It’s Friday the 13th of July and I am NOT in the mountains…

But if you are, check out the Watauga Farmers’ Market. This weeks email newsletter has my mouth watering…

Summer’s heat has arrived in Boone and the surrounding farms, and with it comes the payoff of traditional warm season crops. Brenda Powers has added a nice harvest of yellow squash and cucumbers to her selection of jams and jellies including red raspberry, peach and grape, and she is also watching her cantaloupe patch for the first signs of ripeness. Jeff Thomas will have sugar snap peas, English peas, summer squash, parsley, basil, kale, and 3 kinds of beets, all grown using organic methods. The folks at Maverick Farms are keeping the tasty spring greens going and will have salad mix, collards and kale and also lots of fresh cut herbs including oregano, garlic chives, sage, cilantro and spearmint. The crowd pleasing pesto foccacia will also be available from the Maverick Farms stand.

Speaking of the mountains this weekend…I wish I was there to be torn by what to do…I wrote about the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games in my previous post, but you also have the opportunity to enjoy some great mountain music at the 10th Annual MusicFest ‘n Sugar Grove
with Doc Watson. Marie over on her Blue Ridge blog has a great post with photo of Doc…What a day job that lady has…While you’re at it check out her dragonfly photos then add her to your blogroll ’cause she always has some great photos for those of us who need that “Mountain Fix”.

As my buddy Fred First would say…Y’all get out and introduce a child to nature this weekend, it’ll do you both a world of good.

It’s Friday the 13th of July and I am NOT in the mountains…

But if you are, check out the Watauga Farmers’ Market. This weeks email newsletter has my mouth watering…

Summer’s heat has arrived in Boone and the surrounding farms, and with it comes the payoff of traditional warm season crops. Brenda Powers has added a nice harvest of yellow squash and cucumbers to her selection of jams and jellies including red raspberry, peach and grape, and she is also watching her cantaloupe patch for the first signs of ripeness. Jeff Thomas will have sugar snap peas, English peas, summer squash, parsley, basil, kale, and 3 kinds of beets, all grown using organic methods. The folks at Maverick Farms are keeping the tasty spring greens going and will have salad mix, collards and kale and also lots of fresh cut herbs including oregano, garlic chives, sage, cilantro and spearmint. The crowd pleasing pesto foccacia will also be available from the Maverick Farms stand.

Speaking of the mountains this weekend…I wish I was there to be torn by what to do…I wrote about the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games in my previous post, but you also have the opportunity to enjoy some great mountain music at the 10th Annual MusicFest ‘n Sugar Grove
with Doc Watson. Marie over on her Blue Ridge blog has a great post with photo of Doc…What a day job that lady has…While you’re at it check out her dragonfly photos then add her to your blogroll ’cause she always has some great photos for those of us who need that “Mountain Fix”.

As my buddy Fred First would say…Y’all get out and introduce a child to nature this weekend, it’ll do you both a world of good.

Friends in the Mountains

I think it was Marie at Blue Ridge Blog that first pointed me to the Hillbilly Savants Blog. Since her tag line is…”All I need is an outhouse and a dream….” I thought this link back would be appropriate.

The shack out back

Tennesseans called it the “la-la.” Elsewhere known as the john, the shanty, the shack, the throne, the shed, the relief office—it was the humble outhouse. The little buildings “out back” were as important as any building built before indoor plumbing. This was the building you located as soon as possible when you came to visit, and if your guest was the preacher, you invited him outside on some pretext so he could spot “the necessary room” without asking.

Take a minute and wander over and sit a spell…They serve up some interesting storytelling.

Source: Hillbilly Savants: The shack out back

I want to apologize for the fact I seem to be letting this blog slide a little as I post my daily muses at Coffee Muses these mornings. I’ll try and figure out a better method of keeping track of where I need to be spending some time soonest…

Thursday Morning Coffee Muse

I know I am beginning to sound like a broken record in some regards, but this can not be a normal weather pattern. Here we are in the second week of May with a named storm off of the East Coast, the daily temperatures in the Blue Ridge Mountains are forecast to be as high or higher than they are here on the Texas Gulf Coast. Even without the “caused by human actions” added to it, it would appear that climate change is upon us.

