Rejoice, Road-Kill Warriors

maplefog2▶ It may soon be lawful to throw that elk carcass across the hood of your pickeEmup truck (if the wheel wells are not too bad bent) and take that sucker home to mamma.

But wait, opponents to the Montana road-kill proposal say–Won’t that just make hunters add their Dodge Ram to their list of weapons?

I say if that’s the case, let’em go to the next world with a gun rack behind ’em and a thousand pounds of venison across their windshield. They couldn’t go to their reward any happier, and so much for the drive–so to speak–of those NRA genes superseded in the end by a pair of BigMan trucksticles. [Hat tip to my friend R for the terminology. Blame him.]

â–¶ In other late-breaking news, we are boiling down the two gallons of maple sap we tapped from the tree you see in the picture here. [Find a larger and different view of that maple here–an image, by the way, that lives as a 24 x 36 inch enlargement in the Floyd Writers Room at Hotel Floyd.]

Two gallons in one afternoon in the 40s. That was nice. It’s 12 degrees just now, never made it above freezing at all yesterday, so not an additional drop of maple sap. So we’re calling this our harvest.

The pot is hissing on the stove, which the heat of which fortunately, in a perverse blessing, we really NEED this March, where last year, it was in the 80s.

[Global warming debunked, then? Well, no. The persistent “blocking high” over Greenland is what is sending polar air via the jet stream dipping dipper and for longer south than usual. And this blocking high is a product of extreme warming over the northern latitudes.]

Where was I? Oh yeah: The next step has something to do with boiling precisely at 7 degrees above the local boiling point of water to render the concentrated sap into syrup.

We’re hoping for maybe 6 ounces and enough for a pancake supper that includes smoked, thick-sliced bacon from the half-a-local-pig in our freezer.

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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. Big Man trucksticles! I love it….can’t wait for the chance to use it! LOL
    Let me know when those pancakes and bacon are ready and I’ll be right over. Sounds yummy!

  2. I am so happy to read that you have printed out large photos to decorate your home. How many 24 x 36 (or thereabouts) have you hung on the walls? We have every inch of wall space covered with Allen’s photos.

  3. No, Kathy, the enlargement is at Hotel Floyd. I have a few framed 8 x 10s and one 14 x 27 panorama from the Badlands.

    Mostly I’m too cheap and lazy to have stuff framed, or if I do, it is sold to somebody or given to a friend. We talk about doing a better job of decorating w my images, but I don’t think this lifetime will be long enough for me to get around to doing it.

  4. Kathy–If you care to see a framed, 7.5″ x 10″ print of one of Fred’s photos, please visit: Photographic Meme
    The only thing that’s changed since I posted the piece is that the photo now hangs above the bed instead of above the night stand.

    Thank you, one more time, Fred, for allowing me to use your beautiful photograph!

  5. Wow, I had forgotten about the Three Violets picture that goes back to 1970 and my first SLR. As with most photos I’ve taken, I could go back to the very same spot in the suburbs of Auburn, AL. I used to use screw-in close-up lenses in the days when a graduate stipend did not include enough for a dedicated macro lens. What a nice memory, and it is gratifying to be reminded that moments in time can be shared, with their own kind of quasi-immortality.

  6. I went to your link, Cop Car, and enjoyed seeing Fred’s photo and your framing job. Both are lovely, for sure. We are heading to Yellowstone NP with a new Fuji camera (the X-E1) and I am looking forward to Allen trying for some lovely flower shots there.