Thursday, September 2, 2010

Nothing pale about this September!

My mom and I share a pretty cool trait in that we're both synesthetes--which probably ties in a lot with her mastery of quilting and sewing, my natural draw toward music and dance, and our shared love of beautiful and delicious food and gardening. And now fall is almost here, and the singing-dancing-dirt-worshipper inside me is clawing to get out!

When the nights start to get a breath of chill like this (mid-50s in Asheville), and the late-summer sunwarmed-soil aromas waft around on the breezes, I get the Fiona Apple song Pale September stuck in my head a lot (never minding that I drowned a couple months of high school heartbreak in that album!) The lyrics are, in part:

Pale September, I wore the time like a dress that year
The autumn days swung soft around me, like cotton on my skin
But as the embers of the summer lost their breath and disappeared
My heart went cold and only hollow rhythms resounded from within
But then he rose, brilliant as the moon in full
And sank in the burrows of my keep

And all my armour falling down, in a pile at my feet
And my winter giving way to warm, as I'm singing him to sleep
Autumn's time is like a dress every year, wrapping me up in the gold-orange-brown and the different textures...the crisp, drying air rich with woodsmoke, warm steamy houses with soup on the stove, hot toddies and snuggling with windows open to the refreshing nights. One of the synesthetic phenomena that happens with everyone is the association of those colors, smells and sensations with the turning of the season, but I like to think my relationship with Fall is special. With every stimulus, a thousand more are ignited inside me--I can truly see the scents, smell the textures and hear the changing sundowns. I step out the door and take a lungful, and she's just there for me; if I could bottle the scents of burning leaves, green walnuts, forest soil and cinnamon, that would be my heaven.

Well, romanticism aside, it is project season on Black Dog Hill. My work schedule will soon allow me to take better advantage of the optimal conditions for building some stuff, and boy, are we hitting the ground running! Right now the chicken house, kiwi trellis, porch resurfacing and garden expansion are happening simultaneously. Mom and I are planning a big ol' yard sale sometime in October, too, so that should be a hoot and a half.

Oh, and I'm learning to play the washboard. Got to sit in on my first jam last week with Wayne Erbsen, Chris Wells and Laura Pinell. Way fun!


Monday, August 23, 2010

Back in ACTION!

Sssshhhhh....can you hear that?

The whish-whish-whish of dust being brushed off my blog!

Over the course of nearly two years, more has happened than I care to detail here, but consider this my pushing the reset button. Some highlights:

New garden!

(After a marathon session of enrichment this spring, our warm-season soil is hosting an orgy of life--and the tomatoes were above my head before they even ripened!)

New pup and kitty! (so beautiful I can't put up only one photo):

Welcome to Frankie Manning and The Oracle!!

New heat source:

(Major, major thanks to (also new) Neighbor Thomas and his bottomless skillset for sourcing and installing this beautiful workhorse of a stove!)

New enemies:

(Mother Nature arms her most soft and beautiful creatures with the most vicious weapons. Oh, the pain! The neverending pain!!!!)

Aaaand (drumroll) new home:

(of course, during the colder months. You'll be seeing a lot of this place.)

In short, this place is 3 acres of neverending beauty, and we look at each other every day and ask how the hell we got so lucky. The conveniently split driveway (upper and lower) is wide and nicely graveled, and we have at our disposal a detached ~600 sf. workshop. The house itself has a full unfinished basement and original (1950s) heart pine floors throughout. The living room has seen much dancing, and will see much more as the floor mellows with continued wear.

Old secondary growth hardwoods ring the sides of a very private knoll, which gets differing sunlight and moisture on three sides, resulting in several distinct-yet-abutting ecosystems. We're still discovering the native plants and fungi, and getting to know the avian dwellers--screech owls, red-tailed hawks, pileated and downy woodpeckers, towhees, finches, jays, nuthatches and other songbirds. It's fun to watch the squirrels navigate the treetops all around the hill, and to see the rather private chipmunks play around the edges of the woods (but they're smart, and avoid Frankie pretty well, I think. Either that, or he doesn't leave evidence.)

And 2010's garden!! Seven tomato varieties, Thai and black eggplants, green and purple bell peppers, peperoncinis, jalapenos, orange habaneros, yellow sweet and strawberry popping corn, yellow wax and green string beans, burgundy okra, English and pickling cucumbers, white and sweet potatoes, horseradish, volunteer butternut squash, spaghetti squash and jack-o-lanterns, acorn squash, loofah gourds, basil, cabbage, green onions, oregano, brussels sprouts and a handful of green muscadine grapes. Mmm. I love my garden.

Fall greens (curly kale, purple-top turnips, radishes, spinach and lettuces) are sown and starting to carpet their rows. Can't wait for those delicious vitaminy fall soups!

So, in short, welcome to the new Garden of Eva!