September / October 2010 Newsletter


News From Them Thar Hills!

Volume 1, Issue 8, September – October 2010

Hunting Season Is Here!

Well, it’s that time of year again. While seasons for various classes of game are in effect throughout the year, deer season is the one to be most concerned about. This is the time when most accidental shootings occur.

Archery season runs Sep. 11 – Oct. 8 statewide. Primitive weapons season runs Oct. 9 – 15. Firearms season runs Oct. 16 – Jan. 1 in the Northern Zone (our area). An extended Archery season runs Jan. 2 – 31.

The main thing to remember when prowling through the bush in hunting season is to wear clothing that can be easily seen. This is not the time to wear camo or that novelty hat with the antlers that everyone thinks so funny. Hunters in the woods during firearm season are required to wear at least 500 sq. inches of hunter’s orange. Not a bad idea for non-hunters as well.

Archery season is probably the least worrisome of the three parts of the total deer season. The archer usually needs a clear flight path for the arrow and is usually limited to a 50 – 100 yard distance to target. Primitive weapons (muzzle loaders, shotguns, sharp sticks, etc.) can be dangerous to non-intended targets. Large bore rifles, on the other hand, can penetrate med. size pine trees and small oaks with relative ease.

Few hunters, the irresponsible ones, shoot at what they believe to be a deer without having a clear view of the animal. This is where the danger lies. When I was a child of the swamps in Louisiana several were the occasions when the brush next to me shook with the fury of pellet spray after a preceding “BOOM”! An expletive laden scream usually sufficed to prevent a repeat shot in my direction. But that was waaaaaaay back in the swamps where casual hikers (nor most sane folks) dared not venture. I don’t think it is that much of an issue around these parts. Better to be prepared before you are strapped to the front of someone’s pick-up and paraded through town.

Please Don’t Pet the Bears!

It’s hard to imagine that you would have to tell some folks to leave wild animals alone but the glaring examples are all around us and continue to astound me on a regular basis.

Recently a woman not to far from where I am typing saw a bear in her yard. I’m sure that it looked all cute, cuddly and inviting. She approached the animal with, as she later stated, the intent of petting it! Now, can you picture the scene? In hindsight I’m sure she regrets her ill-fated decision. The last news we had is that she was transported to Gainesville via Life Flight where we hope she has a speedy recovery.

Being a farmer, cattleman and nature lover in general I appreciate the beauty of nature and all of the creatures contained therein. I too yearn to stroke the fur of deer and bear in the wild when I see them. However, something inside warns me not to be too hasty lest I become tasty. Some may call that plain common sense but everyone has their own point of view.

The common black bear (Ursus americanus) is the smallest of North American bears. Adult males typically weigh between 125 – 550 pounds and measure 5.5 to 6 feet in length. They have smaller claws than their larger cousins. The claws are short and rounded and taper to a sharp point. If a bear cannot reach the honey inside of a tree bound hive they are quite capable of tearing and chewing away chunks of the tree to get to the sweet, sticky nectar they love so much. Speaking of tearing and chewing, they are also quite adept at rending flesh from bone. Even a small bear can cause egregious harm to the human form. They can run as fast as 40 mile per hour and climb a tree faster than you or I. They are also excellent swimmers and fiercely protective of their young.

You can look around on the web and see many sites devoted to the gentle bear. There are even folks who routinely “walk with the bears” in their native environment. So while I certainly am not trying to instill into you a fear and loathing of this particular critter I do think a certain amount of respect is in order.

A man of Cherokee descent in Jasper has a Bison and a rather large brown bear that he takes to Pow-wow gatherings and the like to entertain and enthrall the public. He even lets folks step up and wrestle the de-clawed bear for a small donation. The “wrestling” consists of the person (usually a large manly man) approaching the seemingly sedate bruin intent on being “the one” that can pin the bear for a three count. The bear watches him approach with seeming disinterest and then slowly reaches out and swats even the biggest dudes aside as if they were a fly. No one can stand up to him. The owner once told of a time years ago when the bear grabbed him by the head with his jaws and dragged him around a bit and dropped him to the ground only to then lie down beside him as if nothing happened. He still has a few scars to show for it but he swears it didn’t change their relationship because the bear was only playing.