The climate change deniers seem to get stuck on the “caused by human” phrase, they seem to want to call it part of the natural cycle of weather patterns. Does it really matter? Seems to me if we don’t accept that our actions are causing the problem we aren’t going to change the actions. So really what the deniers are saying is they do not want to change the actions they are taking that the human caused climate change accepters are saying is causing the problem. In other words “It’s my Hummer and I’ll drive it till you pry my cold dead fingers from the steering wheel.” Though to this day I have to ask…Why a hummer? It seems that each year for the last decade sets new records for weather both up and down. Think about it, I am sure frosts in May are fairly common in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Frosts like the one they had this very week. But from the records, 80 degree highs are not. So it seems pretty strange to have both in the same week…At least to me.

The biggest problem these higher than normal temperatures are going to cause is in cooling homes that have never faced long summer months of 80′, 90’s and occasional 100 degree temperatures. Down here in the south the population did not start to grow until the development of economical (or so we thought) air conditioning units. There are large sections of this country that have never had to deal with high temperatures on a continuing basis. Wait till you see how that effects the economy. You only think you’ve seen brownouts and blackouts in the past compared to what everyone plugging in an ac unit on a hot day will do…

I live in one of the most air conditioned places on earth. And every summer we have deaths from the heat. We have ozone alerts almost daily as the temperatures rise. This is not a desert where the heat and dry suck the moisture off your body in a cooling evaporative effect. Air conditioning’s main effect is to remove the moisture from the air which cools it and therefore your body, both by temperature and evaporation. As the temperatures rise in the more humid parts of the country they will find it’s the humidity as much as the heat that does in the body. And that is where ac units shine, they remove the moisture. Sadly, in the process they dump heat in the great outdoors adding to the overall warming of the planet…

Enough of my rambling…

If you guys get together today in Floyd for a bloggers forum, pull out a chair for me I’ll be there in spirit if not in body. That’s one meeting it doesn’t look like I’ll catch in the foreseeable future. I never seem to make the trip to the mountains at the right time of the month…

The clock is screaming at me to shut down for the morning so…till later…

Day 365 – End of year one…

I never would have thought a year ago on May the 8th that this blog would have made it this far. For most of my adult life I tried to develop the journal habit and failed. So when I started this collection of almost daily musings, I had no real expectation that it would last any longer than the many journals I have collecting dust on bookshelves and in drawers around this old house of ours.

When I started this blog I blamed it on Fred First whom I hadn’t at that time “met”, though I had already acquired a copy of his book. In the past year we have become friends (at least I like to think so) and we still haven’t “met”. I hope to get the opportunity this summer to wander down Goose Creek and photograph the most photographed barn in Floyd County.

I have “met” others on this journey and hope they consider me a friend the same as I consider them.

Life has a way of keeping you on your toes, and if you don’t pay attention, it’ll pop you on the back of the head to get you to open your eyes…And, that’s where I am at today.

So thank you to all of you who wander by…Special thanks to those of you who keep coming back…

Day 365 – End of year one…

I never would have thought a year ago on May the 8th that this blog would have made it this far. For most of my adult life I tried to develop the journal habit and failed. So when I started this collection of almost daily musings, I had no real expectation that it would last any longer than the many journals I have collecting dust on bookshelves and in drawers around this old house of ours.

When I started this blog I blamed it on Fred First whom I hadn’t at that time “met”, though I had already acquired a copy of his book. In the past year we have become friends (at least I like to think so) and we still haven’t “met”. I hope to get the opportunity this summer to wander down Goose Creek and photograph the most photographed barn in Floyd County.

I have “met” others on this journey and hope they consider me a friend the same as I consider them.

Life has a way of keeping you on your toes, and if you don’t pay attention, it’ll pop you on the back of the head to get you to open your eyes…And, that’s where I am at today.

So thank you to all of you who wander by…Special thanks to those of you who keep coming back…

Virtual Environments

Kate, over on Cider Press Hill has a post on “Virtual Environments” where she makes some interesting points. Which really got me to thinking about what our virtual workplaces must look like. That led me to this post where I want to share my virtual desktop at work…


Keep in mind that this is a dual monitor setup where I work on highly graphic intensive programs. I also spend at least nine hours a day in front of these screens, so when I minimize the working projects I really am “North Carolina Mountain Dreaming” with a bit of Virginia thrown in.

