23.5 F
Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Get a Horse



Drive on any Floyd County road and God knows what you're likely to come up behind.

Some mornings, I end up behind a road grader that makes the ever-so-slow trek from the Virginia DOT garages south of Willis to someplace near Floyd. Get behind that creeping hunk of iron and you're liable to spend a good part of the day traveling 10 or 11 miles.

Or you might come up on some horses and buggies on a winding country lane, like these two on Buffalo Mountain Road. Just some enthusiasts out for a Saturday morning ride.

Sno’ Time to Think Spring

"Think Spring" says the sign in front of Willis Elementary School on U.S. 221.

Isn't working.

Yet another snow Sunday night.

About seven inches on the ground at the farm on Burk's Fork Creek.

Light fluffy snow, the kind that slides off the roof during the night and sets the dogs off.

Cat tracks marked the path from the front porch to the gate but nothing else disturbed the blanket of snow this morning. It brushed easily off the Wrangler before I headed out the quarter-mile long driveway to Buffalo Mountain Road, stopping several time to shoot photos of the landscape.

A Southern Baptist minister who wandered through Floyd County in a tent show in 1963 called snow "the dandruff of the Lord." If that is true, then the Lord needs a good dandruff shampoo.

It's been a long time since the county has slogged through this much of the white stuff during the winter months and winter ain't over yet. A road crew had scraped Buffalo Mountain Road sometime during the night but ice and snow still covered the shady areas and the Wrangler slipped a few times as I made my way out to U.S. 221. Once on 221,

I slipped the transfer case out of four-wheel drive and managed a steady 50 miles per hour on a mostly-clear road, stopping at the school to get a picture of the "Think Spring" sign.

Just past Midway, a lone cow grazed in the snow about halfway up a hill. Another good picture, I thought, and stopped alongside the road to snap a few photos (or I guess I'm supposed to call them images since that's what you take with a digital SLR).

A few cars slowed to gawk, their drivers and passengers wondering just what this idiot was doing knee deep in snow taking pictures so early in the morning.

The sun came out as I approached Floyd and stopped at West End Market for the usual two cups of takeout coffee. Not much traffic. Between the weather and the President's Day holiday, this Monday would be a day to enjoy the beauty of Mother Nature.

Musical Heritage

Music Trail LogoSpent a good part of Thursday with folks who want to create a "Music Trail" that traces the roots of mountain and bluegrass music in Southwestern Virginia.

As proposed, the trail would start in Floyd, home of the Friday Night Jamboree, and wind through the haunts and hollows of the mountains until it reaches the Bristol, Virginia-Tennessee and the Birthplace of Country Music.

Music Trail MeetingAny bluegrass fan knows the important role music played in this area's history and that role continues today.

The Jamboree has brought international fame to Floyd but the area has a wealth of other music venues. But even those of us who live here don't know all the bands that play in the county or when many of them are playing.

The music trail folks opened their meeting with music from a local band that just happened to feature two of my cousins -- Dan and Sam Bolt. They were invited after one of the meeting participants saw the group at the VFW hall on Wednesday night. Had that person not happened by the VFW, we would have missed a chance to hear some good bluegrass to open meeting.

The music trail meeting ended with a jam session of local musicians and some folks from the committee. Thursday night, I stopped by Oddfellas Cantina for dinner and found a number of local musicans jamming at an open mike night. Long after dinner had cleared away, I sipped coffee and enjoyed good music -- a mixture of bluegrass, folk, Celtic and Irish. Which got me to wondering. Why doesn't someone compiled a directory of musical acts in Floyd County and a good, up-to-date schedule of when and where these excellent musicians and singers are playing?

Fascinating lunch Wednesday with Fred

Fascinating lunch Wednesday with Fred First, a Floyd Countian transplanted from Alabama and creator of the Fragments From Floyd Blog. Fred and his family discovered the joys of Southwestern Virginia living while he was teaching at Wytheville Community College and moved to Goose Creek (after a brief journey to the Dark Side in North Carolina). As happens when two people talk about living in a rural area (one who moved here and the other who returned after a 38-year absence), the conversation turned to why people come to places like this.

Sleep…Or Lack Of It

Pulled an all-nighter. Didn't mean to but just ran out of hours in the day...or two. Happened this way. Flew back into Washington Sunday after nearly a month on the road (primaries, house sale, other projects). Should have been back a week earlier but didn't make it, so had to cram a week's worth of catchup into one day. Needed to be in the studio in Floyd Tuesday morning so the plan was to sackout early Monday night, get up at 3 and leave by 4 for the four-and-a-half hour drive to the mountains.

Road Kill

Driving from Washington to Floyd County is always an adventure, particularly if you take Interstate 81, which the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety calls one of the deadliest stretches of highway in the country. Left DC at 4 a.m. and the inbound traffic on I-66 was already heavy. Westbound traffic, however, all but disappeared once I cleared the city. I kept the Wrangler at 70 mph until we hit I-81. That's when the fun always begins.

Back in the Commonwealth

Ah, back in the Commonwealth of Virginia after three weeks on the road. Commonwealth? Isn't Virginia a state? Not exactly. A number of the original 13 colonies established themselves as commonwealths before 1776 and kept the designation even after creation of the United "States" of America.

Heading Home

Mabry MillCatch a plane this afternoon and, in a couple of days, I'll be back in the mountains, back to where I don't have to check the newspaper to see if the air is fit to breathe or listen to the traffic reports to see if I need to take an alternate route to reach my destination. Been away far too long, much longer than I thought, chasing that elusive thing called truth, a commodity impossible to find in a political world of spin, posture and position.

Musical Memories

Saturday morning and I'm still stuck in Illinois. I should have been back in DC a week ago and in Floyd County by now but weather and the house sale from hell have thrown all schedules into the crapper.


The NASCAR season starts Saturday night with the Bud Shootout, an all-star race featuring last year's polls winners along with past and present series champions.