Sleeping in on a Saturday morning

This old man was up later than usual last evening waiting to pick up the youngest from her job at the Taco emporium (Texas style fast food) so I really looked forward to sawing logs right on into the daylight hours. The plan might have had some semblance of working had there been any daylight. Instead, ‘long ’bout half past 6 the band started warming up. You know the ones, they played at the Highland Games last year on Grandfather Mountain. They came from Scotland and they have an over abundance of percussion.

Boom ta da boom, boom boom ta da BOOM, BOOM BOOM BOOM…I loved the band but wasn’t expecting a command performance outside my bedroom window.

Oh…That’s not Albannach, that’s thunder. Ok, Ok I give up, I’m up…

That was a couple of hours ago. As I sit here in my kitchen by the window we are experiencing a lull in the downpour. Good thing too, there is at least three inches of water over most of my yard and the ditch is full…

The view from the front porch…and the kitchen window

This is the same view from last week.

10 Reasons to Buy Local Food

This list came from Julia and Andy’s Website. I discovered them last year during the spinach and e coli problem. Andy wrote an article about why he took himself out of the packaged greens distribution network. I liked the way he wrote and signed up for their newsletter. These are headings from the list, if you are interested in the body of each topic, use the link at the end.

10 Reasons to Buy Local Food

  1. Locally grown food tastes better.
  2. Local produce is better for you.
  3. Local food preserves genetic diversity.
  4. Local food is GMO-free.
  5. Local food supports local farm families.
  6. Local food builds community.
  7. Local food preserves open space.
  8. Local food keeps your taxes in check.
  9. Local food supports a clean environment and benefits wildlife.
  10. Local food is about the future.

©2001 Growing for Market. Permission to print and photocopy is granted.

Source: Ten Reasons to Buy Local Food

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: – 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…

Spring brings thoughts of gardens…

“Perhaps the truth depends on a walk around the lake.” – Wallace Stevens

Barbara Damrosch has a new column out. It seems to be timed to remind all the gardeners out there to start thinking tomatoes. Particularly the small pop’em in the mouth kind.

Cherry bombs, the exploding kind, must have been named after cherry tomatoes, the edible kind, which burst in your mouth with a charge of candy-sweet juices. Pop one in and another must follow, whether you’re raiding the shopping bag in your car or gorging your way down a garden row. The outdoor route is pure luxury, when the little orbs are warmed by the sun, their vitamin C at magnum force.

I can remember a time not many years ago when I couldn’t help but wonder at my lack of luck with these little ruby colored jewels of the garden. My plants were beautiful, flowered profusely, even set little green fruit in large numbers. For some reason though, there were never more than a handful of ripe tomatoes. Then one day I spotted youngest son in the garden by the cherry tomato plants, and as I watched he stripped all the ripe ones off the plant to eat right there in the garden. I quit wondering then and there and the next year I planted more plants…

Source: A Stalk on the Wild Side –

Reading Barbara’s column led me back to her and Eliot’s website
where I reread Eliot’s “Authentic Food – Authentic Farming” article from The Mother Earth News.

The label “organic” has lost the fluidity it used to hold for the growers more concerned with quality than the bottom line, and consumers more concerned with nutrition than a static set of standards for labeling. “Authentic” is meant to be the flexible term “organic” once was. It identifies fresh foods produced by local growers who want to focus on what they are doing, instead of what they aren’t doing. (The word authentic derives from the Greek authentes: one who does things for him or herself.)

Eliot goes on to lay out specific standards for the term “Authentic” to be used as a descriptive label for food products. He has spent a lot of time in the Organic movement and a lot of thought has gone into his standards. He closes the article with this statement…

“Authentic” growers are committed to supplying food that is fresh, ripe, clean, safe and nourishing. “Authentic” farms are genetically modified organism-free zones. I encourage all small growers with local markets who believe in exceptional food to use the word “Authentic” to mean “Beyond Organic.” With a definition that stresses local, seller-grown and fresh, there is little likelihood that large-scale marketers can steal this concept.

Go spend some time with Eliot and Barbara, it’ll be time well spent.
Source: “Authentic Food – Authentic Farming”

Dozens dead after Iraqi police go on killing spree | – Houston Chronicle

And we need to stay here why? When the police start killing people in revenge…

BAGHDAD — Shiite militants and police enraged by massive truck bombings in Tal Afar went on a revenge spree against Sunni residents in the northwestern town today, killing as many as 60 people, officials said.

The gunmen began roaming Sunni neighborhoods in the city, shooting at residents and homes, according to police and a local Sunni politician.

There is no law and order, there is only rage. The only thing we seem to have accomplished in Iraq is to release the pent up hate of generations and re-supplied the ammunition  needed to carry on a civil war that is rapidly degrading into un-civil genocide.

Source: Dozens dead after Iraqi police go on killing spree | – Houston Chronicle

Join Me For A Visit…

Today for lunch I joined a friend I’ve never met. We walked along a creek with no name under hemlocks in a valley I’ve never seen. We passed a barn I’ve only envisioned in painted light upon my screen. The sun I couldn’t see glistened on grasses in the field to dry the dew I did not feel. I wasn’t there, and yet I was, visiting with Fred on Goose Creek in the mountains of Floyd County.

I’ll go there again tomorrow for lunch as I revisit a “Slow Road Home”. Won’t you come along? We’ll visit Ann’s Falls, we’ll sit a spell under the white pines, we’ll wave at the neighbors from the front porch. We’ll while away the time as we discuss the important issues of the day, the bumblebees at play, and the hawks upon the wing. We can discuss anything at all as we visit there on the creek with no name along that “Slow Road Home”.

