Tuesday Shorts 04-14-2009

Spicebush flower, backlit, glow from inside--the palest yellow
Spicebush flowers along Nameless Creek, backlit, glow from inside--the palest yellow

❊ More rain today. Its looking like I’ll have to till the garden wet, but not such a terrible thing as it would be for the clay soils of gardens in other places we’ve lived. Ours here is sandy loam, not given to compression under the relatively light weight of the Honda tiller. Speaking of which…

❊ It is time for the annual Cussing of the Small Engines, a high-energy day that comes every year about a week later each than it should have, well after the grass is too far gone to simply pass over once, the garden has surged and the cover crop is waist high, and the dandelions have taken dominion over the pavers on the walk in front of the house. Yes, each Machine will offered the sacraments of oil and gas, then cussed in turn, followed by the litany of starter rope jerks and finally by the incense of gas fumes and all the good works that follow til first frost. Amen.

❊ With the book now coming for sure and the ink dried and checks cashed and nothing to be done now but wait, I’m getting anxious. Maybe I should have ordered the shrimp instead. Maybe the cover font should have been red instead. Maybe I shouldn’t have taken out so many pieces. Maybe the little black and whites (three times more of them than I’d intended) will turn out dark and muddy and you can’t even tell what they are! Maybe in three years I will have 20 cases of garden compost mouldering in a back room–or the barn or shed. Cripes!

❊ Allay my fears. Go here and order–before the books are all gone! Only 985 left!

❊ We have new door knobs and deadbolts as the old ones failed–again. The new doorknob turns from inside whether it is on lock or not, unlike the ones we’ve had til now that didn’t turn inside if it was locked from outside. As you can imagine, I’ve found myself locked out on the back porch in my underwear more than once, early morning trip for firewood, Ann asleep inside, and it’s raining. The spare key is out there in the dark cold rain. This is a powerful reinforcer to obsessively twist the outside handle BEFORE shutting the door.

❊ Oooh! Don’t wait–download the new version of CoolIris that shows you “the Wall” of images from Facebook, or way better, from the images in folders on your own hard drive, including slide shows! And I’m testing (and liking) LaunchBar 5 in my obsessive quest for information mastery with fewer (ouch!) keystrokes.

❊ Don’t forget Floyd Earth Day this weekend. See you there.

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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. Re: The cussing of the engines: Our homestead is much smaller than yours. That’s the reason we can have an electric lawnmower. leaf blower, chain saw, et al. Quiet, stink-free, and always willing to go to work. Keeps me a bit more holy in the springtime!

    Re: LaunchBar. Have you tried DragThing? I’ve used it for years, and I find I can’t do without it. Sits there unobtrusive until you need it. Incidentally, it’s the oldest continually marketed shareware on the Mac – almost 20 years!