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In February, March and April, I have three stories coming out in two different magazines, all with ties to Colonial North Carolina. The current issue of Wrightsville Beach Magazine has the first installment and next month will have the second half of that story. Then, Our State Magazine will feature a story I wrote about the importance of taverns in Colonial America.

For Wrightsville Beach Magazine I went to Brunswick Town, one of the first long-term settlements in the colony of North Carolina. Brunswick Town was an important shipping center and was the site of the first Stamp Act Rebellion, a (mostly) nonviolent (well, no one was killed but there was an angry mob and a small siege on the Colonial Governor’s house) protest against the Stamp Act, a tax on all paper goods in the colonies. The town played an important part in the Revolution in North Carolina and later played a significant role in the Civil War and an even bigger part in the events just after the war. Well, If I tell you any more you won’t need to read the article. So, if you like history, or even if you don’t, you can read my story in Wrightsville Beach Magazine here.



At the beginning of the gardening season, Lauren and I were excited. We built a new garden bed; mixed our soil, compost and fertilizers; poured over seed catalogs and made our selections. We planted our seeds in Dixie cups, moved them in and out of the house and watched as they finally sprouted. We stepped up the seedlings and had dreams of wheelbarrows full of zucchini, tomatoes, peppers and herbs.

Last year we picked up a couple of tomatoes and a couple of peppers and a bunch of herbs and planted them. We didn’t tend them that well. A little water and a lot of luck later and we had TONS of produce. We gave away pounds of tomatoes and zucchini, dried herbs for our friends and generally enjoyed a fantastic and easy harvest.

Now, this year’s garden. We worked, watched, watered, weeded and worried over our plants. I pulled suckers off the tomatoes, picked off slugs, snails and caterpillars, sprayed for bugs and disease with soap and oil and an assortment of organic products. Everything was going well: the bugs ate a few of our early zucchini but we were winning the battle; our Hungarian Heart tomato was thriving and bearing dozens of little tomatoes and even one the size of a softball; cucumbers were vining; peas were shooting and all was right with the world.

The Hungarian Heart in its death throes.

Until one evening when I went out to water. Our Hungarian Heart was wilted and leathery and was drooping like it hadn’t been watered for a week. It was dry, but not that dry, so I watered. By morning it had slumped against the trellis, dead. We cut off the one big tomato, pulled up the plant and threw it away. But what happened? Why did this plant die while the rest of the bed looked healthy? We added more soil and lime and tried another tomato. It thrived, growing quickly and heartily and looking promising. Then another tomato in another bed died just like the Hungarian Heart. Then another. Then the new one we planted where the Hungarian Heart used to be.

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