Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Augusta, Day 3:Nature and Family

Nature walk, old time Victrola, concerts, ghosts and geneology were the order of the day yesterday.

In the morning I took my class for a nature walk. Well, it was more like a stroll as we took our time just walking along the road and identifying useful plants. In truth, there aren't many that are not useful in one way or another. We identified about 40 plants and trees that could be used for food, medicine, basketmaking, etc. I suppose my favorite woodland plant is the spicewood wood, which I wrote about a couple years ago in this post. It is a pretty bush, the leaves have a spicy scent, it can be used for medicinal purposes and the red berries can be dried to make an allspice substitute.
After our walk we discussed how to incorporate such information into stories; I talked about weatherlore and other folklore that I've written about on this blog in the past. Check the folklore, weatherlore and wildflower labels to read more.

Early afternoon brought a concert with Junior Holstein, my husband's cousin and one of a dying breed--an old-time fiddle player who knew old mountain tunes and songs from the older days. It was an excellent concert and he played my favorite, Mockingbird, in which he incorporates bird songs played on his fiddle. I got to wondering just how he was related to Larry. Neither of them really knew, so during my late afternoon break I did some geneology. What I found was surprising. Even though they had the same last name, lived only a fe miles apart and knew they were related somehow, the last in-common relative I found in the straight line of descendancy was born in 1802! So how many times removed is that cousinship? There may be other links through marriages over the years but the blood relative they share is a long ways back. There is more to that story I will write later.

Before doing geneology, I had my afternoon session with the Road Scholars. Yesterday I focused on ghost stories and told several--and heard a couple good stories from the scholars themselves. Then after dinner was the Masters concert, featuring Junior. He was got a standing ovation, well deserved in my book. I also got to spend some time talking with Junior's nephew Gary Jordan, who looks after Junior as best he can--the man is an independent soul. Gary is a great guy; we exchanged contact information and I hope to get together with both Gary and Junior soon.

Another evening program featured an old crank victrola and 78 rpm records. It was an experience to listen to old songs played on the technology they were created for. Carter Family and other singers were on the recordings. I loved it. Talk about a green machine!

I stayed up a while longer to attend a song swap. One girl asked if anyone knew Silver Dagger, and do you know in that fairly small group (about 10 people) there were 5 different versions of the song? Fascinating to hear all the others, especially the Irish one.

I finally gave it up and headed for bed around midnight. Daylight seems to come quickly to start the next day. Today? All kinds of adventures ahead.

Copyright 2012 Susanna Holstein. All rights reserved. No Republication or Redistribution Allowed without attribution to Susanna Holstein.


Mamabug said...

Sounds like you're having a wonderful time on this trip. I would have loved to hear the fiddle music.

Granny Sue said...

There is so much music here, Mamabug; just turn any corner and someone is playing. That's as close to heaven as we get on this earth, I sometimes think :)

Nance said...

What richness! Music and stories and great folks and interesting characters! I would be afraid to go to bed lest I miss something! lol! Enjoy! Capture it all!

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