28 August 2016

A Real Eye Opener

   As at least some of the readership is aware, Mr Fuzzy motors into town many Sunday mornings to meet friends for breakfast at The Blue Ridge Cafe, in bucolic, scenic downtown Floyd. Today was no exception.
   Climbing into the 1940 Ford DeLuxe Coupe about 7:45 a.m. the trip began as every other, down the dirt driveway, on to the dirt county road thence turning onto the state highway. About 400 yards down the highway, the ampere gauge pegged to the positive side, indicating the alternator was charging at its absolute maximum. Hmmm, what could cause that? Before ten brain cells could engage fully, there was a distinct odor of smoke. Then wisps of smoke. Then smoke beginning to fill the passenger compartment.
   It was a long 300-400 yards into a large pullout...
   Once stopped and the ignition turned off, the next move was to grab the fire extinguisher in the trunk... which was locked... back into the now smokier car... finally unlocked, the trunk hood raised and - - -  the battery was on fire (the battery is in the trunk on many hot rods) and the upholstery behind the back seat had ignited. Step #1 was to pull the large spare tire away from the battery so the rubber would not catch fire, step #2 was pull the fire extinguisher pin and douse the fire. Given the amount of flame, it was surprising that one quick release of fire powder completely stopped the fire. Oh my.
   Next, call the fire department & police on the cell phone in case of a flare up... that would have been a good plan but not with a dead phone... fortunately a good Samaritan pulled up and asked if I needed help - she phoned the authorities for me. A county deputy arrived in a couple of minutes, then a second and then a fireman.
   The deputy called a tow truck, and now Betty Boop is parked in front of her mechanic's shop awaiting his expert eyes on the morrow.
   The damage from fire, smoke and battery acid appears to be relatively confined - it was maybe a minute or less from catching the (full) gas tank on fire, which would have been very interesting.
   It seems to often be the case in Mr Fuzzy's life that things could always have been worse. The car could have burned up - and its driver. Ye old lungs still can feel the hot battery acid infused smoke and after two washings, beard & moustache still reek of it, gentle reminders of the unusual beginning of the day.

25 August 2016

Contemporary Longrifle Association

rifle by Judd Brennan of Alaska, perhaps the greatest living gun maker

Willy Frankfort, artist on horn
a new gun by Ken Gahagan, master of aging firearms

Ken Gahagan educating a newbie
The annual meeting of the CLA has come and gone. It was much better attended than last year and mot of my friends report selling more, although there were some notable exceptions. Its what Mr Fuzzy wishes his high school reunions were: lots of old friends, warm & fuzzy feelings, new friends to be established, great art to peruse, and a few new things in the house that are extravagances...

Remember you may click on any image to enlarge it. In particular, the Brennan gun is worth a careful examination.
Brian Anderson with his traditionally forged tomahawks

Plains Indian style hide painting



Delft style ceramics by Lisa Crew

purportedly an original 18th century Native American horn








12 August 2016

Two complete Orbits around the Sun

Rain and humidity have been the norm for the last few weeks, accompanied by higher than normal temperatures. Some nights have barely descended into the sixties. Oddly, there has not been a typical amount of fog this year - until dear friends from New Mexico came to visit. The Fog God ended his vacation time and returned with renewed vigor. Just when it behooved me to show old friends some of the 60-mile panoramas of Virginia, visibility dropped to near zero.









Its been nearly a month since conditions were ideal for driving or washing the cars - but now that the New Mexicans have moved onward, the sun and lower humidity have returned, perfect for bathing the Morris Minor and the Ford Coupe this morning. These cars have a particular poignancy today, the second anniversary of The Divorce Settlement, since the ex had declared she wanted (and would get) the Morris and probably the Ford. Not, mind you, that she could drive a stick shift - or see over the hood of the coupe... My faith in the legal system is very circumscribed but after adequate time for being  tortured, it finally came through for me.

Life is now peaceful, rewarding, and very, very full; as good as its ever been. I am so fortunate.

