Mountain Musings

I sometimes feel like I am deceiving folks as they search the web. The theme of this blog being what it is, but the writing being based on my life here in Texas, causes mischief with all of the search engines. So if you end up here looking for North Carolina wildflowers or dirt roads or weather or anything else, I apologize for the misdirection. I also am looking for all of those things in my life on a daily basis. The future will bring them…or not.

But right now, right here you can find beautiful images of the northwestern North Carolina mountains this spring at Marie’s Blue Ridge Blog. For images of the southern North Carolina Mountains try Liz’s Southern Highlands Camera. A new blog about the Tennessee Mountains with some overlap into NC can be found at Appalachian Treks. Southwestern Virginia is represented (at least in my daily reads) by Fred at Fragments From Floyd and Doug at Blue Ridge Muse. So if you are here looking for some spring in the mountains check out the above blogs, they all put some really nice photos up regularly.

And keep coming back here, while my pictures of the mountains tend to only cover summer, I take enough each trip across the country to keep new ones coming all year long. Plus, someday… somehow, I will make the move and then I’ll be posting my own shots year round. Until then you’ll just have to put up with the pictures in the body of this blog not matching the ones at the header or footer.

Thanks for stopping by…

Sustainable Forestry?

I have been following Fred’s posts on sustainable forestry (links here and here)the past week or so, so when I say a link to the following on The Appalachian Voice Front Porch Blog it forced me to follow the story…to Greensboro, North Carolina. Eric Schaefer wrote the story for the News & Record there.

“Why not selectively cut?” I asked, “That way you leave the canopy at least partially intact and preserve some of the integrity of the forest as well as its beauty. There is not too much uglier than a fresh clear-cut.”
They explained to me that the problem was twofold: First, to a timber company, selective cutting means taking out the most desirable trees and leaving behind crooked trees or species that aren’t marketable. If you go that route, what you’re going to have left is a forest that is never going to produce marketable trees. Second, it is expensive and sometimes impossible to find someone to selectively cut.
Part of the job of the Forest Service is to produce forest management plans for private land owners, and Tate and Gibson told me they would gladly come up with any kind of plan the land owner wanted. If a land owner wanted forest that would be attractive to warblers and not cowbirds, woodpeckers and not starlings, trout lilies and not dandelions, they could do that, but if you want to have your land assessed as forest you have to have a timber production plan. And since they can’t recommend selective cutting because of the consequences for the future timber production, you must clear-cut to get a forest assessment.
A forest assessment, similar to an agricultural assessment, means that the land in question is assessed differently than residential property and can mean big tax savings. If farmers were assessed the same as other land owners, many of them would go out of business. So to ensure we don’t lose our farms, farmland is assessed differently and the same is true for forest land. However, you must be actively engaged in farming or forestry to get these assessments, and what that essentially means for forest land is periodic clear-cutting.

As you can read from the story, it’s easier for the lumber companies therefore

  • the Forest Service won’t recommend any other form of timber management.
  • without the Forest Service timber management you don’t get a forest assessment.
  • without the forest assessment you don’t get the lower tax rate.

What’s wrong with this picture? Essentially, the Forest Service is forcing landowners to have their forest clearcut. Go read the article…From here it looks like another holdover from the turn of the past century is still making it easy to strip the resources off the earth… This whole story reinforces what the Healing Harvest Forest Foundation is trying to do.

To first take out the injured and dying trees, the introduced species making room for the more valued trees to grow. And doing it in a way that doesn’t destroy what you leave is the very essence of sustainable. It just takes time and above all patience.

Source: News-Record.com – Greensboro, North Carolina: Sports: Clear-cutting question really isn’t clear cut

TGIF – 2772

A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions. – Oliver Wendell Holmes..

I am sitting here looking at a blank screen and finding I have no ideas this morning. I have made my way through my emails and other than the White House slowly burning to the ground, nothing causes me to jump out here with a comment.

Random Reading Links

  • Marie has posted a new spring photo at Blue Ridge Blog.
  • Fred has been battling armies(?) of mice marching through the night at Fragments From Floyd
  • “The seed has no idea of being some particular plant, but it has its own form and is in perfect harmony with the ground, with its surroundings … and there is no trouble. This is what we mean by ‘naturalness’. ” Shunryu Suzuki, Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind from Beyond the Fields We Know

Check back later maybe I’ll find my muse…

Monday Morning Muse

Traffic Report

Seems like I got noticed yesterday. While I went about my normal Sunday business (including playing Grandpa for a while in the afternoon) I had two or three normal weeks of traffic hit this blog in an afternoon. And it all happened thanks to George Will.

