Sunday, October 7, 2007

Cheese Ball Walk

As I sometimes do, I visited the Marshall Depot last Friday evening for a dose of old fashioned good clean fun. As usual, they did several cake walks. I participated but did not win. Then someone announced they were going to do a "cheese ball walk," and a lady proceeded to march to the front with the biggest cannister of cheese balls I have ever seen or imagined. SM reeeeeeaaalllly wanted to win the cheeseballs. She wanted them so bad she forgot to pay her dollar for the walk. Well, she didn't win, but she won the next cake walk (which she did remember to pay for). She marched right over to the man who had won the cheese balls and struck a deal- her coconut cake for his cheese balls. She strutted back to our back corner and proudly hugged her cannister of cheese balls for the rest of the evening. It was a beautiful sight- so cozy with the music (Don't Go Ridin on that Long Black Train, Rocky Top and such) and the steady flow of elderly people back and forth to the dance floor to clog or 2 step to the secular numbers...

Sunday, August 5, 2007

A pleasant late summer day

Yesterday I went on a steamy late summer excursion down to a waterfall located somewhere on Route 9, about 30 minutes from Black Mountain. (Warren Wilson affiliates will remember this place as "the route 9 property.") I always hesitate to go all the way out there because is it so dang far. But it was worth the trip yesterday. On the trail down to the river, I ran into a group of friends who I know from different places. We chatted about plants and such, and Wylie taught me the plant "mandarin" which was growing next to where we stood. Later on in the walk I also saw black cohosh, American cohosh (cimicifuga americana), boneset just starting to bloom, yellowroot, and I thought I saw goldenseal but it was something else. MMC5th and I did some boulder hopping and swam in the pool at the bottom of the waterfall. The water temp was absolutely perfect. We found a place to sit so the waterfall would splash on us pleasantly. Then we walked back downstream and swam again in a really long pool of water that was really really nice. It was a very worthwhile way to spend a hot Saturday afternoon in early August. Our trip was topped off by a visit to the Swannanoa Amazing Savings, where I was able to thoroughly satisfy my hoarding craving by buying 6 fair trade chocolate bars and 4 jars of organic concord grape juice! Oh yeah, that's about all I have to say about that.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Yellow Rose

I'm starting to get in to trying to propogate roses with cuttings. Today I got a bunch of cuttings from some of my own rose bushes, and then I went and got one from Jenna's neighbor. He doesn't know the name of the rose, so I am forced to name it myself. I have chosen: Frisbee Street Single Wide Yellow.

Friday, June 15, 2007

A few useful and interesting things I have learned this month

1. If you make a small campfire in the private fenced in yard of a house you are housesitting at in Asheville, the neighbors will complain and the fire department will come.

2. A rainbow over the Bypass Automotive (25/70 Marshall Bypass) is about one of the prettiest sights the naked eye could behold.

3. Kittens are damn cute, but I am still allergic to cats.

4. A small kitten can eat an entire mouse without getting sick.

5. People resist change.

6. People still read your blog even if you haven't written anything in 2 months...

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Pity the Fools: Slingshot Madness

Things got a little rowdy on April 1, which is incidentally the birthday of JDH3rd. Shots were being slung, and the "Stop Drop Roll and Slingshot" technique was being displayed. JDH3rd and I talked about starting a little slingshot practice group on Sunday afternoons. He had the idea of buying some, say, ground buffalo meat, forming it into little mini buffalo shapes, setting them up as targets, shooting them, and then grilling the meat. Brilliant. Enjoy the photos.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Silly zen-like thoughts on Patience

Yesterday I was involved in a task that required extreme levels of patience. By about 4:00 in the afternoon, I was starting to get that burning feeling inside that told me my patience was running low. I new that I needed to be present and highly functioning in what I was doing for at least another 5 hours. I started having a panicky thought: What if I run out of patience? What if today is the day that I just totally run out of patience? I almost didn't want to let my self ask those questions I guess because I thought that meant the reality was closer than I wanted to believe. I had a really scary moment feeling like that if I actaully lost my patience something terrible and catastrophic would happen. It was like I felt like life would be totally different before and after that moment. But then I let myself really go through it in my head- I allowed myself to answer the question- What would happen if I lost my patience?

