Monday, September 23, 2013


This here distinguished gentleman is Clint. Clint is from the Bahamas by way of Knoxville. He is helping Yahwa develop Mahalah Farm over in Cuba. Clint is staying in my neighborhood during his time here so we hang out a bit. The conversation may cover many things but it always comes back to trees. Clint is an Arborist and I hope I spelled that right. Let Clint explain. (Please excuse my misinformed totally inappropriate and disrespectful interviewing style. I am trying out for Fox News or, failing that, MSNBC.)
When Clint gets to talking about trees and plant life it is beyond fascinating. He is like a tree whisperer. Approach any plot of land with him, anywhere anytime, and he will wade into whatever is growing there and begin the conversation.
More like stimulating lecture with some QandA. You know I got the Q's. Anyway, Clint and I took a little stroll up and down our little street and he pointed out some things I would never ever notice.

A whole grove of recently planted shade trees that are infested with bag worms. They're the little white bulbs on the tips of those leaves. Looks innocuous enough but bag worms are deadly.
That totally browned tree in the center of this group is because of the bag worm. It ain't dead yet but it ain't got much time neither.
The tour goes from micro to macro and back again. Clint points out some discrepancies in the York tree line that may be cause for concern. Some irregularities that may signal ill health.
Then over in the community garden we find these amazing-looking creatures. Why, obviously it is the Acanthocephala terminalis! Also known as the leaf-legged bug. It is a handsome bug, sculpted and streamlined. But it is a voracious little thing.
This alien sack of webbed goo apparently sprang up overnight and had Clint a little stumped. But our Fox News MSNBC reporter straightened out the situation.

I just had to drive Clint up to some property I'm thinking about buying. He surveyed it pretty well. It checked out nicely.
Except for this big old oak. I've always been worried about this tree and now I know I am correct in my worrying. It is sick and poised to fall on that wonderful old house. This is of immediate concern.
Clint did such a good job I decided to treat him to a chicken sandwich. But on our way to the chicken sandwich shop we got distracted by a brightly plummed herd of LIVE chickens and a tractor for sale on the same property. So we pulled over.
The proprietor greeted us politely and showed us around and engaged us in some of the best talk, demonstrating once again why I love the deep south so very much with the easy, friendly people and the natural kindness all around.
This fellow is known as Strawberry. It's for his bright red hair and freckled skin. He said an old black man called him that when he was a kid and it just stuck. Clint really liked that tractor and it came at a good cost.
Then there is Strawberry's most awesome dog. I immediately knew it was something different and kinda couldn't stop looking at it. She not only has a unique look but also a really special super intelligent character. Like an old person. Turns out this pooch is part Australian dingo and a master of cow herding. I would like to have one of these but they are rare and expensive. In fact the guy what sold her to Strawberry wants to buy her back.
The chickens had already scattered. I really wanted a photo of them all together but there was no way. I approached the few stragglers and they hightailed it for the tree where all the other chickens had fled. I did not know chickens climbed trees. They love to roost in trees and I did not know that. It is a strange sight to see chickens hiding in a tree. 

I love the pastoral life. I want the pastoral life for my whole life. 

And just know this: The grilled chicken sandwich at Kewanee 1 Stop is the best grilled chicken sandwich in all the land.


Saturday, September 14, 2013

Things To Do...

or how to pretend life is perfect

Collect flowers in the basket of a bicycle
Heal the sick
Make Folk Art with kids

Display it outside

Sit with Terriers. Enjoy timber equipment.
Go to the lake
Fish with Sam. Enjoy great conversation without catching anything
Invite cowboy Starlin to roll out his horse and buggy
Ride through the woods and up Route 11  
Wave to passing cars

Water the horse
Walk the horse
Pump up your raft. Float around til dusk
Make ice cream
Paint a mural at both ends of a gym

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Mahalah Farm

Ancestral House at Mahalah Farm down Cuba way. Two vultures live up top the roof.
Yahwa is the proprietor of Mahalah Farm. It is named after her Grandmother. Her family owns many acres in both Sumter and Choctaw Counties. They've been on this land since the 1860s. That's an old commode in the foreground.  It's the last remnant of an outhouse
 Mahalah Farm cultivates many organic goods. Yahwa's goals are far-reaching, visionary and inspiring. She is a member of a broad coalition of African-American farmers which few urban folk are aware even exists.
I brought along these Brooklynites.

Yahwa holds the flower holds the seeds.
They built these Hoop Houses for year-round growing.

 I love the elegant bamboo. It is a mighty and beautiful tree.

Yahwa is a mighty and beautiful woman.

This child gets a taste of fresh water.

Yahwa and her crew took the time out of their busy day to host our visit and we thank them.