Monday, November 10, 2014

Double Interventions

Living in a rural area for the first time in my life, I take great pleasure at finding evidence of interventions in the land that show the presence of humans even in the middle of a forest.  I especially enjoy old interventions, such as the brick ruin of a silo that stands at the base of our road in such a position that on icy mornings it's a challenge to avoid sliding down the hill, taking out the little fence, and landing in the silo.  It was built in the 1920s by students at the then Asheville Farm School.  All that's left is a brick cylinder, roofless, with five arched openings that look like old windows, but are actually openings that used to let grain out to a kind of conveyor that used to be attached to the outside of the silo.  My neighbor, who was born on the farm (his father was the farm manager) remembers farm school students climbing inside and standing on the grain while they shoveled it into the openings and onto the conveyor.

Every year for Halloween students from the college farm crew put pumpkins in the openings, and this year they've left them out.  Every day this past week I've wanted to go draw the pumpkins, and I finally made it tonight just before dark.  I got as close as I could, crouched down on the county road side while semis and cars whipped past.  I noticed that some of the pumpkins are looking a little wan, but that only makes them better.  I love the silo in all its seasons and times of day, but especially when festooned with slouching pumpkins.

The other double intervention is along one of the trails that I often walk in the woods.  Many years ago someone thought it would be good to bring some goats to live in the woods at the foot of the mountain near the little apple orchard.  Theoretically the goats would keep the orchard mowed, and they would produce some milk at the same time.  So they knocked together a milking stand (today almost completely reclaimed by vines) and a little hut.  The hut has recently sprouted a plastic gnome doll with hot pink hair.  He stands inside the hut like he's trying to decide whether or not to rent it.

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