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The Butter Bean … a new farm venture

KB_Butter_Beans_B&W

 

One of my strong remembrances about growing up was eating hand-picked, hand-shelled, home-cooked butter beans. In those days, there were no efficient mechanical harvesters so their fine delicacy reputation was bred into their preparation … much like a blackberry pie tasting it’s best when the berries are hand-picked – by the one doing the eat’in!

Southern brand recognition and family tradition goes a long way so imagine my personal delight when I learned that again in my lifetime I might eat from the golden pot.  Enough South Carolina natives recall that experience and the demand has been one where supply is only met currently via private reserve.

Congratulations to my Houck cousins for finding that a modern ag growing and harvesting approach puts this high-fiber best tasting vegetable on our dining room table in Winston-Salem.

A new series of images is being created and crafted to reflect and tell the story of our farmer’s ‘hands’ in both organic and non-organic food production.  My wife’s hands are used in this beta-project to showcase the butter bean.

Harvest time …

Will Wofford trims his peanut dump buggy

Will Wofford trims his peanut dump buggy

 

Once peanuts are dug from the ground, they are  left in the field to dry before being combined (peanuts separated from the dug plant), graded, and prepared for market. Optimal conditions are when the peanuts sun-dry for a few days on top of the ground. This reduces the need and duration of mechanical drying with forced hot air ($$ propane $$).

A sun drenched field also creates dust storms which farmers had to endure before there were closed cabs. Here, Will Wofford of Houck Farms, dumps a load of peanuts into an open top tractor trailer which when full is driven to the peanut yard for grading and storage.

The Carolina’s battle that changed the course of the Revolutionary War …

OVMT

Each year, Revolutionary War re-enactors  march from Abingdon, Virginia and Elkin, NC to commemorate the march of the frontier patriots over the Appalachian Mountains to defeat the Loyalist army at the Battle of King’s Mountain (S.C.).  A portrayal and interpretation site is at the Bright’s Cemetery on the Unimin Quarry property in Avery County (near Spruce Pine, NC) where almost 400 school children are bused annually to witness the tribute to Captain Robert Sevier who was mortally wounded in battle.  The celebration includes the retelling of the story of the Overmountain Men victory march, the firing of the muskets, the presentation of an inspiring prayer, and the paying of respects at graveside.  A lunch is provided by the Unimin Corporation , the local mining operation which produces most of the world’s quartz and silica for computer chips..

Captain Robert Sevier is the brother of  Colonel John Sevier who is credited in leading the charge defeating Loyalist Major Patrick Ferguson.

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"Hip-hip-huzah!"

Honorary tribute, the firing of the muskets

Tribute to Major Robert Sevier

Reaching the cemetery requires over a mile walk along the East Toe River.

Re-enactor, Ralph Martin

World Triathlon Championships … The Story in Front of the Images

World Triathlon Competition 2014
Triathlon Worlds 2014
World Triathlon Competition 2014
World Triathlon Competition 2014
World Triathlon Competition 2014
World Triathlon Competition 2014
World Triathlon Competition 2014
World Triathlon Competition 2014
World Triathlon Competition 2014
World Triathlon Competition 2014
World Triathlon Competition 2014
World Triathlon Competition 2014

Joining hands for the finish ...

The Divine Touch. Sister Madonna Buder, the 'Iron Nun', now at the age of 84, is the oldest woman to ever complete an Ironman Triathlon. She is a frequent participant in races where K.B. Medford appears, and there is this gesture of reconnecting friends.

With Canada being the host country for this competition, youngsters gained the advantage of riding on parents shoulders during the "Parade of Champions" for the opening ceremonies.

New Model Bike Rack. The total value of bike's like these in the transition zone was more than the GDP of some countries in the world.

Pomp and Circumstance. Each age-group competition cluster was led to the swim venue by a Scottish bagpiper.

No Straight Lines. The competition venue was so large that there were no straight lines for getting from one location to another. Staircases over the running and biking courses were a necessity.

Family Support. The para athlete competitors were the most visibly supported of all the competition groups, as represented by this young Austrian family.