So thank you Mr Will, your post on the anger of the left-“Anger Iis All The Rage“, well, it left me angry. My post in reply was spotted by The Mahablog. All I can say is thanks for the kind words and the referral. All traffic help is appreciated. Trust me when I say this, it wont be the last time I feel the need to blast back at George Will.

Weather

The uncommonly mild weather continues unabated across the south and up the east coast into the Blue Ridge Mountains. Looks like at this rate late July could rival our first vacation into North Carolina back in August 2003. As hot as that may be, it is nothing like the heat of a Texas summer. ‘Though I am beginning to worry when the temps in Boone keep coming within spittin’ distance of the temps in Houston in early March…

Well it’s time to hit the road…Ya’ll have a good day and a great week…

Spring Again…Happy St. Pat’s Day

Weekend Weather – As I sit here this morning with the door open and birdsong on the “soundtrack”, it is cool and blue. Fifty-three degrees and one of those after the cold front blue skies that only happen in the cooler few months of the year. It promises to be a beautiful day.

Driving home from work on Friday I was enthralled with the spring green color of the environment around me. It seems that almost every tree and shrub is now showing at least some color. And the color of the light in the mornings and the evenings is so complementary to this shade of green.

Coffee Muses on a Saturday Morning – I see the morning news is still all abuzz about the AG and the firings. At the rate things are going the Congress isn’t gonna be passing many laws with all of the scandalous doings of the administration.

I’ve been playing around today with the GTD Inbox for Gmail Firefox addon. As an old timer when it comes to GTD, I discovered David Allen back a decade ago, I am happy to see someone manage to port the methodology to Gmail.

Politics – Is it just me, or is David Brooks making even less sense than usual as he tries to let the White House off the hook? It has gotten embarrassing to watch him squirm around trying to spin the news on a daily basis. To think the best he can do on most things is call it “ancient history”. Which, I guess, means that since no one could investigate anything with the old congress, the Bush administration now deserves a get out of jail free card for everything that hs happened in the past two – three – four, I don’t know David, do we just give everyone in this administration a retroactive pardon? Jeez, get real. If laws were broken it’s time for someone to pay the piper.

Quote for Today

Reading Fragments From Floyd on Friday I followed Fred’s link to his new “Fieldnotes from Nameless Creek: a Photographic Excursion” where I read the following. I felt compelled to put it here.

Go slowly in nature and stop often. Look for the particulars. Take notes and draw sketches. Learn a dozen trees and recognize them in leaf, fruit and branch in every season. Learn a dozen wildflowers from spring, from summer and from autumn. And rekindle curiosity and wonder. Each insect or flower holds its own mystery and unique design. Be able to name a dozen birds, first by sight, then by their call alone. Know some salamanders-while they last-and a few dragonflies and even some common spiders and snakes.

Source: Fragments From Floyd:September 2005 Archives

The Middlewesterner

This paragraph from Tom Montag really hit me between the eyes. I have been having the same thoughts pretty regular these days as I look in the mirror of a morning. It’s not that I look that much like dad…But their is enough of a resemblance to cause me to remember bits and pieces.

A fellow starts out to become his own man. He wants so much to be his own man, to make his own way in the world, to become his own unique self. The longer I watched my father in the hospital bed, the more that we talked, the more I recognized I was seeing myself there, my own future self. My father has shaped me indelibly. I am not complaining, I’ve been marked by a good man. It’s just surprising to see how little of me there is in the world, and how much I take from my father, from my family, from the land, the world I come from. Nature or nurture? Ultimately it doesn’t matter exactly how it gets stirred; we seldom end up very far from where we began.

Unlike Tom, we said goodbye to my dad going on 11 years ago. I guess I too was marked by a good man. Thanks Tom, for the words I couldn’t have said but can feel way to well.

Source: The Middlewesterner

The Middlewesterner

This paragraph from Tom Montag really hit me between the eyes. I have been having the same thoughts pretty regular these days as I look in the mirror of a morning. It’s not that I look that much like dad…But their is enough of a resemblance to cause me to remember bits and pieces.

