South Carolina Living January 2022

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Field of dreams Clemson’s incubator program nurtures first-time farmers



Hearty soups and stews HUMOR ME

Dog versus remote

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Read in more than 600,000 homes and businesses and published monthly except in December by The Electric Cooperatives of South Carolina, Inc. 808 Knox Abbott Drive Cayce, SC 29033 Tel: (803) 926‑3175 Fax: (803) 796‑6064 Email:

2022 |jan 14 Taking root Spend a day working the land with the ladies of FarmaSis as they sow the seeds of better living through nutrition— with a little help from Clemson Experiment Station’s incubator farm program.


Keith Phillips Tel: (803) 739‑3040 Email: FIELD EDITOR

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Hearty soups and stews


The man with a thousand sons

18 19 20




The case for cast iron plant

Put a little more green in your garden with an aptly named plant that’s easy to love and hard to kill.


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Sheep wanted, farmer optional

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Field of dreams Clemson’s incubator program nurtures first-time farmers SC RECIPE


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World War II combat veteran, retired ag teacher and mentor to many in Wagener, Spencer Smith celebrates 100 years.



Good connection, better disconnection

Nothing hits the spot on a cold winter day quite like a warm bowl of soup or stew. Chef Belinda Smith-Sullivan offers up her best one-pot recipes.

Periodicals postage paid at Columbia, S.C., and additional mailing offices. © COPYRIGHT 2022. The Electric Cooperatives of South Carolina, Inc. No portion of South Carolina Living may be reproduced without permission of the Editor.

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Updates from your cooperative

Hearty soups and stews HUMOR ME

Dog versus remote

Bonita Clemons, founder of the FarmaSis gardening group, takes a break from planting vegetables at the Clemson Experiment Station’s incubator farm near Columbia. Photo by Andrew Haworth.

SC |agenda Apply now for 2022 WIRE scholarships

her craft and would like to eventuto earn college degrees may now ally teach the culinary arts at local apply for financial assistance from schools. the 2022 Jenny Ballard Opportunity Applicants for the program must: Scholarship program. Sponsored u Be a member of a South Carolina by Women Involved in Rural electric cooperative. Electrification (WIRE), a service u Have graduated from high school organization associated with South or earned a GED at least 10 years Carolina’s not-for-profit electric coopago. eratives, the scholarship is a one-time u Be accepted into an accredited S.C. award based on financial need and college or university. personal goals. u Demonstrate financial need and In 2021, Erica Gore—a member of clear academic goals. The deadline for applications is Horry Electric Cooperative—received June 1, 2022. Recipients will receive a $2,500 scholarship to complete scholarships for the Fall 2022 or an associate degree in baking and Erica Gore, a member of Horry Electric Cooperative, Spring 2023 semester, with funds paid pastry arts from Horry-Georgetown used her 2021 Jenny Ballard Opportunity Scholarship to directly to the college or university. Technical College. complete her associate degree in baking and pastry arts To apply, use the online form at “As the first person in my family to from Horry-Georgetown Technical College. attend college, I have always strived to be a great example to my children and show them how to Paper forms are available at your local electric cooperative and persevere and succeed through hardships,” says Gore, a resican be downloaded as a PDF from Completed forms can be attached to an email addressed to dent of Little River. “I want to continue doing that by obtaining, or mailed to Peggy Dantzler, The a degree in baking. Receiving this scholarship is a huge benefit Electric Cooperatives of South Carolina, 808 Knox Abbott Dr., and will ease the financial burden on my family.” Cayce, SC 29033. Gore plans to apprentice at a bakery to further develop WOMEN RETURNING TO SCHOOL


ONLY ON What’s in a name?

Soup’s on!


Get more of Chef Belinda’s delicious soup and stew recipes—including her take on Beef Burgundy— at​food/​ chefbelinda. Plus: Don’t miss her no-knead bread recipes for the perfect companion.



From Ninety Six to Possum Kingdom, explore the origins of 10 South Carolina place names you’ve always wondered about. Plus: Share your own story or theory on these and other unique South Carolina towns in our Place Names reader poll.

Cats and dogs training together

See how Clemson University students are teaming up with Battle Buddies Carolinas to train service dogs for veterans.

Efficient stove tops If you’re planning to remodel the kitchen, it may be time to replace that old stove top to save energy and money. Learn about your options and what to look for at

Maximize your heating system’s performance by inspecting, cleaning or replacing air filters once a month or as needed to reduce energy costs and prevent potential damage to your system. Make sure radiators, baseboard heaters and warm-air registers aren’t blocked so air can flow freely. SOURCE: U.S. DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY




| dialogue

Good connection, better disconnection AROUND HERE, WE LOVE CONNECTIONS.




