Friday, September 19, 2014

Mystery Fruit

Look at these tiny apples -- or whatever they are. (That's an ordinary teaspoon for scale.) They are quite tart and more or less apple flavored but I'm not sure what they are.

 The tree is a volunteer growing in one of our pastures and I caught sight of it when I was picking apples at the cabin the other day. I was excited at the thought of so many more apples . . . but didn't go investigate as I already had a full bucket.

Then  yesterday John brought me these tinies from that same tree.  And I took a closer look at the picture I'd taken with telephoto lens. The fruits aren't hanging in clusters like a proper apple -- they're studded along the branches.  
My tree book doesn't show anything like this. The leaves are similar to an apple but flimsier . . . I think I remember that the blossoms were white -- though they could have been a pale 
pink . . .

Maybe a red haw? The haws fruit like this, though much earlier. But this tree is in a place where I don't normally see it -- the fruit could have been there for some time.  Or is it a mayhaw -- though we don't seem to have the proper conditions for either . . .

Hoping one of you has the answer . . . 

It's got us bumfuzzled.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

A Hidden Jewel

In the six or seven years I've been teaching for the Great Smokies Writing Program, outreach classes through University of North Carolina at Asheville,  my classes have met in various venues -- in a lovely board room decorated with African art at the Young Men's Institute in downtown Asheville, in the library of a city school, in the upstairs of a bookstore, in a classroom at an elementary school, in a meeting room in Burnsville, and in a meeting room at the Historic Thomas Wolfe House. But this term, I hit the jackpot.  I meet my classes in a board room in the library of The Asheville School, a boarding school for grades 9 - 12.

 I had never visited the school  though I knew of it as a well-regarded prep school just off a busy highway in West Asheville. Indeed, the Tampa prep school I taught at many years ago was headed by several men who had previously served on the faculty of The Asheville School.

But in near forty years of being in the area, I never had occasion to visit the campus. And what a campus it is.  Just off a busy highway, lined with fast food restaurants, car lots, and other non-upscale enterprises, hidden behind a wall of trees are three hundred acres of classrooms, dormitories, faculty housing, sports complexes, and I don't know what all.  That there is an equestrian center suggests the range of amenities available to the students.

I was overcome with appalling  envy on first seeing this place -- the sort of feeling I got when we visited Oxford -- why couldn't I have had a school experience like this? 

The answer is simple: I didn't know at the time that it was something I wanted. Not that my family could have afforded such a thing.  

Of course, I probably wouldn't have appreciated it if I had been given such an opportunity. But I found myself wanting to grab a random passing kid and ask if he or she knew how fortunate he or she is to be able to attend a school like this. 

I went online to find out more  about this idyllic grove of academe HERE.  I was taken aback at the tuition that tops $47,ooo for boarding students ("Pocket change for some people," said John,) but I noted that there was a fair amount of student aid. 

Ah, well, perhaps in another life. Though if I'm going to dream, perhaps I would put Hogwarts at the top of my list. Less field hockey, more quidditch.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Chaos Theory

John has opened up a hole on the living room wall to install a kerosene heater as backup to the fireplace, A very cold winter is predicted and, though we have quite a store of wood, one never knows . . . 

The dogs and cats don't like the commotion and the mess.  It doesn't bother me because for the moment I feel no compulsion to vacuum and can concentrate on freezing squash and canning tomatoes and applesauce.

And I find myself pondering a spam comment left on one of the older posts on my blog:

Lots of companies that are well establish may not provide as good of service as you may expect. Instead of courting athlete's foot, you should at least try to train your ferret to use a litter box.