Floyd County Naturalist/Photographer’s Weblog Published as a Memoir of Place

Fred's getting some good press these days. They are even offering the book through their on-line store. 

(Floyd, Virginia) Some of us long for belonging to the land, for roots in particular and special places where, for reasons usually beyond our knowing, we resonate with the landscape.

For those like Fred First who have lived other places and then been drawn to the Blue Ridge, it is almost always the mystery of mountains that brings them here. Fred describes this as a "magnetic resonance in their bones" that pulls them toward an altitude, latitude and slant of sun that simply feels right for them. For such souls as this "the mountains hold a nutrient that they can not live without."

For anyone who hasn't checked out their site before it has some great info...

Source: Floyd County Naturalist/Photographer’s Weblog Published as a Memoir of Place

Leon Hale: A dream of rain

For Pablo who I know is out of the country. I thought this would help ease the pain of no real rain... 

A dream of rain

We're in the old country house at Winedale for a few days, and last night we had rain. Every time I woke up during the night rain was making music on this tin roof.

I had a dream. I dreamed that it rained for three days and three nights, and the gauge filled and ran over, and the water in our stock tank rose and rose until it ran around the spillway and into the creek, and I could see bass jumping in the tank and ducks flew in, and geese, and deer came to drink, and the land all around was soaked and happy.

At 5:30 I got up and I knew I'd been dreaming but maybe some of it was true so I took a flashlight and went out to the rain gauge to check, and all through the night we'd had four-tenths of an inch.

Source: Leon Hale: A dream of rain


This house intrigues me. I pass it on my way to and from work regularly. It is on a road that once upon a time brought children from the countryside to the local public school. As a matter of fact it that is it's name. In this part of the country you will come across a lot of small two lane roads (once dirt or gravel) that were named for the local school at the end of the lane.

This house now sits on a piece of prime property located about midway between the outer belt in Houston and a new "master planned" community. In fact just over the creek above this house the road widens and becomes a divided boulevard before passing through the 3500 acre community.

Every time I pass this house I can't help but wonder how many families have been sheltered, and loved this little piece of the country. When was the last family living here? Why was it abandoned? did every one die off slowly over the years? What ever the stories this house may have to tell, we will never know. But I will look on it each time I pass and offer it a passing nod of thanks for having served it's purpose for so many years...

Industrial Food - Good enough to kill you?

 If it teaches  us nothing else, the problems with illness from fresh produce, will teach us the truth to the old saw about "putting all of your eggs in one basket".

First it was spinach. Then tomatoes. Now possibly green onions.

Over the past three months, fresh produce has been the culprit in one episode of food-borne illness after another, the latest an E. coli outbreak that appears to be linked to green onions served at Taco Bell restaurants in the Northeast. More than 60 people have been sickened in that outbreak.

As some one said in an article recently, "it's like we're all washing our vegetables in the same tub of water". That tub is located at the central processing plants.

Several factors have contributed to the rise in outbreaks: greater consumption of fresh produce, especially cut fruits and vegetables; wider distribution; improved electronic reporting of outbreaks; and an aging population more susceptible to food-borne illness. Produce presents a special food safety challenge because, unlike meat, which can be rid of bacteria through proper cooking, it is meant to be consumed raw. There is no "kill step," as food safety experts put it.

From the reporting on the problems involved, our fresh produce is regulated by the same agency that is in charge of the safety of our drugs...Do you feel safer? The FDA's budget is strapped and their inspection resources are low. So as more and more of the American food supply passes through fewer and fewer processors, we have fewer inspectors with no power to really regulate what they are charged with inspecting. Sounds like the perfect plan for disaster doesn't it.

If nothing else, this should make everyone a little more interested in just where their food comes from. If you can find a local source of quality grown produce, patronize that grower if for no other reason than to insure diversity in your food supply. If you have a local farmer's market, get to know the growers. Put a face on the person who supplies your lettuce and tomatoes. Visit their farms and have a look at how your food is being grown. Take responsibility for being your own inspector. That way you will develop a trust in your food supply that you can no longer have the government insure.

Source: Outbreaks Reveal Food Safety Net's Holes - washingtonpost.com

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