My answer to my my own question was surprisingly freeing. If I lost my patience, that is exactly what would happen- I would lose my patience. Life would go on. I would go on. No catastrophic event would follow. I would continue doing the exact task I had been doing. I don't know if this makes any sense, but I realized that patience isn't really anything other than patience, and that made the whole stress of the situation yesterday kind of humorous in a way. It didn't change the way I felt, which was on the broink of losing my patience, but at least I laughed while feeling that way. And I kept going.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

"Let's Pick"

Last night I went to the Woodfin Community Center for "Live Bluegrass and Country Music." This event occurs every 2nd and 4th Saturday evening of the month. There is an old hand made stencilled faded falling over sign at the turn that reads: Let's Pick! Live Bluegrass and Country Music. Every 2nd and 4th Saturday at Woodfin CommCen. The music didn't get started until about 7:30, but people were gathering by 6:00. A group of men casually picked old country and bluegrass songs together outside while some women got the serving table together for a cover dish supper. They don't do the cover dish every time- just sometimes. People trickled in for an hour and a half, a lot of them bringing containers from KFC or Bojangles for the cover dish. Some people made homemade food such as deviled eggs; there was also a lot of pork and bean dishes. Anyways, at 7:30 the music started on the stage. Old Hank Williams style country music, country gospel, and bluegrass music. About 90% of the people there were old. People sang along and danced, and the ambience under the floursescent lights was casual. Most of the people seemed to know each other. A group called Alvin Wilson and the Happy Valley Boys picked some awesome bluegrass- they were 4 old men and one young man. God bless the young buck who picks banjo with those old boys. Their high voices were incredible harmonizing with each other. MMC5th and I marvelled at how high they sing, like women...

Anyways, my thought is, when I am old, will the people of my generation gather together on a regular basis to visit and share food, memories and music? What will be the nostalgic sound for people of my generation when we are hobbling around with walkers? Will we take the time to go to KFC and pick up a bucket of fried chicken? Will we have any traditions to preserve? Will we take the time to talk to youngsters and offer to teach them everything we know, as one man last night offered to MMC5th? I guess my best projection is that we will pine for dance music of the 80's- and that we will not look half as graceful as those old hillbillies waltzing to "In the Pines" as we will trying to rock out to "Karma Chameleon."

Friday, March 16, 2007

Seven Useful and Interesting Items of Information I Have Received this Week

1. Unicorn pops, while beautiful indeed, are tedious and challenging to eat.
informant: personal experience

2. Purple nail polish is being worn by all the young people these days (meaning women under 40). informant: my grandmother

3. Pepsid AC can help me with my indigestion. It either comes in powder or tablet form.
informant: my sister (via memory from television commercials)

4. My next door neighbor, the taxidermist, did NOT kill all of the bobcats in our cove last fall, even though he did kill 3 with his bow and arrows.
informant: the bobcat kitten I saw last night

5. Good clean fun is not a thing of the past.
informant: insinuation from life experience, plus the flyer I saw for a Beltane
"treasure hunt" party

6. Some kids are not lazy.
informant: Mountain Express article about a high school boy who makes bagpipes in
his free time

7. If I shave my head again, I will look like a boy or a dike.
informant: my very informative sister

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Uh, Ma'am, you have a lollypop stick on your back...

