Last week the mercury climbed to 83F (28C) before turning cold once more. But Mr. Fuzzy and most of the denizens of Stratheden believe that winter has been banished for months. The trees are in full bloom and the native flowers are blooming. The chickens are so happy to walk on warm ground and to be dining on fresh, tender, newly hatched insects.
Mr. Fuzzy had a busy Saturday. In the morning, he attended the first in a series of food preservation classes sponsored by the home extension office. There are three or four more classes to the series and they must be all taken in sequence. There were two other activities that attracted Mr. Fuzzy that morn but if he missed the class, the next opportuity to take it would be too late in the autumn to can the garden's bounty. The class was informative and well taught with an overflow of students present.
Since he was already removed from the farm and the class ended at 1:00, the ravenous Mr. Fuzzy motored from town southward on state highway 8 to his favourite weekly lunch at Tuggle's Gap Restaurant, esconced on the very ridge of The Blue Ridge. Miss Cheri, the owner, lived in New Mexico and is well versed in a proper red chile sauce; the burritos are divine but they kitchen specially formulated huevos rancheros for your author. He was thoroughly delighted.
Sunday afternoon Mr. Fuzzy spent almost five hours mowing on the farm, not to make the grass neat and scenic, but control nasty invasive species of wild roses, briars and blackberries. Because Mr. Fuzzy was down with double pneumonia last autumn, the normal October mowing did not occur; combined with a mild winter, newly germinated canes grew all winter. Although the mower is capable of cutting a very large diameter cane, the problem is the height. After the cane reaches more than perhaps a foot tall, as the mower passes above it, the cane is bent to the ground and may escape the three whirling blades only to whip back upright as soon as the rear tires have passed. Alas, some of these canes has attained heights of 4-6 feet and when they whipped back (and forth), it was rather like being scourged. The best technique is to drive with one hand and bend the other arm across the face to prevent a bloody smacking. The right arm took quite a number of thorns; both arms were badly sunburnt and remain yet most tender and easily inflamed. The Sears 26 horse power mower is a beast. Much like a Model T Ford, it is black not as luxurious as many brands but it goes in places that would cause Sears' legal department to have conniption fits. It often is engaged to pull a small wagon and perhaps is the handiest single object on the farm.
This missive is being closed by a view toward The Buffalo, the humped mountain in the distance, from the Jacksonville Burying Grounds, almost adjacent to the Art Center. The grounds are sited perfectly on a high hill above the village with a panoramic 360 degree view of the county. Perhaps it will give you, good reader, some sense of the topography and scenery of this gorgeous county. Remember, you may click on any photograph to enlarge it for more detailed examination.