Tuesday, August 31, 2010

BIG Brown Spider (hairy face, white spots, striped legs & large abdomen)

Above my front door is a spider couple, who invites their spider friends for awesome parties... they jam out to my satellite radio music while eating moths & flies who are attracted to my porch light at night.
These spiders are actually shades of brown and not the silver gray color in these two close up pics below - the color looks different then reality because the flash on the camera washed out the browns, so when trying to ID this spider go by the markings and not the color.
There are two spiders (the ones pictured here) living together in the same crack above the door, and the interesting thing is they let other spiders live right near them too - although I imagine sometimes things can get out of hand and the big ones might eat their smaller friends. It happens to us all, at least metaphorically.
This pic below is more the true color brown...
Check out those GOLDEN Nugget Eyeballs!


Monday, August 30, 2010

(Almost Dead) Lunar Moth

I hope I am this beautiful when I am almost dead.


Riding JuJu the DOnkey (For The First Time!)

Things About JuJu that are easy:::::
Juju loves to go for walks with me... in fact she loves it so much she will bring me the rope halter herself and let's me put it on her face with no problem. She knows that walks with the halter means freedom outside her fenced area, it means adventure and fun, it means seeing neighbors, eating grass & weeds and along the rural road.
JuJu is sweet with people, easy going, calm, and will let children get on her back. I had never gotten on her though.... until today!
THINGS That JuJu makes REALLY hard on me::::::
Deciding when and where to go. I hadn't really planned on riding her, but because me and JuJu are still struggling with who is in charge of the lead rope, who is choosing where to go and which way to turn, we ended up at my neighbors yard , luckily a neighbor who used to ride horses. I decided to make the best of where JuJu had fought with me to.....
YAY! I got on her back and she stood there. She didn't seem to know what to do and wasn't interested in walking - which was fine since we were just getting used to each other. Of course, us silly humans thought it would be hysterical to put a carrot on the end of a stick and see if she would go....
Unfortunately JuJu saw the stick more then the carrot and after a minute or two she decided the stick was MAJORLY DANGEROUS and started running down the hill! Now since I am a new rider and wasn't using a saddle I kept slipping forward till I was practically about to straddle her neck. When I loudly yelled "WHOA" she stopped and I jumped off. (My 10 first WHOA's were not stern enough!)
She got the carrot anyway though cause I am a sucker and well, she did a good job.....
Getting her home after though, was not easy. Two other people volunteered to help & I think I have a broken pinky toe (i'm too scared to look at it). Can someone tell me why this sh*t is so fun though?!!?

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Rural Entertainment: The Fireman's Fair

Ya'll know by now I love local rural events... they are nothing like the big splashy Mardi Gras, Jazz Fest and French Quarter parties I grew up with in New Orleans - instead they are personal, down home, small crowds, nothing fancy, and people are just happy to see the other people who all live the same hidden mountain & farming lifestyle. They don't try to put on a show, they just are themselves. (I mean this even for our local wrestling matches, even if the guys do sport a few sequins!)
So Yesterday right around the bend from the Luck Cabin was the Spring Creek Fireman's Fair, I had gotten a flyer in the mail 2 weeks ago that made it hard to resist attending (see pic above) - seeing that Smokey The Bear was going to be there, they were going to play Bingo, have live music plus live Firemen....I HAD to see.
The first live band rocked the stage, i mean as much as they could rock out without scaring the other locals (aka slow and country).... they kinda rocked it Johnny Cash style, with the Beatles song "Act Naturally" thrown in the mix. And you best believe I danced - in fact a old, smelly drunk man found me (he said he lived "down yonder") and we were the only two people who cut a rug on that green grassy area in front the stage, while a crowd of maybe seven people watched & clapped.
Since me and the drunkard became BFF's, he also taught me how to play HorseShoes! I had never played before, but basically you are throwing heavy ass horse shoes like 40 feet into/across the air in order to hit a tiny metal pole sticking out the ground, in a pile of sand. I hit it once... out of about 30 tosses. :)
My awesome neighbor (remember the one who saved me in the night when I first got my donkey JuJu?) was diggin' into the atmosphere - as we watched the M.A.M.A helicopter fly in. The helicopter landing pad serves two purposes in our rural nook, and that is to bust people growing pot & for when we call 911. Yeah, we are so freakin' rural they can't even get us to a hospital in time before we'd die so they just fly this bad boy in and save us. (see pic above).