In addition to connecting our members to safe and reliable services, South Carolina’s electric cooperatives connect with community organizations like chambers of commerce, economic development commissions, charities and school districts to better serve our communities. On occasion, we even partner with other utilities to improve your quality of life. Sometimes those good connections lead to even better disconnections. That was the case with the consumer exchange that occurred between Dominion Energy and Mid-Carolina Electric Cooperative last October. Following discussions between the two utilities, approximately 55 Dominion Energy customers in the Leesville community of Riverbend Point at the western end of Lake Murray became members of Mid-Carolina Electric, putting them Crews from Dominion Energy South Carolina cut one of the utility’s power lines across the Saluda River as part of a territory swap with Mid-Carolina Electric Cooperative. close to one of the cooperative’s substations and improving the reliability of their service. Dominion Energy then cut down spans of wire­­​—one as long above so that almost all vessels can pass under them. as 1,700 feet—hanging 40 feet above the Saluda River, improvIt’s not that lineworkers from cooperatives, Dominion Energy or any other utility are unable to do the work necessary to maining the public’s safety along the popular waterway. This exchange of territory is rare but not unprecedented tain or restore the power delivered over water crossings. Our in the utility sector. And although efficiency of service was crews have the experience and skills to get the job done while an important factor, the safety of the public and of lineworkadhering to our industry’s strict safety standards. Rather, in true cooperative spirit, the two utilities worked ers was the primary reason Mid-Carolina Electric agreed to together to make it safer for their communities and employthe exchange. Delivering power safely in rural areas is hard enough. Water as an additional obstacle makes maintaining the ees. They solved a relatively small problem before it became power grid even more hazardous. a bigger one. Their partnership resulted in more efficient and It doesn’t happen often, but when boats come in contact reliable electricity for both Mid-Carolina Electric members and with power lines that hang above waterways, the results can be Dominion Energy customers. tragic. One such accident claimed the life of Palmetto Electric As we begin 2022, utilities face tremendous challenges Cooperative’s general manager nearly 40 years ago when his sail- and opportunities just over the horizon. The growing electric vehicle market promises to increase the demand for power. boat mast struck a power line near Daufuskie Island. Cooperatives across the state are racing to bring broadband Water crossings are often the only way of delivering power to homes and businesses on islands, around lakes and across rivers, internet service to rural communities. The way electricity is generated, consumed and stored is changing rapidly. but they increase the risk to lineworkers. Because water crossIt’s nice to know that in South Carolina, we can count on ings require taller poles and heavier lines, outage restoration collaboration among utilities to meet these challenges. and maintenance can be difficult. Although not the case with Dominion Energy’s recently eliminated span, a pole in the middle of the water is sometimes required to get power to an ­island or peninsula. The climbs up those poles from the comparatively less stable platform of a boat can be perilous. It’s not that lines built over water are unsafe. They meet the codes required by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which regMIKE COUICK President and CEO, ulates infrastructure along navigable waters. They hang high The Electric Cooperatives of South Carolina


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| recipe



1 pound (16 ounces) mixed dried beans, soaked and liquid discarded 2 tablespoons olive oil 1 large onion, diced 3 carrots, peeled, halved, and cut diagonally into ¼-inch slices 2 stalks celery, diagonally sliced 1 tablespoon minced garlic

4 cups unsalted chicken stock (more if needed) 2 bay leaves 2 cups diced ham 1 large zucchini (or 2 small), quartered and sliced into ¼-inch slices 2 tablespoons tomato paste 1 15-ounce can diced fire-roasted tomatoes

Kosher salt Fresh ground black pepper 1 teaspoon dried thyme Pinch, red pepper flakes 2 cups packed fresh spinach (or kale) ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley, for garnish Grated Parmesan, for garnish

Soak dried beans for two hours then drain the liquid, according to the Chef’s Tip below. In a Dutch oven over medium-high heat, add olive oil. Saute onions, carrots and celery until onions are translucent. Add garlic and cook an additional minute. Add beans to pot. Add stock and bay leaves. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 1–1½ hours until beans are tender. Add ham, zucchini, tomato paste, tomatoes, salt, pepper, thyme and red pepper flakes. If needed, add more stock at this time. Stir well to combine and simmer an additional 30 minutes. Turn off heat and stir in spinach. Serve garnished with parsley and Parmesan. Quick soaking method for dried beans. Sift through beans to remove any debris or stones. Place beans in a pot and cover with water, at least 2 inches above beans. Over mediumhigh heat, bring to a boil and cook for 2 minutes. Turn off heat. Cover pot and let sit for 2 hours. Drain and continue with recipe. CHEF’S TIP




