Fragments from Floyd Photos and Front Porch Musing from Floyd County Virginia Tue, 30 Sep 2014 11:09:20 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Floyd County Air Space a Busy Place Tue, 30 Sep 2014 11:09:20 +0000 So we have the usual fall pot-spotter-copters.

And we have the new Mountain-Valley not-yet-a-reality pipeline right of way we’re-gonna-take-your-land copters.

And we have once again the scary-as-heck AEP powerline-clearing blades of death I first wrote about in 2002.

This isn’t much of a video, but it’s the best you can get with no warning, and in your socks.

You can see how very close this massive 10-blade sword comes to the powerlines in this video. How the pilot keeps the thing from twisting and kicking back I cannot figure.

Fragments From Floyd: UFO in Floyd County!  

Goose Creek Air Traffic Control | Fragments from Floyd


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Bee Guides Mon, 29 Sep 2014 12:46:10 +0000 So what’s with the fancy froo froo stripes and streaks and eyelashes on this nasturtium flower growing outside the back door?


What’s up is “it pays to advertise.”

Most of the features we notice and possibly admire as “pretty” in a lady’s slipper or turk’s cap lily are not there for our admiration any more than a robin’s song is to make us cheery on a dreary morning.

They generally have survived as reproducible shapes and colors because they are “bee guides” that lead to an increased chance that the pollen of the species will find its way to the egg of same–typically but not always on a different flower or a different plant some distance away.

Sorry this image lost clarity and sharpness in the translation to web resolution. The MACRO function on Camera + 6 is pretty cool.

I’ll try to post an image a day this week, most of them with that iPhone app or HyperLapse or maybe an iPhone default camera Slo-Mo of leaves falling.

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Rage Against the Machine Fri, 26 Sep 2014 14:27:21 +0000 Except when it is your friend.

I’m burned out, frankly, with so many emails, so many “edit this” assignments, so many changes of hats from one minute to the next here in the full flower of my “golden years.”

I’ve created a monster. What was I thinking?

But there are times when I just walk away from obligations to play.

This morning was one of those times. I downloaded and am wallowing in the geeky goodness of Camera + version 6 for iPhone.

My only regret is that the macro mode and selective focus features come at the end of insect and wildflower season. Maybe some fall leaves will cooperate.

Check back to see. Mom.

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Can’t Get There from Here Thu, 25 Sep 2014 11:51:34 +0000 Well, you can, but it ain’t easy. No straight shot, that’s for sure. You might have heard of the crooked road. Here ’tis.

I once counted the blind curves between the house and the hardtop east and west of us, as we live in betwixt two real roads.

Buckle up. Hang on. I seen’em do this onest on Dukes o’ Hazard. I think I kin do it. YEEE HAAAA! (It really needs some traveling music. Suggestions? Maybe Born to be Wild. Gotcha motor running…)

Going west that you travel in this HyperLapse video, you’l cover a five minute 1.7 mile drive at 20 mph condensed in just 1 minute.

That’d put the apparent speed at about 100 mph, during which you will carefully negotiate 11 blind curves, with or without rises so steep you can’t see anything but the hood of your car for a brief second, during which interval you hope an approaching vehicle has not entered that particular blind spot.

Mostly, you meet somebody coming the opposite direction (even a regular sized car) somebody is going to have to back up. Meet the UPS man or a logging truck, it gets interesting. Put snow or ice on the road, well…

This is the direction we don’t go for months at a time between first of December and the end of March, as it’s northy, as they say. Get’s at best two hours of sun. Less in some places. It’s 500 feet higher up in the sunshine than it is down here in the holler of Middle Earth.


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Living Dangerously Tue, 23 Sep 2014 12:08:14 +0000 There was a time when I didn’t write about certain subjects because I was concerned that I would lose my blog readership.

Now that that’s water under the bridge, if I write to Fragments at all, I put up whatever is on my mind–as a way of recording what was on my mind.

And lately, once again, looming oh so much larger on my personal radar than snakes in the chicken coup, than fuzzy caterpillars or insect oddities or a wildflower’s symmetry or the sound of wind in the fall leaves–is the fate of the planet I will perhaps another decade or maybe two observe with much care and concern–a few more years of living dangerously.

