Creek Jots ~ Late May 2014

â–¶ Barely Bears: after seeing momma and her cub a dozen times this spring,  they’ve gone missing now for more than a week. Last encounter, the baby bear that Gandy chased up a tree a month ago instead chased the dog. I think cub got the idea that it was a play date. Gandy turned tail and did not engage. Ann followed the dog’s example.

▶ Notecards in the Wild: Floyd visitors, be sure and look for my Photo Note Cards on the shelves at the Floyd Country Store and at Chateau Morrisette Winery Tasting Room Store. Stock up now and be prepared for graduations, thank yous, wish you were heres, and come see us needs.

[su_button url=”” target=”blank” background=”#a1c8ea” color=”#1f1717″ size=”5″ wide=”yes” center=”yes” radius=”5″ icon=”icon: camera-retro” icon_color=”#ffffff” text_shadow=”1px 1px 0px #000000″]Explore all 25 naturescapes and landscapes in living color from Floyd County Virginia. Send a special note from a special place![/su_button]

â–¶ When the Rains Come. The creek is still flowing sufficient to pull water from it with my little battery-powered pump to water the garden. I will have to break from the computer to go do that soon before the sun crests the ridge and it gets hot–or what passes for it down in the holler. A good slow inch of rain would make a lot of dirt farmers happy. Maybe tonight.

â–¶ Garden Gamble: I planted two dozen tomato plants (mostly heirloom and supposedly blight resistant) whose fate is unsure after last year’s devastating late blight. I’ve mulched with cardboard held in place by leaf mulch. I’ll be pruning lower leaves as they mature to keep splash-up spores to a minimum; watering to avoid wetting foliage; and staying out of the garden when plants are wet with rain. It’s a crap shoot.

â–¶ Green Pastures: last year, after promise after promise, the pasture never got cut. It was a matted-down mess two months ago. But I’m happy to say the new grass has pushed its way up into a thick and lush high-pile carpet of timothy, orchard grass and clover–with the typical volunteer early succession volunteers you’d expect after a feral year of neglect. I’m promised again that it will be cut for hay. Waiting.

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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 looked at all your notecard sets and have an editorial detail to bring to your attention. The Blue Ridge Parkway set has the first and last photo too big to fit on the monitor, and much bigger than the other three. Also, I am curious: the enlargements of the cards shows some are vertical, some panorama, some square. How does that variety of sizes fit on one size card?