Sunday, November 30, 2008

News headline musings....

Felt compelled to post a few of the wire headlines from Saturday morning, headlines that provoked immediate thoughts I felt like throwing out there. So I wrote a blog, then shelved it, thinking folks don't care to hear the negative stuff...afterall, by giving it thought you give the whole process power, which is what I don't want. For example, Sunday morning on a live local news program at 6am, every story was about either a murder or an accident involving death. It's NOT necessary. The majority of news directors and producers don't have the guts to quit going that cheap, cheesy, sensationalistic route. Hopefully, more and more will, or at least there will be an increasing public outcry against it.

Nonetheless, certain headlines jumped out and smacked me in the face this weekend:

"Saudi king says oil should be $75 a barrel" (AP)

Oh really....and where was that rallying cry when oil was $147 a barrel? This I've learned purely from observation: companies and individuals who earn huge, almost disproportionate profits cry a river when the financial pipeline scales back. They get spoiled driving a Rolls Royce and plead poverty when they have to trade it in for a 700 series Mercedes. No tears shed here.

"Witnesses: fatal shooting followed toy store brawl" (AP)

Two couples, with the men packing heat, go into a crowded Toys-R-Us on Black Friday, and get into an apparently non-toy related bloody fight, with the men eventually pulling out pistols and killing each other in the store. We have a serious, a very serious gun situation here in our society. Yes, if someone wants a gun they can get it on the black market if they look hard enough; however, I have been and will continue to advocate some level of gun control and registration/monitoring process. "The problem is people, not guns," opponents say. Bit of a shallow cop-out, though I'll admit there is some truth to that...individuals make the choice to carry and use weapons, and they get dark ideas from family and friends, society at large, the entertainment industry...not to mention real life examples like this that fuel someone else's mentally screwed-up thinking...regardless, guns are readily available to the masses.

The Mumbai, India tragedies will never be understood because unless you are one yourself you can never, ever understand or comprehend religious zealots, be it Muslim, Christian, or any other thought-form. Their reality and 'rules of acceptable practices' defy the logic and reason of 'normal' society.

The Wal-Mart trampling on Long Island is particularly offensive, in that individuals knew they were a part of a group mentality that was unacceptable. In a perverted way, you could argue (only a little) that stores create this 'urgency' with incredibly low prices offered at a certain time with very limited supplies...I can't say the stores don't anticipate pathetic human greediness so they can be held innocent. Still, the problem is created by individuals who want want want and grab grab grab, which is chock full of its own serious ramifications.

Thankfully, there are the stories of shining jewels like the Illinois business Peer Bearing Company and Spungen family that gave back $6.6 million to its 230 employees, based on years of service after a buyout...the bottom line is they cared, and the story stayed in the headlines for all of one, maybe 2 days. Murders stay in there day after day as some piece of information services, and stations can run the original footage ad nauseum while they rehash the horror for days of updates. It amounts to little more than re-running original footage from the prior week all to stoke the viewers' emotions. Damn shame the goodness of the Spurgen family doesn't keep resurfacing like that.

And so it will all go on, sadly. Hopefully more and more will speak up and cry 'fowl!' to networks for plying a pathetic trade.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Black Friday 2008: uh....

I remember clear as a bell my junior high P.E. teacher remarking to a student prone to braggadocio that he was a "Big tent, no show." That pretty much sums up my reaction to this year's Black Friday hype. Lots of talk, very little substance, per anything I was hoping to find.

Not that there aren't those 'incredible' sales at certain stores; for instance, if you're looking for a 42" class LCD TV, there are some really good deals for that particular size. For a couple of days I've been using Black Friday ad websites simply to satisfy my curiousity on how the current economic downturn/avalanche would affect after-Thanksgiving sales, in terms of product offerings. People are clearly clutching more tightly their monies; businesses are hurting, in some cases failing, and want to generate cash flow and inventory reduction (at least in my way of thinking).

I always tell people I'm an unusual male in that I don't watch sports and I love to shop...even if just window shopping and comparing items. I don't go bonkers on Black Fridays, but if there is something I decide is worth putting up with the hoardes of early shoppers, I'll carefully research the product and jump in the fray if it gets my two thumbs up. In short, and in general, this Black Friday's offerings are as dull as dishwater.

Of the most ho-hum store offerings is the on-their-way-out Circuit City. Understand I'm a big customer of theirs, get their constant barrage of sales emails, and I'm familiar with their prices the past couple of months...alas, I was disappointed to see what cards they were going to play today. Oh, the numbers may look good in how they're displayed, but I've seen no significant discounting beyond 'normal' worthy of such a legendary day, especially from a company soon to be closing its doors.

