Saturday, September 23, 2017

The Great Brenda Harvey

Many people gathered at the Friends Meeting a few weeks ago to remember Brenda Harvey. Brenda was an extraordinary person: she worked at the Celo Health Center for years, she and Ken Harvey were married for 60 years and raised to marvelous children, Kennan and Tasha (who are no longer children); she was an athlete, a great friend and neighbor, a generous volunteer, a thinker, an astute reader of books, and a person one was always glad to run into.

The program for the memorial included this pair of pictures of the Harvey family.

Many people spoke eloquently about their relationship with Brenda and her many contributions to the community and to other people's lives. And Jeff projected a video that he and Margot made a few weeks before Brenda died.

Almost to the end, Brenda was part of a weekly dance group. After one of their sessions, Margot invited the women to her house and asked them to improvise movement to a wonderful song by The Avett Brothers while Jeff shot video. She had previously assembled a group of Brenda's friends and family, including her two granddaughters, to dance to the song, which was also recorded. Jeff layered the two videos to make this beautiful collage.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Stompin' at Festatoa

Cuttin' a mulch at the 2017 Festatoa, inspired by the sounds of the Yves Giraud Band. Thanks to Jody and Jennifer for letting everyone have a mad great time at their place, and thanks to the many people who contributed in one way or another. It was a beautiful day.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Cloudy Eclipse from Jay

Jay Zietlow was part of the gathering at David and Kim's documented below. Unlike me, he applied himself to making photographs during the height of the event. Here are four pictures from just before, during, and just after the totality. The picture from the totality appears to be showing a solar flare. Click to see them bigger.

Saturday, August 26, 2017


A whole bunch of people gathered on August 21 at David and Kim's new house to watch the eclipse in the Area of Totality (which would make a good name for a band or a novel). 

Most folks got there early so they could get good and ready.

Like Jacob, who was good and ready.

Some of the kids found it hard to make the eclipse glasses work, so Pace and David made some modified glasses

that were easier to use. (At least one older person found this technology helpful as well.)

Matt and some other folks made a crawl-in, pinhole eclipse viewer.

This is what it was doing inside (multiple pinholes were involved).

Tracking the progress of the moon across the sun.

The sky got pretty cloudy just before the totality, but the clouds were moving and had thin places, so we got a series of beautiful, breathtaking views of the corona. Despite the dimming of the light beforehand, the sudden darkness was stunning. During the last bit of the totality, the sun was not visible at all, and the first bit of direct sunlight to slip past the moon lit up the clouds as though someone had flipped a switch.

Click to see this larger. You might know some of these fine people.

An eclipse in the palm of my hand. Many thanks to David and Kim for being excellent hosts.

Click the triangle to hear a bit of what it sounded like:

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Checkin' the specs

Tal Galton and Sandy, from Environmental Engineering and Measurement Services, checking specifications and calibration at the Clingman's Peak rain collection site. The site is part of the National Atmospheric Deposition Program, one of the longest-running environmental monitoring studies in the country.

Farewell, Paulus

There was a lovely memorial service for artist, teacher, and long-time Penland neighbor Paulus Berensohn on the knoll at Penland last week. The structure was built for the event by Jonah Stanford. More pictures here.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Tower of pickles

No cucumber is safe at the Bernstein's.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Bob with beets

Change of Address

Artist, teacher, dancer, and friend-to-many Paulus Berensohn had what he referred to as a "change of address" after a stroke and a short stay at Solace hospice in Asheville. He was buried on June 18 in an elaborately decorated cardboard coffin at Carolina Memorial Sanctuary, a green burial site near Asheville. A large group of his friends were there. Facilitating was our old friend and neighbor, Ruth Ostrenga, who is part of the Center for End of Life Transitions

Paulus lived near Penland for 30 years or so. He had a remarkable life. Here's a story about him from the New York Times. Here's a tribute to Paulus that was presented at last year's Penland benefit auction.

I'll miss the sound of his voice.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Not recommended

Gardening in the rain is not generally recommended, but sometimes you just have to do stuff when you have the time.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

And they're off!

Polly and Ginger getting ready to head for New Hampshire. I think we're going to miss them.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Bubble Magic

Sarah making bubble magic with Ginger and James at Polly and Ginger's farewell party.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Giants and Lobsters

This yard lobster ran into Giant Gina at the river yesterday.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

A lupine position

Miika reports that the lupine are having quite a year.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Ladies Chain, Courtesy Turn, Swing Your Partner, Etc.

Dancing up a weather system over at Green Cay. Our community dance (contras, squares, etc.) has been going on intermittently for three or four decades. After a recent hiatus of about a year, it's back and has been pretty well attended. This month our homeboy Frederick Park was the caller. Next month, Laurie Fischer will lead the dancing on Friday June 2.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Hello, Fiddlehead!

Meredith sent this picture of Eben greeting the first fiddleheads of spring.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

I refuse to explain this picture

But I can confirm that those are bowling pins.

Garden Shed

Remember that day we took everything out of the garden shed and sorted it it and and folded all the ground cover and row cover and threw a bunch of stuff away and put everything back in very neatly and then there was a lot of room in the shed? That was a fun day.

Thursday, March 16, 2017


There might have been a little snow involved as well.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Sap Collector

Jeff Polgar sent this picture of Lily collecting sap.

As an aside, I noticed recently that this stuff is being sold in bottles as "maple water." The next big thing??

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Fix-It Day

And again, the ever-generous Don Walker sharpened everything from paring knives to garden hoes, put on new handles, welded broken things, and made lots of people happy during the annual Cabin Fever University Fix-It Day at his shop. Not only that, Karen made hot cider and cookies. He usually manages to do this on the coldest day of the year, but not this time.

Middle Creek Falls

Just below Middle Creek Falls on a beautiful Sunday afternoon.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Speaking Up in Raleigh

Three Raskins and a Schopler at the annual Historic Thousands on Jones Street rally and march in Raleigh. The NAACP and a number of other organizations collaborate on this event which takes place the weekend before the opening of the North Carolina legislative session. The rally is used to promote a number of progressive causes. It was a beautiful day and it drew the largest crowd in the 11-year history of the event. Thanks, Reverend William Barber for your inspiring leadership in our state.

This was our favorite sign of the day.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Fire Lines

Fire lines burning just above 80 South in McDowell County--seen from the Parkway on Tuesday evening.

Monday, January 30, 2017

What snow?

Hardcore, Sunday afternoon, driveway petanque.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Wednesday, January 4, 2017