Watauga County Farmers’ Market – Weekly Update

I can’t say it often enough, if you are in the area and like locally grown food, swing into the “Market”. Whenever we are in the high country it ranks at the top of our list of must do stops. In fact, I have been known to schedule our visits to coincide with market days to allow us to stock the kitchen with great food at the beginning of our stay.

Watauga County Farmers’ Market has been enjoying quite a successful 35th season this far. There is a new row of vendors between the Horn in the West main office and ticket office, offering everything from garden plants to veggies to prepared foods. There are still plenty of open parking spots for shoppers, so if you have not been to the market in a while you will be in for quite a few pleasant surprises.

The times of the Wednesday markets are also changed for this year’s market. The market will be open from 4-7 starting June 17 instead of the morning times of past years. We hope you will find the new hours more convenient and enjoy the additional events we have planned for the Wednesday markets. The first attraction will be the music of Southern Exposure on the 17th. There will be plenty of fresh edibles for your mid week meals, so do plan to stop by.

One of the things that always made me a bit sad was that I didn’t have a garden in the mountains to allow me to bring home some of the live plants for sale at each market I’ve attended over the years.

via May 30, 2009 | Watauga County Farmers’ Market.

Bluejays

Have you ever watched a Bluejay eat an acorn? Around my home in Texas we have Bluejays year round. Actually, we have more Bluejays in winter than in summer but that’s neither here nor there. The Bluejays in my yard tend to eat acorns they find on the ground. Watching them find an acorn to try is fun but the amusing part is the way they approach opening the shell of the acorn…After selecting the best subject for his attention the discriminating Bluejay takes his selection and flies to a comfortable tree limb out of harms way. Once settled on the chosen base of operations the Bluejay proceeds to pound the poor unsuspecting acorn into submission. Once the hard nut has cracked from the pounding, the hardworking Bluejay is able to enjoy the fruit of his labor.

Then the process is repeated…By a multitude of birds on succeeding days. I have never noticed if the supply of acorns runs out or not, but I suspect there are acorns as long as the birds wish to search for them. I would imagine some of the nuts are from the stash the squirrels hide in the yard all fall and winter long.

As I alluded above, at this time of the year, the Bluejays visit us individually. During the winter months they arrive in the yard in great flocks of upwards of half a hundred or more. They appear to rotate through the yard on a regular feeding circuit they share with the Robins that overwinter here as well. Between the two species, they add a touch of color to an otherwise drab vista out my kitchen window.

Muses from the middle of the day

My email brought me the latest “News From Vermont” a regular newsletter put out by Burr Morse from the Morse Farm Sugarworks. I stumbled upon a copy of one of his email missives a while back and I enjoyed it so much I was moved to subscribe. I have been glad I did ever since.

Burr has a particular way of seeing the world and then writing about it…
Hello again Maple People,

We have two spring seasons here in Vermont. The first is, of course, our sweet and famous maple sugarin’. Sugarin’s part of my genetic makeup so, you see, it’s not income or livelihood that leads me to the woods every spring but something instinctive and unforgiving. Just as a squirrel gathers nuts or a dog waters hydrants, when spring comes I’ve gotta sugar rain or shine, feast or famine, or more appropriately, snow or snow. Speaking of snow, this year Saint Valentine greeted us with 36 inches of the stuff, three dozen ways to say “I love you”! The day after that
holiday dumping, I would rather have skipped sugarin’ altogether but I proceeded with deep, snowshoe-trudging steps toward the season ahead. This may come as a surprise, since on the outside I look like a happy-go-lucky sugarmaker, but the rigidness of “having to do it” sometimes creates negatives in my sugarmaking life; no drop in the bucket for a “happy-go-lucky sugarmaker”.

Do yourself a favor and go sign up for your own subscription. Or if you just want a copy of this issue send me an email and I’ll forward a copy of this issue…

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

Springtime?

Everyone down here keeps saying it looks a lot like spring…but…Folks, if it ain’t spring someone really needs to say something to the trees and flowers outside my house. The temps yesterday hit the mid 70’s (as I recall, those were some very good years). I would expect them to hit the same place today…and tomorrow…though the forecast is only calling for the upper 60’s low 70’s. Before all of you who may be reading this start shouting about that being your summertime weather consider the fact that this is the home of the first completely covered sports stadium (now housing three).

While these late winter early spring days are about the only weather we get that is really pleasant the coming days of summer are what we try to avoid. And if their is “Global Warming” or not the very fact that the past decade has been the warmest in recorded history just makes this part of the country that much more “pleasant” in the summer.