On the flip side, K-mart has some very interesting sales 'hooks'...they're offering a Sony Blu-Ray disc player for $179 instead of $300; Best Buy has it today for $199, and Circuit City has it for it's regular $299. I haven't been in a K-Mart in quite some time, but I will go in one today. Their bigger box competition, Wally World (WalMart), failed to impress me with their Friday offerings, either, though I'll go in to pick up a couple of smaller items that jump out - like $20 for a set of 500-thread count sheets.

Interesting it will be to see the bottom line after today. Many, many of us are paring down this holiday, and for good reason...hunkering down for a lean winter and then some...

(UPDATE: Just returned from a quick foray into the busy-ness of the day...electronics are hot (especially games/software, and the few listed TVs) - Wally World was a zoo, and actually too crowded to feel comfortable in...what sale items I was looking for were long gone by 5:30a. Went to K-Mart to stand in line 10 minutes before they opened, and what overwhelmed me most was the sheer number of cigarette smokers standing there, as well. I detest 'coffin nails' - sadly I watched a van park, as 3 young children climbed out with 2 adults, fully puffing away...and I mused how tragic it was those little ones had no choice but to inhale all that second-hand smoke trapped in the van. Unfathomable an adult could be so unthinking. I did go in and check on the Blu-ray DVD player, which I was told sold out on Thanksgiving day...hmmmm...the flyer I had did not mention it was on sale Thursday, just Friday at 6am, and so the marketing game goes. Did get a great deal on a Calphalon omelette pan at Belk's - normally I just can't pay the price for their sets, but you can watch carefully and pick up individual pieces for a great deal. The normally $70 pan/lid was just $20...and with that, I'm going to go crack some eggs and put some turkey bacon in the microwave!)

This was an especially nice Thanksgiving as my brother and his wife brought Willie Boo and Ellie Sue down from Boston...couldn't resist the opportunity to post a few pics from the past couple of days. They're at that newly-ambling age where you can't let them out of your sight for a second lest they tumble or find things around the house best not in the hands of +15 month old chilluns!

Ellen catching on to silly Uncle Bob...

William practicing Rock Climbing 101...

Ellen giving a new meaning to 'pail-face'...

William the Actor making a curtain call....

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Forgot to mention....

(click on pics to enlarge)

In Monday's post I totally forgot to mention the Saturday evening soiree in Tryon, NC where I played my flutes a while. The Upstairs Gallery was celebrating it's 30th anniversary, and having a wonderful gala last Saturday night. Though you wouldn't know it with the picture below, it was actually pretty crowded there. The Upstairs has rightfully gained a regional reputation for fine art shows, and many artisans were represented in this retrospective show. My art, now, involves what I call 'functional art' flutes, which can be basic or quite fancy...below I'm playing my newly finished "Rattlesnake flute"...

A 'normal' flute is a hollow tube that has a round hole at the end...but you can leave the end of the flute solid for future carving, and let the hole come out of the bottom side of the flute so the flute will play. They're called 'closed-end flutes', and they're almost always very special. However, not everyone thinks it's cool to be playing a flute with a snake on it...

The overall idea came in stages...I played a flute for a very large black rat snake over a year ago, which was actually really neat...and I thought that I'd carve the end of the flute in its honor, so I roughed out the serpentine form. I concurrently thought that it would be neat to carve it such that the snake was slithering out from a hollow log.

Then, after the roughed out flute sat for over a year, I watched a Broadwing Hawk eat a freshly caught snake, and I more recently ran into the rattler I blogged about a couple of months ago...a while back I picked up a piece of cedar that with very little sanding looked a lot like a hawk, and so I went with the rattlesnake-being-watched-by-a-hawk motif for the final work!

I mounted the cedar on a piece of ironwood to make it look like the hawk was carefully eyeing the snake from a perch. The flute body is Poplar, nothing fancy, so I took my woodburning knife and burnt the entire flute to look like a log (not a quick process!). The snake was just a wee bit too small to bother with burning in all the scales, and so I resorted to painting...still a few minor touch-ups to go, but it's basically done.

It was interesting to note which flutes I gravitated toward playing as the crowds and noise level grew. Each flute has its unique characteristics, and depending on many parameters there is a better time for some than others, and vice versa...and the Rattlesnake flute was a bold singer (key of A) that I continued to pick up time and again. The other one was my deep bass A sideblown flute, two flutes I'll have a harder time parting with after that night.

