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Theres something relaxing about shopping at a library sale that I dont sense when I shop at a big book store. Part of it is price, I know. I can afford to gamble on a stack of books when they range from a quarter to five dollars, but thats not the case when Im in an actual book store. Then Im less likely to pick up something just because it looks interesting.This book is a good example. I stopped by a new thrift store and glanced at the titles on the quarter shelf. Home by the River was there, a dark green hardback without its paper cover so I didnt know what it was about. I gambled. When I got home, I searched the title on Goodreads and found a brief synopsis and a couple of reviews (comments really). I still didnt know I was in for a treat.As soon as I started to read, Marjorie K Rawlings Cross Creek came to mind, but this is set in South Carolina, not Florida. And Rutledge didnt purchase the land, his family acquired the property back in 1686. After an absence of 44 years, Rutledge returned to Hampton in 1937 where he set about restoring the stately plantation (which is now a state park).Here we get a glimpse of what it must be like to restore an old home that was once elegant but has been empty for a good many years. I would have liked more detail, but his purpose wasnt to focus on the restoration. He wants the reader to appreciate not only the structure, but also the grounds, the wildlife, and the personalities of his Negro workers (the author is a product of his times). Rutledges writing reflects his assumption of responsibility for his help as well as his admiration and appreciation of their skills. Chapters on the birds, the delta, and living with an ever-changing land reveal his passion for all things natural.There are so many passages I could quote, but Im including only a few of them.• While digging a hole near the house, my spade grated on something. Carefully I investigated and at length uncovered neatly laid in a perfect row eleven ancient bottles, brilliant in reds and blues and opalines. They had been deep underground certainly for 150 years, and perhaps for much longer. ... I might add that in general cleaning up I have discovered more than 2000 antique bottles, just and jars...... Wouldnt that have been fun!• Like most living things, turkeys hanker after the place where they were born, and unless greatly disturbed will commonly be found near their old hearthstone. I have known an unmolested flock to sleep night after night in the same trees, and sometimes on the same limbs...... He has a lot to say about turkeys and the other wildlife that inhabit the plantation. I must admit that the alligators and poisonous snakes would make me decidedly uneasy.And he ends with one of his guiding beliefs:• I realize that I am but a visitor here in this stately home. I am, therefore, trying to be a considerate guest.

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