Fragments: ’20 Week 11

So if I set up a kind of schedule and framework–say for every Thursday–maybe I’ll do a better job of posting at least once a week? Does it matter? Only that it might make me less the tree blogging in the forest with a few ears to hear, and I get to see a task completed. Might be, within the fragments, you’ll find a thing or two of interest or benefit. And the lists over time will let that browser know me better by seeing what has drawn my attention over the past week. And does that matter? The jury is still out.

SUBSCRIBED to FRAGMENTS?
Check out the option in the left sidebar to join others who read Fragments in their email, served fresh as soon as they are posted. No muss. No fuss. Lo-cal and gluten free.

REALM OF NATURE ♻️

You’re Not So Different From an Octopus: Rethinking Our Relationship to Animals That we have allowed ourselves to see humankind as other than and apart from NATURE is part of the philosophical wrong path we’ve taken that lead us to see the biosphere as nothing but a commodity and fodder for the economic machine.

To save insects from extinction, we need to give them space | Ensia And how likely do you think this notion will gain traction? We won’t give space to Polar Bears, penguins, or tropical forests to grow. Imagine–in light of the above point–that we have fellow feelings (and our own self interest) to the point where we purposely create “insect corridors.” Nah.

WHAT PEOPLE DO ✂️

The Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak highlights serious deficiencies in scholarly communication | Impact of Social Sciences If there is a silver lining on the vast cloud that will become the global Covid19 storm, it might be that we rethink how we are failing to work as if we are all in the same lifeboat.

How South Korea Is Composting Its Way to Sustainability | The New Yorker This article came along when Ann and I realized we could play a role in community sustainability–and this, as we contemplated the need to be locally sustainable in our neighborhood as Covid19 sweeps through. We don’t have a dog now, and even though we don’t create a LOT of food scraps, what we have should be going to our neighbor (from whom we get eggs) who has chickens and pigs. Duh.

WHAT OUR TOOLS DO 🛠

Hand Pumps: An Option for Back-Up Water Pumping | Resilient Design Institute We are loathe to leave our water and wood independence on Goose Creek. The Other Place needs one of these. A friend called just last night and offered the unused manual pump installed just before Y2K, now unused because they are content to depend on a forever supply of propane for a whole-house generator. We are not.

How to add personal documents to Kindles and Kindle apps – The Verge So it is no secret I am trying to train myself to herd the million cats of information I come across. Taking smart notes is key. Getting text into annotatable format is the beginning. Then comes the hard work of winnowing the wheat and putting it in places and forms that my Future Self can find when needed.

How to Legally Download Movies for Free to Watch Offline It seems a wise thing to do to retain sufficient reading and viewing material to sustain a family through rocky times. I have lots of empty space on the iPad and iMac. Hopefully these downloads include older movies with less blood, a richer vocabulary and characters with character.

UP CLOSE and PERSONAL 🔎

Guest Column: ‘Holding Space’ at The Floyd Country Store – Blue Ridge Country Dylan and Heather are keeping the Heart of Floyd alive and well.

NRV’s ‘Fish Ladies’ retiring, ‘Fish Kids’ taking over | Business | roanoke.com The end of an era: but not really. We have bought from the “fishwagon” every week since we moved here to Goose Creek, I think. We’ll miss the ladies but keep enjoying the trout, catfish and shrimp. The article says when they started out, they discovered people would not buy shrimp with the heads on. Reminds me that, when I met Ann in college, she (from Biloxi) was the designated shrimp peeler anywhere they were served en mass. She was an experienced girl. In that way.

Amazon.com: Repel Windproof Travel Umbrella with Teflon Coating (Black Red): Upper Echelon Products So I decided I wanted my Last Umbrella: one that would be visible unique and less losable; one that was well made and warranteed; and one that (unlike my ten yr old golf umbrella) could be put in a car wet and not soak the passengers seat. This is it. When not expanded in use, it collapses, keeping the wet surface to the inside. Clever, if weird.

Why we need an absence of noise to hear anything important | Aeon Essays I have sought out, been steeped in, and learned from the solitude and (relative) tranquility of two decades of quiet. Places too big, too fast, too fake and too noisy send me into adrenal stress, as they do most people. Alas, most city folk don’t even realize the cost they pay.

Radio queen: DeVito has four decade ‘habit’ | Local News | roanoke.com So you Floyd folk might know Linda’s many current hats and voices, but not the background. She has quite a history, and brings pieces of all that into her multiple roles in Floyd County and SWVA, and we are the better off for that.

ORBIT OF EARTH 🌏

Earth View from Google Perusing the images of our Blue Marble from space never fails to elicit AWE for me. This is a “good” we rarely seek out or find. It is right under our very feet and the cosmos above. Day and night, the planet is an awe-inducing place if we care to look.

Why Do We Love the View From High Above? | Psychology Today Herein, an essay on the eve (well, three months off) of moving to higher ground. There is something happening when we stand on a peak and see the distant forest, river, mountain peak and meadow. What is about the “higher ground” that draws us–and often makes us pay extra?

