Visit our website-in-progress:

Thursday, July 29, 2010

I Dig Bells Bend. Dinner

Swim and dinner last night for about 30 young (mostly) archaeologists who are part of the field school down in Bells Bend Park.

I came home from rounds, did some shopping down at our shed--a tray of tomatoes, a basket of squash, some cukes, a little basil--and, together with Tom and Kathleen, turned out an excellent dinner, if I do say so myself, completely worthy of service in the Church of Outdoor Dining.

These kids have been digging in the near-100-degree heat for six hours a day, camping in the park, classes at night, and loving it! We just plain got a kick out of the enthusiastic burble around us, about archaeology, music, poetry. One young woman was telling me about her job as a contract archaeologist for the Corp of Engineers, moving from place to place, motel to motel for a year, "but I got to see so much of the country, and boy, do I know a lot about soil structure in the Southeast!"

Ashley, an almost-phD, rounded up the troops, and before I knew it, the dishes were done, food was put away, and the napkins and tablecloths were in the washing machine.

Dr. David Anderson should be justly proud of his crew--he's growing exactly the kind of slightly bizarre, more-than-slightly independent, deeply thoughtful people this country needs right now. We're just glad to have the chance to grow squash and potatoes to feed them once in a while.

Wow! Kudos! Over-the-top cliches! Awesome! Too cool!

Anyway, you guys come over any time.

The rest of you guys--readers--get over to the Facebook site I Dig Bells Bend. Not any time--right now! (I can't seem to get pix or link to work, but you know what to do.)

Monday, July 26, 2010

Barn Dance. Sunday. Breakfast. Gristmill. Grist.

The barn dance was big--lots of people dosey-do-ing (how do you spell that?) and swing partners to and fro-ing in the steamy summer evening, with a caller, and a darn good sounding jerryrigged band with a washtub bass, fiddle, banjo, dobro, guitar.

Who knows when the festivities wound down? Not a creature was stirring when Martha and I drove off at seven Sunday morning to paint before it got too hot. But at noon half-a-dozen post-party twenty-somethings appeared in my kitchen, requesting leave to cook breakfast in an airconditioned space. (My car thermometer registered 101!)

What's not to love about breakfast for lunch, especially Casey's biscuits and bacon, especially when someone else cleans up?

Meanwhile, Tom, Devender, and Kabir headed off to translocate Will Campbell's ancient tractor-powered gristmill from his Mt. Juliet farm to ours. A risky mission successfully accomplished, along with taking Will and Brenda out to lunch--also a risky mission in some ways. My favorite part was watching Devender driving the new Kubota up the drive--a veritable symphony of color: lavender (turban), brilliant yellow (T-shirt), and orange (tractor).

I organized paper, blocks, and ink, and printed several blockprints for my beach gallery, Tom went to a farm meeting, and we sat around reading, writing, and 'rithmeticking in our checkbook until bedtime. Oh. DiAnne stopped by, and Jeff came by at breakfast time to bring food to the farmers. And Upinder and Millwandt dropped off a load of bread.

Just to give you an idea of an ordinary Sunday, day of rest. It's all grist for the creative mill. Good thing we have one now.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Peach. Counterpeach.

"If this isn't something you're doing already, you've gotta start right now"--Casey pushes the peach, topped with coarse-ground pepper, across the counter at Tom.

It's a Sulphur Creek Saturday, and Casey and Brooke have stopped here for lunch after a morning slaughtering and processing Fletcher's chickens down the road. I took an emergency supply of extra ice down that way, and watched chickens transformed from fluffy white cluckers to tidy packages of prospective dinner, gutted and shrink-wrapped.

Early this morning I walked over to the potato patch and the dye garden, still--mostly--holding their own amidst the dry grasses and weeds. The potatoes have been dug and moved to the cave on Bull Run for storage.

Then down to the shed to help, at least a little, dividing yard-long beans into CSA portions, and scrubbing the stove and cleaning up a little. Five fully grown human beings working and eating around this small space does not make for pristine surfaces everywhere at all times...

