Category Archives: coffee muses

Fragments From Floyd: June 2002 Archives

Fragments From Floyd: June 2002 Archives

June 5, 2002
Summer LightningThe animals have been tended, my wife and son have left for work, and I am alone watching the first rays of a humid, empty day through the windows. I am in my slippers, merely waiting, early into my second month “between jobs”. Waiting: on epiphanies, promised calls, revelation, solace, inspiration.

There are few places I would rather be today than in our remote valley in Floyd County, this land that envelops us, a country that is more like home than anywhere we have ever lived. I drink the last of the morning coffee in the midst of a sanctuary of harmony and light that my eyes and internal rhythms are just now adjusting to, and it feels to me as if a healing is happening here. Solitude, health, natural beauty, time empty waiting to be filled and a smattering of expectation– blessings brought home to me in the dark, last night.

So begins one of the earliest of Fred First’s Fragments From Floyd post’s. It was these words and more like them I discovered buried in the archives of FFF that eventually led to the purchase of a book. A purchase consummated before the book had physical structure, a book taken from those very same archives, words polished like the stones from the creek beside the house in that hollow in Floyd County.

I was playing around tonight building the beginnings of a commonplace book of days, based on an idea from Kate who posted about whiskey rivers commonplace book. One of the quotes I had saved to notebook way back when dealt with Anne’s falls at FFF. That sent me wandering back to see how far I could travel into the past at Fragments…It seems I can get all the way back (correct me if I’m wrong Fred), June 2002…

I know Fred is having some difficulties getting the archive to working in WordPress, but it’s all there, read it if you haven’t chanced that way before. Follow the growth of a blogger turned author…

Sunday Morning, 5th of August, Twenty O’Seven

This morning Garrison informs us of a birthday…

It’s the birthday of Wendell Berry born in Port Royal, Kentucky (1934). He grew up on farmland that had belonged to his family since 1803. He went on to college and to graduate school. He lived in California and Italy and New York City. But through all those years, he never stopped thinking about the place where he grew up, and he finally decided to move back to the area permanently. Most of his city friends thought he was crazy, but he bought a small farm in his hometown, which still had a population of only a hundred or so people, and he began farming it the way his grandfather had taught him, without any machines.

He grew squash, corn, and tomatoes, and he got a flock of sheep, a milk cow, and some horses. And he wrote about his experiences as a farmer in more than 40 books of poetry, fiction, and essays. His collections of poetry include The Farm (1995) and A Timbered Choir (1998). But he’s best known for his essays in books such as The Gift of Good Land (1981), What Are People For? (1990), and Life Is a Miracle: An Essay Against Modern Superstition (2000).

Wendell Berry said, “Better than any argument is to rise at dawn and pick dew-wet red berries in a cup.”

Wendell Berry’s “The Art Of The Commonplace” is on my “to read or reread” stack right now. He is keeping good company, the stack right now has books by Annie Dillard, Barbara Kingsolver, Michael Pollan and my friend Fred First.

Happy Birthday Mr. Berry…

The annual driving test a success | Chron.com – Houston Chronicle

Last Wednesday I got up early, ate a hearty breakfast, climbed in the old pickup and went out to perform my annual Loop 610 Test.

This is the test I take at least once a year to see if I can still drive in Houston freeway traffic without endangering myself and the general public.

About 10 years ago, when I had celebrated my 75th birthday, I was hearing friends not yet 65 say they were no longer comfortable driving on the Loop or on Interstate 10. That set me to wondering — was I already too old to drive in this town?

So I began the test, in which I get on the Loop when it’s running fast and go all the way around, to see how I do. I’ve passed the test for 10 straight years, and on Wednesday I passed it again with no trouble.

You have to give Leon Hale credit for facing Houston traffic, I love to drive but Houston traffic (which is where I learned to drive) can be intimidating to the most serene driver. I’m not sure what it says but I loved his final statement…

My Timex said I needed 40 minutes to go around. That’s almost two minutes longer than I’ve ever taken before.

So here’s what this latest test tells me: As a Houston freeway driver I may not be getting any worse. But I am getting slower.

Other than mentioning the inordinate amount of rain we have had this year on the Texas Gulf coast, I’ve not discussed our weather too much lately. The main reason has been, I don’t want to jinx us. We have made it to August this year with a minimal number of extreme temperature days. Watching the SW and the NE hitting temperatures above normal, I am happy that our temps have stayed about 10° below normal for the most part. Granted, our 90° days when the humidity is above 90% still requires air conditioning to remove water vapor from the air.

Time to move about, have a great Sunday.

Photo Friday – Wet

This is what my front yard has looked like on way too many days this summer.

This week’s challenge: ‘Wet‘.

