Sunday, April 24, 2011

Big Times

Big weekend.

Friday: Starling Gentry holler expedition club was formed and first expedition was executed. The Crib Club successfully navigated and ascended High Rock. More details to possibly come later.

Saturday: I had my Bottom plowed at the new homeplace. (This means I had a large piece of earth plowed with a tractor for agricultural purposes. It felt like a beginning of sorts.

Sunday: Godson's first Easter. We brought him in right with some Jesus Promise Seeds candy- "Spreading the Word one candy at a time." Do not worry- he didn't eat the candy- just chewed on the bag, thereby absorbing the scripture printed on each baggy of pastel colored candy corn...

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


Some of you may know that I receive the Miriam-Webster Word of the Day every day on email. Depending on the word, some days I just delete it without reading the whole etomology or even definition, but usually my interest is peaked and I look at it. The other day the word of the day was "biophilia," meaning " a hypothetical human tendency to interact or be closely associated with other forms of life in nature."


I am all about that jazz. If fact, just yesterday I was sitting outside watching a family of elusive otters play in the creek, riding the rapids and swimming here and there, and all the while I was talking real pretty to them, telling them (quietly and from a distance) how precious and cute they are. The other evening I hiked up along one of the branches that feeds the French Broad just outside town, and I found myself talking nice and pretty to all manners of spring wildflowers I found growing along the banks and on the hills. I love me some other forms of life in nature, and I'll be damned if I'm not going to do my damnedest to have me some interactions with them, be it talking pretty to a flower, caring for a wounded bird, eating a wild mushroom or deer or worshipping the very river itself. How hypothetical is that, Miriam? Huh?

Speaking of interacting with other life forms, what is about 6 ft 2, Belgium and not afraid to wear black leather pants, a vest with no shirt on underneath, and chant in a deep voice to an audience of mostly women, "Cold hard pimpin in my Jonathan Youngs...Scuffed honky kickers- tight as my guns..."? Yeah, that's right. My life is awesome. God and Daniel Boone bless our human tendency to get into more of it than just our own skin and bones.

This world is too much with me. I love it.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Mi Casa

Check her out, she's partially sided!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Book Review: The Tiger by John Vaillant

The Tiger by John Vaillant tells the true story of a horrific, yet fascinting, series of events that took place in December of 2007 in the far far east of Russia in a province called Primorski Krai in the Bikin River Valley. In a nutshell, a wounded Amur tiger defies the ancient mutual respect between tigers and humans in the desolate taiga and preys on two men, who we get to know well in the story. After these two skilled hunters and woodsmen are eaten, a team of government wildlife officials and local residents venture into the -40 degree taiga to hunt and exterminate this dangerous mankiller. Once they succeed, they determine that the tiger, an old large male, had been shot numerous times in its life, proving that the violation of human/tiger respect was certainly not one-sided. The 300 page story is extremely thorough, not only in its detail of the actual events that occurred in the winter of 1997 in one of the coldest and most remote areas of the world, but in its character development of numerous men and tigers, the tragic and complex depressed social and political challenges of post-Perestoika Far East Russia, the natural history of tigers and the taiga, and the cultural and spiritual beliefs of the native people who inhabit the area in regards to the Czar of the Forest- the tiger. Difficult topics such as the tension between human desperation and wildlife conservation, the devastation effects of Marxism on the natural environments of Russia and China, and the relationships between evolution, self preservation, and conservation are woven into the story with thought-provocing grace. I particularly enjoy the way the book, which is clearly meticulously researched and very intelligently written, taps into the primal animal realities of our human nature. Here's a quote from the epilogue:

"..This is precisely where the tension lies: Panthera tigris and Homo sapiens are actually very much alike, and we are drawn to many of the same things, if for slightly different reasons. Both of us demand large territories; both of us have prodigious appetites for meat; both of us require control over our living space and are prepared to defend it, and both of us have an enormous sense of entitlement to the resources around us. If a tiger can poach on another's territory, it probably will, and, so, of course, will we. A key difference, however, is that tigers take only what they need."

When I first watched the movie Being John Malcovich, I had this exciting sense that the movie was made just for me; it brilliantly combined all the elements I like in a film in a quirky and surprising way and just tickled me pink. I had a similar sense about this book. The way it combines killer story telling with detailed descriptions of the complex setting and tolerable doses of philosophizing really worked for me. By the end of the story, I was almost tired of the tedious narration of the events of the tiger hunt, but that was wrapped up before it really got to me. All in all, I would highly recommend this book to anyone who is fired up and intrigued by the wild and by the broad and disturbing spectrum of human nature.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

On Wind and Wood

Grab a hold of your hats, ladies and gentlemen. And while you're at it, you might want to tie some sand bags to your ankles. It's windy season. The past three days have presented some of the most dynamic weather that I can remember. Saturday was, as you fellow WNC residents know, windy as all get out. Sunday was hot and sunny. Monday started out as hot and sunny and by nightfall severe storms had blown in, bringing drastic temperature drops, driving rain, scary wind and intense lightening. This continued all night. Today is fluctuating between sun and things like rain and hail, and all the while the wind blows fiercely, blowing out the last dregs of winter and reminding us that we are but mere humans in this complex assortment of earthlings, subject to the whims of the Zephyr and other elemental powers. Last night, on my way home from my Nauni's, I saw a dead standing locust begin its falling descent from the hill by the road into my path of travel. I slammed the breaks, missing being smashed by this heavy beauty. Spooked the deez nuts out of me, and after enough cars had been stopped by the tree lying across the road, five other ladies and I hoisted it out of the way in the lightening and driving rain and wind so strong it seemed af it would blow the car door off when I opened it. (One lady in flip flops exclaimed, "This is awful- all uf women out here doing this work!") I got drenched and today am fighting something that resembles a cough (aka, classic case of what the Chinese would call a Wind Invasion).

Moving on from weather talk, I began the sizable task of treating my siding wood this past weekend. In spite of the dreadful wind, it delighted me to no end to get my hands into that gorgeous pile, pulling the boards out one by one and giving each one care. I selected a product called Eco Wood Treatment (formerly Lifetime Wood Treatment) to use instead of stain, paint or sealer. It is a mineral concoction that some hippies assemble in Canada, "secret recipe" kind of thing, and you mix it with water and apply to the wood. It ages and "patinas" the wood, and supposedly helps preserve it for a long time. Being non-toxic and neither a stain nor a sealer, the wood can breathe and do its thing, which I like. Turns out I have a special sentiment about this wood that we cut, milled and stacked right here, and which is now going to encase my house, and it feels good to treat it with something mild. The treatment process has been tedious and a bit time consuming, utilizing a combination of spraying with a garden pump sprayer and rubbing the stuff in with rags. The solution smells metallic, but hasn't irritated my skin, and it immediately changes the color of the wood. And it will continue to change over time, with different colors of the wood aging to different "patina-ed" hues. Some friends used it on their siding, and 3 years later it looks gorgeous. Hope I'm happy with it years down the line...

Super helpers Ren and Zoe helped on Saturday and Sunday, respectively, and it was great to have the help and be able to laugh and chit chat with friends while doing such meaningful work. We had multiple visitors throughout the weekend, including Moonie and her 2 horses, Marlene and Winter.

Even though I am feeling puny today with my annoying Wind Invasion, the weekend was pretty exciting, and my house is getting sided! Hee haw!