Walked out the front door this morning an the warm, heavy, still air reminded me more of early summer than of spring. I am sure there are a lot of folks who would love the weather we are having already this spring (my wife included), but it is just reminding me that this past winter has been the warmest since we began to keep weather records. I am not comfortable when the temperature hits the 80’s the humidity hits the 90% range and the wind doesn’t blow…Not comfortable at all. I guess if the scientists are right though I better learn to cope.
I received the first volume of the Highroad Guides I ordered, the “Highroad Guide To The North Carolina Mountains” by Lynda McDaniel. I started reading it last evening after running my blogroll. The was a paragraph in the preface that I would like to share…
“Not until the town of Hickory do we catch sight of these mountains. Just around a curve in the road, they suddenly reshape the horizon and, for a moment, make our breath catch. They are beautiful, majestic, glorious, and for the lucky ones, home. Magically, once they are in sight, we seem to coast toward them, even though the journey courses uphill the rest of the way.”
That passage brings back my first journey into these mountains I have come to love. I like to think it’s just my ancestral memory pulling me home, but chances are it’s those unfulfilled dreams of my young adulthood wanting to be recaptured and lived out.
I grew up a geology nut and a rockhound in a part of the country that has neither. As I walk the highroads of the North Carolina Mountains, all of these childhood curiosities come back to me…What is that flower? That rock? That tree looks like a pecan, is it a hickory? Every step bring new questions. The easiest way to recapture a portion of your youth is to remove yourself from the familiar.
One of the things that drives my family to distraction when we vacation in these mountains is my constant driving to explore. I want to “know” the area, drive the backroads, see the old farms, smell the woods along the creeks, stand on the tops of the balds. I have a need to hold all of these mountains in my mind. To feel the aged glory of the oldest geology in the US. That is what keeps me returning, even on a short trip in the middle of the work day via the virtual reality of Google Earth. The pull of the squiggly lines on the topographical map, the need to stand and let the eye caress the reality represented in the mapmakers art. The unfamiliar wildlife mixed with the familiar, the unfamiliar flora, all of these things call me back…Call me home.
From the Washington news yeaterday…
“One of the leading scientific experts said the consensus supporting this view on global warming is as strong as anything in science — with the possible exception of gravity.”
Al Gore at Senate Hearings on Global Warming
Barbara Damrosch has a new column out that raises hope for the future of the family farm.`
But a significant number of farmers are now getting back in by remaining small — even tiny. In his book “MetroFarm,” radio host Michael Olson details the growing phenomenon of cities ringed with mini-farms, sustained by the proximity of specialty markets. It’s an industry made up of many small niches, in which anything that sets a product apart from the uniformity of big-store fare is sought after and fetches a higher price. Your corner of the market might be an ethnic specialty such as Asian greens. It might be crops that chefs love, such as celeriac and mache. It might be artisanal cheese or fresh eggs with bright-orange, stand-up yolks. It might be cold-weather crops, seasonally grown. Or it might just be the freshness and flavor of food grown closer to home and with more care. The experience of shopping is often part of the product, too. A family or community atmosphere adds value to what’s for sale.