A global shift to sustainability would save us $26 trillion – Vox The costs of the status quo keep rising; the costs of sustainable alternatives keep declining. To choose to live in an a world governed by an unsustainable economic model is self-destructive; we know that, and just hope the end of the road will not happen until some other people are behind the wheel after we’ve lived the good life.

Tree Projects Growing in Floyd

They were here long before us, and are far more essential than we acknowledge

Soon, at last, spring returns and the sap rises. Some of your neighbors have already tapped their maples for syrup. In just a few weeks the buds of dormant hardwoods will swell and 150,000 wooded acres (60% of the county) will go green. So let’s take a minute to focus our attention on current and future activities in the county that honor and care for our valuable trees and woodlands.

In the forested East it would be easy to take a tree for granted. But consider: What is the value of a single tree; of a young forest; of a mature forest? Several groups of local groups are exploring these questions and responding by creating tree-centric projects, and you are invited to join them.

SustainFloyd is offering the Adopt-a-Tree program. It was created to help churches, schools and community groups, as well as private families to plant 1 to 3 small trees. These “service trees” will eventually support birds and other animals that enjoy the fruits and nuts of native trees. Act right away! There are a limited number of trees available. Information about how to apply can be found at the link.  https://sustainfloyd.org/programs/trees/

Partnership for Floyd is working on the establishment and upgrades of three public educational hiking trails in Floyd.  They are making signs and labels to identify trees and other perennials with information on how these plants and their associated wildlife are connected to us in our web of life. The plan is to replace some alien species with native ones and to have benches, picnic tables and even a bird blind near a marsh sanctuary.  The hope is to engage our community in the use of these trails to bring people closer to nature and to each other.

The Wild Garden Club is an educational social club that joins nature-loving people together to share knowledge about gardens and our environment here in Floyd.  From guided hikes through old forests and orchards to library presentations from experts on soil, water and trees we help our community grow closer to our Mother Nature. If interest in joining contact  JaneWildGarden@gmail.com

More Trees Please! Forest Initiative is a new organization here in Floyd! We want to help landowners reforest because trees draw C02 out of the atmosphere and sequester it in the soil. We can help you access state and federal cost-share programs, organize site visits with professional foresters to assess your soil and make species recommendations, help you order seedlings (at reduced prices when buying in bulk!), have access to discounted physical barrier materials, and organize volunteer planting parties. To volunteer or for more information email more.trees.please.reforestation@gmail.com or visit https://floydmoretreesplease.wordpress.com

Every tree, planted new or already established, accomplishes the hopes and intentions of all these groups of tree-tenders and benefits all of our living community. Trees offer shade and water retention; provide habitat and nesting spaces; give us edible fruits for humans and wildlife; produce the oxygen we breathe and take CO2 out of the air; and grant us the real but intangible good that life among trees can bring to poets and travelers, farmers and families.

🌳 Every tree is a service tree. Let’s not take a one of them for granted. 🌳

More Than Passing Time

  • So we are open to ideas on how to entertain, educate and occupy the hours of a week with an almost-eight-year-old boy—-our grandson, Oliver. (Please don’t call him Ollie. He is grown up now, you know.)
  • We are situated, thankfully, in what is a great spot for outdoorsy stuff, though mid-March is not the perfect time for building a dam in the creek; constructing a twig fort; or turning rocks and logs for insects and salamanders and the like. But I imagine we’ll do some or all of that anyway.
  • So here’s the list so far:
    1. Make a garden-duff infusion with some barley tossed in. Let it sit in stacking dish of rainwater for a couple of days. Examine under the microscope. Look at moss samples for water bears.
      1. Related: give him his own magnifying glass
    2. find the perfect hiking stick and cut it to the size he will be in two years
      1. wood-burn his initials on it with a magnifying glass (wear sunglasses)
      2. drill a hole near the top and make a boot-lace lanyard
      3. take it to him when he lives in Knoxville
    3. Watch a friend make a wooden bowl (for Oliver)
    4. Watch a friend make a whistle from a piece of rhododendron for Oliver to take home.
    5. Gather pine cones and twigs for the wood stove
      1. watch the pine cones explode into flame in the wood stove. Let him add them one at a time to the front of the fire wearing thick leather stove gloves.
    6. Go visit the neighbors who have two of every farm animal known to man, AND the Great Wall of Goose Creek
    7. Go for a walk at The Other Place so he’ll know something his folks don’t about where we’ll be this time next year.
    8. Connect with a friend who has a five year old son who is not shy
    9. Get him some creek boots
    10. See if great-grandma will tell stories of when she was a little girl (yeah right–see if we can stop her!)
    11. Let him use my camera to take pictures, then write out or record the story that the picture tells
    12. Read to him at bedtime from the books we read to his dad as a boy, and send the book home with him
    13. Hopefully the cat will warm up and be playful. He is around dogs at home but could learn a thing or two about how a cat is not a dog.
    14. Let him use the walkie talkie on the New Road
    15. Give him a journal (pocket notebook) and help him record the things we do, ideas he has, stuff he wants to be sure and tell mom and dad
    16. Find out what his favorite things are and help him dig wider and deeper
    17. Play music on the guitar, accordion, keyboard. Instill interest in music.
    18. Screen Time: Watch selected videos (like the one included in the first comment below) on the iPad or iMac. Use the iPad and iPencil for drawing, tracing, coloring a picture he chooses and send it to M&D
  • So that’s about we got at this point. I’m thinking we’ll probably run through 90% of this the first two days. Yikes! Gargle. Rinse. Repeat. So we are open to ideas from the Peanut Gallery.
  • Oliver has not been away from home before. He knows us only from our occasional and brief visits when they lived in Missouri. This will be a challenge for his adaptability, and ours, even as the house is under welcomed threat of being visited by potential buyers (who will have to overlook the Family Circus.) This too shall pass.
  • We are glad to be here yet. Oliver’s week with us could become an indelible memory; or it may, in twenty years, be one of those vague almost-memories that you “recall” only because you’ve been reminded of them over the intervening years. Those stories of others become what counts for your memories of forts and water bears, boots and long walks, and strangers that tried to make you comfortable in a strange land.
  • Except: you have that stick; those small boots; and a scrawled and worn little notebook and a picture you traced of a cat; and a bowl; and a whistle, and… Yeah, maybe there are true memories, like insects in amber, embedded in the mementos that tie the 2040 Oliver to a span of time and a place where his grandparents lived a little longer, in the spring of 2020.

