Tuesday, July 27, 2010

More Work, More Mystery

Situation: Work Days to clear home site- July 24, 26

All Present at some time or the other on either or both of those days: me, Eduard Thijs, Laura Carter, Els Thijs, Greg Adams, Susie and Todd, Zoe and Liz, Amy Moore, Stacey Geyer, Carl Rice, George Cooper, Sheia the dog, Ruby the dog, Luna Moth, Rosa the dog

Tasks accomplished: cut down trees for lumber (2 huge white pines, a sizable black walnut, a smallish cherry)- Eduard with Greg's assistance did this; piled limbs and debris into various burn piles; cut down smaller trees in house site (cherries, sweet birch, maple, hemlock, and poplar); stacked more limbage; visited with friends and neighbors; ate and drank together

Temperature: Hot as H-E-double hockey stick

Moral: remarkably good in spite of the heat

Mystery # 1: How does Eduard continue to come out and rock the free world at my place even though I tease him till the kingdom come about all manners of things? (ps, Thanks Eduard- you are helping me more than you might know!)

Mystery # 2: How did luna moths get to be so dang beautiful? (I am thinking of modeling my interior color scheme after their natural coloring.)

I am so indescribably grateful for my friends and for their help and support. Enjoy the pictures:

Monday, July 19, 2010

Profile Preview: Moonie

It has been one of my ideas for quite some time now to occasionally feature people on this blog who I find of outstanding interest. I want to do interview/ profiles of sorts, where I spend some time with the person in his/her domain- observing, shooting the shit, asking some direct questions, and photographing. It's like hitting three birds with one stone: 1) quality time spent with someone I like a lot, 2) subject matter to write about on my bloggity blog, and 3) vicarious enjoyment of that person for you people, the readers.
As it turns out, buying 20 acres and planning for a house takes a lot of time, so this and all other fantastic project ideas have taken a bit of a "back burner," so to speak, but I still want to do it and might just hit you with one when you least expect it. For now, I am going to give a preview of what will likely be my first real full sized "person of interest profile" someday: Moonie.
As most of you know, Moonie is one of my beloved neighbors. She is nearly 19 years old, and I have had the pleasure of knowing her for I think over 10 years. It has been a true delight to watch her grow up, and I am proud to call her a friend.
One of the reasons Moonie is a person of interest is that every time I cross her path, she is engaged in some activity that is unique, out of the ordinary (for most teenagers), and she is doing it with the finess of someone way beyond her years. She is most known on this blog for her accomplishments as a lamb saver; she is the one who tubed and force fed a dying newborn lamb by herself when the rest of the family was out one day, thus saving its precious little brand new life.
Recently she successfully performed a minor leg surgery on one of her puppies with kitchen scissors when it was cut to the tendon on a piece of fencing.
Once I came across her carrying a newborn cow on her shoulders (amniotic fluids and all) down a nearly vertical mountainside. Her legs were buckling from exhaustion by the time she got down, but she got that calf to the barn before dark set in.
Another reason Moonie is profile worthy is that her sense of humor is extremely dry, refined and effective, especially for someone so young. Today she made me laugh so hard (even though she might not have been trying to be funny.) I was sitting around visiting with her and her mom (RM). The conversation went a little something like this:
RM: This time of year, I can't run a load of laundry without adding a little bleach to the load. In the winter I start a load at night before bed, like say at about 11, and then in the morning I throw them in the dryer. This time of year that's too long-using just the spring water, the clothes will sour in that time. It's gross.
Dana: That is gross.
Moonie: (says nothing, engaged in Facebook activities)
RM: For example those all that laundry there I just folded (nods to a huge mound of recently folded laundry)- some of them will have to be re-washed.
Moonie: (not looking up from the Facebook Wall page) I hope it's not my Periodic Table of the Elements tee shirt (stated quietly and dryly).

I laugh and laugh. "I hope it's not my Periodic Table of the Elements tee shirt." Good one.
Moonie will not let me photograph her today, but I am allowed to photograph her surroundings, like the milk cow, Pearl, and her pig with wings drawing (with the mound of souring laundry in the background) and her "Periodic Table of the Elements" tee shirt.
This is a profile preview.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Seven Eleven