Canadian Honor Guard at the Opening Ceremony

Chlorinated Duck Pond - Safe? The swimming venue was transformed from a silted duck pond with the removal of over 900 truck loads of sediment, the addition of a 25 acre pool liner, and the titration to "safety" with tons of pool chlorine.

Friendships New and Old. Competitors known or unknown to each other at venues like this become instant friends.

Old Glory. The USA Team marches in front of the sunlit Edmonton Museum of Art during the "Parade of Champions."

Out of the Water. Professional elite division athlete completes swim, leaving for bike leg.

 

World Triathlon Competition 2014

K.B. Medford – top finisher

3,000 athletes from 73 countries participated the recent World Triathlon championships in Alberta, Canada … my wife was one, finishing in the top 10 in her age group, and my reason for attending the event as her domestique.

A sense of wonder prevailed in all the venues and served as a testimony to the human conditions of genuine goodness and joy – a welcome relief from the news which we left at home before beginning our journey – and a topic that I have editorialized about before.

The supernatural para athletes were well supported by family and friends;  pomp and circumstance added a new dimension to our experience unseen at the local level;  and national pride was amplified and ubiquitous.  Personal stories abounded.

Innovation and creativity was part of the mix as evidenced by the transformation of a sludge-filled duck pond into a world class swimming pool.  This was a transformation made possible by the removal of 990 dump trucks loads of sludge, the placement of a 25 acre pool liner, and the judicious application of over a ton of pool chlorine.

More Joy Welcomed in N.Y. Times Pictures of the Day

photo by K.B. Medford

photo by K.B. Medford

The N.Y. Times Pictures of the Day are a dependable source of inspiration for photographers.  They trend with the news which is currently resplendent with grief and pain from locations like the Ukraine, Iraq, and Ferguson, Missouri.

The images have become repetitive with bombed out buildings, makeshift coffins carried by wailing families, and of soldiers being beaten or beating.

I was particularly proud of my wife who captured this moment during the  baptism of  the son of a close cousin at The Resurrection Lutheran Church in Cameron, S.C.

Lutherans believe that baptism is a gift of salvation which can be fulfilled by committed good families and communities.

Let’s pray for more joyful images (and  supportive) communities like this …

Pre-Dawn Arrivals: Lake Logan Triathlon

The lights in the sky are projected by the Evergreen Packaging paper mill in Canton, NC (ten miles away). The swim part of the race starts at 7:00 a.m. Athletes begin arriving at 4:30 a.m. Sunrise is at 6:30 a.m. Exposure at f/3.5, 24 mm, ISO 200 for 30 seconds

During the first weekend of August 2014, over 900 athletes arrived before the sun came up at the Lake Logan Episcopal Center in Western North Carolina to be cheered by family and friends.  This event has grown substantially, particularly this year with the addition of the Lake Logan Half.  In this event, contestants swim 1.2 miles (1.9m),  bike 52 miles (90 km), run 13.1 miles (21.1 km).

The event is owned and managed by  Glory Hound Events with production and promotion assistance by Setup Events.

The promo-documentary for the event can be found here.

Greg Duff of Glory Hound Events

Greg Duff of Glory Hound Events interviewed for live-broadcast by WLOS-TV

Lake Logan 2014 Triathlon

Athlete crossing the West Fork of the Pigeon River Bridge on her way to registration.

No, I am not a winner … but you (an aspiring photographer) could be

Lens Culture Emerging Talents

I am not a winner, but an aspiring photographer who is trying to improve their game will be by spending time on this site.

Lensculture and their judges, in announcing their winners – age 18 to 69 – explain in detail why they identified these photographer artists as “emerging talent”- what a bonus!

Reviewing their comments and the portfolios and websites of theses photographers is like eating candy out of a barrel in a candy store – validated inspiration one can always come back to.

Bookmark this incredible site as I have.  It will be there until next year this time – ready to help you become a bigger winner with your art form!