The week’s emphasis for me has shifted from the immediate symptom–the Mountain Valley proposed but not by any means certain pipeline–to fracking. Fracking is just one of the ways we sustain our bigger-hammer business-as-usual  damn-the-torpedoes relationship with the planet and our children’s future.

Fracking is a direction taken initially, perhaps, giving the benefit of the doubt, because it seemed like a better alternative to mountaintop removal coal. It seemed to offer a temporary stop-gap while we funded the work of our best minds (of people with hearts as well) to show us how to live without killing ourselves meteorologically, by degrees.

Then the money started rolling in. And as James Hansen famously warned, “the game is over.” Well, maybe not quite.

We are starting to kick the tires, and fracking has some serious failures to deliver; failures to live up to the hype; failures to be clean, cheap or nearly as abundant as shareholders were told to expect on this latest gravy-train after tobacco and mountaintop removal  (and brought to you by the same spin-meisters as the former hoodwinking.)

Looking under the veil of this form of energy extraction (now going by a name that seems to make a word-joke out of it and thereby trivialize the true gravity of its threat) are many lesser-known facts that don’t make the 6:00 news soundbites–which has become most people’s full extent of comprehension of this very very large and far-reaching issue.

Just two examples of fracking factoids:

Ever hear of barite? It’s a barium-related mineral that is one of the 500-plus chemicals in fracking fluid. [Oh BTW not to worry because they assure us that fracking fluid is 99% water. But wait: if an average well fracking uses 5 million gallons of fluid, is that 50 thousand gallons of toxic additives times the 18 times a single well can be fractured?]

But I digress: barite is a rare mineral that is not easily obtained. Unless you can find some powerless Mayan folks in some out-of-the-way backwater where you can just go in and take it. This story [highly recommended] is indicative of the mind-and-value-set of the people up top of this food chain. Folks in strip-minedAppalachia: starting to feel a familiar queaziness?

► The Other Side of Fracking: Connecting the Dots Along the Supply Lines | Tobias Roberts

Then there is frac sand. Yes, millions of tons of the stuff that also goes down the tube with those 5 million gallons of water and trade-secret stuff we shouldn’t worry our pretty little heads about.

And in the process of mining and cleaning these millions of tons of this stuff (sorry, Wisconsin) there are many more hundreds of millions of gallons of water-plus-toxic-impurities involved, some of which, darn it that’s too bad, end up in the groundwater.

► EARTHWORKS | Frac Sand Health and Environmental Impacts

► Project: Wisconsin’s sand rush |

And lastly, though 99 out of 100 theoretical readers stopped doing so many paragraphs ago and even though I know that very very few follow any links in these blog posts anyway, I’ll just toss in one to top this off this ramble before I go eat my granola.

The ultimate consequence of the choice to frack and to pipe and to burn and do it all again and again to the very last drop (a.k.a drilll baby drill) is that we now are knocking at the door that crosses the threshold to the point of no return. Our past inaction perpetuates even more inaction now that the matter has gotten way out of hand. Maybe ALMOST way out of hand.

The game may be over or not. What we do with our personal consumption of electricity ultimately decides how profitable it will be to continue business as usual to meet that demand. Supply and demand are, sadly, the only factors in our mindless economic model that make a difference.

But I dare you, both of you, to take a look at the measures of how far we’ve pushed our life support system supplying demands.

From “The Years of Living Dangerously”–the Science is in.

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From the Top of the Energy Watershed: Gasland 2 Mon, 22 Sep 2014 11:52:44 +0000

The first SustainFloyd movie of the Fall season will be Gasland 2, showing at the Floyd Country Store on Sunday, September 28.

The Floyd community recently watched together the premier showing of the Floyd County water documentary, To The Last Drop. The timing was a nice fit with our concerns about the water consequences of the proposed natural gas pipeline.

In a similar way, Josh Fox’s sequel about the natural gas fracking industry and its impact on people and planet extends the discussion of our concerns about the possible intrusion across our county of a massive, interstate natural gas pipeline. Fracking happens upstream. And these days, it seems all of us in the East live downstream of this flood of unconventional carbon.

