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document my Appalachian experience in photographs

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The story of the American chestnut is a sad one. Here, I was able to invest some sweat equity in a research project dedicated to its ultimate come-back. 10 months ago

GQkudzuMy new home

Since May 10 10 months ago


This is what I went walking through on Saturday.


I can still feel the adrenaline rush of watching the news as a kid, as big, fat flakes fell outside, waiting for that announcement.

“No school…” 14 months ago


These are mugs that co-workers gave me for Christmas. These were made by a local potter. Over the years, I’ve received a number of gifts made by the giver. A week before my grandmother passed away, for example, she gave me a quilt she’d made. I have a friend whose family exchanges ONLY gifts they’ve made at Christmas. That’s a nice tradition. 2 years ago


This was my home from 1999 to 2003…a singlewide trailer in the “head of a holler,” surrounded by rugged Appalachian forestland. (It’s being inhabited by someone else in this photograph.)

A stigma is attached to trailers, but for me, this was freedom. No more rent (I bought this for $10,000), no more apartment. I had a little garden spot to the right of the photo frame. I was self-employed at the time, and I built the little green office in the foreground.

This had a cabin-like feel to it. It was decently insulated, so when it snowed, my trailer stayed nice and warm.

If I had to live in a trailer again, I’d never hesitate. 2 years ago


Although beekeeping wasn’t a part of my upbringing, I’ve become a beekeeper since adulthood and have met quite a few interesting beekeepers here in the mountains.

This photo is of the honey I harvested this weekend. 2 years ago

GQkudzuDid you kill it?

It angers me, the attitude people around here have about venomous snakes, almost as if one might pick the lock on your back door, slip into your house while you sleep and kill you, all Rudyard Kipling-like. I have a healthy dose of respect for copperheads and rattlesnakes but find them spectacular. I choose to let them be when I run across them. However, many of the people I know, when you tell them you’ve seen such a creature, always respond with the same question: “Did you kill it?”

I just encountered my third venomous snake of the year: a copperhead at Big South Fork. All three – two copperheads and a timber rattler – could have bitten me and/or my hiking companions if they’d wanted. We stepped that close to all three. Once, I actually STOOD on the tail of a copperhead and only noticed it was there when I saw the movement of it trying to escape.


I have a relative who likes to carry up dead snakes at family gatherings, lay their carcasses on the ground so all can see and explain, “I was riding my four-wheeler, and this snake struck at my boot!”


Rattlesnakes and copperheads are much safer to encounter in the backcountry than is a redneck.

(And the pic is blurry. My phone kept focusing on the leaves in the foreground, I think, instead of the snake.) 2 years ago

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