September 22nd, 2019


(no subject)

More insects: a yellow jacket nest in the back yard near the picnic table and in one of the many many holes due to rotted pine roots. I was showing a friend the orchard, noticed Carrie nipping and then realized that she had multiple yellow jackets around her. I'm sure Carrie was stung, poor dear, and i was too. The inflammation of the sting hung around for the evening, but this morning all seems well. While i think the horsefly bite more painful, and other bites cause me more harm, i think the swarming nature and the location of the nest is a problem.

I've pondered various removals: i was most fascinated by the advice to bury the nest under a wheelbarrow load of ice, cover with a tarp, and cover that with wood chips. The most reasonable seemed to be covering the entrance with a glass bowl. Unfortunately, given the situation -- the old stump hole with heart wood and very loose clay -- i don't think it's likely that the yellow jackets would be trapped for long.

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My Chatham County database is getting all my attention at the moment. I became fascinated with this excerpt from a compilation of county citations:
"Some 20 or 30 years ago, it is said an extraordinary disease was prevalent on a small run called Landraum’s Creek, in Chatham, 5 or 6 miles from Pedlar’s Hill, which was called the creek sickness. The cattle would die in great numbers; and the persons who drank the milk of the cows, and the dogs that ate the carcase would sicken and die. Such singular fatality was so extraordinary that it drove the inhabitants entirely away from the vicinity; and even now, few or none can be induced to live on that creek. It is believed that there are now occasional cases of it in that neighborhood. How the disease originated, or what should remedy it, could never be found out. Some have supposed it to be much the same as the milk sickness so prevalent in some of the western States" The North-Carolinian (Fayetteville, N.C.), March 22, 1845

I can find out about the creek, but no other sources about the sickness. The historic register document for a mill on the creek says "Located on the same property, the grist mill is on a site known to have been in use as a mill since at least 1838," which rather contradicts that narrative.

I've gone on to revisit searching details about the near by creek, continued to examine the 1870 map, find other maps, and just generally follow any thread that seems to lead to county history. I am impressed by the number of Russell Chapel Churches in the country.

"The whole county is a series of linked folktales: of a race of famously plentiful rabbits now nearly disappeared, of deadly freshwater mermaids found where the Haw and Deep Rivers meet to form the Cape Fear River, of the dribbling fonts of miraculous spring water named Faith and Love, and of the ghost dogs in the abandoned shafts of Ore Hill overlooking the springs below. Out on Russell Chapel Church Road, just past Elf Way, a woman has erected a sign in front of her trailer, its message written in foothigh black letters: get to no me befor you judge me."

Murrell, Duncan. “Jump Juan Crow.” Harper’s Magazine; New York, December 2013.

I'm managing to resist the mermaid call, and i do wonder about the creativity of Duncan Murrell as there is only one known shaft at Ore Hill. He does catch a flavor of the county that i've sensed, though.

Hours spent with more maps....

Late last week i was speculating about a fictional story and had an whimsical thought of a character who was immortal being involved, but the immortality part was an anti-MacGuffin, something to advance the plot but not revealed until the end and as such likely to elicit, "wait, what? Why did i read all this boring stuff when there's an immortal in our midst?" The public-records novel will linger at the back of my mind.

I'm assuming this is a mental reset, much like i would spend weekends doing genealogy in California. Indeed, as i was structuring my database, the genealogy database structure came to mind. Also the dilemma when consulting a source: do you extract everything at that time? Or wait and come back later? I'm trying to balance, and leave myself to-dos (which i will never do?)

I';m also feeling under the weather, and my sister was under the weather on Friday. I'm deeply in introvert/hermit mode despite yesterday's surprise socializing.