That's me with my sister Beth...don't know why I didn't get pics of my mom and everybody else, but it was a bit wild and crazy with all that was going on. Below is a pic with Nancy Holmes, current head of the Upstairs Gallery and a good friend who lined me up for the night.

Puffy sore hands and all, I can almost always play a flute...and so went Saturday night's festivities swimmingly. Insofar as official flute commitments for 2008, that wrapped up this it's time to plan on spreading my wings farther and wider in 2009;

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

" 'Bout that time..."

Thanksgiving. Certainly a big holiday for non-native peoples here in the U.S. though we need to remember the reality of it, especially as it relates to our First Nations peoples. Most of us have this pin-neat glorified image of the first Thanksgiving that is pretty far removed from reality.

Be that as it may, this is a time of thanks-giving (as every day should be). For that matter, may we approach and live each day as if it's every holiday wrapped into one.

In a Yahoo!groups forum I subscribe to, Bear Livmere posted his annual Thanksgiving note...and with his permission I am reprinting his 2008 prayer that holds water for us all...words of wisdom, they are.


Dearest Relations,

It has become something of a tradition for me to send out
a Thanksgiving prayer. With all the negative things we hear in the news about the world, it can be a challenge to remember what we have to be thankful about.

We gather with our relations to celebrate the gifts we
have received. We all have many things to be grateful for, even if sometimes we have to search for the reasons behind the gifts, or we feel overwhelmed by the pressures of this world. We are thankful to be alive; to have the ability to raise our voices in songs and prayers.

We honor our ancestors and elders. We are their legacy; we should try to make them proud. We honor our children; their children, and those yet to come. Let us teach them values that will keep them strong and honorable. Let us make the world they inherit one they can live in.

We are related to all things. The earth is our Mother. All
two-legged, four-legged, creatures of the air and water, and the standing people are our brothers and sisters. We cannot continue to believe that we are separate from these other living things; that we are not responsible for what we do to them. What happens to them also happens to us.

Now is the time to set aside those things which divide us;
politics, race, religion, whatever. Now is the time to stop focusing on our differences and start finding the things that bring us together. Now is time to be respectful and mindful each day, in every thing we do; to do good and not do harm to each other and to ourselves.

We must complete ourselves by taking responsibility for
everything we do, both good and bad. We must try to fix the mistakes we've made, or heal the people and things we've harmed. We can make our part of the world better, and if we each fix our part, all the parts will add up and the world itself will start to heal.

So my prayer is simple...

I pray for peace;

I pray for a better world;

I pray for love;

And I pray for each of you;
Live in a good way.

Aho Mitaquye Oyasin - All my Relations
Love and blessings to all,

Bear Limvere
(Woodturner, Artist, Musician)
http://www.Standing PeopleDesigns. com

Monday, November 24, 2008

"What I did on my fall vacation..."

(click on pics to enlarge)

Outside of some detail follow-ups, I've finally finished my friend's house project. At times it was overwhelming, but like all great journeys you have to keep putting one foot in front of the other...and then make sure you don't drop something heavy on it!

Not sure I could have gotten any more in that dumpster, though. To say it was a learning process would be quite the understatement. I did things I'd never attempted before, and found all sorts of creative vocabulary tucked away in the dark corners of my brain. Carefully getting the carpet tacking strip up last week, so as not to hurt the beautiful thin oak flooring that had been carpeted for decades, has left me with hands still a good bit swollen but getting better.

These before-and-after pictures pretty much say it all for what has consumed my energies the past couple of months. First is the newer den addition and the only room without the oak flooring...

It's amazing what a fresh coat of white paint will do to brighten a space up...and the oak floors were not refinished, either...the new owner could if they wanted to, but they were in beautiful shape save for some nail holes around the edges...

I also learned that with paint it is very much worth it to buy a higher grade of paint as it really is cheaper in the long run, and less time consusming, especially if you are altering the paint color significantly...

I also learned first by purchasing, then using, then talking to other painters that Purdy brushes are the best and worth every penny. Made the work a lot easier, and there's a lot to be said for that!...


I'm taking this week 'off' to simply rest and regroup...itching to get back to my flute work as well as blogging, my photography, and other artistic bents. My brother and his wife are at mom's this week, so I'll get to see ol' Willie Boo and Ellie Sue walking instead of crawling! Forthcoming pics to be sure!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Some much needed humor...

