Morning Pages ~ 20 March ’20

A Garden Grows Hope

DREAMING IS FREE

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.

But we can dream for free.

Earth and Sky: Build it, And They Will Come

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. 🌳

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

Can’t Get There from Here

The repairs for which the road residents were first given a heads-up for completion in October of last year (after Hurricane Michael removed most of Goose Creek) is finally happening this week.

And since October we’ve been driving through water, in and out of the valley here, with wheel rims and brakes staying wet and rusty now for more than a half-year. The culvert under the concrete (poured in the early 70s) had filled with debris and could not be cleaned out. The concrete over top of the culvert had collapsed more than a year ago.

And this is just the first of many possible repairs. We understand that FEMA had identified almost 2 dozen specific remediations along Goose Creek–as in “keep the creek from eating into the midline of the road” remediations. However, what eventually gets done (probably in 2022 or 2023 at the earliest) depends on local funding and supervisor decisions, fraught with the politics and fiscal choices pertaining thereunto.

New Book: Fifth Risk

We are lurching forward into an unknown and unchartable future where there are no rules or precedents in the halls of government. Where might we end up when uninformed democracy breaks down and unconstrained capitalism drives us to the brink?

“Willful ignorance plays a role in these looming disasters. If your ambition is to maximize short-term gains without regard to the long-term cost, you are better off not knowing those costs. If you want to preserve your personal immunity to the hard problems, it’s better never to really understand those problems. There is upside to ignorance, and downside to knowledge.

Knowledge makes life messier. It makes it a bit more difficult for a person who wishes to shrink the world to a worldview. If there are dangerous fools in this book, there are also heroes, unsung, of course. They are the linchpins of the system—those public servants whose knowledge, dedication, and proactivity keep the machinery running. Michael Lewis finds them, and he asks them what keeps them up at night.”

Read more about and from the book…