Go Enjoy The Valle Country Fair Today


October 18, 2008

(always the 3rd Saturday in October)

FairgroundsThe Valle Country Fair is an overgrown church bazaar set in the center of one of the most picturesque valleys in the North Carolina mountains at the peak of the fall color season. All monies raised go to fund High Country organizations which serve people in need. Last year more than 10,000 people enjoyed:

Valle Country Fair.

Fall Color Report – Grandfather Mountain


I wish I was here…

View of Lost Cove on the south slopes of Grandfather Mountain:

Grab your sweater because the temperatures are falling Highs will be in the low fifties this weekend

Friday had lots of wind and rain, so most of the leaves from the trees above 4,000 feet are finding their way to the ground today. Grandfather remains an excellent leaf-looking destination, however, because you pass through color in all the lower elevations on your drive to Grandfather Mountain, and because Grandfather’s peaks make a great vantage point for looking out at the color changing in the valleys. Today’s photograph from Lost Cove illustrates that there is lots of green left in the valleys.

NC Highway 105 between Boone and Linville ranges from 3,000 to 4,000 feet in elevation. Trees in those slightly lower elevations are only now beginning to change color, which guarantees lots of lively leaf looking for the next 10 days.

Fall Color Report- Grandfather Mountain.

Before our trip last year, I always looked at these photo’s with a bit of skepticism. My corner of the world doesn’t have color changes like these…I learned just how wrong I was when we hit the Appalachians in early November of last year.

Here is the first “real fall” I ever saw…

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To Market, To Market…

It looks like it will be a good weekend for the Farmer’s Market…Ray’s calling for a cool and overcast morning, so bundle up and enjoy…I wish I was in the hHigh Country to enjoy the day…

Watauga County Farmers’ Market will be holding a Holiday Market on the Saturdays before and after Thanksgiving, November 22 and 29, from 10 until 2. We will have plenty of gift ideas, baked goods and treats, and local greenery. We hope to see you all there!

The market will be celebrating Appalachian Craft Day this Saturday, the 11th. There will be demonstrations of local crafting techniques including spinning and weaving by the Blue Ridge Fiber Guild, and musical entertainment will be provided by Southern Exposure.

This Saturday should bring another great day at the market. There has not been any frost yet to speak of, so you will find a good assortment of home grown tomatoes right along with the flavors of autumn. Jeff Thomas will have different varieties of sweet and hot peppers along with some great looking Swiss chard and plenty of different cuts of his natural beef.

Watauga County Farmers’ Market | Please Support Local Farmers.

Wish I Was Going To The Market…


Seal of Watauga County, North Carolina
Image via Wikipedia

The folks at Watauga County Farmers’ Market would like to thank everybody who braved the drizzle to support the market this past Saturday. The market will be open all four Saturdays in October, rain or shine, or even in the snow if need be. The outlook for Saturday the 4th calls for a nice day, and we hope to see you at the market.

There are plenty of good things left to harvest. Robert Church will have a good supply of Irish potatoes on hand as well as several varieties of apples including Wolf River, JonaGold, and Macintosh. Jerry Harvey may possibly have more yellow and white sweet corn, but he will certainly have plenty of pie pumpkins to bring to market.

The flavors of summer have not left, and Don Owens will have red, striped, pink and yellow tomatoes this weekend, yellow and zucchini squash, bell and hot peppers. Cheryl Piracci will have San Marzano tomatoes and quick marinara sauce recipes to go with them. Cheryl also will have her homemade pesto, pistachio orange biscotti, and even her own special garlic jam. Charles Church will be busy harvesting potatoes, onions, garlic, chard and butternut and spaghetti squash. Charles will also have humanely raised pork to offer.

Watauga County Farmers’ Market | Please Support Local Farmers.

If you are in the High Country this weekend, stop by the Market and pick up some of those good mountain vegetables…

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News From Grandfather Mountain

The news has been peculating through the internet all weekend and this announcement is from the Grandfather Mountain Website…

Grandfather Mountain To Become A Not-For-Profit Company

North Carolina Governor Mike Easley and Grandfather Mountain President Crae Morton today announced an agreement whereby the State of North Carolina will purchase approximately 2,600-acres of the Grandfather Mountain backcountry to become North Carolina’s 34th state park.

“The acquisition of this precious gem in our landscape speaks to North Carolinians’ love of this land and a sincere dedication to conservation,” Easley said.

