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.

In the Mountains

A year ago, My family was preparing for our first trip to the Highland Games. To say we all enjoyed them would be an understatement. From the moment we stepped through the gates until we made our way back down the mountain at the end of the day, we had a ball. From the athletics to the people watching to the music, we wandered MacRae Meadows over and over. I even picked up the one thing I have always wanted…My very own Claymore.

The two-handed claymore was a large sword used in the Medieval period. It was used in the constant clan warfare and border fights with the English from circa 1300 to 1700.[citation needed] The last known battle in which it is considered to have been used in a significant number was the Battle of Killiecrankie in 1689. It was somewhat smaller than other two-handed swords of the era. The two-handed claymore seems to be an offshoot of Early Scottish medieval swords which had developed a distinctive style of a cross-hilt with downsloping arms that ended in spatulate swellings. The spatulate swellings were frequently made in a quatrefoil design.

The average claymore ran about 140 cm (55″) in overall length, with a 33 cm (13″) grip, 107 cm (42″) blade, and a weight of approximately 2.5 kg (5.5 lb), the blades are most similar to the type XIIIa, using the Oakeshott typology. Fairly uniform in style, the sword was set with a wheel pommel often capped by a crescent-shaped nut and a guard with straight, down-sloping arms ending in quatrefoils and langets running down the center of the blade from the guard. Another common style of two-handed claymore (though lesser known today) was the “clamshell hilted” claymore. It had a crossguard that consisted of two downward-curving arms and two large, round, concave plates that protected the foregrip. It was so named because the round guards resembled an open clam.

Source: Wikipedia

As we made our way around I discovered a great Celtic Tribal Band. If you are in the area this weekend you have to check out Albannach.

Albannach from Glasgow, Scotland will deliver the same foot stomping, heart pounding, dance inspiring, tribal sounds that have gained so much attention for the last three years at Grandfather. With the sound of drums and pipes you will be TRIBALIZED.

I was so taken with their sound I ended up with a CD, which gets played often enough to drive my wife to distraction…

The 52th Grandfather Mountain Highland Games will be held July 12-15, 2007 at MacRae Meadows on Grandfather Mountain near Linville, NC.

Source: Grandfather Mountain Highland Games Homepage

Missing the Mountains

Last year at this time we were on Nettles Knob south of Valle Crucis making our preparations for the Summer Games on Grandfather Mountain. The one thing that we missed because of the games was the Watauga County Farmers Market. It looks like we’ll be missing it again this years simply because we’ll be missing the mountains themselves this summer.

I do subscribe to Watauga County Farmers’ Market Message so at least I can keep up with what is happening in the mountains I dream of. This weeks message contains this news…

The Boone area has long been known for it’s unpredictable weather, and so far 2007 has done it’s part to keep the tradition. Our farmers have once again proven themselves to be up to the challenge, and a wider variety of fresh food shows up every week. One thing you can count on, the market will be open Wednesday and Saturday mornings – Rain or Shine!

We will be celebrating Independance Day at the market this Saturday, helped along with the music of a certain local jug band. You won’t want to miss it!

Bill Moretz is planning to harvest the first of his eggplants this week. He expects to offer two varieties to start: Charming with purple stripes and Megal which is a dark purple French variety. Bill will also have fresh raspberries and blueberries at the market. Roger and Don Owens will have more of their homegrown Mountain Spring tomatoes to offer along with plenty of cucumbers and other garden offerings. James Wilkes expects to have fresh cut sunflowers ready for Saturday. James will begin to harvest his yellow squash and maybe some zucchini.

Local cooks are using the bounty in their recipes as well, and Rebecca Kaenzig will be preparing individual blueberry and pecan pies for you to enjoy along with her fresh brewed coffee.

Daylilies are popular with collectors, and many vendors at Watauga County Farmers’ Market have a collection of their own. The coming weeks will bring flowers of different shapes and sizes in reds, purples, yellows in every combination. These hardy plants thrive in our climate in every situation but full shade. If shade is what you have, stop by and talk to Erik Selvey about holly ferns, Japanese painted ferns, and many other plants suitable for less sunny spots. Erik will also have blooming butterfly bushes and blue pincushion plants this Saturday.

The interior of your house can reflect the colors of the season as well, and Megan Long can help with hand crafted soy based scented candles decorated with geometric shapes or North Carolina landscapes from the mountains to the beach.

Buttons for the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association 2007 High Country Farm & Garden Tour will be sold at Watauga County Farmers’ Market up until August 4th, the first day of the tour. This year’s tour features 3 new farms, and 6 of the farms are vendors at the market! The online map of farms is still being updated, but you can test it at http://cfsa.highcountryorganicfarms.org/node/4. Buttons are also available for sale online at http://www.carolinafarmstewards.org/.

You can visit their website at Watauga County Farmers’ Market for directions and updated info.