Journal Notes 03-05-2009

Click for larger image
Click for larger image

☼ The taxes go to The Man today and that will be one burden lifted (until the day of reckoning cometh).

☼ Our road is now scraped down in places to bare earth, this warming weekend to become a sea of mud and about as slippery as the ice it replaces.

☼ The book’s innards are fully formed if not still fully ready for prime time and as far as I can tell, we’re still on track to get this puppy out of here before the end of the month, then three weeks in print, a week to ship, and the due date arrives, then the delivery from the womb of the truck and book infanthood begins.

☼ I will pick up a soil sample kit at the Extension Service office in town today. Things went fairly well last year with little amendment, but we need to maximize yield since our space is so small.

☼ We’ve had a third fresh deer carcass show up on our land in two weeks. Nothing has been taken in terms of meeting human meat needs or trophies. The parts–including head and limbs–disappear fairly quickly. By the time we (or rather the dog) find them, the guts are mostly gone.

If it were a pack of dogs or coyotes, we’d hear them closer and in greater numbers than we do. It is a silent and powerful hunter, and hungry–perhaps the Sasquatch of Goose Creek?

☼ Whatever complex combination of markers tell the dog that exactly HERE is where to do his business are entirely missing in this deep and now crusted snow. He ranges back and forth across the unbroken featureless expanse of white, circling, indecisive and perplexed, everything in his doggy nature telling him “this is wrong!” But in the end, nature takes its course, canine protocol and etiquette notwithstanding. And we finally come back inside.

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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. Agreed! I’m ready for life on the urban tundra to be over, but it is indeed beautiful. Am also enjoying dipping into the book-to-be. Looking forward to the final product!

  2. Wow! That is a beautiful picture. And to think that Floyd County got an inch of snow last year — maybe. I love black and white compositions ….