2 tablespoons olive oil 1½ pounds chicken breast or thighs (boneless and skinless) cut into bite-size pieces 1 large onion, diced 8 ounces mushrooms, sliced 3 carrots, peeled, halved and cut diagonally into ½-inch slices 1 pound mini potatoes, halved 2 garlic cloves, minced 4 cups unsalted chicken stock 1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes 2 bay leaves Kosher salt Fresh ground black pepper Pinch, red pepper flakes 1 teaspoon dried oregano 1 teaspoon dried thyme 1 tablespoon cornstarch ¼ cup fresh chopped parsley

In a Dutch oven over medium-high heat, add olive oil. Add chicken and cook until mostly cooked through. Add onion and cook until translucent; add mushrooms and continue stirring until cooked. Add carrots, potatoes, garlic, stock and tomatoes. Stir to combine and add bay leaves, salt, pepper, pepper flakes, oregano and thyme. (Ingredients should be covered by stock.) Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, uncovered, for 30 minutes. In a small bowl, mix cornstarch with 2 table­spoons water and stir into stew mixture. Simmer to desired thickness. Stir in parsley and serve.






Hearty soups and stews

Nothing is more warming than the one-pot wond ers we refer to as soups an d stews. Use one pot, doub le the recipe and have enough to last for two meals. And if you are lucky, there will even be some left over to freeze for a future craving! It doesn’t get any be tter than this.

1 pound ground Italian sausage 1 large onion, chopped 2 carrots, peeled, halved, and cut diagonally into ½-inch slices 2 celery stalks, sliced diagonally 2 garlic cloves, minced 2 8-ounce cans tomato sauce 1 15.5-ounce can cannellini beans, drained 1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes 4 cups unsalted beef broth, plus more if needed Kosher salt Fresh ground black pepper Pinch, red pepper flakes 2 tablespoons Italian seasoning 1 sprig fresh rosemary 1 ounce piece of Parmesan cheese rind, for thickening and flavor, optional 6 ounces cavatappi or favorite small pasta Grated or shaved Parmesan, for garnish

In a Dutch oven or large pot over medium-high heat, cook sausage until all pink is gone. Remove and drain on a paper towel-lined plate. Drain excess grease except for 1–2 tablespoons. (Or add olive oil, if needed.) Add onions, carrots and celery and cook until onions are translucent. Add garlic and cook 1 minute longer. Return sausage to pot and add tomato sauce, beans, tomatoes, broth, salt, pepper, pepper flakes, Italian seasoning, rosemary and Parmesan rind. Stir well, lower temperature and simmer for 30 minutes. At this point, if adding pasta, add 1–2 cups additional stock. Add pasta and cook 8 minutes or until pasta is done. Remove Parmesan rind and rosemary sprig. (It’s okay if needles have fallen off rosemary sprig into the soup.) Serve in individual soup bowls sprinkled with lots of Parmesan cheese and crusty bread on the side. What’s cooking at

EASY BEEF BURGUNDY STEW Find Chef Belinda’s rich recipe for this classic winter warm-up at​food/​chefbelinda


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| good neighbors

The man with a thousand sons WWII vet, ag teacher and mentor to many in Wagener turns 100 BY JOSH P. CROTZER

has consistently been a protecting, guiding force in his life. After 100 years—he celebrates the milestone birthday on January 11—the World War II U.S. Army veteran and longtime Wagener educator can tell a lot of stories that will back up his faith in divine intervention. “Throughout my whole life, I feel that somehow the Lord had a purpose for me,” says Smith. “I’m just thankful that I have good memories of all the people that I had the opportunity to serve and work and be acquainted with.” Smith’s memories are indeed sharp. He can recount every mission his platoon took, fighting their way across Europe in WWII. One of those missions was especially memorable and impactful. His unit was among the first to reach German soil, and six miles beyond the Siegfried Line, they began taking fire. After a near miss from a German bazooka, he was shot in the face by a German rifle. Although his face was numb in that moment, Smith felt a sense of purpose that was profound and lasting. “I had to tell the good Lord, if he would let me put my feet back on USA soil, I’ll never leave it again,” says Smith, whose nose and mouth were repaired through plastic surgery. “And I’ll try to do something worthwhile for mankind.” And so begins the tale of the man with a thousand sons, many of whom have their own stories about the teacher who mentored them at Aiken County’s Wagener-Salley High School. A native of Oconee County, Smith settled in Wagener with his wife, Lelline, where they raised two daughters. His role as the SPENCER SMITH BELIEVES GOD

school’s vocational agriculture teacher from 1947 until 1982 was critical to the small farming community. According to his successor in that role, Allen Williams, Smith brought technology and modern methods to the local farms. “He was a direct link to Clemson University agriculture, research and experiments,” says Williams. “He helped them revolutionize their agricultural practices.” But his role in the development of young minds and spirits may be of greater consequence. Whether he was teaching science, woodworking, plumbing or leading the local chapter of Future Farmers of America, Smith imparted discipline, love and a wealth of life lessons to the hundreds of (mostly) boys who took his courses. “Mr. Smith treated his students as




Spencer Smith imparted discipline, love and a wealth of life lessons to the hundreds of (mostly) boys who took his courses.