Where do you spend your day? Post a link in the comments and let’s visit each others virtual environment…

And another week bites the dust…

On my drive home from work I had one of those moments that drive home the need to have the camera in reach and ready to shoot…I didn’t and I wasn’t, so I missed what was probably a once in a lifetime shot. As I was drive toward home of an evening I sometimes pass a skydiving establishment in Rosharon, Skydive Spaceland. Yesterday as I came upon the facility there was a group just in their final approach to landing. They were coming in fairly well spaced out so that they were landing a couple of minutes apart from each other as I drove into town.

Every time I see this sight I wish I was prepared to catch some shots but so far I always approach as they are already landing. As I sat in the turning lane waiting for the light to change I looked up and was immediately returned to Fred First’s photo of the other day of the Vulture crossing the moon. Instead of a vulture, picture a man hanging below a bright red parasail passing back and forth in front of the moon. Needless to say, my camera was in it’s bag on the floor board behind my seat just out of reach and the light was about to change. Oh well…

I see Tom Philpott has a new article over on Grist. Everyone who has an interest in food should take a look at it…

Two years ago, dairy giant Dean Foods shuttered a milk-processing facility in Wilkesboro, a town at the eastern edge of North Carolina’s Appalachian Mountains.

…Since there were no other USDA-approved processing plants around, the few remaining dairy farmers in the mountains faced a stark choice: pay to have their milk hauled an additional 55 miles to Winston-Salem, where Dean ran another plant, or exit the business.

In the tiny mountain town of Bethel, N.C. — 45 miles west of Wilkesboro — one such farmer took the second option, closing a 50-cow operation he had started in 1959. When he started his farm, Bethel had around a dozen dairy farms. Today it has none.
When I think of consolidation in the food industry — fewer and fewer companies controlling more and more production — I think of that small farm in Bethel.

The start of this article has a special meaning for me as I will never forget the day I wandered into Bethel for the fist time. the view of the valley as I wandered down from the mountains just screamed farms. It was such a striking scene I kept driving around for quite sometime. So striking in fact that I totally forgot I was carrying a camera and was out looking for photographs…go figure!

Source: How food processing got into the hands of a few giant companies | By Tom Philpott | Grist | Victual Reality | 26 Apr 2007

Coffee’s hot and there are 20 emails to read before I leave for work, so…

Ok, now I thought the Blue Ridge Mountains would still be enjoying a cool start to spring right about now. Instead they seem to have moved into what should be an early June weather pattern, or am I wrong. When a day on the Blue Ridge in late April starts out at the same temperature as the Texas Gulf Coast, well people, we have a problem. Not that I am complaining about the coolness of the morning as I sit with the door open listening to the birdsong as I sip coffee, read the morning emails and type these meandering muses. But, what will this mean for my trip in late July. I look forward to the cool mornings and the coffee out on the porch watching the valley fog below rise up and burn off. I don’t want to think it could be just as warm as Texas…

Lazy Weekend Thoughts

Blue Ridge Country Magazine

One of the things I look forward to in the snail mail realm is “Blue Ridge Country Magazine“. I discovered the magazine about the same time I discovered the real thing and I have had a subscription almost since the very first issue I read. Since I started reading this mag I have stumbled across Fred First’s images on occasion, but, what keeps me reading is the writing of…

Elizabeth Hunter

Elizabeth Hunter’s column “From The Farm” in each issue is always the first thing I look for. In the years since I first discovered the magazine and subscribed I have come to appreciate her insights on mountain living and nature. Her column in this issue is part travelogue and part science/ecology lesson with a touch of Earth Day conservationism thrown in. As she takes us through Natural Bridge State Park in Kentucky she explains the “mixed mesophytic forest” ecology and it’s resemblance to the same type of forest in China. She talks of the research being done in China to try to find a way to stop the hemlock woolly adelgid, a problem facing the whole of the Appalachians.

Since her trip took her through much of Kentucky, she even gets in some thoughts on the problems of the coal companies and their mountain top removal methods of destroying a way of life and the living species that once resided there. If you haven’t had a chance to check either the magazine or Elizabeth Hunter’s writing do yourself a favor and take a look…

Some issues of the magazine contain a extra gift or two when Elizabeth has a feature article to go along with the column.

