image copyright Fred First

Please allow me to whine. I am had by the tender parts, and the camera accessory folks are squeezing for all they’re worth. Which is a lot. To use my telephoto lens with my tripod, I need a mounting bracket. It must be made of a semi-precious metal at $150 for this 6 ounce piece of hardware. I’m wondering if by some vanishingly small chance anybody has one of these sitting idle in old Uncle Mort’s chest up in the attic, rest his poor departed soul. If he doesn’t need it anymore, can we work out a deal?

And while whining, another sad story. Ann left out of here this morning stressed for an important continuing ed meeting with which she had become involved in planning. Her neck was in a bind as she hurried down the front steps in the first light. Ten minutes later, I heard a short horn-honk and went to the front porch.

A large tree had fallen down across the road, requiring Ann (who is reverse-impaired under the best of circumstances) to back down the mountain about a half mile. Actually, from a therapy point of view, this might have been just the end-of-range active motion she needed to help with her neck pain. And hey: it just might mean a couple of week’s worth of stove wood. I asked the VDOT guys to go gently and leave what they could for those what might come along and fetch it home to the woodstacks.

Sigh. White oak. A half-cord or more of it. And all either too steep on the high side or tumbling almost vertical down the creek side. I horsed a few pieces into the back of the truck, including one that was too big for me. I horsed it anyway, and it may come back to haunt my back tomorrow. What price, firewood.

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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. When we first built our house here in the woods, of course heating with wood seemed so economical, all that free wood out there… but like you say, what a price. My husband was once lamenting that one of his least favorite jobs was cutting firewood (right up there with ditch-digging), and my boss (at the time) told him to find a job that he did like to do, make money at it, and buy the fuel to heat our house. Of course, that wise man was the local oil distributor…

    Sorry, can’t help you with the camera bracket, and don’t hurt yourself getting firewood. I know getting your own wood is supposed to warm you twice, but it won’t pay for doctor visits.