Thanks to my sister for sending this forwarded email which she correctly attributed to be right down my alley. Alas, I realize my blogs have significantly slowed as has my physical energy, but soon my house kinda-sorta 'flip' will be done and I'll return to 'normal', which can be argued is a foreign concept in and of itself...enjoy!


The Great Bail-Out:

Doctors' Opinions

voted to scratch it

advised not to make any rash moves


had sort of a gut feeling about it, but…


thought the Administration had a lot of nerve


felt they were all laboring under a misconception

considered the idea shortsighted


yelled, 'Over my dead body!'


told everyone, 'Oh, Grow up!'


thought the whole idea was madness


could see right through the rhetoric


wanted to wash their hands of the whole thing


thought it was a bitter pill to swallow

Plastic Surgeons:

‘This bail-out puts a whole new face on the matter…’


thought it was a step forward


felt the scheme wouldn’t hold water


thought the whole idea was a gas


didn’t have the heart to say no


Left the decision up to some, well, you know the orifice, of which there are plenty of in Washington…

Sunday, November 16, 2008

More than just mail...

A few years ago I lived in Asheville, and a few mailing lists have managed to catch up with me. This folded laser-printed sale flyer arrived Friday in a presorted first class envelope (click on image to enlarge and hopefully read everything!):

I have no idea how large their data base was. I do know they were desperate if they had me on it.

I don't need to enlighten you to our seriously hurting economy, and it stands to reason a store wants to have a sale to boost business. Better yet, make the recipient feel like they are somehow important by receiving a 'special invitation' to a one-night sale (setting aside it was presorted first class mail)...

Any business-minded person or company wants to get the best bang for the buck when it comes to advertising. No slick glossy stock, here, just the economical 2 color fast laser printing. A relatively simple layout helps so they can do it in-house. There is the cost of paper, ink, envelopes, and postage, and they can have a mailing company stuff the envelopes or, again, do it in-house.

Surely there was prior planning and meetings led by management. We all know to work smarter, not harder, and proper pre-planning is paramount to a successful campaign, however small. And so they presumably are taking advantage of the upcoming holiday season to hopefully ride the early coattails to some success.

The project is given the green light. The letters are designed, printed, and mailed. They prepare for that special night, cross their fingers, and wait.

And wait.

And wait.

Did I say wait?

And wait.

If you didn't catch it on the first read, go back and read it again. They gave NO date or time. None. Nada. Zip. Zilch.

Ah, the best laid plans...I wonder whose head rolled over that one...

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


Like the residents of River CIty, Iowa waiting for the Wells Fargo wagon to arrive, so I awaited my copies of Halloween pictures of my niece and nephew, Ellen and William. My brother did not disappoint!

It was a hare-raising night for Ellen, while William jumped for joey.

I know, you groaned and said, "don't quit your day job!" Too late!

Speaking of which, along with the house demo-ing I'm doing, I'm working all week in my former News 14 shift pulling the early AM weather shift. Alas, today's entry is REALLY short as, through last-minute sicknesses and schedule shifting, I have to work a double-double today, handling both Charlotte and Greensboro markets from 5am through 5pm. Not time enough to write with that load! Have a good 'un, all y'all!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

"Paint:" thoughts and memories...

Okay, so I thought that since my life revolves around 'painting' right now that I'd first pursue a blog about painting facts...only to discover that there is little in that department...

In case you were wondering why a lot of old barns are red, here is this snippet I found in the Farmer's Almanac:

"Ever wonder why old barns are usually red in color? Red is (or, perhaps, was) a popular color for barns due not to its color shade but for its usefulness.

Many years ago, choices for paints, sealers and other building materials did not exist. Farmers had to be resourceful in finding or making a paint that would protect and seal the wood on their barns. Hundreds of years ago, many farmers would seal their barns with linseed oil, which is an orange-colored oil derived from the seeds of the flax plant. To this oil, they would add a variety of things, most often milk and lime, but also ferrous oxide, or rust. Rust was plentiful on farms and because it killed fungi and mosses that might grow on barns, was very effective as a sealant. It turned the mixture red in color, as well.

When paint became more available, many people chose red paint for their barns in honor of tradition."

I'll buy that.

And now for a painting joke that I hope I remember well enough:

A local church in a small town asked for bids to have their sanctuary and fellowship hall repainted. A young enterprising man was selected for his low bid as he was hungry for work.

And so he set about getting the paint and, to stretch his dollars, watered it down so he could cover more area with less paint, saving him some money. He was going along quite well and had just applied what he thought was the last coat when a big thunderstorm rumbled overhead and rained cats and dogs.

