The Low Gravy

Music. Art. Food. Life. Down South.

Goodlettsville, TN
Goodlettsville, TN
Goodlettsville, TN

npr:

People in Maryland love their Baltimore orioles — so much so that their major league baseball team bears the name of the migrating bird. Yet, by 2080, there may not be any orioles left in Maryland. They migrate each year and, according to a new report, could soon be forced to nest well north of the Mid-Atlantic state.

And the oriole is not alone. A seven-year study published Tuesday by the National Audubon Society warns that the migratory routes and habitats of more than half of the birds in North America are now or soon will be threatened by climate change.

More Than Half Of U.S. Bird Species Threatened By Climate Change

Photo credit: Universal Images Group via Getty Images
GIF credit: National Audubon Society

americanguide:

WANCHESE, NORTH CAROLINA

Growing up, the Outer Banks’ Northern Beaches felt like my second home. Yet, now three decades into my relationship with the region, I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve been to an area known as Wanchese.

In the original American Guide to North Carolina, Wanchese is nothing but a footnote along the way to bigger, more well-tread destinations.

Left on State 345 is WANCHESE, 4 m. (1,040 pop.), which has one of the best harbors in the section and is a trading point for northern Pamlico Sound (one boat daily to Hatteras). It is the center of Dare’s shad-fishing industry in which 90 percent of the county’s population is employed.

Even among Outer Banks locals—a people rather removed from most of the world for all but the summer season­—Wanchese is considered the most backward of all. When I insisted on taking off to investigate the place for myself, my cousins (born and raised in Kill Devil Hills) dismissed it as a waste of time, asking why I’d bother.

“Because you all think so poorly of it. And I want to know why.”

My first interaction with a “Cheser” (as they’re derogatorily referred to) was as an early teenager. My memory of the instance is crystalline and simple: sitting on the beach alone, not far from a cousin’s lifeguard tower, a young man about my age approached me. He was peddling tiny kites that flew in the air, one tied to each of his fingers. They were adorable… and so was he, especially with that accent. After declining to purchase his wares, he ambled on.

That night I told my older cousin about the cute British boy who tried to sell me a kite earlier. She laughed in my face. “He’s not British! That kid’s from WANCHESE.”

But I wasn’t completely off, either. For centuries, Wanchese kept to itself so much that its residents inherited a unique, distinct brogue that dates back to the region’s original 17th-century colonizers. This peculiar way of speaking is sometimes referred to as a hoi toider accent, and persists to this day in only a handful of spots in coastal Virginia and North Carolina. The explanation of longtime residents like Arnold Daniels (quoted in Elizabeth Leland’s The Vanishing Coast) makes a lot of sense:

Thare’s people in my toime never was off the oiland, only by bowt to go out fishin’. We were so oisolated, and we just talked just loike parents before us talked, you see. Naturally it was the people in this area we were around makin’ contact with, so Oi guess that’s the reason why we kept this brogue.

In the same book, linguist Bob Howren is more succinct but much less colorful:  “The language simply developed on its own merry way[…] It’s not Elizabethan English and they’re not Irish. It’s good old American English of a different stripe.”

This settlement is old America, comprised of a people intentionally othered, who stubbornly stuck to their ways in spite of the changing world at their doorstep. Yet when wandering around Wanchese recently, finding a resident with the thick accent I remember from my youth proved hard to find.

In the grander scheme of things, Wanchese’s neutered dialect is this region’s canary in a coal mine. A visit to its graveyards and shipyards tells the same, subtle story in two different ways; both are littered with the sad, poignant skeletons of a simple life that has all but disappeared.

The scene is bittersweet at best, and probably not for everyone… but Wanchese warrants much more attention than the original American Guide—or the scorn of locals—suggests.

* * *

Sarah Brumble was born in West Virginia, raised in Portland, Oregon, and now lives and works in Minneapolis. Her professional affiliations include Atlas Obscura, MPLS.tv, Playboy, and various other publications with mixed reputations. When not sailing through shark-infested waters or walking overland into Nigeria, Brumble can be found making photos with unreliable cameras, playing with social media, and not-not trespassing.

npr:

Whitman Wilcox V attended kindergarten through second grade at a neighborhood public school in the Lower Ninth Ward. He had just started the third grade when Hurricane Katrina hit in August 2005. His family was forced to evacuate; he wound up at a Catholic school in Houston.
Back in New Orleans the next fall, he switched to a brand-new charter school, KIPP Believe, for fifth through 8th grade; started high school at another charter school, Sci Academy; then was homeschooled for a year.
Now, he’s beginning his senior year of high school. This time at St. Augustine, an all-boys Catholic school famed throughout the region for its marching band.
Five schools in nine years. A generation of children who’ve lived through the storm and recovery have traced educational odysseys like this one.
Q&A: One Student’s Educational Saga In New Orleans
Photo credit: Edmund D. Fountain for NPR

npr:

Whitman Wilcox V attended kindergarten through second grade at a neighborhood public school in the Lower Ninth Ward. He had just started the third grade when Hurricane Katrina hit in August 2005. His family was forced to evacuate; he wound up at a Catholic school in Houston.

Back in New Orleans the next fall, he switched to a brand-new charter school, KIPP Believe, for fifth through 8th grade; started high school at another charter school, Sci Academy; then was homeschooled for a year.

