Sunday, April 29, 2007

Down on Greasy Creek

They held the 49th annual Polk County, TN 'Ramp Tramp' this weekend. Our first time at this down-home gathering, but it won't be the last.

The site is a 4-H camp originally built by the CCC.

Inside, folks enjoying local music and the ramp dinner.

Outside, vendors sell local products: here they are steeping sassafras tea.

Lots of cooks to make this delicious meal:

Beans, corn muffins, potatoes, bacon, and eggs with ramps. Buttermilk pie and coffee. Yum.

The band? Ducktown Station. They got lots of folks up and clogging.

The Cosby Ramp Festival, at the other end of the Smokies in Tennessee, is next weekend. The one in Cosby is just a bit older than the 49-year-old Polk fest; it was started in 1954.

What are ramps? According to this description, they are a wild member of the onion family that grows from Nova Scotia south. That explains why I think the 'wild leeks' that a neighbor searched for every spring in our creekbed in upstate NY were the same thing. They probably were.

Here's a lot more on using ramps or wild leeks.

Thanks to Lisa Jacobi for the ramp photo.

(Update:) More photos from the Ramp Tramp are in a slide show on Ducktown Station's website, via Lisa Jacobi. But if you're on dialup like me, be warned it will take awhile to load.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Rainy day sunset

Worrying about the land

When I first came to Western North Carolina in the mid-1970s, I was suprised at how developed it was. I had expected large stretches of wilderness but found that every mountain cove had homes in it. Despite that, in Black Mountain, where I lived then, and in other areas, you could ride a few miles out of town and find nothing but old farms and a few small cabins, and feel free of civilization for awhile.

No more. The area around Black Mountain is filled with large new developments, in areas I'd never have expected to see fancy homes going in.

Now that I live several counties west, where development was rare when we first started visiting here, we are shocked to see large tracts of land being cut and roads going in for multi-lot developments. We wonder how the roads will be able to handle the number of people who could live here in the future, if houses go up on all those lots.

Environment North Carolina has released a new report that says thousands of acres of forests and farmlands in NC are being lost to development every year; two million acres in the last 20 years and they expect over two million acres more by 2027. In Western NC, according to this Asheville Citizen-Times story about the report, developed land has increased 44 per cent in the last two decades and will increase by another 22 percent in the next 20 years.

We all need wilderness to feed our souls. In the future, will our children only be able to find it in managed parks?

Note also, Environment North Carolina's photo gallery on Flickr, lots of photos contributed by the photographers. Lovely, and a reminder of what could be lost.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Monday, April 23, 2007


(Updated:) The Asheville Citizen-Times reported on the damage to North Carolina's wine crop from this month's freeze. These Georgia vineyards suffered similar damage, but they say they'll get some wine this year.

On the way back from Dahlonega, a couple stops along the Georgia Wine Trail:

These are from Wolf Mountain Vineyards:

This is Three Sisters:
Oh, wait, what's that alien-looking UFO in the photo?

Must have been that pesky wasp hanging around an umbrella.


Hiwassee Earth Day

Check out the lovely photos from the Hiwassee River posted by R. Neal on Knox Views last night.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

More from the Bear

Photos from Bear in the Square in Dahlonega, starting with more of the beautiful architecture around the square:

And more picking:

Loved the goards:

And various yard, doorway art:

Even some history.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

At the Bear

That's the Bear on the Square festival in Dahlonega, Georgia. A few photos from today for now, more to come.

Lots of folks on this lovely square.
Lots of people playing music, too, and others just enjoying.

Debbie's jewelry stand: do you see me?
Walter Bahn working on a bowl.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Asheville photos

A Day in the Life of Asheville is a project in which local photographers post photos, all taken on one day. They're all being posted in Flickr, and were taken on Friday.

Getting back to normal

The all-day wet snow yesterday doesn't seem to have caused any more damage, although it will take many of the trees and shrubs awhile to recover. These geese, on Cherokee Lake, made it OK.

I saw one or two early trillium flowers before the freeze, but most of the young plants were frozen. This one was in a protected area:

The rain and snow is gone, but the wind from the remnants of that nor'easter is still blowing so hard the water going over the Persimmon Creek/Cherokee Lake dam is being blown backwards:

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Lone dogwood in the rain

If I took this picture today there would be snow in the photo. Too wet and windy to go out there, though.....

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Waiting for spring to come back

How bad was it? Facing South has compiled links to reports of crop damage around the South. Looks like we won't be making any trips to apple orchards this fall, unless they can bring in apples from upstate New York or Michigan....but oh, no, not the blueberries, too!

(Update:) Susan, from Georgia's apple capital Gilmer County, reminds us that this was Dogwood Winter. We could still have Blackberry Winter, down the road.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Weather news from the mountains

Still too depressing around here for photos of the wrecked foliage after the freeze. For some good photos of the weekend snow around Asheville area, where it was pretty heavy, photo gallery from the Citizen-Times.

The C-T also reports today that the Western NC apple crop has been pretty much wiped out, maybe as bad as the 1955 freeze.

And, of course, the report about Monday morning's plane crash at Murphy-Andrews Airport, which severely injured the pilot, a surgeon at the local hospital, and killed two. Reports in the comments on the story suggest another doctor was one of the victims (although the comments I read earlier seem to be gone from the site). Sad day in Cherokee County.

(Update: Cherokee Scout has the full story.)

Monday, April 09, 2007

Smokies photos

Nothing new here as looking at all the frozen flowers does not inspire photo-taking. Saddest are the brown frazzled dogwood flowers. I had several good dogwood-filled sites I wanted to photograph this weekend. But 4 days in a row of freezing nights has waylaid those plans.

For some nice Smokies scenery, though (taken mostly before the freeze), see the Knoxville News' All Smokies blog. Photos here from Fletch, Al Smith, and others.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Just a little snow

But there was lots more in the higher mountains east of us.
Most of the plants that had leaves got pretty well frozen (tried to cover them but the wind just blew the coverings away); even colder tomorrow morning.
The bleeding hearts: