popularly believed to be Blackbeard's flagship, the "Queen Anne's Revenge." The program allows up to 320 divers per year to participate in trips organized by dive shops. Officials are hoping the supervised dives will help with public support for shipwreck projects. Critics fear that access could lead to looting, just as Blackbeard himself might have done!

Some of the weapons pirates used were grease and soap they used this to make the deck slippery. If your enemy jumped aboard his feet shot out from underneath him, and you had the upper hand! Tacks were also spread out on deck to cut the feet of those who jumped on board (most Caribbean sailors did not wear shoes).

I was appalled by the looks of those scrawny pirates that captured Captain Phillips; they were young, some just sixteen years old, with AK-47 rifles and torn T-shirts.

I loved seeing Johnny Depp in "Pirates of the Caribbean." I liked all the excitement of swashbuckling and those colorful outfits! If I ever get captured by pirates it better be one who looks and acts like Johnny Depp or else I am walking the plank!