Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Just Rambling

64°f this morning, about 17°C. Pleasant but humid. Cloudy all day.

Absolutely the wrong time of year for it, I suppose,  but with so much mincemeat in the cellar I decided to make a pie. I learned that mincemeat is apparently good any time of year! This was a nice treat. 

Rain is predicted almost every day the rest of this week, and for the past several days too.  For all of that, all we have had is a tiny drizzle for 10 minutes yesterday morning. The frustration is wearing. Everyone we see talks about rain, how little we've had, how much we need it, who is getting it, how dry the fields are, how desperate the gardens are. The truck accessory of choice these days is a large plastic water tank as wells go dry, cisterns are drained, creekbeds are stony, and springs quit running. 

Some farmers are selling off some of their cattle because they have no way to get enough water to them. Some people are giving up on their gardens because they can't afford to keep watering. There will be no second or third cutting of hay, and field corn may not be worth harvesting. It's bad around here, folks. 

But the county fair is happening this week. Normally during fair week we can expect it to be stormy, turning the fairgrounds into a muddy mess. Our friend Don is here from Arizona, and usually whenever he comes we get lots of rain, making the trail--can't really call it a road-- to his cabin inaccessible except by tractor or ATV. This time, neither Don or the county fair has been able to attract the rain.  Maybe what we need is for granddaughter Sarah to come for a visit, because inevitably it will pour for days when she is here! 

We are fortunate to have a very deep well (723 feet, to be exact) that the well driller said could easily supply 5 houses without any trouble. I say fortunate, but that well was pretty costly at the time we had it drilled in 1990. It cost over $10,000 then. We sold some acreage to drill it, because the old spring we had relied on for 16 years kept shifting and drying up, and the 1/3 mile of pipe and the pump-and-gravity feed system we used to get the water to the house had constant problems.  

So we are watering daily, shifting hoses from garden to garden, trying to keep as much alive as we can. It is wearing, as any of you going through this know. But I know it could be worse, and my heart really goes out to those who can't do what we're doing. 

After yesterday's hard work, we had a little break today, going into town to pay our annual taxes (ouch), visit our friend Rachel, stop at the thrift store to browse the used books, pick up a few things at the store, and have a late lunch at one of the two Mexican restaurants.  

Then it was home to, you guessed it, water once again. July has always been my least favorite month, and this one sure sealed that! 

Copyright Susanna Holstein. All rights reserved. No Republication or Redistribution Allowed without attribution to Susanna Holstein.

Clean Out

67°f this morning, with a forecast for rain tbat delivered only a light shower.

We had hoped for a good rain, but it was not to be. Still, many places did get rain and I am happy for them. 

We spent the day, for the most part anyway, cleaning out and organizing the cellar. What. A. Job. But it is done, and organized better than it has been in years.

In the next year or two, we will never have to buy:
  • Jams or jellies
  • Salsa
  • Beef or chicken broth
  • Canned fruit
  • Fruit pie filling, including mincemeat 
  • Canned pears or peaches
  • Whole or diced tomatoes
  • Tomato juice, apple cider, or grape juice
  • Pancake syrup
  • Pasta sauce
  • Canned green beans or corn 
  • Pickles of any kind
  • Mushrooms
  • Mustard
  • Relish 
  • Any kind of fruit juice, or tomato juice
  • Canned soups 
  • Canned beans (pinto,  kidney, etc)
  • Applesauce 
  • Relish of any kind
  • Canned or ready-cooked poultry, or beef ( we have venison,  much better)
  • Sauerkraut 
  • Cranberry sauce
...and I have probably missed a few things. It was a lot of work, but it was a nice, cool day to do it.  

Copyright Susanna Holstein. All rights reserved. No Republication or Redistribution Allowed without attribution to Susanna Holstein.

Sunday, July 21, 2024

Of Tunnels and Bridges

The above photo was taken a few years ago when I was researching the story of a haunted railroad tunnel (Silver Run tunnel on the North Bend Rail Trail). I came across this picture today, and thought I would do a post of some of the  photos I have taken of tunnels and bridges. Apparently I have a fascination with them,  for I found many in my folders. 

Portal to the Silver Run tunnel.

Below is Dingess tunnel in Mingo County, WV. 

From the Bridges and Tunnels website.

It is about a mile long and still in use as a local road. It is only one lane wide. There are traffic lights on each end to keep people from meeting in the middle, but the night we went through  (a story in itself) the lights had been shot out, and sure enough we met someone in the middle. He backed up, a whole 1/2 mile.

Next is the Great Bend tunnel, right next to the Big Bend tunnel of John Henry fame. This is in Southern West Virginia but I can't remember the county now. Maybe Mercer? When I visited this one it was misting rain, and someone was pounding on steel-- turned out to be a guy at a trailer hidden behind trees, trying to get a tire off a wheel rim. 

And the man himself, a beautiful metal sculpture that has been moved to be beside the tunnels. The area is now a park, and there is an annual John Henry Festival every summer.

A covered bridge here in my county, this one was on the mail route I worked as a sub in the early 80s. It was a great place to stop and eat lunch.  Literally no traffic most days. 

Another in Greenbrier County, the Hern Bridge, not too far from the famous resort.

The two-lane covered bridge in Philippi, WV. 

I cannot remember where we were when I took this, but apparently we were under a railroad trestle.

My favorite footbridge, which crosses the North Fork of the Cherry River in Nicholas County.

This is a drivable bridge, crossing over to Middle Island Creek Nature Preserve in St. Mary's, WV. The island is quite a few miles long, and a good place for bird watching or just enjoying the green quiet. 

Looking down from a bridge over the mighty New River, near Fall's View, WV.

Larry's favorite footbridge is this one over the Big Coal River, one he crossed many times as a boy. One side is Kanawha County, the other side is Boone County.

Located in Wirt County. I wanted to walk across but there was a No Trespassing sign, so I did not.

A dear, departed bridge, this old steel structure is the one I used to cross to get to my friend Kirk's camp,  where we poets gather. We were all so sad when the bridge was replaced by a bland concrete structure. Fondly remembered as "the blue bridge".

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