One day a few years ago I was shopping at the local brew supply shop buying corks or something of the likes. I shopped for a good 15 to 20 minutes and was the only customer in the store at the time. After I paid and was turning to exit, the shop owner (no names will be mentioned), who is a rather unusual and quirky seeming man, said to me in an awkward tone, "Uh, ma'am.. you have a lolly pop stick on your back." I was kind of surprised because in all the years I have shopped there, that man never said anything personal to me whatsoever. "Oh," was my reply as I reached back between my shoulder blades to feel around my back.
"A little lower," he said, and I reached down to my lower back. "A little lower," he kept saying as I reached lower and lower, until I felt the stick on the lower part of my butt, like near where my butthole was. I burst out laughing and blurted out, "Did you mean- Ma'am you have a lollypop stick on your ass?!?" A sheepish glance and a shrug of the shoulders was the reply.

Well, the other day I was talking with friends RM and her dear, dear daughters (who were ever so patiently waiting in the car for their mother). For some reason I ended up telling them the "lollypop on the back" story, which elicted a few good chuckles from all 3 ladies, particularly from my young friend "B".

Two days later I got a phone message from "B" telling me she wanted to "chat about a lollypop stick." I couldn't stand the suspense so I called right back. As it turns out, the very next evening after I had told them the lollypop stick story, they had gone to get some pizza in Weaverville. As I understand the story, during the pizza dinner, "B" glanced out the window just in time to notice the full lunar eclipse, in the moment of full eclipse. The family was very excited. When "B" got up, guess what----that's right, she had a lollypop stick on her "back." Sanctified by the moon in full eclipse herself...

Thursday, March 1, 2007


Somtimes I set out to do one specific thing, and what I end up accomplishing is the opposite... I am humbled to realize how little I can control.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Low Gap

Yesterday I told my landlord, "B," that I will be moving out. I thought it was fair to give him ample notice. I do not have a place to move yet, but that is my intention. He has been a good landlord and I haven't been bothered at-all in the four years I have lived here.

Hearing about my plans to leave seemed to make "B" feel kind of sentimental about everything. He told me what a good tenant I have been and urged me to stay as long as I could. Then he proceeded to tell me more about the place that I live than I ever knew.

Long ago, when "B" was just a boy, he and his daddy cleared all the land where I live (the yard, the garden, the hay field and the back pasture) with a mule. He used to have to farm like that until he went away to the Navy. When he was a boy, some of his kin folk lived over in Sodom*. He used to take a mule over a gap on the ridge to get down into Sodom. He pointed out the spot in the ridge and said it was called Low Gap. He said back then all the people who lived over in Sodom Laurel and Guntertown would travel by foot over Low Gap down into Hickory Flats to get to Marshall. He said every week when people would get their welfare checks, they would walk from Sodom over Low Gap to Hickory Flats. There was a man who lived at the top of the cove beneath Low Gap who had a car. A lot of times he would give people a rive to 25/70, where they would catch a bus to Marshall to get their checks cashed and buy groceries. He said Low Gap through Hickory Flats was the main transportation route from people in Laurel to get to Marshall back then.

Then he told me of this lady named Granny someone who lived in one of the houses on Hickory Flats. She had the worst humpback of anyone he ever saw- got it when she was young. She was so humpbacked it wasn't even funny. She raised these 2 boys who were kin to her somehow. Their parents died, and she raised them. Even with that humpback she did everything for them 2 boys- cooked their meals, made their clothes, raised a garden, chopped wood. He said she was a real good woman, and everyone called her Granny.

He told me about an ole feller named Buddy who lived down in a shack until he died a few years ago. He used to walk up and down the highway every day.

"B" and I walked up the road to check a mare who is due to have a colt any day. He noticed that someone cut a doughnut in his bottom hay field. He kept repeating, "Who cut a doughnut on my bottom?" He was mildly upset about it. I guess his "bottom" referred to his bottom field... I had to look away when he said that for reasons that should be obvious.

I was so excited to get all this history off "B". It made me think I'll have to wait a spell and then remind him that I am moving soon and see if he comes out with even more good stuff from long ago... In the meantime I plan to walk over Low Gap into Sodom sometime this week.