We're scheduled for a heat index of 103 today, and that's just plain hot, even in shed shade and pretty early in the day. Plans are on for a potluck, band, and square dance caller for a barn dance this evening.

And now, Benton's bacon BLTs and Tom's field peas for lunch. Casey makes a good pitch for bacon cooked gently and not allowed to get crisp--and he may be right. Might be right about the peppered peaches, too.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Road Trip: The Sonic Bride

When, in the course of human events, one gets invited to Huntsville to deliver a couple of lectures, one and one's newly retired spouse decide--Road Trip! Why not?
The Giant Blue Chicken awaits, a mere bagatelle of driving about six more hours to Oxford, Mississippi, and of course--we are called to the open road.

It's about three on this very hot Saturday afternoon at the Sonic Drive-In at some nameless crossroads on Highway 78 in northern Mississippi and we are ordering our coffee and a lime chiller. A young girl gets out of her car, incongruously dressed in a long black formal, trimmed in cranberry red. Two more come giggling from another car, and, curious, I asked them who they were--a choral group? "We're bridesmaids!"

I turned around and there she was--the bride--standing on the curb, hiking her white lace dress up around her knees. She said, "I'm getting married in about thirty minutes, and we just got hungry!" As they piled back into the cars with their sacks of cheeseburgers, I admonished her not to let the groom see her--"Oh--no one knows we're gone".

The Sonic Bride, a vision of young love, on the open road. We can only hope--for their future together, for no ketchup stains on the white lace, for better coffee down the road.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

I Dig Bells Bend. Call for Gunga Din.

Best part of today: first day of field school dig in Bells Bend. About 20 folks, profs mainly from UT Knoxville and U of Arizona, students from all over, and all rabid--in a nice way, of course--for paleoindian archaeology.

My very simple understanding is that this is the period about 10,000 years ago characterized by Clovis points, and just before that time. Our squash and potato patches are apparently not the only places in the mid-East with gazillions of points (which is interesting, and counterintuitive if you believe that we were populated by folks coming over the Bering land bridge, all the way over on the other end of the continent), but virtually no carbon-datable sites.

But Bells Bend looks very promising! Shane Miller, the young PhD student who seems to be at least partly in charge (even if he is self-described as "a bit feral" after the last six weeks, spent at the Topper site in South Carolina), calls this the "Holy Grail" of Paleoindian archaeology, and can begin to answer the really big questions about who came where when. Or so I understand.

Otherwise, other news: dry, dry, dry. And no Gunga Din. Until: the WOOFFERS devised a clever system involving a pump, tank, pickup truck and hose to keep things going until yesterday, when the pump/creek/soaker hose option finally came to fruition. Still working on the pump/creek/storage tank (septic tank seconds)/hose option. Which has engendered many (many many!) hours of manly conversation--Tom, Zach, Keith, George, Devender, Joe, Eric, and many more.

Meanwhile, I was in two gully-washers today, one downpour at Vanderbilt, just as I was walking to my car to come home, and one at the Nature Center in the Bend, just down the road, but not a drop on the farm. And the sky is clearing.

Go to Facebook and look at the I Dig Bells Bend site. There is also a web site. All with daily posts from the dig. And lectures at 7 almost every night at the Center.

Exactly how am I supposed to concentrate on preparing two lectures to deliver in Huntsville next weekend in the midst of all this excitement?

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Fourth. Well, really the Third.

The Little Marrowbone Repair Corporation did itself pround this year, with the third edition of Burning Banjos: People making T-shirts, cardboard boats for the regatta, fireworks, firework tower, decorating same, eating, drinking, wading in creek, making a dam, roasting goat (on a jackleg grill made from a tractor part), drawing pictures (that was me), wearing hats, admiring same, getting sunburned, playing/listening to Indian flute music, jazz, trumpets, spoken verse, good old country, and lots of gossip.

Incredible fireworks.

And all homegrown. A shoutout to Don Evans and his Corps, and Cheryl, who has to put up with it all.

I have to say in my modest, understated, elderly way: Our neighborhood is THE BEST! Over the top! Amazing! A colossus amidst the pygmies!

"If you burn a banjo, a lot of guitarists will come..."