This Old House

Click the black banner to see our place at Circa

Patina: a surface-film or polish of wood or leather and the like that shows age and use.

I am both comfortable with the not-new-and-shiny and also prefer it. Maybe that is just a sign of my age. Long-loved things around me have co-evolved (or worn out) in sync with my own surfing through time.

Despite the love-hate relationship we have had with old houses in the past, we willingly undertook the chance to save this one from the “practice for the fire department” that the first contractor recommended in the spring of 1999. We gambled that it would come some day to be to us like a favorite pair of slippers that we would wear long enough to fit us–that we would grow, if not old, at least older in.

Now we’ve added the same two decades of wear that the house has weathered, and I have to say it seems to be holding up better than we have. We could add a coat of paint, a new heat pump and move the furniture where we wanted to suit our fancy in the house. But in our own mortal edifice, there is only so much repair, redecorating and painting that can be done.

We hope that the next occupants will share the same appreciation for the history of this house, this land, this neighborhood and larger community that we have come to know. The patina of constant occupancy can be a beautiful thing–in a home or on a familiar face and pair of well-used hands.

Our property-for-sale now is being offered to potential new owners via Circa who, by definition, seek out historical architecture where structure and story have grown older and richer, together.

Please share this with the right new owners, who will know when they see it that this is their future pair of comfortable slippers.

If you have not visited the image gallery (mine is some different from the MLS version) then you might enjoy taking a look at SmugMug.

1020 Goose Creek Run ~ Historical home and 80 acres on two creeks

Home and Hearth

The typical (since 2000) end of winter woodpile

Replenish as you deplete: that has been the Rule of the Woodpile since we moved to Goose Creek in 1999 and spent our first winter in Y2K.

Until maybe eight years ago, this meant extraordinary measures involving me (and oftentimes also Ann) getting down and dead wood to the stacks by cutting and tossing downslope, cross creek, upslope and carry or end-over-end to the truck for way longer a distance than efficiency or good sense would dictate.

Then the time came I realized I could buy a year’s worth of wood for a couple of days work in the PT clinic, and replenishing as depleted only required finding a reliable source of responsibly-cut wood a year or two in advance of need.

My 10 foot runners stacked two stove-lengths deep and five feet high hold 125 cubic feet of wood. A cord is 128. So I knew how much wood I needed to fill the available space; I knew how much wood the dump truck load would leave in Yucca Flats below the house.

And so while there were brief gaps in the wood stacks, by the time wood burning season was passed, the stacks were filled in, drying, and waiting on the inevitable return to the duty of feeding the open maw of a voracious and insatiable wife-heating wood stove for another year.

Today’s withering, vanishing, unreplenished, final wood pile for the Firsts

That was then. This is now. I’ve taken up the empty runners (mostly locust) and stored them near the propane tanks, in case the next folks want to burn wood. And why would they not? We are leaving at least one of the QuadriFire stoves in place and the hills continue to offer windfall oaks, cherries, poplars and hickories–many of which lay where they fell this past winter, since I am out of the wood-cutting biz on Goose Creek.

I can’t tell you the extent to which this wood-centered seasonal ritual has driven my days for six months or more for the past two decades. And looking out on the bare runners; seeing out my office window what might be the last firewood I ever burn grow less and less: this is a kind of trauma of change typical of so many disturbances to our usual ordinary that are the cost of doing business when relocating.

At The Other Place, there is not currently an option for burning wood. But there are seven acres of hardwoods that are reasonably accessible for that purpose. We plan to live there through the first winter with the existing heat pump and gas logs and see if we can live contentedly without wood heat.

I have my doubts.