April 29, 2013

When it Rains...

"The best thing one can do when it's raining is to let it rain."- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

April 26, 2013

Obituary for a Farm Cat

With all the indicators in place: temps, gnats and pollen – spring has formally arrived and for good here in the Deep South.   And like every spring, everything is awakening and is new: new growth and new life all around us.  With this, I am always entertained by our farm menagerie as they too, seem to be as excited with the change of season. Our “working cats” in particular seem exceptionally frisky with all that is stirring and vivid memories of Whiskers come to mind – she was the fiercest and most prosperous of all our barn cats.


Originally written and posted in May 2009 when she departed our lives, here is her obit., in loving memory.


The Dirt Road Farm is grieving a great loss with the passing of Whiskers, the Farm's 5-year old black and white, tuxedo barn cat. Though not the eldest, Whiskers was regarded as the Matriarch of the Farm’s feline pride.

Born in the early spring of 2004, she was adopted by the Farm along with her 3 litter-mates in May of 2004. Affectionately known as “Ma` Ma`”, she was the quintessential farm cat. While lovingly devoted and loyal, Whiskers was fiercely independent and the open pastures remained her preferred domain; she was never to be a house cat.

A proud mother of two litters of kittens and skilled as a master huntress, Whiskers was best known for her tenacious mousing. She took great pride in her work – all too often sharing her prized kills with her beloved humans.

She lost the first of her nine lives to a mad swarm of wasps that had nested behind a window shutter on the Farm’s front porch requiring days of Benadryl treatments eventually seeing her closed eyes and softball sized head return to normal. The next of her nine lives was taken by the garage door leaving her with a fractured tail. The 3rd loss was a narrow escape after being locked inside the Farm truck on a long, long hot summer’s day. Her 4th life claimed from a possible coyote or wild dog having treed her resulting in serious injuries to a hind leg. But it would be an untreatable and fatal blood disease that would ultimately conquer what remained of her lives now leaving a huge hole in the hearts of her human family.

On May 26, 2009, Whiskers was laid to rest in the shade of the Oak and Pecan trees that cascade over the large granite outcroppings on the upper 26 acres of the Dirt Road Farm where she loved to watch and hunt from. She was buried alongside her first born son, Oscar-Duke of Meyer. She is predeceased by her sisters Misty and Diva, her brother, Professor Button, her daughter, Possum and her son, Oscar as well as other nieces and nephews including the Brer Brothers: Brer Fox, Brer Bear and Brer Rabbit, triplets born to her sister, Misty. She is survived by her two daughters Miss Georgia “Peaches” and Savannah Lucille (“Lucy”), nephews St. “Simon” La Rue and Rev. “Billy Bob” Clyde, nieces Skidaway and Charlotte, great nephew One-eyed “Rowdy” and great niece Princess “Patches”. Max, the eldest of the Dirt Road Farm’s cats and of no familial relationship to the deceased, remains indifferent to the passing of Whiskers.

She will be greatly missed seen frolicking and pouncing in the upper pastures as well as hearing her raspy mews expressing thank you’s for an early morning’s saucer of milk. This writer will deeply miss her all too familiar, gentle rubs against her legs while gathering eggs in the hen house – the comfort of her purring companionship while weeding the garden. But I know that somewhere her spirit lives on here along the Dirt Road…. and while on my early morning walks, I will likely feel her presence woven within the breezes that surround me along my trodden path.

…..just beyond my footsteps in the earliest morning sunlight, perhaps I’ll catch a glimpse of a distant silhouette of an elegant cat sitting proudly atop an aging fence post and it will bring a renewed sense of comfort reminding me of a farm cat’s lifelong devotion and unconditional love for me.


Post Script:

Following the burial of Whiskers on the upper 26 acres of the Dirt Road Farm, the writer was driving the Farm’s truck back to the house and, due to an unprecedented amount of recent rainfall, miss-navigated the pasture and became stuck in an all too wet low area requiring a long walk back to the house and having her truck rescued by the tractor.

It just wasn’t her day.

Copyright © 2009, 2013
All Rights Reserved.

April 16, 2013

Back Door Discoveries

Just outside the back door of the screened porch, I was greeted by a newly hatched turtle....

April 1, 2013

The Iron Horse - Green County, GA

Where All Directions Lead South - 
Including the Direction of The Iron Horse!

Photo by South of the Gnat Line. Copyright 2013. All Rights Reserved.

The Iron Horse in Greene County, Georgia
Created by Abbot Pattison at UGA in 1954
The Sculpture has resided in Greene County since 1959

Highway 15 in Greene County, Georgia - right at the Greene and Oconee County lines - has a famous site to see: The Iron Horse statue.

In the summer months, you may not be able to see the horse if the corn crop is good.

Strong and proud, photographs of the sculpture alone don't serve the size and scope of the Iron Horse true justice - perhaps SLG will have to revisit the statue with an entourage to give this grand Horse some scale.

Meanwhile, here's a little bit on this sculpture's history.
"Greene County (GA) Copyright 2010 D. Nelson
The infamous 12-foot-tall Iron Horse is an abstract sculpture that was created by Abbott Pattison at UGA's Lamar Dodd School of Art and placed in front of Reed Hall in 1954. Back then, art, and metal sculpture in particular, was new to southern universities and the horse was not well received. Just hours after its placement, students gathered around the iron creature, placed straw in its mouth and in front of it, manure at its back, and painted the word "front" on its neck. Balloons were tied underneath the rear legs, and attempts were made to set the horse on fire. When the fire department arrived, the students refused to back away until eventually the fire hoses were turned on the students.The day after the incident, the university moved the sculpture to a secret hiding place; R.I. Brittain, a university official. said it was unfortunate that students ''on the college level'' had minds on the level of ''grammar school or nursery children'' and ''react violently to anything new, with which they have not had previous experience.'' In 1959, the Iron Horse was moved to its current location on a farm in Greene County, where it now sits in the middle of a corn field, facing south and away from UGA, visible from GA 15 only in the winter. Jack Curtis, owner of the farm, says they are now judging the corn crops on whether or not they can see the horse.There have been several attempts to bring the Iron Horse back to campus but they all failed."

More links on the Iron Horse: