Displaying items by tag: george ellison

mtnvoicesLooking back I can remember that 1975 
was a wildflower sort of year.   
1980 was a tree sort of year. 
1984 was a bird sort of year.  
1989 was a mushroom sort of year.  
1999 was a fern sort of year.   

mtnvoicesIt’s Oct. 6 as I write this. The first frost hasn’t as yet arrived. But it won’t be long coming. Most gardening resources for Western North Carolina cite on or about Oct. 10 as the average date for a killing frost.

In the June 14, 2004, issue of The New Yorker magazine, there is an essay titled “Blocked! Why Do Writers Stop Writing?” (I can’t find the author’s name in the online edition). Therein one of the Romantic poets, Coleridge, is cited as a prime example of a writer who suffered from that peculiar malady known as “writer’s block”:

I don’t like to talk or write about writing — but when forced to do so by, say, an approaching deadline, I will. I am, in fact, doing so right now. But I’ll be concise: have a beginning, have an ending, and don’t worry about the middle.

art blueberries“It’s football time in Tennessee!” is what John Ward, the long-time announcer for the University of Tennessee, used to declare when the opening kickoff of the season was airborne.

mtnvoicesWhen it rains it pours. Within the past week or so, I received two emails about plant galls. That’s two more than I’ve received in the past 15 years of writing this column. Here goes.

backthenWhen my son, now grown, was about 9 or 10, he queried me one summer day about the foamy bubbles in the tall grass of a meadow above the house.

mtn voicesHog Holler, Hog Branch, Hog Camp Branch, Hog Cane Branch, Hog-eye Branch, Hogback Gap, Hogback Holler, Hogback Knob, Hogback Ridge, Hogback Township, and Hogback Valley in addition to six sites in Western North Carolina named Hogback Mountain. Proof enough, if anyone required it, that hogs have been an essential part of the mountain landscape.

ellison trumpetvineIt’s mid-June again … the time of the year when certain plants can be relied upon to do their thing in our yard and on the decks that enclose the house on three sides. Yuccas, oak-leaf hydrangeas, spiderworts, coral vines, various ornamental lilies and roses, and others are in full bloom. But none of these can hold a candle to the trumpet vine.

mtn voicesCertain questions inevitably pop up during plant identification outings. One has to do with whether or not eastern hemlock trees are poisonous.

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The Naturalist's Corner

  • Fingers still crossed
    Fingers still crossed Status of the Lake Junaluska eagles remains a mystery, but I still have my fingers crossed for a successful nesting venture. There was some disturbance near the nest a week or so ago — tree trimming on adjacent property — and for a day or…

Back Then with George Ellison

  • The woodcock — secretive, rotund and acrobatic
    The woodcock — secretive, rotund and acrobatic While walking stream banks or low-lying wetlands, you have perhaps had the memorable experience of flushing a woodcock — that secretive, rotund, popeyed, little bird with an exceedingly long down-pointing bill that explodes from underfoot and zigzags away on whistling wings and just barely managing…
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