Spencer Smith on a visit to the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., above, and at home in Wagener, left. He is celebrating his 100th birthday on January 11.

though they were his sons,” says Doug Busbee, a member of Smith’s last class at Wagener-Salley High and whose own son is now the vocational agriculture teacher at the school. “Even when we were being disciplined, we never doubted that he cared about us.” That affection is returned to Smith frequently, especially by the many students who became civic, business and military leaders. They often check in on their old teacher to reminisce and say thank you. After all, the lessons he still teaches might keep their feet in the soil for a long time. “The main secret [to a long life] is to never quit doing and never quit loving other people,” he says. “Never create animosity or hate toward anyone because those things grind away at you like cancer.”

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Incubator farming offers fellowship, wellness and a whole lot of fresh food BY HASTINGS HENSEL | PHOTOS BY ANDREW HAWORTH

A GOOD START Above: FarmaSis President Thomasena Laudmon, left, and Jeannie Jackson prepare for the day’s planting. Top: FarmaSis founder Bonita Clemons has made it her mission to introduce black women to the healthy benefits of farming.


IN THE FIELD WHERE THEY ARE PLANTING, you can still hear the constant thrum of traffic. After all, a mile away is Northeast Columbia’s busy Village at Sandhill mall. But the six women in wide-brimmed hats on a warm May morning focus instead on the ground before them, where they are planting row upon row of lettuce, basil, tomatoes, cucumbers, ­potatoes, watermelon, cilantro, parsley and hibiscus. Collectively, they are known as FarmaSis—an all-black, all-female, all‑organic farmers’ group that, in the words of their gregarious founder, Bonita Clemons, has three goals: “health and wellness, economic development, and to work together collectively as black women.” “We called it FarmaSis because, you know, we’re playing on words,” Clemons says. “A pharmacist gives medicine. We give food. Food is ­medicine. Black women call themselves ‘sister’ or ‘sis.’ We always call each other ‘sis.’ So, FarmaSis.” The field they are working is a portion of nearly 600 acres that make up the Sandhill Research and Education Center, operated by the Clemson Experiment Station. The FarmaSis plot is part of the five acres set aside for incubator farms that help beginning farmers learn the trade during three-year lease agreements, says farm manager Cody Bishop. For an annual lease fee of $350, Sandhill provides use of the land, reliable irrigation, use of farming tools and even facilities to wash and package produce for sale, he says. Leaseholders provide the labor and their unique entrepreneurial vision. “Our incubator farm is a learning experience where somebody who wants to learn how to farm can have an environment where some of the risks that normal farmers face are not on their backs,” Bishop says.


“ I’m a firm believer that everything we need to eat can be grown ourselves. We import more food than we grow, but it doesn’t have to be that way. We’re planting the seed to change that.” —FARMASIS FOUNDER BONITA CLEMONS

The FarmaSis group, which has been part of the incubator program from the start, is a perfect fit with the program’s mission to help beginning farmers serve their communities. The women come out four to five days a week, all year, to tend to the seasonal demands of farming— amending soil, planting, watering, controlling insects, harvesting and packing. “This is the vision,” says Clemons. “For all to learn, then you go and you teach 10, and you tell those 10 to teach 10, and eventually we’ll have enough food circulating to feed ourselves. Because I’m a firm believer that everything we need to eat can be grown ourselves. We [as a society] import more food than we grow, but it doesn’t have to be that way. We’re planting the seed to change that.” Clemons often speaks in gardening metaphors. Her leadership style, you might say, is like the crops she plants—it’s rooted in the local, but it blooms into the universal. The first seed was planted when she was working at Shaw Air Force Base, where she met a local farmer and “felt something there.” “I noticed, though, that the African American farmers were old and getting older,” she says. “I didn’t see any new people, and I didn’t see any women, so I said, ‘I want to train other women.’” She recruited like-minded farmers on social media, all of them inspired by the chance to make positive impacts on the local community. Clemons herself had once been ill and says she healed herself with the best natural medicine—healthy food. “I’m telling you, food is one of the most important things that helped me turn my life around. I just realized I had to take certain things out of my diet, and that’s when I went vegetarian. To feel good again,” she says. “I tell people, ‘I don’t demonize food, but because of what animals are being fed and the chemicals? Food has changed.’ So, I wanted to teach them about good health and then knowing that fresh food is a part of that.” As someone who studied business and economics, and who has a master’s degree in public health, Clemons recognizes that, to many people, eating well is equated with spending more money. She wants to combat that notion. “I think the cost is going to balance out in terms of your health because as we get older, the medicine is going to get you,” she says. “Yesterday I bought some squash and nearly fell over when the lady told me ‘Five dollars.’ I could buy a pack of seeds for two dollars, and I could feed—I’m not lying—like a whole community.” Thomasena Laudmon, who took over last year for Clemons as the group’s leader, takes a break from planting to say, “It’s such an important issue, food is. Because that’s how we grow. If we don’t have proper nutrition, then that stunts the growth in so many ways. Nutrition is

