Early Teaser: Spring Retreats

Return to Seasonable Weather: Brrrr! Click for fuller view.

We’ve dipped back into the firewood, after thinking that was all behind us.

Yesterday morning, while it was 39 in Blacksburg, it was 27 here on Goose Creek. I haven’t told Ann yet, but the grape vines are toast.

And while our friends have had asparagus up for several weeks, ours are just now weakly pushing up through the mulch.

This frost-pocket location is not one chosen two hundred years ago by farmers who could afford the better soil and better sun up on the plateau. More likely, this cold valley was settled by poorer migrants, and those who valued the isolated, infrequently-traveled byways with cold, clear water at hand and a small patch to raise a crop of drinking corn.

The next piece down the road, by the way, has just come up for sale. We’d love some good neighbors. Let me know in comments if you’re interested in knowing more. Sign says “97 acres for $250K” and has a number to call.

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Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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  1. Hmmm… how far from B’Burg is that 97 acres? (And how far from I-81?) And is any of it flat and open?

  2. Ditto the above questions . Also, does it include a house, good road and utility access? How much is wooded versus fields?

  3. Cancel that. The owner called me back last night. He now intends to move there and not sell it. We will have neighbors less than a quarter mile away. It will take some serious getting used to, to live in the near-presence of others. We’ve never had to be concerned about anyone being bothered by our hollering for the dog (or at each other). And we’ve heard only the creeks and the wind. Now, we’ll share the same airspace with another’s music, construction tools, comings and goings. Ah well. We’ve had more peace than most ever get, for thirteen years.