Thursday Shorts ~ 17 April


While the guys were here working on the garden fence, three dogs chased a wounded deer into the creek down below the bluff (just off the front porch) where two days later, the buzzards indicated its fate. You know the drill: grab the rope, a plank, the truck keys and the rubber gloves. Deer: even in death, they are an aggravation–though the dog thinks otherwise. Had a patient tell me about two four-yr-old Huskies that belonged to a friend of his. They died from eating a rotten deer carcass.

America’s Worst Mom? This woman gave her 9 year old a longer leash. Too much rope, perhaps? Free range children? She’s been vilified. But consider the alternatives. Your thots? Mom Skenazy says:

… here’s what I’ve learned from all the folks who don’t want to do that, and send bile-filled notes instead: For some reason we live in a society that sees little difference between letting a child frolic in the front yard and letting a child frolic in front of a firing squad. It’s impossible for people to calculate the difference between real and remote risks.

Better Bottles: Looks like Canada will prohibit bisphenol-A (BPA) from food and drink containers (including baby bottles!). Wonder how you tell if bottles you already have and use contain it? Ann’s solution: replace my hard plastic insulated coffee cups with stainless steel versions of same.

Nobody has to die. One fella is taking a quart of pills every day because he intends to live to witness and be the first one beyond the Singularity when computers will be smarter than humans and human memories and personality can be uploaded into avatars, then into immortal robots. A kook, you think? Hardly: Ray Kurzweil.

Mt. Rogers Rally: The Naturalist Rally this year (Konnarock, May 9-10) will hear Stephen Hopp as the Friday night speaker. His topic will be on bird songs, particularly on how digital analysis helps us understand more about the role of calls in bird biology. Hopp is the husband of Barbara Kingsolver–who hates it when she hears me say that on, Slow Road Home and Animal, Vegetable and Mineral are bundled together, both in the category Books>Entertainment>Humor>Rural LIfe where hers is #1 and mine is #47. Humor?

The Garden Fortress is looking rather spiffy, I hate to admit, but only because of the horror I had imagined. Pictures tomorrow, I promise.

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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 posted a bloodroot shot on my blog today too. I also have a shot of a wildflower that I’m not familiar with. If you get a chance, pop over and take a look…maybe you can tell me what it is. I’d appreciate it!