Evening Out

Floyd County Southwest Virginia Blue Ridge Parkway Mabry Mill
If you get a chance to hear this duo in your area, make the effort. We first heard the smooth “retro-folk” sound of Rebecca Hall and husband Ken Anderson four or five years ago, when we bought their first two CDs. Those disks have gone on to become family favorites, and we’re looking forward to CD #3 that is in the works, release expected this summer.

Sorry this image is a little dark and grainy, but I sort of like the simplicity of light against dark–and the tip hat on the stool. I’m still learning my way around the D200, and didn’t know how to get it to move to an ISO of 3200. But I do now.

After Oddfellas and the duet and great meal with friends, we visited the Contra Dance at Winter Sun briefly. I had a book to pass on to a friend from Wythe County who lives near and occasionally hangs out with an author whose name you’d recognize. Her mystical awe of nature and light had an important influence on me long before I had the first idea I’d ever find words to describe similar experiences. Could be she’ll actually thumb through it. I tried to imagine that, and wondered what piece in the book I might hope she’d settle on, one that she would perhaps read and find herself saying YES! as I did so many times when reading her books as far back as the seventies.

Lastly, from our Be Careful What You Wish For Department–I have an iPod! You’ll remember my wishing and washing about this a month or two ago. And as recently as my B’ham trip last week, I considered stopping by Radio Shack to actually talk with somebody about a 4GB Nano, but talked myself out of it (from a frugality point of view). And lo, Saturday morning, Ann picked up an insured package from the Check Post Office: a silver 4GB Nano iPod (plus auto accessory kit) from my blog-reading daughter in South Dakota! How cool is that!?

Having lost ALL my music from my hard drive recently, I had no songs to upload. But as fate would have it, that very day, we received a couple of copies of our friends, the Wolfe Brothers’ new CD, Old Virginia Hills, in the mail. (Go here and listen to sound clips from a former Wolfe Brothers album that we’ve enjoyed, and you will too!)

Now that new album currently represents 100% of the music uploaded to my shiny new iPod–a kind of music-genre purity I’m sure it will soon lose, when I get around to burning 40 or 50 of the lost albums back to the hard drive. Meanwhile, I’m not finding much in the way of free audiobooks for the iPod, though I did download a couple of Sherlock Holmes books and various other moldy-oldey public domain books I can listen to while I work cleaning up the dregs of winter out the back door. Suggestions?

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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. I cannot offer much in the way of audiobooks, but I love the various and mostly free NPR podcasts offered through itunes. For instance, the Books podcast unifies all the book related stories from Morning Edition and All Things Considered for the last week. Enjoy!

  2. Hey Fred–check out LibriVox:


    They might have something there for you. Congrats on the iPod. I use mine daily in my treks between schools. I usually listen to podcasts of various shows that we don’t get around here, or some music that I’m interested in at the time.

    If you need thoughts on an FM transmitter for car use, drop me a line. All are not equal! Stay warm today–