Looking for new ways to guarantee that Grandfather Mountain will remain in its current state forever, the owners of Grandfather Mountain decided that the best way to protect the mountain and assure the public continued access to its peaks would be to convert the company to a 501c3, not-for-profit entity.

To accomplish this goal, Grandfather Mountain, Inc. is selling approximately 2,600 acres of the wilderness backcountry to the State of North Carolina for the purpose of a state park. This acreage is already under conservation easements with The Nature Conservancy.

Grandfather Mountain and the State will have a joint research/management agreement that allows Grandfather rangers continued access to the backcountry for research and to assist in trail maintenance.

Grandfather Mountain, Inc. will also sell to the State of North Carolina an easement on approximately 600 acres that include the Mile High Swinging Bridge, Nature Museum, Wildlife Habitats, summit road and MacRae Meadows.

This easement places legal restrictions on the new 501(c)(3) that allows the property to continue to be used as a nature park, but prohibits any future development that would change the character of the mountain as it exists today. The agreement further protects the atmosphere of the park by placing limits on any future expansion of the buildings and other man-made features at the travel attraction.

“This cooperation between North Carolina State Parks and the new non-profit organization allows for the complete protection and preservation of Grandfather Mountain,” said Morton. “Plus the new 501(c)(3) will have many new avenues to generate revenue to improve and expand the mission of preservation and education.”

Funding for the acquisition will come from the N.C. Parks and Recreation Trust Fund and the Natural Heritage Trust Fund. The acquisition was arranged with the help of The Conservation Fund and one of its directors, Mike Leonard, and The Nature Conservancy, which holds conservation easements on Grandfather Mountain and surrounding properties totaling close to 4,000 acres.

The owners of Grandfather Mountain took care to see that the agreement specifically covered public access to MacRae Meadows. All activities, events and programs that currently draw visitors to the Meadow such as the Singing on the Mountain and the Highland Games will continue as they have in the past.

The new not-for-profit company will continue to collect park admission fees that will be used to fund its mission: to conserve and protect Grandfather Mountain, and to educate and inspire its visitors.

Easley & Morton Anounce Agreement.

I look forward to my next visit…And wish all involved the best moving forward.

Annual Elk Knob Headwaters Community Day held Sept. 13 » News Archive » Appalachian State University News


BOONE—The Annual Elk Knob Headwaters Community Day will be held Sept. 13 beginning at 11:45 a.m. at Elk Knob State Park.

Billed as the region’s largest potluck, the event includes performances by local musicians, cultural demonstrations and activities, including hikes to the Elk Knob summit.

Admission is a covered dish and attendees are encouraged to bring food items at 11:30 a.m.. Beverages will be provided; no glass or alcohol please.

Elk Knob State Park opened in 2003. It is located off Meat Camp Road, 5.5 miles from Hwy. 194 in Watauga County and 9.5 miles north of Boone.

The celebration is sponsored by the Elk Knob Community Heritage Organization (EKCHO), Elk Knob State Park, and the Appalachian State University Sustainable Development Program with generous support from the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation.

As in past years, Appalachian’s Center for Appalachian Studies will be record oral histories and scan photographs for future use in heritage exhibits. Participants this year are asked to bring their favorite family recipe, along with any photos for the first Elk Knob Headwaters Community Day Cookbook.

Annual Elk Knob Headwaters Community Day held Sept. 13 » News Archive » Appalachian State University News.

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Homegrown Tomatoes


Listening to The Gestalt Gardener this morning and during the break they played this song. I just loved the refrain…

Homegrown tomatoes, homegrown tomatoes, what would life be without homegrown tomatoes?

Only two things that money can’t buy and that’s true love and homegrown tomatoes.

John Denver Homegrown Tomatoes lyrics.

If you haven’t caught Felder Rushing’s show, swing over and download the podcast. He deals with gardening in Mississippi, but his style of “slow” gardening will work anywhere.

Speaking of homegrown tomatoes, it looks like the Watauga County Farmers’ Market should have a good selection tomorrow judging by last weeks update…

The long wait for fresh local sweet corn is over. Jerry Harvey is among the vendors who will have a good supply of corn this Saturday in both yellow and white varieties. Jerry hopes to have more blueberries this weekend, and will be harvesting watermelon soon. Jerry will have plenty of Better Boy, Big Boy and Early Girl tomatoes. Reba Greene will also have a wide variety of tomatoes to choose from, including Giant Beefsteak, Mr. Stripey, and Pink Girl. Reba will also be harvesting okra for the market.

