A bike ride to a secret spot off South Milledge reveals a neon patch of orange on the forest floor. Click here for a simple and delicious recipe by Isa Chandra Moskowitz.
Vernal Purple Invader
The latest section of greenway spits cyclists out near Lexington Road. A short ride west under Loop 10 leads to the now-vacant homeless camp called Tent City, which sits on one of many recently clear cut and mulched embankments around town. Hike up to the top of the hill, past a handful of abandoned huts and peek under the overpass for an incredible view of kudzu blanketing a stretch of buried railroad.
On the morning of the last day of school, one of my students pulled me aside and discreetly mentioned, “This weekend we’re moving to a place called The Salvation Army.” I explained where it’s located and talked it up as a place where they’ll be well-taken care of until they have to move again (a familiar ritual). After our conversation, I wondered how the residents of a local homeless camp were faring given recent destruction of woodland habitats, and recalled my first visit to Tent City.
I drove across town to join a small hodgepodge of volunteers from Athens and Atlanta in a Lowes parking lot on the morning of January 6th, 2008. The meeting was organized by an Atlanta-based nonprofit called The Mad Housers. We drove two miles west to Tent City on Lexington Road, a homeless camp tucked into the woods along a stretch of Loop 10.
Wielding tools and panels constructed the day before, we hiked up a shady trail dotted with tents and rudimentary lean-tos in varying states of disrepair. It was hard to discern which were occupied and which ones were abandoned. Once the path leveled a bit, a gentle war veteran named Radar greeted us with firm handshakes. He was the reason for our visit.
Radar and the rest of our crew spent the next few hours chatting while building his new home, the now-vacant hut pictured above.
The Mad Housers returned to Tent City and built more homes over the years. Radar passed away, then a woman named Sissy shared the hut with her ailing mother.
Now everyone is gone. Crews contracted by the Georgia Department of Transportation are in the process of felling trees and clearing undergrowth alongside major roadways. According to a piece on the WUGA website, the project “pushed back the tree line to reduce shadows on the road and ensure falling trees wouldn’t disrupt traffic in storms.”
Whether it’s a mom unable to pay rent and utilities, a chipmunk or garter snake seeking refuge from predators, or military veterans and the mentally ill seeking shelter, the DOT has disrupted more than a few fallen trees and shadows on the road ever could.
Summer Was a Tempest
May Day Flurries
A flurry of cottonwood seeds occupy an entrance to the North Oconee River Greenway.
Blood Mountain Vista
Storm Clouds Over Lake Hartwell
Click here to watch a TED talk by Gavin Pretor-Pinney, The Cloud Appreciation Society’s founder. Keep looking skyward…
Full Moonrise and Strix varia
A resident Barred Owl announced the full moonrise last Thursday (ten minutes before the alarm went off). Listen to haunting hooting the Cornell Lab of Ornithology describes as “Who cooks for you? Who cooks for you-all?”
Nat Arnold Building
Black Rock Mountain Pkwy Shack
Black Rock Mountain Pine
Black Rock Mountain Moss
Random horned bovinae and a derelict timber mill are but two curiosities greeting the (intentionally) lost along Madison County’s rural backroads.
Listen to four minutes, thirty-three seconds:
After the crash, Weyerhaeuser closed its Colbert facility. From the 2008 press release:
“Demand for engineered wood products continues to decline due to a slowdown in the housing market. As a result of these challenging market conditions, the Colbert facility will close for an indefinite period of time while we continue to balance supply with demand.”
Let’s hear it for the trees!