Tar Heel Tavern #16

Tarheel Tavern

Well folks, it’s time, once again, for the Tar Heel Tavern, a carnival of North Carolina bloggers. Summer is nearly upon us, and a lot of us have been spending as much time as we can outdoors. So, have a seat and order a brew while we share pictures, poetry, stories, information and thoughts on getting “Back to Nature” here in the Old North State.

Pictures and Poetry

In one corner of the Tavern, a group of bloggers are sharing pictures and looking at scrapbooks of their latest back-to-nature forays.

Mandie of It's a Pixelated Life shares a picture of Brookberry Farm, where construction is coming along nicely. She explains that "the color sticks in the background are part of the construction, but this is one of a very few scenes that can now be photographed without including equipment and red mud."

Waterfall of A Sort of Notebook recently took a two-week hike on the TN/NC section of the Appalachian Trail and is showing her photo album to anyone who's willing to look at it. Each picture is a different link; find the whole slew of 'em (with captions, every one) by going to Waterfall's June '05 archives and scrolling to your heart's content.

We stop looking at pictures for a few minutes; wouldn't you know, it's open-mic night at the Tavern. A North Carolina poet and blogger, Erin of Poetic Acceptance, is first up and reads her beautiful poem, "Sacrifice." She begins:

I sit inside, safe from the rain,
a spectator contemplating a specter.

Outside, cup-palmed and graceful,
the calla lily rises through thunder,
stands head-high, as payment
to this storm. ...

Once her poem is over, we warmly welcome Erin to join the Tavern regulars. Another newcomer joins our little huddle at the same time; Rob, of The Blog and Nothing but the Blog, introduces himself as a web designer, writer, and family man, and he quietly shares his thoughts On Being Dad with the Tavern crew.

Next up on the poetry podium is Screwy Hoolie of Scrutiny Hooligans, who, in "Freedom Rhetoric Facts Defend Life," performs a poetic regurgitation of blurby buzzwords from the everyday news. I don't know if he originally meant it as a poem, but if you read it aloud, it sounds like some of what I've heard at poetry slams. I'll give it a 7.

Soon, the poetry is over and we're back to picture-sharing. Jude of Iddybud has toted along her "Back to Nature" photo album, which she organized specially for this week's Tavern. Her photo locations range from Arizona to the Adirondacks and New England.


Everyone loves to tell--or hear--outdoor-adventure tales, like the one about "that time I saw wrestled a bear in the woods," and such. We Taverners are no exception when it comes to good stories about wildlife encounters.

For example, Melinama, blogging from Pratie Place, has been outdoors researching the wonders of squirrel-fishing. After a few drinks, she's told us some tall tales for us about her latest squirrel-fishing trip ("You shoulda seen the one that got away!" etc.). Yeah, we believe her.

So then she launches into a story about her latest tick research and tells us about "questing," a behavior by which ticks "crawl up the stems of grass or perch on the edges of leaves on the ground in a typical posture with the front legs extended, especially in response to a host passing by."

We're feeling pretty good at the Tavern tonight, so Melinama teaches us how to quest. OK, everybody, one, two, three ... wait ... that guy across the bar is winking at me ... these aren't mating signals, are they?

Melinama has some fascinating tidbits about tick-questing, but I can't help but wonder: Are hiker-loving ticks on a never-ending Quest for the Holy Trail?

For his latest back-to-nature outing, Ogre at Ogre's Politics and Views took a trip to the zoo. In "Zoo Kids," he's reminded of the Bad Example family. He provides some pretty humorous pictures, too.

As we discuss the entertaining antics of zoo animals, Billy the Blogging Poet ponders, in "Let's Talk to the Animals," what animals would say if they could really talk to us. He has us in stitches with his animal impersonations.

