Jots 11-11-2009

A Severe Mercy: Morning Sun and the Bare Bones of Trees
A Severe Mercy: Morning Sun and the Bare Bones of Trees

☼ Chickens not pulling their weight, still making fertilizer from the expensive laying mash and free-range bugs, seeds and grass tips, but only getting 1-2 eggs a day now. We’ve decided to overwinter them instead of crock-potting them, so I’ll have to fashion at least a windbreak for them. Their house has a rat-wire bottom to let air in and cloacal contents out, but that open-air arrangement will make for frozen chicken feet in January. Ah yes, finally, a project!

☼ Calendars expected by the end of the month or sooner, and so far, I have more than 50 of them reserved by you folks, thank you very much, via email, comments, calls and such. Once they are here, the in-hand version will go fast, so if you’re interested, toss you name in the hat now.

☼ Had a good morning with the Newcomer’s Club in Blacksburg yesterday. I read “Where Are You From?” from Slow Road Home since it was about finding our places in the world, and we discussed that, about half of the 30 or so folks having comments about where they felt they “belonged” to a place. Then I read “Calling Them By Name” and we discussed “nature deficit disorder”, none of the folks in the audience but one familiar with “Last Child in the Woods” and Richard Louv’s work. Many had comments also about their own childhoods in nature, about how hard it was to turn kids loose these days especially living in town, and about nature literacy in general. Might be a couple more speaking opportunities in Montgomery County may come from the event.

☼ Guess it was what you’d call compulsively-researched impulse: I bought a Motorola Droid yesterday. How do I like it? Well, I’m going to have to get in the car and drive up to the hardtop to even register the sucker. Once I do that, I HOPE I’ll be able to access the web parts from the home wireless. We’ll not be able to use the 450 free minutes from home, but we’re use to that. But I do want to be able to customize it and get used to the web functions from someplace other than parked up by the dumpsters on Daniels Run. We’ll see where this chapter of Fred’s Follies leads us.

☼ Good news! I’ve been invited to participate in the 2010 Festival of the Book in Charlottesville this coming spring (March 17-21). I’ll be reading along with two other “nature writers” on March 20, details TBA. This is big–especially for a self-published author as it has been hard for such a step-child as myself to play with the “real” authors who have a name stamped on their spines (their books, at least) of publishers in brick and mortar publishing houses. Way cool!

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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’m so relieved that you are blogging again, Fred. I’m sure your other fans are, too. And congatulations on your invitation to read with the “real” authors. Those publishing houses obviously missed the boat.