I was raised down here on the gulf coast without summer AC and I don’t recall it as being that bad. It wasn’t all that comfortable in July and August but we just spent our afternoons at the neighborhood pool. Season passes for the whole family at about $25. And nighttimes where great, attic fans we called them, great big hulking things in the central hall ceiling sucking humongous amounts of outside air in and through the whole house before blowing it out through the attic. Nighttime was so cool all summer long that you snuggled up under the same cover you used in the winter. Those fans are what spoiled me, I can’t sleep to this day without some type of air movement.

Oh well, on to my email…I’ll be back if I find something interesting…

You gotta love Sitemeter. Not only does it tell you just how few people actually read your meandering thoughts, but it tells you how they stumbled on your blog. Like this from yesterday…Someone hit this site by Googling the question “when does the sun come out in nc“. I didn’t go see what Google returned for an answer but I would have said something long the lines of “usually in the morning unless it’s raining or foggy”.

Looking out my window I see the sun hitting the lower limb above me so I guess I better move…You all have a great day and a very pleasant weekend…Catch you down the ‘way.

Springtime?

Everyone down here keeps saying it looks a lot like spring…but…Folks, if it ain’t spring someone really needs to say something to the trees and flowers outside my house. The temps yesterday hit the mid 70’s (as I recall, those were some very good years). I would expect them to hit the same place today…and tomorrow…though the forecast is only calling for the upper 60’s low 70’s. Before all of you who may be reading this start shouting about that being your summertime weather consider the fact that this is the home of the first completely covered sports stadium (now housing three).

While these late winter early spring days are about the only weather we get that is really pleasant the coming days of summer are what we try to avoid. And if their is “Global Warming” or not the very fact that the past decade has been the warmest in recorded history just makes this part of the country that much more “pleasant” in the summer.

I was raised down here on the gulf coast without summer AC and I don’t recall it as being that bad. It wasn’t all that comfortable in July and August but we just spent our afternoons at the neighborhood pool. Season passes for the whole family at about $25. And nighttimes where great, attic fans we called them, great big hulking things in the central hall ceiling sucking humongous amounts of outside air in and through the whole house before blowing it out through the attic. Nighttime was so cool all summer long that you snuggled up under the same cover you used in the winter. Those fans are what spoiled me, I can’t sleep to this day without some type of air movement.

Oh well, on to my email…I’ll be back if I find something interesting…

You gotta love Sitemeter. Not only does it tell you just how few people actually read your meandering thoughts, but it tells you how they stumbled on your blog. Like this from yesterday…Someone hit this site by Googling the question “when does the sun come out in nc“. I didn’t go see what Google returned for an answer but I would have said something long the lines of “usually in the morning unless it’s raining or foggy”.

Looking out my window I see the sun hitting the lower limb above me so I guess I better move…You all have a great day and a very pleasant weekend…Catch you down the ‘way.

Home Politics or Politics of Home

Susan Albert had a post yesterday that really spoke to me. I keep going back and re-reading what she had to say about Terry Tempest Williams and her book Refuge: An Unnatural History of Family and Place.

In an interview titled “The Politics of Place,” Williams talks about the importance of staying home–or at least, staying in one place long enough to learn its seasons, its inhabitants, the names of things. Here’s a paragraph (the longer interview is definitely worth reading)

I believe that to stay home, to learn the names of things, to realize who we live among… The notion that we can extend our sense of community, our idea of community, to include all life forms — plants, animals, rocks, rivers and human beings — then I believe a politics of place emerges where we are deeply accountable to our communities, to our neighborhoods, to our home. Otherwise, who is there to chart the changes? If we are not home, if we are not rooted deeply in place, making that commitment to dig in and stay put … if we don’t know the names of things, if don’t know pronghorn antelope, if we don’t know blacktail jackrabbit, if we don’t know sage, pinyon, juniper, then I think we are living a life without specificity, and then our lives become abstractions. Then we enter a place of true desolation.

Staying at home, learning a place well enough so that we can chart the changes–that’s a significant, meaningful commitment. Among all the other things we must do to protect this earth and the places we love, that’s right at the top.

As I read the above I find myself saying yea, that’s obvious. Then I realize that until I read it, It wasn’t. Then it starts me to thinking about what it means to those of us who feel the pull of a different place than the one we were raised in and call home. I have spent 53 years figuring out that the Texas Gulf coast, no matter how long I stay, lacks something that my nature calls out for. I never realized what it was until a few years ago driving back from the San Antonio area I felt the growing depression as the land flattened out towards home.

