Flotsam from Floyd 25 May 13

Cool Foggy Spring Morning

*  This is National Dirty Fingernail Week. (I just declared it!) Wear them proudly, and give up the notion that you’ll remember or be able to wear gloves transplanting small sets or pulling tiny weeds. Black is beautiful.

*  The pasture grass is perfect for a brisk day like yesterday, blowing silver in the wind as cloud shadows race along behind. It needs cutting very soon, or it will lodge over with the next heavy rain. I have someone who promised to cut it, so better while it is standing. Hurry.

* I was going to exchange a mess of nettles from our forest edges and stream for some asparagus, but the Asparagus Man was out of town the week we wanted to make the swap. But of course, we have our own asparagus patch. It has yielded so far this summer–let me count them–exactly one spear. We’ll wait for year three and maybe get THREE!

* We (or should I say more correctly) SHE has placed three young chicken-oid creatures over in the pen. They should be giving us eggs just weeks before they stop laying for winter. Meh. We will measure the value of those precious eggs in total miles between house and coup divided by the total number of eggs. Precious, I say.

*  I think I’m right that I have NEVER had a fire in the wood stove before on May 13. It feels pretty darned good. Low last night was 36 here, I think the tomatoes and peppers are intact–at least from the threat of frost. But not entirely:

*  I planted 12 bell peppers because Herself likes to chop them in with tomatoes and onions in August to make quarts of soup stock for winter. I went to inspect the 4 inch peppers the day after planting, and found three showing only a bunch of leaves above ground, as if the plants had been sucked down into the earth. The leaves were unattached to a stem. Voles. It’s going to be a long summer.

* I have become a closet archivist. An incurable curator. I hold at least a dozen potentially substantial topics in my binder that I would have, at one point, been working on for a newspaper column or a blog post. Sometimes, the one took priority, other times, the other one did. Now, neither so much.

What am I going to do with a flotsam of resources about Monsanto, disappearing amphibians, biomimicry, the biology of aging, the origins of genius and the burden of a bad name? I’ll dust them off, maybe, from time to time, then they go back in the drawer. I’m just a hoarder who has far too much accumulated trivia to tell at a dinner party.

NOTE: Wednesday 17 May 2023

I am glad to have so many years-worth of monthly notes to compare how life has changed–or hasn’t.

We have no chickens now in our new digs. And not even a dog. But a garden with moles, a really cool snap this late in the year (as in 2013); and way more gathered interests like so many newspaper clippings, still to “talk about” here in Fragments in 2023. I’ll say again, the blog has been a trail of breadcrumbs–to trace back and celebrate the ordinary fragments of life in Floyd County, Virginia. As long as it lasts!

Thanks for occasionally stopping by!

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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’m just about to head out to get my fingernails dirty myself. And we are contemplating cutting our hayfields in the next day or two. And my cucumbers did NOT like the cold snap last night! Argh!

  2. Re: your last point–none of those things sound like trivia. Hope you’ll share them with us over time. And archivists are valuable, but undervalued, members of society.