Ron Rash

I first started noticing Ron Rash whenever I run across him a few years back when Garrison featured one of his poems in his daily “Writer’s Almanac”. Since that day I have added a couple of Ron’s volumes to my library, one poetry and one novel so far. So it was with interest I read his closing comments in this months Blue Ridge Country Magazine. As a bit of autobiography it was an interesting read. The columns title, “The Mountains My Hopes“, leads directly to the closing paragraph…

My hope is that the mountains my family has called home for more than 250 years, and much more than that for the small portion of Cherokee in me, will not be destroyed by coal companies, lax environmental laws and overzealous developers, who too often seem intent on destroying the rural landscape and natural beauty that attracts people to the region in the first place. No one can expect the southern Appalachian region to remain in some changeless vacuum, but how much change and at what cost are questions the region must ask itself.

I find I share the hopes expressed by Ron Rash for the mountains he grew up in, the mountains I have come to love.

The Nation Magazine

My morning email brought me an announcement from “The Nation” magazine that they have a special Earth Day edition out. One of the feature articles is ” Adapt or Die” by Mark Hertsgaard. In it he compares the flooding in Bangladesh with what has happened in New Orleans. The comparisons are not good for this country. The final paragraph is what really hit me between the eyes…

At this point we must accept that the battle to prevent global warming is over; now, the race to survive it has begun. This race will continue for the rest of our lives, testing human ingenuity, institutions and values as never before. Losses are inevitable, but the situation is not hopeless. We know much of what needs to be done, and we have considerable resources at our disposal. There is rough weather ahead, but if we keep our heads and stick together, we may find ways of living through the storm.

Source: Adapt or Die

Fragments From Floyd

Anyone who has read this blog knows I blame Fred First for the inspiration to follow his lead and try my hand at writing on a regular basis. I am still stumbling along looking for that voice I think I have and the words I want to say. A short while ago I had one of those stream of conscience moments where you just let the words flow. What came out was a “review” or as Tom Montag likes to say “an appreciation” of Fred’s “Slow Road Home”. The reason for the introduction here is Fred had a really good post up the other day for Earth Day and I wanted to link to it…

Earth Day 2007 – How many More

I’ll be bold and assume that thirty seven years of planet-watching earns me one stand in the bully pulpit. From this one citizen’s perspective, four things must happen. Making the rubber meet the road is quite another matter, and these are complex issues we must be talking about in Floyd’s meeting places, churches, and organizations.

  1. We must take individual responsibility for being carefully conscious of our family and community “environmental footprint” and reduce it.
  2. We must insist that efficiency and conservation by industry and commerce play a much stronger role than they have thus far in CO2 abatement.
  3. We must not become complacent by thinking that our individual conservation or lifestyle changes alone will fully solve the larger problem.
  4. We must find a just way to prevent those who produce the least greenhouse gases from suffering the most.

No matter what we do in the short run, climate change impacts on humanity are likely to be large in the coming century, even here in remote Floyd County. Coping with this unprecedented degree of change will require a whole new way of thinking about our relationship with the planet and each other. Let’s renew our commitment to these goals this Earth Day, and move quickly toward an Earth Decade.

Sitemeter

You know it’s a funny thing about the sitemeter stats. I must be saying something here on occasion that touches at least a few people. I don’t have a lot of site visits, but it appears I have a few returning visitors. Some of the locations ring a bell from the comments that have been made over the past year. Some though I have yet to meet. So here’s a great big Texas Howdy to all with thanks for your stopping by. If you really want to make my day…Tell me what it is that brings you by…

Well, I’ve spent way to much time playing this morning and the wife is giving me dirty looks so I better run.
Y’all have a great weekend, get out enjoy spring…See you all on the other side.

Monday Evening Wine Muses

It looks like I am running a bit behind today…

The sad thing is, I had nothing started I can even half finish to throw out with the wash water.

I haven’t had time to run my blogroll and see what’s happening out there as I have been playing grandpa a bunch this last weekend. When I came in from work the little bit was in Grandma’s arms. After I changed and checked on the new kittens on the back porch I grabbed the grandson and bonded some more. The little toot is now in the living room with the grandma type person having his supper bottle.

Looks like the winter weather is coming to an end. It’ll be back up to 80 again tomorrow.

Looks like a number of folks in my daily reading list have been tagged with the “Thinking Blog Award” this past week. Congrats to all…I knew I read all you folks for a reason. And following the links on in your own awards has led to some interesting reading…

The wine glass calls so I’ll catch y’all on the other side of the dark…