Turkey Gobblers at the Witching Hour

I want to apologize to my long-time readers for the absence of posts in August. I had some technical difficulties and a few days of vacation, but I hope I’m back on track. I can report that the weather has been simply beautiful. It hasn’t rained for almost a week, and temperatures have been very cool for this time of year. In other words, perfect weather for the end of August. The old boys continue to predict an early fall and a hard winter, and at this point, I’m inclined to agree that this seems likely.

If you’ve been reading me for a while, you know that we like to do the old, useless things, like sit on the porch until late listening to the night sounds. It has been pretty prime in the morning, too. This morning around 6:30, we saw a very large bat working the former power line cut down the mountain, a different bat than the one who works it in the evening. And the other night, just before dark, we heard and saw a small flock of turkey gobblers fly up to roost in our woods. We don’t see that every day. I’ve seen them fly up as early as mid-afternoon, but when the light reaches the point that the turkey hunters call “flying up time” – that’s when the shadows between the trees darken to the point that the turkey fears that a fox could slip up on him – they have to fly up. My father used to call it “the witching hour.” Either way, it’s nice to see some turkey, because I believe the coyote are having a significant impact on the chicks, before they can fly. The foxes were always after them, but a small pack of coyotes could easily eat the whole brood, and I think that’s happening.

We are coming up on two of our best events.

On September 2, the Labor Day Barbecue is scheduled for the downtown park, rain or shine. The stated hours are 11:30 – 6:00, but as with any barbecue, it’s really “until the food runs out.” The way it works is that you buy a ticket for either a pork sandwich, ribs, or chicken. They come with cole slaw, beans, bread, and dessert. The line for tickets is often a whole lot longer than for food, so if you have a chance to buy tickets ahead of time, things usually go better. They are available at the Chamber of Commerce, up behind the CVS. If you are planning to hang out for a while and listen to the music, it isn’t a bad idea to bring a lawn chair. There is usually a take-out line that you can drive past, which a lot of folks will do if it rains (even though there are tents). It’s all for a good cause, the Good Samaritans, and a thirty-some year tradition. (It isn’t as interdenominational as it used to be, as someone went crazy and let a woman preach a few years back, and most of the Baptist churches have boycotted it since, but it is still a wonderful community event.)

What’s usually considered our best event, the Blues & Barbecue Festival, takes place Saturday, September 14, in the downtown park. There is a blues pub crawl downtown on Friday night, the 13th. The lineup is: Noon, Neal Lucas Band; 2:00 Men in Blues; 4:00 The King Bees; 6:00 Crossroads Band; 8:00 Big Bill Morganfield (Muddy Waters’ son). The only band I’ve heard before is the King Bees, out of Todd, NC. It’s a trio, and they lay down a sassy rockabilly inflected groove that I really enjoyed. I should note that the food has been very good. Sam Huff has come up from Atlanta, Greg Staffins has cooked for Trout Unlimited, and there have been other good cue vendors, along with some fusiony options, like barbecued alligator tail and fish tacos.

A few “if you go” kind of notes. A lawn chair is a must. The rules are no dogs, no coolers, no smoking. If they set it up as they have before, the beer tent will be across the tracks from the stage, with no beer allowed in the area of the stage (because of the presence of the Baptist outfit across the street). We really need to pass an exception to the distance rule from churches for properly licensed festivals, but that hasn’t happened yet.

I’m proud to say that our company is a Platinum Sponsor of this, the 3rd annual event.

The Black Sheep restaurant is open. That’s the high-end place on the other side of the courthouse from our office, in the historic house that was the Birchmore Law Office. I haven’t been yet, but they are supposed to have a nice patio. Dunkin Donuts is open at 515 & 60. And Tim Richter, owner of the Toccoa Riverside Restaurant, is rumored to be opening a steak and seafood place in the former location of the Hungry House (next to the Dollar General up behind the CVS).

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