Friday, August 26, 2011

News from the Home Front

With Hurricane Irene pending, I have two items of news from the new home front:
1) I am moving back into the Airstream, where I plan to reside until I move into the house.

2) The upstairs ceiling in the house was completed today, with left over siding wood (white pine from the land- planed, sanded and oiled). The upstairs is now ready to paint.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Tales of Spontaneous Combustion

Act One: It was a clear, crisp, pleasant August late afternoon (yesterday, to be exact), and certain carpenters were preparing to leave their jobsite (my house, to be exact) for the day. A certain M.A., whose humor is so dry and deadpan that I still, after almost a year of regular dealings with him, cannot decipher when my leg is being pulled, calmly and casually mentioned something about a pile of oily rags spontaneously combusting and not putting them too near the house. What he was saying kind of "went in one ear and out the other" until I noticed the aforementioned linseed oil-soaked rags in a neat little pile, smoldering and smoking away.

Act Two: It was a hot, steamy summer day in North Asheville (a recent day this summer), and L.C. was busily working in her family's garden shop in Woodfin. All was ho-hum daily grind, until L.C. noticed that a coconut hull- lined hanging basket had burst into flames upon receiving a concentrated ray of sunlight from a nearby ornamental glass garden globe. Rushing to the site of spontaneous combustion, she grabbed the flaming planter and tossed it into the small creek which runs between the shop and its garden- the very same creek that a poor raccoon met its fatal fate a recent night in a flash flood and became rather grotesquely "hung up" on the small bridge which crosses the little creek.

Act Three: It was a cold late winter day in South Asheville, and J.L. (aka Lil Razz) was enjoying a rare weekend day alone in her shared house. She stepped into the kitchen to find a little snack, and noticed a small round burnt spot on the counter top, where earlier that day had lain a solitary Advil pill. The burn spot was the size and shape of the Advil, and the Advil was gone. After several minutes of concentrated investigative thinking, J.L. realized a ray of sunlight had streamlined through the kitchen window and through a clear glass pitcher of water on the counter in perfect relation to an Advil to cause a "magnifying glass" combustion of this particular over-the-counter muscle relaxing pain pill. Pity the pre-menstrual housemate who came home to discover the pill had ceased to be available.

Act Four: It was a warm spring evening at the Asheville Pizza and Brewing Company, where three friends awaited a cheese pizza. One of the friends stepped out for a breath of fresh air and a look about, and noticed billows of smokes rising from the mulch on the side of the driveway of the neighboring food enterprise "Heavenly Ham". She quickly ascended the steep and uneven steps between the two parking lots and discovered a sizable "mulch fire" just outside Heavenly Ham. Too hot to stomp out, the fire needed "a little something more." The investigative pizza customer noticed a group of young Heavenly Ham employees loitering around a dumpster not far away, smoking cigarettes and laughing. She approached the posse, and said, "There's a mulch fire in your mulch." One of the Heavenly Ham employees sighed and said, "Not again," before casually retrieving a bucket of water and tossing it upon the smoldering wood matter.

When you think about it, there is danger everywhere. Matter waiting to spontaneously combust. Fires waiting to burn. Danger, I tell you. Beware, fellow flesh-wearers, of material that generates its own heat and of glass that magnifies light. As M.W. so poignantly put it: "Prismatic-like objects- they're not just for rainbows..."

Monday, August 22, 2011

Cemetery: Post Decoration

This little cemetery is about a 2 minute walk from my new place, closer than the nearest neighbors. The descendents of the souls who rest here mow and decorate the graves every summer. I find it astounding that these people, some of whom died more than a hundred years ago, are still honored yearly with bush hogging and placement of colorful fake flowers. I have heard people wiser than myself say that a most important part of finding spiritual wholeness in life is to honor ones ancestors. I should pay attention and follow the example of my new neighbors who practice the tradition of Decoration Day. I ought to find a way to celebrate my family legacy- those random, unknown predecessors of me. I should make them known to myself.

I like the way the late summer evening light angling into the cemetery has a presence of its own, like the collective spirits of the deceased, remembering themselves in this place.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

News from the Garden (aka: as if the exact thing you want to do in mid-August is read about someone else's damn garden)

Even though it has not rained in weeks, and the very green life beneath my feet is wilting and withering away, I am still pretty pumped about the garden. Even though a raccoon or two is prancing into the garden at night like a spoiled only boy-child in China and sampling ear after ear of corn until it finds just the right one, I am still actually thrilled about the garden. Even though the cucumber vines grow and grow, spilling their lucsious looking selves over this and that and the other yet don't get enough water to actually mature their little fruits, I am tickled pink about the garden. You get the gist. The past two days I have combed the carnage of the raccoonage and salvaged what of corn I could for eating fresh or drying, and with the rest I have salvaged the fresh silks for tincturing. (Don't worry, I didn't gather silks that would have had raccoon saliva all over them...) I have neatly arranged rows of bloody butcher corn on blankets in my bedroom floor, in an attempt to dry them off the stalk for grinding corn meal this coming year. My little green-grey jarradale pumpkin-y squashes are growing, regardless of the dry spell, as are the butternuts. The wild green-headed coneflowers (also called sochan) are gorgeous in full bloom along the garden edges.

