Earlier today we drove out to the ruins of Catawba Furnace to take pictures for a friend with an interest in old foundries, and also because I’ve wanted to explore the site ever since I realized it was there. It’s a lovely sunny day today, although a bit chilly, but after tramping around the woods I warmed up enough to take off my jacket. We’re due for another shot of wintry weather later this week, but the local weather guru says there could be a real warm-up after Valentine’s Day (and Punxsutawney Phil predicted an early spring this year, yay!).
While exploring the furnace site we walked down to look at Catawba Creek, where I spotted what I initially thought was a bird but realized was a bat flitting around. Given that it was broad daylight and a bit on the chilly side, I hope the little critter isn’t sick – I may not like bats when they show up in my bedroom at 3 a.m., but they’re a valuable part of the ecosystem and I hate to think of anything bad happening to one. (I just finished reading Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver, so I’m feeling a little pro-predator at the moment. However, it’s likely the bat has or will become a meal for a larger predator if it doesn’t return to its batcave, so I guess it’s quid pro quo.)
We had another spot of excitement on our return trip, when we saw smoke rising up from a ridgeline that ran parallel to the road we were on. We debated pulling over and calling 911, or going straight to the fire station in the nearest town, but soon I saw a camera crew from one of the local TV news stations and he said fire crews were already on the scene. That ridge is in the national forest and it’s been very dry around here lately, so a forest fire could get very bad, very fast. Hopefully they can get the fire under control quickly.