My Three Dollar Felcos

Several years ago my friend Annie was as excited as I’ve ever seen her. It was over a birthday present from her husband. No, not jewelry or dinner at a fancy restaurant. It was a truckload of prime-quality manure for her garden.

Most gardeners can relate.


Not long ago I was in a second-hand shop and thought I spotted the signature red handles of Felco pruners. Sure enough, #8s and they were only $3.00! After I took this photo, I cleaned and sharpened them and put on a new spring.  They work beautifully, which spurred me to clean and sharpen all my garden tools. (Ok, most garden chores have been ignored, but my tools are very sharp).

Red Trucks and Memories

Delivering Christmas Greens

Every year, in early December, my mother and I set aside two or three days for marathon sessions of Christmas shopping. Mom loves the holidays and resolutely preserves her tradition of giving everyone in her large circle of friends, neighbors, and family a hand-picked gift (or two) from a proper department store in town.

We travel all around Asheville and take in the sights along the way. One stop was at Clem’s Cabin, where two guys in plaid shirts and a red truck were delivering trees for the next-day’s greens sale.

Back home, we gather the wrapping paper and tape (no bows – we take the minimalist approach) and Mom starts bringing out the presents she’s already gotten, adding to the ones we’ve just bought. I wrap, she writes the labels and checks off the name/gift on the master list.

This year, there were new people to add to the list and sadly, one to take away. The loss of Claude, my recently-departed, favorite uncle, brought pause and sweet reminiscence as Mom and I continued wrapping.

I’m a bit of a curmudgeon when it comes to the holidays, but I get nostalgic over memories of good times with family and friends, and old-fashioned sights like red trucks delivering Christmas trees. I’m like my uncle Claude on that.

Might As Well

Late summer in Frog Level, NC

Although it’s early September and not fall weather, the native Virginia creeper vine draping over this old building sign is starting to turn crimson. I like the idea of a picket fence outside the former tattoo establishment. It’s funk and apple pie in one vignette.

Frog Level Coffee Shop

Going Back in Time

I’ve been to Waynesville, NC many times, but somehow have always missed Frog Level, the old industrial part of town located down the hill near Richland Creek. Today, I found the historic and inviting spot as I deviated from my normal route on the way back to Interstate 40.

There are only a few streets in Frog Level, but I felt a sense of nostalgia as I walked on the old sidewalks and saw the sturdy buildings from the late 1800’s and early-to-mid 1900’s. My favorite was an old warehouse with very high ceilings and wide, wooden floor planks. Now gently restored, the warehouse is home to the Panacea Coffee House, a popular return destination for visitors. Today, I had their fragrant, freshly-roasted coffee and one of the best brownies of my life.