My biggest thrill is coming from the compost cage I have built and the righteous mound of decay I am assembling inside of it. Truckloads of leaf and twig chips, manure from the neighbors' barn, and year-old leaf mold in neat rectangular layers really floats my boat. Next I will be layering in the sawdust that I stashed in large piles from the sawmill operation of last summer and more manure from the neighbors' barn. This fall, I'll add freshly fallen leaves and, you guessed it- more manure. Oh yeah, I might also be busting up scraps of drywall from the house and composting that too for the gypsum and such, but first I have to find out if it contains any anti-bacterial agents because that just wouldn't work in the compost or soil. Come spring, the compost cage is going to be bustin at the seams with rich usable, fluffy black gold.

I think I am going to ask a neighbor to plow the whole garden under again this fall and sow it with a winter cover again. Next year I plan to really go at at.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The sky is always pinker on the other side of the state line

Living minutes from the NC/TN state line, our sun always sets in Tennessee.

What my phone camera would not take a picture of was the dreamy pastel rainbow in the clouds above Lovers' Leap on the NC side. It was the stuff poetry is made of. Take that, you lawless, cock fightin', non- snow plowin', knife flingin', crazy muffin top breedin' east Tennessee! We have good things in the sky too, even if they are not breath-stopping neon orange pink sunset displays that make you pine for the open road and the Loretta Lynn Diner and Gift Shop.
(ps-I love you anyways, Tennessee, even if I will never call you home...)

Monday, August 8, 2011

This Post is for Kerry

For my dear old friend Kerry, who used to occasionally utilize the "list" method of blogging, which I would find to be a surprisingly interesting and insightful glimpse into her daily life. Although she and I have vastly different lifestyles (she being a jet-setting Mommy blogger, professional theatrical director and play-writer, and mother of 2 gorgeous young'uns, and I being whatever I am...), I think we can both kick out some interesting and colorful task lists.

What I accomplished on my day off today:

- slept in until 7:45
- watched a lone otter swim, frolic, fish, and ride the creek rapids
- purchased a crystal as an awesome birthday gift for a friend at local gift shop
- did some banking
- met with house builders and acquired a new list of things to do
- built a new compost cage
- unloaded truck load of shredded leaves and twigs into new compost cage
- cleaned out part of neighbor's horse/cow/sheep barn aisle and took a truckload of manure
to the new compost cage
- visited with choice neighbor Moonie and caught up on some local gossip
- mowed some grass and clover in the rain
- took lawn mower to "Todd's Mechanics" for oil change and tune up
- scored some freshy fresh produce from Susie
- got my "cardio" on in the creek (aka- swam laps, including a series of sprints with
the kickboard)
- bleached and scrubbed the shower
- ate cucumbers and tomatoes for dinner (again- this does not get old)
- successfully finished fighting a summer cold (gotcha, Bitch)

Things To Do In the Immediate Future:

- live trap skunk that has taken residence at the Mountain Magnolia and remove from
premises without getting sprayed
- call electrician
- call plumber
- call insulation guy
- procure shower stall
- procure inside doors
- procure water heater
- step up Chinese herb starts
- write a letter to Kerry, including current info about Larry Belk
- research raising trout on a small scale
- select a ram pump model
- set up water system at house
- choose indoor paint colors
- buy a 4 wheel drive vehicle
- get firewood ready for winter
- get a wood stove
- tan the rattlesnake hide that JL gave me and is in the freezer, then make a kick-
ass headband
- clean Jenna's cds
- fold laundry
- vacuum
- cut Nauni's hair
- weed Nauni's flower beds
- pay bills
- buy a new camara
- quit eating so much chocolate
- get more manure
- landscape Kerry's yard
- get a .22

I'm off to eat a little chocolate and read more of Prodigal Summer before sleeping.

Monday, August 1, 2011


Merriam-Webster hooked it up today with a bitchin' Word of the Day.

(My lammas harvest offerings)



1 : August 1 originally celebrated in England as a harvest festival — called also Lammas Day

2 : the time of the year around Lammas Day

The word "Lammas" evolved from Old English "hlāfmæsse" ("hlāf" meaning "loaf" and "mæsse" meaning "mass"). It originated from the fact that on August first of each year, the early English church celebrated the harvesting of the first ripe grain by consecrating loaves made from it — hence, "loaf mass." Shakespeareans will be sure to add that the eve of Lammas is Juliet's birthday, as her nurse tells us in Romeo and Juliet, "Come Lammas Eve at night shall she be fourteen." In addition, the phrase "latter Lammas" was used humorously to refer to a day that will never come, as in "he will pay at latter Lammas."

This holiday also goes by the older name of Lughnasadh, after the celtic god, Lugh. Either way, it is a celebration of the harvest and an auspicious day, worthy of honoring. I plan to celebrate all month, cuz August is my favie-fav!