Personal “Signs of Spring”

Over the past few weeks, I’ve had the definite sense that the year has turned. It has felt like spring, even through the cold snaps. My own personal “signs of spring” are ticking along. I first heard the peepers on February 18th, and the next day, a Carolina Wren started building a nest in my yard. The same day, I saw the first butterfly, a Blue Hairslip. What I really look for is the first Mourning Cloak (my favorite butterfly). I saw the first one on March 7th, and I’ve seen several since then.

With spring in mind, we did something fun yesterday. We planted a ramp patch. One of the local people told me some years ago that he had planted some on his property out by the Jacks River, but I was really pretty skeptical, because the ramp is a lily, and native wildflowers usually don’t transplant well. It turns out that there is a commercial ramp growing operation in Richwood, West Virginia. That’s the home of the oldest ramp festival in the country, and a fellow by the name of Glen Facemire has an outfit called the Ramp Farm. He claims it is the only commercial ramp farm in the United States, and I imagine that’s probably true. He is obviously a man with a long history and great passion for ramps, and what he’s doing is clearly a good thing, because there has been a lot of concern about over harvesting now that ramps have become the darling ingredient of a lot of hot young chefs around the country. He’s written a book about ramp cultivation and harvesting that’s available on Amazon and on his website, and he sells both seeds and bulbs. This is the time to plant bulbs, and we put about 140 bulbs in the ground at our place yesterday. I’m anxious to see how they do, especially since we are supposed to have mature, harvestable plants in three or four years.

I gave a little presentation on the current state of the Corridor K project to our local chapter of Trout Unlimited on Saturday. I’m proud to be a member of that outfit, because it is does a lot of good here locally. I believe it is the second largest chapter in the state, after Atlanta. They announced a national initiative at the meeting to increase membership on the part of women, which is that women can join for free, starting now. I believe they also said that yearly renewal would be half price. The Blue Ridge Chapter of Trout Unlimited has a website, but I see that some of the contact information isn’t up to date. So I’d contact Carl Riggs or Ralph Artigliare at their email addresses if you are interested in taking them up on this offer. I may get around to posting my remarks to the group, but in the meantime, feel free to email me if you are interested in what I had to say on Corridor K.
I heard a good band at the Blue Ridge Brewery the other night, a trio called Battlefield Collective. The instrumentation was acoustic bass, guitar and tambourine, and violin. They had some very interesting takes on standards, and the performance standards were very high. They’re booking some very good music over there these days, and their website calendar is actually up to date, so have a look if you appreciate live music.

I hear that the Buckner Brothers are playing Taste of Blue Ridge on April 26th. I think advance tickets are $40.

The new Blue Ridge City Council has passed the first reading of an ordinance calling for a referendum on Sunday sales of alcohol by the drink. I’m probably in favor of this one, as most of our best places to eat are closed on Sunday because they can’t serve alcohol. When I have customers on Sunday, it’s kind of disappointing to them that there isn’t much open downtown for dinner after we come back in after a long day.
Speaking of restaurants, the new Fightingtown Tavern is open on the main shopping street. I haven’t been there yet, but I’m told that they are open every day but Monday, and serve a very good hamburger.

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