26 May 2010

Mr. Fuzzy was away in Camden, Maine, for a few days to teach a workshop on the history and use of soft focus lenses. The resulting paycheck is likely to be the only money he ever makes from his doctoral research...

It was a grueling drive there, mostly because of Connecticut and Massachusetts. On the way home, Mr. Fuzzy visited dear friends in Vermont and as an added bonus, avoided both Conn. and Mass. Oh how much more pleasant and less stressful the return trip.

The students were great and he learned much from them. The host of the workshop was Mr. Fuzzy's old friend, Tillman Crane, photographer and teacher par excellance. It was such a good time to be with Tillman and Donna for a few days.

Coastal Maine has its share of visual delights but Mr. Fuzzy was more than happy to return to his Blue Ridge mountains.

18 May 2010

The heirloom chicks are coming along well and beginning to look more like chickens than chicks. Their appetites are astounding. The recent cool temperatures have had them huddling under the brooder lamp even during the daytime.

Our prayers have been answered. For the last month or two, it has seemed that a drought was in the early stages. It has been so unlike last year at this time. My farmer friends were almost afraid to talk about it for fear of jinxing any chance of rain.

All of that has changed, thankfully. It has drizzled for 36 hours, totally about an inch and a half, which added to the 0.55" a couple of days ago is enough to make a major improvement in the health of field and forest. It echoes last spring-early summer very closely with fogs and drizzles and cool days (the high today was 51F). This is excellent timing - Mr. Fuzzy finished getting most of the greenhouse plants (germinated by Mrs. Fuzzy) into the three gardens as well as seeding beans and peas. The row to the left is an heirloom Cherokee nicotiana from Mom Feather which seems to be doing well - thus far. The seeds will go back to the Native Peoples to be re-established amongst them.

We are grateful for all we have been given.

17 May 2010

MumDay "Tucson Edition"

Mama Fuzzy is in Tucson helping her own mama with some things. I'd say it's a nice vacation.... it's not too warm, everything is in bloom... except that I'm completely exhausted after 10 overnights caring for my father. Hopefully I'll be able to leave for my beloved Mr. Fuzzy, and all the fuzzybutts on Friday.

I arrived on a jet plane, one way ticket, (yeah) but I'll be driving home in my new-to-me Honda Element. They are hard to find in the New River Valley so I "just thought I'd look" in the land of Never-Never Rust. They're hard to find here too, despite their major popularity, but I managed to locate a 2007 4WD with ALL my criteria except color. Fog lights trump orange paint when one gets down to brass tacks... sigh. I really like that orange color!

For your pleasure I've taken a few photos of the flowers along the roads here. Tucsonans are not passionate gardeners but they do like to have nicely landscaped roadsides and medians. It's something of a garden city of lush xeric plants.... legumous trees, flowering bushes, oleander, and salvaged cactus. Some 25 years ago it was planted in olives and citrus trees but the city pulled them out in an attempt to reduce their water use. This last ditch attempt to stave off using Colorado River Water failed but it's more beautiful than when I arrived in 1986.

There is a lesson here... even if what you do to "save" the environment is a failure there will likely be positive effects. The plants use less water, beautify the city, cool it, and clean the air. The Lung Association just declared Tucson the 2nd best urban air in the country. Compare to barren Phoenix which makes its' own weather (driving off the rain) and has the 2nd worst air... well above the much-maligned Los Angeles, even!

13 May 2010

Those most reluctant of trees, the locusts and walnuts, have finally leafed out into their full verdant splendor. Perhaps because of the abundant winter moisture, the blooming trees were especially spectacular this year (with one exception, the normally gorgeous tulip poplars). Nearly all trees have now spent their flowers, excepting the locusts, which are now just past the peak of bloom.

Mr. Fuzzy makes this observation for more than aesthetic or botanical purposes. He has been treated for several months at the Blue Ridge Center for Chinese Medicine for several long standing issues, including chronic allergies. Last spring, the blooming trees nearly laid him low for six weeks with a constant sinus drain, sinus headaches, and less than zero energy. This year, the super-abundant tree blooms had little effect. After a lifetime of crippling allergies, this is almost incomprehensible for him. But it does make him joyous, and he sends his thanks to Yarrow, his practitioner.

The low temperature on Tuesday night/Wednesday morning was a mighty 60F, or warmer than the high temperature for Sunday, Monday or Tuesday! Today a magnificent fog formed not long after sunrise and laid upon the land until burning off after lunch. Then the sun warmed the air rapidly (Mr. Fuzzy was thoroughly sweat soaked working on the farm) until about 3:00 when several waves of fog blew in from the south, each dropping the mercury a few more degrees. It was a rapidly moving fog, perhaps 20 MPH, very reminiscent of the Fife sea fogs. Unlike last year at this time, it has been warm and dry; perhaps this is a sign of a return to a more normal pattern? At least we may now possesseth optimism.

10 May 2010

Martin's Station

Mr. Fuzzy had the tremendous pleasure of attending The Raid at Martin's Station again this year. It drove home the moral that although you may see someone only once a year the bonds of friendship are tight nonetheless.

Billy, thanks for inviting us and making us feel so welcome. Tom, Carrol, you guys are great people and world class camp cooks; thank you for the hospitality.

I may post more if time allows... or if the interested reader might so request further illumination in the ways of the Virginia frontier of 1777.