Since bears are about 80% vegetarian they love nuts and berries and even graze on grass. Bird feeders are a prime target as are deer feeding stations and bee hives. Trash cans are also a favorite. We repaired a large wooden enclosure built specifically to exclude bears and other varmints for one of our clients a couple of weeks ago. The garbage cans still bear his teeth and claw marks. Oh, did I mention one of our cleaning crews was there at the time and happen to catch him red-pawed? That was an interesting call to receive. I can still hear the screams. The horror!

You may want to consider taking your feeders down when you depart. If you pour piles of corn out to attract deer you may get a visit from this gentle, inquisitive and powerful denizen of the mountain’s forest. They are best observed from a distance or the safety of the inside of your house.

No cleaning personnel were harmed in the story above… but there was screaming.

September – October Mountain Events

Each Fri., Sat. and Sun. – Appalachian Fresh Market

The Farmers Market @ Summit Street

Corner of East First Street and Summit next to The Swan Drive-In. The old state farmers market has re-opened with fresh produce provided by growers from several counties, as well as craftsmen from the region displaying their crafts. Friday’s from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m., Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Each Sat. – Blue Ridge Farmers Market

West Main Street across from the Fannin County Courthouse. Local farmers set up with their crops for sale, farm fresh eggs, produce etc…. also locally made products and crafts. Every Saturday from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. Vendors pay $3.00 for market space and they set their own prices for the items they sell. They will also be offering classes on select dates with topics such as “Local Herbs,” “Cooking with fresh herbs and vegetables”. Vendors contact 706-258-4552.

Each Sat. & Wed. – Union County Farmers Market

148 Old Smokey Rd.
Turn North on Weaver Road off 515 (next to Home Depot). The first right off Weaver is Old Smokey. You can’t miss it!

The new home of the Union County Farmer’s Market is finally open! It has been full of vendors every weekend. A nice open and airy facility, it is a great place to go and see what local produce is available. Get there early as  sales are brisk in the early morn.

7/16/2010 – 11/8/2010
Mountain Arts Association – Summer Fun
lower level of the lodge
Young Harris, GA 30582

Location: Brasstown Valley Resort
Contact: Mary Taylor
Phone: 706-896-9739
Sponsor: Mountain Arts Association
Cost: Free
More Info: For additional information

10/2/2010 – 10/3/2010

33rd Annual Indian Summer Festival

Suches, GA. ~ The Valley Above the Clouds annual festival

On the grounds of Woody Gap School ~ Georgia’s smallest public school

GA. Hwy 60, between Dahlonega and Blue Ridge

Activities and family entertainment Arts/crafts, antiques, pottery, leather, local produce, folk art, homemade fried apple pies and good bar-b-que.

10/2/2010 – 10/3/2010
Folk School Fall Festival
One Folk School
Brasstown, NC 28902

Location: Folk School Campus
Hours: 10am – 5pm, Saturday & Sunday
Contact: John C. Campbell Folk School
Phone: 828-837-2775
Sponsor: John C. Campbell Folk School
Cost: Admission: Adults: $5.00 Kids 12-17: $3.00 Under 12: Free
More Info: For additional information