Watauga County Farmers’ Market-News

I sure wish I could make a run over to the “Market” tomorrow and grab a few. A good BL&T would taste so good especially out on the deck…

There ain’t nothing in the world that I like better
than bacon and lettuce and homegrown tomatoes.
Up in the morning, out in the garden, get you a ripe one, don’t pick a hard one.
Plant ’em in the spring, eat ’em in the summer. All winter without ’em is a culinary bummer.
I forget all about the sweating and the digging every time I go out and pick me a big one.

As always…I am North Carolina Mountain Dreaming from the Texas Gulf Coast…

*The above photo was taken by my eldest in 2006.

Mountain Weather Dreams


I walked out of my house this morning before sunrise. It is garbage pickup day. With the wildlife population explosion we have had I don’t dare take the garbage out too early. When I stepped out on the porch the hot, humid air settled down on my shoulders like a load of bricks. When I made it back into the artificially cooled interior of our home I looked at the weather station on the wall…81° and the humidity was 86%.

After making my lunch to haul in to work, a couple of pieces of toasted ciabatta bread with jam and butter with my morning coffee as I fired up my email led to this report…

Currently (on Tue 5:53AM CDT from Pearland Regional Airport)
Clear Clear Temp: 82° (Heat Index 89°)
Dewpoint: 75°
Wind: S 5 MPH

Currently (on Tue 6:44AM EDT from Ashe County Airport)
Clear Clear Temp: 52°
Dewpoint: 48°
Wind: Calm MPH

Currently (on Tue 7:20AM EDT from Virginia Tech Airport)
Mist Mist Temp: 50°
Dewpoint: 48°
Wind: Calm MPH

Now…Do you understand why I dream of the Blue Ridge Mountains? Do you see that heat index at 5:53 in the morning? The middle of August and we still have months of this hot humid weather to go.

To top it all off, we are still in a drought situation here. We have a front (I refuse to call it a cold front) moving our way and all day long I’ve watched the rain vanish on the radar as it gets close…

So all you folks up on the Blue Ridge…Enjoy that beautiful weather. I wish I was having my morning coffee and email on the porch looking out on the morning fog rise from the valley…

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Welcome to our new place…


After a couple of years of hanging out at Blogger with this blog, I’ve decided it’s time to move into roomier digs. It wasn’t that the folks at blogger weren’t treating me right. They have been nothing but hospitable since I first signed on to their service.

But the paint on the walls was getting old. I had spun off Coffee Muses to a self hosted WordPress blog and was happy with the freedom to paint the walls at will, put in a new picture window if I wanted, even raise the roof on occasion to let in some fresh air. I wanted the same freedom with this blog.

Granted, this site has been neglected somewhat in the year or so since I rolled my daily muses out of these pages. Believe me, it wasn’t intentional. I just felt then, and I continue to feel, that a blog with the name this one has shouldn’t spend so much time talking about living on the Texas Gulf Coast…

So anyhow, I am in this process of slapping a coat of paint on these new walls, hanging a few pictures, putting up a handbill or two to try and pay for the hosting account at least. I’ll be adding some relevant link pages, searching out news and sites that have a North Carolina Mountain message.

Consider the welcome mat out at our new home. Come around and check on the progress. If the light switch doesn’t work, or the door knob falls off, send me a note…I’ll try and figure out what I screwed up. You can reach me here in  the comments or send me an email at gwboyd at gmail.com…I’ll keep the light on out on the porch in case it’s late when ya stop by…

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Blue Ridge blog: Parkway Day

Marie is turning me green with envy.

After a brief rainstorm last night it suddenly became freakin’ gorgeous up here in the mountain and shows no signs of letting up. I’m wearing my trusty ASU hoodie but will probably shed that in just a few. If you want ideal summer mountain weather, come up here now. Highs in mid-70’s. Lows in the low-50’s. Me? With low humidity comes stellar blue skies and long-range views. It is a Parkway Day for me, Baby!

Blue Ridge blog: Parkway Day.

Go check out the shots that go with the above at her site…And think about me in Texas where my day starts in the upper 70s and just goes up…and up…Beautiful shots Marie.