A visit to Fred thru a “Slow Road Home” always slows the day, sets the pace to another time, and takes you to another place. The place you’ve longed for since childhood, a place that brings back the memories of grandparents and more. A time when the constant companion was a single word…Why? Walk a while and listen to another’s whys, you may discover the child you left a long time ago, far, far away.

Where else can you feel free to laze in a summer rain, loll in an open field at night to watch the fireflies rise and stars fall, or chase spiders as they glide by? There is a maple on the cover that shelters a house that seems to have been there forever. The house is nestled up to the ridge like you shelter in the covers of a bed. How do I know this? I have seen this house thru the eyes of someone who loves it, and the tree, and the ridge and all it encompasses. You can see it too. Come walk the pages of Fred First’s “Slow Road Home”…You never know, we may meet along the road.

From Slow Road Home

Ray's Weather Center – Valle Crucis –

Since I didn’t mention the weather earlier today, I found this bit of trivia interesting.

Boone set another record high Wednesday: 74 breaking the old record of 71 set in 1949. Today, valley locations should make it into the 70s once again. That will make it 6 days in a row with valley highs in the 70s. So yesterday, I asked, “Has that ever happened before?” So, over lunch yesterday, I went searching through the weather archives and here’s the answer… “Yes, not not in a long, long time.”
The details… In Boone, March 21-26, 1929 (highs of 70, 70, 70, 76, 80, and 70), is the only run of 6 days in the 70s in March ever recorded. However, weather records for Boone only go back to 1929; Banner Elk data goes back to 1907 and Jefferson data goes back to 1896. These older archives yielded remarkable warm spells in March. In Banner Elk, March 23-31, 1910 (highs of 70, 72, 72, 71, 74, 76, 76, 74, 71), was a run of 9 days above 70–the only run of 6+ days with highs above 70 in Banner Elk. Jefferson has had 3 periods of 6 or more days in March with highs of 70+. Here they are: March 24-31, 1945 (72, 74, 71, 73, 76, 75, 74, 71); March 16-21, 1927 (72, 77, 75, 73, 77, 72); March 22-31, 1910 (70, 77, 80, 78, 76, 78, 78, 81, 71, 76). Note that last one–10 days. I’ll give you a test over this data tomorrow. 🙂

Y’all have a great day…

Source: Ray’s Weather Center – Valle Crucis –

Wants and Desires…

I empathize with the sentiment if not the actual want…

Costal Farmlet
“A man wants nothing so badly as a gooseberry farm.”
I want a costal farmlet.
I desire it very much.
I saw it advertised
in the classifieds and I presume
that coastal means our land
comes right down
to the sea with the whitecaps
lashing romantically, and farmlet
means we can grow
gnarled trees on our headland
and let sheep roam. It is about cheap
enough for us if we borrow, beg
and steal, pawn a few poems, also write
a harlequin romance or two, and it’s
only 9000 miles from the place
we call home. There’s not much
of a hitch except the Immigration
would not let us stay in the country
to live in our farmlet. But still,
I want it and think we should go
look at it, right now, this moment,
while tangy sweet gooseberries glow.

“Costal Farmlet” by David Ray, from Music of Time: Selected and New Poems. © The Backwaters Press.

The farmlet in my wants resides on the side of a mountain not a sea and it’s blueberries not gooseberries that call me there. But, other than those discrepancies, this poem could be mine, not by the writing but by the desiring…

Source:The Writer’s Almanac for Wednesday, March 28th

Other links to David Ray:

Support The Troops?

With all of the rhetoric flying around Washington these days, with the President claiming that if you don’t support the surge you don’t support the troops, with Congress fighting over when to end the fighting (or if to end the fighting), is it any wonder that the American People are getting confused? I have been continuing my informal survey and so far I have run across all of three cars with those magnetic decorations of self proclaimed patriotism in the last week.

Now granted, this is an informal, casual, eyes open when I think about it survey of one commuting route. My interpretation of the results isn’t a lack of support for the troops. My interpretation is, the American People have woken up to the trick being perpetrated upon them. These outward displays of hyperactive patriotism that really do not do anything to support the troops or prove your real ideals are just show. You really have to walk the talk. And the President is failing in the polls proportionate to the number of magnetic ribbons that aren’t replaced on cars. Yet he still blusters and accuses others of not supporting the troops…He threatens but his actions are what America (and the World) watches. And by virtue of the fact that they “serve at the pleasure of the President”, it is the actions of his surrogates that America watches.

The President has failed to walk the talk, all of the President’s men have failed to walk the talk…And the American people have seen how they have been played for chumps. And guess what, they don’t like being taken for fools. And as he runs up a debt that will take generations of hardworking Americans to pay off, he has the audacity to tell you and me how hard he “works”. Well, Mr. President, your “hard work” has failed to move me from my position that you do not belong in our White House. You were not elected. Without 9/11 you would have been a one term mistake foisted upon us by a Supreme Court who overstepped their charter to appoint you. And from the look of the evidence, America woke up in November of 2006.

Mr. President, when are you going to wake up? We, the American People, can not afford for you to sleep much longer. Do you hear that rumble? It is the beginning of the alarm that is running through America at the failure of your Presidency…Mr. President, you don’t want to be the “War President” that went to war with America. You sir, will lose…