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Lori, John, Christy, and Michelle Cranford came up today to help get ready for the Foraging Walk. They completely kicked butt, we are about 90% ready for folks to come hang out and enjoy the farm next weekend.

Scot and Brenda came over to scope things out and get a feel for the place. I can't believe they had never been here before!

As we were walking and talking, I was remembering a book I read this year, "The Last Child In The Woods, Saving Our Children From Nature Deficit Disorder" by Richard Louv.

Louv posits that adults who care about the environment were invariably children who built tree houses. The idea is that children who created houses in the woods truly had the freedom to enjoy nature in an unstructured, non regulated way. Wow! He also says that fear has played into the sequestering of our children with TV and electronics.

Raising my own young'uns, when they would get grouchy or start bickering, I would send them outside. Instant cure. I'm not sure you can still send kids outside. Seems like their worlds are pretty wrapped up in their phones and tablets and such. Plus... I'm not sure that would even be considered good parenting, or even adequate parenting.

We've had septic tank issues this winter and spring. My children got it fixed for me as a Mother's Day gift !

It has killed me for Caius and Theodore not to be able to play freely in the yard here. When you're two, climbing and running and jumping and falling and getting up and doing it all over again are the most important things, you know !

It struck me today that I would really love to give "wild" to children. Not camp. Not classes. Not structure.

The wild that happens when someone says "you young'uns get out from underfoot and go outside and play" and you have to go use your imagination to amuse yourself.

I want to just be the Mamaw sitting on the porch snapping beans and watching kids discover the world. How do you get that ? Are those times gone for good?

I sure hope not. I hope we will see a pendulum swing as we begin to realize that screen time does not a healthy child make.

Anyway... y'all come out next Saturday and bring the kids. Let's all take an opportunity to enjoy the great outdoors.


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I love Ashe County.  All of Ashe County 


I love the unlovable parts of Ashe county. The parts that make the tourists cringe. I love the places up in the hollers with moonshine stills…. Wait… I reckon that’s meth labs now, isn’t it ? 

With the broken down trailers and RVs and junk cars.  


I love our people. The people that the tourists find ugly. The people who live in homes built of tires and refrigerator boxes and tarps.  The ones who live in broken down houses on broken down farms where the tin is blowing off the barn roof….Oh wait !! that’s me ; )  


I am mad at Ashe County.  I feel impotent and ineffectual. I feel voiceless. This is a righteous anger born of watching my people be dragged down by substances that were handed to them by health care professionals! The people we are supposed to trust ! Last month someone from a committee I am on met with a group of people who work in harm reduction. They were asking what we could do to support their work.  They were concerned that anything we did would draw attention to them and make their work harder. Do more harm than good. 


I was sick to my stomach!!! I am still sick to my stomach.  How can fighting a drug epidemic that has harmed so many of our families …. ? 

Why can’t the people doing the work… the experts… Why can’t they count on the unconditional support of county officials ??  


Who does it benefit for our county to still be dying from this epidemic? 


I think I became an activist today, Dolly once asked at a Down Home meeting “when did you become an activist ?? “ I thought What the heck ? I'm not an activist !   I said I didn’t know … and Jeff Land said oh you’ve just always been an activist ?  I don’t know … what the heck ? 


But today, when I heard that publicity around the work of the people doing harm reduction work could very possibly backfire and cause their work to be more difficult … 


Ineffable. Its the only word. There just aren’t any words, or enough words or … even a big enough emotion for what i felt… and feel … 


This is an epidemic. This is an epidemic that is robbing people of families … sons and daughters and mamas and daddies.  

Why are we still fighting a war on ignorance?  Why hasn’t our county been out front in this fight ? 

We are losing people daily and still rolling our eyes at the idea that addiction is a disease !!! 


Is it classism? Is it money ? Is it corruption?  Keep people stupid, numb and making money for the few ?


I asked my cousin Jefferson once, Why can’t we have peace? Now Jefferson is a hippie from WAY back,  I was hoping for some sage answer. He just laughed and said Are you kidding?? The economy would completely collapse !  


I realized he was right. We are addicted to war 



 Ashe County has a drug problem. We are addicted to substance misuse. 


Not from a physiological standpoint… but from a dollar bill standpoint.  How much revenue is gained through substance misuse in this county ? 


Into whose pockets does that money go ? 


In 2019, I attended a 2 day event at the Landing  put on by AMH to address the Opioid Crisis. They had received a grant. 

I was an oddity there, with all those medical people and folks who work in Harm Reduction and know what they are doing, I was invited because of the Odd Fellows. I was just absolutely and completely out of my league y’all, and boy did I ever learn bucketfuls. 


As the mom of an “addict” who had been brought up on the tough love model, my mind was blown. I was learning all sorts of new vocabulary … and compassion… a lot of compassion. 

I asked Ashley Wurth how to empower someone without enabling them. She very gently explained to me that it was the same word. You know how you sometimes read or learn something and you can feel your brain expand and shift ? oh man… did I ever!  It was a change of perspective for me. I learned about Adverse Childhood Experiences scores and how that is an indicator.  

