A cold front arrived overnight, chasing the oppressive heat and humidity from our skies. Once again able to breathe I found the siren song of the back roads irresistible.
The cold front also ushered in overcast skies and a little much needed rain. While we have not yet returned to the drought conditions which have become the norm in the past few years we are at a rain deficit for the year.
Farmers have already put up hay once this year and are hoping for at least one more crop and possibly two to see them through the tough winter months which always arrive too soon. Making hay while the sun shines is a matter of survival for Appalachian farmers.This was all too evident as I followed Swallow Hollow Road.
In years past farmers have been forced to sell off livestock they were unable to feed as drought drove hay production down and feed prices up. The abundance of livestock on the market forced prices down.
A generation ago this was a thriving farm as evidenced by the once grand farmhouse and many out buildings which now stand abandoned and decaying.
Farms were once handed down from generation to generation but dwindling profits and rising operating costs force the younger generation to the cities where wages are higher. With age the older folks can no longer keep up with the hard work needed to make the farms prosperous and as they pass on the home places are abandoned and quickly reclaimed by Mother Nature.
As the farms are abandoned and the population shifts from the rural to the urban areas the once bustling general stores also fall victim to the march of time.
Driving the back roads I often marvel at the toughness and determination it must have taken for the early settlers to come here and tame the rugged mountain terrain. Looking at these scenes through my viewfinder I realize that was only a temporary thing.
I haven’t spent as much time out roaming the mountains as I’d like the past few days thanks to the oppressive heat and humidity. However, I have managed a couple of short forays and these are some of the images I’ve captured this weekend.
I’ve mentioned the population explosion in the goose flock nearby and the shot above is one that Frankie got from the passenger side window as we drove to town yesterday. There are at least three time that number divided between 2 small ponds within a mile of our home.
The summer haze is dissipating because the humidity is beginning to let up. Cloud shadows are once again visible dancing across the fields.
Earlier in the year I got quite a few frames of a piebald doe feeding in our yard. The genetic mutation causing the white markings on the flanks is just uncommon enough for local lore to hold that seeing one is a good omen. As I pulled into my parking space this afternoon I spotted a new piebald grazing on some low hanging branches just behind the house. Apparently that house cat in the right of the frame thinks she’s a lion.
This is where I really miss my long lens. It wasn’t until I downloaded the images to my laptop and began cleaning them up that I realized that this is not only nit the same deer, it’s actually a very rare piebald buck!
I can’t wait to show these shots to my brother in law, Fish Hook!
I also managed to catch this critter feeding on the lavender Frankie has growing under the kitchen window…….
……and one of the first blooms on her Knockout Rose after transplanting into the flower bed.