It is good again to have a dream: We will be able to start a symbolic (if not a vastly productive) garden at The Other Place. It was preying on me–that we would be helpless and dependent there compared to our relative independence on Goose Creek. No wood heat. No water without power. No garden until year two.
So I asked permission to till up a patch to start enjoying the full days of sunlight and warmth we will have there that we have not had here. We give up much to move away from here, but we make some gains, too, and a garden whose soil warms before June is one benefit.
I will begin carrying over the tomato cages, T-posts and cattle panels I will use to make a crude 8 x 24 foot enclosure. A narrow fenced area seems to make it harder for deer to jump in. Chicken wire around the bottom will keep the rabbits out. There is a spot near the house with access to well water that gets good south sun and is protected by planted evergreens from the north wind.
We have a plan. We imagine continuity in the transition. We have hope, at least of vegetable life the way it used to be, if not our own. For cats or carrots, Coronavirus is not a thing. I will choose to be cat-minded when I can get away with it, and curl up–in my imagination–in front of the future wood stove that is not. Yet.
And regarding the water: Yes it is possible to retrofit an existing well (that is dependent on electricity) with a manual pump. We have some local folk who have offered their set-ups for us to look at (when people are at ease around people again) or the actual Y2K-holdover hardware. This will work out, and might be something we can begin to set in motion before taking possession over there on June 1.
The other missing piece in our anticipated new setting is wood heat. This might not get done until Winter Number 2. It might not get done at all if our former nest egg continues to be poached and scrambled into oblivion. We knew the move was going to be a financial challenge. And that was BC–before CoronaVirus.
Catcher in the Rye used it five times. If you find an old copy in a second-hand book store, chances are some 12 year old (now 80-ish) underlined every instance. Back then, the f-word was outrageous; shocking; and hidden. And then, more often than not, it had to do directly with the sex act. But that curious 12 year old would have had his mouth washed out with soap–at the very least–had he uttered the word in public. “Ya kiss ya mutha with that mouth?!”
Hidden, because after rare and typically cryptic use in the sixteenth century, it was banned from english dictionaries from 1795 to 1965. I find it interesting that there was a word, even outside protestant and Puritan influence, that was deemed unbecoming to anyone who would use a dictionary and keep civil company. That was then. This is (f-ing) now.
So where did the word come from in the first place? That sleuthing is made more difficult because of the reluctance across the history of written language to write it out and to record its use by upstanding members of literate society. There are inaccurate stories that it originally came from a royal decree to repopulate after the plague: “Fornicate Under Command of the King.” Good story. Fake news. But maybe good advice for the survivors of Covid19. Eat. Drink. And make babies.
The best etymological roots seem to trace it to Scottish/Scandinavian roots, variously including fukka, focka and fock (penis.) Apart from the sexual use, it came to imply violence (hitting, punching, thrusting.) The combined “thrust” of the term to profane the act of procreation and, at the same time, imply ill-intentioned aggression, making it a perfect word for our moral-psycho-socially dysfunctional times, don’t you think?
There was a time not long ago when it was veiled and substituted as fork, pork, fug or eff/effing/effed. But the gloves are off now and it is released full-monty into the wild. Perhaps the high-density winner is the movie Wolf of Wallstreet where it was used every other breathe: a total of 506 times in a three hour movie. The script must have been tres-easy for the actors to remember. And if you forget a line, toss in some f’s as subjects, objects and epithets.
The word has morphed in the media and common vernacular of the past decades to be a much more versatile word by far than the original verb. Few words have so many different uses, often within the same sentence.
Think about it. It can express surprise, outrage, anger, humor, delight or desire. And it can stand in for several parts of speech: noun, verb (in any tense), gerund, participle, imperative, interrogative, interjection, to mention just the most common uses.
It can be quite a variety of speech bits: the verb, of course, as in f you, intended to imply obliterating, humiliating or otherwise damaging the intended subject. Then there are the prepositions: something or someone can be f’d up, f’d over or f’d around with. There is the flying f, from an 1800 ballad of sex on horseback.
It can be an adjective whose meaning is conferred by context, so that f-ing awesome and f-ing terrible both imply the extreme. As a noun, to not give a f means to disregard as trivial.
And perhaps the most unique use of the word is as an “infix” (as opposed to pre-and suff-ix) where the word comes in the middle. Consider for example the emphatic infix of “un-f’ing-believable.
It can be used as an interrogative as in What da f?
But any more, it is a space filler that may or may not be chosen for any of the above purposes, but because it comes to mind. My favorite story is this one:
► During a trivia game at her assisted living home, she could not think of the name of Peter, Paul, and Mary's magic dragon, so she blurted: "F--- the Magic Dragon," which now has become the family's official title for the song.
You can find plenty of praise for the word, including being an antidote to the “poison of piety, fastidiousness and erudition” and “a way of defining character.” I just don’t care to watch or listen to such characters for more than a minute.
So I having accepted the fact that I can’t find many things on Netflix or elsewhere that do not accost my brain with extensive overuse of the word, I still don’t quite understand how other words, with long rich histories of use, could not as well express outrage, surprise, indignation or malice.
After the first dozen f-bombs, I will chose to take a walk instead. There is sufficient anger, violence, misogyny and racism in fact without having to have it brought into common language, veiled or overt. I tend to remove my attention and my advertising dollars from those that have no better way to draw and keep my attention.
“Let your yay be yay and your nay be nay” the Bible admonishes. Speak your mind without the theatric embellishments, brethren and sistren. So my guess is, there was an f-word equivalent even back then. Verily, verily I say unto thee, if you don’t have other words than that for me well, just shut the…
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.
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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 email@example.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. 🌳
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:
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.
Related: give him his own magnifying glass
find the perfect hiking stick and cut it to the size he will be in two years
wood-burn his initials on it with a magnifying glass (wear sunglasses)
drill a hole near the top and make a boot-lace lanyard
take it to him when he lives in Knoxville
Watch a friend make a wooden bowl (for Oliver)
Watch a friend make a whistle from a piece of rhododendron for Oliver to take home.
Gather pine cones and twigs for the wood stove
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.
Go visit the neighbors who have two of every farm animal known to man, AND the Great Wall of Goose Creek
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.
Connect with a friend who has a five year old son who is not shy
Get him some creek boots
See if great-grandma will tell stories of when she was a little girl (yeah right–see if we can stop her!)
Let him use my camera to take pictures, then write out or record the story that the picture tells
Read to him at bedtime from the books we read to his dad as a boy, and send the book home with him
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.
Let him use the walkie talkie on the New Road
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
Find out what his favorite things are and help him dig wider and deeper
Play music on the guitar, accordion, keyboard. Instill interest in music.
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.