Tag: North Woods

Mind Explosion

Music by Ivo Ballentine

It is amazing who you can meet sometimes. I started talking to a guy in Ingles the other day named Ivo Ballentine. During the course of our conversation, he mentioned he was a musician and had just released a CD of original compositions.

Naturally, I had to mention the fact that I was a published author with two published works, and finishing up a third. The upshot of the conversation was that we made a swap. I traded a copy of my book, Adirondack Bear Tales, for his new CD, titled Mind Explosion.

There are 10 songs on the CD. I really like several, including Cadillac, Let Me Hear Your Song, and Doesn’t She Know, but they are all pretty darn good.

Quite a strong Beatles influence

To me, there seemed to be a strong early Beatles influence, and I thought I could pick up on a touch of Johnny Cash as well. I am not sure what genre Ivo’s music would fit into; maybe something like pop-folk-rock?

A few days later, I ran into Ivo again, this time at the Starbucks in Ingles. When I mentioned the Beatles influence I had picked up on, he laughed. A local radio station had just played his CD in its entirely the previous day, saying it reminded them a lot of Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band.

one lucky bear

Ivo also mentioned how much he enjoyed Adirondack Bear Tales. It seems he grew up in Maine, so he identified with the North Woods; he just didn’t remember hearing about so much bear activity in Maine. I think that maybe because most of the tourist activity in Maine centers around the coast and seafood!

So how do you get a copy?

Well, for now, that is a bit tricky. Ivo doesn’t have a website. He is planning to make the CD available on SoundCloud shortly.

You could also hang out at the Starbucks in the Ingles located on Merrimon Avenue in Asheville, NC. He is a frequent customer there. Look for the gentleman with the plaid Scottish-style hat. He may also be wearing an Ivo Ballentine for Mayor button because he is considering a run for Mayor of Woodfin, a friendly little community just up the street.

Egad! Deer Flies in North Carolina?

Let me just say up front, I hate Deer Flies!

If you’ve read my collection of short stories called Adirondack Bear Tales, you probably know I grew spending my summers at Raquette Lake in the Adirondack Park of upstate New York. I made my first camping trip at all of 6-mos-old. I believe, if my memory serves me correctly, my mother made my first sleeping bag out of an old flannel blanket and a paper bag.

Summers at Raquette Lake were filled non-stop adventures that many boys only dream about. Fishing, boating, canoeing, hiking, swimming, exploring, and even getting lost in those deep North Woods.

However, there are just one or two things that could be a bit of a pain when spending time in the Adirondacks. One of those is Deer Flies!

You can avoid the worst of the black flies and mosquitoes by waiting until mid-summer or early fall before venturing into the area. By then, the black flies are about gone and the mosquito population has been reduced to a tolerable level. However, deer flies are quite another story.

As you walked up and down the sandy dirt roads of Burketown, the deer flies would circle your head incessantly, looking for an opportunity to swoop in and nail you. The only positive was that, since they did continuously circle you, you could often snatch them out of the air and squish them … which always gave me an enormous sense of satisfaction.

Of course, wearing a hat helped. But I have always really hated wearing hats and only do so now when there is really no choice.

deer flies

Meet the Deer Fly!

A deer fly looks like a cross between a horsefly and a yellow-jacket. While their bites do hurt, fortunately they are nothing like a yellow jacket sting. Note the swept back delta-type wing. I always thought with a wing like that, they should be able to fly so much faster. Of course, that would make them harder to snatch out of the air and squish.

So, what prompted this post on the deer fly you might ask (or you might not, but I will tell you anyway!). I thought I had left them behind (other than for the occasional trip back to Raquette Lake). I moved to Tennessee at the age of 19 and lived there 36 years, and never saw a deer fly.

I moved to Cary, North Caroline and lived there 3 years and never saw a deer fly either.

But recently I moved to Asheville, North Carolina, and there (while exercising my GSD, Sophie) just the other day, I snatched two deer flies out of the air and squished them. And, while I did get an enormous sense of satisfaction out of squishing them, I am thinking seriously about moving back to Tennessee!

deer flies

Sophie has seconded that motion. She is not overly fond of the deer flies either.

If you are looking for a good quick read, check out Adirondack Bear Tales. I think you will get a real kick out of it. Sophie even stars in one of the stories. She likes to tell how she “saved me” from the mother black bear with her two cubs on our last trip to Raquette Lake.

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