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Web wandering on a Thursday morning…

This story caught my interest the other day.

A Factory Farm Near You – New York Times

Once upon a time, only a decade or so, it wasn’t hard to know where factory hog farms were because they were nearly all in North Carolina. But since those days, the practice of crowding together huge concentrations of animals — hogs, poultry, dairy cows, beef cattle — in the interests of supposed efficiency has spread around the country.Wherever it appears, factory farming has two notable effects. It threatens the environment, because of huge concentrations of animal manure and lax regulation. And it threatens local political control. Residents who want a say over whether and where factory farms, whose stench can be overwhelming, can be built find their voices drowned out by the industry’s cash and lobbying clout.

These farms are spreading so rapidly that it’s been hard to get an accurate, up-to-date picture of where they all are. A research and advocacy group called Food and Water Watch has released an interactive map — www.factoryfarmmap.org — that allows users to track the proliferation of factory farms by state and county, number of farms, type of operation and even number of animals. The only thing that would make this map more useful — and we hope it will be an ongoing project — is the ability to track changes over time, showing how rapid and pervasive the growth of factory farming has been.

Whenever the supposed efficiencies of the factory are applied to non-manufacturing pursuits, trouble seems to ensue. This appears to be particularly true in the field of agriculture. Unfortunately, we have yet to understand the full effects of what has been wrought as a result of the past 50 years of “Agricultural Progress”.

When the data is all in, if it ever is, I have a feeling that a lot of the health problems in this country will end up being laid at the feet of two industries for very similar reasons. Industrial Ag and the Pharmaceuticals both seem to think the unintentional results of their business practices are not their fault. Both industries are filling the bodies of Americans with chemical’s whose longterm consequences have not been tested. As a member of the lucky generation who has been used as a guinea pig by these industries in the name of higher profits, I am not amused. America’s obesity problem, along with many other ailments, keeps being blamed on lifestyle. They are right and wrong. The lifestyle that is killing America is the lifestyle of the CEO’s from those two industries. Their profit driven, cut costs, speeding up of the process is what has brought about the health problems. The constant use of hormones and antibiotics both by Doctors and animal raisers has to have unintended effects on the bodies of Americans. Add in all of the industrial byproducts we now live in and there is no telling what the consequences might be.

For further information see also:

On other matters, I had a Molly Ivins’ moment reading a story in the Houston Chronicle today…

Students must remember ‘God’ in Texas pledge | Chron.com – Houston Chronicle

Texas students will have four more words to remember when they head back to class this month and begin reciting the state’s pledge of allegiance.This year’s Legislature added the phrase “one state under God” to the pledge, which is part of a required morning ritual in Texas public schools along with the pledge to the U.S. flag and a moment of silence.

State Rep. Debbie Riddle, who sponsored the bill, said it had always bothered her that God was omitted in the state’s pledge.

“Personally, I felt like the Texas pledge had a big old hole in it, and it occurred to me, ‘You know what? We need to fix that,’ ” said Riddle, R-Tomball. “Our Texas pledge is perfectly OK like it is with the exception of acknowledging that just as we are one nation under God, we are one state under God as well.”

Don’t you just love when you walk into someone else’s “big old hole” and they think they have to “fix it” for everyone? Hell, I grew up here and I love my Texas history. But…I could not quote you the Texas pledge if my life depended on it. I know I never had to say any such thing in school. Back in my day they had enough trouble just trying to get everyone to say the Pledge to the US Flag. There was this little trouble in SE Asia that had all the young men approaching graduation just a bit unsettled back in the early 70’s…Oh, but then I read it has only been in the last five years that they have requires students to stand at attention and pledge to both the country and the state.

Is it just me? Doesn’t that seem just a bit presumptuous in this era of mobility, when families move around the country at will, to expect allegiance to a state?

Makes me “proud” to be a Texan…Yes it does. Molly would be so proud of them. They’ve raised the bar again on governing in Texas.

Finally… Astrologically speaking…This weeks horoscope for any other Aquarians out there.

Free Will Astrology : Aquarius Horoscope

It’s the Season of Burning, Churning Yearning. Here are three of the most important things I’ve ever told you about how to get what you need. (1) If you don’t precisely articulate your conscious desires, your unconscious patterns will come true instead. (2) If you want your conscious desires to trump your unconscious patterns, speak or write your conscious desires every day. (3) It’s better to have three huge, soaring, potent desires than 25 puny, scrabbling, half-assed desires.

I can never be sure what it is about Rob Brezsny’s Free Will Astrology, but every week he comes up with some gut checking advice. Does it really have anything to do with Astrology? Does it matter?

Later…

North Carolina Mountain Dreams

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