Description: One of the largest and most popular events of its type in the region, Fall Festival is a celebration of our rich Appalachian heritage. Over 200 juried and non-juried craftspeople will offer their handcrafted items for sale including jewelry, woodturning, pottery, weaving, ironwork, photography, rugs, woodcarvings, furniture, paintings, baskets and much, much more. Craft-Making Demonstrations- You’ll be fascinated by over 40 demonstrations of traditional and contemporary craftmaking. See how to throw a clay pot, turn a wood bowl, spin wool into yarn or create a fine Windsor chair. Mountain Life Area- Visit our Mountain Life Area and watch traditional exhibitions such as blacksmithing, corn meal grinding and fly tying. Please check back closer to the event date for our craft-making demonstration schedule. Kids’ Activities – Fall Festival is a great family outing. Kids will particularly enjoy: Face Painting, Pony Rides, Wagon Rides, Drum Circle, and the Humane Society’s Pet Adoption Booth. Live Music & Dance on Two Stages – Tap your toes or stomp your feet to the sounds of old-time, bluegrass, folk, gospel and Celtic music both Saturday and Sunday. Dancers will delight you with clogging, Morris, Scottish, and Garland performances. The tentative entertainment schedule will be posted as the festival grows nearer – please remember that last minute changes may occur. VENDORS: Fall Festival Applications will be posted online the first week of March

10/8/2010 – 10/16/2010
Georgia Mountain Fall Festival
1311 Music Hall Rd.
Hiawassee, GA 30546

Location: Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds
Contact: Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds
Phone: 706-896-4191
Sponsor: Towns County Lions Club
Cost: $9.00 Per Person (+$2 parking) Children under 9 free
More Info: Fall Festival Daily Events

Description: Look forward to the 2010 Fall Festival. With its mild temperatures and beautiful scenery there is no better place to be than the North Georgia Mountains in the fall. Each October, the 9 day event features exciting musical performances, educational demonstrations, a flower show and the ever popular Georgia’s Official State Fiddlers’ Convention.

10/9 – 10/10  &  10/16 – 10/17

Sorghum Festival @ Meeks Park

Blairsville, GA.

Celebrate the art of Sorghum Syrup making! Activities include Arts and crafts, Sryup making, Greased pole climbin’, Log Sawin’, “Baccor” Spitin’, Rock throwin’, Live music, face painting and food.

The Danish String Quarter
Keith House
Brasstown, NC 28902

Location: John C. Campbell Folk School
Hours: 2:30pm
Phone: 828-389-2595 or 828-389-4210
Sponsor: Brasstown Concert Association
Cost: Call for tickets. Individual, Half season or Whole season
Description: These four gifted musicians formed their quartet in 2001 and soon established itself as the most promising news in the classical world in Denmark. They have won a number of major prizes.

10/22/2010 – 10/31/2010
Haunted Hike & Hay Ride
6321 US Hwy 76
Young Harris, GA 30582

Location: The Stables
Hours: Begins 7:30pm Hikes depart every quarter hour October 22, 23, 29, 30 & 31
Contact: Karen Rogers
Phone: 706-379-4606
Sponsor: Brasstown Valley Resort
Cost: $15.00 per person
Description: Who’s hiding in the hollow? What’s rustling in the Hay? Experience eerie sensations in the night at Brasstown Valley Resort & Spa’s Phantom Trail. Your trip into darkness begins with our hayride which will drop you off in the wooods where you will encounter the inhabitants of your worst nightmares as you make your way back to the Stables. Disclaimer: Children 12 years and under must be accompanied by a parent. This is a scary event and parental discretion is advised.

Annual Harvest Festival – Crane Creek Vineyard
916 Crane Creek Road
Young Harris, GA 30582

Hours: 11:00 am to 6:00 pm
Contact: Crane Creek Vineyard
Phone: 706-379-1236
Sponsor: Crane Creek Vineyard
Cost: see the description for details
More Info: For additional information

Description: Join us for our annual Harvest Festival at Crane Creek Vineyards as we celebrate the completion of the year’s harvest. There will be hayrides, grape stomping, tours of the winery, a kiddie tent and fun for the whole family! Tickets will be sold at the door: adults $20, ages 13-20 $10, children under 12 free. Ticket price includes wine tasting, a souvenir wine glass, lunch and admission to all of the activities.

