Creek Journal 2010-09-22

Dinner in High Places

The High Cost of Low Impact

The small, high-intensity lamp that has hovered above my keyboard now for years finally gave up the ghost. I replaced it with a larger, more familiar architect’s articulating desk lamp, and I put a low-watt CFL bulb in it, which is great for light. But it gives off so little heat, I cannot use it this winter to warm my hands like that little halogen bulb used to do so well–ah, the costs of more efficient appliances. Whine.

Plastic Eggs and Rubber Snakes

It has been mighty convenient having the hens lay eggs in a hand-made hay nest right next to the front steps–that is, until the monster egg-fed kingsnake discovered the easy pickings. We’ve now started looking to collect eggs 4-5 times during the day, and have added two plastic Easter eggs to the nest–which remind the hens why they’re there, and might induce our snake to snack on an Incredible Inedible Egg, and help him lower his cholesterol.

Fracking and Water

I’m hot on the heels of a story that is not news in some parts of the country, but has just really registered on my own personal radar as the environmental block-buster of the coming months and years. I’ll have a lot more to say about “hydrologic fracturing” or “fracking” as it is called, including a column for the Floyd Press. Meanwhile, go here for background.


There’s still a slim chance I’ll swap horses at this point in my photographic life, but the Canon 60D–which is now available for purchase–still tempts me. So far, I’ve managed to talk myself out of it. I have more than enough to do with the camera, lens, printer and Photoshop I have now. Why can’t I just be content with what I have that has served me well (if not in every way; and hey: am I not worth the best? Don’t answer that.)

Place Settings When Homeland Security is Watching

The image above is from a recent dinner gathering from a lofty part of Floyd County. Let it be known that six couples were NOT gathered for the purpose of watching a movie that is so anti (Big Oil) establishment that its showings around the country has attracted the attention of Blackwater and associates. (Now showing at the Lyric in Blacksburg.)

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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 read that in places with heavy snow, the LED stoplights are causing crashes, because they don’t generate enough heat to melt the snow out, the way the old bulbs did.

  2. Hydrofracking for gas has the potential to be this nation’s largest environmental problem unless stopped immediately. Large areas of precious fresh water have been forever contaminated because of the greed of large corporations and our never ending thirst for energy.

    Fresh water is the most precious commodity on earth and it is time we recognized this and started treating it that way.