October 23, 2011

Buffalo Mountain, Floyd Co.

Don't know what this bush/tree is, but the berries are beautiful!

Futile attempt to capture the depth and scale of beauty from the top of the mountain.

Futile attempt number 2

My hiking buddy, Kerri. This photo was taken by someone who had never used a camera before.

October 19, 2011

It's that wonderful, beautiful, slowing down time of year. Most of the garden beds are empty and nestled in their blanket of mulch (I'm too lazy for cover cropping). I've spent whole days at home without feeling any "needs to get done" pressure. So nice. Unfortunately, the chickens are also going into their slowing down mode. Egg production is about one egg every two or three days. I can't imagine extruding something as large or larger than my head from my body almost every day, so I can appreciate their need to take a break for a while, but I'm really missing my grits and egg breakfasts! I was bemoaning this fact to Joe the other day and he said "You know, you might just have to break down and buy some eggs. It's not the end of the world." To which I responded: "I know, I know. But, it's gonna have to be some $4-5 local, free range, pastured eggs. I just can't go back to factory farm eggs, not after having my own chickens for so long. No more slavery eggs." At this point Joe stopped me, laughing, and said "You've got it all backwards. You only have to justify yourself if you're choosing the less ethical option. Not the other way around." Hmm, he's right. I guess I'm just used to a society that has to run cost/benefit analysis on everything and justify the economics of a situation before the ethical considerations really come in to play. Joe is oblivious to such cultural conditioning I guess, and the economics of a decision are usually the last thing on his list of deciding factors. Seems to have worked for us so far! So, enjoy your seasonal break, my fine feathered friends. I'm off to Eats!

October 12, 2011

The World's Nicest Outhouse: A Tour

Pretty quiet on the home front these days. I haven't had much time on the computer lately as Joe's schoolwork is keeping it pretty busy. Not much going on in the garden either. I did manage to get my garlic planted the other day, and we're enjoying the fall crops (or at least the remnants the slugs are nice enough to leave us) and greens that have rebounded after the summer's heat. So, I'll take advantage of this lull to give you all a virtual tour of the World's Nicest Outhouse. This is certainly old news to some of you, but I was surprised to find that I actually had not ever posted official photos of the outhouse on this blog. So, here you go.
Little cabin in the woods.

Joe's handmade wooden latch and handle, the one that Granny couldn't figure out.

Original artwork by a local artisan.

The throne, and bucket of sawdust for "flushing". The hardwood floor and wall paneling were salvaged from a trash pile.

Beautiful views and a diverse library, how Granny entertained herself until her rescue. (See previous post if confused). Timber framed with old barn wood. There's even a hidden storage loft, full of beekeeping supplies and empty canning jars.

October 05, 2011

Joe's grandmother on his mom's side, Granny, has been visiting from Florida for just over a week now. Granny is quite a character. She is 3/4 (at least this is what her official "Indian" card would say if she were to apply for one, which she refuses to on principle) Cherokee and Creek and loves to collect dropped guinea feathers from my flock to use in making fans for pow wows. She is just shy of 80 years old and sleeps outside every night in her home state of FL. During good weather, she usually sleeps outside when she comes to VA to visit as well.

Given her sleeping preferences, she immediately fell in love with the StarPod. Joe and I have both been sleeping indoors for several weeks now as the weather has gotten much cooler in the evenings. Joe held out longer than I did, but he finally decided to come indoors, under these circumstances - I've sadly let go of "my" side of the bed so he can sleep by the window, and he has put a board (an old coffee table top) under the foam pad on his (really mine) side of the bed to mimic the firm sleeping conditions he became accustomed to in the StarPod. But I digress...anyway, Granny immediately decided to try out the StarPod as her guest room. The very first night we had a thunderstorm. At first it was just the distant roll of thunder and flashes of lightning on the western horizon. Then it became a little breezy and began to drizzle. Still nothing to worry about and probably nothing Granny hasn't seen before. By 10:30 the wind was whipping and it had begun a torrential downpour! I could not sleep worrying about Granny, so I climbed out of bed, grabbed Joe's raincoat and a dim LED flashlight and ran through the storm up to the hilltop. I shined the light through the screened walls of the StarPod but couldn't see much. The only response I got to my queries of "Granny! Are you alright? Are you getting wet?" was a low groan. Granny was sound asleep and snoring like a bear! Looks like I was the only one bothered by the storm.

Several mornings later, I once again left the house by flashlight to head to the outhouse. I found Granny out in the yard, watching the still very brilliant stars. She was eager to visit the outhouse herself, so I led her to it. I gave her the quick flashlight tour and then closed and latched the door for her and headed back to the house to check on my pot of grits and eggs cooking on the stove. Over the next ten minutes or so, I poked my head out the door several times and called for Granny, but got no response. I hoped she knew that she should come join us for breakfast. A few minutes later, Joe (who'd been meditating in the yurt) and Granny came up on the porch, laughing. Poor Granny had not been able to figure out the latch on the door and had pushed in vain to open it. She called for help a couple of times but then calmly decided to sit down and peruse the library of books we have in the outhouse, figuring someone would need the outhouse soon and let her out. Joe heard her from the yurt and went to rescue her. Good thing Granny is such a jolly soul.

Granny still loves me, even though I locked her in the outhouse.