Creek Jots ~ 2009-12-11

December Moon
December Moon

☼ We’re stoking the stove about once an hour, and that massive woodpile out back is showing attrition from both ends. We’ll have left-overs come spring, but I think I might go ahead and place an order for another dump truck load (3+ cords) for late winter. It won’t go to the bad if we don’t use it next year. Ah yes, this is winter as I remember it: an afghan across my legs, hot coffee steaming under the desk lap, and cold hands poised over the keyboard. I think this is the year I will get the fingerless gloves for inside, Ebeneezer Fred bent over his desk in the dark in the flickering shadows of a drooping candle in the wee hours. Bah! Bah Humbug!

☼ Wythevillians out there? Do come by the Spiller Street Museum and say hello tomorrow from 1230 to 330 (reading at 2:00). I should (theoretically) have some calendars with me if they are delivered today as I was lead to expect. Got those emails yesterday for those still planning to send in orders.

☼ Chickens so far surviving the cold. We’re giving them extra feed in the afternoon for metabolic heat overnight, tossing in some sunflower seeds. Of course their water freezes overnight, so we take over a gallon of hot water late and replace it the next morning, crossing the frozen creek multiple times a day, dealing now with rock-hard chicken droppings–which is really to be preferred, actually, to the regular soft-serve.

☼ I went down to WVTF and recorded two essays Tuesday. One of them will air (probably) Monday Dec 21, will let you know if I get more details, then will offer a link later to online version on the station web site.

☼ Beautiful sky this morning–high thin pulled-cotton against cerulean blue. I think I will start a catalog of cloud pictures. For one reason, I want to include details of the sky in the (neglected since mid-November) novel and having images to work from will help with descriptions. Also, they can make nice background images for the cell phone screen. (I’ve already confessed to being a Droidophilic.) Ah, I look out now and all that has changed–the most notable feature now a long section of white puffy colon. Even notice how some contrails look like the large intestine with the segmental pouches (haustra for you med-terminology types.)?

☼ Meetings: Wednesday–Virginia Tech students presented a feasibility study for “Sustainable Business Opportunities for Floyd County” under the guidance of Dr. John Provo, ED of the Office of Economic Development. They left us with lots to think about. Then last night and yesterday afternoon, the first of a series of meetings about well source protection and other water-related issues to be developed “bottom up” by Floyd County residents. A steering committee is forming from anyone with interest.

☼ Let me just say in my own defense (during my Droid fanboy period): this is the first cell phone I’ve ever owned. “We” have owned just one, she has carried it, turned off, for emergency purposes mostly, for years. But aside from the clinic phone I’ve had for some while (and must return soon, now that I’ve apparently moved on) I’ve never carried a cell phone I used. So the smartphone is quite the change. Sometime, I’ll have more to say about its usefulness–which I cannot fully test here in signal-deprived shopping-limited Goose Creek. I will tell you I discovered there are blind spots out there, Verizon–like Tanglewood Mall, of all places. Could not get a signal to play with Google Goggles, Layars, and Places Directory.

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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. How frustrating for you to be signal deprived with all those apps to play with! (I don’t know what I’m speaking of. My cell phone is always off, in my purse, for emergencies only, or for calling the husband to say when I’m leaving, so expect me home in a half hour.)

  2. We’re generally at least 10-12 degrees colder than Roanoke and 5-6 than Blacksburg–in those “deeper valleys” where temps are always “off” from the upland parts and a growing zone north of the surrounding area–a microhabitat for sure.