Heirloom Seeds Seminar
195 Georgia Mountain Experiment Station Road
Blairsville, GA 30512

Location: GMRE Center Auditorium
Hours: 10:00 am
Phone: 706-745-2655
Sponsor: Georgia Mountain Research & Education Center
Description: No need to register. Mike Watkins, Heavenly Seed LLC & Dr. David Bradshaw, Horticulture Dept, Clemson University, Retired. Learn from these two experts what heirloom seeds are all about and why saving them is so important.

10/30/2010  9am – 11am

Halloween 5K Run/Walk

Proceeds supports Breast Cancer Research. Costume contest & prizes.

$10 entry fee – 1st 100 receives FREE T-shirt.

10/30  @  5:30 – 7:30 pm

Downtown Blairsville, GA.

Trick or Treat on the Square, with treats from 80 businesses and organizations gathered around the old courthouse in downtown Blairsville. Bring donations for the Union County Food Pantry.

…a note from Cindy

Autumn is attempting to arrive.The nights are cooling down but the days have remained unusually hot. We do not know yet how brilliant the leaf color will be this year.Some of the leaves are falling due to the extremely dry conditions.Please keep the dry vegetation in mind if you decide to havecampfire this fall!

As the cool weather approaches we are nearing the planting time for trees, shrubs, perennials and fescue grass.The end of October is generally a great planting time.For all of you that want installations we will begin scheduling for October soon.If you have been thinking about doing some planting take advantage of the fall window of opportunity.

I hope you will enjoy our new column on eating in season.We will try to give you some new ideas on local fruits and vegetables which you may not usually purchase.We would love to hear from you if you have any recipes you would like to share or if there is any topic you would like us to write about in an upcoming newsletter.

Fall is a great time of the year, I hope you will be able to take some time to enjoy its beauty!

Cindy Cohen

Vittles for Every Season!

This new segment of our newsletter celebrates eating in season. Please let us know if there is a seasonal item you want to know more about how to eat or prepare (beets, parsnips, possum, etc.) and we’ll see if we can find something for ya.

When produce is in season locally, the abundance of the crop usually makes it less expensive. For many of us the taste of the food we buy is every bit as important as the cost, if not more so. When food is not in season locally it’s either grown in a hothouse or shipped in from other parts of the world, both of which affect taste and quality. If you attempt to compare a dark red, vine-ripened tomato with a winter greenhouse tomato that’s barely red, somewhat mealy and lacking in flavor you will realize what we are talking about. When transporting crops over long distances they must be harvested early and refrigerated so they don’t rot during their long trip. They may not ripen as well as they would in their natural environment and as a result they fail to express their full flavor.

When you harvest produce early so it can endure long distance shipping it’s not going to have the full compliment of nutrients that it’s ‘vine-ripened’ brethren has. In addition, some food processors use preservatives, such as wax laden with chemicals that retard spoilage and some even use irradiation (zapping with a burst of radiation to kill possible pathogens) which can leave behind radiolytic compounds, as well as altering the original vitamin and mineral content in the food that is being treated.

While it might not always be possible to purchase your seasonal produce locally, the next best thing is to purchase what’s in season somewhere else in your region, and hopefully not too far away so as to minimize shipping time and the subsequent loss of quality.

So determine what is in season right now and you can enjoy high quality food packed with nutrition at a lower cost.  Your reward will be food with actual flavor!

Glazed Autumn Vegetables

4 pearl onions, peeled and trimmed

4 Brussel sprouts, trimmed and halved

2 med. turnips, peeled and quartered

2 sm. carrots, peeled and cut into 2 in. pieces

1 med. parsnips, peeled and cut into 2 in. pieces

1 T. butter

Pinch of sugar

Kosher salt and pepper to taste

Steam until tender (or place in pan with water and cook until tender)

Add butter, sugar and seasoning.

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