Now, he’s beginning his senior year of high school. This time at St. Augustine, an all-boys Catholic school famed throughout the region for its marching band.

Five schools in nine years. A generation of children who’ve lived through the storm and recovery have traced educational odysseys like this one.

Q&A: One Student’s Educational Saga In New Orleans

Photo credit: Edmund D. Fountain for NPR

melissablock:

Maybe you know the feeling. Call it an apple awakening: the moment when you realize there are infinitely more delights to be found in the universe of apples than Red Delicious (meh), McIntosh (booooring and prone to mushiness), or Granny Smith (holding up well for her age, but a one-note standby.)
My first apple awakening came early on, growing up in apple country in upstate New York, when my family switched from McIntosh loyalists to devotees of the Macoun (crisper, more full of flavor) and never looked back.
But my true initiation came in my 20s, when I went apple-picking at an heirloom orchard in the Virginia countryside.  Revelation! Apples of every shape and size and color, from rosy peach to deepest purple, with fabulous names:  Black Twig. Newtown Pippin.  Esopus Spitzenberg (a favorite of Thomas Jefferson).  Each with history, and a taste to make you rethink the essence of appleness.  
So imagine my delight when the book “Apples of Uncommon Character” landed in my mailbox, a glorious compendium of “123 heirlooms, modern classics, and little-known wonders.”  Author and self-described apple geek Rowan Jacobsen does for apples what he did earlier for oysters: he captures in vivid language what makes the flavor of each type unique (with extraordinary photographs by Clare Barboza you want to bite into.) 
One apple makes Jacobsen “think of the aurora borealis, of green ribbons of cold fire swaying against the blackness.”  Another is “tart and snappy, with an acid tongue and a rustic coarseness. Picture a ruddy barmaid in some nineteenth-century Holland tavern.”
Say no more. It’s clearly time for an All Things Considered apple foray.  I’m off, with producer Viet Le, to Scott Farm in Dummerston, Vermont. We’ll meet up with Rowan Jacobsen and the orchard manager, Ezekiel Goodband, and talk heirloom apples.  Word from Zeke is that Ananas Reinette, Claygate Pearmain, Chenango Strawberry, and Opalescent are among the dozens of varieties that may be ready for picking (and tasting.)  We’ll bring you the story next week on ATC, and will post photos from our visit here along the way.  

melissablock:

Maybe you know the feeling. Call it an apple awakening: the moment when you realize there are infinitely more delights to be found in the universe of apples than Red Delicious (meh), McIntosh (booooring and prone to mushiness), or Granny Smith (holding up well for her age, but a one-note standby.)

My first apple awakening came early on, growing up in apple country in upstate New York, when my family switched from McIntosh loyalists to devotees of the Macoun (crisper, more full of flavor) and never looked back.

But my true initiation came in my 20s, when I went apple-picking at an heirloom orchard in the Virginia countryside.  Revelation! Apples of every shape and size and color, from rosy peach to deepest purple, with fabulous names:  Black Twig. Newtown Pippin.  Esopus Spitzenberg (a favorite of Thomas Jefferson).  Each with history, and a taste to make you rethink the essence of appleness. 

So imagine my delight when the book “Apples of Uncommon Character” landed in my mailbox, a glorious compendium of “123 heirlooms, modern classics, and little-known wonders.”  Author and self-described apple geek Rowan Jacobsen does for apples what he did earlier for oysters: he captures in vivid language what makes the flavor of each type unique (with extraordinary photographs by Clare Barboza you want to bite into.)

One apple makes Jacobsen “think of the aurora borealis, of green ribbons of cold fire swaying against the blackness.”  Another is “tart and snappy, with an acid tongue and a rustic coarseness. Picture a ruddy barmaid in some nineteenth-century Holland tavern.”

Say no more. It’s clearly time for an All Things Considered apple foray.  I’m off, with producer Viet Le, to Scott Farm in Dummerston, Vermont. We’ll meet up with Rowan Jacobsen and the orchard manager, Ezekiel Goodband, and talk heirloom apples.  Word from Zeke is that Ananas Reinette, Claygate Pearmain, Chenango Strawberry, and Opalescent are among the dozens of varieties that may be ready for picking (and tasting.)  We’ll bring you the story next week on ATC, and will post photos from our visit here along the way.  

(via npr)

In Tennessee, Scenes From A Nearly Lost Musical History

Archivist Wayne Moore leads the way down into the vault where the State of Tennessee stores its most valuable historical treasures.

“It’s a temperature- and humidity-controlled area where we keep a lot of the recordings,” he explains.

Hundreds of reel-to-reel audio tapes line these floor-to-ceiling shelves. Stacked atop each other, the recordings, photographs and lyric sheets in the collection would reach the height of a 14-story building. They were all assembled under the direction of novice folklorist and state park Ranger Bobby Fulcher.

Today you can find almost any obscure song or historical recording online, but there was a time when this music was nearly impossible to find, and the performers who knew the oldest songs were dying off. So, in 1976, Congress passed the American Folklife Preservation Act — and Bobby Fulcher became one of the first to take up the challenge of preserving these old songs.

http://nashvillepublicradio.org/blog/2014/09/08/tennessee-scenes-nearly-lost-musical-history/

visredux:

Vermillionville, Louisiana

(via love-nola)