Not having time enough to dry, much of the paint was washed off by the rain, leaving the young painter distraught when he went back to the church to see the runny results for himself.

As he stood there sobbing, there was that unmistakable voice from above that in a deep and powerful voice told him....

"Re-paint and thin no more!"

Happy Veterans Day, y'all!

Friday, November 07, 2008

"It was a swell day, Thursday..."

(NOTE: yet another Friday where I'm bypassing my "Fried Fridays" segment only because Thursday was an unusual day, as you'll soon read...)

I keep apologizing to family and friends the past couple of weeks, really, that I don't have much news as I'm thoroughly consumed with the house project. For now, is an endless sea of painting. Coming along, though, even with the challenges of altering pale blues, yellows, greens (and the challenging dark brown paneling!) to a nice, clean white.

And painting is what it is...a lot of standing, a steady technique to keep paint off of me and the floor and on the walls where it belongs. Yesterday I'd done as much as my knees would handle and arms would reach, so I began to clean-up and put things away.

You get thirsty doing all that, and I had poured a diet coke into a large cup with a straw as it's easier to walk over and use the straw instead of involving my hands and their guaranteed blobs of paint randomly splattered about 'em.

I had various items drying outside, so as I took items to the car to go home, including setting the drink remnants on the car's roof, I'd bring things in on the return trip. After 2 or 3 round-trips, I grabbed the cup, and was on my way.

I was listening to more analyses on NPR radio and Neal Conan's "Talk of the World" yesterday, and occasionally picking up the cup and sipping the last of the coke. Lots of traffic out, so I resigned myself to take it easy and not be in a rush. Got down to the last of the liquid, so I took the straw out and swigged the last mouthful.

I figured a piece of a twig had fallen into the coke when it was on top of the car which was under a big tree, as 'something' had lodged between my gum and cheek in my lower right cheek area. At the same time I reached in to grab it, I simultaneously felt heat and pain and quickly realized that was no twig...unless twigs are banded in yellow and black.

Yep, the ol' sting-on-the-inside-of-the-lip trick, which I knew immediately was going to be an issue as I was still 15 minutes from home. I did know for sure I had some Benadryl, which would be the first thing I went for when I got home.

At the height of the swelling, a bit after I tried to take this picture, it was quite reminiscent of trying to talk after a root canal...including the numbness, drooling, and inability to talk other than a tobacco chewing bum on a nine-day drunk.

For those that better understand diagrams, I made this for you:

Didn't help that in dealing with all this that my computer decided it could no longer 'see' my Canon EOS camera and I couldn't download photos in any way, shape or form...and only after much poring over information and manuals and whatever I could think of, I had the computer go back to a day-old restore point, since I had recently taken Norton Symantec off my computer, which can be a tricky thing insofar as results.

Good ol' restore points. All worked like a charm. Went to bed around 6:30p and slept like a baby for the first time in weeks. Numbness still there as I write, and the tissue inside the cheek is tender and puffy, but I think it's best to avoid drinks on car tops for a while.

Enjoy the weekend, all y'all!

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Free books? You bet!

It's amazing what you can find when you clean up clutter, isn't it? I had no idea that was where I placed my sardine burger last month....just kidding!

But I did find an article I tore out from the Mountain Xpress newspaper (Asheville) a couple of months ago, and I remarked then that I needed to write a blog about this unique entrepreneurial effort: a book store where the books are free. All of 'em.

The Asheville Free Book Exchange is smack dab in the middle of the artsy River District, at 191 Lyman Avenue in the Riverfront Station. Ryan Clark and Alexsey Zolotaryov are the Exchange's co-founders who wanted to put used books to good (and free) use. Their operating funds come from donations of generous individuals, basically, as well as a very small percentage of books good enough to put up for sale on

While the idea was generated from a similar store in Baltimore, the Asheville Book Exchange wanted something other than a warehouse atmosphere. That's why when you go there, they have a nice supply of comfy couches as they encourage users to feel the store as an extension of community, for reading, chatting, interacting...they're more than willing to host movie screenings and book circle meetings. They have a great selection for children, as well as wifi if you want to pull up a chair and stay a while.

I haven't yet gotten by there, but I hope to soon enough. Supposedly they were going to start an open mic night the first Thursday of every month, at least that was their plan starting in August. I know the idea of a free exchange of books or otherwise is not new, but it sure is good seeing young people investing in 'green' ideas that are good for the community...a business that actually 'gives' instead of 'takes'.