FARM TO TABLE From top: FarmaSis members prepare to plant on a May Sunday morning at Clemson University’s Sandhill Research and Education Center; Sadia Pollard of Columbia, a recent graduate of North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University and owner of Prosper Farm, tends to tomato plants in June; Bonita Clemons shows off freshly harvested zucchini.



HEALTHY LIVING FarmaSis farmers were planting in May and already reaping the fruits of their labor in June. From left: Teresa Wilson, Carmen Tisdale, Jeannie Jackson, FarmaSis founder Bonita Clemons, Lauretha Whaley, and FarmaSis President Thomasena Laudmon.

Room to grow The incubator farm program at the Sandhill Research and Education Center is hosted by Clemson Experiment Station. As this issue went to press, five growers were engaged in the program, which can accommodate up to seven participants at a time. For more information, contact farm manager Cody Bishop at (803) 788-5700 or

GET MORE Follow the women of FarmaSis as they share their farming trials and triumphs on Facebook @the-farmasis.


the catalyst for a healthy, vibrant lifestyle. So the work that the group and I do is very important because, as women, we are mothers, and as mothers, we take care of our families and communities.” Carmen Tisdale, the self-described “foodie” of the group, is out here today dragging plastic to thwart the weeds. She’s already cleaned her beds and planted some peanuts for the first time, and she likes how much fun they have out here telling jokes while they work. As she works her rows, she talks about making radish hummus, beet ketchup, pesto, Jamaican green sauce, vegan oxtails and kale salad—all from what she’s grown. She’s even brought gardening into her classroom at Logan Elementary and shown the kids how to make and sell smoothies; it’s a lifestyle approach she hopes to eventually pass on to her own daughter. Because the ideas and practices of FarmaSis are as interconnected as the farming ecosystem itself, the women also see feminine beauty as another benefit of the farming lifestyle. “Farming keeps me fine!” says Laudmon. “It’s exercise for me. After I get up in the morning and do my meditation and libation, I get out in the garden, and that’s my workout.” “FarmaSis brought style to farming,” says Clemons. “You could really make the connection—the reason you look good in that dress? It’s because your lifestyle, the food, the farming. It all comes together. That’s why you look the way you look in that dress.” They laugh as they begin preparing for another planting-day ritual— the potluck lunch. They break out the tables and chairs, and, still ignoring the noise of the nearby traffic, they bless the food and dive in. It’s a smorgasbord of kale salad, pasta salad, collard green salad, guacamole salad, black bean dip and fresh-cut watermelon. They know they have much to be thankful for, which also means they still have so much left to teach. “We’re taking care of ourselves and taking care of the earth,” Clemons says. “It’s the same thing.”



| calendar

Upstate JA NUA RY

14–16, 21–23 The Color

Purple, Spartanburg Little Theatre in Chapman Cultural Center, Spartanburg. (864) 585‑8278 or 15 The Greenville News Run Downtown 5K, Broad St. and S. Main St., Greenville. (864) 423‑1482. 16–17 240th Anniversary of the Battle of Cowpens, virtual event presented by Cowpens National Battlefield. (864) 461‑2828. 22 Interstellar Echoes: #1 Pink Floyd Tribute, Abbeville Opera House, Abbeville. (864) 366‑9673 or 22 Winter Bluegrass Jubilee, Pickens High School Fine Arts Center, Pickens. 29 Freebird: A Lynyrd Skynyrd Tribute, Abbeville Opera House, Abbeville. (864) 366‑9673 or 29 Spartanburg Wedding Festival, Spartanburg Marriott, Spartanburg. (864) 235‑5555 or F EB R UA RY

5 Natural Wonder: The Stevie

Wonder Experience, Abbeville Opera House, Abbeville. (864) 366‑9673 or 5 Rob Ickes & Trey Hensley, Chapman Cultural Center, Spartanburg. (864) 948‑9020 or 10–13 Disney’s Freaky Friday the Musical, Spartanburg Youth Theatre, Chapman Cultural Center, Spartanburg. (864) 948‑9020 or 12 Cupid’s Chase 5K, Conestee Park, Greenville. (854) 233‑6270. 18–19 Central Railway Model and Historical Association Train Expo 2022, Rock Springs Church Impact Center, Easley. (864) 508‑7126. 19 Deep Winter Blues, Hagood Mill Historic Site, Pickens. (864) 898‑2936. 25 Awakened, Spartanburg Philharmonic, Chapman Cultural Center, Spartanburg. (864) 948‑9020 or 26 Sweetheart Charity Ball supporting Meals on Wheels of Greenville, Greenville Convention Center, Greenville. (864) 233‑6565. O NG O I N G

Daily through Jan. 31

Ice on Main, Village Green, Greenville.


JAN 15–FEB 28 Our mobile-friendly site lists even more festivals, shows and events. You’ll also find instructions on submitting your event. Please confirm information with the hosting event before attending.


2nd and 4th Wednesdays

Ukulele Jam Night, Stomping Grounds Coffee & Wine Bar, Greer. (864) 801‑1555.


Midlands JANUARY

14 Columbia Home Building

& Remodeling Expo, Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center, Columbia. (803) 545‑0181. 15 Aiken Camellia Show, First Presbyterian Church, Aiken. (803) 279‑9451 or 21 Robert Earl Keen, Newberry Opera House, Newberry. (803) 276‑6264. 23 Tab Benoit, Newberry Opera House, Newberry. (803) 276‑6264. 27 The Great Gatsby, Newberry Opera House, Newberry. (803) 276‑6264. 28 Hotel California, Newberry Opera House, Newberry. (803) 276‑6264. 28 Old Town Night Market, Old Town Rock Hill, Rock Hill. (803) 328‑2787 or 29 The Polish Philharmonic, Newberry Opera House, Newberry. (803) 276‑6264. 29 Smokey & Me: A Celebration of Smokey Robinson, Sumter Opera House, Sumter. (803) 436‑2616. FE B RUARY

1 Verdi’s Rigoletto, Newberry Opera

House, Newberry. (803) 276‑6264. 3 The Lettermen (two shows), Newberry Opera House, Newberry. (803) 276‑6264. 4 Gaelic Storm, Newberry Opera House, Newberry. (803) 276‑6264. 4–6 Aiken Antique Show, Aiken. (803) 641‑9094 or 6 Glenn Miller Orchestra, Newberry Opera House, Newberry. (803) 276‑6264. 10 Shawn Colvin, Newberry Opera House, Newberry. (803) 276‑6264. 15 McCartney Years, Newberry Opera House, Newberry. (803) 276‑6264.

Blues guitarist Tab Benoit plays the Newberry Opera House on Jan. 23. 17 The Machine Performs

Pink Floyd, Newberry Opera House, Newberry. (803) 276‑6264. 18 Jimmy Fortune, Newberry Opera House, Newberry. (803) 276‑6264. 18 The Fifth Dimension, Sumter Opera House, Sumter. (803) 436‑2616. 18–26 Murder’s in the Heir, Aiken Community Theatre, Aiken. (803) 648‑1438. 19 Blue Dogs, Newberry Opera House, Newberry. (803) 276‑6264. 19–20 Winter Stamp and Postcard Show, Spring Valley High School, Columbia. (803) 309‑2534 or 25 Old Town Night Market, Old Town Rock Hill, Rock Hill. (803) 328‑2787 or 26 16th Annual Joy of Gardening Symposium, Gateway Conference Center, Rock Hill. 26 James Gregory (two shows), Newberry Opera House, Newberry. (803) 276‑6264. 27 The Music of Peter, Paul & Mary, Newberry Opera House, Newberry. (803) 276‑6264. 28 Tango Argentina, Newberry Opera House, Newberry. (803) 276‑6264.


13–15 Black Ink: A Charleston African American Book Festival, virtual event, based in Charleston. 13–16 SOS Mid-Winter Break/ Winter Workshop, Ocean Drive Beach & Golf Resort, North Myrtle Beach. (800) 438‑9590. 15 Charleston Marathon, Downtown Charleston, 15 Jim Witter—The Long & Winding Road, USC Beaufort Center for the Arts, Beaufort. (843) 521‑4145. 20 The Great American Songbook, Gaillard Center, Charleston. (843) 723‑7528. 21 Sam Bush, Edgar Meyer, Mike Marshall and George Meyer, Francis Marion University Performing Arts Center, Florence. (843) 661‑4444. 26 Hilton Head Snow Day, Shelter Cove Community Park, Hilton Head Island. (843) 681‑7273 or 27 Polish Wieniawski Philharmonic, Francis Marion University Performing Arts Center, Florence. (843) 661‑4444. 28 A Night in the Valley, The College Center at Trident Technical College—Thornley Campus, North Charleston. (843) 574‑6580. FEBR UARY

1–20 The Curious Incident of the

Dog in the Night-Time, Arts Center of Coastal Carolina, Hilton Head Island. (843) 842‑2787. 4 World Affairs Council of Hilton Head program: “How Democracies Die,” First Presbyterian Church, Hilton Head Island. (843) 348‑6758 or 4–5 Chopin’s Masterpiece, Gaillard Center, Charleston. (843) 723‑7528. 5 Great Guns on the Ashley (Artillery Demonstration), Charles Towne Landing State Historic Site, Charleston. (843) 852‑4200. 5 Save the Light Half Marathon & 5K, Folly Beach Pier, Folly Beach. (843) 795‑4386. 6 Lowcountry Oyster Festival, Boone Hall Plantation, Mt. Pleasant. (843) 853‑8000.