It was five Seven Elevens (that's July 11) ago when I found myself sitting on a boulder at the edge of the Toe River feeling down and out and wishing my dear friend SR were there to swim and pass the time with. It was about mid-day and I was at Carolina Hemlocks Campground, where I had been for a day or two with a bunch of Hot Springs ladies for a Ladies Car Camping trip. Everyone else had left, and I was not wanting to go home, so I sat there and stared at the river, wishing for my friend SR. Well, I sat and thought for a good long while and then decided I guessed I better head home. I got to my truck and started driving that way. I hadn't gone a half mile when I saw SR's car parked on the side of the road. It was unmistakably her car, but she was not in it nor anywhere to be found. I sat on the bumper of her car for a long time, waiting for her to return, with no luck. This was very strange. I had not told her that I would be out at the Toe River, so why was her car out there so close to where I had been camping? I walked up the road to see if I could find her to no avail. I finally gave up and started back to the car to wait some more or try to figure out the mystery. I was walking back across a bridge when I heard someone from a distance yell my name, barely audibly, "Dana!" It took me a few moments to find the source of the yell: far below and downstream was Sally, in the river, smiling and waving to me!
I scrambled down the bank and along the rocky bank until I reached her. We laughed and laughed when we told each other our stories.
Here's hers: She had gotten up that morning and had the day off. She decided she wanted to go on a swimming adventure, so she googled swimming holes in WNC, and got a map to some swimming hole somewhere in Yancey County (or God knows where...) She got lost trying to get there and drove around for a long time wishing that I were there to have a fun summer adventure with. All she knew was that I was away with some ladies from Hot Springs. Eventually she got sick of driving around and decided to stop and get in the river she was at (while being lost). It was the Toe, and she was getting in but wishing for her friend. She looked up to see someone walking across the bridge and she thought to herself, "That person walks a lot like Dane." Then she thought to herself, " I think that is Dane!" She hollered up to find out, and it was me indeed.
We laughed and laughed and swam until we were chilly from the cold Yancey County water. We were having so much fun, we decided maybe we ought to go for a drive up to Mount Mitchell. Neither of us had anywhere to be, so we decided to make a day out of it. On the way, we stopped at a tiny little diner to get some french fries and sweet tea. The diner was run by a lady who also sells Avon products out of the place. We didn't buy any of that, but talked to her about Mount Mitchell weather patterns and such, and eventually we headed up the mountain.
The rest is details. (ha ha) We had a fantastic time, and got a kick out of being the highest people east of the Mississippi when we climbed the tower. We figured our thoughts were the closest thoughts to heaven of anyone around at that moment, so we tried to think big. We mosied around the mountain top, particularly enjoying the unique flora of the elevation.
Our day was so fun that we made an oath to go on a friendship pilgrimmage up to Mount Mitchell together every year on Seven Eleven, stopping to swim in the Toe, eat at the Diner, pray on the mountain, and check out the flora.
Today was no exception, and we headed out mid-morning. The weather was a perfect summer day, and the journey was beautiful and fun. Here are some highlights, photodocumentary style:

The diner was closed on Sunday, but it's good to know she's still selling Avon

Flies taking advantage of the Sunday lull to get some mating done on screen window

SR posing on the pool table of the convenience store which is attached to the diner

Yellowroot tead drink looks intriguing other than the rust and dust accumulation on the bottles

Turks cap lilies in full bloom on the parkway

A finger assortment of lichens up on Mount Mitchell

Red elderberries on the mountain

Pink turtleheads in bloom

Red Bee balm and greenheaded coneflower in bloom side by side

Little SR walking through the woods to granny's house...

Saturday, July 10, 2010

For the birds? (written especially for Dusti)

There's something I've been meaning to write about all week, and here's my first opportunity. This past Monday, I was working in Hot Springs, so I was able to conveniently come home for lunch and a dip in the creek. While walking up to the house, I noticed a small fledgling bird with a crooked wing, hopping and fluttering about. The bird was black and white and very beautiful. In an instant my mind was made up to catch it so that I could look at it better, and I knew that if I caught it I would end up trying to help its broken wing. Sally (who was over for the day) and I spent about 10 minutes chasing it and finally I gently caught it. It struggled against captivity for a moment, but once my hand was enclosing its entire body, it calmed into surrender. I took it into the house, put it in a box with breathing holes, covered the box with a towel and put it in a quiet corner. I figured the bird was probably something common and looked up a few things in the bird book. I settled on it being a song sparrow, even though it was clearly black and white and the bird in the book was more brown. I ground up some seeds and put them in the box along with a very shallow lid of water.
The next morning I got up and thought to myself: Self, are you going to let that bird go or take it to someone who does songbird rehab? I was feeling about 50/50 on the matter. Should I intervene or not? Is it my place to butt into that bird's life (or pending death) to try to change the course of things? There is something in me that really wants to take care of hurt birds, even more so than hurt wild mammals. But really- is it a mockery of nature to drive this bird all the way to Asheville and drop it off in an artificially lit, climate controlled environment, where all manners of vet techs are going to talk baby talk to it all day? ( Side note- the North Asheville Animal Hospital has trained staff who are certified in song bird rehab. I am not (yet) trained.)
Another note about this case is that I am living in a house that has a GIANT sized window upstairs right at the level for a lot of birds to be deceived and fly into. The window is probably at least 8 ft by 5 ft, and I have found numerous dead birds beneath it over the past year- 2 hummingbirds, 2 pine siskins, and one bird I cannot remember at this time. This fact makes me feel responsible for bird deaths or injuries occuring at the sight of the window. (Don't worry, readers, I am looking into the option of a hawk silouette decal to stick on the window to deter smaller birds from flying into it.)
So I was at 50/50 to let the bird go or take it to the vet, and the wind blew and I got tipped to 49/51 and decided to take it in. I dropped the traumatized little feathered one off on the way to work to a friendly receptionist who asked me to sign a waiver that they might need to euthanize it if the condition was not treatable. After delivering the bird to the back room, she informed me that it was a black and white warbler. Well, that explained the black and white color...

After work, I swung by to check on the little dude's (or gal's) status, and the woman took off her glasses to properly look me square in the eye and said gently, "I'm so sorry. The bird died an hour ago." I asked if it had been euthanized, and she said no. She repeated, "I'm sorry." I laughed nervously and told her it was really OK- it happens.
All in all, I am glad I made the decisions I did to intervene and take the bird to the vet. I learned to properly identify a black and white warbler, and I think the hands on will make me remember that. I also think it is natural to want to nurture life, even if it is not your own species. I mean, who among us has not been forwarded the heartwarming photos of the lion (or whatever large cat it was) nursing the piglets?
But I do want to hear what the readers think about the ethics of wild animal rehab. Is it a joke? Is it a projection of human maternal instincts? Is a pompous expression of human feelings of superiority? Is it natural, noble, or just for the birds?