Stacks, Lists, Piles and Poultry

Only one intrepid hen will go where no hen has gone before...

Bad case of the piles today, including the income tax pile I pretend will just go away–like I do every year–making myself sick with angst about something that, once I make myself do it, turns out to be not all that bad. I mean really, just find a shoe box, toss, deliver, pay and mail the stuff off. But that’s not what I wanted to talk about with my short time before I have to go free the hens to march around the barn to their daytime housing.

First, look soon for some great information (including a snazzy brochure we completed yesterday) on Floyd County’s water resources. The first focus has been chiefly on the Town of Floyd’s public wells (and how they are impacted by private wells, and vice versa.) It’s been great to work with J. P. Gannon of the Virginia Rural Water Association and a small group of fellow citizens to get this done. It is a starting place for a more long term look at quality and quantity of water and Floyd County’s future. More soon.

Next, the next Comprehensive Plan is being developed, and the role that tourism plays in Floyd County is being treated as a serious component of our economy. Public meetings (including the 4 hour meeting at the Jacksonville Center yesterday) are ahead to fine tune all aspects of the county’s infrastructure, natural resources, business environment, tourism identity and more. If you live in Floyd County, you should come join the discussion. It DOES make a difference.

Related to the tourism component, we are proud to be the winner of the 2009 Tourism Community of the Year award! You can read the letter from the president of the Blue Ridge Travel Association, who described Floyd County as a community “where the past is appreciated and the future is embraced.” Or as I’ve described it, “progressive living in the slow lane.”

Also, look soon for the new SustainFloyd web site, thanks much to Doug Thompson for his help getting this in place and holding our sweaty little hands as we fumble our way forward. There are so many different educational and programmatic aspects to SF’s future hopes and plans. A broad and deep resource like this web site to share, discuss and create our future will go a long way towards making this an even more cohesive and integrated community.

And from the It’s All About Me department: thanks to Mike Mitchell for allowing me to use his music for the podcasts (that will trickle forth slowly beyond the four currently on the podcast site). He told me yesterday he has a classical music (violin mostly?) coming out soon, and I’ve heard him play from that side of his musical persona. What a great fit for some of the more lyrical prose pieces I hope to include! I’ll be asking more local musicians to contribute as I move slowly forward with the audio CD I envision.

Lastly, a hurdle behind me: What We Hold In Our Hands: a Slow Road Reader is now digitally printable as needed through Lightning Source Inc (as Slow Road Home has been since January 2007.) I still have an ample supply of books from the first run (offset printed by Edwards Brothers, Ann Arbor, MI) so order direct while that first edition lasts, will you please.

Okay, I’m late. The girls are whining. Probably only one of them (Dionne, the only one with a brain bigger than a B B) will find the south-facing bank above the garden shed, and scratch her way to some free-range spicebush berries, dogwood, wild raisin and grass seeds in the leaf litter. Hurrah–a day of thaw!)

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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. Congratulations to the wonderful activists of Floyd, you included of course, for all you have achieved toward making your community the way you all hope for it to be.

  2. Fred,

    ‘Been a long time since I stopped by; sorry for that. I just listened to your four recently posted podcasts and I LOVE THEM…

    What a treat! Love to hear your voice, reading your lyrical prose.

    Hope your snow melts soon; Jason is adrift as well, feeding horses hay in the barn, wishing it would all just magically go away. Good to read your stuff again.


  3. Kay! Good to hear from you. Yes, I’ve exchanged emails today with Jason, his work–and so many others–has been, well, frozen–by this unrelenting snowy winter. My my dear, you listened to four audio-essays and lived. Gives me hope as I compile a CD of the pieces. Something to do.

    And Kathy, it has been wonderful to feel like I have a little talent and skill–and a lot of time now–to contribute to our community!