7 World Affairs Council of Hilton Head program: “Countering Extremism Together,” First Presbyterian Church, Hilton Head Island. (843) 348‑6758 or 12 Carolina Master Chorale Presents Stories of the Heart, Trinity United Methodist Church, North Myrtle Beach. (843) 444‑5774 or 12 Cupid’s Chase 5K, James Island County Park, Charleston. (843) 879‑3270. 12 Hopeful Horizons Race4Love 5K, Cat Island, Beaufort. (843) 524‑6151 or 13 Beaufort Symphony Orchestra– Give My Regards to Broadway, Sea Island Presbyterian Church, Hilton Head Island. (843) 476‑1310 or 13 Mutts Gone Nuts—Canine Cabaret & Pet Palooza, USC Beaufort Center for the Arts, Beaufort. (843) 521‑4145. 18 World Affairs Council of Hilton Head program: “Iran: Can We Lose The Enemy,” First Presbyterian Church, Hilton Head Island. (843) 348‑6758 or 18–20 Horry Georgetown Home Show, Myrtle Beach Convention Center, Myrtle Beach. (843) 918‑1225 or 19–20 The American Heritage Festival, Graham’s Historic Farm, Lake City. (904) 200‑1232 or 22–27 Beaufort International Film Festival, The Beaufort Inn, Beaufort. (843) 522‑3196 or 26 Lowcountry Festival, Shelter Cove Community Park, Hilton Head Island. (800) 523‑3373. 26 Swamp Fox Chili Cook Off, Main Street Commons, Marion. (843) 423‑9918 or 28 Hilton Head Irish Concert, Lowcountry Celebration Park, Hilton Head Island. (855) 287‑7287 or ONGOING

Wednesdays Awendaw Green Barn Jam, Sewee Outpost, Awendaw. (843) 452‑1642 or Thursdays Jan. 13–Feb. 10

History of the Old Beaufort District lecture series, USCB Center for the Arts, Beaufort. (843) 379‑3331 or

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n Trouble could be brewing with your houseplants. Watch for the appearance of such common pests as mealy bugs, whiteflies and spider mites, which can become active in the balmy, cozy conditions of a winter home.


n If you are looking to partake in some brisk exercise on a chilly morning, go out and turn your compost pile over. Also, enlist the able assistance of the sun to add extra heat to the heap—which will speed up decomposition—by covering the pile with a sheet of clear plastic.

VARIEGATED VARIETY The Spek‑tacular cultivar of

TIP OF THE MONTH Your winter garden doesn’t have to be a dull, barren place. Believe it or not, there are many ornamental plants that save their flower festivals for the coldest times of the year. Hellebores, pansies, winter daphne, sweetbox, edgeworthia, wintersweet, camellia, winter honeysuckle and witch hazel are prime examples of beautiful bloomers that light up in the chilled landscape. Since this month into early spring is their usual time to shine, consider stopping by your local friendly garden centers to see some of these cold-season beauties in full flaunt.