*Note: Sodom is not only a rural part of Madison County, but it was a city destroyed by god because of its wicked ways in the old testament (Genesis 19:24-28) Apparently, Lot struck a deal with the Lord and the Lord spared he and his family by giving them time to flee the burning city. The only thing was they were not allowed to ever look back. Lot's wife, however, took one final peek and was turned into a pillar of salt (by the Lord of course).

Thursday, February 8, 2007

What happens when you spend too much time in a garage apartment

Please enjoy the following pictures: This first one is a close-up shot of one of my unicorn pop curtains.

This next one is me with my brain tanned buckskin I wrote so much about.

This is the unicorn pop curtain in context- coonskin cap and Jesus fiber optic "cosmic light imagery set" with special Lions and Waterfall clock...

A repeat of the close up. Sorry, I couldn't get it off...

Thursday, February 1, 2007


Much fun was had by SM, MH, and I when we hit the town (Marshall, that is) on Tuesday. After spending 2 plus hours laughing and carrying on in the new Zuma's, we decided to fart around on the bridge for a while.

Then we moved the party to right outside the Sentinel office, where SM and I did some headstands and such. I wanted to breakdance on top of the Sentinel office, but there were people in there. I didn't know that Marshall could be so fun. I guess it was the company... Thanks to MH for the photos.

Monday, January 22, 2007

This is me practicing my new favorite past time- slingshot. Please try to ignore the double chin that apparently I have...
Thanks for the photo, MH.
I am hoping over time to get good enough with the slingshot to be able to shoot small game, such as squirrel, rabbit, and feral Hot Springs chickens. For the meantime, inanimate targets such as trash cans, stuffed raccoons, and glass bottles are sufficing just fine.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Lesbians, Plott Hounds* and Unicorn Pops...

Having a break from work creates space for unexpected events of a slightly weird nature. Yesterday all that was on the agenda was a work meeting in the morning and a social meeting at lunch. After that the sky was the limit... Post scheduled meetings I met up with SR in Asheville in the mid afternoon. The weather was nastee- cold, windy and starting to snow. After I watched her eat some pizza at Marco's, we decided to go next door to the Fresh Market to buy some fancy-pants candy. I selected a unicorn pop, in honor of childhood treats at the beach, and a bag of amaretto cordials. SR bought a cherry pie. We sat down in some complimentary seats near the cash register to avoid going back out in the weather for a few more minutes. SR had to get going pretty soon to go give someone acupuncture, and I started teasing her by doing an acupuncture pantomime. (It was a rather good acupuncture pantomime, if I do say so myself, and the more she laughed the more elaborate my miming got.) We were laughing and carrying on, until a butchy looking lady in the 50-60 age range appeared out of nowhere and said to SR: "Where'd you get yourself such an entertaining lady?" SR was like "huh?", and the lady repeated, "Where'd you get yourself such an entertaining lady?" I saw that the cat had SR's tongue so I answered "She found me at the dump," to which the butchy lady responded, "Well! That's something I've never thought of!" We all just remained in silence for a strange moment, and then the butchy lady walked out. SR and I cracked up hard. After we were done cracking up hard, we walked out into the cold to our cars to leave. Just as I was getting into my truck, the butchy lady appeared again out of nowhere in an SUV, rolled down the window and hollered out, " What I meant to say in there was: I've picked up a lot of women in my life, but I've never picked one up at the dump!" Then she waited for me to respond. I was ready to get out of there because I realized I was being hit on in a really weird fashion, so I hollered, " Well, maybe you should drive down there and try it out sometime!" I got in my truck and drove off.