For more information you can email them at:

or call 'em at 404-933-9173

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

A new day... so many ways. We wanted and needed change, and we've got it coming. Naturally, there is a resultant landslide of analyses upon analyses upon analyses, numbers and figures and percentages enough to make your head spin.

I think it's fair to say that a lot of Republican losses were attributed to the Democratic tidal wave a lot of areas felt; however, it seems a cop-out that the majority of candidate media bytes I've heard say that they lost because enough voters were anti-Republican. We always need to keep open that door that would reveal possibly, just possibly, voters didn't like them, personally, throwing out party lines with the bath water. But I digress...

Just a couple more random fall shots, from a few days ago before cloudy gray skies overspread us. Just a good ol' mottled Sweetgum leaf above, and an artsy shot looking from a shadowed hillside across to a sunlit one (click pics to enlarge). I never grow tired of looking at all the hues and stages of this technicolored time of the year...

Of course, the flip side is the cleaning of gutters and raking of leaves once they've Humpty-Dumptied themselves (had a great fall). Fine with me. This post is a shortie as I have much to get out and accomplish today, so 'carpe diem' as you see fit!

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

"The Time Has Come..."

As of the end of last Saturday, 41% of registered voters in North Carolina had already cast their votes early. And by the looks of things this morning, at least at my polling place, it is going to be a record-shattering turnout. And well it should.

Being a lark has its advantages when it comes to super sales immediately after Thanksgiving, and Election Day. With nary an alarm, I was up just before 4:00 am, in line by 5:50am, and once the polls opened at 6:30 am was on my home just before 7:00 am. But, oh, the line out there at 7...whew!!!

This evening will be most interesting as the numbers flood in...while many of us are sick and tired of the ads, the rhetoric, the bashing, the educated guessing, and the like, there is something exciting about it. This is far from some ho-hum election, to say the least. Typical overload for us, naturally, and plenty of irksome, noisome facets that drove each of us a little crazy in different ways.

In fact, before turning off the light last night, my jaw dropped...I actually heard a Beverly Purdue ad that told me what she stood for instead of bashing Pat McCrory for 30 seconds. For safe keeping, I turned to the Weather Channel to make sure Hell hadn't frozen over.

Change is inevitable, not to mention sorely needed. We have a long row to hoe, and we all have to continue doing our part to affect the changes we want. What more powerful way to do that than to VOTE.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Mountain lore and winter forecasts...

Up in the nooks and crannies of Haywood County (NC) lives Chuck Baker, a country and mountain man that just knows lots of 'stuff'. He also does superior construction work, but not from some textbook...his knowledge comes from a life of hands-on experience and the ability to think ahead of the curve. He's practical. He's frugal. He works hard. He's a man of his word.

The very scene above was coated in some snow last week...NWS reports came in of 3" in Cruso, 2" in Canton, and less than an inch at Lake Junaluska, all Haywood County locations. I spoke briefly with Chuck the other day and he assured me he went out and walked barefoot in the snow.

Yep. Barefoot in the snow.

While I've heard a lot of mountain lore, that one was a first for me. The story goes that when there is the first measurable snow of t
he year, you should go out and walk barefoot in it so as to boost your immune system for that winter. Won't work on the second snow....has to be the first.

He went on to say that in the past 7 years he walked b
arefoot in the first snow in only 5 years, and that for the other two years he failed to do it he developed severe colds and sinus infections in January. In one of those sickly winters he had walked barefoot in the snow, but in the second snow, not the first.

Even I have noticed the unusually healthy, heavy acorn crop this fall, which is an oft told sign of a hard winter
ahead. And yet Chuck said his 3 heavy-coated pups had not started to grow in their winter coats, which (he said) suggests a milder winter. Lots of bee and yellow jacket activity into November, another sign (he said) suggesting a milder winter.

Now that I think about it, I never did blog on the recent 2008 Woolly Worm competition in Boone this past October 18...this year's winner was Kelly, a, uh, pet of Kurstin Hartsell from Ansonville. And the winner's prediction? Keep in mind this is technically for the mountains of western NC. Still, it gets a little particular...

First 4 weeks: cold and snowy

Weeks 5-7:
seasonably cold

Weeks 8-10:
cold and snowy

Week 11:
bitterly cold

Weeks 12-13:
cold and snowy

Overall, ol' Kelly says get out your wooly jumpers wax up the sled runners...

From my time in South Dakota I still have my deep winter SnowPac boots that I never could sell to anyone. Just maybe there was a good reason I'm still holding on to them...???!!!