A fellow starts out to become his own man. He wants so much to be his own man, to make his own way in the world, to become his own unique self. The longer I watched my father in the hospital bed, the more that we talked, the more I recognized I was seeing myself there, my own future self. My father has shaped me indelibly. I am not complaining, I’ve been marked by a good man. It’s just surprising to see how little of me there is in the world, and how much I take from my father, from my family, from the land, the world I come from. Nature or nurture? Ultimately it doesn’t matter exactly how it gets stirred; we seldom end up very far from where we began.

Unlike Tom, we said goodbye to my dad going on 11 years ago. I guess I too was marked by a good man. Thanks Tom, for the words I couldn’t have said but can feel way to well.

Source: The Middlewesterner

Foggy Morn Redux

Well they promised fog on the TV news last night and Mother Nature delivered. Mild temperatures with lots of gulf moisture stir gently with little to no wind and you get fog, lots of fog. So needless to say sunrise just ain’t a happening this morn.

The morning email brings some news from the mountains…

I see that ASU made the Washington Post today…

Appalachia Helps Where D.C. Fails

Unlike many college students who spend their spring break partying, about a dozen students from Appalachian State University in Boone, N.C., are going to seize the “chance to give back to the community,” according to a news release from the D.C.-based National Center for Children and Families.

The center said the students, supported by Appalachian State’s Alternative Spring Break program, will leave their school, in the heart of the Appalachian mountains, to volunteer their services to “one of our nation’s most economically distressed areas.”

Their spring break excursion will take them to Southeast Washington — specifically to J.C. Nalle Elementary School in the Marshall Heights community of Ward 7. Once there on Monday, the students are expected to work through the week with children in kindergarten through fifth grade, as well as on various projects around Nalle.

Now that is putting a Spring Break to good use. Way to go ASU.

Source: Colbert I. King – Appalachia Helps Where D.C. Fails – washingtonpost.com

I was sitting here musing about how so many of the blogs I frequent are by authors, some newly published, some with many books on the shelves, some with only the beginnings in their minds. I think that is one of the thing that makes blogging deferent than other forms of publishing. In the world of books you are presented with a polished piece of art, if you assume writing is art. Whereas with blogging you usually get an insight into the thought processes of the author. You will discover in the ongoing conversation, and that’s what most of these blogs I read become, the reasons behind the words. You become privy to the person behind the pages not just the words upon the page.

I have always wanted to know more about the authors I read, especially the ones I keep coming back for more from. Pre-internet that wasn’t always easy. Even in the early years of the internet you only found publisher bios of the author, sometimes the author would set up a web page, sometimes they would even update it occasionally. But with the advent of blogs you begin to really get to know the person behind the words. You begin to see what they are passionate about, what just ticks them off. They become a person not just a name on a cover, sometimes a friend and not just an acquaintance. Makes life much more interesting, don’t you think?

The really great thing is watching some of these “bloggers” just getting started. They begin with a bit of hesitation. They wander around looking for a path to follow that matches up with their particular version of the “muse”. Then you begin to see it in their post, they are finding their voice, their passion. They begin to speak with a clearer sense of what it is they want to say.

With any luck I will find my voice here someday. Right now I am stumbling around the language hoping I don’t stub my toe too badly. Until such a time that I actually start to make sense, thanks for stopping by and listening to the mumbles that show up here.

…Sorry, I got distracted by the light on this foggy morning. I am sure the sight of an overweight, middle aged ex-hippie wandering around in a field with a camera and a tripod wearing house shoes and jogging (ha) shorts was a sight I am glad I could not see…

Here are a couple of apple blossom images hot of the printer, so to speak.


Dew covered Apple Blossom Buds.


And dew covered Apple Blossoms.

Walking the Berkshires

GreenmanTim has some interesting things to say about a proposal for a traveling meat processing plant. If America wants to reach a more sustainable means of feeding ourselves this could be one of  the methods needed to reach that level. Tim writes some very interesting articles on his site, this one was quite informative as usual. If you are interested in sustainable agriculture, go check out the rest…

What they lacked were meat processing and packaging services.

This is a critical problem not only for New England but across much of the United States, where just 4 mega-corporations process 80% of America’s meat.  There is increasing demand for locally-produced meat, raised without antibiotics or hormones, and people are willing to pay a premium for the security of knowing where their food comes from and who produces it.  they also care about supporting local agriculture and the regional farm economy.

Source: Walking the Berkshires