11 July 2013
rain, rain and more rain
It has been far too long since the last posting - which makes this post difficult to compose as there is so much to cover. Where to begin and how much to include? Take off your shoes, slide into your softest most comfortable slippers, pour a cuppa or a cabernet and come along for the ride.
Mr. Fuzzy made a trip to Kentucky to attend three meetings and visit two ill friends. It was harvest time for wheat, a crop he does not recall much in abundance there fifty years ago, but huge fields dot the western counties now - and with them, huge harvesting machines. These machines must move from field to field and farm to farm along sometimes small county roads (Mr. Fuzzy was taking the back roads). Several times, these behemoths either blocked the road ahead or forced him off the road as these rolled on past, taking far more than their share of the pavement. Their presence made one rather leery coming around blind corners... it is fair to say they made travel above 30 mph a major gamble.
At times, it seemed a better strategy to enjoy a roadside attraction for a few minutes rather than creep behind these giant devices rolling along at about 10 mph... a pre-Civil War cemetery was one such temporary distraction. Graves ranged from 1802 to the present. Intriguingly, although the cemetery as a whole was very well maintained, certain graves were entirely grown over. Shown here is a detail from a headstone commemorating a man who died just after The War. Some readers may recognize the symbolism.
As noted, there were grave markers indicating burials right up into 2013. At one recent burial was this unique wee birdhouse made from a Kentucky license plate. One must wonder if it came from the deceased person's automobile.
Kentucky has some relics of former days not so far in the distant past. There is a state of decay and reclamation by nature that is not seen in this part of Virgina. This was a stop to decipher why the Official Kentucky State Highway Map and Google maps on the iPhone were in a serious disagreement about whether to turn there or continue ahead. In retrospect, I think Rod Serling's voice could be heard coming from the decrepit building...
One of the three destinations was a Native American museum in a small town which was struggling for its life. Mr. Fuzzy came to (1) enjoy their major annual event, a day long program open to the public, (2) be a part of the program by displaying a collection of contemporary Native American pipes and (3) listening to the members and council explain what they want the institution to be and how it might overcome its past problems. The lady here is demonstrating Cherokee basket making; the following image is Mr. Fuzzy's small pipe display. In amongst all the seriousness, a dear local friend popped in for a brief visit and it was great joy to chat with him for a few minutes.
The remaining pleasures of the trip were with at the very end, visiting very dear friends in Lexington where Mr. Fuzzy indulged and spent an extra day reveling in their fine company. The older Mr. F. becomes, the more certain he becomes that dear friends are the single greatest blessing of life. They mitigate the pains and amplify the gains.
After one day back on the farm, Mr. Fuzzy motored to the Roanoke aeroporto to pick up some of those old & dear friends who were venturing out of the arid deserts of the American Southwest and into what was effectively a rain forest. In the four full days they were at Stratheden Farms, the rain gauge recorded over six inches of rain; at least their last day was sunny - although Mr. Fuzzy barely was in the farm's driveway before the clouds opend up and poured forth their burdens upon the terra muddy.
Later that night (Saturday) the clouds finally yielded to the setting sun - and Mr. Fuzzy realized his eyes had not beheld a sunset from The veranda in more than a fortnight!
If, dear reader, you have followed this blog, you know that the rains have been incessant and pounding this year, very atypcial. Roanoke broke its all time July precipitation record after only ten days into the month!
No official weather reporting station has been located in Floyd county since the onset of World War II but farmers pay serious attention to the weather and none of the neighboring agriculturists can ever remember a year like this one.
It has devastated some crops and not done favours for any crop - weeds, however, are in great abundance. The gardens look more like putting greens than gardens - it has been too wet to utilize the tiller for the last six weeks and mostly too muddy to even use a hoe. No one has any surviving potatoes as they have rotted. The crop of various sorts of peppers here mostly drowned or damped off; so much for that money maker. Corn has not been struck by enough light to grow beyond knee height. The patti-pan squashes seem to be doing well, however, as do the winter squash plants.
Weeds and all the sorts of native flowers seem to be thriving despite a lack of ultraviolet rays. The landscape is finely decorated with various flowers here and there. Yes, indeed, this is a place of rare beauty, wet or not..
The next dispatch may be sent from the wireless on the ark.