The gas in the so-called Mountain-Valley pipe across southwest Virginia would be the product of deep-well horizontally-drilled hydraulically fractured methane from the Marcellus or Utica shale plays, with all of its attendant water, air and social impacts.

Around the planet, fracking is increasingly being seen as too high a price to pay for “cheap, clean and abundant energy”–since each of these claims don’t hold up to careful scrutiny.

The direction of our energy policy takes now is a “watershed” collective choice made at a most critical time in humanity’s short and brutish span on Earth. The future will flow one of two ways.

Can we resolve as Americans to intentionally shrink our family energy, water, and natural resource footprint? Why is individual conservation not a part of our plan to bridge the gap between fossil fuels and what comes next?

Is ENOUGH far less than what we’ve come to demand and expect and take in the now, regardless of the effect of our consumption some where and some when else?

Watershed: The future can go two ways from this point.

We can maximize for efficiency and profitability and continue business as usual or we can adopt a triple-bottom-line economy and measure true and sustainable well-being instead of GDP as a gauge to our national health.

The choice is ours, but time is running out. Mining and burning all the methane–to the last drop–is an outcome we condone by our silence and inaction or reject by making our voices heard. Drill baby drill is the path we’re on. Is it a dead end?

The issue of fracking brings all those issues from deep underground and onto the surface for us to look at together.

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Just Desserts Fri, 19 Sep 2014 11:30:55 +0000 Kingdom: Fungi

That’s the best I can do to name this tasty looking pudding-cake living thing I walked past in town a few weeks back. I had a mind to ask for a big glass of milk to go with the cinnamon-chocolatey delicacy.

No I didn’t bite into it. But don’t you think it’s tempting, served here on a bed of mulch, with a pine-tree garnish?

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Down to Earth: Toasted Marshmallow Mushrooms Tue, 16 Sep 2014 12:55:12 +0000 Let’s just say I need to pay way more attention for a day or three to what goes on under my feet than to what goes on in this Chinese Fire Drill of a world of ours.

All world and no play makes Fred a dull boy.

So today, other than slashing up some final-crop tomatoes into freezer bags, I’m off duty. I leave you with this image I remember taking but not exactly where I took it.

I do recall it was some stuffy place where a grown man down on his knees in the foundation mulch probably entered the conversation around the water cooler. Whatever was he doing down there!

I am so lazy as to have made no attempt to identify this fungus, and have dubbed it the Toasted Marshmallow Mushroom. If you can give a Latin name, please do.

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Watershed Moment Mon, 15 Sep 2014 11:32:24 +0000 Last night’s gathering at the Floyd EcoVillage Celebration Hall was a confluence in time and space of so many people who care about and are willing to act on behalf of this special landscape.

The notion that Floyd’s water is the fluid foundation for both agriculture and human culture in this county has been bubbling to the surface now for a decade. Last night was the high-water mark, to be sure–the culmination of more than a year of work and planning. Congrats to all who played a part.

Here is the final product:

But no matter where you’re from, your community has it own water interests and concerns, and your water future–like ours–may be at risk. Perhaps this Floyd-based water feature will give your group some ideas about where to start plumbing those depths while there is still time to act.


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Growing the Future: Support LOCAL Thu, 11 Sep 2014 09:21:58 +0000 Good News! Every dollar you give in support of SustainFloyd’s community-based projects brings THREE dollars  to support local farmers, school lunches, educational programs and more!

This matching offer gives each of us leverage towards better diets and nutrition, better understanding of our relationship to the land, and a stronger, healthier community.

As a non-profit organization, SustainFloyd depends on donations to keep our community services going strong. Your contribution will help us support the Floyd Farmers Market, fund extra SNAP benefits for low income Market shoppers, offer farm workshops, fund the SustainFloyd Film Series, and partner in the Farm to School program.

SustainFloyd has recently been given an incredible opportunity – a donor who grew up in Floyd has stepped forward and offered to match $3 for every $1 raised up to $50,000! It is a resounding show of support for our mission and one we cannot ignore.

We need to raise $17,000 to take advantage of this extraordinary opportunity and meet our 2014 commitments to these Floyd programs. Please consider supporting these SustainFloyd services.



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