Since I find I agree with Terry Williams on the central part of her thesis, and I have spent my lifetime doing what she says, what does it say about me that I now find the need to do it all over again in a new/old place. Is it, as I think, that ancestral pull to the even older home? Or, is it just looking for the new experiences to reawaken the old wonder of the new?

Source: Lifescapes

Enough introspection so early in the morning. Let’s see if there is anything in the mornings email…

I see that the Floyd area is still having some fun with the below freezing temperatures this morning, though it looks like Boone and Valle Crucis are in the above freezing side of the thermometer.

Reading the Washington Post this morning I see that Richard Cohen has some good things to say about Al Gore.

Gore — the son of a senator himself — was raised for the presidency. But for the moment at least, he is showing all the irritating signs of a man at peace with himself. He abandoned Washington for Nashville. He has made a bundle in his investments, and he has set out to show that there is life after a failed candidacy, a purposeful life in which a man can do some good. His movie and his speeches are — to paraphrase what Clausewitz said about war — a continuation of politics by other means. He cannot make war but he can still make a difference.

If he runs are not, my hats off to Al Gore. He is making a difference by making a difference and in the long run that’s what matters.

Just to show how spring is trying to push on in this year, here’s a photo of the leaves popping out on the oaks in my yard.


Here is another…

TGIF – 2767

TIME
And another week has passed. Isn’t it amazing how fast time flies as you get older. As Einstein might say, “It’s all relative my friend”. Yesterday was 1/19375 of my life, no wonder the days seem shorter. Oh well, the coffees hot, the morning email calls and…Time Passes.

Sorry for the short post this morning. I ended up going off on a bit of an anti-(Bush, War, Rightwing) Screed over at Blues From the Red Side of Life Blog. Feel free to jump over or not…

Today is “Go Texan” day in Houston. The kick off to the Houston Rodeo season. Everyone is supposed to dress up like “cowboys” which means the John Trivolta “Urban Cowboy” look. What we all called the goat roper look back in the suburban side of Houston I grew up on. Of course everyone I hung out with were surfers translating into hippies as the culture changed. So I’ll send a big “Howdy” out to all ya’ll and say…”Ya’ll come back now, ya’ear”

Foggy, drippy morning

As I wandered out with the garbage this morning I could feel the fog in the air. The sound of the water dripping off the trees was everywhere. I will admit though, the temperature in the upper 50’s was nice. Yesterday we were pushing 80 by the afternoon and it made you appreciate being in the shade. After a very wet and cloudy start, the sky cleared of by mid-morning and it was a beautiful day as seen from behind the monitors on my desk (as in not). It’s days like yesterday that bring on that dreaded disease called “Spring Fever”, and I know I was beginning to feel the symptoms. If I am not careful I am sure the disease will become full blown and I’ll have to self- prescribe an afternoon on the grass with a kite…or a camera.

I see from the mornings run to Floyd County that Fred has expanded his borders a bit in his “writings of place”. With the addition of the new blog he is going to have more white space to fill. I look forward to tagging along on his exploration of discovery about the place he calls home and the people who have lived along that slow road and called it home also.

Well, I am running a bit late this morning and it’s about that time. I gotta run but I’ll try to add to this post later if I get the chance. Take care and have a great day.

Later…
This is a shot from the drive in this morning…

Photoshoped a bit to suit my eye.

Foggy, drippy morning

As I wandered out with the garbage this morning I could feel the fog in the air. The sound of the water dripping off the trees was everywhere. I will admit though, the temperature in the upper 50’s was nice. Yesterday we were pushing 80 by the afternoon and it made you appreciate being in the shade. After a very wet and cloudy start, the sky cleared of by mid-morning and it was a beautiful day as seen from behind the monitors on my desk (as in not). It’s days like yesterday that bring on that dreaded disease called “Spring Fever”, and I know I was beginning to feel the symptoms. If I am not careful I am sure the disease will become full blown and I’ll have to self- prescribe an afternoon on the grass with a kite…or a camera.

I see from the mornings run to Floyd County that Fred has expanded his borders a bit in his “writings of place”. With the addition of the new blog he is going to have more white space to fill. I look forward to tagging along on his exploration of discovery about the place he calls home and the people who have lived along that slow road and called it home also.

Well, I am running a bit late this morning and it’s about that time. I gotta run but I’ll try to add to this post later if I get the chance. Take care and have a great day.

Later…
This is a shot from the drive in this morning…

Photoshoped a bit to suit my eye.