Ain’t Too Tired To Blog

With apologies to the Temptations, I’m trying to get my keyboard mojo back, and I am drawing a blank for content.

This is not an unfamiliar void since first experimenting with in March of 2002. And something eventually crystallizes out of the things I’ve been reading and ruminating about overnight, or over days, or miles in the car.

And what I often do to rescue the empty page from starvation is look at what I’ve saved to my clipboard (PTH Pasteboard app) and to my “current events” page (in Notational Velocity) and I’ll find more than enough stuff that was interesting to me. That not so often translates into conversation, links or other kinds of blogger feedback these days. I have adjusted to the new normal, and blog anyway.

So here’s a short list of personal bullets I find in the odds-and-ends box on an early Monday morning:

â–¶ I’m finally going to plant Jerusalem Artichokes this year (a sunflower relative), thanks to Jayn who linked me with Bob who has some I can dig on Friday. If you’ve never heard of this plant, it has many benefits (including tasting like water chestnuts) and should grow very well in our sandy soil along Goose Creek in front of the barn.

â–¶ Our church patriarch, pushing 90, pulled out of his pocket yesterday a clip he’d taken from the Roanoke Times. It reports the planting of 560 American Chestnut saplings in the commonwealth (Amherst County). He remembers family members gathering chestnuts to sell to make money to buy each other simple gifts for Christmas. I appreciated him knowing I’d be interested in the newspaper story, and his.

â–¶ Good Chemicals: Eastern Red Cedar in most places is a trash tree, an invader of old fields over limestone soils across the country. A new discovery has found a substance in this tree that succeeds where antibiotics increasingly fail: in conquering MRSA: a hospital (and now community) superbug.

â–¶ Bad Chemicals: What in the World Are They Spraying? is the title of a video that spreads various conspiracy theories about contrails–er, excuse me–chemtrails. Choose your poison. Contrail Science, OTOH, prefers to be grounded in–what do you call those things?–facts. You decide which is true and which is more entertaining.

â–¶ Chamber of Horrors: Bill McKibben takes on the C of C’s affliction by “money pollution” in this HuffPo article. But take note: as I was informed after a Fragments tirade last year (against the national Chamber’s stand opposing action on global warming initiatives) that local chambers can chose to NOT support the national policies. Floyd’s, apparently, is one of those. How about your Chamber of Chaos?

â–¶ Coal’s True Cost What the Chamber does not do, as is typical of myopic “commerce-as-god” entities, is leave certain debits out of the balance sheet. Externalized costs–like disease, displacement, habitat loss and biological extinction are generally invisible. Let’s start making the Emperor’s bare butt apparent, and at the same time, assign true value to the “environmental services” that go in the credits column when air, water, soil and forests do their invisible work for our benefit. If our vision doesn’t clear soon, there are cliffs aplenty that we won’t acknowledge until we’re half way down to the rocks below.

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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. Chemtrails always make me laugh, but I always think of them when I see that vapor trail hanging on long after you’d think it would fade. If you want some entertainment on the conspiracy theories, google about the Denver airport. (That’s where we apparently keep the UFOs.)

  2. I like your good news about the red cedar holding a cure for those bad bugs. As to all the other topics today, I am just too busy living (and reading my environmental NGO magazines) to go to your excellent links and get even better informed. Gotta leave time in my day to do something constructive!

  3. Just one caution about sun chokes, they can take over an area if you don’t manage them. I know a fella that put them in his garden and now has several acres of them. Too rocky to harvest them efficiently, too. so, keep an eye on these babies!

  4. I’ve heard that about the ‘chokes and was thinking to put them along the edge of the creek, below which is the water, and above, the area we keep mowed in front of the barn. The soil is sandy with river rocks.

  5. In my experience, which includes planting, cultivating and harvesting acres of row cropped J-Chokes in Floyd County, they are not so good at competing. I believe the only circumstance might be if completely ignored and abandoned in an ideal environment. I’ve grown them in sandy bottoms, clay-loam saddles and illuvial clay with rocky alluvial deposits, none of these places has a trace of remaining populations. To bad, they taste pretty good, and have cash value. Odd thing the sugars are stored in the form of “inulin” which has unusual dietary properties, though I can’t recall why….

  6. Inulin breaks down into fructose, not glucose, so is tolerated by diabetics while starches are not. I’m going to do some “digging around” to see what I can divine about best location.