Tag Archives: nature

Family Outing and Chicks

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Tropical depression Bob descended on us around 2 p.m.  With SIL’s mom visiting for the weekend, we wanted to take her on a hike one that the kids had not done before, so after the morning Farmers’ Market run we set off up the mountain to a nice 2.6+ mile loop trail that has a gorgeous rock outlook about halfway through the hike. It has a 180 degree view that is totally unspoiled, not a road, power line, nor structure can be seen.  The easier part of the loop goes through a forest that once was home of American Chestnuts before the blight destroyed them almost entirely.  You see Chestnut Oak there now, but not native Chestnuts.  There are some medium sized Hemlocks that have not succumbed to the Wooly Adelgid that is destroying them as well.

The last Mountain Laurel and the first Rhododendron of the season, wildflowers, bird’s nest, interesting fungi, fern fields, cool breezes, shade were all present for a delightful walk.  On our way out on the more difficult part of the loop, where the elevation drops many hundred feet on a series of switchbacks to a few hundred feet of creek crossing and walking through a Rhododendron thicket, the lost elevation must be regained a bit more gradually, but still challenging.  As we were beginning the ascent, the thunder began and we kicked into overdrive to get back to the car before the storm descended on us on the ridge line.  Granddaughter, the 3 1/2 year old was a super hiker, being carried only part of the way in each direction, especially when we had to really kick up the pace.  As we settled in the car and started the drive back the 12 miles across the ridge and down the mountain road back to the house, the rain began.

Yesterday, Momma Hen 3 hatched a trio of her 9 eggs, but 2 of them did not survive, the remaining chick has settled under Momma Hen 4 in the next nesting box.  The remaining eggs should hatch by Monday from both hens.  We now have 8 chicks a few days old, 2 that are 4 weeks old and still waiting to see what else might emerge in the next day or two.  I fear we may not get as many chicks as we had hoped for flock replenishment and meat for the freezer.  I really don’t want to have to purchase chicks and raise them in a brooder and hope that we may yet have enough chick hatch this year to make this a viable experiment.

An Energy Rant

OK, I’m basically liberal in my leanings.  I do think that the overabundant use and collection of fossil fuel is ruining the environment between mountain top removal for coal extraction and greenhouse gasses from the burning of it and natural gas as well as the fracking for that gas.  The fracking process is poisoning ground water and the waste from it dumping chemical laden water in holding ponds and radium and radon sludge being dumped above ground.  Once this coal or gas is extracted, it is transported to a coastal port via train and pipeline primarily to be exported overseas.  All the while, the highways are clogged by petroleum guzzling semi trucks hauling goods around the country that could be more economically transported by rail.

If you have followed me for a while, you know that we are in the path of a proposed fracked gas pipeline, 42″ in diameter.  Our region is limestone, karst topography, full of caves, sinkholes, 3 fault lines and every resident relies on groundwater from springs or wells for our water supply.  Our immediate community is a Historic Preservation region with more than 300 historic and historical sites including two covered bridges, many that are also in the path of this pipeline.  There are 3 significant caves on the path within 5 miles of our house, one containing endangered albino bats and all home of bat populations already threatened by the fungal white nose disease.  In the meetings we have attended to learn more about this pipeline and to work to organize to oppose it, we have learned that a pipeline of this size, should it leak, causing an explosion, that the blast zone would be 2000 feet.  That the industry accepted loss from these pipelines is 1% (probably higher if that is what they are reporting) and that methane would leech into our groundwater.

The company that is already using divide and conquer techniques and threatened lawsuits trying to force this through has a bad reputation for shoddy work and accidents and has many fines and a major lawsuit against it for damages in Kentucky.

To say we don’t want this in our backyard is an understatement, but we don’t want it anywhere, not just in our backyard.  The years and dollars spent on this project would be much better spent on clean, alternative energy.  Natural gas, especially fracked natural gas is not clean.  It produces more greenhouse gas than burning coal.  Don’t be deceived by the “Clean Coal” and “Clean Natural Gas” advertisements, it is not clean, do some research.  Watch the video Gaslands.

We are fighting this, with peaceful opposition at meetings with the companies, through letter writing campaigns, with voting for politicians who are against these practices.  We need help.  Yesterday, the Keystone Pipeline was narrowly defeated, but will resurface as soon as the new congress is in office.  Also yesterday, it was announced that fracking was going to be allowed in the George Washington National Forest.  This is where parts of the Blue Ridge Parkway and the Skyline Drive are located.

To frack or build a pipeline, acres of forest will be destroyed, herbicides will be sprayed to keep the undergrowth controlled, herbicides that will affect the health of the fauna and the human populations near the areas and anyone who receives their water from the groundwater or the watersheds that these areas serve.

What can you do?  If you live in any of the counties affected by any fracking or pipelines, join the organized fight against them, attend the meetings, stand up and be heard.  If you don’t live near them, but want to continue to enjoy our natural resources, write your politicians and be heard.  It is going to take a national community to stop this desecration of our country by these practices and to stop our natural resources from being shipped overseas.  For the funds being spent on these projects to go toward true clean energy that doesn’t destroy the environment.

If you are local, we need an auditorium full of people at Giles County High School, November 20, 2014 at 6:30 p.m. to peacefully show opposition by our numbers and our signs.  Questions of the pipeline companies will be allowed by filling out a 3 X 5″ card with your question.

If you want to see more about fracking and pipelines, look on Wiki or check out www.preservethenrv.com.

Please help.  This is our dream retirement home, built with our lifesavings and we don’t want to see it despoiled or destroyed, nor do we want any environment poisoned or destroyed.

Reward

image

This is the scene this morning. The ridge a mile away is hidden by the snowfall. The snow is not heavy, just steady and expected until sundown, so we may see our first seasonal snowfall. It is later than usual, but we are approaching the 8 weeks when we are most likely to get snow cover.  We are in the Allegheny mountains in southwest Virginia at an elevation of only about 2300 ft (700+ m) on the south flank of the ridge. The ridge north of us rises to about 4400 ft (1341 m) so that it shelters us from most heavy storms. The snow is welcome for the garden moisture it provides, the seasonal beauty and to indulge my inner child who will bundle up and walk or play in it after morning chores are done.

The dogs hit the deck this morning and delightedly took off, leaping; well the German Shepherd leaps, the English Mastiff lopes, and chasing each other around and rooting around like hogs with their noses in the snow. Often when it snows, one of them will come up with a mole or vole with which they play, tossing it around until they tire of the game.

The chickens were less delighted. I filled their water pan with tepid water and hung their feeder beneath the coop to keep it dry and opened the pop door for morning greetings. The first one to poke her head out stopped short as soon as her foot hit the snowy ramp, gave me an accusatory glare and ducked back inside.  All of them were milling around in the coop making agitated sounds, but no one came out. It isn’t very cold yet, only 32°f (0°c), the cold is expected again tonight dropping to low single digits and remaining well below freezing for the next week or so. I may have to make a concession and at least put their food inside the coop. We have snow predicted again in a few days.

The woods are looking like a wonderland and with the snow cover, you can see well into the woods and see the foraging deer and turkeys. I love the mountains and the snow. Life is good on our mountain farm.