I started driving home to Marshall, and I decided to stop at the Flick Video and pick up some evening entertainment. I pulled into the parking lot behind a big black Toyota Tundra (or something of the likes of that) that was smothered in Plott Hound* bumper stickers. Well, that got me all fired up because I love plott hounds and plott hound paraphanalia, so I decided to follow the driver into the Family Dollar and ask him where he got all those pretty stickers. I quickly took off my fake (God forgive me Daniel Boone) coonskin hat and replaced it with my pink "Got Plott?" baseball cap. I followed the feller in, but when I saw him close up I decided to bag the whole idea. He looked like a character from Deliverance- camo threads, intense red face, beady eyes, and a mouth spilling over with baccer. I high-tailed it past him to the cosmestics isle, grabbed some cotton face pads, and went to pay. Well guess what... That feller was blocking the way to the cashier and burning a hole in my Got Plott cap with his stare. The conversation went as follows:
Me: Are you in line?
Feller: Nope. Are you?
Me: I'm fixin to get in line. Excuse me.
Feller: (Doesn't move) What's that say on yer cap?
Me: (Bending head down to show) Got plott?
Feller: You like plotts?
Me: Yeah, do you?
Feller: (Staring hard) Yeah.
Me: I got one.
Feller: I got six.
Me: Do you hunt?
Feller: Yeah.
Me: What?
Feller: (Staring hard.) Bear.
Me: Did you get any?
Feller: (Holding stare.) Lots.
Me: Did they ever kill your plotts?
Feller: Sometimes. (Long pause) Do you hunt?
Me: No.
Feller: Why not?
Me: (Beginning to feel warm and a bit claustrophobic) I don't know. I guess it's just one of those
things I never learned.
Feller: (Intensifiying stare by double) You wanna learn?
Me: inaudible mumble
Feller: Where do you live?
Me: (lying) On Walnut.
Feller: I live on Shelton Laurel. (Pulling wallet from back pocket, but holding glare) Here's my
card. Call me on my cell phone.
Me: (Looking for a way out) Do you breed plotts too?
Feller: Yeah. (Family Dollar "sales rep" reappears to help Feller select an appropriate Family
Dollar cell phone plane.) Stick around a minute so I can talk to you.
Me: (Seeing an out I purchase the cotton pads as quickly as possible and holler) Thanks for the
card- I'll give you a call if I need a new plott!

Proceeding this weird and uncomfortable conversation, I walked quickly next door to the safety of the bright florescent lights of the Flick Video. I selected 2 movies (Taladega Nights and Coal Miner's Daughter, the Story of Loretta Lynn), and went to pay. While paying, I noticed a rack of Unicorn Pops in the candy section with a sign that read: All Pops Half Off. I thought 'Damn. I just bought a Unicorn Pop for full price at the damn Fresh Market. Oh well.' I left and drove home.

Shortly after I arrived home and the garage apartment heated up a little, I got to thinking about those half off Unicorn Pops and getting really excited, and I decided that I wanted to go back and buy them all. After all, when are Unicorn Pops half off? I seriously contemplated going back out in the snow because I got nervous that someone would beat me to it before the next morning. Luckily, I checked myself and was able to convince myself that no one would probably think to buy a whole rack of Unicorn Pops on the same night as I did.

This morning I ate breakfast with MMC5th at The Cafe on 213, and I made it over to Flick Video at 10:05. They open at 10:00. I walked in and said, " I would like to buy all of your Unicorn Pops, please." I counted them out, and after a brief conversation with the seemingly very disturbed store clerk, I happily purchased 49 Unicorn Pops. I told the clerk a little white lie, which was that I was going to use them as prizes in my classroom. That seemed to ease her mind a little, and later MMC5th told me that was a very compassionate white lie to tell...
I promptly returned to the garage apartment, the proud owner of 50 Unicorn Pops, and commenced with the READ intended use of the candy...

Curtains! I strung up all 50 of the Unicorn Pops and hung them (25 on each) on the curtain rods of 2 of my windows, creating a top ruffle curtain effect. The Pops are staggered in hanging length, and the result is absolutely beautiful! Two rainbow colored Unicorn Pop vanity curtains! It looks like a regular funhouse in here! Local readers: please stop by to see.

* Writers note: For those readers who do not live in Western NC, a plott hound is a regional dog breed, selected for hundreds of years to be fast and fearless large game hunters (bear, wild boar and cougar). Naively, I acquired one as a pet 5 years ago. They are also the NC state dog.