The Transylvania Times -

See Off News


Last updated 5/6/2020 at 3:26pm

Life on See Off Mountain continues to burst with spring-time goodness. We’ve had lots of breezy days up on the mountain lately, perfect for the laundry I now have time to hang on the clothesline. Our yard is in between on flowers it seems like; there are a few irises here and there but not much else. It will be a few weeks before cosmos and dahlias and zinnias explode on the scene, but it is nice to know they are coming.

Pucker Up Berry Farm planted three more rows of flowers this year than they did last year, anticipating that the world might just need a little extra beauty this summer.

Good thinking, farmer friends.

Our neighbors seem to be making the most of quarantine time.

Of course we are all eagerly watching for the next set of guidelines and restrictions being lifted, but at the same time most folks around here are finding plenty of ways to fill the time and keep themselves distracted from their worries. We’ve seen plenty of folks out working in their yards as our walking routes around the mountain expand due to less traffic on the roads these days. Several kids on our mountain walk up to the community center every day to meet the school bus for school lunch delivery.

It is nice to have some small predictable parts of the day to lean into.

Doug Poad is such a gift to our mountain community, sending out newsy emails and updates with his usual wit and commentary.

He is also continuing to organize virtual dinner parties to offer a bit of fun to families on See Off Mountain while also doing the important work of supporting local busi-nesses.

Doug sends out an email inviting folks to order supper from a specific restaurant in the county, then he heads down to pick up the meals and deliver them to the community center.

Doug reports, “We’ve been doing two a week since mid-March and have had three to six families participate. We’ve been rotating our targets among several of our favorite restaurants. Friday night, we have ‘date night,’ when we do the virtual dinner party and then all watch a movie.

“Each family watches whatever movie they want to in the comfort of their own home. It’s a little way to help keep the community connected in a way that is fun… and safe.”

I’ve been putting extra effort in my journaling practice these days, thinking of this unique time in history as something I’ll want to have record of.

All this journaling has brought up lots of old stories and memories that I am writing about as well. I’m not the only one thinking of days gone by. Paula Poad shares this story that recently came up in her own memories: “Back in the early 1980s Doug and I were in Walled Lake, Mich., for Doug’s work with the Navy. My horse, Clypso, lived at a barn about 5 miles from us. My dog, Daisy, and I would go up and ride Clypso – bareback and no bit – almost every day. The barn was near a state park, where I liked to ride. That day we went and followed a trail that went to the right. We came to a small bridge that crossed over a big creek that we’d need to follow. “Clypso was almost 3 years and hadn’t walked on a bridge, so I got off and led him over it. Then I started looking for a big rock to stand on to get back on. I was looking around when I saw a Red Tailed Hawk, wings out, standing on a rock by the creek. We all stood and admired it. I thought it would fly away as I moved closer, but it just stayed there.

“It was wet from falling into the creek. So, I did what needed to be done. I helped it fold its wings, picked it up, and put it between my down vest and my body. It needed to get warmer. Clypso and Daisy just accepted it getting done. We started walking along a dirt road to a parking lot about a mile away. Several times I’d stop and open the down vest to see if it wanted out but it was happy to be warm. We got to the parking lot, and I opened my coat and it flew up to a nearby branch. We flew back to the barn, put Clypso up, got in the car and went to the lot. It was still there. I took two pictures and it flew away. Amazing.”

Julie Vorus has had her own set of pandemic adventures lately: “Our oldest son, Sterling, came to visit us with his son, William (William Sterling Vorus III), to help Bill and me out during the Coronavirus epidemic. They ran errands, went to the grocery store, etc. The two of them stayed in our garage apartment, so that we could practice social distancing. Sterling decided that in case the virus caused a food shortage, the thing we needed were chickens, which could give us eggs.

“It was right before Easter, and he purchased a dozen chicks from the Tractor Store. They kept six, and we have six. He and William built a huge enclosure made of chicken wire in our dog yard. I call it the Taj Mahal!

“So far, the chickens are still living in a large container in our laundry room. As they become more mature it has started to occur to me that most of them might just possibly be roosters. So much for the large egg production we had hoped for!”

Susan Hindman sent this update from Hogsed Road: “Hogsed neighborhood is just busting at the seams. We have a new neighbor, Edie, and a new baby. Hannah and TJ successfully brought baby Savannah into the world April 23. For the rest of us, let’s say, ‘Spring is bustin’ out all over.’ The dogwoods and azaleas kept us in wonderland for the longest time. April has been beautiful but chilly. Oliver and Susan have been busy with their respective gardens.

“They share some methods, such as the no till permaculture way of gardening, and do some things differently.

“Old wisdon and new wisdon. Beth is working from home (Brevard College). Annie has been painting some beautiful pictures. David helps out all around. Charlie and Mavis have been doing ‘home school.’ Charlie is moving along with his cello study, with Norm Malenke of Mountain School of Strings. Mavis has been quite the cat nurse, helping Susan’s cat Sophie Bell recover from an accident.

“Maybe we have a future vet in the family. All the grownups seem fine and quite happy to be home. We make very few trips to the store and love ordering from the Whistlestop. We go for walks and do regular exercise workouts. Annie and David had a rather large bear on their porch a few nights ago. David said he or she was going after the dog food.

“But as they looked through the glass door to the porch, they marveled at its glossy coat and magnificent beauty. We love living in a place where wild things abound. However, we’d love for the deer to not eat the garden. Life is good down in our little piece of heaven.”

I think Sara Horey captures what lots of us are feeling here: “I’m feeling especially blessed to be able to shelter in place in a most beautiful spot here on Becky Mountain. To be able to walk out of doors in a secluded yard is everything. I can’t even bear to think of how hard it would be to be living in a little apartment in a big city, all cooped up.

“We are so lucky here in Western North Carolina! And the isolation is working. Very few cases of the virus here. Yay!”

Please keep us posted on how you are doing and what’s keeping you busy. And if you need a listening ear, connection to available resources or just some friendly reassurance, we are happy to help!

Contact seeoff [email protected] with all your news and notions.


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