cast iron plant will have you seeing spots before (Aspidistra sp.) is a poster child for truth in advertising. your eyes. A favorite houseplant since the dimly ( and Nurseries lit parlor days of Victorian England in Caroliniana ( have many the 1800s, it is a toughie that can grow tempting possibilities. in almost any conditions indoors. With the cast iron plant being so Not much is needed to keep a cast easy to grow indoors, many gardeners iron plant happy. Keeping it out of think of it as simply a reliable housedirect sunlight and watering when the upper inch of soil feels dry to the touch plant, which it can be, of course, but are about all that is required, although there are several selections that will adding a diluted fertilizer solution every readily adapt to the great outdoors. A few months will encourage better leaf good chunk of these are cultivars from production. Repotting is the common species seldom necessary­—this Aspidistra elatior, which There are many has been found to be slow-growing plant will variegated cultivars reliably hardy in South usually do just fine in Carolina landscapes. a midsize, 8- to 10-inch delightfully Dry areas in shade diameter pot. sprinkled, sprayed, or dappled sunlight If there is any knock ideal growing spots against the cast iron smeared or swiped are outside, while soggy, plant, it would be that it is green. Just plain in contrasting hues. constantly wet sites or locations in full sun green. Ho-hum green. Or so it would seem. Actually, there are just won’t do. Cast iron plant leaves can turn brown if they are exposed to arid, many variegated cultivars delightfully below-freezing winds in the winter, but sprinkled, sprayed, smeared or swiped a spring snipping of any desiccated vegin contrasting hues ranging from pale white to golden yellow. etation will quickly remove such ugliFor gardeners who like to see spots ness and even encourage a flush of new before their eyes, popular selections like foliage growth. Spek-tacular, Leopard, Milky Way and So, cast iron plants can be dependGolden Freckles will provide the right able additions to any gardener’s green twinkle, while lovers of streaked leaves world, either inside or out, but, as a can enjoy pretty picks such as Variegata, bonus, the many beautiful variegated Snow Cap, Gold Lancer and Lennon’s forms show that such reliability can also Song. be served with a side order of sassy! Quality local nurseries will probably offer some variegated cast iron plants, L.A. JACKSON is the former editor of and for online shopping from regional Carolina Gardener magazine. Contact sources, both Plant Delights Nursery him at THE CAST IRON PLANT


The beautiful hellebore is just one of many flowering plants that can light up the winter garden.


The case for cast iron plant



| humor me

Sheep wanted, farmer optional BY JAN A. IGOE

IF THE REFRIGERATOR IS EMPTY, it’s really no big deal

when you’re single. There’s probably a half-eaten box of Pop-Tarts you bought during the Carter administration somewhere around. Even if you can’t find it, you can survive on boxed wine until the spirit moves you to go grocery shopping again. However, should you run out of pet food, you’ll crawl to the store before confessing to those hungry, soul-­ piercing sable eyes that you’ve failed them. When you own several canines, keeping them fed also prevents you—their delectably juicy owner—from resembling a standing rib roast. So there’s that. Being outnumbered 4:1, I’d rather not strain their loyalty. My dogs usually dine on a homemade crockpot of meat and vegetables that has them drooling before I can plug it in. And they have lots of stuff to chew, like those insanely priced elk antlers. (You could buy the whole elk for what one antler costs if you knew a large-hoofedmammal dealer.) But no matter what’s on the menu, our newest pack member always demands a crunchy electronic device for dessert. Rebel is a mini Aussie. I know I needed another dog like a hammerhead needs a Harley, but mid-pandemic, when distractions were scarce, it seemed like a swell idea. But Rebel is not a normal dog. Aussie intelligence is off the charts, so they require constant challenges. They’d be satisfied with a few hundred sheep to herd or some corporations to take public, but you leave them unsupervised at your own peril. Their gym and library memberships must be kept current. Lately, Rebel has shown an affinity for Eastern 22

Aussie intelligence is off the charts, so they require constant challenges. They’d be satisfied with a few hundred sheep to herd or some corporations to take public, but you leave them unsupervised at your own peril. philosophy and quantum physics when he’s not watching C-SPAN. While masquerading as an ­ordinary puppy, Rebel has eviscerated several ­remotes and made off with my Roku, among other escapades. For weeks, I monitored all his favorite hideaways and settled for watching TV on a 15-inch computer screen, but never found the remote. Finally, I relented and bought a new one for the same price as an elk antler. It looked identical to the Roku that vanished, but on closer inspection, the


new one was missing a feature I really liked. There’s no on/off button for the TV. It’s gone. Some Einstein eliminated it, which probably saved them 2 zillionths of a cent in manufacturing costs while making me nuts. (More nuts.) So instead of one remote to pilfer, now Rebel has two. I tried hiding them in a plastic storage box, but even dumb Aussies can pick locks, so defeating a Rubbermaid container wasn’t much of a challenge. I tried hiding the new Roku on the mantel behind the TV, which should have been easy for me to remember. Nope. By the time I went looking for it, I completely forgot I’d hidden it and blamed Rebel for stealing it. Unfazed by enhanced interrogation techniques, he refused to give up its location. I searched the house a few dozen times to no avail and finally, reluctantly, bought my third Roku. A few weeks later, I found its dusty predecessor on the mantel. Of course, I apologized to Rebel, who was indignant and threatened a defamation suit. Standing there with his paws laced across his chest, his furry foot tapping and head nodding with disdain, he made a few nonnegotiable demands. I’ve agreed to supply all the fresh antlers he can gnaw. Rebel will get his own smart TV—yes, with Roku—and an iPad. I’m still researching sheep dealers. If you know any, give me a call. JAN A. IGOE hopes everyone else is smarter than their pets and can remember where they put the remote. Thanks for joining the fun at Rebel, Jan and their pack wish everyone a happy, healthy new year.

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