As I have continued to learn about the disease of addiction over the years, my compassion has continued to grow, As well as a lot of righteous anger. 

How have we allowed this? The medical community has ALWAYS known that addiction was a disease. 

I have a lot of anger at the medical community here, continuing to pass out narcotics long after the rest of the world knew the harm they were causing.  


OOPS … Make a U turn, don’t go down that rabbit hole Nancy. 


How can we address addiction in a meaningful way here?   

 

On April 17, 2024, A grassroots group I work with, Down Home North Carolina,  is hosting a listening session about Harm Reduction and how we can go forward. Lots of good information, lots of people who will share their experiences.


I will update you as soon as I have more information, I sure would like to see you there. 

We need your voices. 

We need the voices of people who are affected by the fallout of substance misuse.


Whose Ashe County ? Our Ashe County!


Love you ! Nancy Beth

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Hey Y’all, My name is Nancy Beth Weaver and I want to change the world… so   I’m running for county commissioner. 


We all know what the issues are … Housing, Drugs, Health Care, Wages, etc 

We all know the solution starts with a Local Government that understands the things that affect our families.  


Could we do something a bit different today? 

May I tell you a story?

  A story that will maybe shed a little light on the division that  seems to 

both  feed and feed on the fear and the anger we often experience

This is a story about how Ashe County folks have often been used as a product.

 We have all met that person who says "My family has been here 34 generations , my granddaddy tilled the soil under the concrete of the building we’re standing in and you ain’t welcome here. "

And we all know people who think the folks that belong to Ashe County are 

just a little bit less than…

There IS some bitterness, and more than a little resentment.

But please try to understand the underlying grief for what has been lost.. 

 

Did yau know  Ashe County didn’t get “discovered” til the late 70s… and really not until the 90s… we were so isolated ! 


 

Developers from away, foreigners or furrners as they were commonly known in those days, bought up land, family farms, in some cases being underhanded and pretty nasty about it… searching the obituaries and threatening widows. Buying land for a pittance 

And as our property taxes went up, folks sold out of desperation too. 


Since our fiercely freedom loving folks refused land use planning… development was rampant and not always pretty. 

 

This began to create a bit of animosity, as you might imagine … and it hasn’t helped that the caricature of the mountain people was cemented in people's brains by shows like the Beverly Hillbillies, Deliverance,  Barney Google and Snuffy Smith in the Sunday funnies …  Even I have given up explaining to people that “paddle faster I hear banjos “ is NOT a compliment.  


Ann Rose told me 20 years ago that when people from here came to the Winston Salem hospitals , they were treated differently. 


So folks moving up from the flatlands thought we were all stupid and inbred. And didn’t hesitate to treat us as such. 

Just a couple years ago a dear friend said to me ‘ well, you know, there really wasn’t anything here til we started moving in ‘  


Whew law  


Maybe WJ wasn’t quite so pretty… and Jefferson didn't have four 4 lane highways.  

 We had community grocery stores,  and if you went to town there were a couple real grocery stores. We knew our neighbors and we took care of each other. 

 

There WAS so much here. 

Another “friend” of several years posted a caricature on Social media of a hillbilly… with the caption “this is where i live now”  

Trust comes hard sometimes. 

Occasionally folks like to have a token hillbilly to drag around.  I’ve fallen for that one a few times. 

 Anyway. Back to my tale. 

We romanticize the Virginia Creeper, forgetting that it was placed here to haul away our timber. 

And the pesticides. I grew  up in 80 acres of apple orchard, before people knew to wear masks. Before anything was banned.  My first pony died because she ate 2-4D out of the bucket when it was being put out for weed and grass control.

 Don't try to tell me people didn’t know what they were selling. 

We were cheap labor for all kinds of industry, then it went and we were even cheaper labor for the service industry and construction jobs that materialized. 

Now meth has replaced moonshine as the cash crop 

We traded revenuers for ATF and a multi million dollar militarized sheriff's department and privatized prisons. 

We are still the product. 

There's no money in acknowledging the disease of addiction. 

And the inbred hillbilly with no teeth stereotype self perpetuates  

Crime has increased with the influx of substance abuse,  and that brings more fear.

Opiates and the war on drugs have made us a commodity once again. 


Anyway … I hope that I have explained some of the grief that our Ashe county working families have experienced through the years. Maybe you can pass my story on? 


Maybe together this summer we can help people see that it’s time the people of Ashe County were prioritized instead of commodified. 


Could we please elect commissioners who care? 

Who don’t roll their eyes and make faces when people ask them to care?

Who bother to educate themselves about issues like:


Safe & affordable housing. 

Fair wages 

Substance misuse and addiction 

About fully funded public education, 

About accessible CHILD CARE !!! 

Who aren’t racists for pete's sake!!! 


WHOSE ASHE COUNTY? OUR ASHE COUNTY!!!

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