“New beginnings are often disguised as painful endings.” Lao Tzu

06 August 2016

Much belated


On Sunday nights, a local wood fired pizza joint and beer parlor (with about a dozen craft beers on tap) host an open mic. You never know what will show up, sometimes it blows your socks off and sometimes it just blows. The only way to know is to go to the show. This particular night was heavy with locals and given the depth of the talent pool here, that guarantees some good tunes. Stage photography is on of those subjects were digital photography is hands-down superior to film. Despite half a century of experience, I would not be able to equal these results with film. The opening image is Jeff Liverman and his red-hot harmonica player.
 The guitar player to the left is Will Norton, a singer song writer who often tickles my fancy with his lyrics. The gentleman picking the banjo, Phil Woddail, is an old time musician with great talent and authenticity.

On open mic night, each musician may play three songs. Perhaps it is my imagination but it seems the least talented play the longest tunes...

Instruments this summer have run the gamut from dulcimer to bagpipe.

Another reward to Floyd life.

26 June 2016

Typical


Even after more than seven years, friends, both old and new, politely inquire as to whether Mr Fuzzy misses his old digs in New Mexico. Except for dear friends, green chile, and the wonderful home designed by Malcolm Worby, the answer is simple: not at all. My home here is nestled into  the forest like a babe in its mother's arms but my open view southward is to the horizon. In the winter, when the forest is without leaves, Buffalo Mountain, about 20 miles away, is easily seen. The clouds are every bit as beautiful here, and the iconic flower of the Southwest, the yucca, naturalizes here very nicely.




Wildlife abounds on the farm, especially deer and turkeys, both sometimes making themselves pests. Eagles are seen every once in a while, saw one riding the currents yesterday. The sound of frogs and forest insecta are literally music to my ears at night. Here is a photo of a doe and her twins, taken by my old friend, Gary, who is visiting.

No desire to return to New Mexico whatsoever. I love it here.

18 June 2016

Haying

  
After a cool and wet spring, lasting into mid-June, the rains suddenly halted and old Sol reigned supreme. The days were clear, hot, and relatively low humidity. This break in the weather came just in time for haying- the grasses were mature, dry, ready to harvest. A high wind might have laid them down, ruining all.

   With a lot of assistance from my neighbor, we worked on both his hay and mine. My role was kicking the hay, the process after the mowing and before raking into wind rows. The kicking scatters the hay so it dries well. The days were hot and windy so the drying process proceeded very quickly. It looks like the week long heat spell allowed almost everyone to bale their hay. My yields were very good, maybe a record, we'll see when the bales are counted.
Kicker at work behind me
   After baling, the grass is tender, its leaves shredded makes for moisture loss and with no cover, the roots become hot and dehydrate readily. The heat hung on days after the last bales were tied, causing some amount of worry. Then two days ago, an unforecast large storm cell drifted over the county and dropped 1.25" here at Stratheden Farms (over three inches in Roanoke, enough to cause flooding). The thirsty ground absorbed nearly all.
   Then yesterday, another quarter of an inch fell and about the same today. The pasture, garden and farmer are all content.
view from the Blue Ridge Parkway today

01 June 2016

Yard (sale) & Gardens

One of the major cultural landmarks of this region is the huge flea market held down the road thirty miles in Hillsville on Memorial Day weekend. Purported to draw 500,000 potential buyers, the effect of the sale radiates outward through adjoining counties. Along State Highway 221, from Roanoke to Hillsville, for 70 miles, every farm house and parking lot has folks trying to dispose of junk without making the trip to the dump- by making it someone else's junk. Just a walking distance away from the farm, the Falling Branch Methodist church has a good flea market; Stratheden Farm doesn't need anymore junque but there are always a few cakes and pies for sale, made by ladies old enough to know how to make them from scratch. Mrs. Sower's German Chocolate Coconut Pound Cake (for $6.00 - the ingredients cost more than that!) went back to Stratheden to be destroyed at leisure.

This is gardening season, The little garden, although having been tilled twice already, was about to be overtaken by weeds/grasses and needed another turning before more seedlings could be transplanted.
before

after 
  
Much of the garden is still vacant, most seedlings still not yet of adequate size to go into the ground. The flea beetles have already attacked tomato seedlings as they sit on the patio. A Japanese beetle was also spied - and destroyed. It seems several weeks too early for these destructive pests.

Writing must cease and weeding must begin. Until the next post, best wishes to you.