There was plenty food & drink --- including fried apple pie, hot dogs, hamburgers.... none of which I can eat since I have Celiac Sprue and shall never be able to partake.
There was also a silent auction. Well. There was a really odd assortment of things for auction, my favorite being this set up below.....
Faux Wiener Dog in a Baby Bed.
I had no idea why they had numbers spray painted on the ground in a circle either, till my neighbor explained this was for the Cake Walk.
I can't eat cake, but I can walk - so i joined in. Basically it's like musical chairs and each person stands on the big ole' number on the ground, they start up the music and everyone gets walkin' in circles (i was getting dizzy) till the music stops. Then they pick a number out of a hat... the kid who picked it picked his own number (little psychic!) and won a cake (go ahead and eat it little kid, cause i can't anyway)!
My Drunkard BFF took this picture of me and smokey the bear. Drunk people don't always get the main attraction in the picture, ya know. But you can tell SMokey The Bear reallllly was there, right?
I thought "Sparky The Fire Dog" was gonna be a real dog, but it was just a dude in a costume. He was not real, like Smokey The Bear. ;)
The BIG main attraction that it seemed so many had prepared for was the Lawnmower Race!! For real, a woman standing next to me during the race told me her son had spent weeks on getting his lawnmower ready for the race, by putting in a go-cart motor... and in fact he had fixed his lawnmower to race a few years back.
Right at the beggining one guy's lawnmower BLEW into smoke, another's broke down had to be pulled off, one older man road slowly on his, while just a few guys were blowing past everyone, nearly tipping over trying to come in first place.
Decorated with Hooters Stickers, numbers, southern flags, cow bells....
I was rooting for the grey Lawnmower, cause i was standing next to his Mama, but he didn't win.......
The Fireman's Fair though was a total WIN!
PS- I never did find tha' Bingo game? Where was it at?

Friday, August 27, 2010

Orange Salamander with Black Spots

Orange (some may call it red). Black spots. It speaks for itself.

Read more about North Carolina salamanders HERE.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Organic Fall Garden Frenzy

  • donkey poop
  • trampled top soil
  • hay
  • sawdust/wood chips
I know. It's not that exciting looking, it's just dirt and some garden beds that are so naturalized that they hardly look like garden beds. I made them to blend in with the surrounding forest on purpose. :)
But the thing is, it's not just dirt, it's not just garden beds for me- it's the food producing project I have been working my ass off (mine for realz, not the donkey) on for months now and the last few weeks have been a non stop, steady race to get a some beds ready for a fall garden.
I started building raised bed gardens along the donkey & chicken fence - since JuJu the donkee has taken no interest in the leaves or fruit of squash plants, she doesnt even like kale all that much, I figured this was a great place to expand. I started by shoveling off rich black top soil trampled and churned in front the barn, mixing that with unwanted hay, and piles of donkey dookie to make a SUPER fertile place to throw & grow some seeds.
To keep the dirt from falling backwards out the fence holes, I lined up pieces of scrap wood left over from building the mini barn (see pic below at bottom of fence.)
I am not all about making this look eco chic & fancy, I AM all about making this free, simple, eco friendly - by using left over materials and things already available, by not driving out and guzzling gas to buy products that guzzled gas to get to the store.
In fact the whole point of my garden is to feed me, in all seasons, in all financial states - I want to be free as possible from the albatross of vehicles, groceries, and money $$$$$$!!!
This here is how I am trying to be free...........
  • spinach
  • radishes (red and white)
  • rutabaga
  • 3 types of kale (dinosaur, red russian, siberian)
  • lettuce
  • carrots (red, yellow and orange)
  • beets
  • broccoli raab
  • peas

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Mushroom-splosion! Help me ID

These are just stunning! Mushrooms suddenly pop their beauty out from the wet forest floor, pressing up through rotten leaves, and never last very long... that kind of whimsical and short life span is exactly why so many people become fascinated by them. At least, that is part of what draws me in. Curly, smooth, colorful, half melted, looking like seashells, looking like biggie sized burger buns ----- can anyone tell me which kind of mushrooms these are? I would love to add in the labels if someone is able to help me ID them!


