Archive for December 5th, 2006

The Dilbert Blog is amazing.  Read here about how music should be considered a drug.  Love it. 

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Gather round, let me tell you children a story.  Over a hundred years ago, in a land far far away called Valdosta, my great great grandfather, Charles Paine, and his first cousin, M. Smith (I can’t remember his first name right now) married two sisters, Ada and Rachel Jones, respectively.  Ada and Rachel’s father had a plantation called Wildwood along the banks of the Withlacoochee river which encompassed a great deal of land.  He left Wildwood to his two daughters.   (On a side note, the land originally came from Ada and Dsc00853 Rachel’s mother’s family, not the Jones family.  Apparently giving land to your daughter is cool in Georgia. We are so progressive.) This is a camellia I captured this weekend from a bush in my great grandmother’s yard – apparently the bush came from Wildwood, which I think is cool.  Heirloom plants is what  you call them I believe.

Each couple had six children.  Then tragedy struck and Charles and Ada both died within a year of each other.  So the Smith couple adopted the six orphaned Paine children and raised all twelve kids.  The kids were all double cousins at the least, basically siblings.  They lived part of the time in Valdosta but also at Wildwood Plantation where the cantaloupes were grown –  Dsc00901_3

It is unclear to me whether or not the twelve children were used on the plantation, but it says – grown, picked and packed by Paine and Smith, so I would assume that they were.   Twelve kids would come in handy on the plantation.  My great grandfather, the first Travers, was one of the twelve children.   Dsc00862

Before Charles died, he and M and four of their other friends bought a piece of property with a lake on it called Loch Laurel.  The lake is about three miles around and a mile across, spring fed, about five miles from the Florida line.  Charles and M bought out the other partners.  Loch Laurel is very pretty.  (here are some pictures I posted last spring).

So the Paine’s and the Smith’s, although two different last names, are virtually one big family.  But everyone is aware of the different branches.  Over the years Wildwood has been split into many different pieces and sold off little by little.  Loch Laurel is owned by a privately held corporation – with family members holding  shares. 

On the morning of Friday October 13, 2006, it was discovered that islands had appeared in one corner of the lake.  Overnight.  Loch Laurel is assumed to be a limestone sinkhole lake, and we believe the islands to be some sort of limestone plate that has shifted.  Actually, let’s get real, we have no idea what happened and it is totally freaky and weird.  But regardless, this is what they look like – Img_0705

I’m not sure if you can see from the pictures, but one of the islands is much larger than the restImg_0707. My cousin (first, once removed) Helen and her husband Jim and I decided that it would be really funny, if under the cover of darkness, we claimed the big island for the Paine family.  Hence the need for the family back story.  Because, obviously we deserve the big island.   Luckily – there was an almost full moon this weekend as we made our way across the lake in Helen’s john boat at dusk.  Dsc00866_1 Dsc00874

The pictures are dark because we were being sneaky, but I think we made our point –

Dsc00888 Of course, we couldn’t just leave it at that.  Because there were all these other little islands that needed signs.  Signs that said something like – Smith.  The only problem was that we didn’t have any paper or a pen to write with.  All we had was a beer bottle, a beer can, and a box of cheez-its.  Never leave home without them.  Fortunately – the islands themselves are essentially black mud rock.  So we ripped up the cheez-it box, broke off a piece of rock to use as a pen, and stuck the beer bottle into one of the smaller islands.  Hahaha, we are so funny and resourceful.    


Unfortunately it rained Saturday night, so our dark twilight photos might be the only evidence of the Smith sign.  The Paine sign was laminated and should last for a while.   This has been a very long post and I hope you enjoyed the photo journey.  I want to leave you with a couple more creepy nighttime photos.  They were taken with the long exposure nighttime setting of my digital camera, so they are a bit blurry, which makes them all the more creepy. 

Good luck to everyone who is taking exams, Jessica – I will try to be diligent in my posting. 

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