Monday, November 20, 2006


the following have brought me to the day's end with a satisfied mind:
throwing/stacking a big old truckload of firewood after a long day's work
a walk and a wrestling match with my somewhat speckled dog, bella (who can jump at least five feet straight up)
an evening out on line fork playing banjo and visiting with lee
the warmth of a wood fire on a chilly night
leftover homemade borscht
news that there is an elephant sanctuary not too far from my home town
knowing that in two days i'll be down in south mississippi visiting with relatives that i haven't seen for nearly a decade and/or have maybe never even met
the promise of a hot bubble bath followed by a bed pre-warmed by two slumbering cats and a dog

Sunday, November 19, 2006

feeding the woodshed

now that i have had a few days back home on judy branch, i have caught up on my sleep and other necessary home life tasks. among those tasks is making use of remaining garden goods, which at present are: mustard greens, turnip greens, cilantro, mescalin mix and beets. i think a few carrots and several broccoli plants may produce before winter sets in, but they are still rather young, so we'll see.

this afternoon i pulled out a recipe i've been wanting to try for months. whole beet borscht. another recipe from laurel's kitchen that uses the entire beet rather than just the root or the leaf. a bonus of this recipe was that i got to use the grating disc on my cuisinart, a "new technology" that i am proud to have mastered! i fed that nifty machine beet roots, potatos and carrots, and within seconds i had several cups of brightly colored, slimy (bloody beets!) vegetable shreds. i still managed to stain my hands and cutting boards, but they are all a much lighter shade of magenta than they would have been if i'd grated the old fashioned way!

i got some fantastic news this week: i got the appalachian music fellowship, which means i'll get to spend the winter listening to archival music recordings and producing a radio series. it also means that i can finally order a fretless banjo, which i did this weekend. brooks , one of my new portland friends, is a talented luthier, so i called and asked him to make me a banjo. when he first returned my call, he left a message saying that i was probably out chopping firewood and that's why i didn't hear my phone. he was almost right. i was out collecting firewood for the night!

which gets me to another another important task achieved this weekend: replinishing the woodshed. this has been a challenging task because it requires a truck. you see, the kentucky mountains are different from tennessee and carolina mountains when it comes to firewood. when i lived in north carolina, there were many people i could call upon to purchase a cord (truckload) of firewood, delivered to my house. here in kentucky, it is near impossible to find firewood for sale, and if you do, it is a DIY system (you come load it up yourself). fortunately, the lack of a firewood market is because everyone usually has a stockpile of firewood from their land, and often they have plenty to spare. for the past two years some friends and fellow WMMT deejays who live near blackey have given me free firewood by the truckload. really good stuff, too. even so, my lack of a truck has delayed the collection of their generous offering for about 2 months. today neighbor bill lent me his truck, which is the biggest truck i have ever driven in my life. i steered it 8 miles down one lane roads (ok, 1/2 mile was on a two lane!) and over a small mountain to civil war gap, near carcassonne. i had to wait until about 5 in the evening so they would be back from doing their radio show. we loaded up the truck in the fading light while light snow began to fall. they invited me in for a cup of coffee and a piece of stack cake before i navigated the 8 miles back home. i'll unload it all tomorrow before i go to work. this evening, i'll enjoy my borscht and cornbread and then practice up on my banjo by the fire.

tomorrow evening i have another banjo lesson with lee, and i hope to pick up another couple of tunes to practice up on over the thanksgiving holidays.