Wood for the Winter

I spent most of Sunday morning splitting up a white oak for winter firewood. White oaks are native to our bioregion and they can grow huge and old. The primeval piedmont forests were full of them, and even though the old forests are now gone we still see big ones at the edges of old fields or in small out-of-the-way stands on somebody’s protected property. A white oak in the piedmont could...

Spring Fever

Yesterday it was 78 degrees with powdery blue skies. We walked on the Cottonwood Trail and saw the bloodroot’s first bloom on our favorite March hillside. As an ephemeral early season wildflower, the bloodroot isn’t really flashy. It’s low to the ground. One white flower with a little yellow center accompanies the single, odd-shaped green leaf. They live in colonies but you can...

Snow Falling on Kudzu

Weather just isn’t what it used to be. No, I’m not talking about climate change this time. I’m talking about how in the good old days when a big snow storm moved through the piedmont we were left to our own imaginations to figure out how to experience it. Even back when I was a kid in the 60s there were the Old Ones still saying poetic things two days out like, “Johnny, I...

Autumn and its Tiny Animal Delights

“There is a season, turn, turn, turn,” the Byrds sang in 1965, quoting loosely from Ecclesiastes, “and a time for every purpose, unto heaven.” Every year about this time I’m reminded of the appropriateness of this old Bible verse turned folk-rock poetic insight into the turning year as the first day of fall rolls around. Natural cycles (“turn, turn,...

Spring Break

Last year over spring break I loaded up my canoe and headed for Columbia. It was a trip I’ll never forget. We spent five nights on the river. I really felt like Huck Finn setting out for the territories. This year I’m catching up on all the yard work I’ve put off. I’ve discovered that our low-maintenance yard becomes high-maintenance if I don’t do any at all. So...

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