Saturday, June 15, 2013

Foxfires and Glowworms

What do foxfires and glowworms have in common? Well, both are examples of bioluminescence found in the Appalachian temperate rainforests, but in this case I'm talking about the Foxfire books, not the fungi.

Not being from the South, I didn't find out about the Foxfire books and magazines until my friend from Alabama gave me a copy of the first one. The books are anthologies of the original magazines-- published by high school students in the 1960s as part of an ongoing project to get kids to write in ways more meaningful, personal, and engaging than a book report. Students interviewed members of their local community to document their cultural heritage and record many of the fading traditions of rural Appalachian life. The content ranges from folklore to instructional how-to's to personal narratives.

I happened upon Foxfire 3 in the bookstore the other day which covers some wildcrafting (with a recipe for Cattail Pancakes and Honey Locust/Persimmon Beer), making your own banjos and dulcimers, an apple butter recipe, how to make sorghum with a horse operated mill and instructions for making your own butter churn. Ya know, just casual rainy day craft party kinda stuff.

I must say that I love the simple design of these original books. Who says good cover art needs anything more than text? Best use of Cooper Black ever.

We also had a great time watching fireflies and glowworms, but it's really difficult to take good pictures of those little guys. So instead, here are some native flowers I found. . .

Mountain Laurel
Sweet Brush 

Flame Azalea (a type of rhododendron)
I forget what this one is!

It's been lovely up here. . .

Chunk of mica I found in the creek

Being the only temperate rainforest in the US not along the West Coast (as far as I know at least) I feel very much at home. I've never seen this many rhododendrons before-- they're as big as trees! I tried to get some photographic evidence of these floral beasts, but they turned out too blurry. To give you an idea, I was able to climb one and sit in its branches! Beautiful.

Up in the Mountains last summer. . .

And an attempt to recreate the photo this year. . .

Time to return to the city, see you on the other side!


  1. Girl, these posts are a balm to my soul! The mountains, the light, the last picture filled with light and the shocking passage of time. Also, I think the Foxfire books and love for them is such a strange little unifying factor among makers and homesteaders and crafters.

  2. What an awesome find! The Foxfire series is so wonderful. I need to see if our library has it. I once found Foxfire 3 at a crazy little "library" in Baltimore but of course it had to be returned (after I kept it for over a month...) Glad to have found your blog!