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

"Stinky Dog Claw" Mushroom (red, white and brown)

(Note: The following post is not intended for kids, cause I am gonna go off about how this thing really smells! If you haven't told your children about the other 'birds and bees' yet, don't let this be the first sex ed lesson they have...)

Walking in the woods this week has been a mushroom explosion - tons of rain, cool nights dipping into the 60's and soon 50's...and rains from last year created a wet environment perfect for spawning off more variety of mushrooms then I have ever seen. Or smelled.


Yeah, that's right... while exploring the rainbow of fungi bursting from the forest floor I suddenly smelled something. Something almost familiar, but kinda sick too....... I looked around suspiciously, including at the person I was hiking with - then decided to announce the problem... "Something smells like cum! Do you smell it?!!" After getting a definitive "no", I looked around and said "maybe there is one of those trees here, you know, the cum trees?" Another look around and a "no".... I was just standing there inhaling over and over trying to figure it out.

About 10 feet from where we had been standing, there was this mushroom... I didn't have my camera on me and had to come back the next day to take the photos. When we originally found the funguy, it was stiff, erect and stinking... i put my face down by it and it stained the inside of my nose with a horrid smell, that was nothing short of cum on a dirty dick, on a man sleeping in a dumpster in a pile of sugar. I looked the creepy mushroom up online, and they politely say the smell is terrible, like "rotten meat" - I think that is code for man meat.

Of course, when i went back today to take pictures of this magnificent specimen, it was flaccid. but the manly smell was no less. I did notice though another 15 feet away a rotten dead animal smell....

could there be more stinky poop fingers??


FYI: This type of mushroom is known as a "stink horn" and this variety in particular also goes by the name "elegant dog stinkhorn". Read more about them & other American Mushrooms HERE.

Xoxoxoxo PEeeewww weee

Making Kudzu Rope with a Drop Spindle

Remember back in the day when Bort came over and showed me how to make natural rope from the Yucca plant in my yard.... (probably not cause that was soooo winter 2009, check it out here.)
Yesterday he came over with a hand made Drop Spindle he carved from wood and weighted down with clay, and showed me how he used it to make rope from kudzu vines!
FIRST STEP - He took the kudzu vine and bash-n-smashed it between two pieces of wood to separate the fibers (see top pic). Then it made it easy to peel away the strong outer layer used for making the rope. (On the really young vines the inner layer was too soft.)
Take the piece of plant fiber/string and hook the center of it to the spindle, folding it over into two pieces...
...then begin twisting it tightly, holding strong tension so that it doesn't fold in on itself....
as you go along, you add in pieces to the twisting, just kinda stick them in there and make sure they get caught up in the twisting. Put them in long before the piece you were working with is going to run out...
If you are doing this project alone (which most the time I am!) then it's best not to make it longer then your arms length for each section, that way you can still hold the tension when you have to remove the first length of twisted kudzu....
PULL the twisted rope off the hook at the end while holding the tension --- you can use both hands, another person, or like Bort, ya TeeTh! After you pull one end off the hook wrap it around the spindle in order to make room for the next section of rope....
...wrap it close to the end you were working on, then double wrap that end to the hook again and start the process over... this is how you get the rop to be longer, and longer and longer.....
(BTW- your arms will be hurtin'!)
I took a turn to make the next length of rope on the drop spindle and then once it was the length I wanted and I was ready to move onto the next step, I tied a knot in the end I had been working on. STILL holding the tension.
Take the knotted end and tie it to something (especially if you don't have someone there to help you!) .....
WHile holding the tension TIGHT unwind the rope that is wrapped around the spindle, and make sure when you get to the end you are holding that end piece tight also ( I accidentally let it drop and it lost some of it's tight quality).
Hold the tension tight, and find the center of the rope....
THEN the MAGic ::::::
Fold it in half at the center, let go, and watch it twist onto itself!!!
Pretty freakin' rad? yes?!!
There is something primal and fulfilling about knowing how to make your own rope... F the Home Depot type stores, there is plenty invasive Kudzu on the side of the road!
PS- I thought about making a rope halter for JuJu my donkey out of the kudzu rope but she likes to eat it. :))))