Sunday, September 26, 2010

Road Fight

I have always wanted to have the opportunity to have words with the people who tailgate me when I am driving, which happens every day because I actually drive the speed limit. I am not primarily motivated by a need to observe the law, but rather my need to feel like I am travelling at a somewhat safe speed. I like to be able to have time to see and comprehend and respond to road activity, like pedestrians, animals, and other drivers. I routinely avoid hitting animals because I can see them and respond safely and effectively. Madison County, where I live, is the worst place that I experience tailgaters. It seems that everyday there is someone riding my ass so close I could almost reach back and give them a high five. The other day I was driving home from work. I had decided to drive along the river because I had been tipped off that I-26 was clogged up. I was driving near the Buncombe/Madison line when a large white Dodge pickup started tailgating. He road my tail for a few minutes until he got a dotted line, and then he passed me. As I sometimes do, I flicked off the tailgater as he passed.
When the dude got in front of me, he came to a dead stop, thereby blocking one of the two lanes on the road. When I stopped, I thought to myself, "oh here goes..." The guy, who was incidentally driving a Metropolitan Sewage District work truck, hung out the window and the following conversation/ yelling match followed:

Dude: Fuck you, ma'am!
Dana: Well, that wasn't very nice!
Dude: Why did you flick me off then?
Dana: Because you were riding my ass about this close (gestures with hands) for
about five minutes!
Dude: Why didn't you quit your piddlin' and pull over to let me by?
Dana: I was going the speed limit!
Dude: Speed limit's 45!
Dana: I know what the speed limit is!
Dude: You were going 40!
Dana: I was going 45! Just go now! (flicks her hand angrily to wave him away)

After a brief moment of silence, both parties oddly wave bye-bye and drive away. I will also mention that 1 or 2 cars had to pass in the opposing lane while the confrontation was occurring.

I have 3 main things to say about that dude:

1) The way he was driving was dangerous.
2) The way he was driving was rude.
3) A man, especially a man working for a public service, should not talk to a lady that way.

Having said those things, I will admit that it was interesting to have the opportunity to have words with a tailgater. Both of us said our piece and then that was it. It was funny that he called me Ma'am.

(post script) I was riding into Asheville last night in the rain with my mom and sister. Mom was driving. We were close to the Madison/Buncombe line and a truck whizzed by mom on a dotted line. It was the same truck! I exclaimed, " That's the guy I got into a road fight with the other day!" Mom said, " That guy has been tailgating me for a while." The jerk-off. Twice in one week. Three times and I'm reporting him. Any thoughts?

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Paw Paws, the breakfast of Hoes (Dirty Hoe gardeners that is...)

It is remarkable how quickly a year can pass. It does not seem that long ago when I journeyed to the paw paw patch a year ago, in September of 2009. But since then I have bought land, travelled to China and back, and become a lumberjack, among other things. This lovely morning I took a little trip to the paw paw patch to load up on my fruit fix for the year (I am not a big fruit eater, but I like getting paw paws to eat and share). Learning from past experience, I took plenty of plastic grocery bags with me- no more of this overloading the bag with heavy fruit. I gathered five bags for my clan to enjoy. If you have never had a paw paw, I recommend trying one when you get the chance. They look like mangos, smell like bananas, taste like a mixture of the two, and have the consistency of custard. You can cut one in half and literally eat it with a spoon. The only slight inconvenience is spitting out the seeds, which, luckily, are large and easy to handle. I plan to eat em raw, enjoy them with local raw milk and a little local honey in a paw paw milkshake (click for awesome friend's blog post link), and share plenty with friends and family.

Here are a few shots from the "paw paw patch," which is really an old farmhouse with 2 mature, field-grown paw paw trees in the yard.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Nagle Sisters' Poison Ivy Remedy

Jenna has a case of poison ivy. Bad. She called me today at work to tell me she was miserable. We came up with the following remedy, which was taken after work in the evening hours. It put grins on both faces, and I think Jenna felt a wee bit better...

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


Sometimes in this fast paced, production oriented world we live in, a modern gal needs to treat herself to some good old fashioned spontanaeity. This afternoon when I got rained out of work, I utilized my modern vehicle to transport myself to some old school good clean fun- a trip to the woods. I figured it being a Wednesday and on top of that it being kindly rainy-ish, the usual leaf-peeping Max Patch crowd would likely be sipping caffeine in Starbucks of various locations and I might even have the mountain to myself. I decided that instead of embarking upon one or more of the many productive tasks I could accomplish in an afternoon off, I would enjoy some woodland herb hunting. (No, I was not hunting ginseng, and no, I will not tell you what I was hunting, but yes, I believe I found it, and yes, it was legal.) Sure enough, the people affiliated with the only car up there were leaving as I arrived. (Incidentally, one of the people in that group was wearing a strapless wedding dress...) I got to spend the next several hours up on the mountain doing my thing, enjoying the utter absence of other humans. On the way up the bald, the clouds were so low and the wind was so cool and fresh, I almost wanted to weep. It was just right. The clouds blowing over me and freshly cut rolls of hay, I felt as if I were in Britain. The crickets sang their sad fall song, slow and mellow, and the mountain was telling me all about how lonesome it can be on a misty fall evening. In the damp woods, the creek trickled quietly, and even the nettles stung me gently as my bare calves brushed up against their formic acid bearing bristles. All manners of woodland herbs were in there doing their thing- some still flowering, like the jewelweed and the turtleheads, a few bee balm stragglers, a late black cohosh, and a plethora of goldenrods and butter and eggs on the edges. Most were to seed, like the angelica, the jack-in-the pulpit, the agrimony, the umbrella leaf, the smilax vine, and the blue cohosh. Lichens, fungi, ferns and lycopodium moss gave the woods a feeling of vibrant moisture, and signs of bear were everywhere.
When I could tell night was approaching, I headed back to the road, taking time to stop and enjoy the last of this year's wild blueberries and to gather a load of the abundant usnea lichen to stock up for this winter. On the long drive home, I thought hard about the mountains, and only passed 4 cars total (and that was in the last 15 minutes as I got close to Hot Springs.)
A gal's got to get out to her roots once in a while, even when it means foregoing an afternoon's opportunity to be productive.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

The Final Stack

Yesterday found me stacking lumber again. While Carl had his sawmill up there (which it is sadly no longer) I decided to add a couple of trees onto his list of things to saw. These were trees that I had decided to cut down anyways- to open up the house and garden sites a little more. So we added an ash, 2 maples, 2 poplars, a sweet birch, and another ash which had fallen last winter in the storm. I shouldn't have been surprised that I had a notably sizable pile of lumber to stack on Saturday. But I was. It ended up taking most of the day to move and stack it. I leveled another frame, which is time consuming, then my generous family (Mom, Dad, Jenna) and a couple generous friends (Illiana and James) helped me move and stack it. The day was absolutely glorious, as you fellow Western North Carolinians know, and I got a sun burn! Crazy for someone who is out in the sun pretty much all day every day...Anyways, come out and see my stacks. The wood is so very lovely- I really enjoyed getting to handle every single piece of it- all 7500 or more board feet. Each board is its own man- different colors and weight and grain. They are all lovely. I could look at wood all day. Wait a minute, I have been...

Enjoy the pictures of the final stacking (until I get Carl back up here). Yes, that is Jenna gettin it with some lumber handling! Also, my mom, dad and Illiana. Somehow I don't have a picture of James stacking lumber (or eating cookies.)