Water pennies from heaven

Courtesy of the indolent Fred First, who apparently has nothing better to do than flip rocks and startle the cute li’l critters clinging to their tiny piece of dark, damp earthy paradise. Hey Fred, we don’t have rocks in downtown Berkeley. Can we flip those concrete shards left over from the demolished building across the street instead?

Minnesota Department of Natural Resources

Water Penny, colored pencil and watercolor Commissioned by: Minnesota Department of Natural Resources

Heaven in this case is Floyd County, Virginia. Why Fred advertises this place is his business (real estate?), but beware–heaven can become hell very quickly these days. We know a young couple who opted for an outhouse-and-organic garden lifestyle way, way out in the wilds of Northern California. For several years the only household within 20 miles was a family of beavers with OCD that build dam after dam in a pristine creek.

Now our friends watch (and hear) truck after truck rumble by on a newly constructed road hauling building materials destined to become the fully-loaded country getaways of their several very wealthy San Franciscan neighbors-to-be.

Next to come will no doubt be strict zoning ordinances that will bring a freshly elected sheriff to our friends’ door with an upgrade-or-out order. Oh, and bye-bye, beavers. Us nouveau riche country folks needs us that crick water. Waterblogged.info’s hit: Keep in down, Fred.

What stake do we city slickers at Waterblogged.info hold in this countrified rock-flipping madness? Hey, we like bugs who like water, OK?–and Fred, who says:

Speaking of good health–it was an “indicator organism” I thought perhaps I could find for my Rock Flipping Day post. I’d seen Water Pennies in Goose Creek at times, but had to look hard for them, especially after the illegal dumping of a drum of used motor oil upstream and some upstream outhouse issues.

But yesterday, the first rock I turned over had FOUR Water Pennies (see insert for rock in context–and the tips of my boots.) These round coppery beetle larvae are found suctioned like little aquatic armadillos against the undersides of wet rocks where the waters are swift and dissolved oxygen is high. I whooped like I’d struck gold. (We live in an area where if a tree falls or a man whoops in the forest, nobody is likely to hear it.)



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2 Responses

  1. Yo Jared!

    Dear Lord, I’ve been accused of being many things–but never a real estate pimp! SHUDDER! But I have to admit, I see your point: how could a home buyer not be drawn to Floyd County by all the insect photographs I’ve posted this summer. Almost seems unfair, knowing how deep a tug insects have on homeowner’s hearts. I feel so ashamed.

    I’ve been branded before in my effusive blog-of-place as a “retiree magnet” to our area, and if this is the case (and I don’t really think it is) it certainly isn’t by design. I’d be finding the curious, beautiful and inspiring ordinaries no matter where I lived at this time of my life.

    It just happens that I live in a rather pleasant place at a time when pleasant places are getting harder and harder to find. People do seem to gravitate to story-book locations, often to find the story is not nearly as rosy as it at first seems.

    Matter of fact, we have our own woes in Floyd County, Virginia, and water near the top of the list. We are in the 10-20% normal rainfall band this year, better than last and way better than 2003.

    The problem is, our water runs in fractured granite, not in the limestone caverns of the Ridge and Valley province to our north. The storage capacity is limited and quantity unknown as evidenced by the large number of wells that have run dry (even this summer) and the depth to which new wells are having to be dug.

    We’ve also had rather a shocking number of wells (and especially springs) contaminated by E. coli–more likely the exploding deer population that cattle which are increasingly fenced out of wetlands and riparian areas.)

    We have a population cap in the county and water will be a limiting factor, as will corrupted ridgeline views covered with summer chalets; and there are the peaceful back roads incompatible with the bulldozers you mentioned.

    We lack a lot of things most city dwellers would demand–unless they only plan to come visit a few days, enjoy the amenities, drop some cash, and go home. I’d be happy to entice tourists to visit, far less so to draw unprepared dreamy homesteaders to a big lifestyle mistake.

    I appreciate your mission and voice at Waterblogged. Do keep up the good work and good words!

  2. […] Jared Simpson posts a lovely artist rendition of a water penny, the aquatic beetle larva that some of you will remember from my post from the recent “rock […]

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