hoe handles, copperheads, and guinea hens
I got invited to participate in a panel at a supergroovy conference about LGBT and rural yesterday. It was sponsored by the National Center for Lesbian Rights and the USDA, among others. The conference was in Lost River, WV. Wha? Where's Lost River? Exactly. That's the point.
|Listening to:||Penn's Sunday School|
|Reading:||The STARLING Connection by Theodore Webb|
If I say the conference venue was fabulous am I inappropriately stereotyping? Well I don't give a shit because the Lost River Guest House was legitimately fabulous. Gorgeous landscaping and design, beautiful setting, delicious lunch out on the deck, groovy bar, kind and helpful and welcoming staff. Two thumbs up for the place.
The conference was also pretty dang awesome, as we say in Appalachia. Well, I say it, anyway. Great collection of thoughtful and effective people sharing ideas about how to keep rural people in mind while we work toward fairness for lgbt folks. I felt extremely fortunate to get to be there, what a sweet life I live when I get to hobnob with cool people in beautiful places and on the clock.
Though my drive out that morning was in heavy fog, I got to enjoy the wide open mountain vistas on the way home in the sun, and also passed that way last weekend on the way home from my dad's. On that trip we saw a bald eagle! And it was on the 4th of July, for real. What kinda charmed life am I livin? Jesus loves you, but he apparently loves me more, yo.
On the way to the conf my stomach was grumbling and I realized I was on a time trajectory to miss anything breakfasty at the conf, so I stopped at Cool Springs. Cool Springs is of course just about the only place you're gonna find something to eat along the way. If you've never been (it's on 50 near Rowlesburg) you're missing a sweetass slice of Americana, and a chance to sit at the counter and watch a friendly but efficient waitress fry up your egg sandwich on the flattop while filling diner's coffee cups with deft timing. And there's a crazy huge assortment of farm implements, cheap plastic toys, fruitfly-ridden fresh garden tomatoes, redneck ballcaps, and a metric shitton of other sundry stuff, all jumbled together in a delightful roadside distraction.
It was about 7:30 or 8a. I sat at the counter on one of the orange swivel stools two seats down from 2 older gentlemen. There were a few mend in coveralls or similar work clothes, grabbing some breakfast before heading out to the logging forests or gasfields in their Ford F150's. The older guy at the end of my row leaned a long fat wooden dowel against the counter. "Broke my hoe handle." Guy next to him looks over at me, looks back to his breakfast partner and said "I never break'em, cuz I never use'em." I laugh, "yep, that'll keep them in great shape." Then guy #1 says, "actually I was just killing a snake with it." Then guy #2 and I begin a conversation about how he's lived here all his life, they always had copperheads, and since he got Guinea hens 3 yrs ago hasn't seen a single copperhead. Not sure why, never sees the hens eating or going after one. Maybe they find and eat the eggs. Payback's about a bitch, I think, since snakes eat chicken eggs.
Breakfast ready, my coffee poured into styro instead of mug, I paid my $5 and went on my way.
Lovely drive, mostly had the road to myself. New highway 48, a soaring divided 4 lane through the mountains, across a little triangle of MD and back into WV, Grant and Hardy counties. Followed my directions (I still print a Google map to take, old school), got there no problem, right on time. My panel was in the afternoon. The whole day was great, very interesting people and ideas. Lucky me.
And it was friday, so lovely way to end the workweek.
This morning I confirm that Malala is giving her kittens hunting lessons. Malala's 6 kittens (all named Peaches, I'm not tellin why) have tortured screaming baby bunnies, rodents, and bugs on my porch numerous times while I was home to witness, and likely plenty of times while I was away. They cornered a baby bunny with half its fur torn off inside a tipped gallon jar one time. Ugh. I wondered which were the hunters. This morning I open the porch door about 6a, 6 tiny cats race inside the house. Dammit. I just wanted to fill the bowl with food, but they blasted past me before I could stop it. So I leave the door open, pour the Meow mix, and walk back into the kitchen. Minutes later I hear a series of distress squeaks, a now familiar noise, and I look to see that Lala is eating the food and has dropped a tiny half-alive mouse in the bowl.
Confirmation. Teach your children well, kittymama.
posted by cat 12:41 PM