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Welcome to Casa

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With summer now at its height, it's easy to fall in love with living here in North Carolina--which means embracing not only the native flora and fauna, but the history and culture of its people. If you're lucky enough to have family here, you may have already inherited a pie safe, a rocking chair or quilt. You may have already raided your grandparents' flower garden for cuttings, seeds and bulbs of native plants to customize your own.

The rest of us--refugees from "somewhere else" will just have to scrounge for our connection to the region and its past. In this issue of Casa, the writers point us in all the right directions to find tangible connections to this state we call home.

Zach Hoskins leads off with tips on landscaping with native plants. Would you like some black-eyed Susans along your back fence? Hoskins tells you where to look for them and why it's ecologically sound to favor these "locals" over the ubiquitous "exotics."

L.D. Russell writes about how his artist-brother Frank makes fish out of old car parts and kitchen utensils. Frank's genius perfectly complements L.D.'s gift for making words shimmer and dance right before your eyes. Think of them as the Jake and Elwood of the Piedmont.

Beth Livingston's day trip took her to some prime sources for bits and pieces of nostalgia, and she takes you along with her to get started on your own streak of secondhand chic.

And finally, Vicky Jiggetts pays a call on Gaines Steer at The Last Unicorn and finds five acres of possibilities for what Steer calls "exterior decoration." Steer's a collector and dispenser of imaginative ideas--as well as a seller of gates, windows and other decorative pieces--and Jiggett's story reveals the solid values that underlie his life as an artist and an entrepreneur.

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