Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The summer issue of Now & Then: The Appalachian Magazine is out and it's a really good one. I think this is my favorite of the Appalachian themed mags and not just because they are so supportive of my work. This issue's theme is "Appalachian High" and they were kind enough to publish my coming of age story, "The Truholt Madstone".

Fred Sauceman writes eloquently about one of my favorite topics--barbecue--in his article, High on the Alabama Hog. A very interesting piece by Michael Joslin titled High Time for Change examines the changing attitudes toward birds of prey held many Appalachian folks--something I used in my story Hawk Kill. Many other great stories in this issue--so please order a subscription. ETSU produces a big, glossy beautiful magazine full of Appalachian goodness.

"Truholt" is set way back in a time before the chestnut trees died out and is about a folk cure for rabies called a madstone.


I'm very busy with the garden these days. Am going to go out there in a minute and pick corn. I have all sorts of things coming in--cucumbers, squash, beans, new potatoes, okra and fresh purple hulls. Made a pot of my momma's South Georgia garden stew. I actually associate that soup with the winter, but it's meant to be made right from the garden. Hardly even needs salt for seasoning and is heavy with corn, okra and beans. We used to use stew beef for the meat--but I had a goat haunch I needed to use up and it turned out great. So, I can honestly say I made everything in the stew from stuff here on the farm.

Yesterday was one of those odd days where it rained like the dickens in the midday sun. So violent it spat a rainbow rare and turbulent up on the mountain sky. I didn't do much but did pick blackberries--I'm getting down to the last of them. It's the right time of year "The God of all Blackberries" to make an appearance.

I'd noticed there were some tunnels under the blackberry canes that I had not put there. They were low to the ground and all the easily got to berries were gone. The only other time I'd seen something like this was at my old blackberry field that I shared with a bear and her cub. I was a bit perturbed to think I had bears visiting so close--these canes are right next to the house. Mystery solved---I heard some gawdawful snuffling--numnumnum--and it was Max. Max the blackberry eating Cocker Spaniel.

Monday, July 05, 2010

Hot enough?

I've not been keeping up with the blog--basically, the time has come when I have to make a decision about the dial-up.

So what have I been up to? Well, I've got the garden that is doing well despite the dry weather. Been taking some huge mutant straight neck squash from one of my plants. Unfortunately, I planted it too close to the giant pumpkins, so the seed will not breed true. You would not believe the size of these things--over a foot long and still green, tender and delicious just like a small baby squash. Beautiful new Yukon Gold potatoes. Corn is high and tasseling. But the varmints are eating my green tomatoes. I think it's the damn crows. It escapes me exactly why we aren't supposed to kill them. Is there anything good about a crow? But I've got bird netting that I will put up to stop that nonsense. My blackberries are bearing something incredible and I've been trying to keep ahead of them--arms scratched and bleeding. Vicious, hard-won fruit are blackberries, but I love the dark, sweet taste of them.

I've been busy. Lupus is kicking my but these days, but I refuse to let it get the best of me. I just wish walking weren't such an effort--I long to have quick light feet with no pain.

I've got a few stories to plug. Will do that in their own posts. I've been concentrating more on print journals. It's not that I think print is better than online, but I do like to keep a balance between them. Working on my Appalachian collection and getting queries out. Okay, been sort of lazy about that.

But life is overall very good, except for the health thing and the dial-up thing

It looks like I'm going to have to figure out a way to afford satellite if I want to continue to do things online. I've been saying for a while now that AT & T (aka The Evil Empire) would eventually shut us rural beings out completely and I think that time is now. It takes fifteen minutes to load my email. Further, they charge me an outrageous amount of money to make long distance phone calls. I made one long distance phone call in the past three months--to my sister--and they charged me almost fifty dollars. In this day and age of unlimited long distance, it's outrageous. I hate them. I can't afford on a fixed income to keep in touch with family and friends and I hate it that people think I'm ignoring them. I'm not. I just don't have the money to pay AT & T. If the government thinks AT &T will release their stranglehold on rural phone lines--we seem to be something of a cash cow to them--well, they are adorable.

So. If you've tried to reach me via Facebook--I cannot reply to email there. I try to reply from other places I still can use like Zoetrope, so check your mailbox and you might have a reply there from me. 24K dial-up no longer works on FB. And I have to shut down my computer every time I go there.

Hope everyone had a great Fourth. We shot fireworks off the bluff!