Story Behind the Image: “Drive By Shooting”

Going Home

“Drive By Shooting”

Story behind the Image:  Let me say that when this image was first published, one of my dear friends voluntarily suggested a caption that hit the mark and demonstrated his knowledge of how  images like this might be produced.  I was “okay” with it as I knew that my deceased parents would be, too.  They knew Tim.

When Mother was transported by Wells Funeral Home  to be interred, they traveled down Interstate 26 from Waynesville to the Mt. Lebanon Cemetery – the home church cemetery for the the Resurrection Lutheran Church in Cameron, S.C. where she grew up.  My wife and I did not intentionally accompany the hearse but we frequently leap-frogged with the long black Cadillac down the interstate.  It took a little time for Dan Pottinger ( of Wells), who helped us with our family arrangements, to become comfortable with my humor and penchant for creativity.  Whenever the hearse would pass us on the interstate, my wife (K.B.)  and I would say, “There goes Mom!”

The imagery was powerful and I told Dan after the graveside service that we needed to re-create the scene.  This was a request he had never had before, and his reaction was very doubtful.  In honesty he asked,  “do we do the drive-down and graveside ceremony over again?”

Hearse Composite 2So with several months thinking about it and looking at locations, the best choice ended up being the basement garage of the funeral home. Hearse Composite The relational distances could be set up — side to side and front to back, and I had the equipment to re-create the lighting.  The road scene is from Old State Road near the Cemetery.  The scene in the rear view mirror is the flipped image of Old State Road.   The informality of the occasion and our friendship made the production successful.  I learned many things, for one, that funeral directors do not have to go to car-washing school to become credentialled.

In the re-creation, I asked Dan to remove his dark jacket, roll the window down, and rest his white-sleeved arm on the car window ledge.  He whimpered a little, “It is against company policy”.   I looked at him, but then he grinned.

It was as Mother would have wanted it.

“One More!” … at the ‘Ultimate Runner’ competition

Ultimate Runner 2014

Race official, Perry Macheras, informs competition runner, Heather Hugosson, that she has one more lap to run in The Mile component of her race.

The Ultimate Runner which is unlike any other running competition in the United States as we know it was the brainchild of Sandy Wetherhold who 28 years ago devised a competition in which runners competed for time in five events: one mile, 400 meters, 800 meters, and 5K cross country. The race is age-graded.

The Ultimate Runner is produced as one of the annual signature events of Winston-Salem’s Twin City Track Club founded almost at the same year of the original event.

A significant event and image from my life …

Going Home

Going home to Mt. Lebanon, the church cemetery of the Resurrection Lutheran Church

My mother was the only patient in the ICU of Haywood County Regional Medical Center on Wednesday evening, May 9, 2012.  The Unit was eerily quiet, absent of the usual beeping cadence of  monitors, and that of my mother’s – her monitor and I.V.’s disconnected a few hours before.  The sole light burning was the one over the nurses station which cast a diffuse fluorescent glow through their observation window into her private room.  My mother’s  life was slipping away as her still warm hand lay in mine.  She communicated to me the best that she could as I expected she might, “Please take me home!”

I knew what that meant, as she had repeated this phrase several times over to her friends when her mom passed away 25 years earlier in 1987.  “I am bringing her home,” she would tell them.

“Home” for her was Cameron, S.C. – a small town at the headwaters of  the Four Hole Swamp.  I often visited there as a child,  spending more than just a few days with Grandmother Houck, “Aunt Vera”, as was the local naming convention.  Cameron was and still is a comfortable town filled with comfortable people.  Cousins I played with then are  running the family farm now.  The experience of visiting them is like stepping back into an earlier life.

A few things have changed – farming, for one; the century farm is even more amplified in it’s character with bigger machines and fewer laborers;  the century family is bigger than life with everyone-at-the table meals; and the family bible from 1883 is prominently located as a premonition of all good things to come – even me!

This experience has become the basis of my multimedia graduation project at the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University.  Over the next few months, there will be several “rough-cut” screenings, as I massage the story and the technicals.  If you have not been invited, please ask to be as it is a story worth sharing.

The still photographs will become part of a book and an exhibit, entitled “Coming Home to Cotton”.