Always the nonconformist, David of A Little Urbanity turns the "Back to Nature" theme on its head. He goes inward and backward, away from outdoor wildlife to human life: the human zygote. In “I, Zygote,” he asks, "When did I start being me? And when did you start being you?" What follows is a thought-provoking essay (and discussion) on the ethics of embryonic stem cell research, the development of the conceived human fetus into a distinctive human being, and the rights of the human embryo.

The Environment

Laurie of ...slowly she turned took her latest outdoor adventure to the Greensboro Farmer's Curb Market, where she had her "first experience with buying [free-range] poultry directly from a local farmer (W & C Peterson Farms of Sophia, NC). In “sunday chicken teriyaki style," she shares a delicious-looking photo of the stuffed, marinated chicken dish she concocted, and shares the recipe ... but Laurie, please, next time you make something this yummy, invite your Tavern friends, OK? :-)

Once we've wiped off our drool and Laurie's put her picture away, Ron of 2sides2ron shares the sad story in "Clear-cutting Our Landscapes" of how the clearing of the hill behind his Triangle-area home has begun, and how and the impact on nature is already evident. Says he, "The afternoon of the clearing of a good eight to ten acres of their habitat, I saw a herd of deer standing in the street in front of my home at four in the afternoon. They were already having difficulty finding food among the few trees on that land behind my home..."

When Lockjaw of Lockjaw's Lair hears us discussing "clear-cuts," he joins the conversation and steers it toward the topic of paper-recycling. His opinion? For all of our well-meaning efforts to be environmentally responsible, paper-recycling ain't all that. In "Paper Recycling, Bad for your Butt AND the World," Lockjaw gives us a humorous and informative look at why he believes paper-recycling isn't as good for the environment as we're taught to believe.

Saddened by Ron's clearcutting story, and the way that urban sprawl is eating away at our woods, Lenslinger of Viewfinder Blues shared a story of his own, about the shutting down of Blumenthal's--an "old-school trading post" in the Piedmont. While the store isn't technically shutting down--only moving to a new, less remarkable location--Lenslinger laments in "Everything Must Go" that what's being left behind is "the empty husk of a dying downtown landmark."

Outdoor Sports

Tim of Tuba City has been spending a lot of time at the track lately, preparing to participate in the Race for The Cure on June 11. In "The Four-Minute Mile," Tim takes a jog out to Oxford's Iffley Road track, where, on May 6, 1954, Roger Bannister was the first person in the world to run a mile in less than 4 minutes (3 minutes, 59.4 seconds, to be exact).

Phin of phin’s blog, meanwhile, has been in the stands, watching a sport for which he's gained increasing admiration over the years: women's fast-pitch softball. In “Softball Blogging, sort of," he tells of his wife and her two sisters, and of how their involvement in sports has opened him up to the wonderful world of women's athletics. Following a brief but touching tribute to these three remarkable women, he says, "If you're even the slightest bit of a sports fan and haven't been following women's sports, I would urge you to attend a couple of games. I'd be willing to bet you'll find the experience almost as rewarding as I have, not quite, but almost."

The girls within earshot, myself among them, nod vehemently in agreement!

Suddenly we're all distracted a collective yell from the bar, where a massive crowd has settled in front of the television to watch the 2005 Quidditch U.S. Open tournament. Apparently, someone’s been injured by a Bludger. Naturally, the conversation among the NC bloggers turns quickly to that great Quidditch champion, Harry Potter. Bora of Science and Politics asks the question we've all been asking lately: "Who Will Die In Harry Potter Vol. VI?" We've all read that J.K. Rowling is planning to kill off one major character in the next Harry Potter installment; Bora's first choice (based on his analysis) is Albus Dumbledore, and his second choice is Hagrid. What's your opinion? Bora asks you to post your own bets in the comments to his post.

As for me, I still haven't overcome the grief of losing Sirius in Book V.

That’s it for this week’s Tarheel Tavern, friends. Be sure and check out next week’s Tavern, where Mister Sugar will be hosting!


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